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Events: Duncan Clears His Media Calendar

55747158-26132039 Look!  Over there!  EdSec Arne Duncan has nothing public on his schedule for next week besides a Tuesday NASA event in the LBJ Auditorium. 

See below. 

It might have something to do with Thanksgiving. 

Continue reading "Events: Duncan Clears His Media Calendar" »

AM News: TFA's Seige Of Seattle Finally Prevails

News2 Improving Lousiana's schools, starting with teachers NPR:  University of Louisiana-Monroe raised admissions standards; made students take more courses in the subjects they'd be teaching, like science; and tripled the amount of time they spent in the classroom... 12th Grade Reading Scores Worse Than In 1992 AP: A national education assessment released Thursday shows that high school seniors have made some improvement in reading, but remain below the achievement levels reached nearly two decades ago... Ruby Bridges Returns To School Where She Challenged Segregation Huffington Post: Bridges recently returned to the building, left in shambles by Hurricane Katrina, to reunite with an old classmate and look back at the challenges they faced desegregating the school... School Board agrees to let TFA recruits apply Seattle Times: The Seattle School Board has approved an agreement with Teach For America, which could bring 20-25 of that organization's young recruits into Seattle classrooms this fall... Child Abuse by Teachers Often Goes Unreported by Schools:  Iowa law does not require school districts to report student abuse when it happens from their own teachers--even though licensed school employees are considered mandatory reporters of abuse... Utah lawmakers OK $101 million in federal money Associated Press: Utah lawmakers agreed Wednesday to accept $101 million in federal education stimulus money, but not without griping about it first...

Video: Parents Take Bullying Into Their Own Hands (Badly)

"Betty Duvall gave her daughter pepper spray, which she then used on bullies; and James Jones boarded his daughter's school bus, screaming and cursing at her bullies and other riders...Schools could be a resource here, but right now they seem to be dropping the ball." (Parents Take Bullying Into Their Own Hands via Jezebel)

Quotes: Brookings Endorses Value-Added Despite "Incorrect Decisions"

Quotes2 Imperfect evaluation measures that sometimes lead to incorrect decisions about individual teachers can still improve the overall quality of the teacher workforce for students. -- Press release announcing new Brookings report

Continue reading "Quotes: Brookings Endorses Value-Added Despite "Incorrect Decisions"" »

Learning: How Klein's New Job Could Eclipse His Old One

 "Murdoch’s hiring of Klein suggests that the mogul’s interest in education is no longer merely passing or purely philanthropic." (An Online-Individualized-Classroom Business)

Quote: Teacher Preparation "Borders On Racketeering"

Quotes2 The process of oversight for teacher preparation is a bad joke that borders on racketeering

-- Andy (Eduwonk) Rotherham on NCATE report 

Thompson: Performance Varies Widely From Year To Year

Picture 1 (2) The latest Brookings report seems to assume that the purpose of teaching is to provide economists with neat statistics.  They discovered a nice pattern where output data across professions varies at similar rates, around 35% per year.  That would provide important information if, as they assert without evidence, "value-added evaluations are as reliable as those used for high-stakes evaluation in other fields."  All they demonstrate, though, is that variations in those evaluations are similar to variations in unrelated metrics, which tells us nothing about actual learning.  - JT

Reform: The TV-Inspired "Food Revolution" That Wasn't

image from www.sustainabilityninja.com "A whopping 80 percent of his lunches exceeded either the total fat or saturated fat allowance, and most of the time both, and 40 percent of his lunches provided too few calories. Although to be fair this may unfortunately be the norm across the country. According to author Jill Richardson, only 6 to 7 percent of schools actually meet all the government's nutrition standards in their lunches." (How TV Superchef Jamie Oliver's 'Food Revolution' Flunked Out.)


Events: Notes From The GothamSchools Fundraiser

image from gothamschools.org There was alas no surprise appearance from Cathie Black -- or Eli Manning -- but Randi Weingarten showed up and said nice things about GothamSchools (and vice versa -- it was a two-way love-fest) and it sounds like GothamSchools is in good shape -- a sold-out fundraiser, mentions in mainstream publications including most recently the WSJ, 3.5M pageviews in the last two years, and -- I didn't know this -- the best education site in the nation according to the Education Writers Association (CK).  There was a tall skinny guy who looked like John Oliver from The Daily Show. Doug Lemov had the gall to do a PowerPoint presentation at a fundraiser (duly noted by Weingarten), but in truth I'd never seen the famous paper-passing video (more on that later).  Citizen Schools' Nitzan Pelman was there sporting a lovely blunt-cut 'do, as was a guy named Seth wearing a Democracy Prep baseball cap along with his suit (lost bet, I'm guessing).  There weren't that many (any?) Klein / Bloomberg folks in attendance, compared to last year (Bloggers & Bloggees Gather In Chinatown) when John White et al were in attendance - nor was co-founder Philissa Cramer (still in Israel, someone said).  Great to see some fellow bloggers, though, past and present, including Robert Pondiscio, Aaron Pallas, Susan Sawyers, and others.   A couple of folks including former Eduwonkette Jennifer Jennings and GOOD education guru Amanda Millner-Fairbanks chided me for being mean I am when I'm behind the keyboard.  I chided myself for wearing a black shirt to a catered event, almost guaranteeing I'll be confused with staff.) Good thing I couldn't find a can of Four Loko at the bodega on the way over.  Things woulda gotten crazy.   What'd I miss at the after-party? 

AM News: Innovative Baltimore Contract Approved


U.S. education chief: DPS 'arguably the worst' Detroit Free Press:  Duncan made the remarks in response to a DPS-related question during a discussion today at the American Enterprise Institute Forum in Washington, D.C. The discussion was about the challenges associated with improving cost-effectiveness in K-12 education... School officials in Hub urge closings Boston Globe:  Boston school officials warned last night of devastating cuts at every school across the city if the district does not close schools and reduce transportation spending... Students may get iPads from Durham schools News Observer:  The plan is part of how Durham Public Schools propose to spend $4.5 million in federal Race to The Top money. It still needs state and federal approval... Yale Ending Several Teacher Programs:  As Yale launches a new program offering up to full state college tuition for certain New Haven students, the university is also shuttering several teacher education programs... Fast-growing academy gives public education a private-school feel Boston Globe:  While the 80,000-square-foot complex suggests an elite student body, inside is the publicly funded Innovation Academy Charter School, filled with students who have college on their mind... NH couple's break-up prompts high school unrest:  A New Hampshire school superintendent says the breakup of a high school couple in Manchester was followed by three arrests, a call for extra police and the postponement of a school dance... On Second Try, Baltimore Teachers Ratify Contract EdWeek:  The contract is important in the larger national conversation about teacher pay, too, because to date most experiments with pay have been with additive features, like bonuses, rather than changes to the base-pay salary grid... Class Sizes Grew in New York City Despite '07 Deal to Cut Them NYT:  But the class size reduction plan assumed there would be much more additional money than ever materialized, which is one reason its targets have faded from reach. [ps: NAEP scores are coming out today]

Update: Duncan Staffers' Salaries Listed

Fist-of-Money-1 Who knew that Jo Anderson was one of the top-paid staffers in the Office of the Secretary (besides Duncan himself)?  Now you do.  Thanks to a helpful reader for sending in the link that tells us at least something about what top USDE staffers make in the Obama administration.  

In the listing for 2009, Anderson is listed at $177K, as are Joanne Weiss, Mike Smith, Margot Rogers, and Matt Yale (some of whom have since departed).  Cunningham makes $153K, as does Carmel Martin (again, these are 2009 salaries). Thelma Melendez (153) makes less than Joe Conaty (177). There are also salaries for others:  OMB's Robert Gordon makes 175.  

Previous posts:  Duncan Doesn't Publish Staff SalariesWhat Top White House Education Staffers Make.

Video Interlude: The Latest School-Based Music Video

The scene opens in a dystopian all-white lunchroom, futuristic and sterile until preteen Willow Smith (mini-Rhianna daughter of Will and jada Smith) enters dressed in bright primary colors and with a boombox.:

 By the end -- everyone -- even the stern grownups -- is caught up in the dancing.  Wikepedia explains it all here.

USDE: Duncan Doesn't Publish Staff Salaries

RupRemember Monday when I told you what top White House education staffers make?  Well that's not going to happen when it comes to Cunningham, Martin, Shelton, et al.  It seems sad to me that the USDE doesn't have senior staff salaries online when the White House does and the Hill does, etc.  But that's what I'm told.  If you feel like FOIAing them for the information please let us know what you find out (here).  Meantime, I'm going to assume that they're all making much less than they deserve, and working too hard for any of it to really matter, and will several of them be leaving soon since working for the federal government is miserable and hard.   

Reform: Ignore Implementation At Your Own Peril

Handwrench_crop I've long lamented the glut of policy and the dearth of implementation -- at one point I called for a moratorium on new policy so we could figure out whether the policies we already had really worked or not -- so it was a lot of fun to report and write a story (here) for the Harvard Education Letter about a new organization called the Education Delivery Institute that's focused on helping states make good on plans and promises that have been developed through RTTT and other efforts but which otherwise might get only partially implemented.  There's no guarantee any of it works -- politics and budgets and human capital have a way of getting in the way of the best of ideas, and implementation and operations are all but ignored by the ruling pundit class -- but at least the folks at EDI are focused on the things that pundits and lawmakers tend to ignore:  what happens AFTER a law gets passed or a new policy is put into place.  The folks who are in charge of implementation have to be as smart or smarter as the folks who come up with the ideas in the first place.  All we need now is a Broad Foundation program for state education agencies to go along with the one for district offices.  

NCLB: What Happens When AYP Goes Away?

What happens if AYP goes away and states go back to their own devices on the accountability front?  Here's a slide from October presentation by former EdSec Margaret Spellings:

ScreenHunter_05 Nov. 15 23.50


Job: East Coast Job With Some West Coast Flair

ScreenHunter_08 Nov. 17 00.06 Let's be honest -- most DC jobs sound pretty god-awful boring, full of reports and meetings and day after soul-sucking day trapped in the office.  But this one -- helping start and grow the 826 empire -- sounds like it might be pretty cool, especially for someone with some West Coast flair.  An old friend from Feinstein days sent it along, so don't embarrass me by applying if you're not up to it.

Continue reading "Job: East Coast Job With Some West Coast Flair" »

Thompson: Keep PD Away From Evaluation

IndoctrinationStephen Sawchuk's series on professional development explains that  "top-down," PD which gives "little control to teachers and treating all departments and all teachers the same way”  is ineffective.  Sawchuk also mentions a strange teacher quality idea, espoused by Timothy Daly, of the New Teacher Project.  Daly wants professional development to be linked with data-driven evaluations.  No! The firewall between professional development and teacher evaluation must remain sacrosanct.  Would lawyers, physicians, or political spin doctors (like Daly) submit to the grading of the professional opinions expressed in a  seminar or a team meeting?  Professional development with stakes attached is indoctrination. - JT

Quote: Bolstering The "Clueless Reformer" Critique


It’s long been said that the new reformers deeply underestimate the complexity of the challenge facing educators. A mayor with near total control of the schools, importing a magazine publisher, with no significant previous exposure to public education, to run the largest school system in the country is a good way to bolster that critique. — Ta-Nehisi Coates The Atlantic (via Gadfly)

Media: The Massachusetts Mystery


Once again, after reading a popular account of education reform, I'm more confused than I was when I started. -- Kevin Drum (Is Our Kids Learning?)


Video: Student Explains SAT Essay Secrets

Long-Windedness Leads to Higher SAT Scores

Video: Are You A Blogging Head?

image from static.bloggingheads.tv

Five years ago a video chat program called Bloggingheads began -- the wonky version of Chatroulette --  and since then the show occasionally touched on education issues (usually when Dana Goldstein, Matt Yglesias, or Ezra Klein are on):  Will Congress reauthorize No Child Left Behind?  Racial stratification in suburban schoolsObama’s stance in the education reform battles Debating whether schools can solve the childhood obesity crisis Reforming education reform The economic utility of being a high school burnout Robert's case for apprenticeships instead of college The center-left revolt against the teachers' unionsIs Michelle Rhee too impolitic to save America's schools?Grading Mayor Bloomberg's education achievements Obama's subversive voucher compromise.

AM News: Was Duncan's Wall Street Visit A Success?

News2 New Teacher Education Program Headed To 8 States AP:  The pilot program developed by school and higher education officials with teachers unions to improve instruction is being done in California, Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, Oregon and Tennessee as well as New York.... Obama's Overture to Business Gets Wary Reception WSJ:  A parade of administration officials sought to reassure about 100 corporate leaders gathered at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington that they were eager for business leaders' ideas to revive the economy... Teacher Suspended After Stopping Anti-Gay Talk NPR:  Jay McDowell, a high school teacher in Michigan, kicked a student out of class after the teen told his classmates he didn't "accept gays." The school then suspended McDowell for a day without pay for violating the student's free speech rights... L.A. Unified suspends 4 key consultants on school construction program LA Times:  Four key consultants behind the nation's largest school construction program have been suspended from their work with the Los Angeles Unified School District pending an internal investigation into their recently formed company, The Times has learned... Michigan teacher suspended over anti-gay punishment AP:  High school economics teacher Jay McDowell says he didn't like where the discussion was going after a student told his classmates he didn't "accept ...

Plagiarism: Shadow Scholar Writes The Papers

image from chronicle.com "I've written toward a master's degree in cognitive psychology, a Ph.D. in sociology, and a handful of postgraduate credits in international diplomacy. I've worked on bachelor's degrees in hospitality, business administration, and accounting... I've attended three dozen online universities. I've completed 12 graduate theses of 50 pages or more. All for someone else." (The Shadow Scholar)

Thompson: "Good" versus "Effective" Teachers

Dc It is no surprise that only 5% of the teachers in the District of Columbia's poor Ward Eight were evaluated as "Highly Effective."  It also is likely that D.C.'s poorest schools have fewer good teachers.  As Kati Haycock of the Education Trust says, "Good teachers have always transferred over time to easier schools, because there are so few other ways to reward yourself" after paying their dues, good teachers often seek schools where it is easier to teach effectively.  Those teachers understand an obvious point that is lost on "reformers."  It makes no sense to fire good teachers because their schools are ineffective.  Punitive evaluation regimes will accelerate the exodus of good teachers from the toughest schools to schools where it is easier to comply with today's primitive notions of effectiveness.  The goal should be providing poor children with equal access to teachers who are good and effective.  We must create learning cultures in schools so that being a good teacher is enough to be an effective one. - JT

Video: Is Ravitch Being Blacklisted?

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Diane Ravitch
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

On Sunday NYT bestseller Diane Ravitch tweeted "I have been repeatedly rejected by the Daily Show, Colbert, Maddow, etc. Katie Couric interviewed me for 30 minutes; never ran. Why?" But here she is on The Daily Show.... in 2003.  

Teacher Prep: Can Ed Schools Reform Themselves?


Major revision of teacher training programs urged by panel of top educators Eight states, including Maryland, have signed on to adopt the recommendations, scheduled to be released Tuesday... Teacher Training Is Panned WSJ:  In most states, candidates spend only about 10 to 12 weeks observing teachers or student-teaching themselves, with the bulk of their time spent listening to college lectures... Panel: Teacher Prep. Needs Major Restructuring EdWeek: As the report states, higher ed. institutions "will need to shift their reward structure to value work in schools by including clinical faculty lines in promotion and tenure requirements." Live video here or here.

Chart: The Classroom Of The Future?

The Fifth-Grade Exploration Studio, imagined by Greg Stack and Natalia Nesmeainova. Click to see larger view."Adjustable furniture, a messy art area, video screens large and small, communal areas for classes to share, carefully placed mirrors that allow for eye contact when a student and teacher sit at a computer together." (Slate Magazine)

Reauthorization Roundup: No One Really Knows What's Going To Happen


With divided Congress, tough road for ed reform AP:  None of the major initiatives pushed by President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have been bipartisan. Most were approved through large spending bills that Republicans opposed...NEA Asks Education Department for Regulatory Relief EdWeek:  The wish list is long—and goes deep into the weeds of the law. It includes: Leeway for districts on the highly qualified teacher part of the law, changes to Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, the yardstick at the heart of the law, which requires schools to test students in grades three through eight and once in high school... The big givers: Unions, tribes, and real estate agents Politico:  The biggest spender over all was the National Education Association, the bigger national teachers union, with nearly all of its $53.6 million spent on the state level. SEIU comes in fifth, the National Association of Realtors comes in sixth... The Radical School Reform Law You've Never Heard Of WSJ:  Incoming House Education Committee Chair John Kline (R., Minn.) says that he supports parent trigger, and that Congress "can make sure federal policy does not stand in their way."  Race over? Federal aid to schools may dry up Get Schooled:  “Money is really short, money is really tight; States and districts need to use their money a lot more efficiently, a lot more creatively,” said Alexander aide David Cleary..


AM News: Real-World Responses To Washington


Ga. moves toward fewer tests for students Teacher:  First- and second-grade students in Georgia are getting at least one year of reprieve from the state's Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests after funding for the exams was left out of the budget... Race to Top Rumblings in Ohio EdWeek: Kasich counters that he supports the core elements of the Race to the Top plan, because he backs charter schools and new approaches to teacher evaluation—and that Strickland's education agenda was peripheral to the state's winning bid. The final call on that question, it seems, would belong to Arne Duncan... USDA: 17 million families struggled to get enough food in 2009 AP:  Nearly 17 million families in America - about 15 percent of all households - had trouble putting enough food on the table at some point last year, a federal report released Monday morning shows...  School's Cell Phone Ban Backfires Big Time With Parents, Students SF Chronicle:  Gary Jensen, principal at Benicia High School, doesn't know what hit him in the face at lunchtime or who among the students huddled at picnic tables in the quad targeted him... Boston School Committee approves in-district charter schools: The Boston School Committee, which oversees the supervision of the city’s public school system, voted unanimously at a meeting November 3 to convert a middle school and a high school into in-district charter schools.


Quote: "Cockeyed Optimists" Haven't Been Listening

Quotes2 Those cockeyed optimists who believe a lame duck congress passing an omnibus appropriations bill means a third round of RttT clearly haven't been listening.  -- Patrick (Eduflack) Riccards

Thompson: When Data Is A Distraction

Indoctrination-cneter-aheadYoung teachers are being brainwashed into a mindset that is antithetical to wiser instructional approaches.  Data walls are teaching educators to speed up when the best thing for the child often is to slow down, according to this Maja Wilson guest column the Answer Sheet.  Think of of "Sam," a child who has low numbers on the "Data Wall."    He does not improve during the timed morning drills called "Mad Minutes!"  So, anxious data-driven teachers turn up the pressure even more, and take his recess away.  Sam has been scratching deep grooves into his desktop instead of showing his work, and he can not explain his problem without his voice shaking in frustration. Data-driven pressure causes the normally gregarious Sam to freeze up in class. The stopwatches make him resent math, and the resulting punishments are teaching him to hate school.  The observant teacher knows to slow Sam down and to teach him to talk about it.  But all this is being lost.  - JT

Media: Nonprofit News Sites & NPR Stations Banding Together

image from narcosphere.narconews.com It's only just at the very very beginning stages but a quartet of local education sites (GothamSchools, Catalyst Chicago, EDNews Colorado, and the Philly Notebook)  met in DC recently to talk about creating some sort of a network that would do things like share content, connect educators, learn best practices from each other, and -- of course -- attract new funding.  At the same time, three of the four are already doing some partnering with local NPR affiliates.  Just last week, Catalyst partnered with WBEZ to do paired stories on charter school pushout rates in Chicago (with help from Hechinger).  Meanwhile, WNYC and GothamSchools seemed to be doing some joint reporting on the Klein departure / replacement story and launched a joint look into three turnaround efforts last month. The Notebook and WHYY have just secured some initial funding for a partnership that would expand on the Notebook's coverage of school turnarounds.

Quotes: The Centrist War On Talking About Poverty

Quotes2 The total inattention to the issue of poverty during the current recession by the “sensible center” is quite damning. -- Matt Yglesias 

Obama: What Top White House Education Staffers Make

ScreenHunter_02 Nov. 15 11.09bBeing a public servant means not making as much as you could elsewhere and having your salary listed online.  What do to Obama's top education staffers make?  Melody Barnes makes $172K, Roberto Rodriguez $120K, Heather Higgenbottom $150K.  Education spokesperson Tommy Vietor (yes, *that* Tommy Vietor) got a 35 percent raise to $78K.  I can't find the listing for Robert Gordon, though I'm told he's still the PAD for education spending at OMB.   More about White House employment, salary freezes, and big raises for those under $100K (here, here).  Anyone else you want to know about, either in the White House or on detail?

Video: Slimy Video Gets NJ Teacher In Trouble

image from pre.cloudfront.goodinc.com Passaic NJ has now suspended an award-winning special education teacher for telling the story of a colleague who used a racial slur to address a student but didn't get  in all that much trouble -- effectively paying a greater price for recounting a story (that seemed to disgust her) than the person who actually spoke the racial slur to students in school. Her remarks were caught on tape and uploaded onto YouTube by the folks who did the ACORN videos last year, presented as an expose of the NJEA called "Teachers Unions Gone Wild" that includes footage from a recent leadership conference.  Read all about it at GOOD (here).  There's lots of rough language -- you've been warned! -- plus annoying steel drum music and voiceover.    There's also an interesting tidbit where a union member brags about slipping in changes to the state's RTTT application / legislation.  

AM News: Teachers Take On Turnarounds

News2 Teachers Take Charge To Save Ailing Public Schools AP:  The stakes are highest in Los Angeles Unified, the nation's second largest school district which has around 170 charter schools – the most of any district in the country... Groups Eye Regulatory Relief Under NCLB EdWeek:  With the prospects of the law's renewal chancy, some hope the Education Department will ease up on provisions they see as onerous...School chief’s plan reversals draw fire Boston Globe:  Boston schools Superintendent Carol R. Johnson proposed single-gender schools in fall 2008, but halted after learning that such public schools are illegal in Massachusetts... Possible lessons in D.C.'s controversial teacher evaluation system LA Times:  In school districts including Washington's, New York's and Houston's, officials are using a method called 'value-added' to bring a measure of objectivity to the process. But virtually no one endorses it as the sole gauge of an instructor... 'Highly effective' teachers are spread unevenly across District Washington Post: Their best educators often do not serve the children who need them most... Talking Numbers Counts For Kids' Math Skills:  A new study says for children to develop the math skills they will need later on in school, it is essential that parents spend time teaching their children the value of numbers by using concrete examples -- instead of just repeating them out loud.

Video: Rating Klein's "Colbert Report" Appearances

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Joel Klein
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election March to Keep Fear Alive

Others may rate the Klein era for how he treated teachers or kids' test scores but I rate him based on Colbert Report mentions and appearances, of which he's got several more than any other education type I can think of (here).  Here's Klein from three years ago talking with Colbert about paying kids for grades (Colbert asks if he can get a job as a truant officer).  Here's my original post about the appearance:  Colbert Can't Shake Klein On Paying Kids For Grades

Congress: Can Kline And Duncan Make A Deal?

ScreenHunter_21 Jun. 02 23.25 That's the question that the National Journal's education experts will be debating this week, starting Monday morning -- whether Kline's calls for enhancing local control (and presumably loosening the NCLB reins) can mesh with Duncan's desire to keep Race to the Top going (here).  I don't see much problem on the policy side, frankly -- Duncan says he wants to loosen NCLB up, too -- but others would disagree vehemently and I'm not sure that there's any real political will there to get it done anytime soon (no matter how many times Melody Barnes says that education is a top White House priority).  It certainly won't happen during the upcoming lame duck session, and I doubt it happens next year. The following year is an election year, so it's looking more and more like 2013 for anything more than minor fixes for NCLB. My guess is that Obama and Duncan might be able to wheedle some extra cash for RTTT through the annual budget process but of course nothing like the 3.4B they got in ARRA.  

Media: A PBS NewsHour Star Is Born

ScreenHunter_19 Nov. 12 16.55
That's Sarah Garland, former Spencer Fellow and current Hechinger Report staff reporter, doing what I assume is her national broadcast TV debut talking about the Klein departure ( video here).  

Media: Covering The Ed Beat For "Marketplace"

image from marketplace.publicradio.orgDidn't know that Marketplace had a reporter assigned to cover education?  Me, neither.  But it's Amy Scott, who apparently once produced a half-hour documentary about a high school marching band in Bakersfield that I am hoping someone sends me.  Meanwhile, here's a bunch of her recent clips.  New rules to clean up for-profit schoolsBaltimore students invest in their futureSummit focuses on community collegesThe debate over not saving for college.  Now we just have to get her to cover K12 issues a little more often.  Story ideas, anyone?  

Bush Era: Remembering NCLB (Again)

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com There's apparently not much about NCLB in the new Bush book out this week, but now's as good as any other time to remember some of what people were thinking way back then when the law first came out.  Two of my favorite articles about the law are Nick Lemann's New Yorker piece "Testing Limits" (here) and James Traub's NYT Sunday Magazine "Test Mess" piece about the pushback against annual testing and disaggregated test data (here).  But you know that already -- I mention these articles all the time.  What do YOU think were the best / most influential articles about NCLB that others should read as we head into what could be (probably not) the reauthorization of the next version of the law?  

Previous post:  What's Bush Got To Say About NCLB?

TV: What "30 Rock"'s Jack Donaghy Thinks Of Teachers

image from images.buddytv.com Last night on 30 Rock the comically evil boss Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) uttered the following line (or something to the same effect) after realizing that he couldn't go through with helping a crazy Tea Party candidate win office even if it would be better for his financial interests:

"Letting morality get in the way of making money.  I might as well go and be a teacher."

The full episode is available here. It happens right at the end -- near the 20 minute mark.  

Thompson: Unintended Revelations

500x_blame The Fordham Foundation's Mike Petrilli recently told the New York Times that Joel Klein's reforms left "fantastic veteran teachers — the very people that Klein wanted the rest of the system to emulate ...  just as frustrated and beaten down by the changes as everyone else.”  The last time so much unintended truth was revealed  about  Klein's war on teachers was Eric Hanushek's statement that the city's union must get on board with his type of teacher evaluations or "live with what comes out" of it.  Spare the rod, I guess, and you spoil the teacher. - JT


Quote: Rage Against The Systems

Quote-mark Problem-solvers spend 70% of their time fighting for permission to unwind outdated practices and rules, before they ever get to focus on what counts.  -- Rick Hess on The "Systems" Question

Duncan: Media Schedule For Next Week (Nothing Special)

160x120_0721facebookignore Not much to note in Duncan's official event schedule for next week, though of course we all know the good stuff goes on behind the scenes.  Sure, he might say something mildly harsh about ed schools at the NCATE event, or wander off his talking points during the IDEA event.  But I can't imagine much more than that.  Or maybe I'm missing something and wondering if I'll keep doing these posts every week.

Continue reading "Duncan: Media Schedule For Next Week (Nothing Special)" »

People: Who's Next To Abandon Duncan?

ScreenHunter_15 Jun. 02 17.58 EdWeek's Alyson Klein raises the possibility that the USDE's Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana could leave the Obama administration to head back to California -- possibly even to head LAUSD, the nation's second largest school system (Dept. of Ed.'s Melendez to Los Angeles?).  Melendez may well be leaving, and may well go back to California, but it won't be to run LAUSD.  According to what I've been hearing she has struggled to find her footing in Duncan's education department, pushed to the side by other much more well-established and sharp-elbowed figures. But if Melendez wants the LAUSD job she'll have to make an extremely strong case for it -- Deasy is already there, and the opinion of the departing Cortines doesn't necessarily make much of a difference.   Now's just as good a time as any to leave, however, as others already have (Shireman, Piche come to mind).  Others will certainly do the same during the next few weeks.  

Video: Collaborative Planning & Walk Throughs

The administrator's robot voice and gobbledygook jargon.  The patient teacher's explanation of how the real world is working (then her eventual realization that she's going to have to adapt what she's saying to fit the administrator's overly literal view of the world and limited understanding of how lessons and classes work).  Then the administrator talks down to her.  

Pacing is the most important thing so the lessons are the biggest numbers.  Thanks to several folks for passing this along. TGIF.  The other video is below

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AM News: State Using Edujobs Money For Other Purposes

News2  Federal Education Money to Be Used to Offset Cuts AP/Edweek:  State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek told school superintendents Wednesday that their districts won't receive an expected infusion of $147 million in federal education money... Rape charge against Detroit student dropped after accuser commits suicide Boston Herald:  Principal Donovan Rowe said school officials investigated the alleged bullying and found nothing overt. Rowe said on occasion he walked behind Samantha as she went from class to class and witnessed no harassment... Title 9 Advocacy Group Reports Schools In Violation NPR:  The National Women's Law Center filed complaints Wednesday against school districts across the country, accusing them of violating Title 9's nearly 40-year-old guarantee of equal athletic opportunities for girls. Some of the districts say the complaints are based on old data but that they'll work to remedy any problems. That might not be easy in a down economy that's forcing many districts to cut teachers and education programs.

Books: Turnarounds Are The New TFA Charters

Cool-magazine-cover It used to be that the cool thing to do was join TFA.  (So 90's!)  Then it was starting a charter school or maybe some sort of edupreneurish nonprofit.  (So 2000's!)  Now -- or at least, soon --  all the cool kids are helping to fix a broken district school (which has the ultimate cachet of making  all that other stuff seem like child's play).  It's the ultimate hipster thing to do (though chunky glasses and mountain man beards are curiously not required), so you might want to check out an interesting new book out about turnarounds written by Laura Pappano and published by the Harvard Education Press (for whom I've done some freelancing). It's not very hipster but it's still well worth reading.  What I like in particular about Pappano's work is that it highlights the real-world pressures and adjustments that folks who get involved in turnarounds are going through rather than the simpleminded pro and con on turnarounds that we seem to have gotten stuck on out here in punditland.  Obviously, failing schools need to get better.  Obviously, it's not easy or someone would have done it already.  Obviously it's going to involve successes and failures.  Pappano takes us inside efforts in Hartford, Conn., and Cincinnati, Ohio and -- sorry, everyone -- shares the realities of what happens without the broad-brush pronounces ("It works," or "It can never work") that we get all too much of the time (Inside School Turnarounds.)  No, reading the EdWeek commentary is not enough.  No, being a dried-out oldster isn't an excuse for disparaging people for trying to make things better.

Thompson: An Education Plan for a Novice NYC Chancellor

NoviceIn the Huffington Post, John Merrow asked for a plan to help Catherine Black, a 66 year old public education novice, to "transform the city's schools into 21st Century institutions, places where students learn to ask questions, not simply regurgitate answers."  Step #1 is to keep hiring non-educators as chancellor.  Then, after non-stop test prep fails, New York City's leader can continue to proclaim in good conscience that transformational change is occurring. Next, make bad news disappear by awarding diplomas for regurgitating answers on "credit recovery" tutorials. Then hire great PR firms to convince the non-educator at the top to believe that kids are being prepared for the 21st century. - JT




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