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AM News: Gone To The Beach

Picture 3 Gone to the beach.  Have a great weekend.  Check out John Podesta's defense of the Obama education priorities (recently attacked by Dana Milkbank) here, and Paul Tough on funding uncertain initiatives (here). Oh, and Justin Long (Drew Barrymore's boyfriend) texts with a middle schooler in Texas on Jimmy Kimmel last night.  All via Wonkbook.

Quote: Mathews Slams Milbank

"Campaigning against standardized tests is a loser. Just ask the last presidential candidate who tried it, Howard Dean." -- Jay Mathews slamming Dana Milbank (Milbank's mistake)

Video Interlude: Jackson Five Meets Nirvana

Totally contrasting songs and styles, but they mash up remarkably well:

Via Kottke.org

Thompson: Credit Recovery'S Dirty Little Secret

Dirty-Little-Secret Credit Recovery, or the "dirty little secret of high schools" (NYT) has been exposed as a game of "let’s pretend" graduation rates have increased (Joanne Jacobs). The lack of accountability for credit recovery by the accountability hawks has been exposed (GothamSchools). Until Sarah Butrymowicz's piece in the Hechinger Report, the focus has been on the hypocrisy of adults not the damage that it does to students. Think of the destructive message we send to students who are absent 50% or more of the time, and get credit for ten hours of busywork. Teenagers are invited to fall hopelessly behind by the promise that some online worksheets can make up for learning in class. My students referred to credit recovery as "exercising the right click finger."

Media: A Narrow Measure Of Jason Felch

image from profile.ak.fbcdn.netWho is Jason Felch (pictured), the investigative reporter behind the LA Times' controversial series?  A San Francisco native who attended UC Berkeley, Felch contributed to a series of education-related stories over the past year (Bar set low for lifetime job in L.A. schoolsGovernor proposes merit pay for educators). But education's not Felch's beat, as is apparent from yesterday's All Things Considered, in which he makes the outdated assertion that districts know or do nothing to distinguish between high and low classroom performers:

"Schools around the country do nothing to study these highly effective teachers, do nothing to reward them or recognize them...For years, we have known nothing about this." ('L.A. Times' Series Examines Teacher Ratings)

That's no longer the case, I would argue, given the spread of various performance pay and value-added initiatives -- and ignores the key distinction between using the data and broadcasting it publicly. Felch follows WikiLeaks on Twitter and can be reached at jason.felch@latimes.com.

UPDATE:  Felch and Song are scheduled to do a webchat about the story at 11am Pacific.

AM News: CA Playing Games With Edujobs Money

News2 State could use federal school funding to help close budget gap LA Times:  The federal government recently handed $1.2 billion to California schools to help save teachers' jobs. But education advocates fear that state legislators will use the funds to shrink California's $19.1-billion deficit instead... Districts get the word on Edujobs grants EdNewsCO:  Most districts are expected to receive grants equal to 2.9 percent of their total program funding, which is the amount of state and local revenue that’s devoted to school operating costs... Report Advises Rethinking Home-Language Surveys EdWeek:  Though used by most schools to identify students needing help learning English, the surveys may often be inaccurate, researchers say... Haitian school founder pleads guilty to sexual conduct with minors NCC:  Perlitz was arrested in Colorado last year after a federal grand jury in Connecticut indicted him on 10 counts related to the alleged sexual abuse of minors in Haiti...


Video Interlude: 2010 Yo-Yo Champion

You know you want to watch it.

Media: The Examiner Is Everywhere

image from t2.gstatic.com Who's your favorite education Examiner?  There are a bunch of them out there, including a hard-nosed former principal in Chicago (Edward Hayes) and an energetic former mainstream journalist in San Francisco (Caroline Grannan), and an unemployed NBC teacher named Carl Herman.  Many of them are liberal/lefty types -- somewhat ironic given the site's conservative / capitalistic roots.  This TIME article describes why they show up so high in Google searches, how they're organized and recruited.

Quote: Safe Schools Czar On Last Year's Attacks

Quotes2 All I could think is, no matter how this ends, it's better than sitting at home wondering, 'Gosh, I wonder what it would have been like to be part of the Obama administration?' -- USDE Safe Schools czar Kevin Jennings in Washington Whispers


ACT 2010 Roundup: Who Covered It Best?

12ol-style-dating_3_518996a The 2010 ACT scores are out -- which newspaper covered the results best (or worst)? Scores Stagnate at High Schools WSJ:  Fewer than 25% of 2010 graduates who took the ACT college-entrance exam possessed the academic skills necessary to pass entry-level courses, despite modest gains in college-readiness among U.S high-school students in the last few years... ACT Scores Dip, But More Students College-Ready NPR:  Average scores on the ACT college entrance exam have inched downward this year, yet slightly more students who took the test proved to be prepared for college, a report out Wednesday says... ACT scores dip, but more students meet college benchmarks USAT:  Average scores on the ACT college entrance exam inched downward this year, yet slightly more students who took the test proved to be prepared.

Thompson: Teacher Turnover, Teacher Dismissals

8bit-Costume_1 The 5% of teachers recently fired in D.C., and the nearly 20% who were labeled "minimally effective" and placed on the chopping block, are just the tip of the iceberg.  The real story is the damage to kids when the district has a 76% turnover rate over five years.  "It's heartbreaking. It's like kids in a divorce," said Danielle Vinglish, 24, who quit her job as a first-year  teacher. Bill Turque in the Washington Post reported that the reasons for those divorces in D.C. include "endless meetings with no purpose," abusive administrators, and the IMPACT evaluation system that has replaced teachers' creativity with compliance to a checklist.

AM News: Districts Save Bailout Money For Now

News2 Given Stimulus Funds to Rehire, Schools Wait and See NYT:  The money for schools to rehire teachers, counselors and support workers is instead being set aside by school districts worried about cuts to come in the current school year... Official: SC may not be eligible for stimulus cash AP:  Education officials were scrambling to see if the state still might be eligible for $143 million in federal money to stave off teacher layoffs...Was Phoebe Prince once a bully? Slate:  On Bebo and in school, Gwen and her mother said, Phoebe was part of a group of former friends who turned on Gwen, ostracizing and bullying her over the course of a painful spring... Feds: No charges in Philadelphia school laptop-spying case USAT:  Federal prosecutors will not file charges against a school district or its employees over the use of software to remotely monitor students... One in Five Teenagers Might Be Making Themselves Deaf Jezebel:  Your teen isn't ignoring you. They just can't hear you... Former Atlanta mayor to Arne Duncan: Media assaults and political agendas could destabilize APS Get Schooled (AJC):  Here is the letter that former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin is sending to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to ask his advice in steering APS through the crisis in confidence resulting from the CRCT probe and in dealing with the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.

Media: Anchor Babies And Mass Layoffs

No_anchor_babies_thumbnail What do anchor babies and mass layoffs of teachers have in common?  They're both imaginary, the product of political advocates who -- somehow -- trick or bludgeon the press into covering them as if they were real long enough to scare everyone into action (voting for edujobs, voting against Democrats).  You'd think that the press could do something as simple as figure out whether there were in fact massive layoffs happening in the school districts that they cover. But you'd be wrong. Instead, they relied on overstated, oft-repeated, interest-driven projections and preliminary layoff notices (ie pink slips). Only now, after the fact, do they seem to have figured out that the actual layoffs were shaping up to be much less.  There's a roundup of "less than expected" layoff stories at AEI here.  Really, really depressing what happened here.  Teacherpocalypse won.

Thompson: Public Reprimands

Fishbowl-russian-dolls There are reasons for protecting teachers from public reprimands. We work in a fishbowl. Classroom instruction is a subjective work in progress requiring confidence, trust, leadership, and teamwork.  I have seen how administrators can undermine an educator by evading the collective bargaining agreement and expressing displeasure with a wink and a nod.  But the Los Angeles schools just outsourced the shaming of teachers to the press, and "reformers" seem oblivious to why the Golden Rule should apply in this case.  So, let us see the work in progress of others who helped to publicly reprimand teachers in the LAUSD.  Let's see the ongoing communications between the journalists and their editors discussing the strengths and weaknesses of their evidence.  How was the narrative framed? Didn't we know in advance that the series would find a teacher with National Board certification to criticize?

Continue reading "Thompson: Public Reprimands" »

Video Interlude: "Shutterbug" By Big Boi

Stupid video -- fun song. Via Wonkbook.  Now back to saving the world, everyone.

Media: Reformy Cheerleader Sends Massive Emails

image from t2.gstatic.com He's like the Mike Klonsky of the center right, the Fritz Edelstein of Wall Street, the Ezra Klein of school reform cheerleaders.  Every few days hedge fund guy Whitney Tilson sends out an email blast to his thousand best friends -- news stories and reports plus breathless annotations.  There's a blog, too, but that's slower and much less fun than the email.   I've told you about him before (Who The Hell Is Whitney Tilson?Hedge Fund Guy Single-Handedly E-Mails Obama To VictoryWhitney Tilson Wishes This Happened To Linda Darling-Hammond) but I thought you might need a reminder.  Read, roll your eyes, sign up, join the fight.  I'm attaching yesterday's missive from Tilson for your review.You can get the email yourself by sending him an email at WTilson at tilsonfunds.com.

Continue reading "Media: Reformy Cheerleader Sends Massive Emails" »

Quote: Duncan Endorses Publishing Teacher Ratings

Quote-mark Public ratings "empower teachers to strengthen their craft and find out who are the great teachers around them...What's there to hide?" -- Arne Duncan on LA Times teacher rating story

Ratings: Giving Everyone An AYP Rating

ScreenHunter_04 Aug. 16 19.20 Publishing a teacher's value-added rating isn't the same as releasing salary information or sending a letter home to parents telling them that their child's teacher isn't highly qualified in the area of instruction.  It's like releasing someone's annual performance review -- no one does this -- or giving everyone an individual AYP score.  I say this as someone who's more comfortable with accountability and standardized testing than most.  But it seems like a lot of people -- including the Secretary of Education -- are confused right now (or eager, perhaps, to change the subject from the passage of that dreadful edujobs bill).  Value-added assessment of teachers has many potential benefits -- helping principals identify and support effective instruction, helping teachers improve or get out.  Rating teachers publicly has several drawbacks -- giving parents a false sense of certainty, discrediting the value-added approach, hardening teachers' opposition. Just because you can quantify something doesn't mean you should, or that the numbers have any intrinsic magical powers,  or that their release will create any sudden momentum or certainty among parents or lawmakers around providing better schools. The thrilling powers of ratings and statistics quickly fade in the real world, as we've learned from years of school report cards -- what, no parent uprising? -- and past teacher rating goof-ups (like this 2008 Dallas Morning News article about how the district rated teachers for classes they didn't teach).

Teachers: Cortines Responds To Teacher Evaluation Article

Quotes2 "We reject the implication that test scores alone form the basis for designating a teacher as ineffective..."

-- Ray Cortines, superintendent of LAUSD (two statements)

Continue reading "Teachers: Cortines Responds To Teacher Evaluation Article" »

Reform: More About Reporting Value Added Ratings

340x_mesorry Even if you're a big fan of value-added measurements of teacher performance, the LA Times' decision to post names and ratings of individual teachers might give you some pause.  It's one thing to evaluate, rate and even pay teachers based on test scores, but another thing to make those ratings public.  In fact, some states prohibit the release of this information based on it being a personnel issue.  Others prohibit it because the technology for evaluating test data and linking it to teachers is so uncertain.  According to the Data Quality Campaign, which tracks this issue closely, "no one is planning to make individual teacher data public and no one is asking for it in that manner." They also sent along an ECS report on state activity around VAM (here), which may be useful. My partial and potentially inaccurate list of states that ban publicizing this kind of information includes NC, VA, TX, TN, Mississippi, and LA.  No one seems to have the full list -- have asked the USDE, UFT, and others but nothing back yet.


Video: Maggot Invades Teen's Eye During Walk To School

A kid walking to school had a gnat land in his eye. The gnat laid eggs (or whatever gnats do) and the maggot started chomping on the teen's eye.


Don't blame me -- I didn't make this up.  It's from Animal Planet, via AP.

Thompson: The Lessons of History

WireI was born in 1953 as "Pax Americana" was beginning. Most Whites, and some Blacks, who were born at that time benefited from the G.I. Bill and the rest of the social safety net that helped to create the greatest economic boom in history. We practiced delayed gratification, and with the miracle of compound interest, a great middle class was created. More Blacks, who also practiced delayed gratification, were being born into a world where the last sharecroppers were being "tractored out," and where the prison industrial complex maintained much of the oppression of slavery. Nine percent of Black male dropouts, who were born when I was, eventually were institutionalized, as opposed to 2% of similar Whites. When generation after generation, Blacks were incarcerated at four to five times the rate of Whites, the damage was compounded. Derek Neal showed the results of a staggering 26% of Black male dropouts born in the early 1970s being institutionalized as factory work started to disappear.

Continue reading "Thompson: The Lessons of History" »

TED: Transformative Ideas, Or Feel-Good Insiders' Club?

Will TED transform education (or public health or the Internet) or is it nothing more than a set of feel-good videos (education ones here) plus a clubby network for insiders?

image from www.ted.comThe reason I ask is there was a giant, fawning Fast Company article out last week about how TED was "the new Harvard," to which more than a few bloggers responded with a collective "gak."  The Awl noted "the self-congratulatory sheen" of TED participants quoted in the article (along with the exclusivity and cost of participation that make TED talks just as out of reach as Harvard).

Most of all, I'm curious about who's invited to the TED conference -- a very different set from those who present or watch the videos.

Grading: Course Grades Just As Arbitrary As School Ratings

image from img.slate.comYou think school rating systems are ever-changing and ridiculously arbitrary?  Classroom grading practices give them a run for their money, according to this little history from last week's Slate .  "The earliest record of a letter-grade system comes from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts in 1897. (There is a passing reference in the Harvard archives to a student receiving a B grade in 1883, but no evidence of a complete A-through-F system.) The lowest grade at Mount Holyoke was an E, which represented failure."


Teaching: "I Asked Facebook [Or Twitter]"

ScreenHunter_36 Aug. 12 22.27 Search meets social media.  It's not just lazy Google searches that teachers are having to deal with these days -- now there's Twitter and even Facebook.  People love to answer questions on Twitter, as one blogger found when she compared Google search to Twitter search.  Facebook recently launched Facebook Questions, which allows users to ask their friends (and strangers) whether Belgium is bigger than Poland (answers if any are here).


Teachers: Strong Reactions To LA Times' Value Added Story

image from www.latimes.com Lots of back and forth over the past 48 hours since the publication of the LA Times' eye-opening Hechinger-funded story about variations in kids' test scores based on what teacher they have -- and naming them publicly.

“The best teachers were not concentrated in schools in the most affluent neighborhoods, nor were the weakest instructors bunched in poor areas...The quality of instruction typically varied far more within a school than between schools."

Larry Ferlazzo calls it a cheap shot.  The UTLA has similar concerns.  Whitney Tilson called it the best thing since sliced bread (see email excerpt below).

Continue reading "Teachers: Strong Reactions To LA Times' Value Added Story" »

AM News: Teacher Performance Gaps Within Schools

NB:  You should probably start with the  post above, which focuses on within-school disparities in teacher performance reported in a controversial LA Times story over the weekend. News2

On education policy, Obama is like Bush Washington Post (Dana Milbank):  If Duncan really wants to stop the biggest bully in America's schools right now, he'll have to confront his boss, President Obama... Dems may use food stamp money to pay for Michelle Obama's nutrition initiative The Hill:  The House will soon consider an $8 billion child nutrition bill that’s at the center of the first lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative... Budgets Tight, School Supply Lists Go Beyond Glue Sticks NYT:  With school budgets shrinking, parents are asked to provide cleaning products as well as crayons and scissors... Dog chows down on SC man's school board petition Boston Globe:  The dog really did eat the homework, or, in this case, the petition a South Carolina man was going to file to run for school board... More Cities Seek Mayoral Control of Schools WSJ:  Mayoral control—which usually means dissolving elected school boards and replacing them with commissions appointed by the mayor—was pioneered in Boston in 1992.  Plus of course the LA Times' story on value-added measures of teacher performance and the UTLA boycott of the paper (in comments).

Diagram: Charlatans. Martyrs. Hustlers.

image from joeyroth.com
Based on this diagram I am a hustler -- or maybe a charlatan. How about you?

Charlatans talk a lot but don't do much work.  Martyrs work a lot but don't talk.  Hustlers do both.

Charlatans. Martyrs. Hustlers.

This is a riff off of Rudy Crew's line about charlatans and carpetbaggers in the turnaround game from last week's NYT.

Media: Chicago Nonprofit Sneaks Into The NYT

ScreenHunter_02 Aug. 13 11.55 Kudos to Catalyst Chicago and reporter Sarah Karp for getting this story (Many Chicago Charter Schools Run Deficits, Data Shows) into the New York Times (online nationally and in the Midwest National print edition) via the Chicago News Cooperative.  Right now there are a lot of foundation-funded nonprofit news outlets (ProPublica, Hechinger to name a couple) who have promised to get get broader mainstream exposure for their work through established mainstream outlets, and little old Catalyst jumped to the head of the line with this latest move.  Yes, there's a personal connection -- Catalyst founder Linda Lenz and CNC associate editor Marshall Froker are married.  (Yes, I used to freelance for Catalyst and they sponsored my Chicago blog for about a year.) But the piece Karp wrote seems as strong as any of the other CNC education pieces that the Times has run and I think that, over all, it's a good move for CNC to bring in proven talent.


Media: A Sunday Talk Show -- For Education

Tumblr_l6a02mkMPu1qz5mwro1_400 A glut of blogs.  A swarm of Twitterers.  What's missing from the education mediasphere?  A Sunday talk (or radio) show featuring honest debate among smart people who don't all agree but aren't selling something or yelling and screaming at each other, either.  That was the idea behind the Month In Review, an extremely low-tech audio roundtable that I hosted on and off in 2007 and 2008 with the help of folks like Stephanie Banchero (WSJ), Diana Schemo (NYT), Jay Mathews (WPost), Greg Toppo (USA Today), and Beth Schuster (LA Times). On the last Friday of each month, we'd debate what we thought were the biggest stories, the most under- and over-reported topics, winners and losers, and predictions for the near future.  Nothing more than a recorded conference each segment was about 20 minutes long.  Here's an example, and another, and another. I can't bear to listen to them, the production values and my hosting are so bad, but the quality of the ideas and the conversation were good and so I'm bringing it back for 2010-2011 -- this time as a real-time event that you can listen to live or later on as a podcast or download.  Mark your calendars for Friday August 27 at noon eastern.

Edujobs: States Scramble To Find Uses For Funding

It's the teacher bailout that came to late, or wasn't needed, or might be needed next year.  More news about what states are going to do with edujobs money: After Layoffs, Yonkers Trims Curriculum NYT:  Amid a statewide fiscal crisis, Yonkers has laid off 90 teachers, which will force it to increase class sizes... Education jobs bill will mean $250 million for Virginia Hampton Roads:  Locally, layoffs have been rare, with nine teachers losing their jobs in Norfolk and two in Northampton County... Illinois to get $415M for education jobs AP:  In Elgin, the largest district outside of Chicago, 1,000 of 5,000 education jobs were cut last school year, Superintendent Jose Torres said. About 440 teachers can return because of the education jobs fund, he added... School districts: Money to be used next year The Item:  "Almost unanimously, (the districts) said they'd rather batten down hatches for this year, (and) they'd already made all the tough decisions for this year," Rex said... Colorado Edujobs status still uncertain EdNewsCO:  ENC cross-referenced information about staff reductions from the project’s two reports and came up with a total of 1,825 jobs affected by budget cuts... Federal funds to help save NM schools from cut AP:  "In light of this unexpected federal funding for teachers, it makes no sense to force school districts to cut budgets now and disrupt the upcoming school year," Richardson said in a news release.

AM News: Hard Times For Charters And Lunch Ladies

News2Many Chicago Charter Schools Run Deficits NYT:  Even though Chicago’s charter schools brought in $21 million in private money from foundations, corporations and wealthy individuals in 2007 — the last year for which complete information is available — half have run an average of $700,000 in deficits in recent years... Reform Hits School Workers Hard WBEZ:  Over three years, 285 support staff lost their positions in Chicago turnarounds. The district says just 14 employees won jobs back in those schools. About one in five found positions elsewhere in the system... Attention to Poor Urban Schools Helped Raise Conn. Ranking EdWeek:  The percentage of Connecticut schools that met federal benchmarks for math and reading rose to 72 percent this year... Ed Secretary Duncan to speak at Clinton library Arkansas News:  Duncan will lecture Aug. 25 on education reform and the Obama administration’s back-to-school education agenda.

Media: Memphis Higher Ed Reporter's Colorful Past

Nym-pizza Richard Morgan is the newish higher education reporter at The Commercial Appeal where he's landed after spending most of his 20s freelancing for fancy magazines (and the Chronicle of Higher Education).  He writes about the experience in The Awl (Seven Years as a Freelance Writer), in an article that includes a few education-related stories and a lot of whinging about editors and payments and -- worst (best) of all -- other freelance writers.  Though it's a little too David Foster Wallace for me, and for all its confessional quality doesn't name names nearly as much as it should, there are some great lines about random editor behavior and Morgan sounds like quite a fun character. It's also a pretty good cautionary tale for anyone who's thought about freelancing (don't do it!).

Teaching: A New Kind Of Colon

569_105827287_8b8305b3ec_b1There's a new kind of colon being used these days -- did you know?  It's called the "jumper" colon.

"The jumper colon is a paragraphical Red Bull, a rocket-launch of a punctuator, the Usain Bolt of literature."
Time to Check Your Colons (The Millions)

Cartoon: "Do I Have Permission To Fake The Test Data?"

image from 3.bp.blogspot.com
Via GothamSchools

Teacherpocalypse 2010: Edujobs' Impact Uneven, Uncertain, Unnecessary

07teachers-art3-popupForget Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters.  The passage of the edujobs bill is already looking pretty stinky, and it just passed yesterday.  The must-pass Democratic edujobs law isn't needed in some states, or won't get there in time, or can't be used for this or that reason, or will be used next year: States not facing teacher layoffs get federal money anyway Daily Caller:  The federal government estimates that the bill will save 161,000 teaching jobs, but North Dakota, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alaska and a handful of other states have kept their educational pay rolls full despite the recession, which has drastically lowered government revenues around the country... Feds say state can use education money next year Tulsa World:  Assistant U.S. Education Secretary Carmel Martin told reporters a pre-existing law to the one signed Tuesday by President Obama gives schools the legal right to carry over the money... Click below for more links.

Continue reading "Teacherpocalypse 2010: Edujobs' Impact Uneven, Uncertain, Unnecessary" »

Quote: "Find A Job, Earn A Paycheck, Get Tunure..."

"The whole notion of teaching being a profession where you could find a job, earn a comfortable paycheck, get tenure and retire with a tidy pension is changing, experts say." -- Chicago Tribune: Teachers wondering about their careers



Thompson: Explaining the Achievement Gap

Whenworkdi The closest thing to a "smoking gun" found by ETS in the report I described in my previous post is the percentage of children born in "high disadvantage neighborhoods." It shows that 78% of Black children born from 1985 to 2000 were born in those neighborhoods with another 21% being born in medium disadvantage communities. ETS's historical explanation of why the narrowing of the achievement gap stopped in the 1990s supports my (and others') hypothesis that the turning point was the deindustrialization of America, sparked by the 1973 energy crisis.  The employment rate of Black high school dropouts decreased from 69% for males born in the early 1950s to 47% for males born between 1970 and 1974  The percentage of Black male dropouts born as the old industrial system started to die, who were institutionalized, was 26% - five times greater than comparable Whites.

Continue reading "Thompson: Explaining the Achievement Gap" »

AM News: States Pitching Reform Plans To Duncan

News2 Md. Officials Interview For Education Funds Maryland moved a step closer Wednesday to getting a quarter of a billion dollars from the federal government... School bullying takes center stage at summit in Washington Just under a third of students ages 12-18 reported that they had been bullied in school in a recent study by the National Center for Education statistics... Cost of Cyber Charter Schools Going Up as Popularity Increases Cyber charter schools are becoming a bigger business across and U.S., increasing costs for public school districts, which fund a student's enrollment in the schools. [See above for a roundup of Edujobs coverage]


Media: Six Rules Of Blogging

Here's an annotated version of the six rules I laid out on Twitter yesterday afternoon.  Feel free to add others or offer alternatives. I have no idea what I'm talking about.

ScreenHunter_32 Aug. 11 13.34

Continue reading "Media: Six Rules Of Blogging" »

Safety: The "Bullying Bandwagon"?

ScreenHunter_29 Aug. 10 21.58 Focusing on the bullying summit taking place in Washington today and tomorrow, school safety guru Ken Trump says that the Obama administration is focusing too much on school climate issues like bullying and losing track of larger, scarier school safety issues (The U.S. Department of Bullying?).  Others would argue that focusing on climate prevents larger scale problems, but what do they know?  Trump ran the youth gang unit for Cleveland schools and has been on every cable and network news show you can think of.

Video: Jet-Powered School Bus

“I built the bus for two reasons. The first is to entertain people because, come on, it’s a jet bus. The second, is to keep kids off drugs. Jets are hot, drugs are not.” (clusterflock)

Media: Big Retraction On Bennet Story From NYT

ScreenHunter_27 Aug. 10 17.20 Usually reluctant to give even the slightest concession, the Times slapped this big correction on Friday's story about financial dealings of Senator Michael Bennet and his successor at DPS, Tom Boasberg.

Basically, the Times missed out on the fact that the story was being pitched to them by a Bennet opponent, and assumed Bennet and Boasberg had worked together.

Via Whitney Tilson, a staunch Bennet supporter, who gleefully noted that Bennet won his primary last night.

Edujobs: Second Teacher Bailout Signed Into Law

image from observatory.designobserver.com Feel better now, teachers?

You got everyone so freaked out about your (relatively small) job worries that a Democratic-controlled Congress gave you a second bailout paid for in part with money taken from the food stamp program -- even when there are nowhere near 160,000 jobs to be saved.

Image via Hard Times


Media: National Journal Blog Vs. NYT Blog

ScreenHunter_20 Aug. 09 11.09The National Journal has its education experts blog (currently discussing the relative merits of RTTT and i3), and the New York Times has its "Room For Debate" (which regularly includes education topics like cheating, textbook costs,ScreenHunter_21 Aug. 09 11.16 national standards).  But which one is better, and are they any good?  I'm on the National Journal one and I only skimmed the Times site so I may be disqualified from discussing this, but I'd say neither is very different or really very good.  The NJ version is dedicated to education, so that's good.  But they're not interactive -- no one responds to or challenges each other's assumptions.  They're not always very timely.  And few of the voices are new people saying interesting, unfamiliar things or challenging the conventional wisdom.  Both seem to be a cheap and easy way for mainstream news outlets to get content online without dedicating the editorial or other resources to mount something truly good.  What am I missing?

Thompson: Bring Back The "Culture Of Poverty" Debate

MoynihanIt has been 33 years since my advisor told me to delete the words "culture of poverty" from my dissertation -- even though I was referring to White sharecroppers.  Using the phrase could kill my career, I was told.  So you can imagine my reaction to ETS’s outstanding new report, When Progress Stopped, which is dedicated to Daniel Patrick Moynihan and his "prescient warning" about the decline of the Black family. After the abuse heaped on Moynihan by liberals, social scientists largely shunned issues regarding "a culture of poverty" until William Julius Wilson and then Barack Obama led a reappraisal of the causes of the gaps between Blacks and Whites. ETS correctly concludes that we will not close the achievement gap without discussion, debate, and disagreement. Today, some educators would be risking their careers by voicing agreement with Moynihan, Wilson, the President, and the ETS on this issue. But Henry Louis Gates does not face that threat, so we should heed his words, "A household composed of a sixteen-year-old mother, a thirtytwo-year-old grandmother, and a forty-eight year-old great grandmother cannot possibly be a site for hope."

Video Interlude: "Have You Seen Junior's Grades?"

Ok, everyone.  Take a deep breath.  Time for a video interlude in the midst of all the edujobs craziness (and the spat between the White House and lefty columnists) for a fuzzy little retro Van Halen video called And The Cradle Will Rock that features the famous line, "Have you seen Junior's grades?".

May be NSFW depending on your workplace and/or the presence of hipsters / millennials in the vicinity.

Congress: Late-Breaking Questions About "Edujobs"

What if there were no massive teacher layoffs to prevent?  Pretty embarassing for journalists and infuriating for critics.  Politico (here) and NPR  (here) raise some questions about the politics and the necessity of edujobs.  EIA's Mike Antonucci digs up some vivid charts and statistics:

image from www.eiaonline.com
"After 30 months of recession, local government education employment (the category where most teachers and support employees reside) has yet to approach a one percent decline."  (EIA)

Media: The Million-Dollar News Roundup

image from t1.gstatic.com The latest addition to the Hechinger Report seems to be a noontime education news roundup called the Recess Round-Up.  Nothing wrong with roundups -- EdWeek, EdNews.org, GothamSchools already do them, as do I.  But none of us are getting a million dollars in foundation money to do one.  Call me, Lumina and Gates people! I could do that (and more) for much much less.

AM News: Obama Making Education Economic Issue

News2 Education is economic issue Politico:  Several times during his 25-minute speech Obama argued that investing in education is the “single most important” move his administration can make toward building a solid economic foundation... Obama speech ties U.S. need for more college graduates to the economic recovery Washington Post:  Saying that the country's long-term economic recovery depends on a wholesale improvement in education, President Obama on Monday pledged his administration's best efforts toward increasing the number of college graduates... Texas Schools Paying for Tutors With Mixed Track Record EdWeek/AP:  School districts across Texas are paying tens of millions of taxpayer dollars for private tutoring that has a mixed track record of improving student test scores [and billions for an education system who's record is just as bad]... Lesson Plan in Boston Schools - Don’t Go It Alone NYT:  Rather than have the principal fill the slots one by one, the Boston schools have enlisted the help of a nonprofit organization, Teach Plus, to assemble teams of experienced teachers who will make up a quarter of the staff of each turnaround school come fall.



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