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Media: Who Was On Journolist? [Part 2]

So I did what I was supposed to do and asked around to see who was on Journolist, and here's a snapshot of what I've found so far (plus a couple of quotes from folks about the whole thing):

Picture 25Who else should I ask?  Do you even care who was on there (or what they said)?   As I said before, I don't think there's anything discreditable about having participated on the list, or having opinions and insights on the topics that they cover. 

Continue reading "Media: Who Was On Journolist? [Part 2]" »

Quote: The Real Science Gap

“There is no scientist shortage.” -- Harvard economics professor Richard Freeman in Miller-McCune

Media: Who Was On "Journolist"?

image from www.salon.com I'm not willing to pay $100K for the archive -- and I don't think that there's any problem with journalists having opinions about things -- but I am pretty opposed to secrecy and to journalists getting too friendly with their sources and so I'm curious about which education types were on Ezra Klein's journolist, a closed listserv of wonks, pundits, and journalists that was exposed and then shut down last week when a Washington Post blogger named Dave Weigel was found to be not as conservative as the Washington Post thought he was or should be. So who was on there, do you think?  Were you?  I'm guessing that insiders like Rotherham and Yglesias were on there, along with maybe Ulrich Boser at CAP and Mike Dannenberg (now at the USDE). Maybe Nick Anderson at the Post - or Jay Mathews -- or both.  Toppo?  No.  Dillon?  Yes.  Banchero? Maybe.  

Update: New Pyramid Satisfies Maslow's Need

Picture 13Picture 14









Now when someone (usually the most annoying person in the room) starts spouting off about Maslow's Pyramid you can strike back by mentioning they must be talking about the OLD pyramid not the new one. Via Miller-McCune.

Movies: Weingarten Takes The "Superman" Bait

Picture 22 No one but a handful of fanboys and wishful thinkers think that "Waiting For Superman" is going to make anything more than a big media splash but Randi Weingarten and her media people may have done the movie a big favor by going after it (and a review by a guy named Nutter).  Creating controversy -- and sounding defensive -- only makes Guggenheim et al feel like they're on the right track. 

RIP: William Taylor [Updated]

Here's George Miller's statement on the passing of civil rights veteran William Taylor:

image from www.all4ed.org“I am deeply saddened by the news of Bill Taylor’s passing. Today, we mourn the loss of a true pioneer in education. A friend, an ally, a trusted advocate and true hero, Bill’s steadfast commitment to helping all children shaped the way we educate children in this country. For more than half a century, Bill Taylor’s voice was synonymous with equality. He was not only a leading voice in the civil rights community, but also kept the drumbeat going to ensure a child’s plight never went unheard. His relentless pursuit of equality was evident in everything he did. He lived above reproach, always fighting for what was right, always doing more than most could ever think possible, always thinking of what was next. He served as a lawyer, an advocate, a civil servant – all with true tenacity and passion. Today, children across the country have lost a powerful voice, the education community has lost a hero. Bill will be deeply missed. My thoughts and prayers are with the Taylor family on this difficult day.”

UPDATE:  Statements from others (including Duncan) are now added in comments  below -- as well as information about services, etc.  Feel free to add your remembrance if you happened to know him.There's a particularly nice one from Sandy Kress.

AM News: Lawmakers Raise Hopes For More Teacher Money

Democrats add teacher money to war funding bill AP:  News2House Democrats who are trying to pass a long-stalled war funding bill are sweetening it with $10 billion to help local school districts avoid teacher layoffs when schools reopen... Education Secretary Hopes for Emergency Ed. Funding KCPW:  Jeff Robinson asked Duncan why this funding is needed, particularly when some school districts still haven’t spent the funds they received from the federal stimulus package passed in 2009... New York public schools top nation in per-student spending USA Today:  New York spent $17,173 per student for public education in 2007-08, more than any other state and 67% more than the U.S. average, according to ... Bill Gates touts charter schools, accountability AP:  Billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates said Tuesday that charter schools can revolutionize education, but that the charter school movement also must hold itself accountable for low-performing schools... More California school districts edging closer to insolvency, state says LA Times:  Fourteen districts in the state are classified as in especially dire condition, including Lynwood Unified School District in Los Angeles County... No condoms for grade schoolers, Mass. schools say AP:  The superintendent of a Massachusetts school district is apologizing to parents for what she calls a misunderstanding over a condom availability policy... 

Quotes: New Knowledge ("The Velluvial Matrix")

Quote-mark"Half the words you now routinely use you did not know existed when you started: words like arterial-blood gas, nasogastric tube, microarray, logistic regression, NMDA receptor, velluvial matrix."   - Surgeon and writer Atul Gawande in a recent commencement speech reprinted in the New Yorker


Cartoon: Homeschooled MD

image from www.newyorker.com
The homeschooled doctor -- his parents are so proud.  From this week's New Yorker (only they could get away with this).

Thompson: Waiting For Guggenheim

Allstar-superman-013panel42 Davis Guggenheim directed "Waiting For Superman" because "I couldn’t get past this feeling of driving my kids past three public schools on the way to their private school." Nothing had improved in the decade since his documentary, PBS’s "The First Year," so Guggenheim used "the conceit" of a lottery dooming some kids to schools of "barbaric cruelty." "No policy can do what Guggenheim has done (in "The First Year"); illuminate the deeply emotional bonds the best teachers form with students." "It cuts through the rhetoric of the national debate ... to remind us what is real: the powerful relationship between a teacher and a student." He did not address "the merits of countless school debates," how NCLB killed progress, and how a hero of his new movie, Michelle Rhee, has poisoned those relationships by turning children into test scores.

Continue reading "Thompson: Waiting For Guggenheim" »

AM News: Dem. Lawmakers Take On Public Employees

News2

Labor’s New Critic - Allies in Elected Office NYT:  Even with the resistance from public sector unions, some elected officials are realizing that getting tough with the unions can be good politics in down economic times. Last year, 51 percent of cities froze or reduced pay, while 25 percent laid off workers, 24 percent reduced health benefits and 22 percent revised union contracts to reduce pay and benefits... School Uses Video Games To Teach Thinking Skills NPR:  At one New York City public school, students not only play in gamelike environments, they also make video games. A Quest to Learn director says the games are integral to 21st century literacy...Teacher Induction Found to Raise Student Scores EdWeek:  The student-achievement findings are in contrast to those from the first two years of the study, which showed no effects on scores... Justices Rule Against Group That Excludes Gay Students NYT:  The majority said public institutions of higher learning were not required to recognize student groups that did not accept all comers.

Media: Associated Press Hypes Chicago Charter School

Picture 12 Pretty disappointing to see the AP hype Chicago's Urban Prep after all that's been out there about kids dropping out of the school along the way from me and others (NPR Story Misses Charter Dropouts).  It's great what's happening for the kids who applied to and got accepted from colleges, and all due credit to Tim King and the people of Urban Prep.  But there's got to be a little bit of scrutiny and skepticism about these 100 percent claims.

Thompson: The Complex Ecology of School Reform (With or Without Superheroes)

Superheroes I have never understood how "reformers" could admire "An Inconvenient Truth," and not understand the concept of ecology. Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim is correct about "the barbaric cruelty" of our urban schools, but he clearly doesn’t understand that they are complex ecosystems. I have seen plenty of horrible teachers. I continually see hopelessly incompetent probationary teachers, who have no due process rights, but who are granted continuing contracts by principals who need a warm body for our toughest classrooms. I have seen unions fulfill their contractual obligation to represent bad teachers.  But I have never seen the union undercut a legitimate termination process. I have seen the union continually offer to help remove ineffective teachers. Guggeheim should think globally and dramatize Linda Perlstein's Tested.  He should think ecologically and ask how teaching talent can be recruited by tarring the entire profession and undercutting our ability to resist the educational malpractice of NCLB.

Continue reading "Thompson: The Complex Ecology of School Reform (With or Without Superheroes)" »

Video: High School Science Project Is For Real

"Two weeks ago, NASA released an insanely beautiful video of the Japanese Hayabusa spacecraft exploding over the Australian Outback. Turns out the video was planned and shot by a couple of [Brookline, MA] high schoolers from a NASA DC-8 aircraft." (Gawker)

Media: Philly Teacher Fired For Online Remarks

image from media.philly.com Journalists aren't the only ones being fired for the online candor these days.  Private school teacher Elizabeth Collins (right) got the sack for an entry describing a student's class presentation, according to an article in the Philly Enquirer that I found via ASBJ's Leading Source.  Apparently the kid's parents complained about the entry, which didn't name names but was apparently still identifiable.  Let's give the last word to the perpetrator herself.  Collins weighs in on what happened and what the newspapers have gotten right and wrong about her situation here

USDE: Protesters At Duncan Event In California

image from www.indybay.org Over the weekend, protesters attended a graduation event at which Arne Duncan was speaking, carrying signs and generally making themselves heard.  

AM News: States Slash Programs To Close $90 Billion Gap

News2

State budget cuts: across the board, and at cross-purposes Stateline:  The cuts included a lot of blunt, across-the-board tactics like California's furloughs because they could be implemented quickly... Districts and unions settling earlier, for less Ed News Colorado:  Colorado school districts and their teachers’ unions are settling contract talks earlier this year as record cuts in state education funding leave little room for negotiations – or raises... Wis. Schools Chief Proposes Revamp of Funding System AP:  The state schools chief on Thursday launched a campaign to reform the way public education is paid for in Wisconsin, offering to guarantee a minimum level of state aid for every student, provide more money for poor districts and reallocate about $900 million worth of property tax credits to general school aid... At Some High Schools, Multiple Valedictorians NYT:  The valedictorian is losing its meaning as administrators dispense the title to every straight-A high school student...The Principal’s Office NYT:  Students call Middle School 391 a “Lean on Me” school, but instead of a principal with a bullhorn, they got one who deploys white office curtains and even irons their shirts... How Should Schools Handle Cyberbullying? NYT:  Affronted by cyberspace’s escalation of adolescent viciousness, many parents are looking to schools for justice, protection, even revenge.

Media: Times Article Exaggerates Turnaround Costs

Two quick thoughts about Sam Dillon's NYT story on Locke high school (about which I am writing a book).  First off, it was interesting to watch as the headline for the story changed overnight from Cost of Progress at a Failing School to School Is Turned Around, but Cost Gives Pause.  The newer headline seems slightly more favorable to Green Dot in that it establishes that Locke is much improved.  The original headline hit lighter on the cost issue but might have made readers think Locke was still the same as before.  

ScreenHunter_17 Jun. 02 18.15Speaking of the cost issue -- the only real news in Dillon's piece -- I'm sure the folks at Green Dot and elsewhere in the state would want it noted more prominently that California's spending on education has fallen to levels much lower than in other states, and that at least some of the extra funding required at Locke -- $1250 per kid, I'm told -- is a function of that low reimbursement rate rather than a real turnaround cost. (And, it should be noted, not all of the schools needing turnarounding are as large and surrounded by violence as Locke - many are substantially smaller and in somewhat less dangerous locations, requiring less by way of additional security.) 

I'm not saying turnarounds are cheap or that Green Dot hasn't spent a lot of outside money, just that the state per pupil and the size of the school and the extreme dangers of Watts should probably be taken into account a little bit better than they were in this particular story. 

On The Hill: Actress Slams Politicos For Not Doing Right By Kids

image from images.politico.com She might not be a big draw for staffers but I'm sure their bosses were wowed by the appearance of actress Jennifer Garner on the Hill yesterday. 

Here she is milling about in between photo ops and her remarks, which included the crack that parents "expect politicians to do the right thing...but that isn’t happening."  For more go here.

Hill: Senate Jobs / Economic Relief Bill Fails

ScreenHunter_26 Jun. 20 15.20 There are other vehicles and approaches to providing relief to school districts but the Senate jobs/economic relief bill has died an ugly death this week, it's finally being acknowledged: Senate Democrats pull jobs bill - David Rogers Politico:  A Democratic-backed jobs and economic relief bill collapsed in the Senate on Thursday after failing for the third time to break through a wall of Republicans who rejected repeated entreaties to join in advancing the $100 billion-plus package, including aid for cash- strapped states and the unemployed...Senate again rejects expanded spending package Washington Post:  Senate Democrats abandoned on Thursday efforts to provide fresh aid to cash-strapped state governments.

AM News: Turnaround Fever In The Golden State

image from geology.com A slew of California-related school reform articles, including Sam Dillon's NYT update on the $15 million cost of revamping Locke high school (School Is Turned Around, but Cost Gives Pause), LA Times and Daily News coverage of Mayor Villaraigosa's press conference yesterday (Villaraigosa backs charter school bids, rips Cortines, Mayor presses LAUSD), and announcement of California's share of the SIG money (Calif. gets $416M to turn around failing schools). 

Thompson: The Times They Are A Changin

Testprep Diane Ravitch complains "The Obama administration's answer to the problem that I pose—the shrinking time for non-tested subjects in an environment of high-stakes testing—is this: Test everything."  Ravitch  notes that the craze in Value Added Models will double standardized testing. It doesn't take a statistical model to calculate the minutes in a school year, and the number of tests, and realize that schools that "win" the Race to the Top will have time for little but test prep.  A rebellion by students, parents, and teachers is coming.  Will occur in time for the fall elections? 

Video: Chicago Superintendent Ducks Questions Re Cuts


Here's a video from Chicago in which teacher/activist/reporter John Kugler asks schools chief Ron Huberman with a question about firing master literacy teachers -- a question that prompts Huberman's handlers to question Kugler's right to ask a question and the abrupt ending of the press conference. Ambush journalism, or a reasonable question? You be the judge. Via Kugler at DailyKos

Audio: The Kanawha County Textbook Wars

image from americanradioworks.publicradio.org Educators and reformers ignore the deeply social and political roots of public education at their own peril.  Here's a reminder, via Emily Hanford at American Public Radio Works (The Great Textbook War)

Thompson: Listening to Teachers

Giant-dog-being-weighed-on-a-scale-peer-review-outstanding-stan According to the Consortium on Chicago School Research, we "should turn to teachers themselves to have the best shot at weeding out poor performers and helping lackluster teachers improve." Under a Chicago pilot study using Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching, 8% of teachers received at least one Unsatisfactory, while 37% were rated Proficient and Distinquished. The current system determined .3% to be Unsatisfactory and ranked 91% in the top two categories. Fifty-seven percent of principals "had positive attitudes about the framework and said they saw changes in instruction as a result of using it."  The big difference between evaluations by teachers and principals is that "teachers themselves are the toughest judge when it comes to identifying high-quality instruction."  The study did not mention The Grand Bargain, but it provides more evidence that peer review informed with test score data could provide an exit strategy from the civil war over "teacher quality" that threatens the soul of the profession.

AM: Smaller Edujobs Provision Still In The Mix

News2 Spending fight freezes war bill Politico:  The $10 billion to help teachers is less than half of what was first proposed and would be offset by spending cuts and about $4.4 billion in new legislative savings, chiefly at the expense of the drug industry. ... Going for grants: 31 states join to create national academic tests USA Today:  Individual states will still determine whether to use the high school test as a graduation requirement, said Chris Barron, spokesman for the Washington state education department... Three Groups Apply for Race to Top Test Grants EdWeek:  The consortia submitted applications to the U.S. Department of Education for money to craft assessments aligned to the common standards... Michelle Obama emphasizes nutrition Politico:  FLOTUS announces the President’s Council on Fitness and Sports will now include nutrition... Small schools up graduation rates for struggling NYC kids USA Today:  They were known as dropout factories: Big high schools in poor neighborhoods where only a quarter to a third of students graduated... Mass. school district under fire for condom policy AP:  A new policy in a Massachusetts public school district that makes condoms available to all students, even those in elementary school, is drawing criticism from some who say it goes too far.

KIPP: "A Limited Success"

"That's not to say that KIPP is a failure. It's not. It's a success. But it's a limited one, and probably always will be." - Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum

Video: Life Without Teacher Unions

A teacher falls asleep complaining about union dues and wakes up to discover that the union has disappeared at his school.  He has entered.... The School Zone.  Via Randy at the Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation.

Dropouts: One School Tries "Chasers"

chasers_cover_art

Someone sent me this link about "chasers" hired by one school to help make sure at risk kids graduate. These seem like more than truant officers -- though they perform a similar function (as well as social workers, probation officers, and the like). I wonder what the chasers' success rates are, and whether the cost is worth it. I know a lot of schools are trying to figure out what to do with chronic absenteeism.

Video Break: "Toy Wire"

The new Toy Story 3 is supposed to be great, and we all know The Wire was great, so why not mash them up into .... Toy Wire:
Toy Wire.

Thompson: Listening to Principals

Catalystindepthspring2010_lrg Principals in Chicago suggest a reform model, create humane capacities for addressing "problem students," and fair, efficient methods of removing ineffective teachers, and #1, address "pressure to raise test scores."  Policy can not solve the other two main problems faced by those principals, "social problems in the community" and "parent apathy," but we could at least lift the gag rule, which prevents educators from speaking truth to the powers above them about these realities. From 2003 to 2007, the turnover rate for Chicago principals was 73%, meaning that 61% of the lowest performing elementary schools have had three or more principals since 2000. Newcomers are more likely to give the job their all for a short time, rather than commit for an entire career.  They also have less teaching experience.  As paperwork grows worse, principals do not have the time to learn how to become educational leaders.   "Experts are unclear" about the amount of classroom experience that is necessary to lead schools, but Chicagoans can't ask whether all this testing is needed.   

Grading: Bad Economy, Better Grades?

ScreenHunter_22 Jun. 16 10.42 I haven't heard about this happening in elementary or high schools, but word's now out that at least 10 law schools have made their grading systems easier as the economy has worsened (In Law Schools, Grades Go Up, Just Like That). 

USDE: Melendez To Leave USDE? [upd]

ScreenHunter_35 Jun. 23 09.29Former LA Unified school board member David Tokofsky says that Thelma Melendez de Santa  Ana, ostensibly in charge of all things NCLB, might be the next top Obama education official to leave the administration.

It's not quite as dramatic as the recall of General McChrystal but it's the best we can do.

No confirmation yet from the Department. 

UPDATE:  USDE says it's not happening. 

AM News: Gates Official Named Deputy In LA

News2 L.A. Unified hires Gates Foundation official as deputy superintendent LA Times:  The appointment raises speculation that John Deasy could replace Supt. Ramon C. Cortines within two years...Parents In Santa Monica Raise Money For Schools NPR:  In wealthy Santa Monica, Calif., parents will be spending the summer trying to raise $7 million to keep class sizes the same, teachers employed and school nurses and librarians on the job... Wisc. School's Losses Examined By SEC Bloomberg:  Five Wisconsin school districts’ $190 million in losses on collateralized-debt obligations are being examined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a lawyer for the districts...Fountain of 'i3' Data Now Online Politics K12:  You can examine the data by geography, and figure out where the biggest—or smallest—concentrations of potential winners are located. You can see who applied for each tier of grants, how much money they want, and who their budget partners are. You can examine the applications by type of applicant, which allows you to see which school districts, nonprofits, and others are vying for this money...Colo. nonprofit helps build Afghan school for deaf AP:  A Colorado nonprofit is partnering with an Afghan organization to build a school in Kabul for deaf children, who often face a bleak future with no communication skills or education.

Cartoon: The Hypocrisy Of "No More Stimulus!"

image from www.theatlanticwire.com

Atlantic Wire:  Joe Mainstreet and the Temple of Doom

Thompson: Sometimes an Explanation is Just an Explanation - Not an Excuse

NoExcuses"The school can't control students' education before ninth grade, ... test scores don't tell the whole story. 'It is a long-term journey and we have to get away from short-term yardsticks.'"

    - Microsoft's laison to Philadelphia's $63 million School of the Future, explaining the school's "dismal" test scores.

Reform: Ravitch Critique Lacks Humility, Political Savvy

image from farm3.static.flickr.com For a long time I was focused on how Diane Ravitch -- whom I like and admire -- had switched sides without anyone noticing until her book came out. It just amazed me that her positions had evolved so dramatically but no one noticed until book time, and frankly made me sort of skeptical about her changed views.  (Ditto for Ravitch's seeming lack of sufficient humility about having been so "wrong" for so long.  Now all of a sudden she was right and everyone else was wrong.)  These days, I'm mostly focused on the striking lack of political thinking Ravitch is showing.  Maybe that was never her strong suit, but in article after article (see this Q and A with Valerie Strauss) she seems to think that some sort of light switch is going to to go off if she keeps saying the same thing over and over again.  Who knows - she may be right.  But it would be a lot more helpful -- and persuasive -- to me if she had some viable ideas about how the public and politicians should proceed without undercutting support for public education.  Confidence in the current system is low enough that politicos on both sides champion changes that may or may not work.  I don't see how, barring a massive testing scandal, reformers step away from accountability -- flawed as it obviously is.  Ditto for charters and choice. And I'm not sure where the new money for education would come from if it wasn't attached to "new" ideas.  Do Ravitch et al really prefer a world in which testing and charters are de-emphasized, but public spending on education is flat or even declines?  Does she even consider it her job to reflect on how to affect the political and other forces that got us where we are, or is she just Wellstone/Kozoling?

AM News: KIPP Works (Says KIPP-Sponsored Study)

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Report reveals GED recipients fare little better than dropouts Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:  A report by University of Chicago economists questions whether GED-based programs are the right way to make sure students complete high school. Looking at studies of GED recipients, the report concludes that people who receive GEDs fare little better economically than high school dropouts when factors such as their greater academic abilities are considered... Ed board in Mass. to set anti-bullying guidelines Boston Globe:  School principals in Massachusetts would be required to report any incidents of bullying to the parents of those involved and -- if necessary -- to law enforcement under rules proposed by the state Board of Education... Prep Classes for College Are Latest in Perks NYT:  Discounted or even free advice on applying to college was dangled by a cable company in a bid to attract subscribers and offered by the A.F.L.-C.I.O. to union members...  4 charged in Texas videotaped school beating AP:  A teacher and three other educators at a Houston charter school were charged Monday in connection with the videotaped beating of a 13-year-old...

Video Break: Janelle Monae In "Tightrope"

 I could try and come up with a justification for posting this video but I won't bother. It's a Monday. You deserve a break. This will remind you of Outkast. Great dance breakdown at the 3:24 mark.

Thompson: Do No Harm (Online)

Soloman It is hard to conceive of a pattern where online education for public schools does not follow online higher education's similarly destructive path.  Clearly, many K-12 and college students benefit from those innovations, but it is equally obvious that many young people are sold a bill of goods.  Isn't that always the case with the Market where some win and some lose, and where we split the difference for many in the middle?  And that should be the lesson for "reformers."  What parent would agree to a competition where one of his children is greatly benefited, while another is greatly harmed?  Adults can choose to gamble on the creative destruction of the Market, but children deserve our protection.  When dealing with public education, we should fore-swear the risks of "transformative" change, where great benefits always entail great risks, and commit to more incremental "win win" reforms as described by Diane Ravitch.

Hill: Analyzing the Edujobs Failure

Opinions on why the edujobs bill failed last week include concerns about unemployment spending, lost interest in job creation, high defense spending, and lack of offsets.  And, of course, politics.  Via the Atlantic (Why the Jobs Bills Failed)

AM News: Boston Agrees On Underperforming Schools

6a00e54f8c25c988340133ef5f8fd8970b-200wiTeachers, city reach extra-hour agreement Boston Globe:  Boston school officials announced yesterday that they had reached a tentative agreement with the teachers’ union on a plan to overhaul the city’s 12 underperforming schools, in a new state negotiating process that attempted to resolve a divisive battle over compensating teachers for working extra hours... Schools Struggle Over How to Teach Severely Disabled People NYT:  There are 132,000 such students in the United States, out of more than 6.5 million now receiving some kind of special education service at an estimated cost of $74 billion a year... Schools struggle to meet new race labeling rules AP:  Washington school districts are struggling with a new federal requirement to gather more specific information on the ethnicity of their students, a policy that encourages officials to guess when parents don't supply race information. MORE  BELOW

Continue reading "AM News: Boston Agrees On Underperforming Schools" »

Detroit: Board President Resigns Over Superintendent Allegations

image from cmsimg.detnews.comimage from cmsimg.detnews.com

Detroit Board president Otis Mathis (above left) resigned -- and then attempted to rescind his resignation -- over allegations from the district superintendent Teresa Gueyser (above right) that he fondled himself (among other things) during their meetings.  Detroit News coverage here.  Letter describing the unsavory event here.  Letter of resignation here

EdSec: Duncan To S. Africa To Bolster U.S. Team Defense

Jabulani_cropBreaking news;  President Obama is sending Education Secretary Arne Duncan to South Africa in an effort to bolster United States chances in the World Cup. 

No, not really.  But here's the schedule for next week.  Nothing nearly as interesting on tap, at least as far as public media events that they want us to know about and hope will be covered by the press.

Continue reading "EdSec: Duncan To S. Africa To Bolster U.S. Team Defense" »

Thompson: Rejecting the Blame Game

Harding My school is the lowest performing in the state, but before blaming educators or parents we should check Newsweek's rankings of top high schools.  Our poor neighborhood sends kids to five schools on Jay Mathews' elite list and to several other equally excellent schools.  When we still had Advanced Placement, I often felt like I was back teaching at Rutgers as I taught students who were more advanced than anyone from my generation.  Now, I chat daily with the students, parents, and teachers at Harding Prep (ranking #69), which is a block from my house.  Though listed as 77% low-income, it is not in the same world as the old Harding where gang-members and their Rotweillers stood vigil every day.  When I judged History Contests at Classen (#39), the students and I would philosophize for hours afterward.  The conversations were graduate-school quality.

Continue reading "Thompson: Rejecting the Blame Game" »

Testing: Is It Still "High Stakes" When 90 Percent Pass?

"Ninety percent of Washington's 12th graders passed the statewide reading and writing tests before graduating, but state officials said Wednesday that math results show that subject is going to be a major obstacle to graduation for future classes." (Seattle PI: 90 pct. of seniors passed Wash. graduation exams)

UPK: Back From The Dead [corrected]

photoJust when you think universal preschool  (UPK) is finally dead, it comes back again. This time its return comes in the form of a massive cover package in The American Prospect featuring scads of pro-early childhood education articles by the likes of Sara Mead and Cornelia Grumman.  Don't they know that there's a recession on, and no one has time or money to think about the little kids?

Reading for Life
Literacy Begins at Birth
Lessons From New Jersey
Missing Out on Reading
Health Education

CORRECTION:  Apologies to all.  As many of you have already noticed, these stories are not about UPK, which is indeed dead for now.  They're about early learning K-3, which was apparently close to a BIG payday in the healthcare bill and is in motion to benefit from a "Race To The Top for early ed." 

Decision 2010: More Padded Teaching Experience Accusations

Blog_Vote Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Kirk is being accused of puffing up a part-time work-study stint at a nursery school in a story in the New York Times.  Failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner was accused of doing so by none other than This American Life's Ira Glass (see previous post here). Used to be, political candidates seemed to pad their military records or business accomplishments.  These days, it's their teaching experience. 

AM News: Drug Companies Might Pay For $10B Edujobs

6a00e54f8c25c988340133ef5f8fd8970b-200wi

Lawmakers target 'pay-for-delay' Politico:  administration and House Democratic officials told POLITICO that it’s being actively discussed now in a new effort to come up with $10 billion in spending cuts and savings to offset emergency assistance to local school boards this summer... Major Foundation Gets Set to Open a Charter School EdWeek:  With plans to open a charter school next year in its Kansas City hometown, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation breaks new ground...N.Va. Community College offers career switchers quick path to teaching Washington Post:  As part of a statewide effort to fill a shortage of public schoolteachers, Northern Virginia Community College offers a program that promises to move people from other careers into the classroom in 16 weeks... What's Life Like For Gay Kids In Public Schols? NPR:  High school is a challenging time for most teens. It can be even more so for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Judy Chiasson of the Los Angeles Unified School District and Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network talk about being openly LGBT in school.

Graduation: Nearly 80K Heading To Military

Green-graduation "In a country that has been at war for nearly nine years, principals and students at highly regarded suburban schools say that interest has been growing in the military — and not just in West Point and the other academies that traditionally attract top students."  From the NYT:  Graduates Who’ll Be Saluting Soon

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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.