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Rich Familes Forced To Move To Country Homes, Attend Public Schools

864530e729be2612293c9a9b89e9ea7efdc It's not that unusual for families to consider relocating to another part of the city or even to another location if they can't find a decent education for their children, but the uber-rich in New York City are moving out of town when their kids don't get into private schools -- and into their country homes (School Pressures Push Families Into Country Houses).  From the New York Sun, via Greg Toppo and the EWA listserve.   “It’s a saving face thing for parents,” Ms. Uhry said. “If their kid doesn’t get into school, they’ll say, ‘We always planned to move to the country; we really want to live in Litchfield County.’”

Blogger Summit In DC

Ed08registernow275x180 The imaginative and persistent folks at EDIN08 are having a "blogger summit" in a couple of weeks, which will gather a bunch of education bloggers, analysts, and the like to talk about education politics.  I'll be moderating a panel and listening in on everything else.  In particular, I'm looking forward to meeting Will Okun, the NYT blogger who teaches high school in Chicago, and Michele McNeil, who covers politics for EdWeek.  Hopefully, there will be many others.  See list of speakers here.

Big Monday Stories Of The Day

States woo Calif. teachers amid pink slips MSNBC
Precious Jackson has two years of teaching under her belt and two school teacher-of-the-year awards to show for it. She also has a pink slip.

New Report From KIPP Charters Washington Post (Jay Mathews)
Second, even in one of its strongest cities, Houston, the birthplace of KIPP, the new report reveals that bad first-year results for new KIPP middle schools are still possible, and the organization, as its leaders often admit, still has much to learn.

Spellings: U.S. Schools Must 'Pick Up Pace' EdWeek
The secretary plans to issue a white paper describing "how far we've come and how far we need to go."

Delays, confusion add to length of paid leaves at Seattle Public Schools Seattle Times
Administrative leave is to last only as long as an investigation takes, but the Seattle Public Schools has spent nearly $2 million in five years.

A quarter of Texas teachers work second job, study finds Austin American-Statesman
More than one in four Texas teachers moonlight at a second job to make ends meet, and 44 percent are seriously thinking of finding another career, according to a survey by the Texas State Teachers Association.

Poor test scores close charter school Wilmington News Journal
Marion T. Academy Charter School lost its state charter Thursday on the same day leaders of two proposed charter schools learned they won't be allowed to open.

Mystery meat, mystery data AJC
Numbers on school performance often murky, easily fudged

 U.S. Investigates Artificial Turf's Lead Levels Washington Post
Artificial turf fields in the Washington area and elsewhere may be popular with players andmanagers who don't have to fret about bumpy terrain or constant upkeep. But now the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is beginning to investigate whether the trendy fields contain lead.

Continue reading "Big Monday Stories Of The Day" »

Best Of The Week (April 14-18)

Campaign 2008
McCain's Memorable High School Teacher
Choosing McCain
Remembering What Hillary Used To Say About NCLB

Nine Million Bucks To Block NCLB
Four Changes To Make To The Federal School Lunch Program

Urban Education
Chicago Teacher Man To The Rescue
In Chicago They Call It School Violence -- Wherever It Happens
Rethinking Integration, Rethinking Civil Rights

Foundation Follies
TFA Week: The Relentless Pursuit Of TFA
Columbia Announces First Group Of Spencer Fellows
Flypaper: More Fluff From Fordham?

School Life
Education-Related Documentaries From HBO This Summer
Stand And Deliver Parody: "Teaching The White Man Method"
Really Mean Girls (& Two Guys)

Media Watch
Award-Winning Education Writing
The Death Of Education Journalism? Nah. Not Really.
Education Journalism That Includes Research

D299: News From Chicago

News and commentary from the nation's third-largest school system:

Two Takes On Professional Development Days
Two different perspectives on PD days -- read and feel free to share your own. (28) Comments

Recruiters Reined In At Amundsen & Young
From Teachers for Social Justice: "As a result, they have stopped allowing military recruiters to run gym classes at Amundsen HS and have gotten military recruitment posters removed from Amundsen andWhitney Young. Now they are targeting posters at Senn."

Chicago Teacher Man To The Rescue
Yes, blogs do some good once in a while. Just not this one.   (2) Comments

Best & Worst Parts of Report Card Pickup Days?
What are the best and worst parts of Report Card Pickup days (today and tomorrow) -- especially when they include LSC elections? (20) Comments

Last Chance To Tell Us Who To Vote For
I'm sure I'm not the only one who's curious to see how the various individuals and slates present themselves. Or, if you went to an LSC candidates' forum, tell us how it went. Who knows, maybe someone from your school reads this site. (5) Comments

Gage Park HS: "Crisis Intervention is on everyone's speed dial now."
From a reader: "For us at gage park tho, this is 4 in one month. of course the media will report it as two, since 2 of them were "former" studentss (recently graduated or dropped out). but when our students mourn all 4 in such a short time span, and tension flares as rival gangs seek out retribution, it seems to have no end...(8) Comments

PLUS:  Daily News, Around The Blogs, & the ongoing sagas (Problems At Washington HS?, What Happened At The CTU House Of Delegates Mtg.)

Remembering What Hillary Used To Say About NCLB

Georgebushcryingbabythumb Just another reminder that Clinton (like Obama) didn't make much fuss about NCLB until recently -- and may or may not dislike it as much as their supporters want to think: 

"When the Senate passed the legislation in 2001," says this Congressional Quarterly blog post (Another Thing Clinton Has Always Hated), "Clinton was one of its biggest boosters....Clinton was deeply involved in the debates over the bill, from start to finish..When the Senate approved the final version of the bill, Clinton praised it not only for the teachers provision, but also for its increase in federal aid to New York schools."

Reading what she said then, it's hard to imagine that she's all that against NCLB now, no matter what she says on the stump.  Not that much has changed, other than the political circumstances.  I don't think anyone but voters think that she'd undo it all that much.  Hell, she doesn't even fool the NEA.

Best Of The Blogs

Why Is College Tuition Subsidized, While K-12 Is Not? Freakonomics Blog (NYT)
Why, for instance, are there such significant tax breaks for college tuition (in the form of both a state deduction on a 529 contribution and tax-free appreciation) while there are no tax breaks at all for K-12 tuition? 0

Economy Impacts State Tests, More Trouble Ahead ASBJ Blog
The slowing economy has forced homeowners to foreclose on their property, companies to layoff employees and consumers to hold on to their money. Now it has forced education officials in Florida to pull back on some of its state assessment tests.

Facebook:  Everyone Is Doing It! Eduwonk
In case you were not convinced that social networking sites are the new thing, word is that Secretary Spellings has some folks hard at work rounding up things for her forthcoming Facebook page.

‘Education transformed’ Joanne Jacobs
In a bland McCain commercial touting his willingness to listen to everyone’s ideas and thereby achieve utopia, the announcer says “education transformed” over the image of a house. There’s a quick flash of a child reading to an adult in a living room. It sure looks homeschooling.

"Relay for Life" t-shirts banned from schoolDetention Slip
Why would we want to educate children to help others? I heard they also look poorly upon acts of community service.

Reverse commute Mike Petrilli
Usually bad ideas flow from academia into our K-12 system.

Blog Early and Often CK Blog
I suspect a high-stakes office pool, winner-takes-all, for he who posts mosts.

In Chicago They Call It School Violence -- Wherever It Happens

3ff703bbc1972a04ee26680ac5afb9dd17c"Chicago and its public school system appear to be going it alone among some of the largest school districts in the country when it comes to using student murder numbers as a rallying cry for tougher gun laws," according to this article from Chicago's WBBM radio station (Student Murder Numbers Not Publicized In Other Cities).  "But, the same use of numbers is not done in other school districts such as New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and Las Vegas, which are some of the biggest public school districts in the country."

Begun two years ago, Chicago's strategy in linking teen violence to the public school system -- whether or not the incidents took place at school -- has been to try and create political urgency.  But not around school safety in particular, or even gang violence prevention.  (It is commonly stated that different street gangs control different high schools.)  Instead, the mayor and the district are focused on securing long-desired gun control legislation from the state legislature.  Click here for a local PBS segment on the situation and the school district's use of teen violence to promote gun control.  Click here for some reader comments on what's really going on.

In-school violence is down in CPS, local officials say. 

The Death Of Education Journalism? Nah. Not Really.

There's no doubt that mainstream journalism is going through lots of changes, including the loss of many experienced reporters.  Tom Toch -- himself a former veteran education journalist -- laments this situation in a recent blog post (Draining The Pool), citing the depatures of EdWeek's Lynn Olson, USN&WR's Ben Wildavsky, and Newsweek's Peg Tyre. 

44commentary_tochAccording to Toch, "there are today very few journalists with the knowledge and experience to write authoritatively for national, non-specialist audiences."  And indeed there are many other departures that Toch could have named. But I don't think the situation is nearly as bad as Toch makes it out to be -- perhaps because I don't come from traditional journalism or perhaps just because we see things differently.  Read below for more. 

Continue reading "The Death Of Education Journalism? Nah. Not Really. " »

Chicago Teacher Man To The Rescue

Ctm2 So a kid gets his laptop stolen from a hallway high school locker, having left it there despite repeated warnings from his bloggy teacher, Chicago Teacher Man.  The computer was an award for young African-American scholars. No one saw it happen, and there's no camera recording that particular hallway.  But now the good part.  CTM and his readers are ponying up to replace the student's laptop. Yes, blogs do some good once in a while. Just not this one. Check it all out here.  Thanks to a reader for making sure I saw this.  Cross-posted from D299.

Big [Friday!] Stories Of The Day

Suburbs Reject Metal Detectors Washington Post
To suburban parents, metal detectors conjure up images of armed camps. Even at Albert Einstein High School, where guns were found last week, consensus is building against them.

High-tech School Prepares Students for Shifting Economy PBS
Paul Solman reports on a high school in California that pushes its students to focus on the future by preparing for jobs in the world of high technology -- while also helping the U.S. stay competitive in a global marketplace.

Troubled D.C. Schools May Get Outside Help Washington Post
D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee updated a small, skeptical group of parents and school activists yesterday on her plans to overhaul 27 schools in academic trouble.

Restructuring shuffles half of schools' teachers The Wichita Eagle
The bottom line is, in five or six years, unless something happens and No Child Left Behind is repealed, we're all going to be in their boat.

Polygamist Group's Children Pose Schooling Puzzle for Texas EdWeek
The transfer of children from a polygamist group’s compound to state care in Texas has handed officials there the challenges of providing for their education.

Best Of The Blogs

Did School Integration Really Do Much Good? The 'Kette
There have always been multiple justifications for desegregation - among the most cited are 1) separate schools will always have resource inequalities, and 2) social interaction

Elementary student records found in dumpster Detention Slip
I guess we now know the mysterious place they keep our records that will "stay with us the rest of our lives."

Paying teens to read ASBJ Blog
Learning is an investment in the future of students, and they darned well ought to recognize that. So, why do I say I’m a hypocrite? Because Wilby High has inspired me.

$100 million... how will it be used? Sherman Dorn
There's very little information about this on the AT&T Foundation website, other than working with Colin and Alma Powell's organization America's Promise to create local partnerships through "dropout summits."

The Nitty Gritty of NCLB and ELLs
I've got to admire the stamina of Foch "Tut" Pensis, the superintendent of the Coachella Valley Unified School District in California, in pointing out aspects of the No Child Left Behind Act that he...

Success In Harlem Joe Williams
The lottery where one of Harlem's largest networks of charter schools will determine which of its applicants are accepted is tonight, at the Harlem Armory Center, the ports complex...

Direct placements: 140 lemons dancing on the head of a pin Schools For Tomorrow
The Denver Post reports this week that Denver Public Schools has 140 teachers who have not found teaching positions in the internal round of job placements, who will become “direct placements.” 

TFA Week: The Relentless Pursuit Of TFA

CoverThe timing couldn't be better, given that it's TFA Week (and the new Real World has finally started!).  Donna Foote's new book about a group of TFA teachers working in South Central LA is out. 

I haven't read it yet (feel free to send me a copy), but that shouldn't hold you back.  Here's a Q and A with the author in USNews.  Here's another thing from USNews.  Below is a letter from TFA Central Command touting the book (via Whitney Tilson). Click here for the Amazon.com page with reviews, etc.

Go, TFA!

Continue reading "TFA Week: The Relentless Pursuit Of TFA" »

Education Journalism That Includes Research

Ca08705a02cd71797275e568df1ddcfd787 Bringing research findings and all their nuances into journalism isn't easy -- especially at a dailoy newspaper -- but it's not completely unheard of in education writing.  Some examples that come to mind -- most of them magazine features not daily news articles-- include Elizabeth Weil's recent article on single-sex education (Teaching Boys and Girls Separately), Po Bronson's New York Magazine article on why kids lie (Learning To Lie), and previous articles about sleep (Snooze Or Lose)and praise (The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids), and pretty much everything that Malcolm Gladwell writes (None of the Above).  These pieces bring research to readers, describe its strengths and limitations better than most, and still write interesting stories.

Big Post-Debate Stories Of The Day

Rhee Names 6 Firms Eyed To Help Run 10 Campuses EdWeek
D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee plans to hire up to six nonprofit educational companies to help run the city's 10 comprehensive high schools and has invited parents to meet with her tonight to discuss the details.

SRC fails to renew 2 charters 2:12am Philadelphia Daily News
The School Reform Commission yesterday voted not to renew the operating agreements of two public charter schools and postponed renewing the agreement of a third charter to give school investigators more time to probe a host of allegations including mismanagement and nepotism.

Teach the controversy? Los Angeles Times
The Ben Stein documentary ‘Expelled’ posits a conspiracy to keep ‘intelligent design’ out of the classroom. Even if that case is exaggerated, is there an argument for considering some alternative theories that seem far-fetched?

Radio on Bus Fosters Quiet, but Not Peace NYT
In Connecticut, a radio system that plays music for students on the bus is getting attacked for the commercials that sometimes annoy students and worry parents.

Rethinking Integration, Rethinking Civil Rights

Cosby On Friday, I linked to a new article in The Atlantic (‘This Is How We Lost to the White Man’) about Bill Cosby's brand of black conservatism.  It explains how these ideas flowered in Cosby, and scrutinizes the truths and inaccuracies of what Cosby is saying happened and recommending for the future (which is in essence to stop relying on public programs to bring up poor black families). Makes you understand the little-understood support for vouchers among some parts of the African-American community that usually vote Democratic.  Makes you wonder if all that school integration really did much good, heretical as that is to say in most quarters. 

Best Of The Blogs

The Small Schools Movement Meets the Ownership Society Eduwonkette
We're well into Small Schools 2.0, which makes it an opportune time to reflect on the similarities and differences between the two small school reform waves.

Obama’s “code-switching” on education Schools For Tomorrow
Behind the front-page Presidential race headlines about bitter voters and Bosnian sniper fire, it’s always worthwhile take a look at how education issues are affecting the Presidential race.

Draining the Pool Tom Toch
There are today very few journalists with the knowledge and experience to write authoritatively for national, non-specialist audiences.

Is NCLB Doomed? The Hoff
Unfunded mandates and accountability loom.

Principal training academy going public Inside Schools
And anyone sitting outside Tweed Courthouse could point out the frustration some might feel to see the DOE taking on a new $20 million a year commitment while simultaneously cutting funds for schools and for principals to use in carrying out their jobs.

Cyberbullying: The Problem (and Kids) We Ignore, Part 2 Brittanica Blog
In Saturday's article, Cave reports on the story gaining international attention: the violent beating of a classmate and how it was filmed for the Internet.

Four Changes To Make To The Federal School Lunch Program

Cheney_020607Author and columnist Kevin Kosar has these recommendations for the NSLP (History News Network):

"First, make the National School Lunch Program free to all children...Second, decouple the program from the surplus commodity program entirely...Third, require the federal government to pay the full cost of the meals served and forbid schools from having vending machines and ala carte dining... Fourth, have the federal government deliver the federal school lunch dollars directly to each child in the form of a meal debit card, good for one school lunch per day.

None of this will happen, of course, given the lobbies and interests that are involved, but it's nice to think about how things should work in a simpler world. 

Choosing McCain

A trio of blog posts about McCain's education platform:

HuggiesThe Link Between School Choice and Global Competition Campaign K12
John McCain delivered an important speech today on what he will do to fix the ailing economy. Although he didn't talk much the role of education, in a five-point plan he released today to accompany his speech, he identified education..

McCain's education plans Richard Whitmire
The senator's own education advisers downplay the likelihood that education will play a major role in his campaign. The war and economy will overshadow other issues, they predict. That's probably true, but education also presents an opportunity for the senator. That opportunity, however, is not risk free.

Wistful Whitmire Flypaper
USA Today’s Richard Whitmire turns in a provocative thumbsucker at Politico on John McCain, his (still to be fleshed out) education platform, and his top education aide (and former rodeo star) Lisa Graham Keegan.

Nine Million Bucks To Block NCLB

"The National Education Association (NEA), the largest US teachers' union, succeeded in blocking reauthorization of President George W Bush's 2001 "No Child Left Behind" law governing the running and judging of schools nationwide...The NEA spent $9.2 million, a 464% increase [from 2006 to 2007]." (news story here).

Education-Related Documentaries From HBO This Summer

1163803825261 In case you've already seen Two Million Minutes enough times, this summer's lineup of HBO Monday-night documentaries includes a few school-related films:

"Resolved," about the high-stakes world of competitive high school debate; "Hard Times at Douglas High: A No Child Left Behind Report Card," which examines the impact of the No Child Left Behind policy; and "Baghdad High," chronicling the war in Iraq through the eyes of four Iraqi teens. 

The documentaries will run Jun. 9-Aug. 25. (HBO announces summer documentary slate Hollywood Reporter).

Big Stories Of The Day

Flexibility for Military Families AP
Kansas and Kentucky are the first states to approve a compact that will make it easier for children of military families to change schools if enough other states sign on.

Scientology school gets close study Boston Herald
A Boston city councilor is raising concerns about a pilot school’s proposed curriculum and its ties to an arm of Scientology, while a prestigious Hub charitable foundation is taking a second look at its grant to help launch the controversial school.

Leagues Revive Debate in City Schools EdWeek
The urban demise of debate leagues closed off a training ground for careers in law, business, and public service and a distinctive outlet for mouthy and some mousy kids who didn't necessarily take well to classroom society.

Boston-Area Seniors Share College Rejection Letters NPR
At Newton South High School in suburban Boston, rejected seniors are sharing their misery by posting their rejection letters on a "Wall of Shame."

Around The Blogs

Previewing the Debate Wednesday EDINO8
Gov. Romer wonders whether tomorrow's debate will include any education.  Prolly not.

High School Assessment Tests Karin Chenoweth
Relax a little, says Karin.  They're not that hard. 

More Signs of the Apocalypse! The 'Kette
Everyone's favorite mystery redhead summarizes the NY tenure testing debate.

Where Education Matters in Campaigns  Campaign K12
Chicago and Delaware are where it's at, says Michele.

The Blog Will Rise Again  AFTies
Still hung over after Michele's departure, the mich-missed AFT blog promises a return.

PLUS:  Fordham's Mike Petrilli highlights the contrast between the national and the state affiliate on NCLB:  No happy talk in the hinterlands.

Student suspended for answering call from dad in Iraq Detention Slip
"They followed up his 2-day suspension by reminding him that this is a senseless war and he should be ashamed of his father, regardless of how long it's been since he has seen or heard from him."

Flypaper: More Fluff From Fordham?

Once again, the Fordham Foundation has followed my advice -- belatedly -- and started a blog.  Called Flypaper, the blog's motivating elements include the usual reasons for starting blogs (or playing in a band):  too many over-educated white guys with much time on their hands (pictured), the  never-ending search for more publicity, and the feeling that they can do things better than everyone else.  We'll see.   

Flypaper_videoPersonally, I would have been happier if they had announced a new effort to influence education policy (ie, some real-world advocacy) rather than another cute outlet for talking about it.  And it remains to be seen (a) whether the site features real discussion and disagreement among its writers or just the usual amusing smartypants stuff we've come to expect, and (b) whether the site deigns to mix with the huddled masses of bloggers or sticks safely to mainstream media outlets who can't fight back. 

Welcome to the blogosphere, guys.  Either way, it'll be fun to have you join the fray.

Award-Winning Education Writing

There's all sorts of good stuff out there, and all sorts of awards programs.  Here are some recent examples of projects that have won recognition:

Public Service in Radio Journalism: “Grading Michigan Schools,” Staff, Michigan Radio, Ann Arbor, Mich. (Society of Professional Journalists).

Education writing: The Boston Globe, Tracy Jan, "Last Chance for English High;" The Wall Street Journal, Robert Tomsho, Daniel Golden, John Hechinger, "Cross-Currents in Mainstreaming;" The Oregonian, David Sarasohn, "Funding For Higher Education in Oregon." (Ohio.com - AP).

Big [But Not Bitter] Stories Of The Day

West Virginia Chosen for Pilot Student Assessment Program WV Herald
Other states participating in the program are Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and South Dakota.

Some Union Officials Tell Teachers To Spurn District's Buyout Offer Washington Post
The vice president and a trustee of the Washington Teachers' Union said yesterday they are urging teachers at 50 schools slated for closure or academic overhaul to reject Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's buyout offer.

$50 Computers Spark Learning Chicago Tribune
Games invite children to read words on the screen into a built-in microphone. They can listen as the computer reads the same simple sentence and plays back their own voice reading the sentence. Other games require use of spelling and math skills to win.

In Pennsylvania Primary, AFT Exerts Its Muscle for Clinton EdWeek
For a $600-a-week stipend plus parking and meals, 14 retired teachers and other school employees are doing nuts-and-bolts campaign work for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Official wants girls expelled over Erie, Pa., playground attack AP
The city's school superintendent is seeking to expel two girls accused of brutally attacking another girl on an elementary school playground.

Really Mean Girls (& Two Guys)


Eight Teenagers Charged in Internet Beating Have Their Day on the Web NYT

Columbia Announces First Group Of Spencer Fellows

Logocolumbia Columbia University's school of journalism just announced the winners of its first group of "Spencer Fellows," three education journalists who get to study at the university and become better writers and work on a big project.  The first two are Claudia Wallis (editor at large for TIME) and Nancy Solomon (freelance producer for NPR).  I'm the third one.  Read all the details here (PDF).  The effort is being led by LynNell Hancock and Arlene Morgan, and the project was originally cooked up by Spencer's Paul Goren and Columbia's Nick Lemann.  Congrats, condolences to us all.  Another three education journalists will be accepted for 2009. 

Stand And Deliver Parody: "Teaching The White Man Method"

Southpark_300x300 Don't tell Edward James Olmos (or Uncle Jay).  Mixed into a typically offensive and NSFW episode of a recent episode of South Park is a parody of Stand And Deliver in which the lessons aren't about doing calculus but rather about how to cheat on tests and deal with unwanted pregnancies. 

Again, very offensive and not for the squeamish or politically correct.  It might not even be funny. 

Around The Blogs

Obama: Don't Blame the Schools for Poor Parenting Michele McNeil
Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama, who has sent a strong message to families before about the importance of being a good parent, is continuing to expand that message.

Wait Your Turn EIA
Reginald Fentress wants to be president of the Memphis Education Association. But the union won't put him on the ballot because he's not white.

This will be on the test - April 7 - 13 Kimberly Swygert at Joanne Jacobs
Welcome back to the weekly testing roundup!


I once had a colleague who showed Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure every year, at some strategic point, to her sixth grade social studies students, under the rationale that it was--duh--about history. This was a big hit with the kids,...

Schaffer’s dubious education ad  Schools for Tomorrow
In the ad, schoolchildren thank him for helping start the state’s charter school movement, and thus saving them from their regular old neighborhood schools.

Are Federally Funded Vouchers Closer Than We Think? Charlie Barone
I’m not there. Not yet.

Teacher Robbed at Elementary School Detention Slip
Hopefully teachers aren't carrying tons of cash around school. I'm not sure why you would need any money to be honest. It'll only lead them to buy more from the vending machines in the teachers lounge.

McCain's Memorable High School Teacher

Here's a McCain ad that's spinning around on the Internets.  It focuses on John McCain's high school teacher: 

Big Stories Of The Day

Obama Uses High Schools to Push Parenting Message AP/EdWeek
He gets some of his loudest applause when he segues to education — and a bit of a lecture to mothers and fathers on how to be parents.

As online testing nears, educators are the ones who are nervous Star Tribune
Educators say that while the state-mandated test will be a better measure of what students know about science, getting ready to give the exam has meant headaches and expense for school districts as Minnesota takes its first large-scale leap into computerized testing.

Schools Get A Lesson in Lunch Line Economics Washington Post
New York students will have to settle for pizza without tasty turkey pepperoni topping. In Montgomery County schools, tomato slices were pulled for a few weeks from cafeteria salads in favor of less-expensive carrots or celery.

Writing Report Card: Boys Aren't Improving NPR
Overall, eighth-graders and high school seniors are marginally better writers than they were five years ago according to a new report. The news for minorities and boys isn't so good.

Eight Teenagers Charged in Internet Beating Have Their Day on the Web NYT
A case in which eight teenagers are accused of beating a classmate and filming the attack for the Internet has become a magnet for attention and outrage.

Week In Review (April 7-11)

Campaign 2008
School District Shows Preference To Obama, Some Say
Democratic Candidates Catch Up To Dean On NCLB
Classroom-Based Obama Fundraising Video

Spellings: "States Will Game The System As Best They Can..."
Performance Pay, Five Years Ago - Not Much Has Changed
Weekend Reading

Nonprofit Nonsense
So You Think You Want To Work In School Reform?
What Microloans (And DonorsChoose?) Miss

Teachers & Teaching
High School Art Teacher Attacked By Student - On Tape
What Your Students Are Talking About: Cheerleader Beating Video
Narrower Lines For Graduate School Notebook Paper

Think Tank Mafia
Measuring Think Tanks By Media Hits Not Real-World Impact
Local Control And Civil Rights In The Gadfly

Media Watch
Top EdWeek Editor Leaving For Gates Foundation
Best Bloggers: My List Is Better Than Jay's List
Murder Epidemic In Chicago Isn't Really School Crime
Times Phasing Out Education Page, Column
Paid Writing Gigs At Hechinger & The American Prospect

Weekend Reading

1_soiling The story of the photograph that captured Boston's busing crisis. Slate
The photograph that captured Boston's busing crisis: How it was taken, and why it still matters.

‘This Is How We Lost to the White Man’ The Atlantic
Has Dr. Huxtable, the head of one of America’s most beloved television households, seen the truth...Or has he lost his mind?

How to really change your kid's behavior Slate
How neither blowing up nor "explaining" what you want actually gets the job done.

Growth vs. current members' rights -- which is the right way to go?

Be patient when teaching math Salt Lake Tribune
Malcolm Gladwell says:  "I think most people out there think math is a kind of thing you have or don't have. Success in math is actually deeply rooted in values and ideas we have as a culture."

Around The Blogs

Primary Watch: Barack Obama's Early Education Agenda
The centerpiece of Barack Obama’s early education agenda would be a new program of Early Learning Challenge Grants, which would provide states [...]

For the Kids Matt Yglesias
The early education proposals of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama explained -- interestingly, they're not really the same, and even though the campaign's gone on forever they haven't been argued about, either.

Gering Public Schools: The School District to Watch DED
Gering, a smallish 2,000 student district with 30% ethnic minorities (mostly non-ELL Hispanics) and with 43% of students on free/reduced lunch, was an underperforming school district back in 2002.

Whose Problem is Poverty? ASCD
Richard Rothstein ("Whose Problem is Poverty?") asserts that when we focus solely on school reforms as the cure for the achievement gap, we suppress discussion—and even awareness—of how the physical and social deprivations of poverty limit achievement. He notes: "Teachers... [...]

Teacher Tests in Peru TQATE
What if teacher applicants had to take a national test? How many would pass? If this were Peru that would be less than 1 percent. Way less.

Spellings: "States Will Game The System As Best They Can..."

Let's start with a Washington Post editorial on NCBL (No Reform Left Behind) praising the law's new flexibility -- within limits: "It's important, though, that any new rules not compromise the core principles of a law that has done much to address inequities in educational opportunity." Indeed. 

Then there's a typically soft interview with EdSec Spellings in Newsweek (hat tip to the Core Knowledge Blog) called ‘Things Can’t Go Back’.  Even in defeat, even with a giant mess on her hands, Spellings gets sympathetic press.  The other cabinet members must hate her for that.  There is juicy state-bashing good quote, though, where Spellings laments the future of NCLB:  "The loopholes will get larger...States will game the system as best they can in order to get out of doing what they should do to close the achievement gap."

Top EdWeek Editor May Be Leaving For Gates Foundation

Boysquality_olson Unconfirmed rumor has it that Lynn Olson, star EdWeek reporter and editor, is leaving for the Gates Foundation. No official word yet, or any details.  She's officially listed as managing editor for special projects and has honcho-ed Quality Counts.  Click here for some of her recent work.

UPDATE:  Confirmed.  Click below to read an email announcement from publisher Ginny Edwards that someone passed to me.  Congrats, condolences, per usual. 

Continue reading "Top EdWeek Editor May Be Leaving For Gates Foundation" »

Local Control And Civil Rights In The Gadfly

Revenge is sweet, and so it's no surprise that the Fordham Foundation's weekly Gadfly includes a scathing review of my recent Slate article about what Obama did and didn't do in Chicago on the issue of local control (The Education Gadfly).   I must have my facts wrong, says a faceless Fordhamite.  My analysis is "preposterous."  Perhaps this is true, but one thing I know -- if Fordham thinks that local control isn't a big deal for individual schools and some serious civil rights activists, they need to hang out in Chicago a little more often.  There, at least, local control is a school-level interest and is argued on civil rights grounds.  And that's what this story was about. 

Big Stories Of The Day

MPS joins nation's testing Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee was named Thursday as one of seven urban school districts that will join the testing program of the National Assessment of Education Progress.

A Textbook Case of Downplaying Global Warming? NYT
Matthew LaClair, a high school senior in Kearny, N.J., has persuaded Houghton Mifflin, to review a popular text over its characterizations of controversial issues.

Momentum Seen on Pre-K in States That Have Lagged EdWeek
Efforts are under way for the 12 states that advocates say do not operate or fund preschool programs.

Community Organizing Seen as Help to Schools EdWeek
Grassroots organizing efforts are driving a boost in parent involvement, more-equitable distribution of funding, and better academic achievement, according to researchers from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform.

Behavioral Study on Students Stirs Debate Washington Post
But the Fairfax County School Board, to promote character education, has discovered the pitfalls of applying the same analytical techniques to...

Class trip to a Nevada brothel MSNBC
A dozen Randolph College students toured  a legal bordello  60 miles outside Las Vegas — capping a course on American consumption and "the ideas that consume us."

High School Art Teacher Attacked By Student - On Tape

Footage and interview from the Today Show.

What Microloans (And DonorsChoose?) Miss

Microloans are all the rage, according to a recent story from the New Yorker financial page -- so popular that they're glamorous, even (What Microloans Miss).  That's not bad, considering they're all about fighting poverty and making loans.  But they don't necessarily make as big a difference as it may sound, according to the column -- especially when it comes to helping great small and mid-sized businesses that fuel economies.  Making a big difference for lots of individuals is a great thing, no doubt -- but not transformative if it relies on everyone to possess the required entrepreneurship or if it doesn't lead to businesses that go beyond sole proprietorships. 

Sounds like DonorsChoose, right?

Around The Blogs

National Board certification facing cutbacks The Gradebook
The House just voted 71-37 for a bill (5083) that education officials say will eventually do away with the state's popular bonus program for National Board-certified teachers by diluting incentives to teachers.

Muslim public school in Minnesota Joanne Jacobs
Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA), a K-8 charter school in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota is a tax-supported Muslim public school, writes Minneapolis Star-Trib columnist Katherine Kersten, who’s been dubious about the school’s claim to secular status.

Opt-Out Bill Stalls in Arizona Senate The Hoff
The Arizona Senate has put up a roadblock to the proposal to opt out of NCLB.

Where Have All My Students Gone? ASCD Blog
A teacher in Charlotte, N.C., loses two-thirds of her class roster to mobility driven by socioeconomic factors.

Paid Writing Gigs At Hechinger & The American Prospect

Here are a couple of writing gigs that journalists and others might be interested in knowing about:

From the Hechinger Institute:  "Six journalists will receive a $7,500 stipend, transportation, housing, some meals and a per diem for a seven-day research and study trip to New York City in the fall of 2008, followed by a two-day return trip in February 2009.  Another nine will receive residential and travel expenses for the two New York trips. The fellowship, made possible with support from the Lumina Foundation for Education, is open to print, broadcast, online and editorial writers who commit to an in-depth project about community colleges. For more questions about the process, send an email to Hechinger@tc.columbia.edu or call us at 212-870-1061. Apply here."

From The American Prospect:  "The American Prospect's Writing Fellows Program (here) offers young journalists the opportunity to spend two full years at the magazine in Washington, D.C., actively developing, practicing, and honing their journalistic skills. Each Fellow will write between three and four full-length feature articles. Fellows will also regularly write shorter, online pieces and blog daily for TAPPED.  The goal is to ensure that, once the fellowship is completed, Fellows will have developed the relationships, track record, and credibility (and clips!) to launch themselves as respected young journalists. Fellows receive a modest salary and health and dental benefits."

Apply now!

Democratic Candidates Catch Up To Dean On NCLB

This Washington Post column from last weekend credits Howard Dean for influencing both the campaign tactics and the positions of the Democratic candidates -- including on NCLB:

"The legislation's merits are still hotly debated, but its politics are not: Experts say the law has flopped with parents, teachers, students and most others involved with education, who often describe its testing regime as unworkable," according to the piece (The Dems, Now Dancing to His Tune).  "In 2003, Dean was among the first Democrats to start hammering No Child Left Behind for its testing system, but that criticism is everywhere now. Clinton lambastes it almost daily on the campaign trail; her husband, himself back on the stump, has called attacking No Child Left Behind the easiest way for a politician to get applause."

I'm not sure I'd credit Dean alone for helping the candidates figure this out, but it's useful to remember that, five years ago, few if any Dems -- including Clinton and Obama -- were bashing NCLB. 

So You Think You Want To Work In School Reform?

Forum_2f455681_two_cents_small It's easy to glamorize school reform work -- the "higher" calling, the chance of making the world a better place, the ability to work with -- but not in -- real live schools.  But nonprofit work is not all that it's made out to be, if you read this recent NYT article carefully (Your True Calling Could Suit a Nonprofit).  Less money, longer hours, slow-moving and bureaucratic organizations, tyrannical bosses.   There are some doozies out there.   

Big Stories Of The Day

10,000 math teachers flock to SLC Salt Lake Tribune
If more than 10,000 math teachers arrive in Salt Lake City today, what's the probability your child's math teacher will be among them?

Catholic schools dwindling USA Today
For years, parents at St. Joseph School, a tiny Catholic school in Petersburg, Va., have fretted over just about everything.

A Report on Moral Character Best Left Behind Washington Post
Anyone who has set foot in a school since the dawn of the No Child Left Behind era knows what happened next. Administrators, principals and teachers .

Using street theater to channel the lessons of molecules Eureka Alert
Giving voice to the lessons of molecules and other props of science, as the lamentable state of science literacy in the United States attests, is no easy task.

PLUS:  14-year-old CEO makes chemistry a game with 'Elementeo'.

What Your Students Are Talking About: Cheerleader Beating Video

As you may have heard, a group of cheerleaders videotaped their beating of a classmate and are now being investigated for a variety of charges:

From the Associated Press

Times Might Be Phasing Out Education Page, Column

Images3 Rumor has it that the New York Times is eliminating both its weekly education page and its weekly education column, currently written by Sam Freedman.  No confirmation yet, and there's a column in today's paper, but we'll see.   (BTW, it turns out that there isn't going to be a standalone education blog at the Times, but rather occasional contributions from metro beat folks like Jenny Medina, who I saw recently at a panel event.)

UPDATE:  The education page and weekly column are the victim of budget cuts, I'm told.  However, Sam Freedman will still write his column, which comes out every other week. 

Around The Blogs

Nebraska Goes Against The GrainCharlie Barone
Sandy Kress:  "It’s nice to have Nebraska join the rest of the world."

The Sham of Tenure and Test Scores Ed Notes
This is not really about tenure.

Democrats drawing applause for attacking NCLB EWA
In Pennsylvania, both Clinton and Obama appear to be picking up the pace of their attacks on No Child Left Behind -- rewarded by the applause they receive for the attacks.
Pennsylvania NEA Endorses... No One EIA
I can understand neither candidate wanting to leave anything to chance, but aren't they getting tired of genuflecting to no result?

Education reporters to convene April 24 Paul Baker
At this year’s annual conference of the Education Writers Association one session I’m particularly looking forward to is called Digital Age.

The Carnival Of Education Is Up And Running! Education Wonks
The 166th edition of The Carnival of Education (hosted this week by The Elementary Educator.) has opened the midway!

School Principal Charged With Sexual Abuse Detention Slip
Just another case of a 47-year old man having a sex and drugs party while watching porn with 16 year old girls in a hotel room. 

School District Shows Preference To Obama, Some Say

"Just two weeks ago, South Bend Schools denied Sen. Hillary Clinton's request to use the school's gym for her campaign stop," according to this Indiana news story (School board members defend decision to deny Clinton, allow Obama).  "Less than two weeks after telling the Clinton campaign "no," the South Bend Community School Corporation is preparing to welcome her opponent to Washington High School."



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.