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A Quick Spin Around The Blogs

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Because you have better things to do than read them all: It's not just teachers who get staph infections, says EdWeek's web watch (States Report Teacher Staph Infections). Good to know. Fighting against the inevitable Clinton win, says Scott Elliott, Obama stands and delivers in LA (Obama's "in your face" move). Meanwhile, Mary Ann Zehr has the ELL provisions of the new Kennedy draft (Senate Draft of Title III of NCLB). And the AFTies note that acceptance of gay teachers is on the rise (Good News for Dumbledore). EIA Mike makes fun of the notion that performance pay is sweeping the nation just because NYC is going to do it (It's a Performance Pay Tsunami!). Speaking of which: Merit Pay Mania (Quick And Ed). There's also lots about merit pay and NCLB in Swift & Changeable (Kahlenberg on Al Shanker, Tough Liberals, and Teacher Merit Pay). Though I have to admit I'm a little sick of Shanker and Kahlenberg. Sorry!. Meanwhile, Dana Goldstein of TAPPED writes hopefully about progressive parents choosing public schools (ANOTHER LOOK AT EDUCATION AND INEQUALITY).

Russo In DC On Tuesday

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It's big news, I know. The New Teacher Center (NTC) at the University of California, Santa Cruz is releasing a new cost-benefit report on teacher retention at a Senate policy lunch tomorrow, October 23rd. Senator Jack Reed (Rhode Island) will attend. The briefing will take place in G-11 Dirksen from 11:45 am to 1 PM and lunch will be provided. Space is limited. To RSVP, contact AliciaL@ucsc.edu or 831-459-1305 or Dara Barlin at 646-391-1984 ( dbarlin@ucsc.edu). Yours truly is moderating -- no one else must have been available! No, that's not me in the picture, but I wish I had the t-shirt. I would wear it to the event, for sure. To add gravity and seriousness.

Alternative College Rankings Make Colbert Report

In case you missed it, check out Washington Monthly editor Paul Glastris on the Colbert Report from last week, talking about the magazine's alternative ranking of colleges:

Click here to read the entire package.

"Honk If You Have An EdWeek Blog"

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The ever-amusing folks over at the AFT blog have a little fun at EdWeek's expense, pointing out the seeming proliferation of blogs that have sprouted up on the site:AFT NCLBlog. It's true, there are an awful lot of blogs around here these days, creating a fair amount of overlap (as well as some helpful new coverage). But it's EdWeek's site, so they get to add as many separate blogs as they want. Whether it's NCLB news, politics, or media criticism, you can still find pretty much everything you need here.

Teachers Behaving Badly, States Ignoring The Problem

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Between last week's report from the Small Newspaper Group (see chart) and today's AP story, we've got a glut of information about teachers behaving badly. According to last week's story, only Virginia revokes or suspends fewer teaching certificates than Illinois.States such as California, Georgia or Utah are 25 times more like to remove a teacher from the profession than Illinois.

Big Stories Of The Day

Sex Abuse a Shadow Over U.S. Schools AP
An investigation by the Associated Press has found more than 2,500 cases over five years in which educators were punished for actions that ranged from bizarre to sadistic.

Oprah's school in scandal News24 South Africa
Henley-On-Klip - A matron at Oprah Winfrey's posh school for girls near Vereeniging apparently "fondled" one of the pupils, and assaulted another.

Bush, Democrats Face Education Spending Showdown EdWeek
President Bush and Democratic leaders in Congress are facing off over spending on federal education programs, and the renewal of the No Child Left Behind Act could get caught up in the clash.

Even Families Are Split Over Oral Contraceptives at a Maine Middle School NYT
A school committee’s vote to provide prescription contraceptives at its clinic is drawing fervent support and ardent opposition in Portland.

The advocate of teaching over testing Boston Globe
Jonathan Kozol, who has worked with teachers and children in inner-city schools for more than 40 years, is the author of such books as "The Shame of the Nation," "Savage Inequalities," and "Amazing Grace."

Best Of The Week

NCLB News
Stale NCLB Coverage In The NYT
Veto Threat Over NCLB Reauthorization
Dentists Good, Dentists Bad

On The Hill
Investing In High-Quality Teacher Retention
Taking On The Higher Ed Lobby

Campaign 2008
Two Million Minutes Of High School
UPK: Just Don't Call It Childcare

Urban Education
Former City Police Chief Takes Over NOLA School Security
No "Marshall Law" For DC Public Schools, Says Millot
A Gay Union Leader For New York City Teachers

Teachers & Teaching
"Grow Your Own" Teachers -- And Recruits?
Making Teaching A Career, Not A Drive-By Charity Stop
Video: "Nice White Lady"

Media Watch
Tracking Teachers' Disciplinary Records In Ohio
Hidden Teacher Violations...In Illinois & Nationwide
EdWeek Runs Scientologist Ad, Says NASBE

Blogs
"Super Sexy, Super Sassy, And Education Savvy" That's Me.
Pay For Performance... In The Blogosphere
Pay Bloggers, Or Send Us To Rehab?

School Life
Teaching Tolerance: "I Don't Want To Blow You Up!"
Dear School: Don't Be Lonely, We'll Be Back Tomorrow
Early Childhood Reading Gap Statistic Pretty Questionable, Says Freakonomics

Hidden Teacher Violations...In Illinois & Nationwide

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Speaking of teachers, there's a new slew of stories from the folks at the Small Newspaper Group in Springfield Illinois that may blow your socks off: Illinois does poor job of dealing with teacher misconduct "Small Newspaper Group filed open records requests with 50 state education departments and built a national database of revocations and suspensions of teacher licenses during its "Hidden Violations" investigation. Among the 50 states, only Virginia revokes or suspends fewer teaching certificates than Illinois. Even if a hearing officer upholds the firing of teacher, they are free to seek employment in another school district." These are the same folks who did an award-winning investigative report on teacher tenure two years ago.

Tracking Teachers' Disciplinary Records In Ohio

The folks at the Columbus Dispatch have been running a great education series all week, and even created a database for parents to see which educators if any at their school have been disciplined. Check it outL The Columbus Dispatch

Big Stories Of The Day

Maine Middle School to Issue Birth Control Pills NPR
School officials in Portland, Maine make birth control pills available to students at one of the city's middle schools. The move follows a spate of pregnancies among middle school girls.

Calif. Approves Teacher Test Teacher Magazine
California’s rigorous performance test for new teachers has the potential to set national standards, officials say.

FCC cites commentator Williams for payola Reuters
After investigating for more than 2-1/2 years, the Federal Communications Commission concluded that Williams and his firm violated agency rules by promoting President George W. Bush's "No Child Left Behind" policy on television without disclosing they had been paid to do so.

Best Of The Blogs

Over at EIA, Mike is not jumping on the PFP bandwagon (Sorry, I Can't Join the Party). Meanwhile, Joanne Jacobs tells us about how some districts are gaming the AYP ratings system by transferring students (The ‘alternative’ dodge).

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About the flawed NCLB story in the NYT, Eduwonk makes many of the same points Charlie Barone and I made a day before (Hustle And Flow...). The carnival is up at the Education Wonks (The Carnival Of Education: Week 141). AFT Michele slams me for wanting folks to link back to me when I link to them all the time (Blog Minutiae). Show some class, my good woman! Links are about credit and community, not traffic. The Hoff says there's a Senate discussion draft out there, but not about the juicy parts (Senate Distributes Partial Draft). Eduwonkette is lining up costumes for her Halloween edu-parade (Costume Nominations!). I call dibs on K-Fed.

UPK: Just Don't Call It Childcare

You might think that Gail Collins' column about controversy over child care has nothing to do with school reform, but you'd be wrong. As Collins points out, we've got a substantial child care problem in the US, and little political appetite for discussing it. But universal preschool does an end-around on this, by providing an additional year of government subsidized care for children that parents otherwise would have to be covering out of pocket. Check it out: None Dare Call It Child Care. If there's any relief for working parents on the horizon, this is probably it.

Debating Education At The Economist

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The Economist has been holding an online education debate, and I've missed it entirely. Well, the questions posed to us didn't seem all that compelling. Was it (is it) any good? Let us know: Economist.com

Pay Bloggers, Or Send Us To Rehab?

Blogging is fun. Too much fun. As this Time.com article points out (here), it's crack for journalists, whose best ideas otherwise get killed or blocked by ogre editors, and who are usually straightjacketed by the requirements of objective journalism (blandness, rigid even-handedness). It's also good business, since it doesn't take much time to find and slam someone else's hard work. (Doing that to to Diana Jean Schemo's NYT piece a couple days ago took about a half hour at most.) But I don't know if publishers are all of them really that business-oriented, or that online advertising brings in enough revenue -- yet -- to justify the expense of even the cheapest bloggers churning out the most salacious gossip. Recently, the Huffington Post announced it was going to pay its 1800 bloggers... never. And Gawker pays $12 per post.

Fictional Baltimore Mayor Declares Victory On Education

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Just like in real life. As you may recall, last year's season of The Wire, HBO's gritty convoluted tale about cops and criminals and kids in Baltimore, focused in part on the opportunistic decision by the mayor to focus on school reform. Well, the good news in this lengthy New Yorker article about the show is that SCORES ARE UP! Of course they are. And of course this mayor has moved on already to another issue without really solving the underlying problems.

Big Stories Of The Day

Romney likes NCLB MSNBC
“I like the fact that in No Child Left Behind we test our kids,” Romney said. “We can see which schools are succeeding and which are failing. That alone is a huge advance…I like No Child Left Behind.”

Easy test leaves Maryland behind Baltimore Sun
"We think our cut scores are reasonable for what people are being asked to do by 2014, especially given that it's for all subgroups - students who don't speak English or students with special needs."

Teachers Agree to Bonus Pay Tied to Scores NYT
Bonuses for New York City teachers would be based largely on the overall test scores of students at schools that have high concentrations of poor children.

A Normal Lesson in Vocabulary, Until a Deer Bursts Through a School Window NYT
New Jersey, a 200-pound buck raced through a class of fifth graders and wandered the halls like a typical gaggle of errant students before being shepherded out a back door.

Early Childhood Reading Gap Statistic Pretty Questionable, Says Freakonomics

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There was much controversy when Freakonomics said that reading at home doesn't help test scores. Now the Freakonomics blog points out that the much-cited stat about kids and exposure to words before school is, well, sketchy (A Data Pool of One). The number comes from a 1990 book whose author used her child as the sole point of comparison between rich and poor kids being read to. (There were only 24 low-income children in the study pool all together.) If a stat seems too good to be true, it probably is. Not that the UPK mafia won't keep using it.

No "Marshall Law" For DC Public Schools, Says Millot

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Conventional wisdom is that Michelle Rhee in DC needs, well, whatever she wants, in order to get the DC schools turned around. Power to fire folks? Sure. Shifting district staff to state (?) offices? Why not. But Marc Dean Millot (pictured), now an EdWeek blogger, says that some of this just isn't necessary: "There's no "state of emergency," no need for dictatorial authority, and no relationship between the real predicament and the requested powers." I'm not sure the comparisons to the war in Iraq work, but he makes a good point: just cuz Rhee says she wants it doesn't mean she should get it, or needs it. Says Millot: "The list of failures cited were not fundamentally ones of the bureaucracy's failure to execute policy, but of the political leadership's decisions about policy."

Dear School: Don't Be Lonely, We'll Be Back Tomorrow

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I'm really into FOUND magazine right now, where folks send in things that they find and explain where they found them. This is a note written by a child and found in a school one day. Do schools get lonely when the kids leave for the day? I'm sure they do. Just like teachers.



Mad Crushes, Hypocritical Teachers, Carey Vs. Rothstein, & More

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The Post's Jay Mathews is crushing madly on the Edwards education plan, and making mean fun of Richardson's. Charlie Barone points out that, that despite all the complaints about too much testing, teachers in at least one California school still aren't using results to inform instruction. He also agrees that the NYT story was off. Next up, Kevin Carey, who riffs off of an American Prospect article to say that those like Richard Rothstein who think economic reforms are more important than school reforms, over all, still shouldn't attack school reform efforts. Or at least I think that's what he's saying. Last but not least, the BoardBuzz from NSBA has put out a side-by-side (PDF) comparing current law and Miller (and, ugh, their proposals). I love side by sides, but I don't know if this one is any good. Seen a better one? Let us know.

Making Teaching A Career, Not A Drive-By Charity Stop

Over at Teacher In A Strange Land, teacher Nancy Flanagan riffs off of my Teach For America essay from last week. "TFA has done nothing to re-conceptualize the work of teaching as both socially valuable and complex professional practice. In fact, TFA and similar “fellowship” programs have spawned a rash of research projects bent on proving that teacher education isn’t particularly useful—that any smart person can teach." But, like me, Flanagan agrees that the potential is there: "When Wendy Kopp comes up with an idea to keep TFA folks in teaching or reposition teaching as a flexible, entrepreneurial professional career, I personally will carry signs nominating her for a MacArthur grant—or Secretary of Education."

Former City Police Chief Takes Over School Security

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Remember the New Orleans police chief during and after Katrina? Well that guy is now running security for the NOLA recovery district, trying to improve a security system that was reported to be heavy-handed and ineffective last year, according to this Ed Week Q & A: Q & A With New Orleans’ Security Chief. He's trying to reallocate security officers and provide continuity, and professionalize the appearance of the officers.

Big Stories Of The Day

Miami ‘Zone’ Gives Schools Intensive Help EdWeek
Some of the lowest-performing schools in the Miami-Dade County, Fla., district could soon be weaned from three years of strategic support.

PLUS: L.A. Chief Weighs New District for Lowest-Performing Schools

High schools using breathalyzers to fight teen drinking USA Today
High schools are rushing to test students for alcohol at extracurricular events like dances and football games.

Richardson: U.S. education 'broken' Des Moines Register
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said today the nation's education system is "broken from top to bottom. "

Two Million Minutes Of High School

There are apparently two million minutes of instruction during high school, and -- no surprise -- we're not using ours very wisely. Here's the trailer for a new, as yet unreleased documentary about the problem:

Conceived and exec produced by venture capitalist Bob Compton, and directed by two TFA alums, the doc follows six students in three countries. Check it out.

"Super Sexy, Super Sassy, And Education Savvy" That's Me.

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Vote for your favorite education blog, especially if it's this one. My favorite nomination so far is the one that calls me "super sexy, super sassy, and education savvy."

Stale NCLB Coverage In The NYT

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I remain supremely frustrated by articles on NCLB like Diana Jean Schemo's piece in the New York Times today, much as I appreciate the coverage. Here's why: (1) There's this insistence on making a bogeyman of NCLB even though it's admitted later on that the law is pretty toothless. (2) There's the repeated throwing around of big-sounding numbers (schools in need of restructuring, etc.), without percentages for context. (3) There's the implicit blame on the supposed severity of the law, not on reluctant or slow-moving state and district authorities, or a weak law with lots of loopholes. (4) There's an almost entirely unsupported assertion of increased bitterness and adversity on the part of parents and others.

There are some juicy tidbits, including this news about the creation of parent unions fighting for faster changes, and the plan to revamp LAUSD to focus attention on low-performing schools. But shouldn't this line, buried in the story, be in the nut graf? "So far, education experts say they are unaware of a single state that has taken over a failing school in response to the law." Or, another punchy line buried too far down? “They’re so busy fighting No Child Left Behind,” said Mary Johnson, president of Parent U-Turn, a civic group. “If they would use some of that energy to implement the law, we would go farther.”

Saving Money By Investing In High-Quality Teacher Retention

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I'm moderating an event in Dirksen next Tuesday on the savings that come from investing in high-quality teacher retention programs. The New Teacher Center is releasing a cost-benefit study, and Senator Reed and other luminaries are going to be there. Retention programs (aka mentoring and coaching) are a dime a dozen these days, but NTC has found that you get what you pay for. Intensive induction -- full release coaches, lower staffing ratios, etc. -- makes a difference both on the retention side and on the effectiveness side. I don't know how much of this is already written into Miller and or the Kennedy draft, but it doesn't seem like the door is going to be closed before the 23rd.

Veto Threat Over NCLB Reauthorization

It seemed like it was coming, what with Spellings hinting at it last month and all the fun that's been had over the SCHIP veto. And this President has never lacked for confidence, warranted or not. So, yesterday, the President said he'd veto any effort to reauthorize NCLB without maintaining its main provisions (President Bush Discusses The Budget):

"We're teaching a child to read so they can pass a reading test....I believe in local control of schools. That's up to you to chart the path to excellence. But it's up to us to make sure your money is spent wisely...I believe this piece of legislation is important, and I believe it's hopeful, and I believe it's necessary to make sure we got a educated group of students who can compete in the global economy when they get older. Yes, sir."

A Quick Spin Around The Blogs

Conspiracy theorists are ignoring NCLB's lefty origins and labor union funding sources, says EIA. Eduwonk is still selling Spellings for governor. I'm not buying, but what do I know. Press coverage keeps suggesting that NCLB won't get reauthorized anytime soon, observes the AFT blog. That means it will [not] happen soon.

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Meantime, Slate blogger Mickey Kaus doesn't think much about district efforts to reorganize low performing schools as LA is planning (and NYC and Miami have done). This is what happens when smart but not necessarily knowledgeable folks play education pundit. Via AFT. Meanwhile, Sherman Dorn says that the Bush veto threat is petulant and irrelevant. Charlie Barone goes all psychological on us and says that how we view NCLB is a snapshot of ...how we view ourselves? Diane and Deborah are also deep into their discussion, talking about the uncertainty of knowledge, whether it be in education or medicine.

Pay For Performance... In The Blogosphere

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Pay for performance is everywhere, these days. Once compensated purely based on how many posts they wrote, some bloggers are now being paid according to how many viewers and comments their posts generate, according to this in-depth New York Magazine article (Everybody Sucks). How's that for pay for performance?

Meanwhile, the Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights released a
new report on PFP last week, focusing on a handful of districts doing it collaboratively. It's not so bad, they say. Check it out.

"I Don't Want To Blow You Up!"

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Talk about misguided efforts at teaching tolerance. This artist has created a storybook-coloring book to help children understand Muslims -- a noble effort, but perhaps a little too shocking in its approach (Teach Tolerance Through Coloring). From New York Magazine.

EdWeek Runs Scientologist Ad, Says NASBE

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I hardly ever read the paper version of EdWeek, so I never see the ads. But over at the NASBE blog (yes, everyone has a blog now), the question is whether EdWeek should have run an ad that's apparently paid for by a group affiliated with Scientologists (No Apparent Ad Policy at Ed Week): "What kind of advertising and editorial policies does Education Week have that ads like this have a place in their publication?"

Big Stories Of The Day

Failing Schools Strain to Meet U.S. Standard NYT
"They’re so busy fighting No Child Left Behind,” said Mary Johnson, president of Parent U-Turn, a civic group. “If they would use some of that energy to implement the law, we would go farther.”

The ABC's of Betrayal Columbus Dispatch
The newspaper’s 10-month investigation found that a state and local discipline system allows educators in the classroom despite misconduct that includes theft, assault and abuse of children. Teachers' rights are often put first, districts don't always communicate with the state, and the Department of Education shields records of wrongdoing.

School Integration Efforts Face Renewed Opposition WSJ
Some districts are sidestepping the ruling by replacing measurements of race with household income. But many others, such as Milton, are adjusting their programs in the face of opposition that's been emboldened by the Supreme Court decision.

Disguised Silence NYT (Opinon)
Will Okun on legislation that requires all Illinois public schools to provide students with a moment of silence at the beginning of the school day.

Girl run over, killed by homecoming parade float AP
Girl run over, killed by homecoming parade float.

Dentists Good, Dentists Bad

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In its letters to the editors section, the New York Times recently printed the overly familiar story about how NCLB's rating system is unfair like punishing dentists based on their patients' health. Luckily, a couple of days before, the paper had reminded us what money-grubbing louses many dentists are, refusing access to poor kids and families more than ever before. So much for sympathizing with the dentists, I say.

Taking On The Higher Ed Lobby

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I thought the Washington Monthly's Paul Glastris did pretty well on The Colbert Show last night talking about his magazine's unorthodox annual rankings (the anti-US News list). Check out the package of stories, which includes an interesting look at community colleges done by Kevin Carey, and a Ben Adler piece on the higher ed lobby's pretty amazing resistance to reform. The Adler piece reminds me a lot of the largely-overlooked James Traub piece from a few weeks back. If you think K12 is reform-resistant, you haven't dealt with the folks at Dupont Circle. And I'm not talking about the lefties who are rallying against the US News ranking, who demonize the US News and distract from real accountability issues.

Foundation Bringing $ Bling $ To Education Beat

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The Spencer Foundation, which focuses largely on funding academic research, is funding a new $75,000 fellowship for education reporters (and other interested parties) who want to spend a year at Columbia University's J-School and produce a "long-form reporting project [book, magazine article, newspaper series] to advance the understanding of the American education system." The deadline is January 31, 2008. Three lucky fellows will be named by March 1, 2008. This isn't Spencer's first try at boosting the quality of education coverage. Its 2000 annual report lists similar, though much smaller, grants given to UMichigan and Harvard for education journalism fellowships. Columbia has similar programs for business reporters, among other things.

Links From Other Blogs

Last week, pretty much the only blog that linked to me was the union critic Mike Antonucci (aka EIA). This week so far, it's the pro-union Dr. Homselisce (Teach For America). Pathetic, I know. But readers keep finding me even without the links, and I'll take a link whether it agrees with me or not. This one, perhaps not surprisingly given TFA as a subject, does.

More Monday News

Clinton focuses on education in radio ad in South Carolina AP
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton launched her second radio ad Monday in early voting South Carolina, focusing on her plan to make college more affordable and preschool available to all children.

Abstinence approach gets unlikely ally Los Angeles Times
Though Democrats have taken control of Congress, abstinence-only programs are surviving attempts to shut them down. And they could even get an increase with the aid of an unlikely ally: House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey, one of the old liberal lions.

Blurring Lines Among Both Students and Subjects Washington Post
Plenty of teachers still find that if they are seized by an idea, and can convey that passion to supervisors, they have a chance to see what happens when they go in a different direction.

Mission: Making a Love of Reading Happen NYT (Winerip)
As schools move toward more preparation for standardized testing, it falls to parents to make a love for reading happen.

A Gay Union Leader For New York City Teachers

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According to this NY Daily News article, Randi Weingarten, head of the NYC teachers union and potential successor to AFT president Ed McElroy, came out at a recent event as a lesbian. This is probably not such a big deal in New York City, but in the rest of the country, who knows.


Once Around The Blogosphere

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Newbie blogger Charles Barone annotates (eviscerates?) a Mike Smith-Bruce Fuller op-ed (Smith & Fuller Automatic Revolver). Joanne Jacobs passes us a secret note that there's a girl's version of The Dangerous Book For Boys out (The girly book for girls). I'm not sure she's a fan of either. TeacherKen says that Barack Obama's education plan is ok (Decent, not spectacular), which is probably as much as Obama can ask for. Make Mike Goldstein happy and watch this ABC News segment on his charter school in Boston (via Eduwonk). From the picture, it looks like they make the teachers work in the cafeteria, too. Excellent. Meanwhile, Yale undergrad Zach Marks ambushes NCLB on the Huffington Post. The arguments are pretty basic, but I'm jealous of his comments (14!). My screed against Wendy Kopp has zero. Want a cute story? Check out Web-Logged's Will Richardson: How to Fix a Monarch Butterfly’s Wing (and Other Random Tales).

"Grow Your Own" Teachers -- And Recruits?

Chicago has a newish "grow your own" teachers initiative, as well as the nation's largest set of military-themed schools:

Grow Your Own Teachers US News & World Report
Tired of seeing first-year teachers flee to suburban schools, Illinois is spending $7.5 million to help people become teachers in underperforming schools in neighborhoods like their own.

Reading, writing, recruiting? Tribune
Chicago Public Schools, which already has the largest junior military reserve program in the nation, on Monday will commission the country's first public high school run by the U.S. Marines, much to the chagrin of activists who have fought to keep the armed services out of city
schools.

"Nice White Lady"

A little Monday-morning humor, this video spoofs all the movies like "Freedom Writers" where a committed teacher -- always a white woman -- helps urban youth reach their dreams:

Via Whitney Tilson.

Long Response, No Full Credit

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Big Stories Of The Day

Why 'No Child' Was Needed Washington Post
Long before No Child Left Behind, far too many classrooms were boring, dull places where children were forced to do endless worksheets, discouraged from independent thinking and subjected to teachers providing confusing and sometimes demonstrably false information.

Bush, Others Want Law to Go Beyond Basics EdWeek
Mr. Bush and other policymakers are considering a variety of changes to the NCLB law to encourage schools to go beyond the teaching of basic skills.

Core readers for cities: 4-year-olds USA Today
Mayors who want to be on the same page as their constituents — even ones way too young to vote — are launching citywide book-of-the-month clubs to promote reading and literacy.

Making Cash a Prize for High Scores NYT
New York City is expanding the use of cash rewards for students who take standardized tests with a $1 million effort financed by a group of private philanthropists.

Best Of The Week

Featured Posts
The Genius Behind Teach For America
On The HotSeat: Former Committee Insider Charles Barone
Why Teach Chinese?

NCLB News
House Republicans Blame Miller For Slow NCLB Progress
Lots Of Coverage, Not Much Action
Kennedy Playing Tough On NCLB

Urban Ed
Evil Geniuses At Top Universities Want Your Schools
Hijinks & Disappointments For Prizewinning School District

Campaign 2008
A Teacher In The Cabinet: Another Richardson Gimmick
Presidential Candidates Don't Use Education Scholars

Bush Administration
Free National Journal Interview With Spellings
Bush's No-Name Cabinet

Teachers & Teaching
The School Is Flat
The Lives Of Former Students

School Life
Sleep Deprivation Slows Learning By A Year
Is Multi-Tasking Holding Our Kids Back?
Are They Water-Boarding Teenagers Yet?

Media Watch
Journalists Should Be Focused On Fact-Finding, Not Access

Reader Contest: A Day In The Life Of Your School

HomepageInspired by a vivid reader comment on my Chicago blog from last week (A Day At Crane High School), I'm having a contest of sorts for the next few days in which readers are invited to describe the school (or administrative office, or reform office) where they work, or where their children attend, or where they pass by every day, or where they tutor. So brush off your writing skills and tell us what it's like where you are -- what it looks like, what it sounds like, what things you notice from being there all the time, or how it's changed lately. [Or, if you have a great blog entry that does the same thing, tell us where to find it.]

The Genius Behind Teach For America

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Today's big awards news is Al Gore getting the Nobel Prize for his efforts on global warming, but last month it was the announcement of this year's MacArthur Foundation's "genius" grants. As you may recall, one of the genius grants went to an educator. Just not the one you would have thought would get it. Click below to get a sneak peek at what should soon be up on the Huffington Post.

Continue reading "The Genius Behind Teach For America" »

A Teacher In The Cabinet: Another Richardson Gimmick

USA Today's political blog notes via Greg Toppo that, in another shameless ploy to appeal to as many folks as possible without saying very much, Bill Richardson on Thursday pledged that his EdSec would be.... a teacher (here). Historians will note that EdSec Riley put a teacher nominally in charge of teaching-related issues during his two terms. I'm not sure it made much difference, though it probably made lots of folks feel warm inside.

Bush's No-Name Cabinet

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Slate magazine recently ran this piece about how unknown most of Bush's cabinet are, even compared to other unknown cabinets (A Bush Cabinet quiz). Much of it is due to the fact that, so late into a second term, only the most desperate opportunists are clamoring to join the Administration. The other, according to the article, is that so much of Bush's domestic agenda (such as it is) came from Karl Rove, not the DPC (currently headed by Karl Zinsmeister) or the departments themselves.

The School Is Flat

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Working on an upcoming article for Edutopia I've learned some of the latest going on in the world of e-learning (aka distance education). For example, there's a great international project called The Flat Classroom Project, which takes the ideas of Thomas Friedman's World Is Flat -- appropriately enough -- asks teams of students from around the world to investigate them. As for the technology itself, podcasts and wikis are pretty much old hat for this crew. They're on to things likenings, FlashMeeting, and iEARN.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.