About this blog Subscribe to this blog

OBAMA: No White House Tix For Charter School Kids

610x Last week, I reported that, as part of its efforts to revamp NCLB, the Obama Administration had decided to give tickets to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll to 2000 DC-area kids whose schools made AYP.  Brilliant move -- I can't believe the Bush folks didn't figure it out.  Solves everything.  But, according to insider Jim Kohlmoos at the Knowledge Alliance, the folks at the White House forgot to include charter schools in the ticket giveaway.  Thereby renewing the debate about whether charter schools are public schools anyway.  Maybe next year!

BLOGS: A Quick Spin Around The Blogosphere

Successes John Cosby
My Spanish II students are finally realizing how much Spanish they know, and are starting to use it spontaneously.

A new direction for the Institute of Education Science? Knowledge Alliance
The tone and substance are certainly different from the previous Administration. Does all of this point to a new direction for IES and its place in the ED?

Nefertiti_restored__2_Avoiding Stimulus “Waste” Is At Odds With Stimulating the Economy Matt Yglesias
After all, the point of a stimulus program is to spend money, not to get things done with as little spending as

A look at school shootings nationwide Hall Monitor
The rate of school shootings since then has increased, with nearly 40 incidents of firearm violence registered, according to the group Washington Ceasefire.

A High Stakes Test Uncle Jay
BCRs, as they are called, are unpopular with many teachers. But many test designers like them. 

Innovation And Its Discontents Eduwonk
In Time Walter Isaacson turns-in the most straightforward and sensible argument for national education standards that you’re likely to read.  

Turn off Joanne Jacobs
Fox’s animated Sit Down, Shut Up makes fun of high school teachers and administrators. Well, fun is not the word, writes Glenn Garvin in the Miami Herald.

THOMPSON: Juking the Stats

The-Wire-kids Ed Burns' and David Simon's The Wire was a "love letter" to the individuals of Baltimore, to honesty, and to the "equivocations and connections" that is the human comedy.  The "fraud of education in the inner city" is that "we pretend to educate kids," as "we pretend that we (post-industrial society) need them." 

The answer?  Simon's character, Bunny, responds, "I'm not sure.  It can't be a lie."  As Bunny explains to a clueless superintendent, honesty is doubly important for students who are "not learning for our world.  ... Jesus, they see right through us." 

And as Bill Moyer's wryly observed, with the decline of newspapers, "Nobody is de-juking the stats."

Please, let's drop the ideology for a moment, contemplate Simon's wisdom and then try to say it ain't so.

Continue reading "THOMPSON: Juking the Stats" »

FRITZ: This Week In Washington

19medium-500 Today, Fritz tells us about the proper way to deal with Hugo Chavez, the rescue mutt that President Obama should have gotten, and the mysteries of Spring weather patterns. 

No, not really.  Instead, it's all about getting on the Stimulus gravy train, jobz, and events.  Check it out.

Continue reading "FRITZ: This Week In Washington" »

DUNCAN WATCH: "No, Thanks," Says Charlotte-Mecklenburg Supe

Gorman charlotte mecklenburg Arne Duncan may be one of the early stars of the Obama administration (Grading Obama's Cabinet Washington Post), but not all of his education picks are willing to join the team (Gorman turns down offer for DC post Charlotte Observer).  And, even as things heat up to get the Stimulus money out the door and reinvent public education, the pressure's on to cut some administrative fat on Maryland Avenue (Obama to Order Cabinet to Quickly Cut $100 Million Washington Post).Anyone else out there rumored or confirmed to have declined an offer to join the Duncan team?  It happens all the time.  But don't be shy about letting us know.  (Esp. reporters -- it's news, and it's your job to ask.)

NEWS: Big Stories Of The Day

NGA, CCSSO Launch Common Standards Drive EdWeek
Representatives from 37 states are set to meet in Chicago today [Friday] to begin the process of drafting voluntary national content standards.

ScreenHunter_09 Apr. 10 22.12Strip-searches at schools go to Supreme Court LA Times
In an Arizona case, administrators were worried about campus safety, while the student just felt humiliated.

Illinois: Education Finance Ruling NYT
An Illinois judge has ruled that a lawsuit alleging that the state’s education financing system violates the civil rights of African-American and Hispanic students living in poor communities has merit and should be heard in court.

Writing About Values Boosts Grades, Shrinks Achievement Gap PBS
A short self-affirming writing exercise that took only about an hour of class time boosted struggling black junior high school students' grade point average by nearly half a point over two years, according to a new study.

Disgraced superintendent's election roils Vt. town Associated Press
When former schools superintendent George Sleeman went to prison for embezzlement, folks here figured they had seen the last of him.

Weekend Reading (April 17-19)

A running list of weekend discoveries (and catching up):

The four most useful lessons of Columbine. Slate
How "leakage" and the "active shooter protocol" have prevented other tragedies.

Why didn't the president adopt a mutt? Slate
To help you keep up with the debates in and about Washington, Slate offers this guide to the news of the week. Lunchables

50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice Chronicle
The Elements of Style does not deserve the enormous esteem in which it is held by American college graduates. via Arts & Letters Daily.

Teacher Takes High School Cheerleaders To Strip Club Deadspin
The best part: Epperson's daughter was one of the four, and she apparently had permission from the parents of the other three to take them to the club.

Coke Dealing Little League Coach Deadspin
Hey, background checks are expensive.

CARTOON: To A Man With A Saw, Everything Looks Like A Branch


DUNCAN: "The Apostle Of Reform"

ScreenHunter_04 Apr. 17 06.24"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."

Arne Duncan in The Apostle of Reform TIME

[Quote often attributed to Andy McIntyre and Derek Bok.]

NEWS: Big Stories Of The Day

Duncan to Spend Billions to ‘Transform’ U.S. Schools  Bloomberg
A group of more than 30 education, business, civil rights and philanthropy organizations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged Duncan today to ensure that states use the stimulus money to “fundamentally change” the education system.

ScreenHunter_09 Apr. 10 22.12Survivors Recall 1927 Michigan School Massacre NPR
Kehoe had been angry about property taxes used to fund the school. He burned down his farm that day, and then blew up his car, killing himself and five other people.

Feds: Pa. school superintendent took kickbacks AP
The federal criminal complaint against Pittston Area School District Superintendent Ross Scarantino said the money changed hands in February 2008, but it did not name the person who allegedly gave him money or what the person might have received in return.

Ackerman wants control of inspector Philadelphia Inquirer
Superintendent Arlene Ackerman has raised eyebrows by asserting that she wants control over the Inspector General's Office, which investigates allegations of fiscal impropriety and fraud in the Philadelphia School District.

Ten Years After Columbine NPR
On the second anniversary of the shootings at Virginia Tech and the 10th anniversary of the Columbine High School attack, a look back at notable events in the U.S. gun-control debate over the past decade.

BLOGS: A Quick Spin Around Today's Best Blog Posts

Counting our chickens LFA
Apparently, Broad is confusing the implementation of his favored reforms with their success.

College is the new high school Why Boys Fail
I wrote about this in U.S. News recently, and now a columnist for Educationnews.com writes about it  from a different angle.

Are Teachers Jumping the Charter School Ship? School Research
A new study finds that the odds of teachers in charter schools leaving their jobs is 230 percent greater than teachers at traditional public schools in their states.

School_bus_interior_from_rearReassessing NCTAF’s apocalypse  Stafford Palmieri 
Here is the apocalyptic gist (and nothing sells newspapers better, right?).

Riding the backchannel Paul Baker
For a running commentary from the point of view of an average (albeit technologically skilled) person attending the AERA convention this week, you can go to the Twitter search page and follow the keyword AERA

Play BlogBall! TCKB
The Hirschy Bears, the official rotisserie baseball team of the Core Knowledge Blog, are off to a flying 10-o start, all alone in first place in Blog Ball, a rotisserie baseball league made up of edubloggers. 

DetentionSlip.org On Foxnews.com Detenionslip
Turns out the ENTIRE segment ended up discussing Corporal Punishment.

MEDIA: Hoff Hoofs It

Hasselhoff I knew something was up when David (The) Hoff's once-vibrant NCLB blog fell into disuse this past few months.  (Readers may recall that for a time he was so busy with posts that he made regular incursions into Politics K12.)  And now we know why.

Congrats, condolences to all.

What to make of Hoff hoofing it over to the other side?  Click below for some thoughts. 

Continue reading "MEDIA: Hoff Hoofs It " »

MEDIA: Star Journo Leaving Education Blog Beat

ScreenHunter_03 Apr. 15 20.22 Dallas Morning News education reporter Kent Fischer has been doing great work for years now, including most recently creating and growing the Dallas ISD Blog into one of the most vibrant local education blogs out there.  Alas, he's just announced that he's leaving the paper and the blog (here).  Congrats, condolences.  We're all sad to see him go, and crossing our fingers that his blog -- and others like it -- continue to flourish despite the hard economic times. 

UNIONS: Weingarten Supports Charter Unionization In Chicago Visit

 Earlier this month, Catalyst Magazine reported that teachers at three Chicago charters were seeking union recognition (Union organizes teachers at 3 charter schools). 

Pl_create2_fDistracted perhaps by the very similar and much more conveniently located KIPP AMP story in Brooklyn, no one seemed to care. 

Now we learn from Linda Lutton at WBEZ in Chicago that the unionization effort continues, and even includes a visit from Randi Weingarten (Chicago Charter School Teachers Fight for Union). 

The Weingarten visit could mean that the unionization effort is being rebuffed and is in some sort of trouble, or -- more likely -- that the issue is becoming important nationally to the AFT. 

THOMPSON: No Second Thoughts?

Gear"Before Joel Klein ..., before Michelle Rhee ..., there was Alan Bersin."  Bersin gives credit to a consistent curriculum for increasing student performance.  But he does not seem to have second thoughts about the failure of his reforms (and similar efforts throughout the nation) to increase high school performance.  But what is the purpose of k-8th education - boosting test scores or improved learning throughout high school and beyond?

I know little about Bersin so I am making a narrow point.  If Bersin had teaching experience, he might still support curriculum alignment.  But if he had had classroom experience, I would hope that Bersin would be engaging in some soul-searching.  Should he have focused on student engagement instead?   Was the principle of teacher autonomy too precious to be sacrificed for gains that haven't even persisted through students' teenage years?  Is it possible for engaging high school instruction and curriculum alignment to co-exist?  

Continue reading "THOMPSON: No Second Thoughts?" »

NEWS: Big Stories Of The Day

ScreenHunter_09 Apr. 10 22.12 HISD scores decline after update to national Stanford test Houston Chronicle
Thousands of Houston parents are finding out their children are more average than they may have thought.

L.A. Teachers Protest Public School Budget Cuts LA Times
The school board voted Tuesday to cut thousands of jobs over the coming year — everything from teachers to janitors. That decision didn't go over well with the people about to be out of work.

High school hazing grows ‘more brutal’ MSNBC
High school hazing, pervading groups from sports teams to the yearbook staff and performing arts, is as widespread as ever but is also growing more "brutal," a new study finds.

Teachers wear body armour to stop unruly pupils biting them Daily Mail (UK)
Teachers are forced to wear body armour and get jabs against infectious illnesses to protect against bites and assaults from troubled children, it has emerged.

BLOGS: Best Blog Posts And Commentary Of The Day

Rhee, Parker and Weingarten Agree to a Mediator Teacher Beat
D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, and Washington Teachers' Union President George Parker just announced that a mediator will help settle differences over the shape of their contract.


“From an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest” Mike Petrilli
Does anyone else find this statement a little bit ironic, as we’ve just borrowed $100 billion from future taxpayers and spent it on bailing out today’s education system?

Transparency Watch: South Dakota Gets a Gold Star Politics K12
Of the four states [California, Illinois, Maine, and South Dakota] only one has put their application online.

Hawaii Forfeits Charlie Barone
No we didn’t, no we can’t, and no we won’t.

Dr. Seuss on the Financial Crisis LFA
Would you forego a raise?
Would you, could you work for praise?

Kids will be felons Joanne Jacobs
Two Utah fifth graders may face felony charges for showing pornography to classmates on a classroom computer. 

USDE: Duncan Sells Stimulus, Solicits Homebuyers


"We're trying to sell our house here, so if anyone wants to buy a house ..."

EdSec Arne Duncan at a Chicago press event about stimulus funding for education.
Chicago Tribune here

CARTOON: National [Debt] Service Corps

National debt service corps

VIDEO: "Fresh Approaches To Learning"

Looking for something new?  You might want to check out one or more of these short videos from Mobile Learning Institute, which is profiling individuals who "embrace and defend fresh approaches to learning."

ScreenHunter_13 Apr. 13 08.30Stephen Heppell makes his way through London, describing his vision for schools, meeting with kids at the Be Very Afraid conference, and exploring ideas for classroom design in a technology pilot school in Teddington.

Elliot Soloway and Cathie Norris take a road trip through Texas and Louisiana to see firsthand how mobile devices are being used in schools.

Jean Johnson: Notschool.net director Jean Johnson describes how and why Notschool works, and two of her researchers – Jamie and Jake – show how it has helped them turn their lives around.

Yong Zhao, a university professor, argues for giving kids room to innovate by following their passions, not subscribing to a set of rules and interests dictated to them from the outside.

Alan November challenges some of the accepted wisdom about technology in schools and proposes a scheme for enabling students to become more active participants in a 21st century classroom.

Steve Barr describes how Green Dot, a charter school network in Los Angeles, is using the takeover of Locke High School to show how small schools with high expectations can fundamentally change how public education is delivered.

Larry Rosenstock describes a vision for educaiton that blends the head, the heart, and the hands.

More to come.

SCHOOLS: A History Of Violence On Campus

It's all Columbine, all the time, over at USA Today -- and apparently we've got a lot to learn:
ScreenHunter_02 Apr. 15 02.12

The real story behind the rampage
Major U.S. incidents since 1983
Schools focus more on security, outreach
Programs help prevent violence
Books get into twisted minds of Columbine killers
You can click on the map here.

NB:  The paper counts just three Chicago-area incidents over 26 years, while Chicago papers count 32 deaths this year alone.  The difference?  Chicago folks count any kid's death as school violence.  USA Today is focusing on in-school (on campus) deaths only. 

NEWS: Big Stories Of The Day

Education Standards Likely To See Toughening NYT
The federal role in education policy, once a state and local matter, is likely to grow.

L.A. Unified to rescind layoff notices to about 2,000 teachers LA Times
Los Angeles school officials plan to rescind layoff notices to nearly 2,000 teachers, but thousands of less-experienced instructors and other employees still could lose their jobs in the nation's second-largest school system.

ScreenHunter_09 Apr. 10 22.12Education Tuning Shows What Students Learned NPR
Sure, many students take Psych 101, but do they all actually know the same things? A new approach at some universities will require that degrees reflect a defined set of skills, rather than a list of the courses a student took.

Vermont Lawmakers Look To Legalize Teen 'Sexting' CBS News
Under Current Law, Teens Who Text Message Explicit Photos Could Be Prosecuted As Sex Offenders

School's noise irks neighbor; cops issue ticket to principal San Antonio Express-News
Late last month, police issued Principal Terri LeBleu a citation for violation of the Universal City noise ordinance after a neighbor who has long complained about commotion at the school called again during its Family Fitness Day.

School Strip-Search Case Heads to Supreme Court EdWeek
The case raises questions about how far schools can go to protect campus safety before running afoul of students’ rights to privacy.

Facebook use linked to less textbook time USA Today
Does Facebook lead to lower grades? Or do college students with lower grades use Facebook more than their higher-achieving peers?

BLOGS: A Quick Spin Around The Internet

Do Schools Need Full-Time Principals? EIA
The Arizona Daily Star asks that intriguing question.

Inefficient, expensive, but an American icon Philadelphia Inquirer
Voters have produced a flood of letters and petitions against consolidation. And in Maine, which passed a consolidation law two years ago, opponents are mounting a campaign to repeal it.

Michelle030509.jpgJerks convention at Morning Joe Small Talk
Fenty:  "What we're hoping is that they will...incentivize public schools to do what charter schools have done. That is, to use privatization more. To free teachers from the burden of contracts."

A Golden Drop of Sun Nancy Flanagan
There's a nifty YouTube video making the rounds among teacher types.

Holy Genius, Batman! Flowers and Sausages
You must RUN, not walk, to you local office supplies store and get yourself a...stainless steel.... refillable....Sharpie!

Where Arne Duncan Sends His Kids to School Ed Notes Online
"My family has given up so much so that I could have the opportunity to serve; I didn't want to try to save the country's children and our educational system and jeopardize my own children's education."

BLOGS: The NewsBlast Goes RSS

  Good news about the PEN Weekly NewsBlast., which I have been neglecting to read for a while now.

ScreenHunter_12 Apr. 10 23.28 See the tiny little orange icon? That means there's now an RSS feed for the Blast, so lazy people like me can find out when new content is up and see how they like it -- without checking the site or reading our email.

How did I happen to come across this tidbit?  The Blast was kind enough to cite M. Paynich's guest post from last week about civic engagement and KIPP schools. 

BLOGS: Not Another Education Blog

ScreenHunter_10 Apr. 10 23.15 A year ago at the EWA conference, I told the gathered reporters and education communications people to do everything possible not to start their own blog.  It's a time suck.  There are too many blogs out there already.  I'll make fun of you if it's bad.  Etc. 

But no one listens to me.  I am a toothless tiger.  And truth be told this new blog from McREL looks like it's off to a decent start, if you're into that whole research-and-practice thing.  My favorite post is a riff on that old Reese's cup advertisement:  You've got your education research in my real-world experience!

THOMPSON: I Shall Reform

MacarthurGeneral MacArthur was as much of publicity hound as Michelle Rhee and he did not appreciate the sign welcoming his staged inspection of the troops which read, "With the Grace of God and a Few Marines, MacArthur Returned to the Philippines."  Whenever data-driven "reformers" need a public relations stunt, they "round up the usual suspects," returning to the same few outliers.  Last week the D.C. schools' "dog and pony show" again returned to Shaw Middle School, a school of 257 students (with a poverty rate down to 63%) which is "just awash in resources."  Armed only with a hand-picked staff (75% have masters degrees), "high expectations," "accountability," AND a student teacher ratio of eight to one; two counselors, two social workers, two mentors, a mental health therapist, and a Respect Coordinator; "pay for behavior" incentives, partnerships with John Hopkins and North Carolina University and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation;  new technology and science labs, music, arts and AP preparatory programs; and wrap around services beyond the dreams of the Bolder Broader approach, Shaw presumably demonstrated to Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman George Miller what neighborhood schools, who barely have a fraction of its per pupil funding, could do.if they would just follow heroic leadership.

When Rhee set out to restore order at Ron Brown Middle School, her new principal also received two additional assistant principals, two more deans, and a forty-camera security system. 

Continue reading "THOMPSON: I Shall Reform" »

Damon Weaver Needs President's Help

DAMON-WEAVER_s1-274 Everyone's favorite kid reporter was on 20/20 on Friday (video here), talking about guns in his community, learning about witnesses' fears of retribution, and asking for President Obama's help (Damon Weaver, 10, Appeals to Obama). 

Not strictly a schools issue, but one that affects schools and schoolchildren -- and makes the Broader, Bolder argument pretty effectively. 

LOCKE: Shooting At Locke High School

April 13 locke shootingThings have been going really well at Locke High School this year, by and large, in terms of both academics and school safety. 

But yesterday morning a student was shot in front of the school just before school started.  

Locke High School shooting  LA Times

Meantime, 32 children and teens have been killed in Chicago this year -- almost all of them outside of school. I don't know the national stats for the year. 

OBAMA: Let The Wild Rumpus Start!


President Obama read from Where The Wild Things Are at yesterday's White House festivities. 
Watch a video clip here.

NEWS: Big Stories Of The Day

Scenes From the White House Egg Roll Mother Jones
They stood in line to catch Ed Sec Arne Duncan reading "Clifford Goes to Washington," a story that didn't last as long as the line to hear it.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan in Chicago Chicago Tribune
US Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Gov. Pat Quinn will be visiting a public school on Chicago's West Side.

ScreenHunter_09 Apr. 10 22.12Schools turn to online testing Richmond Times-Dispatch
Melissa Mitchem, a second-year teacher at Falling Creek Elementary School, has been eager for her fifth-graders to take their Standards of Learning tests online. This spring, she’ll get her wish.

Stimulus money isn’t coming easy Las Vegas Sun
In spending the stimulus dollars, states must embrace innovative approaches to improving teacher quality, retaining the best workers and raising achievement, US Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a recent conference call with reporters.

Teacher's arrest raises questions about why no one spoke up The Tennessean
Those who deal with abused children say there's no way for outsiders to understand the emotional trauma a victim experiences.

Winfrey Defends South African School NYT
Winfrey acknowledged that she had made mistakes at her school, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, but said she was proud of the institution.

Why Don't More Black Children Swim? NPR
For many African-Americans, swimming is economically and culturally out of reach.

BLOGS: Best Of The Day

David Cohen for Secretary of Education Nancy Flanagan
Arne Duncan likes to lay it down, doesn't he?

Stacks on Deck Charlie Barone
This year alone, Duncan’s $2.5 dwarfs the combined $500 million investments of the "big three" education reform venture philanthropists.

Knowledge vs Symbolism? Knowledge Alliance
See what our bud Andy Rotherham has to say in his monthly column in U.S. News & World Report . Seems off the mark to us.

Voucher program dies, OII lives Mike Petrilli
Jim Shelton is, indeed, the new head of the Office of Innovation and Improvement.

Why Does Marguerite Roza Hate Cheerleaders? I Thought A Think
Watch her assert that because cheerleading is expensive in this district that she "researched" that something must be wrong with the district.

CARTOON: Words Vs. Deeds


DUNCAN: Three Big Jobs Left -- No One To Take Them?

Duncan nominations scorecard Check out the chart to the left.

There are basically just three big nominations left for Arne Duncan, our goofy-talking Education Secretary:

Deputy Secretary (head of K12, basically)

Innovation & Improvement (fun! sexy! marginal!)

Chief of Staff (Karl Rove, Rham Emanuel)

[Plus maybe head of Elementary & Secondary, depending on how they divvy responsibilities, or a Stimulus Czar, if Duncan appoints one like some other departments have.]

Lack of action on these big jobs, which have been discussed for months now, likely means that the folks who were being discussed so breathlessly (Hannaway, Schnur, Kopp, Rotherham, various Governors come to mind) have either fallen out or withdrawn their names. 

Either that, or Duncan's .... saving them for later?

Someone (hint to DC education reporters) should point-blank ask these folks who's in and who's out -- and why.  (More time with the family, probably.)

Meantime, how about something for Matt Gandel, former AFTer and longtime Achieve deputy?  Or Jonathan Gyurko, former NYC DOE guy now with the UFT?  Those are two quality names I don't remember having seen mentioned. 

THOMPSON: Illogic of "Reform"

ILLOGIC-POSTERparent explained her experience in Harlem schools, writing "I got jumped the first day of school. I was beaten up regularly. My scores dropped. ... I enrolled my daughter in our local zone school. She, too, got jumped her first day. She got beat up regularly and wasn't learning. ... I adopted my 10-year-old niece ... she enrolled in our local zone school, PS 194. What do you know, her first day of school, she got jumped."

According to Logic 101, we should seek blame in the longterm policies of the central offices that perpetuate mayhem in schools, but the New York Post guest columnist attacked the teachers union?!?!  Next to students and parents, it is teachers who suffer the most from the stress and disorder of inner city schools.  Even if teachers, all across the nation, are callous enough to ignore the violence and chaos inflicted on children, if educators inside the schools were allowed to control the disorder would we idly endure the wretched conditions described by the parent/op ed writer?

Similarly, Elizabeth Green describes the "two different sets of tools" available to principals in Harlem. 

Continue reading "THOMPSON: Illogic of "Reform"" »

FRITZ: This Week In Washington

135668 I heard that Fritz was one of the Navy Seals who helped rescue the American captain from the Somali pirates. 

And still, he manages to get the FritzWire out every day, full of hearings, legislation, events, and jobz.

Click below for today's edition.  Send Fritz an email (fritz@publicprivateaction.com) if you want to get in on the daily version. 

Continue reading "FRITZ: This Week In Washington" »

NEWS: Big Stories Of The Day

RI school district to end teacher "bumping" Boston Globe
Providence schools are set to phase out so-called "bumping" by filling teaching vacancies based on instructors' qualifications instead of their senior status.

Federal Dollars Run Into Local and State Budget Woes Washington Post
While Washington is giving, some state and local governments are taking away.

ScreenHunter_09 Apr. 10 22.12A Struggle to Slice Stimulus Fund Pie NYT
“There are a number of very fine organizations with very strong cases to retain musicians or to retain dancers or to make sure their education departments are staffed.”

Dropouts cost cities millions San Diego Union-Tribune
But ditching out on school without a diploma passes along a multibillion-dollar burden to taxpayers, according to a report last week.

Reid says he opposes Nev. education funding waiver AP
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Thursday he won't support Nevada's bid for a stimulus waiver that would free the state from federal funding requirements for higher education.

Sallie Mae Resists Obama's Student Loan Reforms NPR
This week, Sallie Mae announced it is bringing 2,000 jobs back to the U.S. from overseas.

Winning Essay Translates Teen's Story NPR
The New York City high school senior received a top honor for her essay, "Broken Gourd" from this year's Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

Weekend Reading

With Finance Disgraced, Which Career Will Be King? NYT

Public service, government, the sciences and even teaching look to be winners, while fewer shiny, young minds are embarking on careers in finance and business consulting. 

PLUS: Community Organizing Never Looked So Good

Thanks to Barack Obama community organizing is now seen by many young people as an exciting career.

Sex, Drugs and ESL In These Times

It wasn’t until the 2006 arrest of John Mark Carr—infamous for falsely confessing to the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey—that people began to look at the lawlessness of the English teaching profession.

Columbine Book Review Esquire

I was sitting in a middle-school classroom only a few miles down the road. I was sure I knew what took place. The truth is, I didn't have a clue.

PLUS:  What you never knew about Columbine Salon

Dylan's [journal] is — he's literally talking about love on almost every page, and he's growing up. You can take his journal, and just take your thumb and just flip through it and it will shock you. You see these hearts all the way.

Which Union Do I Belong To Now? American Prospect

Universal health care, for which labor has fought since the 1940s, and labor law reform, for which unions have campaigned since the 1970s, are now genuine possibilities,

A beat-sweetener sampler. Slate

This time out, I've created a sampler of real beat-sweeteners: a chart that identifies author, subject, one or more examples of shamelessly flattering writing, one or more examples of less-flattering details that were left out, and links to less-flattering information sources that might serve as antidotes to the praise—a beat-sourer, if you will.

You’ve Got Voice Mail, but Do You Care? NYT

In an age of instant information gratification, the burden of having to dial in to a mailbox, enter a passcode and sit through “um’s” and “ah’s” from unwanted callers can seem too much to bear.

Taxing soda to make you stop drinking it Slate

Three years ago, I thought the movement to legislate against junk food was politically futile. But that was before the successful assaults on trans fats, calorie counts, and opening fast-food restaurants.

Oprah Defends Her Sex School Gawker

Last month, the school expelled four students and suspended three others for, in the words of a letter reportedly sent to one of the girls' parents, "physical contact of a sexual nature with another pupil on campus, harassment, bullying other girls on campus."

MEDIA: New Publication, New Education Reporter

Linda kulman Politico.com reports that AOL's new site PoliticsDaily.com will include lots of veteran journalists and will feature education coverage from Linda Kulman, who has done work for NPR and wrote for US News & World Report.  Click here for a Google News list of Kulman's mentions. Click here for a US News list of Kulman's writings. 

Crossed fingers that Kulman will dodge the "Duncan fever" that seems to have affected much of the education beat, and see through the various education types who will -- starting now -- try to praise and manipulate her to get the coverage they want. 

Congrats, condolences. 

TFA ET AL: The Fashion Models Of The Education World

Sexy-miss-carr TFAers and charter school teachers are the fashion models of the education world. 

They are both envied and despised. They're energetic, disposable, and cheap.  They are often too young and inexperienced to know what they're really doing.  They are over-praised (or harshly criticized). They live -- often in groups or as roommates -- high on the perceived importance of their job. They are the subject of endless media speculation. 

Far as I know, there aren't any real-life TFAers or charter teachers with real-life modeling careers.  But I wouldn't be surprised if it's happened.  Meantime on Gossip Girl, the beautiful teacher Rachel Carr is supposed to be...you guessed it...a TFA alum. 

USDE: Another Duncan Appointment You Don't Care About

232234-m Thursday afternoon, EdSec Duncan announced the appointment of Glenn Cummings as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Vocational & Adult Education. 

No, they still can't make up their minds about who gets the top jobs.

Cummings is the former Speaker of the House in the Maine House of Representatives.  Most recently, he has been Dean of Advancement at Southern Maine Community College.   Here's some early press coverage.  He's 48.

Recall that Chicagoan Greg Darnieder has been named as an advisor to Duncan on a somewhat overlapping set of issues. 

NEWS: Big Stories Of The Day

The Stimulus Chase LA Vegas Sun
To qualify for $325 million in "state stabilization funds" for the K–12 and higher education systems, Nevada must allocate at least as much state money for education as it did in 2006.

New Orleans schools chief seeks restoration of federal funds Times Picayune
Recovery School District Superintendent Paul Vallas is still awaiting word on whether federal education officials will reverse a decision that dramatically reduced the Title 1 financing projected by Congress under the recently enacted economic stimulus bill.

Study: District-run Phila. Schools Top Manager-run Ones Philly Enquirer
The research, which echoes three previous studies, examined the largest privatization experiment in the country.

Newspaper6_1Detroit Plan Would Shut Schools, Cut 600 Teachers Washington Post
Detroit Public Schools would close 23 schools and lay off 600 teachers in a proposal released Thursday that would consolidate facilities in a shrinking district facing a projected $303 million deficit.

Besieged Detroit Schools Face Closings and Layoffs NYT
The state-appointed official overseeing the finances of Detroit’s impoverished school district planned to close 23 schools and lay off 10 percent of its teachers.

Ad Campaign Touts Positive News About D.C. Schools Washington Post
It's the rarest of species: a good-news advertisement about D.C. public schools.

Teens arrested in shooting plot at Colorado school AP
Two teens arrested in New Mexico on suspicion of burglary and theft had planned a shooting spree at a rural southwestern Colorado high school as early as this week, according to a sheriff who said he was among the targets....

PBS NEWS: New(ish) Education Correspondent For The NewsHour

ScreenHunter_03 Apr. 09 13.13Check out John ("JT") Tulenko, the longtime producer for John Merrow, who is now also doing some on-air work as a correspondent:

Looking very Anderson Cooper, I think.  Watch out during the close-ups, ladies (and others who might be susceptible)

The segment on schools in Green Bay dealing with increased homelessness first ran last week, but it's pretty powerful if you haven't seen it already -- especially the part where Tulenko asks a kid what his classmates think when they find out he's homeless.

I'm not sure that the focus should be on the kids' individual struggles living in shelters, or even on schools' struggles to help these kids. The real issue here is whether cities have developed effective, flexible systems to help families who become homeless -- usually for short periods of time -- so that the cycle doesn't worsen. Homelessness sucks, but it's not new.

Clip below.

Continue reading "PBS NEWS: New(ish) Education Correspondent For The NewsHour" »

BLOGS: Comments And Criticism From Around The Internetz

Duncan visit Schools For Tomorrow (Colorado)
Get Arne Duncan visit video highlights here. Or you can download a podcast here, for listening on the go.

HoudiniArne Duncan and a New Pornographer Seyward Darby
Spotted: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan introducing flame-haired indie goddess Neko Case at the 9:30 Club last night. But ... why?

Union fights for ‘D’ Harlem schools Joanne Jacobs
Harlem parents are refusing to enroll their children in two low-rated Harlem elementary schools. But the United Federation of Teachers, backed by the New York Civil Liberties Union, is fighting a plan to phase out the schools, which would be replaced by charters run by the Harlem Success Academy. 

Future pushback against earlier schooling Richard Whitmire
It’s not that early schooling can’t be effective, it’s more that I lack confidence in the ability of many preschools to do it properly.

First Time Teaching In Dallas Schools Dallas ISD Blog
Assigned to four rooms but not given keys; not getting class rosters until an hour before the opening bell, no books, no computer and, in a word, no support.


ScreenHunter_04 Mar. 12 12.49 Curious about how teachers at three Chicago charter schools decided that unionization was the way to go -- and got all those cards signed? 

Check out this Catalyst Chicago story: Organizing charter teachers, Chicago style

You'll also find out what kind of contract the teachers are looking for, and what happens in other charters where teachers join the AFT's charter network (ACTS).

Yes, it's true:  Catalyst sponsors my Chicago blog.

STIMULUS: Loopholes No Surprise To Duncan, Congress

Custom_1239027615864_yellow_card The Times editorial page outlines all the ways that the education money in the stimulus could -- and may well end up -- get squandered (Hold the Line on School Reform).  The money could get diverted away from education.  The "assurances" about teacher assignment could mean little in the real world of kids and teachers. States could game the teacher evaluation data just like they gamed "highly qualified" under NCLB [and "persistently dangerous" schools, and AYP, and ...].

What the Times fails to note, however, is that what is happening with the stimulus isn't just a matter of guidelines, enforcement, and implementation.  The stimulus loopholes are all there because Congress wrote them that way - to address members' concerns, to appease industry lobbying - and the Obama administration went along. 

Duncan et al shouldn't get to pretend that they weren't there when the stimulus was being put together, just like Treasury couldn't pretend it didn't know about the AIG bonuses. 

NEWS: Big Stories Of The Day

Bennet and Duncan “Bore” on Their Tour of Denver Schools 5280
Duncan dared about 400 students to boo him when he said, “I think schools should be open six, seven days a week; eleven, twelve months a year.”

Nation's top educator warn states against taking money from their ...
We just can't afford to do this," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. All but 12 states pay for pre-k programs.

Education Chief Bennett Raises Goal for Tests, Graduation Indy Star
Indiana\'s schools chief, Tony Bennett, has set new targets that would push the state to the nation\'s highest graduation rate within four years and require students to make unprecedented gains in test scores.

Q&A: Michael Gurian says boys need societal nurturing, too USA Today
Family therapist Michael Gurian, author of the new book The Purpose of Boys, says many boys today are unsure of their social roles and that boys raised without fathers can do well in single-sex education.

Florida's AP classes caught in fight over school grading system, budget cuts Miami Herald
A proposal to cut the state budget would decrease funding for Advanced Placement programs -- at the same time AP courses will start to weigh more on school grades.

BLOGS: A Quick Spin Around Them Blog Thingies

D.O.E. culture Klonsky
While the Limbaugh Party continues to call Obama's ed policies "socialist," Diane Ravitch, from her perch at the Fordham Institute, comes at them from behind, still feeding her Obama=Bush nonsense to Edweek and making it seem as though charter schools had somehow become the biggest dividing issue in education.

Obama Sparks a Belt-Wearing Trend at Florida High School Politics K12
It's not clear yet whether the Obama administration's policies will be able to raise achievement, but the president has inspired some students to pull up something else: their pants.

There is no reason, of course, why a societal approach to alleviating poverty can't go hand in hand with support for charter schools and greater innovation in how to recruit, train, and pay teachers. 

Boom And Bust! Eduwonk
I’m still pretty young but I lived through stock market bubbles, housing bubbles, and now more than one teacher shortage bubble…

Sir Mix-a-Lot Teaches Kids About Big Butts, Burgers Gawker
Sir Mix-a-Lot is teaching obesity and sexuality to your kids and you're really okay with that, deep down, because you love Whoppers.

OBAMA: Thousands Of Obama Wannabes All Irked At Kal Penn

Housekalpenn_l  This Washington Post story chronicles the uncertain fates of thousands of campaign staffers and do-gooder types (including lots of TFA folks applying to the USDE): 

Would-Be Obama Staffers Hurry Up and Wait.

Meanwhile, actor Kal Penn (from "House" and "Harold and Kumar") skips to the head of the line

Irksome, I know. 

THOMPSON: Eduwonk versus the Education Sector

Ahousedivided Eduwonk is disappointed by the lack of data-driven accountability in Secretary Duncan’s Stimulus guidelines, but he offered no concrete counter-proposals. So, I followed his link to Andrew Rotherham’s 148 page Achieving Teacher and Principal Excellence, A Guide for Donors seeking specifics. As with all Education Sector publications, I was impressed with the report’s careful use of words, and I found nothing that I would dispute. I was dismayed, however, by many silences.

Missing was any evidence or explanations why the worthy efforts of charters and pilot programs for training educators would be replicable in high poverty neighborhood schools. Rotherham wants to "work with" teacher unions, and Eduwonk presumably wants to "work around" unions, but missing is any indication that either want to listen and perhaps acknowledge that unions (and education schools) might have better ideas regarding the toughest challenge - neighborhood secondary schools.

If we really believe in science, maybe donors should endow research programs in institutions with a long history of, and respect for, collegial exchanges of ideas and evidence. If they believe that data-driven approaches have not been given due respect by unions or universities, why not fund studies that would test their theories according to accepted scholarly and social scientific principles? - John Thompson

NEWS: Big Stories Of The Day [$$]

Gov. offers assurances for federal education funds LA Times
Stimulus money earmarked for California school districts won't be reallocated to balance the state's budget, according to a letter to the state's congressional delegation.

Millions for K-12, higher education available, but Nevada risks losing it all Las Vegas Sun
Nevada’s public schools stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in federal stimulus money because of a largely overlooked twist in the funding guidelines.

Public schools brace for big cuts Seattle PI
More than $1 billion in proposed education cuts would be devastating, Seattle teachers say at a news conference.

Recession Stalls State-Financed Pre-Kindergarten NYT
One of the most drastic expansions of public education in recent American history unfolded quietly in this decade, as dozens of states added free pre-kindergarten classes to their traditional kindergarten to high school offerings.



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.