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Useless Pre-Holiday Conference Week -- Spellings Attends Everything

2008_12_fat_kid Not only does ECS still exist for some reason, it's even having a conference.  Held in Austin this year, it features EdSec Spellings (natch!), plus Kansas Gov Sebelius.  Details here.  Not to be outdone, the Aspen Institute is having its annual ideas festival.  Spellings will be there, too, conversing with Eli Broad about the state of American education.  Details here

Around The Blogs

Education, Technology, and Growth Freakonomics Blog
Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Larry Katz have an excellent new book entitled The Race Between Education and Technology.

What's Next? English-Only Commencement Speeches? LTL
School officials in Terrebonne Parish in Louisiana are considering barring students from speaking a foreign language during commencement speeches.

Obama_clintonsffstandaloneprod_affiLA Supt. Brewer: Please Let Me "Kick Some Ass" DFER
Add Los Angeles Unified Superintendent David Brewer to the shockingly long list of American school leaders who once believed that they were in charge of their schools, only to have cold water/reality dumped on their heads.

Should more students repeat a grade? AJC
A story in Sunday’s paper revealed few students were held back after failing the parts of the Criterion- Referenced Competency Tests kids must pass for promotion.

Teacher banned for using 'Freedom Writers' book Detention Slip
149 out of 150 parents signed a permission slip to have the book taught.

Federal Education Appropriations, Pending Ed Policy Watch
It's appropriations time on Capitol Hill.

The Amityville liberal Joanne Jacobs
A second-grade white girl’s “N the N-word” T-shirt was a “distraction” at her mostly nonwhite school, said the principal, who made Jaiden Haber change.

So He Thinks He Can Blog: John Thompson

So_you_think_you_can_blog2_2 I am pleased to let you know that Oklahoma City high school teacher (and education blog commenter extraordinaire) John Thompson is going to be posting here this summer, giving a much-needed classroom perspective to my usual blather. 

Thompson teaches high school in Oklahoma City and has been commenting on various education blogs for the past several months -- often with vivid, honest, and sometimes biting insights. 

His first post is about the HBO documentary "Hard Times At Douglass High."  Click below for his review and some video excerpts.

Continue reading "So He Thinks He Can Blog: John Thompson" »

Weekly Email Problems; Daily Email Still Working

Notifylist -- the outfit that is supposed to send folks a weekly update / reminder about this site, seems to have been on the fritz for at least a couple of weeks now.  So sorry about that.  While I'm figuring out an alternative, you can sign up for the daily email alert, which folks seem to like:

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Big Stories Of The Day

Pics1_358373a In Philadelphia, Privatized Schools Suffer a Setback Washington Post
Six years ago, the Philadelphia School District embarked on what was considered the country's boldest education privatization experiment, putting 38 schools under private management to see if the free market could educate children more efficiently than the government.

Slight gains, but sanctions list grows Minneapolis Star Tribune
The percentage of black students deemed proficient in math and reading hovered 36 percentage points below that of their white counterparts.

Tenure makes bad teachers hard to fire MSNBC
Few people know better than school superintendent Allan Gerstenlauer that disciplining a tenured teacher can be a long and expensive process.

Public gives schools low marks, wants more English and math AP
It's not much of a report card.  Half of Americans say U.S. schools are doing only a fair to poor job preparing kids for college and the work force.

Education: Bringing Potential Dropouts Back From the Brink NYT
To improve their dropout numbers, officials in districts throughout Long Island say they are taking aggressive steps to keep students in the classroom.

Week In Review (June 23-27)

Pools080630_250 DC Drama
Headaches -- Some Self-Inflicted -- Await AFT In Chicago
Groups Scramble To Round Up Celebrity Spokespeople
Spellings Speaks!

NCLB News
How To Spin The Latest Report Results
NCLB The Web Of Blame
Mainstream Takes On NCLB Study Different Cities, Different Results

Think Tank Mafia
KIPP Book (Work Hard, Play Nice) Coming In January
In Defense Of The Times, Wendy Kopp, and Arrogance


Teachers
The Lives Of Teachers, For Better And Worse
Narrowing The Teacher Achievement Gap In Chicago & NYC


StudentsPools080630_250
Time-Lapse Story Chronicles Fates Of 24 Kindergartners
A New Car For Perfect Attendance; $100/Month For Housing

Homeless Kids In The Classroom -- And How To Get Them Back

School Life
Who Got It Wrong? The Principal, Or The Press?
Gloucester Principal "Punks" Kids, Media, Self

Media Watch
More New EdWeek Blogs And Bloggers Not A Bad Thing
Favorite Passages & Paragraphs

Terry Bergeson, "Superintendent Of Public Destruction"?

Headaches -- Some Self-Inflicted -- Await AFT In Chicago

There are at least two major headaches facing the AFT in its upcoming Chicago coronation convention:

Sxc_tomatoes_080613The first is the entertaining but ridiculous feud between CTU local president Marilyn Stewart and her vice president, Ted Dallas, which is now in court (Can Dallas & Stewart Get Their Act Together In Time?).  These Chicago folks are in danger of setting the standard for union dysfunction and incompetence. 

The second is the AFT's decision -- as yet unconfirmed -- to give press credentials to local education gadfly George Schmidt, who has been writing about Chicago schools for eons and has been credentialed for all sorts of things in the past.  (Ed Notes has that story:  AFT Tries to Exclude "Substance").

Around The Blogs

'Reading First' is Dead; Long Live 'Reading First' The Hoff
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings wrote appropriators yesterday in a last-ditch effort to save Reading First.

I'm writing off the report, not Reading First Brittanica Blog
I have talked to too many teachers and principals who say that the training and materials they received as part of their Reading First grants were important and led to real and important gains in student achievement to think that it is useless.

0de2c1f55e1646bbb4c68e12b308ed1b328Over-Mentored? Kevin Carey
Until we really understand what we are-and aren’t-trying to accomplish with mentoring programs, it is likely that like the NYC program, we will not accomplish much.

Gov. Patrick's Union Merger Idea DOA EIA
He's not the first one to float this idea, but I get the sense even he isn't taking it too seriously, since he "listed the statewide union as a goal to be achieved more than eight years from now."

For Fordham, Everything Proves... Privatization Works AFT
When bad news about privatization is reported in the news, privatizers fight back. Then, if they have to concede, they use the "failure = success" argument. 

Mom sends 2nd grader to school with "N-word" on shirt Detention Slip
The girl had no idea why none of the little black boys or girls would play with her.

NCLB The Web Of Blame

642116d5ef54c86af16c68b05b45b8a9e89 Direct Effects (for better or worse)
Increased focus on reading and math
Annual state testing
Increased federal funding
After school tutoring
Kids getting recruited for the war in Iraq

Unintended or Indirect Effects
Teacher anxiety over test consequences
Narrowing of the curriculum towards basic skills
Focus on bubble kids closest to passing exams

Ridiculous and Unrelated Effects (including those actually claimed)
Students being held back a year in school
Students failing to graduate because of exit exams
Kids throwing up over test anxiety
Removal of ineffective teachers  (I wish!)
Teen pregnancy in Gloucester, MA
School violence, bullying
Childhood obesity, depression
The war in Iraq

KIPP Book (Work Hard, Play Nice) Coming In January

Image035 Image033_2 Hidden at the bottom of Jay Mathews' recent review of Relentless Minds (Dangerous Minds) is the name of the Matthews much-anticipated book on KIPP, which is apparently coming out in early 2009:  Work Hard, Be Nice.  The title -- a KIPP mantra -- always reminds me a little of other mottoes like Don't Worry, Be Happy (or Google's motto: Don't Be Evil).

 

Big Friday Stories Of The Day

Across U.S., schools feel budget pinch Christian Science Monitor
Slashed funding and rising costs are forcing school districts to cut back, even close down.

Ap080105029542Poll: Math, yes; standardized tests, maybe AP
A large majority of Americans think schools are placing too much emphasis on the wrong subjects, and more than half think they're doing just a fair job in preparing children for the work force or giving them the practical skills they need to survive as adults, according to an Associated Press poll released Friday.

Universal preschool students perform better USA Today
An ambitious public pre-kindergarten program in Oklahoma boosts kids' skills dramatically, a long-awaited study finds, for the first time offering across-the-board evidence that universal preschool, open to all children, benefits both low-income and middle-class kids.

Patrick unveils extensive education plan for next decade Boston Globe
Over the next six months, a grass-roots effort the governor's office launched will promote the changes to local school committees and city councils, a Patrick spokesman said. [my kinda grassroots effort]

One fish, two fish, cosine of Q fish LA Times
In China, competitive math teams are groomed and cosseted like college football squads. And in Vietnam, a television show called "Go to Olympia" tracks math contestants almost as if they were budding American Idols.

Homeless Kids In The Classroom -- And How To Get Them Back

Masthead_homeHere's another big, in-depth look at public education from a mainstream paper, proving that they still do these things at least once in a while. This one by reporter Cathy Grimes at the Hampton Roads VA Daily Press is about homeless kids, and profiles several over the course of a chaotic month in their lives:  Homework is harder when there's no home.  It's not just a feel-bad piece, however.  Changing requirements for tracking homeless students are also included in the package, as well as educators' strategies for finding and bringing homeless students back to school. Some of the profiles: High school dean tracks down his 'MIAs', 'Some days, we had no gas, or the car didn't work'.

Different Cities, Different Results

Grade8mathineligibles_2"Even if all cities did get the level of performance that you see from the best cities, there would still be a problem insofar as poor kids tend to do badly even in "good" schools in the United States."

The Truth About Urban Schools
and Race Matters
Matt Yglesias

Previous Posts:
Kudos To Big Cities For Joining NAEP Pilot Program
A "National" Test For Urban Districts
Urban NAEP Scores Coverage

Around The Blogs

P20080626wsj_2oll Finds That Blacks, Hispanics Like NCLB. The Hoff
For all of the red-hot rhetoric against NCLB, it appears that the public hasn't made up its mind. But the minority community is leaning in favor.

Which Demographic Hates NCLB the Most? Michele McNeil
About one-third of those polled think the law is hurting schools, one-third think it's helping, and the rest think it's making no difference. The folks who are the most positive about the law are Republicans (no surprise there), Latinos, and blacks.

Reading First is Dead Tim Shanahan [new blog!]
Under the circumstances, "Reading First" is politically toxic, no matter how effective it may be or how popular with the schools. Via Curriculum Matters.

Michelle Bodden to Resign as UFT Ed Notes Online
As reported in an ednotes online exclusive, Michelle Bodden, who many people were betting would be Randi Weingarten's successor as UFT President, will take over the UFT's troubled elementary charter school.

The Baby Borrowers Chad Aldeman
NBC debuted a new reality show tonight called The Baby Borrowers. Five teenage (unmarried) couples attempt to parent a baby for three days. It's horrendously riveting television.

Narrowing The Teacher Achievement Gap In Chicago & NYC

Vintage_pringles_can On the same day that ed schools are being castigated for not teaching teachers how to do math, ed schools and district officials in Chicago are being praised in a new report (IERC_Report PDF) for narrowing the teacher achievement gap:

'Remarkable progress' in CPS teacher caliber Sun Times
Chicago schools make gains in hiring better grade of teachers Chicago Tribune
Teacher Quality Found Improving in Chicago Schools EdWeek

A little-noted editorial in the NY Times this week (Better-Qualified Teachers) praised NYC schools for doing much the same: "A new study by the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research shows that the teacher qualification gap between poor and well-to-do schools in New York City narrowed considerably between 2000 and 2005."

Nationally, as Liam Goldrick notes in a recent blog post, inequities remain despite progress (Highly Qualified Teachers).  Personally, I blame NCLB. 

Favorite Passages & Paragraphs

What are your favorite passages or paragraphs about education?

My journalism class focused on writing style this week, which got me thinking about what little  stylishness I've attempted in my own writing.  Not much, but there are a couple of efforts from Education Next that might qualify, including this description of Paul Vallas reflecting on his accomplishments in Chicago just after leaving there (Political Educator):

Self-assured and capable of torrential speech, Vallas only rarely admits to doubt or fault. "The job was easier than I thought it was going to be," Vallas recalls, walking briskly on a sunny weekday shortly before his appointment as Philadelphia schools CEO was announced. "The honeymoon never ended." 

How could you replicate that, even if you wanted to? As CEO of the Chicago schools, Vallas combined Rudy Giuliani's gruff exterior and stunning self-confidence with a Bill Clinton–like mastery of policy minutiae and John McCain's open door to a fawning, half-intimidated press. He held regular press conferences, called back reporters at all hours of the night, and spoke in commanding detail about specific schools and neighborhoods.

Some of the examples we discussed in class included Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Bobby Kennedy's speech about the killing of Martin Luther King.  Here are some favorites (not about education) from the other journalism students.   

So, what are your favorite passages or paragraphs about education?

Previous Post:  Great Writing -- All -Time Favorites 

Spellings Speaks!

Ed_gl_nclb_logo "The federal role in education for the last 40-plus years has been on behalf of the nation's neediest kids. As such, No Child Left Behind is written primarily around their needs. I would say those are the kids who are being grossly underserved in our schools."

Q&A: Education secretary: Challenge assumptions about time, teachers
Des Moines Register

Big Stories Of The Day

Usweekly062508Schools for teachers flunk at math MSNBC
Elementary-school teachers are poorly prepared by education schools to teach math, finds a study being released Thursday by the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Study: Teachers not being taught math properly AP
Elementary-school teachers are poorly prepared by education schools to teach math, finds a study being released Thursday by the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Taking Lessons, and Confidence, From the Water NYT
A New York City school is trying to raise academic achievement and confidence by having students learn about and navigate the harbor that surrounds the city.

Laptops for Kids in Small Towns May Not Be Panacea NPR
One Laptop per Child may have been thinking of the developing world, but cities such as Immokalee, Fla., feel its kids would benefit, too. But it's unclear how much the laptops can bridge the achievement gap for the kids of migrant workers.

Around The Blogs

McCain's Pay-for-Performance Plan Campaign K12
No, this isn't a merit-pay plan to reward teachers for performance. But, it's along those same lines—and I'm thinking this might be a good idea.

Promotion  This Is How I Swim [new blog!]
Three of my four students attended the promotion ceremony from 8th grade to the high school yesterday.

ObamasealObama gets girlie Education Election
Obama pledged he would strengthen Title IX, if elected president, and would ask high schools to report data on equality in athletic programs, just like colleges do.

Victory on Capitol Hill BoardBuzz
The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the supplemental appropriations bill that included a moratorium on Medicaid reimbursement an   important to school districts.

Is It Multitasking or Brain Brownout? TLN Teacher Voices
A recent article in the Baltimore Sun reports on research at Carnegie Mellon and Johns Hopkins universities, suggesting that the new truism “Today’s students can multi-task” simply isn’t true.

Teachers Give Charter Schools Some Love AFT Blog
"The group is made up of teachers from the United Teachers of New Orleans Union, as well as the American Federation of Teachers."

Welcome "Urban Angle" to the Blogosphere eduwonkette
Watch out, Edu-fogies - there's a new youngish blogger on the block.

A New Car For Perfect Attendance; $100/Month For Housing

While pundits and educators are wringing their hands about incentive pay for teachers and small-scale cash incentives for student achievement, districts and public service agencies are going whole hog to try and make things better for schools.  In Chicago this week, the district gave a 12 year-old girl (and her family, pictured) a new car for her perfect attendance ((Tribune).

In Flint, Michigan, service agencies are giving low-income parents $100 a month in housing assistance to try and lower student mobility rates (To Avoid Student Turnover, Parents Get Rent Help NYT).

For many, this is a cause for more wailing and gnashing of teeth.  My only question is whether these programs work (the Flint one has been studied and seems effective) and are targeting the people most in need.  Let's not be prissy and idealistic about what we're trying to do here, folks. 

Groups Scramble To Round Up Celebrity Spokespeople

293beckhamdavidb News reports suggest that last week's announcement that the National Charter Schools Conference celebrity figurehead was supermodel Petra Nemcova has created a scramble to secure celebrity representatives among various education groups, organizations, and causes. 

Some of the rumored matchups are as follows: Title I Comparability (Justin Timberlake), Class size reduction (Angelina Jolie),  National Standards (Scarlett Johannson), Merit Pay (David Beckham), NCLB Rollback (Robert Downey, Jr.), Homeschooling (Will Smith), Universal preschool (David Letterman).

Not to be outdone, several education groups are also pursuing celebrity endorsements:  Gates Foundation (Sarah Jessica Parker), Reading First (Tiger Woods), Teach For America (Shia Labeouf), EDINO8 (Tom Cruise), and KIPP (Jon Stewart),

If there are any I've missed or that could be improved upon (depending on availability), feel free to weigh in.

Terry Bergeson, "Superintendent Of Public Destruction"?

Supt_of_public_destructionOne of my favorite kinds of blogs is the kind written by anonymous employees, full of complaints and scuttlebutt that only an insider can provide.  That's what this one is, focused almost entirely on Terry Bergeson, the superintendent of schools for Washington state, who is up for re-election and is apparently not well-liked by at least one of her employees.

Mainstream Takes On NCLB Study

Nclb2 Here are some different snippets from mainstream coverage of the CEP report to ponder and parse:

Report: Racial gap narrows, but what did No Child law do? USA Today
What the law clearly has done — the change some identify as its most notable benefit — is give researchers and parents the data to track student progress.

Alabama follows national trend of closing achievement gaps among students in lower grades, but widens gap in high school reading. Birmingham News
Alabama's elementary and middle school students are making strides in closing the achievement gaps in math and reading by race and income level, according to a national report released Tuesday.

Since NCLB Law, Test Scores on Rise EdWeek
Students??? math and reading achievement is improving, and the gap between minority and white children is narrowing, a new study indicates.

Test Results Improve After 'No Child' Law, Study Finds Washington Post
Because standards vary from state to state, some analysts have questioned the reliability of state tests as a gauge of academic performance.

Nclb2School achievement in Tennessee gets better, study says Chattanooga Times
Although there were far more instances of achievement gaps narrowing between student groups, Mr. Jennings said, in Tennessee, that gap widened for both poor students and black students in elementary reading test scores

Study Says Student Reading and Math Scores Are Improving US News
The study shows some states like Tennessee with large numbers of proficient students but, because each state gets to create its own standards, that can mean a state's academic standards are too easy.

NEA: Test Scores Improving in Spite of NCLB THE Journal
According to the  NEA, any improvements in student test scores may have come in spite of NCLB rather than because of it.

Big Stories Of The Day

Snapshot20080618091027New Programs for Training Charter Leaders Scrutinized EdWeek
An emerging crop of programs to prepare principals of charter schools shows promise but ???miss or treat too lightly??? certain crucial issues facing leaders of those independent public schools, a new report says.

States refusing grants for abstinence education MSNBC
Barely half the states are still in, and two more say they are leaving.

Holding Back Young Students: Is Program a Gift or a Stigma? NYT
A New York school district has revived a controversial retention practice to not only hold back nearly 12 percent of its first-graders this spring but to segregate them come fall.

Laptops Help Keep Migrant Workers' Kids in School NPR
Juan Medina, a former agricultural worker, is part of a town effort to help the children of migrant farmworkers in school. His new tool is free laptops.

Soaring Food Costs Hit School Lunch Programs NPR
In addition to home cooks and restaurant chefs, food prices are a growing problem for schools. And the fact that the school year is at an end isn't relieving concerns for a district in Massachusetts.

Teacher Bonuses Get Unions' Blessing EdWeek
One of the most ambitious pay-for-performance initiatives in Washington area schools is drawing strong teacher interest and local union support even though many national labor leaders have long asserted that it is unfair to link teachers' paychecks directly to their students' test scores.

Around The Blogs In A New York Minute

TEACH Chad Aldeman
It's unfortunate when good ideas become bad policies.

It’s culture, not class size Joanne
The culture of a class is more important than its size in determining whether students will learn, writes a Los Angeles teacher.

Soccer_biterLet's talk about teachers and teaching  Teacherken
Tell you what.   Take about 7 minutes.   Please.  Watch this video.   Then we'll talk.

Keeping the Concord Review Afloat
Curriculum Matters [new blog!]
A year ago, Will Fitzhugh was wondering if the next issue of The Concord Review, the renowned journal he founded in 1988 to recognize high school students' outstanding history research papers, would be the last.

Student Suspended For Giving Teacher A Noogie Detention Slip
We was originally given a two-year suspension, but after an investigation he was cleared from accusations of giving other teachers Indian burns and wet-willies.

Why Do You Lie? The Perils of Self-Reporting Freakonomics
I am always surprised at how easily, and cheaply, we humans lie.

Gloucester Principal "Punks" Kids, Media, Self [UPDATED]

Punkd It turns out after all that the principal of Gloucester High School in MA was just following the lead of the San Diego educators who recently told high school students that their friends had died in drunk driving accidents (School Uses Fake Drunk Driving Tragedy to Scare Students).  So the principal made up the whole pregnancy pact thing to warn students against the dangers of teen pregnancy and premarital sex.  Indeed, there may not have been any pregnant teens.  But then the media got ahold of the story and -- neglecting to interview the students involved -- fell for it harder than the kids did, and the principal temporarily forgot that he made up the story in the first place (Mass. school official casts doubt on 'pregnancy pact').

UPDATE:  Mayor Says NCLB To Blame For Gloucester Pregnancies Swift Charlie

In Defense Of The Times, Wendy Kopp, and Arrogance

RotherhamClick here to read Eduwonk try and defend both the Times for its recent profile of Wendy Kopp and TFA against the accusation that the program is arrogant.  Delicious.  Ironic.  Unsurprising. 

How To Spin The Latest Report Results

Url Let the spinning and bloviating begin!

The CEP just put out a big report on state test score increases since 2002 (here), with comparisons to NAEP results.

Chairman Miller responds below.

Your basic options would seem to be:

(a) Test results mean nothing, I tell you.
(b) These results aren't all that good, really.
(c) NCLB works!
(d) I question the motives of all involved.

UPDATE:  NEA presser below

Continue reading "How To Spin The Latest Report Results" »

Time-Lapse Story Chronicles Fates Of 24 Kindergartners

Classs_photo200Classcombo200_2I'm a sucker for these "time-lapse" articles that follow kids over what should have been their K-12 experience, even though they usually feature highly mixed and tragic outcomes (School 9 kindergartners had difficult lives in '96 Democrat & Chronicle).  Maybe it's the sense of depth you get from reading about kids' lives over a 12 year span -- so often lacking in mainstream news coverage.  Maybe it's the reality check that you get from reading about kids' real lives, over time -- not a year, a program, or a short-term effort.

From last year:  Two Good "Time-Lapse" Education Stories

 

Big Stories Of The Day

Pools080630_250 Ocean City Elementary only school in state leaving no child behind Examiner
Teachers chalk up the school’s success to communication with parents, high behavioral and academic expectations, and a passion for education.

Rich nations copy Venezuela's anti-gang music schools Washington Post
Venezuela's youth orchestras and choirs have helped thousands of children resist thug life in some of South America's most violent slums, and now wealthy countries are lining up to emulate the system.

Hacking Case Jolts Affluent California High School NYT
A senior has been arrested on charges that he broke into the high school several times, hacked into administrative computers, changed grades and sent copies of test answers to dozens of students.

To Avoid Student Turnover, Parents Get Rent Help NYT
In response to the turmoil in Flint schools, Michigan is giving some families $100 a month to help them stay put.

Who Got It Wrong? The Principal, Or The Press?

6a00d8341c816253ef00e551a2d8e888348 The news has been full of stories about the supposed "pregnancy pact" in Gloucester, MA (Pregnancy Boom at Gloucester High).  How very Juno, everyone said.  Blame it on Knocked Up, said others.  Teen sex, oh no!

However, there are now all sorts of doubts about the story's accuracy (Mass. mayor says no proof girls had pregnancy pact, Principal has ‘foggy’ memory of pregnancy pact story). 

We've either got a really confused principal (Joseph Sullivan) or some really credulous reporters (Time, etc).

Around The Blogs

George Carlin on Dumbing Down America Ed Notes Online
Show this to all kids who are thinking of boycotting a test.

 2008_12_fat_kidA House Race to Watch EdWeek
It will be interesting to see whether Shea-Porter tones down her rhetoric on the school improvement law, now that she's spent some time with NCLB co-author Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of the House education panel.

Charter School Tsunami EIA
DSEA hired a Washington DC consulting firm to advise them on "convincing the public to think twice about allowing the continued expansion of charter schools."...I'll bet there was an NEA grant behind this.

Most-Clicked: Tutoring Not the Ticket to Success? ASCD
In the 2006–07 school year, $595 million was spent on free tutoring to help schools achieve adequate yearly progress and close the achievement gap.

EIGHTH GRADE GRADUATIONS. TAPPED
...It's a great idea to hand kids a symbolic college application at their eighth grade graduation.

More New EdWeek Blogs And Bloggers Not A Bad Thing

By my count, EdWeek now has a bazillion blogs -- one for each reporter, basically. 

AkKkmAlyson Klein (right) has officially joined Michele McNeil as a blogger at Campaign K12 -- no more guest blogger status for her. 

Not to be outdone, Kathleen Kennedy Manzo and Sean Cavanaugh (left) are heading a new blog, Curriculum Matters, for all the folks out there who care about what happens in classrooms, whoever you may be. 

ScI would make fun of them going overboard just like I make fun of the boys at Flypaper except that -- key difference -- these blogs actually include original reported news much of the time. 

You know, information, updates, facts not found elsewhere.  As readers of this blog well know, there's too little news on blogs and too much opinionation. 

The Lives Of Teachers, For Better And Worse

High190A High School Finds Itself Left Behind and Drowning NYT
Bureaucrats can make all the rules and set all the benchmarks they want, but none of it will change anything if no one can be found to do the hands-on work of teaching. As seen in this film, it’s not just a thankless job; it looks disconcertingly as if it might be an impossible one. [HBO doc premieres tonight.]

The Private Lives of Teachers NPR
What do teachers do on their summer vacations? That question got students at Chicago's Curie High School curious. [audio]

Big Stories Of The Day

L.A. Unified will have more seats, but fewer students to fill them Los Angeles Times
Despite falling enrollment, the district will keep building schools as a way to eliminate year-round calendars, forced busing and portable classrooms. Critics say it's overbuilding.

Mermaid2thumb500x666Fuel Costs May Force Some Kids To Walk Washington Post
The Montgomery County school board today will consider giving Superintendent Jerry D. Weast emergency powers to make students walk farther to school, if need be, in the coming academic year.

Ore. students set to get choice of graduation test Washington Post
When Oregon education officials set out to devise a graduation testing requirement for high school students, they looked to other states for inspiration _ on what not to do.

Does 8th-Grade Pomp Fit the Circumstance? NYT
While some educators are grateful that notice is still being paid to academic achievement, others deride the festivities as overpraising what should be routine accomplishment.

Clinton fulfills promise to student MSNBC
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton fulfilled a pledge to a young supporter by speaking at the teenager's high school graduation on Sunday.

Week In Review (June 16-20)

Teachers & Teaching
Florida Teacher Fired For Being A Wizard
What Prom Is All About -- And Why Teachers Go
Brits Adopt American Prom, Consider Local School Boards Too

Campaign 2008
Bush, Romer, Spellings In Florida
Obama Stakes Out Bold New Education Position(s)
[Cindy] McCain Loves For-Profit Charter Schools, Too

TFA
New Biz School Blog Should Be Called "After TFA"
New York Times Adopts "Power Couples In Education" Idea
What Happens To TFAers After Their Commitment Is Over?

Celebrity Endorsements
Supermodel Nemcova Hot For Charter Schools

Foundation Follies
More Reports From New Schools Venture Fund
Desegregation Can Work. But It Didn't. But It Can.
McGuire In As New America Education Director

Media Watch
A Blogopticon For Education?
Make Your Own Cool Charts And Graphs
New Blog Focuses On The Boys Crisis (Yes There Is One)
"Good Night, Moon...Good Night Po-Pos"

Site News
So You Think You Can Blog [Update 2]

Around The Blogs In No Time, Flat

Midlife Crisis, Averted Judith Warner NYT
At a high-school English class reunion, doses of Faulkner and perspective.

More from the Excellence in Education Summit Checker
Speaking at lunch today, Secretary Spellings stated that it would be fine with her if NCLB were renamed the “Motherhood And Apple Pie” program. MAAP. Not bad.

Slurs against the apparently evil Linda Darling-Hammond SDorn
If you want to say Linda Darling-Hammond goes beyond a skeptical look at the broader claims about TFA, the burden's on you: show where she goes beyond hard-nosed skepticism, or stop making the claim.

Civil Rights for Suburbs, Mayoral Dictatorship for Cities EdNotes Online
White suburbs get to run their schools. Black and Hispanics in urban areas get no say in schools run by dicatorial mayors who put in chancellors with no experience in education (think it shows?)

Another Non-Magic Bullet TCKB
The city’s School Reform Commission voted this week to take back six of the schools.  Twenty more are on warning and could return to district control.

The First Shot in Reading War II? AFT Blog
I get to pretend to be smart on the days I read Alexander Russo's "Around the Blogs" and "Big Stories of the Day" posts. His blog is the place I go when I need a quick fix on education news.

More Reports From New Schools Venture Fund

3616053 Don't say that funders and reformers never reflect critically on their own work.  (They just don't do it all that often.) Earlier this year, NSVF released a report called Practices from the Portfolio, Volume 1 in which the organization profiled "some of the most effective practices in use by the entrepreneurial organizations we have supported."  Just this week, NSVF has put out Practices from the Portfolio, Volume 2, which identifies "four critical challenges faced by charter management organizations (CMOs) as they grow to scale."  Great weekend reading, I'm told.

Supermodel Nemcova Hot For Charter Schools

F0760_petranemcova_nude8bc Remember how I said that every education cause should have a good celebrity advocate?  Of course you do.

Where's Your Celebrity Spokesperson?

Well, the charter schools folks have taken my advice and snagged model Petra Nemcova for their conference starting Monday in New Orleans, according to a press release I just got from Senator Landrieu's office.               

Good move, though I think George Clooney (or Brad Pitt) would have more appeal.                  

New Biz School Blog Should Be Called "After TFA"

Getting_in_businessweekBusinessWeek has started a new biz school blog called  Getting In to go along with all its other award-winning B-school content.  Shouldn't they just call it "After TFA"?

Charity Giving Is Next

44453_m All of you who feel overwhelmed and under-impressed by the big philanthropy money pouring into education these days will be happy to hear that, according to a recent article by Daniel Gross in Slate Magazine, charities are next in line to feel the economic crunch (The coming crisis in American philanthropy).

It's just going to be a little bit delayed, compared to other parts of the economy.

Gross also notes that smaller donors provide the bulk of philanthropic resources, despite the big press given to the big givers.

Not that Gates et al are going away anytime soon.  Just that they'll be watching their pennies or something.

Bush, Romer, Spellings In Florida

2007_7youngfrankenstein It's Alive!

Last week, EDINO8 joined in with Al Sharpton and Joel Klein's education equity rollout.

This week, Margaret Spellings and former FL governor Jeb Bush endorsed EDINO8 (Presidential candidates urged to focus on schools).

Big Friday Stories Of The Day

House Panel Would Kill ‘Reading First’ Funding EdWeek
Citing a federal study of the program, lawmakers would zero out funding for the beleaguered program in the fiscal 2009 budget.

Denver School Tries Reinvention as Reform NPR
Poor achievement and low attendance at Manual High School in Denver led the district to close its doors and open a year later. Closing Denver's oldest high school was not without controversy or protest. But administrators said starting fresh was the only fix.

Board members surprised by attempt to oust Crew Miami Herald
Miami-Dade School Board member Renier Diaz de la Portilla took the first steps toward ousting Superintendent Rudy Crew on Thursday, calling upon the board attorney to clarify the requirements for terminating Crew's contract.

D.C. Teachers Struggle to Adapt to School Reforms PBS
Washington, D.C.'s schools struggle to bring students up to proficiency standards while losing thousands of them to charter schools.

Around The Blogs -- Without Public Financing

Accountability Suspension On Hold; Reading First on the Brink EdWeek
Alyson Klein just called in from this morning's subcommittee markup of the fiscal 2009 appropriations bill for the education, labor, and health and human service departments.

PUBLIC SCHOOL CHOICE AS PRACTICED ABROAD. TAPPED
It's ironic that a year after our Supreme Court struck a blow against school integration, the Christian Science Monitor reports that Holland is planning on importing American de-segregation programs.

NumbersCan You Save Jobs Without More Students? EIA
The city has seen a 41% drop in enrollment in the last 10 years. The union is planning a rally against the cuts.

Don't Be Hating Kevin Carey
I'd rather Ivy League graduates looked for their status signifiers in low-income classrooms on the Mississippi Delta than in hedge funds and investment banking houses on Wall Street.

The Fed's transportation plan will cost schools ASBJ
Now, I’m all for private enterprise. On the other hand, I thought it was federal policy to encourage the use of public transportation and to spend tax dollars efficiently.

People Who Sign Their Name “M.Ed.” Annoy Me Ryan
Save it for the Doctorate, folks.

Students' laxative-spiked cake sends teachers to hospital Hall Monitor
Didn't these teachers learn when Odysseus tried this same stunt like 3000 years ago? Or has mythology been cut from the curriculum as well.

Is Ed Week becoming The Onion? STM
This is, no joke, a front page headline from the current edition of Education Week:  Majority of Youths Found to Lack a Direction in Life.

McGuire In As New America Education Director

Dannenberg_mcguire_new_old MaryEllen McGuire is going to be the new Education Policy Program Director at the New America Foundation, replacing Michael Dannenberg. 

Dannenberg remains a Fellow for the organization, albeit from New York City.  McGuire comes to New America from the Dodd education subcommittee. 

No word on her replacement.

Congrats, condolences.

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

(Note that McGuire was not one of my guesses.)

New York Times Adopts "Power Couples In Education" Idea

Gowanushotelmap062008 Today's New York Times article about the couple that runs TFA and KIPP is going to make a lot of people a little bit nauseated, given the already imbalanced praise-to-accomplishment ratio that goes along with TFA and KIPP.  (There are just 14,000 TFA alums, and 65 KIPP schools nationwide.)  Others will find it too soft and uncritical.  Me, I'm just excited that the Times had adopted my "power couples in education" way of looking at the world. 

Previous post:  Power couples in education

What Prom Is All About -- And Why Teachers Go

"Look for us in the stands at the next talent show or sporting event; teachers are easy to identify. We are the haggard, disheveled zombies clustered in isolation, gripping our enormous coffees and diet sodas, gossiping and griping more than our teenage students. (Don’t worry about the earnest, fresh-faced young woman sitting by herself who is simultaneously cheering, grading papers and crying — she is still new.)"

From Will Okun's blog about teaching on the West Side of Chicago.  Read all about it here.

Big Power Couple Stories Of The Day

Abc_michelle_obama1_080618_mn 2 School Entrepreneurs Lead the Way NYT
Wendy Kopp and Richard Barth are a power couple in the world of education, emblematic of a new class of young social entrepreneurs seeking to reshape the United States’ educational landscape.

Yellow Buses Put Schools in the Red Wall Street Journal
School administrators nationwide are budgeting rising fuel costs for buses into the school year. But the price of running these vehicles has a direct impact beyond the bus, including cutbacks on ordering new textbooks.

Court Upholds ‘Highly Qualified’ Teacher Rules EdWeek
Alternative-route teachers-in-training can be deemed to hold that status under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Phila. taking back 6 privatized schools  Inquirer
In a blow to the Philadelphia School District's historic privatization experiment, the School Reform Commission voted yesterday to seize six schools from outside managers and warned them that they are in danger of losing 20 others if progress is not made.

He's admitted into 7 Ivy League schools MSNBC
The New York teenager, who couldn’t even speak English when he emigrated from Poland only five years ago, applied to seven Ivy League schools  and was accepted by all of them, along with 10 other top schools.

Obama Woos, Then Who?s The Chicago Teachers Union

Aft_hillary_flyer Obama may not have gotten the AFT endorsement and only got official approval from the NEA very late in the game (two weeks ago or so).  But he apparently got a lot of early support from his hometown AFT affiliate, the Chicago Teachers Union, which helped propel him into office in the first place.  Now, some of the folks who helped make that happen are upset that Obama's union support is being stripped out of the Obama narrative. 

Not that such a story helps Obama much -- he's trying to win independents at the center, not rally to his base.  Most folks understand that.  But the early support from the CTU  is by most accounts what really happened, for whatever that's worth, and made a difference.  And it is a familiar tale -- not just for Obama -- in which politicians woo the folks they need at a certain point, and then move on to whomever they need next. 

Desegregation Can Work. But It Didn't. But It Can.

Following up on yesterday's post about the failures of residential desegregation in places like Memphis, deseg expert Rick Kahlenberg sent in something he'd written that argues the real reason that Moving To Opportunity didn't result in greater academic gains for low income kids is that:

Workishell"there were major flaws in the structure of the program, which meant that most poor families didn’t move to opportunity but in essence, moved to mediocrity. Students in the opportunity program attended schools with a free and reduced price lunch mean of 67.5 percent, compared to 73.9 percent in the control group. And students in the experiment attended schools with an average achievement at the nineteenth percentile, compared to the fifteenth percentile for the control group. Clearly, this was not a fair test of whether genuine poverty deconcentration can affect the achievement of students."

It may not have been a fair test, but it was a real-world one.  I'd love for deseg to work, and realize that much of what happened under the umbrella of residential deseg wasn't as it was intended.  What I don't see is any realistic way from preventing future efforts to have the same sloppy, imperfect design and implementation. 

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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.