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Mike Petrilli Channels Ryan Seacrest

Ryanseacrest731977While Andy was (or wasn't) riding herd on the Rhee-Weingarten-Rosenstcok conversation, Fordham's Mike Petrilli was setting up outside to do his Ryan Seacrest impersonation, grabbing and interviewing folks as they passed to get their thoughts about the event.  His interviewing technique leaves a lot to be desired (get the mike out of my face, Mike), and his enthusiasm in the role is a little bit frightening.   Or maybe it was just the caffeine.  Clearly, though, Fordham is morphing in front of our eyes from a right-of-center think tank and advocacy shop into a right-of-center media conglomerate.  Nothing wrong with that of course, but it's worth noting.  I wonder if anyone's told Checker (or Fordham's outside funders).  For the record, I refused to tell Mike "who" I was wearing. 

A Get-Tough Leader For Memphis City Schools?

Joe_clark_cover_of_time_2An award-winning columnist for the Memphis Flyer has generated controversy with a recent piece about what the city thinks it needs in its next schools chief.  At issue is the opening of the piece, in which the white columnist references local sentiment that the city needs a "HNIC" -- a get-tough leader along the lines of Joe Clark as portrayed by Morgan Freeman in the 1989 movie Lean On Me. 

The line from the movie is given as follows:  "There's only one boss around here, and that's me. The HNIC."  You can hear it delivered here

I don't know much about Memphis city politics or schools, though it seems like they're struggling just like many other urban systems.  But the opening of the Branston piece does seem a little ham-fisted to me -- more distracting than powerful.  The notion that Memphis city leaders are looking for a leader like Joe Clark is a little sad, which is in part what Branston was getting at.  His editor issued an explanation and apology here. Via Romenesko.

Big Boys Stories Of The Day

No Crisis For Boys In Schools, Study Says  Washington Post
A new study to be released today on gender equity in education concludes that a "boys crisis" in U.S. schools is a myth and that both sexes have stayed the same or improved on standardized tests in the past decade.

Girls' Gains Have Not Cost Boys, Report Says New York Times
A new report says the largest disparities in educational achievement are not between boys and girls but between those of different races, ethnicities and income levels.

States Starting Slowly on NCLB Proficiency Goals to Face Crunch, Report Says EdWeek
Some states may be expected to make nearly impossible improvements in student performance to reach the federal law’s target of 100 percent proficiency by the 2013-14 school year.

Schools can't spare time or dimes for field trips Los Angeles Times
... to increased classroom hours devoted to the high-stakes English and math testing required by the No Child Left Behind Act, as well as budget cuts.

Rhee Defends Firing Her Children's Principal Washington Post
D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee publicly defended for the first time yesterday her decision to dismiss the principal of the Woodley Park bilingual school that her two children attend, asserting that a change in leadership was necessary to raise the level of its instructional programs.

"Those Ed Trust Ladies Are Fierce."

Firece_tyra That's what Partnership for Learning blogger Maureen Trantham says about Amy Wilkins' intense response to a question about new teachers and high-stakes testing. 

I guess that's not how they do it in Washington State. 

Read all about it -- and see the video -- here.  (Sara Mead's expression is pretty amusing to watch, too).

Measuring MATCH: How Charters Present Themsleves

Cover1 There's all sorts of stuff in the latest School Administrator, but the article that jumped out at me was this one written by the supe of Cambridge Mass. public schools about how charters market themselves (Charter Schools Uncovered): 

"Upon a closer look into the claims of the MATCH school, I concluded the school is a good program for a small group of young people and certainly not a good model for public schools here or elsewhere to replicate.  The survival rate over four years is extraordinarily low...The course options and extracurriculars at MATCH are, by their own admission, “extremely limited” compared to those offered in a comprehensive high school, and their staff turnover is enormous."

Take it with a grain of salt, of course, but still interesting as a counterargument.

Get New Blog Posts Delivered Like Instant Messages

Twhirlortwitterific Keeping up with pesky blogs like this one just keeps getting easier -- even if you never figured out RSS feeds and Google Reader or are trying to keep up with 50 posts a day from Jezebel (or you-know-who).

Now, if you want to get posts from this (and other) blogs without leaving your home page or email reader, Twitteroo (PC) or Twitterific (Mac) will give you a  little desktop corner box (sort of like Instant Messaging) that lists when new posts from me and others come online. Easy installation required, and then it's almost like we're friends. (Speaking of which, thanks to Brett for telling me about this.)

Too much?  There are other recently-created ways to get updates.  Over the last few weeks, for example, bunches of people are signing up for the daily email version of this blog (you can do the same here).  One email a day, M-F around noon.  Skim or delete it depending on how your day is going.  Unsubscribe anytime if you just can't stand the pressure. 

Or, some folks are getting mobile blog posts sent to their cell phones via Twitter.  You can find my Twitter feed here.

Katie Couric Does Harlem Village Academy

Got this from Tony Maciulis, a producer at CBS -- check it out: 

"I recently visited the Harlem Village Academy, a very successful charter school in New York City. The school is ranked #1 among charter schools in New York with 98% of its 8th graders passing the ..."

TFA Vs. NCLB

"For TFA, as for NCLB, accountability is a mantra, yet it functions not as a threat hanging over the head of its recruits—which is how benchmarks loom in too many schools—but as a tool to help teachers achieve shared goals."

TFA alum and education writer Sara Mosle in her Slate.com review of Donna Foote's Relentless Pursuit:  TFA Grows Up.

Best Blog Posts Of The Day (So Far)

Big surprise: kids in small schools no smarter Captain Haddock
A new study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Ed investigated the positive effects of small schools on student achievement, and found … well, nothing. 

Nerdageddon The Shelbinator
The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is underway in Atlanta, and it's mind-blowing.

Would College Educated People Send Their Kids to KIPP? Ed Notes Online
Social justice issues and more:

Students' photos altered in yearbook Detention Slip
I still can't figure out how someone would think no one would notice.

Is Supervising the Heck Out of Teachers the Answer? Kim Marshall EdWeek
In most schools, teacher evaluation is something of a joke. Could it be that the time-honored process of teacher evaluation is an ineffective strategy for improving teaching?

All Research is "Mesearch" Thoughts On Ed Policy
Part of me feels that this is a bad thing -- in which case I plead guilty -- but part of me isn't so sure.

Today's Video DEDR
This is a good video to point your friends to the next time one of those new brain-based education fads comes knocking on your school district's door.

Be nice to teachers or they’ll go to a charter Joanne Jacobs
Back to blogging on Education Weak, Lisa Snell points to a possible case of competition’s benefits: Los Angeles Unified, worried about losing teachers to local charter schools, chose not to send a single lay-off notice to teachers despite a possible state funding cut.


Newt Gingrich and Me
Dan Brown
Newt called today's public schools a "monopoly of failure," tossing the blame for the decline of public education at "departments of education, schools of education, and unionized bureaucracy." In other words, everyone who works in or near public schools.

Small irritations when reading blogs Dorn
Not aimed at any specific blog, and if you think this is about you, you're probably wrong, but if following discourages you from any of these practices, ...I

Edupreneurs Invade DC

Another week, another education conference in DC.  This one is the NewSchools Venture Fund's 10th annual summit, an invitation-only event that last year was held in New Orleans. 

New_schools_venture_fundI dubbed that event the "Sundance of School Reform."  I'm still working on a name for this one, though this admonition makes me optimistic that a good nickname will not be hard to find: "THERE IS A NON-SOLICITATION POLICY FOR THIS EVENT. Please help us respect this policy."

All the usual suspects will be speaking there, including current school reform show ponies such as Michelle Rhee, Randi Weingarten, and Cory Booker.  As in the past, I'll be looking to see what role, if any, is given to real-world educators and to developing a political strategy.  I'm looking forward to it.

Previous Posts:  The "Sundance" Of School Reform

Acclaimed Teacher Residency Program Under Fire In Chicago

Some of the folks who signed up for Chicago's prestigious AUSL teacher residency program -- billed as one of just three such programs in the nation -- are upset about how they're being treated as AUSL shifts from working with regular CPS schools to managing the Board-mandated turnaround (close and reopen) of some of the city's most troubled schools.   They say they're being forced to  work at these schools as part of their contracts.  But not every agrees that they should get to decide where they go. 

Check it all out here:  AUSL Residents Being Forced To Work Turnarounds?.  There are already about 50 comments, some of them from AUSL residents and those who have worked with them. 

 

Big Monday Stories Of The Day

Research Shows Graduation Tests Are Not Helpful Minnesota Public Radio
A study by the university's Rob Warren and University of California researcher Eric Grodsky said they could not find any benefit to making kids pass a test to get a high school diploma.

Study of Small High Schools Yields Little on Achievement EdWeek
High schools receiving $80 million in annual federal funding to support “smaller learning communities” appear to be establishing more intimate learning environments, a federal study finds.

Twenty percent of Utah seniors flunk exit exam Salt Lake Tribune
Twenty percent of Utah high school seniors failed the state's exit exam, but achievement gaps between some groups of students narrowed.

Honors Courses Give Way To AP Rigor WashPost
Honors classes, once the pinnacle of pre-collegiate study, are gradually being eliminated at some of the region's top high schools, on the theory that the burgeoning Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs have rendered them obsolete.

Aiming to Coach Students to Excellence in Exams NYT
As public schools prepare for the annual New Jersey state assessments, few others have as much to prove — or as much at stake — as the Newton Street School in Newark.

Poverty can adversely impact test scores Shreveport Times
Taped to a wall in Friendship House in one of Shreveport's poorest neighborhoods is the Kids' Club's list of prayers. One prayer asks God for "(sic) My Dad back." Another asks to "stop (sic) druging and homeless and naked."

Week In Review (May 12-16)

Campaign 2008
The Ultimate Pragmatist -- Not Just On Education
EDIN08 Blogger Summit Wrap-Up

Democratic Education Superdelegate Endorses Obama

NCLB News
How The Sacto. Bee Uncovered The "Racial Reclassification" Story
This Blog May Not Make AYP -- But Will Avoid Sanctions Somehow
Few Schools & Districts In NCLB Restructuring

Foundation Follies
Fordham Wasting Half Their Day On Flypaper?
Dannenberg Departs NAF Ed Director Position
Stonesifer Out, Raikes In At Top Of Gates Foundation

Teachers
More Ways For Teachers (And Others) To Get Fired
Transgendered In The Classroom
It's Not (Just) About The Kids

Media Watch
Josh Benton: Leaving Education, Leaving Print Journalism
The State Of The Blogosphere According To Me

Dannenberg Departs NAF Ed Director Position -- Begin The Conjecture Re His Replacement Now!

Tos39 Having built its education shop up from the ground New American Foundation education program director Michael Danneberg has left DC, left the director spot, and moved to New York (see job announcement here).  But he hasn't abandoned NAF entirely.  In fact, he'll be serving as a fulltime fellow, writing and researching K12 and higher ed in his own inimitable way, just from Brooklyn Heights. 

No word on his replacement yet, though the interviewing process is well begun I'm told.  My almost completely un-informed just-guessing short list includes:  Sara Mead, Robert Gordon, Kevin Carey, Craig Jerald, someone from the Ed Trust, and Heather Higginbottom.  Like I said, just guessing.  What's your guess?  (Or do you know?)

This Blog May Not Make AYP -- But Will Avoid Sanctions Somehow

279b73b4c178d715d5aafdc65da37adba01Ed Policy Thoughts has a new NCLB-like blog post rating system that will ding posts that "fail to productively advance discussion and, instead, root for one side over another."  This includes "Posts that are accusatory without evidence, thoughtless, derogatory, or fail to take the good of society into account are all eligible."  (Blog Posts In Need of Improvement)

Ruh-roh.  That sounds like pretty much all of what I do.  I wonder how the subgroups are calculated and what the sanctions are -- and how I can get out of them?

Best Blog Posts Of The Day

De-Baathification Of School Reform Learning First Alliance
While the "de-ba[a]thification" reference raises an unwelcome comparison between educators and Iraqi Baathists, the broader point--the danger of attempts to pursue education reform without the educators--deserves attention.

Sweeping Generalizations from a Sample of 69 TFA Teachers eduwonkette
I’m all for Teach for America as a stopgap, but the achievement gap claim is fanciful thinking.

Critics Miss Benefits of ‘No Child Left Behind’ Greg Forster
If the feds are going to subsidize education — and it seems that no force on earth can stop them - they might as well demand transparency in return.

ANALOGIES BETWEEN HEALTH CARE AND EDUCATION TAPPED
Should we be requiring that all three and four-year-olds be enrolled in some kind of education program, even if it's "home schooling?"

Education as Politics More than Policy: The Ayers Affair edbizzbuzz
Labeling someone who has never been found guilty of a violent crime - let alone terrorism, a "terrorist” is irresponsible.

8th Graders Suspended After Having Sex on Trip Detention Slip
When you see a girl go into a guys room, something is about to happen. PLUS:
Duct tape: The new curfew keeper DISD Blog.

Blogger Summit Wrap-Up

Ap080105029542

The  Annual Ed Bloggers Summit?:  For me at least it was great to meet so many bloggers whose work I'd read over the years.  I'd never been to an online journalism or blogging conference, and I don't think there has ever been one focused on education issues before.  It would be great if such a thing happened again in the future, with a broader set of characters. Hint, hint.

Ap080105029542What About NCLB?  Everyone seems to think that 2009 will be about building momentum and agenda-setting rather than concrete legislatie work, with the possible exception of early childhood education.  Let the governors and others take the lead for a little while.  Develop some new approaches and fresh messages to build up a modicum of political will.  Let things cool off around NCLB a little.  But I think it’s going to be hard for a new President and a new Congress to keep their hands off such a juicy target for long.

Ap080105029542Learning (Too Little) From The Big Boys:  The panel of mostly mainstream political bloggers (Politico, Washington Post, National Review) was the most disappointing session.  Too much c.2005 hand-waving about blogging vs. journalism, problogging vs. amateurs, and print vs. online.  Not enough (any, really) about about, er, education politics from these folks who are covering the campaign.  What a missed opportunity -- especially since it was such a good "get" to have the mainstream political folks there. 

Ap080105029542Notes and Ideas: Everyone loved Okun's cowboy-style suit and belt buckle. Teacher bloggers in general were a big hit -- Will, Ken, Kilian, Dan.  No one who attended actually won the best blog award.  If and when the campaign is over, EdWeek’s Michele McNeil should keep blogging – she likes it and she’s good at it. The 2MM folks are working on an interesting new doc.

Ap080105029542Education In '08?:   So far, at leaset, EDIN08's successes include finding and hiring the indefatigable politico-wonk Roy Romer to spearhead things, partnering with 2MM to give drama and narrative to the competitiveness issue, and pulling out most if not all the stops to get attention from the campaigns and the media.  But of course, getting attention hasn't been easy or frequent, it has to be said.  Trying to push education but sidestep NCLB has been awkward and limiting. 

Ap080105029542Gearing Up For the General:  EDIN08 has to think about retooling and adjusting its strategies going into the general, just like the campaigns.  Expectations are high.  It'll take more than "I will steal your car," 2MM,  and a slew of events and some press coverage to be considered a success. We need Harry & Louise here, folks -- and to stop dancing around the NCLB issue. So far, at least, I'm not sure that EDINO8 has been mean and muscular enough.

Admitting -- Then Flunking -- College Students

Profx "No one is thinking about the larger implications, let alone the morality, of admitting so many students to classes they cannot possibly pass," writes Professor X in this month's Atlantic magazine article entitled In The Basement Of the Ivory Tower. "The colleges and the students and I are bobbing up and down in a great wave of societal forces—social optimism on a large scale, the sense of college as both a universal right and a need, financial necessity on the part of the colleges and the students alike, the desire to maintain high academic standards while admitting marginal students—that have coalesced into a mini-tsunami of difficulty."

Big Stories Of The Day

Microsoft Joins Effort for Laptops for Children NYT
After years of conflict, Microsoft and the computing and education project One Laptop Per Child have reached an agreement that will put Windows on the organization’s computers.

Rhee Offers Plan To Improve D.C.'s Troubled Schools Wash Post
D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee detailed plans yesterday for overhauling 26 academically troubled schools, saying she will replace principals and teachers, hire private education-management firms and install instructional programs to boost student achievement.

Big City: A School Succeeds With Extra Study and Little Homework  NYT
A principal at a Bedford-Stuyvesant school employs novel methods to help his students succeed.

Electronic Bracelets Track Kids Who Skip School NPR
Electronic monitoring ankle bracelets are used across the country to keep track of repeat criminal offenders. Now, a Texas high school is employing the technology to keep tabs on students who have a history of truancy.

Leaving Education, Leaving Print Journalism

Josh_benton Dallas Morning News reporter, columnist, and all-around bon vivant Josh Benton is finishing off his journalism fellowship at Harvard in style -- by leaving the DMN and taking another job. 

He's leaving the paper (and the education beat) to become the founder director of the new Nieman Digital Journalism Project at Harvard. 

This via sources at the paper and via Benton's Facebook page.  Yes, he announced his job change there.  Makes sense, actually.  Congrats, condolences.

UPDATE:  With Josh's departure, three of five education reporters at the DMN have departed the education beat in short order -- Benton, plus Karen Ayers and Staci Hupp.  Sound the alarm!

Fordham Wasting Half Their Day On Flypaper?

235135075_7a61d43551_b_2 Asked how much blogging is enough (at today's blogger summit), the Ed Sector's Kevin Carey said that one good post a day seemed like a good amount for people like him.  As for other research and advocacy organizations that have recently upped the ante in terms of frequent posts and multimedia, Carey said something along the lines of the following: "If the Fordham Foundation wants to waste half its day blogging, that's their decision."  Swap!  Talk about a flyswatter.

Morning Notes From The Blogger Summit

From the EDIN08 Blogger Summit:  Governor Romer wants governors to adopt higher standards -- with financial support from the feds. USA Today's Richard Whitmire thinks that the campaign will turn back towards education in the general election -- towards early childhood, specifically.  Ed_in_08_logo_homeThe AFT (John Mitchell) and the Ed Trust (Amy Wilkins) are still arguing over whether NCLB grades schools based on a "single test."  Newt still gives great one-liners, agree with him or not:  "Given the slow pace of adoption by education bureaucracies, laptop computers will have to come down to $11 before they're adopted by the Detroit school system."  A paraphrase.  Blogger, teacher, and author Dan Brown has asked the most intense questions so far -- one about high stakes testing and the about the dangers of taking an extreme  de-Bathification approach to bypassing educators.  TMAO (Kilian) red-eyed it from the West Coast but is ready to go. Will Okun, too.  They're a woman here Sylvia Martinez with her laptop pointed towards the podium -- she's ustreaming the event (live streaming video).  Very cool.  I'm sitting at a table with five other education bloggers.  Wish you were here.  Cheers until later.

More posts from or about the summit here.

More Ways For Teachers (And Others) To Get Fired

Medium_2008_05_09_wifeA Connecticut elementary school teacher is out of a job after she and her husband appeared in a "Ugliest Guys, Hottest Wife" contest on the Howard Stern show. (Good thing they won!)

Says one concerned parent: "What they do on their own time is their business, but ..." sometimes it's our business?

[I forgot where I got this from - sorry.]

Big Blog Roundup Of The Day

Romer_tnr_event Edwards for Obama: What It Might Mean for Education
Michele McNeil:  It might mean that some of the anti-poverty programs that Edwards supported will become part of Obama's platform.

Hillary: End NCLB
Joanne Jacobs: In which states are reading and math skills unimportant?

Obama Leaves NCLB Behind in Swing State
The Hoff:  In his speech in Missouri on Tuesday, Obama criticized President Bush's policies on the Iraq war, taxes, health care, and trade.What he didn't mention was NCLB. Is that a slight oversight or a signal that he'll back down from the anti-NCLB rhetoric he voiced in primary states?

The New Republic Event
Roy Romer:  We had a great event today at the National Press Club (pictured) where the campaign joined with The New Republic to sponsor a discussion on "Which Way to Education Excellence?"

School Funding's Tragic Flaw
Kevin Carey:  Public education costs a lot of money -- over $500 billion per year. Over the last century, there have been huge changes in where that money comes from and how it's spent.

Standards for Dummies
CKB:  What’s worse than low standards? Standards that are confusing, misleading, or get in the way of understanding.

Court Tosses Charges Over Student's MySpace Criticism of Principal
Mark Walsh:  The Indiana Supreme Court has thrown out a finding of child delinquency for a middle school student who posted a vulgarity-laced tirade against her principal on MySpace.

Teach for America draws 40 percent more possibly-in-over-their-heads applicants
Insideschools:  If you don't believe already that the economy is tanking, here's proof: the number of college students applying to join Teach for America increased 37 percent this year. 

How The Sacto. Bee Uncovered The "Racial Reclassification" Story

Ewaheader All sorts of good things in the latest EWA newsletter, including some journalism job announcements, an interesting look at the development of that Sacramento Bee article about schools "reclassifying" students' races in response to AYP subgroup reporting requirements, and more.

"First Person" Students Document Their Own Lives

Wesleyan_first_person_flyer_29april "Six students in the Philadelphia public school system were each given a video camera as part of an independent film project. That simple premise expanded radically over the next two years resulting in this profound and vital documentary covering the difficulties these applicants faced preparing for college while dealing with the daily trials and tribulations inherent in being a student in schools with a 50% or worse drop-out rate. While conditions may be difficult, the film does offer signs of hope. The unobtrusive style of the film lends itself to the students’ unguarded honesty when talking about their lives, their aspirations and their hopes. With pressures mounting from the nearing of their respective graduations, the grind of working jobs and the all too real threat of street violence, can these students achieve their goals? Just as important are the questions raised about the public education system by this deeply-moving film. First-time director Benjamin Herold has created a moving and illuminating portrait that also demonstrates that we can each make a major difference in changing and saving lives." -- Scott Johnston

Big Stories Of The Day

United Way to Target Health, Education and Income Washington Post
The United Way of America, alarmed at the nation's fraying safety net, will announce today that it will direct its giving toward ambitious 10-year goals that would cut in half the high school dropout rate and the number of working families struggling financially.

Keeping the Boys Away from the Girls Boston Globe
The teacher, a burly presence in the front of the room, calls his young charges "gentlemen," even if they're really boys.

Teacher Reacts To Clinton's Pledge To End No Child Left Behind KELOLAND TV
Hillary Clinton says, “And I will end No Child Left Behind, because it is not working!” The education law requires all students be proficient in math and ...

Blumenthal appeals No Child Left Behind Act Newsday
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is asking a federal appeals court to block the federal government from imposing unreimbursed costs for the No Child Left

Virtual classroom at the University of Central Florida puts teachers to the test Orlando Sentinel
Tanya Moorehead's task is to keep the algebra lesson in her middle-school class moving along briskly while keeping a close eye on young Marcus in the back row.

10-year-old takes college by storm MSNBC
With the end of another school year approaching, college sophomore Moshe Kai Cavalin is cramming for final exams in classes such as advanced mathematics, foreign languages and music.

Democratic Education Superdelegate Endorses Obama

Romer_broad_report_2008_2 Who's the latest Dem. superdelegate to swing Obama's way? He's this guy -- education bigwig Roy Romer, former Governor of Colorado and LAUSD superintendent, currently spearheading EDINO8 (Superdelegates Continue Heading Obama’s Way CBS News).

Does that mean that EDIN08 or the foundations that fund it support Obama?  No, of course not.  It's well-known that EDIN08 is for former Cong. Bob Barr and that the Gates and Broad Foundations are holding out for Gore. 

Best Of The Day

Keegan jumps in full-time Petrilli
Lisa Graham Keegan, school reform trailblazer and former state superintendent of Arizona, has quit her day job to spend most of her time working on behalf of Senator John McCain’s campaign, reports the Arizona Republic.

WHAT MEGAN IS MISSING ON TEACHERS UNIONS. Dana Goldstein (Tapped)
By crediting the break-up of the New Orleans teacher's union with a subsequent small improvement in test scores there, Megan ignores many of the other factors at play in the Big Easy overhaul.

Gerald Bracey Screws the Pooch Charlie Barone
The Donald Rumsfeld of education policy.

A More Perfect Union The New Yorker [video]
The magazine’s financial columnist, James Surowiecki, chats with Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern about the future of unions. [via Flypaper]

Would You Use Prescription Drugs to Improve Your Teaching? ITAT
The lead headline in the April 25th Chronicle of Higher Education is on the growing practice in academic circles of using prescription drugs like Ritalin (concentration) and Provigil (keeps you awake) to help job performance; brain steroids, essentially.

Boy, 11, Found With Marijuana Traded iPod for Gun Detention Slip
Sounds like he has a handle on the black market of underground embargo swaps.

Transgendered In The Classroom

Transg51208We've had trans teachers in the classroom before, but this is the first time I remember coming across a transgendered student:  "Hot on the heels of NPR's two feature stories on transgender children comes news of a Haverford, Pennsylvania 3rd grader who will be making the transition from male to female, according to this post from Jezebel (Pennsylvania Parents Object To Kid Counseling Over Transgender Third Grader).

Big Stories Of The Day

McCain Cites ‘Pledge’ Court Case As Example of ‘Judicial Activism’ EdWeek
But he didn’t mention the Supreme Court case that set aside the court ruling.

Arkansas Finds Teacher Pay Hike Helped Retention EdWeek
State data show that more first-year public school teachers are staying in the profession than they did five years ago.

Teach for America Sees Surge in Popularity NYT
The program that recruits top college graduates to teach for two years in public schools that are difficult to staff will place 3,700 new teachers this fall, up from 2,900 last year.  PLUS: Teach For America sees big growth AP

Let down, again, by LAUSD Los Angeles Times
Tim Rutten: Protecting an alleged child molester won't get you fired from L.A. Unified, but supporting a charter movement will.

Pennsylvania graduation exam plan sparks great debate Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The plan to require Pennsylvania high school students to pass graduation competency exams will be the hot topic at a state Senate Education Committee hearing in Harrisburg today.


Dad jailed after daughter fails to get diploma
MSNBC
A man ordered by a judge to make sure his daughter studied has found himself in jail because she failed to earn a high school equivalency diploma.

It's Not (Just) About The Kids

You wouldn't know it from how long it's taken me to post something, but I thought there was some really interesting and useful stuff in Rick Kahlenberg's Washington Monthly piece about unions and liberals (Inequality and Solidarity) -- even if I'm not convinced that a union resurgence is on the horizon.  What I got from the piece was what seemed like an honest assessment of the love-hate relationship between liberals, unions, and the Democratic party, and a good reminder of what unionism can -- at its best -- do in terms of pushing large-scale public policy.  All you hear about these days is how feeble unions are, or how obstructionist.  Sure, not all of us want to join a union or feel happy thoughts about what unions do in the education space.  (Hell, I know lots of union folks who are pissed at what their locals are doing.) But even without collective bargaining for teachers, school reforms that don't give stability, safety, and long-term financial viability to classroom teachers don't seem to hold much chance of succeeding in the long haul. 

The State Of The Blogosphere According To Me

So I'm headed down to this newfangled bloggers summit thing in DC and pondering the state of the blogosphere, by which I mean the education blogs that I know about and/or read. 

Letter_b Mostly, I think that things are going well. There are more education blogs out there all the time (DISD Blog, Will Okun for example), which makes things like doing a daily roundup fun and easy and means I'm learning and hearing new things all the time.  And there are more "grownups" blogging now (Sherman and Debbie and Diane and Roy Romer and others), which makes me feel less than I used to like I'm an overgrown 10th grader. More folks to beat up on the annoying and/or ridiculous, too.

Letter_bOf course, it's great getting paid (not that much) to blog after years of doing it for fun (thanks, Scholastic and Catalyst!).  It's a nice bit of recognition.  I still haven't launched that third blog I keep talking about, the beginnings of my blogging empire, but it will happen someday soon, I still think.

Letter_bI'm incredibly grateful that it's gotten a ton easier to blog than it used to be, what with RSS feeds and web-based blogging software and all the rest.  (Easier for readers, too -- you can get daily or weekly emails of this blog now, or get it on your cell phone.)  My latest toy is a wireless broadband card for my laptop, which means I don't have to search for open WiFi all the time anymore. If only there was a gizmo that would make me smarter, or nicer.

Letter_bMost of all, I'd say that blogging has created a nice sense of collegiality for me even though I'm not in DC anymore (and even though sometimes the collegiality comes in the form of being called an asshole by one or another of the Klonsky brothers).  I've gotten to know a bunch of new people who care about education like I do, and have shared my ideas and read lots of interesting responses over the years.

Letter_bThings I wish for from my own blogs and others':  More real news and investigative journalism from education blogs -- even if it's just a copy of a juicy letter the superintendent sent to her board.  Let's give the papers a real run for their (advertisers') money.  More candor and vividness, discussing first-hand experiences and doubts and changes of mind. Talk about your own educational experiences, or late-night wonderings about vouchers, or whatever.  I'll try and do the same. 

Blog Posts That Meet Today's Arbitrarily Early Deadline

I'm headed out to the train, but here are some tasty blog posts to tide you over:

Pelosi: Ironwoman/Magnificent Destructor
Joe Williams has a scary dream.

The Education Sector's Biased Survey
What teachers think, vs. what people want them to think, according to Ed Notes.

Another One Bites the Dust
TMAO has resigned, folks -- but he'll be at the Bloggers Summit in DC I think.

McCain, the NEA, and his Education Bench
What if teachers vote for McCain, asks Michele?

The May 12 Communique' Is Up!
"Let's Face It: Most People Don't Care About Education Policy."

Student hand cuffed over skimpy prom dress
If a school, teacher, or student do something dumb, Detention Slip will post about it.
In this case, we have two out of three.

The Layman's Guide to Reading First
Kevin DeRosa explains RF to us.  Can he make us care, too? Prolly not.

Charters More Popular Than NCLB, Says Pro-Charter Anti-NCLB Group

Ednext_20083_82_fig1 It'd be a lot more credible if it wasn't the folks at Fordham making the claim that NCLB is a lot less popular among big-city newspaper editorial pages than charter schools.  Fordham is notoriously pro-charter and anti-NCLB (well, since Mike turned in his NCLB pin). 

But it's still interesting to look at Fordham's handy-dandy chart of where the editorial pages fall out on the NCLB-charter school matrix, and of course to be reminded that public opinion against NCLB is only 43 percent.  (Take that, NCLB-haters.)

Link: Opinion Leaders or Laggards?.


 

Few Schools & Districts In NCLB Restructuring

Amazing to realize that so few schools and districts are in restructuring, given all the hullabaloo you hear and read:

School districts start to face sanctions under landmark law Associated Press
Nationwide, 411 school districts in 27 states now face intervention. California has 97 school districts that failed to meet their goals under the law for four years, more than twice as many failing districts as any other state so far. Kentucky has the next highest number facing sanctions, with 47.

Naaq423_curren_20080512195632No Child Left Behind Lacks Bite Wall Street Journal
About 1,300 schools out of 99,000 public schools were in restructuring during the 2006-2007 school year, the most recent tally. More than 400 schools have emerged from restructuring by demonstrating progress.

State eyes No Child compromise Florida Times-Union
Georgia education officials are hoping to win a spot in a pilot program that would allow the state to treat less harshly than others some school districts that fall short of federal standards.

Tuesday Morning Roundup

Immigration Raids Shake California Schools NPR
Raids by federal authorities on undocumented immigrants in Northern California panic parents and school officials as fears spread that students might be targeted. Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and other big-city mayors are denouncing the raids.

ESOL Student Exodus Won't Yield Windfall, School Officials Say Washington Post
Prince William County's top elected official asserted last month that an exodus of immigrant families after the county's crackdown on illegal immigration is saving the school system millions of dollars because it has to educate fewer students who are learning English as a second language.

Locke High sends a message: No more disturbances LA Times
Conflict-resolution teams and tight security helped ease jitters at Locke High School on Monday, the first school day following the roving, half-hour-long melee last week that involved 600 students and required more than 100 police officers to defuse.

3 students suspended for sitting out Pledge of Allegiance Seattle Times
Three small-town eighth-graders in Minnesota were suspended by their principal for not standing Thursday morning for the Pledge of Allegiance...

Are College Degrees a Waste of Money? NPR
Author and career coach Marty Nemko argues that when kids are not adequately prepared for college, they are simply wasting their time and money on four years of college-level course work. He calls the bachelor's degree "America's most overrated product."

Stonesifer Out, Raikes In At Top Of Gates Foundation

More changes at the Gates Foundation:  Patty Stonesifer is out as foundation CEO, and Jeff Raikes -- another Microsoft Co. alum -- is in (Microsoft exec Jeff Raikes to run Gates Foundation, Gates Foundation Names New Chief).  More tidbits:  The foundation is up to 500 employees and has a $37B endowment.  Under the current org chart, education is under US programs.

Best Blog Posts Of The Day (So Far)

Education Spending and the Candidates Campaign K12
One of my beats here at Education Week is the federal budget. And this year, Congress has been unusually sluggish (even for Congress) at getting going on education spending bills.

McCain’s education team Shoofly
Were you wondering who’s advising the presumptive GOP presidential candidate on education? We were. Now we know. And a pretty distinguished, if slightly predictable, group it is.

What Will the Tough Liberals in the UFT Do? Ed Notes Online
With a UFT Delegate Assembly coming up this week, it will be interesting to watch how Randi plays the Obama/Clinton issue, if she does so at all - we don't see how she can ignore it.

Corporate Vouchers Victorious in Florida Education Policy Blog
Nevertheless, a growing number of legislators in Florida have seen the light at the bottom of their vortex. They have convinced themselves that they are not voting for vouchers--they are voting for scholarships.

Soft bigotry further hardens Liam Julian
We know that the best schools “sweat the small stuff”; they do not overlook untucked shirts, they do not permit poor posture, they do not deign to hold different students to different standards ... PLUS:  Social promotion exposed.

Virtual Morality Web Watch
Teacher-in-training Stacy Snyder brought suit against Millersville University, alleging that she was denied her teaching credential because of a picture of herself as a “drunken pirate” on her MySpace page.

An Unlikely Pair Finds Common Ground on NCLB The Hoff
You wouldn't expect Charles Murray and Richard Rothstein to agree on anything.

Meet Jake Teaching In The 408
Let's hope like hell, cuz Jake or someone like him will be in room D2 next year, teaching my kids. I resign on Monday.

The Ultimate Pragmatist -- Not Just On Education

Thekids600_2                                 Barack Obama campaigning for the Illinois State Senate in 1996, a race he easily won.

Others will read it differently, but my take is that this weekend's long NYT piece on Barack Obama's political evolution (The Long Run: Pragmatic Politics, Forged on the South Side) echoes and deepens what I was trying to say in my little article about Obama's belated support for local school councils  in 1999 (Obama's lackluster record on education). The most vivid example is this quote, among several describing Obama's cautious, pragmatic, and centrist-moving political evolution:

“He has a pattern of forming relationships with various communities and as he takes his next step up, kind of distancing himself from them and then positioning himself as the bridge,” said Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian-American author and co-founder of the online publication Electronic Intifada, who became acquainted with Mr. Obama in Chicago.  

I'm not against Obama, or against political pragmatism.  I'm just against people thinking that Obama (or any politician) is something that he's not.  He's not the ultra-liberal reform-oriented community organizer that he once was.  And he's not particularly bold or pure in his legislative efforts. 

A Website Dedicated To Shuttered Schools

When I was a kid, I remember when Cooley High the movie came out and probably went and saw it.  (It was a comedy about a large Chicago high school located in Cabrini Green.)

Of course, as many of you know, there was a real Cooley High, and it and hundreds of other shuttered Illinois schools are detailed on a website.  You can read about it here:  Site ensures closed schools more than just memories Chicago Tribune.

I wonder if anyone else is out there tracking the fate of shuttered high schools?

[Cross-posted from D299.]

Monday Morning News

Hiring war in North Texas school districts Dallas Morning News
How does $50,000 a year for a newly minted teacher sound? A lack of qualified instructors in some critical subject areas has set off a hiring war in North Texas.

 School districts start to face sanctions MSNBC.com
At Las Palmitas Elementary School, nestled between rundown homes and fields of grapes, peppers and dates in Southern California, 99 percent of students live in poverty and fewer than 20 percent speak English fluently.

Police break up 600-student brawl AP
A fight that broke out at a troubled South Los Angeles high school escalated into a campus-wide brawl involving as many as 600 students before it was quelled by police in riot gear.

To Curb Truancy, Dallas Tries Electronic Monitoring Dallas Morning News
Instead of sending truant students to juvenile detention, school officials in East Dallas have begun an electronic monitoring program to improve attendance rates.

PBS Revives a Show That Shines a Light on Reading NYT
The 2009 version of “The Electric Company” is a weekly, more danceable version of its former daily self.

Week In Review (May 5-9)

Best Of The Week
RTI -- The Next "Reading First"?
Charter School Weak 2008: Still Separatist After All These Years
Frustrated By Teachers And Testing

Campaign 2008
Paige Vs. Spellings: A Different Black Man, A Different White Woman
Pandering To Voters: Gas Tax Vs. Ending NCLB

School Life
NYC Schools Ban Work-Related Blog Address
To Do Before Teaching: Announce Desire To Pose Nude

Teachers & Teaching
Middle School Students Eviscerate City Council Member Over Her Behavior
"A Complex And Peculiar Task" (Reading)

Foundation Follies
"Hurricane" Phillips Takes Gates Foundation By Storm
USC Creates Faculty Spot With Princeton Review $$

Media Watch
Another NYT Education Reporter To Leave
How Education Blogs "Outsource" Newspapers' Roles
Staff Changes At The PEN Newsblast

Best Of The Day

Charter Schools are Great -- But Not Why You Think Kevin Carey
Charter school laws opened a conduit for talent, energy, and philanthropic money directed toward public education, resources that previously had no way to break into a bureaucratized monopoly state school system. Even if that's all they did, that's way more than enough.

Great teachers on screen Joanne Jacobs
Who are the five greatest teachers in the movies? Ellen Kim makes her choices for Teacher Appreciation Week.

The New Teacher Project Ed Notes
Imagine if all ATR's were placed in jobs, jobs that would otherwise go to Teaching Fellows. Will that lead to TNTP having their own ATR's?

Chrter schools in The Economist Flypaper
Two articles about charter schools in this week’s Economist are online here (Chicago) and here (New York).

 

Staff Changes At The PEN Newsblast

Albert Lang, who has of late been putting out the PEN NewsBlast, is moving on from that post as of today.  Formerly of CommunicationWorks, where his clients included the Center on Education Policy, Lang is apparently going to the e-Luminate Group, where he's going to work on the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Congrats, condolences to Lang and to PEN. 

One of the longest-running online education outlets, the NewsBlast has penetrated deeply into schools and classrooms.  Organizations and PR outfits fight hard to get into the Blast and are elated when they get in there.  No permanent replacement for Lang has been announced.

Here's Lang's last NewBlast, which I'm sure will soon be going for big bucks on eBay. Here's the post that announced his arrival (Lang In For Schaffer At PEN).  Here's a post from last June about the departure of Lang's predecessor (PEN NewsBlast Guru Rides Off Into The Sunset).

USC Creates Faculty Spot With Princeton Review $$

It's one thing for a big foundation or long-retired individual to endow a university chair, but it feels like another thing to have someone who's currently in the mix -- in this case Princeton review founder John Katzman -- to do the same at the USC school of education.  Or maybe this happens all the time (Gates, etc.) and I should just focus on the money and the leadership that comes with the new effort, which sounds sort of interesting if you're into that stuff.

More On Charter School Isolationism

Angryhorse Erin Dillon at The Quick and the Ed surprised me with her response to my screed against charter school separatists by agreeing -- in part -- with the notion that charter school folks often isolate themselves.  But it doesn't have to be that way, she says -- describing a recent conference in Chicago that  included district, charter, business, and  philanthropic stakeholders. 

That's progress, no doubt, but still doesn't include teachers or community leaders and is still  more of an outlier than a clear direction that the charter school movement is heading.

Previous Post:  Charter School Weak 2008: Still Separatist After All These Years

Frustrated By Teachers And Testing

Motivsationrobots Check out John Merrow's oped in the Wall Street Journal today (Student Tests – and Teacher Grades), in which he describes how public education exists in "an upside-down universe where student outcomes are not allowed to be connected to teaching."

He's frustrated, and so am I, though by slightly different things. To me, one of the most sharply frustrating things about teachers' resistance to being evaluated or paid at least in part based on how their students do is that teachers have no such compunctions when it comes to evaluating their own students -- and little tolerance for kids' excuses.  No time to study for the vocab quiz?  Tough luck.  Didn't remember your books over the weekend?  You'll remember next time.

Every day, every week, every month, classroom teachers give their kids quizzes and tests that form the basis of determining students' grades and in some cases even whether they will pass to the next grade level or not.  I'd be more sympathetic to teachers' concerns about performance-based pay and evaluation if teachers weren't doing just what they don't want done to them every day in millions of classrooms.

Big Stories Of The Day

2iqbexiPrincipal of School That Rhee's Children Attend Is Dismissed
Washington Post
Guzman's departure has stunned many Oyster-Adams parents who wonder why, in a city filled with under-performing public schools, Rhee would sack a principal who has presided for the past five years over one of its few success stories.

Where Clinton, Obama, and McCain Stand on Education
U.S. News & World Report
Clinton supports schoolwide performance-based pay. Obama supports pay based on individual teacher performance. McCain supports merit pay for individual teachers.

Teachers Found to Be of Two Minds on Reforms EdWeek
Most public school teachers are unequivocally ambivalent about unions and education reform, a recent survey says.

Mother Says 11-Year-Old Daughter Assaulted In School Stairwell WMAQ (Chicago)
School officials said Thursday there was an investigation into allegations that a sixth grade girl was sexually attacked in a South Side charter school.

The Uneven Playing Field New York Times Magazine
Everyone wants girls to have as many opportunities in sports as boys. But can we live with the greater rate of injuries they suffer?

To Do Before Teaching: Announce Desire To Pose Nude

658x600webgirl_kathleen No need to look for naked pictures of 24 year old Kathleen Ehrling, a Long Island woman who says she's switching from the entertainment industry to being a NYC public school teacher.  She declares her interest in being photographed naked and published in a New York magazine that is holding a naked picture contest (Poll  women).  Too bad she's not already in the classroom, since I'm sure her students would all vote for her.  But I'm not sure she's ever going to get hired after this.

UPDATE:  Ehrling emailed to say that she has withdrawn from the poll and had the magazine remove her picture.

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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.