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Five Best Blogs: CA To Add Retention To Ratings

Tumblr_loju2gnrdd1qm0gcdo1_500 California education bill gets an A LA Times (editorial): If implemented correctly, the bill [which adds dropout rates to the mix] also could encourage schools to shift away from what has become an overemphasis on test-oriented "drill and kill" in basic subjects. 

The Education Swamp Kevin Drum: Anyone who gets too obsessed with only one or two pieces of the ed system is just guaranteeing that they'll never understand what's going on. ALSO:  Brill’s blinkered view Felix Salmon: As a general rule, anybody who thinks that anything about education reform is “simple and obvious” is wrong. 

What if the Gates Foundation rewarded results? Rock The Schoolhouse: The Gates Foundation is at an important pivot point in its development. It has built a strong brand in health care philanthropy and an education operation that is notable for how top-heavy and PR-driven it is.

Documentary on Chicago gang violence is the most necessary film of the year Salon: Rather than lecturing in schools or running drop-in centers, they get out on the street... and do what it takes to resolve conflict on the spot, whether that involves wresting a chunk of concrete out of the hands of an angry teenager or taking a disaffected 19-year-old dropout to get her first-ever manicure.

The Education Secretary’s Poor Sense of Touch  NRO:  He feels badly, does he? Something wrong with his sense of touch? He can’t tell wood from water from sand? Does he feel sadly and terribly and angrily too? Via LOOG 

Media: How SchoolBook Aims To Get More Folks Involved

Paper-Rhino Everybody who creates an education site wants super active readers and commenters, but not everybody knows how to get and keep them (or how to get them to do anything more than comment randomly). One of the most interesting things that SchoolBook is going to do to address this challenge is make use of a database of commenter/experts created by Minnesota Public Radio / American Public Media.  Another strategy they're planning on using is to get folks involved via text and cell phone voicemail messages, not just smartphone and Internet-based interactivity, since many folks (esp. low-income and immigrant) rely on regular cell phones.  Read below for some more details based on a phone conversation with WNYC's John Keefe.

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Five Best Blogs: What Annual Test Results Miss

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Our Annual Testing Data Charade Shanker Blog: Any newspaper... that heralds changes in proficiency rates without at least examining the grade-by-grade change in actual scores may very well be hiding more than it reveals. 

Taunting Michelle Rhee EdNext:  Winerip is right: Rhee really should discuss the brewing Washington, DC, public school cheating charges that a USA Today reporting team unearthed last May.

Have National Education Standards Arrived? Kevin Kosar: As I see it, a host of issues remain between where we are and a system of national education standards. 

The name game Mike Petrilli: Corporations hate controversy; real reform is controversial; ergo, “corporate reform” is an oxymoron.

American Teacher Uprising: A brand new documentary called American Teacher tells the stories of four teachers from 4 different cities who passionately struggle to remain teachers sometimes at the expense of their own well-being. 

If Porn Stars Can't Teach in Schools, What Will Become of America? The Awl: Mr. Loftis, also known as Collin O'Neal, contends that if he'd been in straight porn, administrators wouldn't have blinked. I do not think that is true! 

Why Don't We Teach Kids How to Use CTRL+F? Liz Dwyer: Ninety percent of people don't know that they can use CTRL or Command+F to find a word in a document or web page.  

Five Best Blogs: Ackerman Reportedly Out Of Philly

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Why Are Finland's Schools Successful? Smithsonian:  It was the end of term when Kari Louhivuori, a veteran teacher and the school’s principal, decided to try something extreme—by Finnish standards. 

110 schools [42pct] meet AYP targets Notebook:  Philadelphia schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman gave an emotional speech and received a rousing ovation from principals assembled on Thursday at Lincoln High School for the District's annual leadership convocation. UPDATE:  Philadelphia pushes out schools chief Arlene Ackerman WP

Teachers Aren't Plaster Saints! Rick Hess:  I'm fairly confident that isolated cheating scandals will eventually snowball. 

Rhee-Visiting DC Cheating Eduwonk:  At this point she should stay quiet until the ongoing investigation is done and cooperate with it.

Is Wyoming Bowing out of the Common Core? Kathleen Porter-Magee: Even if Wyoming does move forward the Common Core ELA and math standards, there is still some question about whether the state will opt to administer the assessment. 

$7 billion-plus in shopping and everything else The Answer Sheet:  Here is everything you ever wanted to know — even things you didn’t know enough to know that you wanted to know — about the back to school season.

Five Best Blogs: The Supercommittee & Education

Picture 9 Rick Perry Gives Up the Ghost on the 'Intelligent Design' Lie Gawker: Rick Perry was asked this morning if he believed in evolution, and his answer was surprising. Not because he does not, in fact believe in evolution (it's just "a theory that's out there"), but because he admitted that the alternative to teaching evolution in schools is essentially religious indoctrination. 

Bachmann and the changing Republican education agenda Slate:  It's safe to say that the political era of George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind is now officially over, even as the law's testing mandates continue to reverberate in classrooms across the country. 

Will Congress Sacrifice After School Tutoring Programs to Protect Yacht Owners? Unfinished Business:  Now that the super committee required by the recent debt deal reached in Congress is coming together, it's important to think about the choices our elected officials will have to make.

Poverty and education reform — and those caught in the middle Hechinger Report:  Increasingly, educators and experts are questioning the reformers’ tactics and asking whether the single-minded focus on schools has become an excuse to avoid the hard work of addressing poverty.  

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Five Best Blogs: Are Elite Public Schools All That Good?

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Baltimore's Catch-22 NCTQ: A recent CALDER study calculated annual principal turnover in districts that included Miami-Dade County, Milwaukee, San Francisco, and New York City, and found rates ranging from 19 to 26 percent.

Do Exclusive Public Schools Teach Better? Matthew Yglesias: At the policy level it’s more important to identify institutions that are unusually good at helping people learn, not institutions that are unusually good at screening. 

A State-By-State Sex Ed Primer Jezebel: Did you know that 24 states don't require sex education? 

High School Girls Have the Right to Upload Lewd Pictures Gawker:It's official: High school girls have a constitutionally protected right to post to Facebook pictures of themselves in lingerie toying with phallic lollipops.

Florida Police Foil Potentially "Catastrophic" School Bombing Slate:  Florida police said on Tuesday that they had foiled a potentially "catastrophic" mass murder plot by an expelled student in a Tampa school district. 

Five Best Blogs: The Texas "Miracle" Is Back

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The Origins of the 'Texas Miracle Atlantic:  The "Texas miracle" phrase harkens back to the 2000 presidential race, when George W. Bush campaigned on statistics that showed improving test scores and graduation rates for Texas public school students -- a "Texas miracle" he called it. ALSO: How will Rick Perry’s budget affect education? 

Mike Casserly Is a Stud Rick Hess:  They [CGCS] showed their mettle when requesting the urban trial NAEP, in embracing accountability a decade ago, and in coming to the table with ideas other than a plea for more funds.

Is The Oprah Winfrey Brand Of Philanthropy The Guardian:  In practising what should really be called “humanitarian privatisation”, Winfrey and other philanthropists like Bill Gates have targeted public education with missionary zeal, speaking authoritatively on a subject they know little about. 

Baltimore Schools Chief Alonso Discusses Urban Education: Bloomberg EDU:  Andres Alonso, chief executive officer of Baltimore City Public Schools, discusses conflict and collaboration with the teachers union, high stakes testing and reducing the high school dropout rate.

Can Will.i.am Make Science Geeks the Rock Stars of the Future? Liz Dwyer: Over 2.1 million people tuned in, which is, as the TV by the Numbers blog notes, more than usually watch anything on the Science Channel.  

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Five Best Blogs: Money, School Reform, & Campaign '12

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The Perry-Obama education fight The Answer Sheet: As the campaign battle between Obama and Perry heats up, expect education to be part of the fight.

The End of the Era of Accountability? EdNext: The current revolt may not be as populist as it may seem, and the new pushback against accountability may, in fact, be a lot like the original one.

Petition on US Department of Education TeacherKen: Most of what Duncan is doing has not been blessed by the Congress.  What the petition asks could potentially at least start the appropriate discussions. 

K-12 Downsizing NRO:  One can imagine a scenario in which one or several cities emerge as hubs of teaching talent, with large numbers of small firms of specialist teachers contracting with blended schools around the country and around the world. 

How the Kochs Are Ending Public Education Robert Greenwald: The Koch apparatus was trying to rewrite the social contract that made the Wake County school system a magnet for teachers and families and the surrounding communities prosper.  

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Weekend Reading: NYC's $100M SIG Stalemate

A roundup of magazines, sites, and columns I didn't get to during the week:

Post collegiate flow chart of misery and pain

"Mass Resistance" To Education Reform Jonathan Chait (TNR): That sounds like devolving policy to the level of government at which local interest groups (in this case, teachers unions) will exert the most sway, and foreclosing the possibility of using evidence-based methods to drive policy toward more effective practices. 

Fixing Schools, Fixing Teachers WNYC: The state refuses to release the $100M until the city and the teachers' union can agree on a new teacher evaluation system that combines test scores and classroom observations [for the 33 SIG schools].

Top Right's Faces of Innovation Slate:  Khan’s educational videos are revolutionizing how kids learn math and science. 

Math Teacher Full of Tangents Slate: A student who is fed up with his math teacher's disruptive digressions seeks counsel from Slate's advice columnist Prudence. 

The sex ed hall of shame Salon:  This week people were abuzz over news that New York City had  mandated sex education -- and some were simply scratching their heads at the realization that this wasn't already the case. Seriously, it took this long?

Five Best Blogs: Defending Duncan - Defending AYP Ratings

Tumblr_lpdgwp2Igs1qb3mmfo1_500 Obama Shows Spunk Pushing Brave Education Plan Jonathan Alter: It’s a different kind of local control and a different vision of accountability than we’ve seen before.

Yes Virginia… Eduwonk:  Is it really so surprising that when a law comes along that requires the use of disaggregated data – so overall averages can’t obscure big pockets of low-performance – 60 percent of schools need to do better? 

Proficient in Texas, but not in Missouri Joanne Jacobs: A Tennessee eighth grader could be considered proficient without being able to read a graph, while a Massachusetts student meeting the proficiency benchmark “would likely be able to solve a math problem using algebra and geometry.”

Lawmakers outsource duties to ALEC Midwest Voices:  In Missouri, House Majority Leader Tim Jones... sponsored a bill called the “parent trigger act.”

The Internet Is Making It Hard For Teens to Have Fun Atlantic: In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that students can be disciplined for bad behavior outside of school, "so long as the school can prove the activities were disruptive or posed a danger and that it was foreseeable the activities would find their way to campus," the AP explains.

Etsy Saves Your Freshman Year with Indie School Supplies: Chances are you’re not into rainbow tigers anymore, and you might not have much use for a new box of crayons in Sociology 101. But that doesn’t mean you don’t still want a cool new notebook. 

Five Best Blogs: Illegal... And Unwise

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#nclbwaivers  New Plan To Reform Education Is Likely Illegal TNR:  Many [Republicans] see it as a bad idea for education reform, but also because it fits nicely into their ready-made narrative about the Obama administration’s dangerous and unconstitutional use of executive power.

The Duncan Precedent, 2013 Edition: "First off, congratulations Congresswoman Bachmann on being named U.S. Secretary of Education by President-elect Perry."

I Think These Critiques Of Parent Trigger Laws Are Missing The Point Larry Ferlazzo:  There probably aren’t many people who are bigger critics of the parent trigger than me, but this condescending objection is insulting, short-sighted, and ___________ (insert just about any other negative adjective you can think of).  

We’d All Love to See the Plan Mike Antonucci: The teacher union reform field is littered with the bodies of those who sought to alter the union’s primary mission – protecting teachers – and found themselves ousted in favor of challengers who promised to get tough with administrators. 

Teachers to Take Center Stage at Education NationLiz Dwyer: While it remains to be seen how much this year's event will present teachers as experts with real solutions, this fresh approach certainly seems like a step in the right direction. 

Rebecca Black Withdraws b/c of Bullying ABC News:  Now her mother is her teacher, and said she agreed to pull Black out of school because her daughter was being made fun of and so she had more time to focus on her career.

Reform: Smearing Ravitch Could Blow Up In Reformers' Faces

image from i141.photobucket.comHow much do Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, and Geoff Canada get paid for their appearances at various conferences and events, by whom -- and where are these payments disclosed to those who are listening and to the public?  How much did Steve Brill get paid to write his book and who was it who first suggested to him that he should look into Diane Ravitch's speaking fees?  These are some of the questions that come to mind in light of the attacks on Diane Ravitch in Brill's book that are the focus of Whitney Tilson's emailings this morning (see below).  I have issues with Ravitch -- earlier this year she demanded to have her blurb removed from the back of my book over my my expressing these thoughts -- but I have no questions about her integrity.  It's no secret that she has spoken to teachers at union events around the country, and (to me, at least) no particular problem that she's taken speaking fees for sharing her views without declaring the income at every opportunity. I have, however, had several Ravitch critics mention to me that I should look into her being paid over the past year or so. That Brill has made Ravitch's fees part of his book -- and Tilson has made them the focus - reminds me of the smear campaign conducted by Tilson and others against Linda Darling Hammond two years ago when reformers were (ridiculously, unnecessarily) woried about her role in the Obama administration. Ravitch supporters (especially those who think there's a secret Ravitch Group operating inside the USDE to destroy her reputation) will only be fueled by having their champion attacked (again). Reform supporters should be dismayed to see fearful people on "their side" resorting to cheap, below-the-belt, "blow-up-in-our-faces" tactics in order to try and sway opinion that is not necessarily trending their way. TILSON EMAILS BELOW 

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Five Best Blogs: Waivers, Failures, And Redefining AYP

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Why states should refuse Duncan’s NCLB waivers The Answer Sheet: Based on his track-record with “Race to the Top” and School Improvement Grants, Duncan probably will replace these sanctions with a requirement to use student test scores to judge teachers.

Beyond NCLB’s ‘Avoiding Failure’ Plans Julie McCargar: Across Tennessee, almost half of the public schools did not make adequate yearly progress (AYP) this year, and 17 percent of the schools are on the list of low-performing schools. 

'No Child Left Behind' set to relieve states in budget crisis CSM: Jennings said Duncan "should be concentrating on making sure they’re asking for waivers that make sense in terms of maintaining accountability.” 

Niche Reforms Are Not The Answer David Cohen: Most school systems in the world have at least several elements of an infrastructure.  The U.S. Advanced Placement Program has several elements, as do a few charter networks and some of the Comprehensive School Reform designs. Effective and sustainable school improvement will take more than piecemeal niche reforms.  

The Conversation Atlantic:  Joel Klein’s take on the public education system, The Failure of AMerican Schools, received more letters than any other article so far this year. Union leaders, teachers, parents, and students alike wrote in. Many attacked Klein; a few praised him; others offered their own theories about what’s plaguing U.S. education.

Nationalization Chickens Come Home to Roost Jay Greene Blog: I get the sense that conservatives who like Common Core want a do-over. They want to disengage from their former allies among the nationalizers and reposition themselves as champions of high state standards. 

Five Best Blogs: Backdoor Blueprint - Or Massive Rollback?

Tumblr_lpi2ycVbYE1qczvmbo1_500Duncan's "Backdoor Blueprint" Strategy Rick Hess: In fact, the whole scheme sounds more like the framing of a back-door grant competition than anything else.

Obama Rewrites the NCLB Act  Brookings (Russ Whitehurst): The administration may well have the political clout it needs to overcome the ire of key committee chairs whose authority to legislate has been undercut.

Arne Duncan's Latest Step in the No Child Waiver Gambit RiShawn Biddle:  The footprint of mandated federal accountability [will] likely to be reduced under Duncan’s gambit from every school receiving Title 1 to just the 5,000 or so persistent failure mills. 
States Are Suddenly Redefining Expectations Richard Whitmire (USNews): Critics of these changes predict fallout from veteran teachers opting for early retirement and would-be teachers seeking other career paths.
 
How Much Time Have Ed. Reformers Actually Spent in the Classroom? Take Part:  How many years have today’s top reformers spent on the frontlines of America’s classrooms learning what it takes for schools to thrive? 
Confessions of a Presidential Fitness Test Underachiever The Tangential: The Presidential Fitness Test was invented by that same jerks who brought us Boy Scouts, energy drinks, and Michael Bay.  

Weekend Reading: Stop Freaking Out Over Class Size

A few education-related articles and columns from magazines and websites I don't check every day:

ElmerJohnston on Education Reforms Bloomberg EDU (audio):Colorado State Senator Mike Johnston discusses education reforms in teaching, leadership and funding for students with special needs.

Does class size really matter? Salon (Peg Tyre):  Parents are dying to get their kids into smaller classes. But research shows they may be panicking over nothing.

Public school budgets will rise in next few years SCPR: About a thousand public school teachers finished a one week union boot camp at UCLA Friday. After losing thousands of members to teacher layoffs, the California Teachers Association conference is training its remaining teachers in negotiating and organizing skills. 

Education Needs a Digital-Age Upgrade Virginia Heffernan (NYT): Chances are just that good that, in spite of anything you do, little Oliver or Abigail won’t end up a doctor or lawyer — or, indeed, anything else you’ve ever heard of.

Study Links Decline of Unions to Rising of Income Inequality: Western and co-author Jake Rosenfeld, a sociology professor at the University of Washington, looked at the period between 1973 and 2007, when inequality in hourly wages spiked by 40 percent. 

Student Sues School Over Homecoming Week "Wigger Day" Gawker:  Rather than going along with the student council-approved theme in 2008 and 2009, Red Wing High School students at the predominantly white school held "Wednesday Wigger Day," which involved wearing clothes that, "from their perspective, mimicked black culture." 

Five Best Blogs: "AYPocalypse" & "Teachmageddon"?

ScreenHunter_27 Aug. 05 20.30 AYPocalypse? Nah. DFER: We don't want to sound like we told you so or anything, but we told you so - more than once.

L.A. School District Rehires 450 Teachers Laid Off In June NPR: The Los Angeles school district has rehired 450 elementary school teachers who had been laid off in June.
Education Data Transcript ProPublica: Reporter Sharona Coutts, director of computer-assisted reporting 

A conversation: Kopp, West, Smiley Answer Sheet: Someone who found it infuriating just sent it to me, and though it took place months ago, it is still worth reading. 

Why You Love Learning Liz Dwyer: A new short film by director/producer Rick Mireki will have you positively itching to pick up some new skills and knowledge. 

Market-Driven Rhetoric Amanda Ripley: Without measuring what actually works, what actually does not and listening to the teachers, parents, principals and most of all the students affected, we will just keep arguing in circles, with only the talking points changing.

Secret Ravitch Group at Duncan's DOE? Mike Klonsky:  Ask Secretary Duncan or his press guys Cunningham or Hamilton about DOE staffers assigned to the secret Ravitch Group.

Five Best Blogs: Sugar Baby Teacher Edition

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This one goes out to all the #sugarbaby teachers out there, unable to find work or LIFO'd despite all their efforts:

Really Good News Petrilli:  How about all of us—reformers and skeptics alike—agree to make the most of the good news that falls in our lap every now and then? Poor kids in Florida and a few other states are making HUGE gains. Let’s figure out why. 

 The Dreaded “Corporate Foundation” Kevin Carey: The politics of Henry Ford and the interests of the Ford Motor Company are by no means aligned with the strategies put forth by the Ford Foundation. 

Public Opinion On Teacher Compensation Matthew Yglesias: What’s tricky is a “let’s spend more money precisely in order to get different people in this field” coalition. ALSO:  How to improve teacher education now (and why Teach for America isn’t the answer) Arthur Levine: Higher education is where the teachers are. All other remedies pale in comparison.

An Incoherent Protest Against Education Reform Kevin Carey (again): The Koch brothers aren’t getting rich by running charter schools. Bill Gates didn’t cause the economic crisis or put Chris Christie in the New Jersey governor’s mansion. 

 Matt Damon, Arne Duncan and the Divisive Teacher-Quality Debate The Nation (Dana Goldstein): Absent that kind of guidance, the protests of the Matt Damons of the world will only grow louder, and the Obama administration will lose crucial public support for its teacher-quality agenda.

New York Teams up with IBM to Reboot a High School DFER:  This inventive school is only possible because of the city's decision to close the persistently failing Paul Robeson High School, which P-Tech is replacing.

The Next Standoff: Appropriations Policy Riders Matthew Yglesias: When it comes time to write appropriations bills, House Republicans are going to return to cartel behavior and seek to write legislation that  unites rather than divides their caucus. 

Programming Note:  Watch former contributor @amandafairbanks talk w/ Dr. Drew tonight about est 400k "sugar babies" seeking financial help https://ow.ly/5Viuq  Maybe there really are some sugar baby teachers out there - who knows?

Five Best Blogs: Phoebe Price Teacher Gets Fired

ScreenHunter_10 Aug. 02 10.02 What Ed Sector gets wrong Petrilli:  How about a little less skepticism, and a little more love, for one of the gutsiest projects in education reform history? 

The teacher who encouraged me to write Dave Eggers: Jay Criche made "Macbeth" seem edgy to suburban teens -- and he helped me believe I could be an author GS 

Why Alternative Education Needs to Go Mainstream GOOD:  A ten-year plan that's well thought-out and truly student-centered is what's needed to change the alternative into the mainstream. 

Cruel lesson for a teacher Kevin Cullen, Globe Columnist: The persecution and humiliation of Deb Caldieri, the teacher who responded to the suicide of Phoebe Prince with a compassion so utterly lacking elsewhere in South Hadley High School, is complete. She was fired last week.

The mess we are in LDH:  We have 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its inmates — populated primarily by high school dropouts on whom we would not spend $10,000 a year when they were in school, but we will spend more than $40,000 a year when they are in prison – a prison system that is now directly devouring the money we should be spending on education. 

Five Best Blogs: Doing The "SIG Shuffle"

8de87cc018c11334e59628c8b9a3939826fe64f6_m Teacher turnover and the stress of reform LAT (editorial page): It's unlikely that we can build large-scale school reform on a platform of continual new demands on teachers-- even if schools find ways to pay them better. 

Pa. Joins States Facing a School Cheating Scandal NYT (Winerip): A large data file contains evidence that suggests cheating on state exams at 89 Pennsylvania schools.

Inexcusable Inequalities! SF101: I’m sick of those who would so absurdly argue that districts serving low-income and minority children really have more than enough money to deliver good programs. 

SIGnificant Concerns Title I-Derland: In my opinion, the biggest problem with SIG is not capacity, but buy-in. 

Shuffle has no love from us Quick & Ed: Central High, the school that received the "lemons", saw its achievement nearly double.

Five Best Blogs: Hot Hot Friday Afternoon

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 #sosmarch Ravitch lampoons education critics American Independent:  During a faux-interview Ravitch lobbed questions at herself that she’s answered throughout her career. 

Poverty, Reading Scores, and Resilient Schools New America:  In the resilient schools, poverty still plays a big role, but one that the school has managed to curb. 

Is the Charter-School Movement Stuck in a Rut? Checker Finn: This wouldn’t be the first “reform movement” in the history of education to turn into an ideologically rigid, pull-up-the-gangplank-now-that-we’re-aboard sort of vested interest. But it would still be a great pity. 

How did this happen? The Give Well Blog:  How does such a successful and acclaimed organization [as KIPP] struggle to raise the funds necessary to continue expanding? 

No Child... Gonna Make You Cry Susan Sawyers: A heart-wrenching portrayal of today's New York City public school system and the people who make up the school communities.

Radio: Common Core, Rick Hess, & Me

Megaphone The latest broadcast of Bloomberg EDU is now out online, including a Jane Williams interview with David Coleman (about ComCore, natch) and a friendly chat between me and Rick Hess about public officials making private school choices and our increasing questions about the viability of the Common Core. Check out downloads of previous shows here.

Best Five Blogs: Waivers & Government Breakdown

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Obama administration reaches out to education activists Answer Sheeet:  Is this a repeat of the administration’s efforts last summer to blunt criticism by a coalition of civil rights groups?  

Saving Our Schools? Eduflack: If one is serious about school improvement (setting aside whether SOS' agenda can be considered "improvement"), you need to offer a little more than arts and crafts. 

Reform Without Legislation Matthew Yglesias: It’s clever, and since it’s probably not the kind of issue around which congress will organize a massive backlash (compare to, say, the EPA) it just might work. But it should also be taken as another sign of the increasing breakdown of our machinery of government. 

Unemployment Linked to Vasectomies, Chipped Teeth and Substitute Teaching Carolyn Bucior: Following the economic downturn that began in 2007, USA Today wrote that school districts nationwide were flooded with applications from people who wanted to work as substitute teachers. 

When the story is education, Rupert Murdoch gets involved GothamSchools: The same story reported that Murdoch relished his access to Journal reporters, with whom he sometimes discussed education issues.

Confession of a cheating teacher Philly Notebook:  She said she knows she's a good teacher. But she still helped her students cheat. 

The Gates Foundation and the Rise of the Cool Kids Jay Greene:  Whatever the mistakes to date, the Gates Foundation has in my mind has succeeded in serving as a counter-weight to the NEA. 

Five Best Blogs: Civics Teachers Parachute Into Washington

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Emergency Team Of Civics Teachers Dispatched To Washington The Onion:  With lawmakers still at an impasse over increasing the debt ceiling, a special team of 40 eighth-grade civics teachers was air-dropped into Washington earlier today.

Pushing Deaf Kids Away From Sign Language Atlantic:  Cuts in Indiana could slash budgets for state schools for the deaf, forcing some children to attend "mainstream" schools.

 Where private foundations award education cash The Answer Sheet:  Teach for America, the nonprofit organization that recruits newly graduated college students to commit to teach for two years in high-needs schools, was tops on the list of recipients, with 31 percent of the total. ALSO:  Walton Family Foundation Gifts TFA $49.5 Million HuffED

Speaking of Intellectual Corruption! Greg Forster: Everyone’s onto Jennings’ game, so no one cares about his nonsense. 

The "We Don't Want Trouble" Defense Makes a Comeback GOOD: In this case, fear of violence is code for fear of change. And that's not much different from the Jim Crow era. 

Top 5 Most Shocking Public School Cheating Scandals TakePart:  In 2006, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) hired Caveon Test Security to analyze state test results for signs of cheating. Preliminary analysis revealed 699 schools with suspicious scores. 

 

SOS March: What People Are Saying

Here are some of the best / most eye-catching comments on the upcoming #sosmarch - feel free to add more: 

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Advocating for a Public that Often Disagrees With You EdSector: The American public—that they claim to champion—disagrees with much, if not most, of the K-12 education vision outlined by SOS’s organizers.

Schools march won’t unite us, but so what?   Jay Mathews:   If I were at the "Save Our Schools" march around the White House, my sign would say “Bring Us Together.”  

If dogs became kings And the Pope chewed gum Sara Mead:  How do we [bridge] the gap between systemic changes we seek and the emotional realities of what parents want in the most concrete of terms everyday for their children?  

Coverage of the Reform Rishawn Biddle:  The Baby Boomer teachers who oppose school reform are looking out for their retirements; like their colleagues outside of education, they are also dealing with tremendous debt burdens, and low levels of savings, so they may have to work longer than they want. 

 

Why I Won't Be Marching Last Stand For Children First:  Frequently, I hear teachers from urban schools talk about the difficulties their students face on a daily basis and immediately feel sorry for these kids being saddled with teachers who have low expectations for them.

 

Cartoon: The Pink Panther Version Of School Reform

The Pink Panther and Inspector Clouseau paint a column in a never-ended loop, each painting over the other's work. It's pink! It's blue! It's pink again!

Five Best Blogs: Cheating Cheaters Cheerily Cheat

Dumpster Corruption and Blaming the Test Kevin Carey:  Being under pressure to increase student test scores is not at all the same thing as being the parent of a hungry family. 

Questions about cheating could hinder efforts to improve schools Washington Post:  Of more than 100,000 public schools in the United States, about 300 recently have faced suspicions, allegations and, in some cases hard proof, that teachers and administrators cheated to inflate standardized test scores.

Black Student Barred from Being Valedictorian, Says Lawsuit Gawker: Kym's federal lawsuit claims she had the highest GPA in her class and was told she would be valedictorian, but got pushed out last minute for white students.

Teach For America and Charter Schools Are Not Enough PolicyMic:  I commend TFA and charter schools for their significant role in this work, but it is not their burden to bear; it is all of ours.

The Ne Plus Ultra of Enraging Trend Stories Gawker:  It has an inequality-in-education angle, a rich kids angle, and a private jets angle. 

Media: The Cheating "Crisis" & Teacher Culpability

Typewriter-007Like others I'm a big fan of education writer Dana Goldstein (and love the line in her latest piece about the current mood of "brutal optimism" about testing). But the piece in Slate - about how "a growing spate of evidence from around the country suggests that the most egregious practices in Atlanta... are part of a national, and indeed a historic trend... bolstered by No Child Left Behind's emphasis on pressuring educators to produce spectacular test results" -- seems overheated in its claims and makes several questionable connections. Goldstein presents no real evidence that there is a cheating crisis going on in America, greatly overstates NCLB's real-world threat to educators, and seems to presume that educators are both unable to resist everyday temptations and shouldn't be included among those who should be held accountable for their actions. To all of this and more, I protest.   

Continue reading "Media: The Cheating "Crisis" & Teacher Culpability" »

Weekend Reading: Magazines, Alternative Weeklies, Etc.

Alphabet blocks

A roundup of magazines, alternative weeklies, and other sources I don't check every day (along with a few I do):

UPDATE:   Joel Klein Leads Internal News Corp. Inquiry NYT: At one point, [Murdoch] quietly donated $1 million to an advocacy group, Education Reform Now.

Our elementary-school teachers instilled certain fundamental ... Utne Reader:  Advocates of a new crusade to bring environmental literacy to public schools want students to better understand green issues and their personal relationship to the natural world.

Who Teaches The Teachers Yglesias:  Otterman gives a great overview of some of the practitioners making efforts to improve things in a first-order way with new programs. 

Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops Wired Magazine:  In the vicinity of the schools where the dynamic displays were installed, drivers slowed an average of 14 percent. Not only that, at three schools the average speed dipped below the posted speed limit.

Failing forward Lucy Bernholz/Philanthropy 101: We ought to be getting better at knowing when we're succeeding and, concomitantly, when we're failing. 

How Khan Academy Is Changing The Rules Of Education Wired: Story of education website that offers free video tutorials tailored to students of differing abilities.

How To Be A Writer Molly Backes:  "Let her be lonely. Let her believe that no one in the world truly understands her. Let her have secrets. Let her write poetry on her jeans and backpack" 

When Columbine Never Ends Esquire: Rep. Kevin Parker on then and now, Columbine and Spokane, and the memory of Gabby Giffords, too.  

Cartoon: "Anti-Layoff" Provision Earns Editorial Mockery

image from castateofemergency.com
The Sacto Bee published this cartoon, and the CTA responded with a letter-writing campaign that, according to union critic EIA, backfired.  

Five Best Blogs: Fordham V. Fordham

Tumblr_lo3l86g2nS1qkgph1o1_500 The Key To Sustainability Tom Toch: It’s becoming tougher and tougher to find the talented education entrepreneurs needed to open high-quality charter schools. 

Student teaching criticized in new study; schools of education fire back Hechinger:  The NCTQ points out that often these mentors aren’t required to be highly qualified or good at mentoring. 

Hey, MOE! Thompson:  ED has already threatened to cut $4 million from Iowa’s IDEA allocation and a whopping $111 million from South Carolina’s.

 This Glass is Half-Empty Chester E. Finn, Jr.: Mike can crack open the champagne if he wants to. But don’t pour me more than a thimble full. 

Educational Advocacy Quotes™ Chad Sansing: By purchasing any quote, you acquire the license to use the quote in perpetuity as if you wrote it. 

What Kind Of Speller Are You? The Awl:  "Good spellers are often drawn to poetry and wordplay, while bad spellers, for whom language is a conduit and not an end in itself, can excel at representation and reportage."

Quote: "Patting Some Kids On The Head"

Quotes2 If we don’t have a chance to fail, no one will know that we need help. We won’t be able to improve. Then we will be back where we were before, patting some kids on the head... and passing them on to the next grade until they are fit for nothing better than the unemployment line. - Jay Mathews 

Five Best Blogs: Are You Smarter Than A 12th Grader?

ScreenHunter_06 Jul. 19 06.37  The Army of Angry Teachers Jay P. Greene: What feels like success to angry teachers is actually sowing the seeds of failure for the teacher union. RESPONSE: Anger Management Liam Goldrick

Are You Smarter Than a 12th Grader? Mother Jones: I'm a pretty smart guy and I read a lot and I keep up with things better than most people, but this was tough stuff. 

Myths of school discipline challenged Donna St. George: Harsh discipline is not always a reflection of the students in a particular school. It can be driven by those in charge. 

Duncan’s Dilemma The Enterprise Blog:  He’s fighting a losing battle in the court of public opinion when it comes to NCLB and the role of Washington in school reform. 

The Wrath Against Khan Hacked Education:  While students receive these sorts of videos positively, they are actually learning very little or learning very superficially. 

Our schools’ secret success Mike Petrilli/Fordham: Today’s poor and minority students are achieving one, two, and sometimes three grade levels higher than their counterparts in the early 1990s were.

Five Best Blogs: Busted Bonus Plan Bombs In NYC

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Bonuses dead. Kids didn't win. Where's Randi? Mike Klonsky:  I was disappointed ,but not shocked, to find that EdWize, the UFT website, contained no mention of the failed bonus plan. 

Do Principals Make Good Firing Decisions? Education Next: Principals are more likely to dismiss teachers who are frequently absent and who have previously received poor evaluations. They dismiss elementary school teachers who are less effective in raising student achievement… 

Not the Moment for Growing Suburban Charters Tom Hoffman:  All things being equal, there is no reason to think that, say, a Mandarin-immersion charter school is going to have better value-added ELA and math scores than their sending districts. 

How long did Weingarten teach? Joanne Jacobs: An education reformer with two years as a Teach for America teacher apparently has more classroom experience than the AFT leader.

Why Jonathan Kozol is Marching teacherken:  "I'm sick of begging members of the Senate, even those among them who have been my friends for years, to move two inches in the right direction." 

Continue reading "Five Best Blogs: Busted Bonus Plan Bombs In NYC" »

Five Best Blogs: States' "Race" Timelines Were "Overly Optimistic"

Knockout Assessing the Progress of Race to the Top New America: Many states have found that their original timelines were “overly optimistic” and have had to rework the planned roll out of different efforts. 

Academic Exceptionalism Amanda Ripley:  They are no-stakes for kids, who are likely to experience far more agonizing over real life’s setbacks on the football field than they do in the classroom.

Alternative certification isn't alternative, redux. NCTQ:  It sure seems as though the [training program] directors are more focused on teacher production than teacher quality. 

 Why Not Here? Andywonk:  I don’t want to imply that teachers’ union leaders are not committed to the success of public education.  

Research Calvinball Sherman Dorn: You don't get to learn anything new in your career if you not only are 100% correct but you always were and always will be. 

Being Run Down Doesn't Sound So Bad Tom Hoffman: Neither Alter nor Tilson have the slightest idea what's actually happening on the ground all over the country.

Five Best Blogs: Slow, Hot Monday (Debt Ceiling Looms!)

10CNCTEACHERS-popup Of Jonah Edelman and other braggarts Sherman Dorn:No one should be so naive to think this stuff doesn't happen behind closed doors. No one should be so naive to think this stuff is helpful to productive negotiations. 

Charter School Sends Message Mike Winerip (NYT):  It was not a natural fit for the Success charters, which are known for discipline and long school days. From Day 1 of kindergarten, Ms. Sprowal said, he was punished for acting out. ALSO:  Success Wins EdNext.

Business moves to center of school policy debate  Stateline:  Long counted on mainly as a funder and promoter of K-12 education, corporate America is immersing itself in discussion about the way school systems should be organized and operated. 

Math And Literacy Are Vocational Skills Yglesias:  It’s not about everyone needing to have basic reading and math competency so they can go to college; it’s about everyone needing to have basic reading and math skills so that they know who to read and do basic math.

Why parents love a lower-rated school - Class Struggle Jay Mathews:  The Wakefield Chapel parents are angrily demanding that their children be allowed to stay with the poor kids.

Summer Camp Just as Unbearable as College Now Gawker: You don't want just any old collection of log cabins around a lake filled with children's bodies. No: You need a place with evidence-based instruction and measurable skill-development! 

Update: Reformers Refute "No Excuses" Article

image from www.uab.eduWhitney Tilson has published an email sent to Paul Tough, author of last week's "No Excuses" article in the New York Times, by one of its subjects, former Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, who's been making the case that some good things are happening and shouldn't be torn down.  As you'll see, Alter agrees with the need for reformers to broaden their agenda and avoid excuse-making, acknowledges some flaws in his original remarks, and takes issue with the notion that progress shouldn't be considered as important as absolute achievement levels. "We shouldn't excuse 15 percent proficiency. But we also shouldn't run down year-to-year improvement. After all, that's what we want, isn't it?"  There are other emails included, sent by Wilson to Tough, the gist of which is that Tough's piece was an unfair slam on reformers, but nothing from Tough himself. My take on what the piece missed is here. Image via

Weekend Reading: "Policy Is For Suckers"

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Testing 4-year-olds isn't the answer Salon: Nations like Finland are getting better results by de-emphasizing exams. Why are we doing the opposite?

How the Latest Study on Autism is Getting Woefully Misconstrued TNR: The study suggested that, while genetic factors play a critical role in autism, environmental factors appear to be more important than was previously thought. 

Chattering Crass The American Prospect: Politicians may talk about important issues like education and the economy, but the truth is in the artifice, the hidden political strategy, the interest group appeased and the key demographic courted. 

Kid bombs ‘Jeopardy’ answer: This kid Neil should stay away from game shows, spelling bees, and even highly advanced board games from now on.

This One Time, At Space Camp... Slate: The camp, which opened its doors a year after NASA’s inaugural shuttle launch, has provided succor to more than half a million space geeks over the decades, and counts several current astronauts—and Chelsea Clinton—among its alumni. 

Five Best Blogs: Reformers, Poverty, & Moving Forward

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How Can President Obama, Diane Ravitch, and Paul Tough All Be Right? EdSector:  Diane Ravitch is partially right. But, so is Barack Obama. And, while Tough is right that students deserve better, Bruce Randolph appears to be part of the solution, not the problem.

What the Education Debate is About Tom Hoffman:  What's at stake is much more fundamental than the issues Dana raises. Considering what's really at stake, this is has all been pretty mellow. 

HCZ Success Is Primarily Attributable To Good Schooling Yglesias:  When kids get access to quality schools, they learn more. 

The Untransformational President Mike Tomasky:  Liberals thought they were getting a transformational president. Instead, they’re saddled with someone who cares far more about being the most reasonable guy in the room. 

Of Spanking and State Violence Racialicious: How do you keep violence away from your door? How do you teach your children to respond to a violent world?  

Reviews: Channeling Ravitch

Blueberry imac There are some excellent points made in Joanne Barkan's new article about the reformy focus on teacher effectiveness, but so many mis-statements, thin spots, and exaggerations that I fear few will read or heed what Barkan has to say other than those already of like mind. 

Even those who (like me) share some of Barkan's concerns will find that, while there are tantalizing moments reminiscent of the reporting and insight of Barkan's previous article (on philanthropy in education) and some excellent zingers, there's too much argumentation and too little new or in-depth reporting.

Read on for the strengths and weaknesses I found.    

Continue reading "Reviews: Channeling Ravitch " »

Five Best Blogs: Add Supports To Reform Agenda

Ben franklin daily schedule

Reforming the School Reformers Paul Tough:  These are excuses. (In fact, they are the very same excuses for failure that the education-reform movement was founded to oppose.) 

Axe Public Programs That Don't Yield Results Joe Klein:  We can no longer afford to be sloppy about dispensing cash to programs that do not produce a return. 

The Math Problem Grantland:  Sports teams are seeking out the safety of math, trying to make extremely complicated personnel decisions by fixating on statistics.

Richard Dreyfuss on Civics, Public Education SOS:  Teachers are not the problem. Teachers are the solution. 

The Education of LAUSD’s Steve Zimmer Jewish Journal:  The teachers’ union, his most ardent supporter in the last election, has told him it will consider endorsing an opponent, which could prove a blow to his campaign. 

Managing the Teacher Workforce  Education Next:  If the RIF-notified teachers made the average salary in their district, it would only be necessary to lay off roughly 20 percent less than actual number of teachers who received layoff notices. 

Five Best Blogs: Cheating In Perspective

Picture 39 Test Cheating In Perspective CPRE:  Educators are not morally different from other people: many wouldn’t cheat under any circumstances, but some will cheat if they can benefit and expect to get away with it. 

Answer: “Essentially, Yes…” Thompson:  In their eagerness to remedy a legislative error and ensure that SIG funds are used for “extra” services, the department has unnecessarily complicated an already confusing area.

States Lagging in Drawing Down ARRA Title I and IDEA Funds New America: It is surprising that so many states still have significant portions of their allocations so close to the end of the federal year. 

Oregon Governor Appoints Himself Superintendent of Schools Jay Green:  Win or lose, Kitzhaber has taken a bold step to assume responsibility for progress in Oregon schools.

Why we published the leaked document The Notebook: The best way to minimize controversy [is] by cramming public discussion of dozens of proposals into the narrowest timeframe allowable under the state law governing school closings – three months. 

Month 9 As a Failing School InterACT: What has reform done for the students at L.A. Academy?  Interrupted their instruction.  Stressed out their teachers.  Caused a mass exodus of faculty. 

Image via New Yorker.

Five Best Blogs: Evaluating The NEA Convention

Tumblr_ld4owr8fdb1qzleu4o1_500 Putting the NEA endorsement of Obama in context TeacherKen: Obama's percentage in 2008 was already the lowest in the past 5 elections.

True and False on NEA's New Evaluation Policy Teacher Beat: Resolutions are statements of the national union's beliefs, but not dictates. 

Holding your nose and closing your eyes Fred Klonsky: The proposal is fantasy in that it calls for something that doesn’t and can’t exist: “Scientific and valid” measures that assess “both students and teacher performance.” 

Forward Mapping CPRE: Most districts don’t map their school scores, but if they did, they might find some guides to action. 

‘Ravitch Rage’ The Answer Sheet:  Here, as best I can tell from the available evidence, are the syndrome’s cause, symptoms and possible treatment. 

A Failing School? Mike Winerip:  In February, Mayor Bloomberg placed Jamaica High on a list of schools it planned to close. But it is puzzling how a school can be labeled failing and yet produce successful students. 

Baltimore fights cheating. D.C. punts Jay Mathews:  Just before the Maryland School Assessment tests were given this year, Baltimore schools chief Andres Alonso recorded an unusual eight-minute video with a special message for administrators and teachers.

Details Matter Bush Center: So, even if one of these new providers creates a high–quality program, it won’t be recognized by the state if it has only nine students. 

Five Best Blogs: Digesting ProPublica & Debating Brooks

ScreenHunter_42 Mar. 05 19.39 New data reveals the real problem in education The Answer Sheet:  Three thousand high schools across the country serving nearly half a million students had no math classes higher than Algebra 1 in the 2009-10 academic year. ALSO:  A New Way to Measure the Achievement Gap Mother Jones

An Op-Ed To Savor Education Next:  There are no knock-out punches in this fight, but David Brookscomes close with a perspective-setting essay about school reformers and their adversaries.  ALSO:  Who's Fault Is Too Much Testing? Sherman Dorn

Free Fallin’ … Off the Fundin’ Cliff Thompson:  School districts probably face another year or two of reduced state and local support as state budgets tend to lag market indicators. ALSO:  School districts at funding cliff CEP.

Obama & Schooling Rick Hess: The shape of the edu-debates for 2013 and beyond--including the politics of NCLB reauth, the Common Core, and federal support for innovation--is going to be baked by the debates of 2011 and 2012. ALSO:   NEA Convention 2011: A New Reality EIA. 

Teacher of the Year American Spectator:  "Bad Teacher" took in $32 million last weekend and is certain to become a one of the summer's biggest hits. That's very bad news for defenders of the educational status quo like American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

Quotes: Testing Isn't The Real Problem

Quotes2 If your school teaches to the test, it’s not the test’s fault. It’s the leaders of your school. - NYT columnist David Brooks

Five Best Blogs: Whitmire Tries For "Most Overheated" Commentary

ScreenHunter_02 May. 24 16.56

Education is the new abortion Richard Whitmire:  Abortion has nothing on education, except bumper stickers. And I can only assume those are in production.*

Not the Presidential Daughter Gambit, please Sherman Dorn:  Mr. President, please keep your daughters' homework out of public debate.

Doing One Thing Well EdWeek (commentary):  Rather than defining what they might do best and working diligently at it, the leaders of these education schools, in an odd mix of anxiety and arrogance, announce their omniscience and chase after several goals at once.

Obama Woos Liberal Elite MSNBC:  This year, the administration is sending five top officials [to the Aspen Institute Festival].

Obama's Passion Deficit Clive Cook (The Atlantic):  A bit more passion on budget reform, health care reform, energy policy and the rest would not have been amiss this year, or last year, or the year before...

Do Incentives Shape Teacher Behavior Or Don’t They? Matthew Yglesias: Talk of incentives is massively overrated. 

Tiny New England Hippie Schools Gawker:  The US Department of Education has a handy new website that allows you to easily compare the prices of all types of colleges in America. Its real purpose is to keep us up-to-date on who to make fun of.  

*Tom Hoffman calls Whitmire's post "utterly delusional"; Rotherham is only slightly more polite.

Five Best Blogs: I Got My Degree At The NYT

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What's the Best Way to Grade Teachers? Mother Jones:  The proponents of the new "value-added" teacher evaluation often sound like they've confused the more advanced questions with the answer.

The RTTT Honeymoon is over in New York EdNext:  NYSUT yesterday sued the state’s Board of Regents and NYSED’s acting commissioner John King over the decision to ratchet up the importance of student test scores in a teacher’s annual evaluation.

Q & A with NewTLA co-founder, Mike Stryer NCTQ:  Essentially, 98% of the members are only involved peripherally with the union when they vote, pay dues, or attend occasional rallies.  

How we evaluate success Shanker Blog:  There are several similarities between the bipartisan welfare reform movement of the 1990s and the general thrust of the education reform movement happening today. 

Riding the Waive Whiteboard Advisors:  The states just spent months coming up with Race to the Top plans; may as well get some mileage out of them.

Soon, the New York Times Will Be a College Gawker: Hey, squeezing money out of education worked for the Washington Post Co., so why not give it a try? 

Five Best Blogs: Partisan Wisconsin Hangover

So Disappointing... DFER Wisconsin:  On the whole the political losses and missed opportunities far outweigh the gains. The worst part, in my opinion, is the fall of bipartisanship on education and the rise of the political scapegoat. 

Rhee Engineering Education Washington Monthly (Tom Toch):  Nor could Rhee bring herself to build more health screening and other student and family assistance into her reform agenda, a strategy that Fenty’s deputy mayor for education, Victor Reinoso, advocated. 

Confessions of a Corrupt Educator Larry Strauss: Demoralization may work with snarky graduate students and boot camp recruits, but marginally skilled children in grades K on up to 12 do not benefit from such tactics, even if their lack of performance might justify it.

Race to the Top Promises Delayed Rodel Action Center:  After months of work across the state to define multiple measures of student growth, the Delaware Department of Education has asked the United States DOE for, and - word is - will receive, permission to delay implementation of our DPAS II teacher evaluation system, which will impact the roll-out of numerous other Race to the Top reforms.

Give Up on Homework Gawker:  Kids hate doing homework. Teachers hate grading homework. Now, students in LA are more or less free to never do homework again.  

Five Best Blogs: The Biggest Hoax In Education History

Therapy

The Biggest Hoax in the History of Federal Education Policy? Charlie Barone:  Schools can make AYP at least one of two ways and can do so "in any particular year," i.e., 2013, 2014, or 2020 for that matter, if the law continues to go unchanged.

Idaho Plays ‘Chicken’ with the Feds Thompson: The state would lose its Title I grant — approximately $54 million in school year 2011-12. 

Does neglectful oversight of vouchers violate IDEA? Sherman Dorn: If some portion of them is true, it demonstrates an amazing neglect of these students' interests by the state of Florida. 

Do We "Need" Teachers’ Unions? Shanker Blog:  We should be careful about discussing any unions – for teachers or any workers – in terms of whether or not the rest of us need or want them. 

U.S. Teachers Work the Most But U.S. Students Stay Average Atlantic:  While the average salary of a veteran elementary teacher in the U.S. was $44,172 in 2008, higher than the average of $39,426 across all OECD countries - 40 percent below the average salary of other American college graduates.

A Fear That Larger Classes Will Hinder Learning Mike Winerip: Class size is a priority for the district, but all around California districts are preparing worst-case budget plans.

Turds of Administration Teachbad:  Instead of becoming more comfortable, self-confident and amiable, she seems to have become more paranoid, self-protective and self-righteous.

Weekend Reading: That Long Summer Vacation

image from brian.hoover.net.au

Catching up on magazines and articles from the weekend and the week behind (image via):

Cameron Diaz and Other Reasons People Hate Chicago Teachers The White Rhino:  We're not going back to medieval teaching conditions and women will not be prevented from taking maternity leave.

Numbers that private schools fear Jay Mathews:  As they have in the past, spokespersons for the Sidwell Friends School and St. Albans School declined to tell me how many Advanced Placement exams they gave in 2010.

Teach for America and Me Mark Naison (Fordham): Something was really wrong here if an organization who wanted to serve low income communities rejected every applicant who came from those communities.

The Food-Stamp Crime Wave James Brovard (WSJ): The number of food-stamp recipients has soared to 44 million from 26 million in 2007. 

Unions Work to Turn the Tide In These Times: Taking direct action and staking out an independence from the Democratic Party while also working to transform it. 

Locke High's slow and steady turnaround LAT (editorial page):  Green Dot did not pull off quick academic miracles, but these are all signs of long-overdue hope for students who have had too little.

How a yearbook became child porn Salon:  The photo wasn't spread by text message but rather a school yearbook in San Bernardino County, Calif. 

What's on the School Chopping Block? TIME:  Schools should be about learning for kids not jobs for grown-ups so if performance isn't being factored in, why not?

Teachers' Hero or Education Hypocrite? Megan McCardle: As much of a Ravitch critic as I may be, like Goldstein, I believe that there are some coherent ties that bind old and young Diane, and perhaps surprisingly, one of them is Friedrich Hayek.

Why do schoolchildren get a three-month summer vacation? Slate: For one thing, it's expensive to keep schools open, just like it was in the late 1800s. 

Five Best Blogs: Introducing "Mr. Teachbad"

image from www.arthurmurrayboston.com

Evaluating innovation is not an oxymoron Lucy Bernholz: Evaluating Innovation provides a framework for thinking about evaluating efforts at innovation, presents examples from the Knight, MacArthur... 

Charter Supporter Gather in Atlanta (of all places) Tom VanderArk: About 5% of Georgia kids are educated in charter school but some of those are charter in name only... 

Rage Against the Machine EIA:  While the anger is boiling over in several locations, it’s still under a lid at the national level – though it does seem to be percolating... 

First Year of Teacherpocalypse EIA:  Last year’s workforce numbers, and they show – for the first time in ages – a decline in the number of K-12 full-time equivalent classroom teachers... 

Segregation Nation The American Prospect:  Omaha’s radical experiment in school integration could serve as a national model—though local resistance indicates it might be a tough sell... 

I Feel So Cheap And Dirty, Part II Mr Teachbad:  I’ll give him the same final exam, his actual same final exam with his writing on it right now, and he can make corrections on it. How about that?... 

Detroit A Bellwether For Education Reform Nationwide Huffington Post:  Most of the districts looking to switch from a seniority- to performance evaluation-based system for teachers are millions of dollars in debt. 

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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.