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Five Best Blogs: What Would Ryan Gosling Do?


Miles To Go Before Reauthorization Thompson:  Just as it seemed the fragile bipartisan coalition that brought us the Senate HELP committee reauthorization bill couldn’t get any wobblier.

Some NAEP Exclusion Rates Still High EdWeek: Most states did boost their representation of these populations in the latest round of math and reading testing, but many still have far to go to reach the inclusion targets. 

Schools Squeeze Most Out Of Budgets Washington Times: Budget items that once seemed immune to cuts — including bus service and American flags — have become fair game for officials forced to count every penny. 

The Myth of the Innovator Hero The Atlantic: The popular heroic narrative has almost nothing to do with the way modern invention (conceptual creation of a new product or process, sometimes accompanied by a prototypical design) and innovation (large-scale diffusion of commercially viable inventions) work.

GED Overhaul Raises Profit-Making Questions EdWeek: Chestang said that it was too early to know whether the price would change, but said the company recognized the importance of keeping "costs lean and the test accessible."


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Update: Duncan Accepts Union Leader's Apology

"She apologized, he accepted it, and he’s moving forward."
-- Duncan spokesperson Peter Cunningham

Video Interlude: RIP, "Community"

That's what the Internet is telling me.  Drown your sorrows in this 10-minute compilation of some of the best moments from Community, a show about a mismatched Spanish study group at a community college. Some of the bits are vaguely educational ("donde esta la biblioteca?") and/or feature Betty White.  

Quotes: The Debt Is Too Damn High

Quotes2Maybe we need to find ways to make colleges more productive places, which would mean radically changing our idea of what going to college is all about. - James Surowecki in The New Yorker


AM News: Making NAEP Better


Often excluded, more special needs students taking NAEP EdWeek: Following a push to make “the nation’s report card” better reflect the academic performance of all children in America’s schools, most states boosted the numbers of students with disabilities and English-language learners who participated in the 2011 reading and math tests that are part of the NAEP.

Congress pushes back on healthier school lunches AP: Congress is fighting to keep pizza and french fries on school lunch lines, picking apart an Obama administration proposal to make school lunches healthier.

Calming Schools Through a Sociological Approach to Troubled Students NYT: Turnaround for Children focuses on students’ psychological and emotional well-being, in addition to academics, to change their troublesome behavior.


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Five Best Blogs: Tennessee Two-Step

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Tennessee’s Push to Transform Schools NYT:  Even with shortcomings, the new approach to teacher evaluation is a vast improvement over the one it replaced.

“Jim Crow Is Dead, But His Cousins Are Still Alive” Larry Ferlazzo:  The NYT editorial writers might not have any idea about what they’re talking about when they write on education issues, but they’ve certainly nailed things on the Alabama immigration law.

Occupy School Boards? Mike Antonucci: These are labor issues, not education issues, so reformers are at a severe disadvantage in addressing them. It just seems to me to be a more efficient use of resources to tackle them at the state level. 

I’m Free! Thompson: The first round of state applications for the NCLB waivers is due today and all 11 anticipated applications have arrived in ED’s in-box. A big question: How will states craft their annual measurable objectives (AMO)? 

Public schools go online Joanne Jacobs:  If your teacher is an app, you’d better have an educated, at-home parent, who can answer questions immediately.  Not every student has that.


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Thompson: Blame Disingenuous "Reformers"

Retirement%20Nest%20EggConservative Mike Petrilli usually is more willing to look a the teachers' sides of issues than the neoliberal National Council on Teacher Quality.  But his post at the Fordham Flypaper, "Dealing With Disingenuous Unions: There Are No Shortcuts, " was just as wrong-headed as the NCTQ survey that it was based on.  Petrilli echoed the NCTQ in criticizing districts for not cutting wages and benefits during the last two years, and then he blamed unions for using their political power to influence school boards.  In fact, districts, influenced by their donors, acted according to their own priorities.  They have borrowed the tactics of former "reform" leaders Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee in bestowing big bucks on salaries as a way of greasing the wheels for their true loves - the "teacher quality" experiments that are being lavishly subsidized by the "billionaires boys club." Petrilli, of all people, should know that the hypothesis that instruction within the four walls of the classroom can undo the legacy of intense concentrations of generational poverty is the ultimate shortcut.  And there is no easy way around the inherent contradiction between the claim that superstar teachers can solve society's most intractable social problems, while threatening the wages and benefits that are necessary to attract and retain career teachers.  JT (@drjohnthompson)Image via.

Charts: How Dangerous Is Being A Teacher?

image from thinkprogress.org

Injury rates by occupation, circa 2010 (via The Deadliest Jobs)


Video: Local Union President Mocks Duncan's Lisp

It's been an ugly time in Chicago for the past few months, including verbal insults hurled between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CTU president Karen Lewis and a new University of Chicago report showing that much of the progress touted over the past 20 years was a mirage. Add to the pile this speech from union president Lewis, who rails against how she's been treated in the media and mocks Arne Duncan's constant invocation of school reform as a civil rights issue -- and his lisp. 


She apologizes almost immediately. Does Duncan have a speech impediment? It's a question I've asked his people numerous times over the years, thinking that his success would be inspiring to others - but never gotten a response. To my knowledge the issue has never been raised in any of the countless profiles that have been written.  The embarassign video is mentioned in a conservative Town Hall column here and is apparently from a recent meeting of the Teachers for Social Justice.

AM News: Waiver Costs Emerge As State Concern


GOP hopefuls would limit federal role in education AP (Boston Globe): When it comes to education, the Republican field of presidential candidates has a unified stance: Get the federal government out of schools. How they'd do that varies.

NCLB waiver could cost $2 billion report says L.A. Times California officials say meeting the federal law's requirements would be expensive and imply the state shouldn't seek such relief. Teachers unions and the PTA back the conclusion, but others disagree.

More foreign students studying in USA USA Today: International students and their dependents contributed more than $20 billion to the U.S. economy last year as record numbers of foreigners enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities, reports to be released today show. 

A homeless student, transferred far from her school NYT: Only 35 percent of the families who are placed in temporary housing in New York City are placed in the school district where their youngest child is enrolled.

Five Best Blogs: More Criticism Of Value-Added Over-Reach


Subtraction by Distraction CAP: Linking names to value-added estimates subjects teachers to an open-ended set of consequences—parents lobbying principals for their children’s reassignment, for instance—but value-added estimates are not fit for any old use.

When The Legend Becomes Fact Shanker Blog: Poor [value added] models implemented in the wrong way would “penalize” critically large numbers for reasons beyond their control, as well as generate estimates that are too unstable to be useful for any purpose, even low-stakes decisions. 

The Inequality Map David Brooks:  Status inequality is unacceptable for high school teachers. Teachers at this level strongly resist being ranked. It would be loathsome to have one’s department competing with other departments in nearby schools.

5 catchiest (and most annoying) reform phrases The Answer Sheet: We see the way well-meaning changes play out in our schools and classrooms, and often hear troubling subtexts in talking points that sound great on TV. 

Downgrade Michael Goldstein: I wonder sometimes if the wireless internet so many schools have now helps teachers or hinders them.


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Events: Progressive Education & Public Schools

image from www.progressiveed.org#progressiveed  I'm at the Progressive Education Network conference in Chicago today -- just finished listening to a good panel on "bringing progressive ideas to greater numbers of students" (ie, public schools and districts).  There are some interesting people moving back and forth between public and private schools, bringing progressive ideas with them, and a few hybrid kinds of institutions that are public, progressive, and serve a diverse group of kids.  Of course there are still pockets of progressive education in public schools, both well-known and somewhat secret. If you know of any great examples of progressive public education, or insightful voices about the challenges and opportunities of progressivism in public education, please let me know.  I've got a lot to learn.  

Cartoons: What Middle Schoolers Might Pray About

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Testing: Chicago "Disowns" State Test Results (Sort Of)

Parents in Chicago got a new kind of report card when they came to school a couple of weeks ago -- one that rated the school rather than the usual kind. But it didn't include the state testing results that are used for everything else -- annual ratings, comparisons among schools, etc.  And the reason wasn't that the state tests made the schools look bad.  In fact, it was the opposite.  The state tests made the schools look good, misleadingly so, and the new team in Chicago realized that they had an opportunity to toss those numbers out and raise the bar in terms of school and parent expectations.  Chicago Schools Wonk Seth Lavin called the move a "fascinating (probably productive) disowning by CPS of its state tests."  Here's a story from Catalyst explaining what the new report cards show compared to the ones using state test scores: New school reports show stark gaps in achievement. Ratcheting up the standards is a good thing.  Unfortunately, the rollout was fairly confused, schools and parents didn't really seem to know what to do with the information, and the new measures don't match up with the measures being used for other purposes like deciding which schools to close. The confusion and miscommunication led to headlines like this one from Chicago Public Radio: School report cards don't report ISAT scores.  EdWeek's Cathering Gewertz checked in with CPS officials to get an an explanation about why the district was using one set of scores for closures and another for report cards -- and if it ever hoped to integrate measures and scales (it does). On the usual rating scale I would give CPS a "B" for its implementation.  On the new one, it's a "C+." 

AM News: Social Networks Slammed For Privacy Breaches


Mark Zuckerberg Is Losing War on Privacy The Atlantic: More aggressive regulation present new barrier at a time when Facebook is trying to break down walls that stand to stifle its growth. ALSO: Social network for kids violated privacy law MSNBC

Rough Path Seen for Senate's ESEA Bill EdWeek: The prospects for a bipartisan, comprehensive rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act moving through Congress this session remain cloudy.

NJ students text parents to say bus driver drunk AP: A New Jersey bus driver has been charged with drunken driving after a middle school student texted home with "Mommy I think our bus driver is drunk she's not driving right."

Survey Reveals Impact of Budget Cuts on Wis. Schools EdWeek: At least one-third of the state's districts increased elementary class sizes. And at least four in 10 districts are using one-time federal stimulus funds to balance their budgets. 

Another Official in Safe, Drug-Free Schools Office Steps Down Politics K-12: After more than 20 years at the department, including the last 10 at the decade-old Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, Mr. Modzeleski stepped down from his post as acting assistant deputy secretary of the office last week. 

Wind Money Fuels Spending and Benefits in Small West Texas Schools NYT: Energy development capitalizing on the high winds in the area — which quickly turned sunshine to chill rain one afternoon in late October — has injected sluggish rural communities with new economic lifeblood. 

Five Best Blogs: Value-Added Becoming The New Widget


“Widget Effect” report is rolling in its grave Sherman Dorn:  There is something naive or creepy going on when advocates of doing so leave out all the caveats and problems in plunging in without caution..All these sparkly-new teacher evaluation systems that put a heavy weight on student test scores for every teacher, willy-nilly? The new widget effect.

On Abolishing the Department of Education Checker Finn: One could make a powerful case, and I (and many others) have, for radically altering the federal ROLE in education to make it more targeted, less controlling, smarter, more efficient.  

Big Win for Unions in Ohio Mike Antonucci: Somehow the One Percent control all of the nation’s wealth, but never seem to be able to come close to outspending the teachers’ union. 

Adult Marshmallow Tests Michael Goldstein:Is there an Adult Marshmallow Test not just for new parents, but new teachers? Yes. My colleague Orin describes it.


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Media: Hey, You Stole My Blog Name!

ScreenHunter_04 Nov. 09 14.46The New York Times launched its Motherlode blog three years ago. The HuffingtonPost launched its Parentlode two weeks ago.  The Times is suing.  This happens in education, too (the similar names, not the lawsuit).  The most well-known was Eduwonk  and Eduwonkette.  Current examples include The Gadfly and The Ed Fly, Get Schooled! (LA Times) and Get Schooled (TIME).  A few imposter/homages that exist only in my imagination include Vick Mess Eat Up, teacherben, SchoolCrook, HuffyED, Class Muggle, Canker Blog.  Perhaps you know of others, real or imagined?

Thompson: Disconnected Measures In Tennessee & Florida

CollectivepunishmentI thought I’d heard everything after reading "In Tennessee, Following the Rules for Evaluations Off a Cliff," by the New York Times' Micheal Winerip.  But then I read "Florida's Teachers Get Ready to Get Graded" by Laura Isensee and Sarah Butrymowicz of the Miami Herald. Winerip describes how the Tennessee teacher evaluation system was rushed into place due to Race to the Top. Tennessee teachers in nontested grades can chose a schoolwide test and have 50% of their evaluation determined by the test score growth produced by colleagues?!?! Isensee and Butrymowicz report that one half of a Florida calculus teacher’s evaluation will be determined by his school’s test score growth in reading. The state’s director of research, evaluation and educator performance explained the purpose of the law, "What you’re trying to do is isolate the impact of the teacher on the student’s learning." Assessment expert Douglass Harris says Florida’s logic is "backwards." I could think of a few more choice words for the policy. These examples show just how disconnected teacher evaluation is getting from what teachers do. -- JT (@drjohnthompson)Image via.

Chicago: Reporters Talk Teacher Evaluation

Fancy-fishI'm heading back to Chicago for an Education Writers Assocation event called "Evaluating Teachers: Beyond the Rhetoric" at the end of this week -- my first time back in town on work for several years, hard as it is for me to believe.  Let me know if you're going to be there, or come up and say hi.  As you can see from the agenda, there's a new report coming out from the Consortium on Chicago School Research, and a pretty pro-reform lineup of speakers and panelists.  Will there be any talk about what's happening in Tennessee and other places around RTTT teacher evaluations?  I hope so -- and it looks like the the 2:00 pm panel with lots of SEA folks will be the place for that kind of reality check.  I'll let you know what the hashtag is going to be and if there will be audio or video (I doubt it but will check).  UPDATED:  The official hashtag is #ewatval

Video: The "Abolish Education Department" Curse

See what happens when you talk about abolishing the Department of Education?  Your brain freezes, and your presidential campaign collapses.

"Rick Perry struggled for several agonizing seconds to remember the last of the three federal agencies he'd cut during Wednesday's Republican primary debate. "Commerce, Education, and the -- what's the third one there?" 

AM News: A First Look At Indiana's Choice Program


Indiana Crafts Dropout Remedy Through Choice of Schools PBS NewsHour: Special correspondent John Tulenko reports from Indiana, where a voucher program allows families to choose religious schools, charter schools and public schools in neighboring districts for their children as part of an effort to provide more options when graduation rates are low.

Ed. Dept. on Perry's Hit List Politics K-12: Texas Gov. Rick Perry said in a Republican debate tonight that he wants to scrap three federal agencies: the U.S. Department of Education, the Commerce Department ... and a third player-to-be-named-later. ALSO: Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich Criticize Student Loan Programs AP. 

NC school board race has national implications AP: Intense national political forces were focused on a local school board runoff this week in North Carolina's capital as voters replaced tea party conservatives in a race that capped an acrimonious dispute over student busing and diversity in one of the country's largest school districts.

Former Giffords intern elected to Arizona school board L.A. Times: Daniel Hernandez Jr., who came to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' aid after she was shot, is elected to the board of a Tucson-area school district from which he graduated in 2008.

Penn State to be investigated by Department of Education POLITICO: The Department of Education announced Wednesday it will investigate whether Penn State’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations made against former defense coordinator Jerry Sandusky violated federal law.

Can Tyra Banks Get Kids To School? Seattle Says Yes NPR:Working with the national Get Schooled Foundation, Seattle officials are encouraging kids to sign up to receive celebrity wake-up calls — from Tyra Banks to rapper Wiz Khalifa. They say the recordings — plus a variety of prizes and mentorship programs — can give truant kids the extra push they need to make it to class.


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Video Interlude: Starlings Gather & Wheel Above

Just in case you hadn't seen this already and were bemoaning the cold weather and shorter days:

I know, I know: the clouds of birds and their coordinated movements look fake. But they're not, apparently, and the swirls of tiny birds are pretty awesome.

Five Best Blogs: Head Start, Ohio, & Low-Cost Internet


Obama’s Tough Love for Head Start CAP: It's a classic example of Obama the policy wonk doing one thing he does well: taking an existing liberal program and sprucing it up, but in a way that is cost-neutral so the change draws minimal criticism. ASLO:  Why Obama’s Plan to Fix Head Start Is Not Enough TIME

It's Official: 2011 Is The Year of the Republican Overreach DFER: Ohio proves it. Look now for a clever smaller-class-size pander from Gov.Kasich.  ALSO:  What Ohio vote means for teachers nationwide The Answer Sheet

State charter schools group draws a line on teacher evaluations GothamSchools:  About 80 charter schools — fewer than half of those open in the state last year — agreed to follow the state’s Race to the Top commitments, including using test scores in teacher evaluations, in exchange for a share of the winnings.

Most Big Cable Companies Agree To Provide Low-Cost Internet To Low-Income Students Larry Ferlazzo: Practically all of the major cable companies in the United States agreed today to provide Internet services to low-income students for $9.99 per month, along with low-cost computers. 


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Thompson: What The CMO Report Means For The Rest Of Us

CenterIt is to the credit of the Center on Reinventing Public Education that they and Mathematica published another study that provides evidence that the standard data-driven "reforms" are not working and that many of the solutions proposed by teachers and our unions are producing success. "Charter-School Management  Organizations: Diverse Strategies and Diverse Student Impacts" concludes that, "Among CMOs, school-wide behavior policies and intensive coaching of new teachers are positively associated with student impacts in both math and reading.” And the study also found, “At the CMO level, we do not find impacts to be associated with use of a uniform curriculum, extended instructional hours, frequent formative student assessment, or performance-based compensation.” To me, this report suggests that, instead of continuing to use charters as laboratories we should scale up their best practices and -- most important -- reconsider some of the less effective charter-inspired policies that are being exported to neighborhood schools. JT (@drjohnthompson)Image via.

Magazines: A Long NYT Look At Homeschooling

image from graphics8.nytimes.comSpeaking of the weekend, you might want to get a head start on this article about homeschooling from the upcoming NYT Sunday Magazine, which uses the writer's experiences as a child whose parents opted for homeschool as a way of understanding some of the history of the homeschooling (which was once extremely unusual).  It wasn't always easy for the kids or well-considered by the adults.   They kids entered the regular school system, where they were introduced to bullying (and decimals). Now adults, they reflect on their experiences with mixed feelings. The decision to homeschool was part idealism but also a way for the parents to live lives that they wanted to live.  

Ideas: Disparate Following Habits Among Twitter Users

It's widely noted that people tend to follow those online they agree with rather than a mix of agreeable and disagreeable opinions.  One highly unscientific example can be found using Twiangulate to find out about Twitter follows. For example Diane Ravitch and Michelle Rhee only follow 82 people in common, out of more than 8,000 people they follow.  Education writers Dana Goldstein, Greg Toppo, and Steven Sawchuk have an overlap of 323 (though only 45 are followed by all three of them).  Rotherham, Petrilli, and I have 277 followees in common (Rotherham and Petrilli only have 21).

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There are of course big differences in the numbers of folks each user follows, as well as use of Twitter.  I'm really just trying to help you get through Wednesday.  

AM News: Obama Touts Head Start, Slams GOP (Ignores NCLB)


Obama: GOP wants 'to gut investments in education' AP: President Barack Obama chided congressional Republicans Tuesday for "trying to gut our investments in education," and announced new steps to tackle early childhood education that won't require legislation.

Obama makes Head Start changes, bashes GOP USAT: President Obama unveiled rules for the Head Start program today while seeking to pressure congressional Republicans into backing other parts of his education program.

Obama Announces Stricter Financing Standards for Head Start NYT: President Obama visited a schoolhouse in this suburb of Philadelphia on Tuesday to announce stricter financing standards for the government’s Head Start program, which offers preschool training for children from low-income families.
Obama's Head Start Changes Not Entirely New, But Still Encouraging To Early Childhood Experts HuffPost: President Obama's high-profile announcement Tuesday that Head Start pre-kindergarten centers can no longer count on the automatic renewal of their funding only highlights the implementation of a law that has been on the books since 2007. 
ESEA Bill Gets Day in Sun at Senate Hearing Politics K-12: Today's much-anticipated hearing on a Senate bill to make over the No Child Left Behind Act had one of the bill's chief sponsors casting it as an important but imperfect compromise, while Republicans saying the bill wouldn't do enough to rein in the federal role in education.
Bipartisan rewrite of education law sparks debate AP:  In a divided Washington, there's widespread agreement that the sweeping No Child Left Behind education law needs fixing. But finding a fix hasn't been easy.

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Five Best Blogs: Enzi, Weingarten, and Klein -- Oh, My

Nail-ClippersBipartisan? Not So Much Chuck Edwards: Sen. Mike Enzi announced that his earlier vote to approve the committee’s ESEA reauthorization bill did not mean he fully supported it.

Teaching With the Enemy NYT:  You simply cannot fix America’s schools by “scaling” charter schools. It won’t work. Real reform has to go beyond charters — and it has to include the unions.

NY Mag: Bloomberg pushed Klein out before he was ready to go GothamSchools:  New details tucked into a New York Magazine profile of Rupert Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth seem to confirm that Bloomberg set the timeline for Klein’s departure — and suggest that Klein’s decision to head to Murdoch’s News Corporation was hastily made.
A Failure by Supercommittee Could Cost Early Education Programs CAP: The sequesters affect all mandatory and discretionary spending, both defense and non-defense, with the exception of a list of specific exemptions. The exemptions include various child nutrition and welfare programs, as well as the Pell grant program, but no early childhood education programs.

Continue reading "Five Best Blogs: Enzi, Weingarten, and Klein -- Oh, My" »

Cartoons: A Secret Preference For "Win-Lose"

image from www.newyorker.com

"We ralize it's a win-win, Jenkins -- we're trying to figure out a way to make it a win-lose." From this Week's New Yorker

Update: Whatever Happened To School Funding Gaps?

Tumblr_lsaaeqSneB1qfeiolo1_500I frequently mock those who bring up education problems or tout solutions without doing the much more difficult work of figuring out how to fix the problem or get their ideas implemented. Here's your turn to mock me for doing much the same.  The latest state report card in Illinois reveals that there's a $15,000 funding gap between rich and poor districts.  As the Chicago Tribune reports, the gap remains stubbornly wide and the funding crisis means there's no obvious way to address it.  "In both 2002 and 2011, the 10 poorest schools on average spent 30 percent of what the 10 richest schools spent on average to educate each student, according to the analysis." Sure, Illinois relies more on local funding than many other states. And, as many have observed more money doesn't necessarily solve education's problems. But there wasn't all that much effort to address the inequality during the boom times, either, and no imaginable increase in Title I funding or targeting (except perhaps fixing the comparability loophole, which seems too obscure and painful to get done anytime soon) is going to make poor districts on par with richer ones.  If funding didn't matter, then rich districts wouldn't bother taxing themselves to provide resources to local kids.  If funding didn't matter, high-performing charter schools wouldn't cost so much.  Until and unless funding matters again in the public debate over education, I fear that we'll largely be left fiddling at the margins (which is what it feels like we're doing now).  How to rectify the funding gap, or to bring energy and attention to the problem, I frankly have no idea.  

Thompson: Schools Need Wellness Centers

WellnessThe New York Times' Trey Bundy reports in "A Place at School Where Students Can Unload Stress" that the Wellness Clinic at San Francisco's Galileo High School serves 300 to 400 student per week. More than a third of the school's 2,200 students sought help from the center last year for depression, anger, anxiety, substance abuse, grief, trauma, and physical and sexual health. San Francisco has 15 school-based Wellness Centers that served 17,000 visitors, and the prime issues are mental and emotional health, “There is mental health therapy happening here all the time. Every single clinical space is used every hour of the day.” Even if the purpose of school was just raising test scores, the way to do so is addressing the socio-emotional.  As one counselor explains, students "come with their stress, not ready to work on math, ... and we try to prepare them to face the day.”- JT (@drjohnthompson)Image via.

Update: It's Not A Hearing -- It's A Roundtable

image from wsugradstudent.files.wordpress.comNo one's ever been particularly clear of what Tuesday's #ESEA hearing was going to be all about, considering that the bill has already passed the committee.  Basically it was a way to buy off Senator Paul, who as you may recall blocked the markup during the early part of the process.  And now it turns out that it's not even a real hearing with written testimony and all of that, but rather what the committee is calling a round table discussion.  Will Senators asks questions, or participate?  Will the sort of random assortment of witnesses all sit around a table at the same time, or be divided in some way.  What happens if Hess gets overexcited and tries to filibuster -- or worse?  (Luckily he doesn't know about the five-second delay.)  No word if Charlie Rose is going to host.

AM News: Tightening The Screws On Head Start Programs

News2Obama will mandate Head Start competition USA TODAY: Low-performing Head Start programs for preschool children will be required to compete for federal funds under a rule President Obama plans to announce outside Philadelphia today.PLUS:  Obama to tour Head Start center Associated Press 

ESEA Bill Poised for Hearing, But Will it Gain Senate Traction? Politics K-12: On Tuesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee holds its big hearing on legislation overhauling the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, with a cast that will feature teachers, administrators, and other education stakeholders.

Duncan praises push to help immigrant students AP: Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Monday he's encouraged that some states are allowing the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at public colleges.

Forty percent of children in D.C. public schools now in charters The Washington Post: Charter school enrollment in the District, which made up a scant 5 percent of the total public school population in 1998, has broken the 40 percent mark, according to preliminary figures released Monday.


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Five Best Blogs: Hearing For Nothing

SoapboxESEA Bill Poised for Hearing PoliticsK12: Senate leaders may hold off on putting the ESEA bill on the floor until and unless the House approves an overhaul of the law's accountability and teacher quality provisions. PLUS: Charles Barone on ESEA Reauthorization Connor Williams: There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with finding unlikely allies on the other side of the aisle. 

MPR’s Unfortunate Sidestepping SchoolFinance101:  They fail to explore in any depth how successful charter schools allocate resources and the cost implications of those strategies. It’s time to start taking this next step!

The Book on Rhee’s DC tenure Matthew Ladner: While the needle is moving in the right direction in DC, I believe that the Cool Kids came out of the experience sadder, wiser and undeterred. That’s for the best.

Are Teachers Overqualified? Matthew Yglesias: The issue with American teachers isn’t that they’re “overpaid” it’s that we seem to have overinvested in quantity of teachers rather than quality. 

How Bill Gates throws his money around in education Anthony Cody: Invent a host of new mechanisms to reward success as well as punish failure. As much a possible, target these interventions down to the level of the individual teacher and student, to ensure compliance. 


Continue reading "Five Best Blogs: Hearing For Nothing" »

Lists: Who's *Not* On The Forbes Reformer List?

image from blogs-images.forbes.comWho are the nation's most powerful education reformers? Most of the folks on the list Forbes published at the recommendation of Wendy Kopp are predictable and/or self-serving (ie, leaders of organizations that Kopp created, supports, or who are TFA alums). Not surprisingly, Diane Ravitch, Linda Darling-Hammond, Randi Weingarten, and Steve Brill are not on the list.  But then again neither are a handful of folks who might have expected to be there:  Princeton classmate John Schnur, TFA alums Michelle Rhee and John White, or TFA enthusiasts Whitney Tilson and Andy Rotherham.  Most interesting picks, in my opinion?  Milwaukee's Howard Fuller, a longtime voucher advocate, and Anna Ponce of the LA charter school Camino Nuevo (pictured).  

Quotes: TFA Veteran Questions Program's Impact

Quotes2“Twenty years ago TFA was... ‘mostly harmless.’... Now, in my opinion, they have become ‘mostly harmful.” - TFA alum Gary Rubenstein

Video: Doc Chronicles NBCT Effort By 20 Phoenix Teachers

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

This MSNBC Dylan Ratigan segment shows how when teachers at one AZ school try to get national certification immigration issues, budget cuts, local school board politics get in the way.  I'm pretty sure Ratigan has no idea what he's talking about, but perhaps that's the price of broadcast coverage of education issues.

AM News: NYT Columnist Chronicles TN "Race" Challenges


Tennessee’s Rules on Teacher Evaluations Bring Frustration NYT (Winerip): The new rules, enacted at the start of the school year, require Mr. Shelton to do as many observations for his strongest teachers — four a year — as for his weakest. 

Sexual Harassment Pervasive In U.S. Middle And High Schools, Survey Finds AP (HuffPost): During the 2010-11 school year, 48 percent of students in grades 7-12 experienced some form of sexual harassment.

W.Va. aiming to protect LGBT students from bullies AP: A proposed anti-bullying policy for West Virginia schools acknowledges that sexual orientation and gender identity are common reasons for harassment.

Apple Woos Educators With Trips to Silicon Valley NYT:  The representative traveled to Cupertino for the meeting but hung in the background. The sales team wore ties, and the engineers and executives dressed casually. Sales pitches took a back seat to conversations and presentations about how students use computers. via @gothamschools

Excavating key differences among GOP candidates AP:  The Republican field mostly opposes giving education benefits or other social services to the children of illegal immigrants; Perry defends Texas's record of doing so.


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Weekend Reading: #ThisWeekInEd

All the magazines, sites, and other things I didn't get to during the week -- plus whatever you have to offer:

Five Best Blogs: #NCLB Waivers Too Expensive, Says CA

Tumblr_lu51dneQk41qzll1yState: Obama testing waiver will cost $3.1 billion
OCRegister: State Superintendent Tom Torlakson has already called for Obama to provide unconditional relief from NCLB while the president and Congress work to reauthorize the law.

Fine Print: NCLB Waiver Application NJ Spotlight: On the one hand, the application follows much of what the Obama administration proposed in offering the waivers in the first place -- including new labels for schools.

Kindergartners, Put Down Your Pencils Slate: Standardized testing for 5-year-olds sounds crazy. But it just might lead to a better way of assessing all kids.

Confused over 'accountability' and 'flexibility' Terrell Halaska:  It’s useful to ask whether accountability and flexibility can and should coexist. It’s even more useful to ask who is being served by flexibility and accountability proposals - systems or students?

Reform Marches On in Denver DFER: The results from election night are clear - education reform in Denver will continue to flourish. 

More CMO Study! Eduwonk:  A few pro and con commenters have opined to the effect that this data must be either “forged by public schools and teacher unions” or not valid because it doesn’t use a pure RCT or randomized model.

What works for teachers? Let’s find out Joanne Jacobson: Teachers need to use time efficiently. Researchers don’t consider opportunity cost: They want teachers to spend more time on X without saying where they should spend less time.

Video Interlude: Top Ten Things You Don't Learn About Teaching In College

They Shoulda Warned Me! via Regurgitated Alphabets

Technology: Predicting Results Isn't That Far Off

image from 4.bp.blogspot.comThey're already apparently working on predicting criminal behavior -- just like in Minority Report -- and using online assessments like TeacherFit to figure out who's going to make a good teacher, so it probably won't be long before they're predicting who'll be a good teacher.  Fill out a survey or send in your demo video and they'll give you tenure and a bonus on the spot.  Or they'll fire you.  For rural and hard-to-staff schools, the predictive software -- anyone got a new name? -- will probably be available on the next iPhone through an app that can also be used to control the unarmed mini-drone you're using to monitor the playground and the perimeter of campus.  Via The Atlantic.

Quotes: Rhee Differs With Heritage/AEI Teacher Pay Story

Quotes2No, we do not agree that teachers are overpaid. -- Michelle Rhee in Politico in response to AEI story

AM News: Christie Praises Duncan For Work With Unions


New Jersey’s Christie Gives U.S. Education Secretary High Marks BloombergEDU:  “It was necessary for it to be a Democratic president and education secretary to do this, because they can go to the teachers union, which has been their normal supportive constituency, and say to them ‘listen, we are your friends.'"

Longer school day: Union to announce agreement with CPS Chicago Tribune: The Chicago Teachers Union has called a news conference at noon Friday to discuss details of an agreement reached with Chicago Public Schools over the longer school day issue. Neither side would provide specifics of the agreement Thursday. ALSO:  School report cards don't report ISAT scores Chicago Public Radio

Poor Increasingly Cluster In Impoverished Areas NPR:  The U.S. poverty rate was 15 percent last year — the highest in almost two decades. New numbers out Thursday from the Brookings Institution show that the nation's poor are increasingly concentrated in extremely poor neighborhoods.

U.S. Withdraws Support from UNESCO, Again Politics K-12: The vote on Oct. 31 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization to admit Palestine prompted the United States to announce that it is effectively withdrawing support for UNESCO.

D.C. educators rated ‘effective’ can still lose jobs The Washington Post: Headlines about D.C. school reform efforts have often involved the firing of teachers who scored poorly on the IMPACT evaluation system adopted in 2009. But the District has also shed 145 teachers, including counselors, deemed effective or even highly effective. These employees lost their jobs through a process known as “excessing.”


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Research: Contrasting Views Of New Charter Study

Tumblr_ltdej22xJk1qcokc4o1_500Advo-journalist Andy Rotherham says the new Mathematica-CPRE charter school management study shows "it is indeed possible to build a lot of schools that are game-changers for a lot of students."  Longtime education writer Tom Toch paints quite a different picture: "It’s more hopeful than realistic...to expect such organizations to transform public education on their own."  For the complete Rotherham colum click here. For the full Toch analysis of the study, read below.  

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Five Best Blogs: Look At The Sad Beautiful Sunset


Education Cuts Could Swing the 2012 Election The Fiscal Times: “When people are faced with the option of more layoffs of public employees, cuts in services or higher property taxes, they’re not going to be happy with any of the people that are in office,” predicted Howard Fleeter, a research consultant for the Education Tax Policy Institute in Columbus.

Educator not always voucher advocate PTR:  School voucher advocate Michelle Rhee says she doesn't buy claims that using tax money to send children to private schools will worsen the experience for students who remain in low-performing schools.

The New No Excuses Jay Greene Blog: Someone please explain to me why 21% of middle and upper income Anglos in Oregon should be illiterate.

With concentrated poverty on the rise, should ed reformers be worried? Hechinger Report: In New York City, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, New Orleans, and Los Angeles, the number of people in high-poverty neighborhoods declined over the past decade.In other education reform hotspots, however—including Denver, Houston and Memphis—it’s on the rise.

Report Tackles School Turnaround The Educated Reporter: No one likes to talk about it, but we all know schools where it might actually be best if the doors simply shut and didn't reopen. However, closing schools -- and using the federal grant money to make room for more students at a district's campuses that are thriving already-- probably doesn't make superintendents popular.


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Cartoons: Vouchers Unwelcome At Status Quo High School

image from content.cartoonbox.slate.comRead more Signe Wilkinson   |   Get Signe Wilkinson by e-mail

Thompson: A New Version Of NCLB Won't Help

National%20report%20cardAfter nearly a decade of evidence, the jury is in on NCLB and there is no reason the believe that a reauthorized NCLB would accomplish much more.  So, what if advocates of data-driven accountability were to adopt a truth in advertising position?  What if true believers in NCLB-type accountability drew the obvious lesson of a decade of NAEP results, and acknowledged that numbers-driven schooling isn't likely to improve math test scores?  Would an "Improving Math Scores" law, that was unlikely to improve reading comprehension or close the achievement gap, be worth it?  An honest accounting of bubble-in testing would allow for a discussion of whether it is worth the narrowing of the curriculum, undercutting collective bargaining, and excessive test prep in order to produce modest increases in elementary and middle school math scores??- JT (@drjohnthompson)Image via.  

Quotes: Now Duncan Calls Harkin-Enzi "Weak"

Quotes2#esea You don't want to have a weak bill or a bad bill at the end of the day. -- Arne Duncan

Video: A Closer Look At Shanghai

NBC News tries to get at what makes Shanghai kids do so well on international tests, and what holds them back in terms of creativity and entrepreneurship:

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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.