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Media: Stuyvesant Exposé Included In NYC Journo Award Finalists

image from www.voicesofny.orgThere are some interesting education stories in and among the Deadline Club's 2014 Annual Awards Finalists announced last week, including not only the "Dasani" story from the NYT but also Sarah Carr and Mallory Falk ("Three Models for Charter Schools in New Orleans"), Paige Cowett and Sarah Koenig (“What Are You Doing for the Test of Your Life?”), and also a fascinating (and very long) story about mental health issues among students at Stuyvesant that was originally written in Chinese and published by the Sing Tao Daily (“The Dark Corner in An Elite High School –Mental Health of Successful Students Needs More Attention”) and then translated and published in English by Voice of New York (click here).  Photo by Orin Hassan, Creative Commons License.

Media: ProPublica Hires Another Reporter To Cover Education

With apologies for having missed this when it came out earlier this year, news from ProPublica is that they've hired a veteran AJC reporter Heather Vogell to cover education (ProPublica Hires Reporters).

image from www.propublica.org

From the announcement: "Vogell will join ProPublica from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she has been a reporter since 2005. Her work there on test cheating in the public school system resulted in the indictments of the superintendent and 34 others. A series she co-authored, “Cheating Our Children,” examined suspicious test scores in public schools across the nation, becoming a 2013 finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. Before the Journal-Constitution, she worked at The Charlotte Observer, The Chicago Tribune, and The Day, in New London, Conn."

The nonprofit site hasn't been particularly strong on education coverage, though it's got a big section on segregation and just published a long story about re-segregation last week. There's also a section for college loans, if that's your kind of thing. The section on for-profit schools hasn't been updated since 2011. The Opportunity Gap tool was big for a while last year but I haven't heard much about it since.

I haven't seen any stories from Vogell yet on the ProPublica site, so perhaps she's en route from Atlanta.  You can find her at @hvogell but she doesn't seem to be particularly active there. Vogell joins Marian (@mariancw) Wang, who was hired earlier this year.  

Previous posts:  Not Enough Education Goodies On ProPublicaProPublica's Education ReporterObama Staffers' Disclosure Forms Online. Image courtesy ProPublica.

Morning Video: What's "Quality" Pre-K, Anyway?


This nice little 5-minute video goes along with NPR's story from earlier today.

Morning Video: The "Dropout Hunter" Of St. Louis

PBS NewsHour: Lessons from a successful ‘dropout recruiter’ [Charlie Bean of St. Louis Public Schools]

Afternoon Video: Did CNN Treat Chicago Schools Fairly?


It's not quite at the level of "Scandal," but discussion surrounding CNN's "Chicagoland"reality series about Chicago schools, long-troubled Fenger High School (yes, that Fenger), and principal Elizabeth Dozier has been pretty intense in recent days and weeks. Get up to speed with this Institute of Politics panel from last night.

Media: Bullying, A Federal Civil Rights Complaint, & A Wealthy District's Response

ScreenHunter_03 Apr. 17 23.08You might have missed this series of stories from Palo Alto Weekly about student bullying, a district's flawed response -- I certainly did -- but the Society of Professional Journalists gave the Northern California outlet one of its top awards for small media outlets.

Read more about the stories given the award here, or how the stories came about here. Interesting to note that the reporters unearthed a federal Office of Civil Rights case about halfway through the process, and in the end the complaint was made public (by the child's parents).

"The Weekly coverage included two cover story packages researched and written by Lobdell,"Out of the Shadows," (June 14, 2013) about bullying, and "Power to Hurt," (Aug. 16, 2013) on the use of social media by teens, and numerous news stories by Kenrick and Lobdell on the school district's handling of bullying complaints, federal investigations and the development of bullying policies."

The full list of SJP awardees is here -- I didn't see any other education-related stories but I might have missed some.

Media: "Marketplace" Adds Education Reporter*

 Yau Hoong Tang FlickrNot to be outdone by NPR or anyone else, American Public Media's "Marketplace" show is also staffing up on education coverage, and has just announced that Adriene Hill (@adrienehill) will be its new education reporter along with editor Betsy Streisand and Amy Scott (@amyreports).

I first met Hill in Chicago, where she was one of the stars at WBEZ Chicago Public Radio who helped produce their morning newsmagazine show.  She's spent the last four years or so in LA at Marketplace, doing great work by all accounts, and it's exciting that she'll be adding to Marketplace's education coverage.

The position is funded in part by the Kresge Foundation.*

Previous posts: Covering The Ed Beat For "Marketplace"; Where Does That Public Radio Coverage Come From, Anyway?NPR Expands Education Coverage (A Goodly Amount)*;  Local NPR Stations Beefing Up Education CoverageNPR Ed Team Adds Staff (Still Needs Spiffy Name)* Image via Flickr.

*While I still don't have any official confirmation, I've been told that the position is also being funded by the Gates Foundation.

Morning Video: They've Re-Segregated In Tuscaloosa

"The district, once the model of racial integration, has moved back in time, such that "nearly one in three black students attend a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened." (Plus a long feature story in The Atlantic Magazine with ProPublica)

Media: NPR Ed Team Adds Staff (Still Needs Spiffy Name)*

Jobs-signAs you may already have heard via Twitter, the latest news on the NPR education team expansion front is that they've hired Anya Kamenetz to be one of two education bloggers for the new, expanded education page.  

Starting next month, the Brooklyn-based freelancer (Fast Company, Forbes, Hechinger, and many other outlets) will be joining on-air correspondents Eric Westervelt (in SF) and Claudio Sanchez (DC) plus editorial staffers Matt Thompson, Steve Drummond, and Cory Turner (in DC) for a team that will eventually number about 10 people in all (including production staff).  

No word yet on what they're going to name the new site (my bad idea is that they should call it "Planet Education") or who the other blogger is going to be, though rumors have it that the competition has been intense. (I put my name in for the job but they were too smart to fall for that.) 

So far, it seems like the new team is doing well. Contributor Paul Bruno and I had some issues with one of their SAT stories (Media Getting SAT Story Wrong (& Who Funded It, Anyway?). But they seemed to be first to have a reporter take a Common Core field test (sort of like the mom who did SAT prep in The Atlantic), and they've got a great model in Planet Money for smart, fun coverage of a complex topic.

Ironically, education hiring and coverage are expanding all over the place -- Marketplace, Vox, Politico, FiveThirtyEight, NPR, RealClear Education, etc. -- just as the education debate has stalemated/stalled out.  Hopefully, there will be enough real-world change going on for all these new and/or expanded outlets to tell interesting and useful stories. Hopefully there will be enough sharp reporters to give readers the real stories not just the ones handed to them.

Image via Flickr. Previous posts: NPR Expands Education CoverageLocal NPR Stations Beefing Up Education CoverageWhere Does That Public Radio Coverage Come From, Anyway?. And also:  Colbert Move Probably Bad News For EducationMarch Madness Pits 16 Sites Against Each Other.

*Correction:  Kamenetz says she's never written for Forbes.  My apologies.

Media: Five Reasons NYT's Homeless "Dasani" Story Didn't Win Pulitzer

1. The omission of Dasani’s last name. 

2. The length. 

3. The observer effect. 

4. The relentless focus on narrative. 

5. The risk of the “single story.” 

This is from a Columbia Journalism Review roundup of insiders' rationales. Read the details: Why was 'Dasani' shut out of the Pulitzers?.

AM News: College Board Reveals Sample Questions From New SAT*


College Board Provides A glimpse Of New SAT NYT: Sample questions for the new version of the college-entrance test were released on Wednesday. The College Board announced last month the test will include real-world applications and more analysis. See also WPost, HuffPost, Vox, LA Times.

[*Why is this such a big story other than it's a very slow week?]

Suspensions and expulsions: A close look at nine districts Seattle Times: Last year, the nonprofit Washington Appleseed had a difficult time finding out exactly how many students are suspended or expelled each year in Washington state.

Options likely to remain open, but DCPS will not manage it WPost: The District’s Options Public Charter School appears likely to continue operating at least through the end of the 2014-15 school year, but the city’s school system will not take over its management as previously hoped, D.C. government lawyers said in court Tuesday.

Louisiana Officials Squabble Over Fate of PARCC Tests State EdWatch: As in South Carolina, Louisiana is experiencing a dispute between state officials over whether PARCC tests should be given to students.

How One Michigan City Is Sending Kids To College Tuition-Free NPR: In 2005, a group of anonymous donors in Kalamazoo launched a bold program. It pays for graduates of the city's public schools to attend any of Michigan's public universities or community colleges.

Classes Resume A Week After Mass Stabbing At Franklin Regional High School AP via HP: Students planned to gather in prayer and in support of one another on the football field of a Pittsburgh-area high school where classes were scheduled to resume Wednesday, a week after a mass stabbing.

News and commentary throughout the day at @alexanderrusso.


Books: The Deseg Case That Wasn't Brown [It Was Yellow]

image from www.journalism.columbia.eduBrown v. Board of Education wasn't the first school desegregation case, and the case didn't involve African-American children, according to a book being written by a Adrienne Berard (pictured).  

Titled "When Yellow Was Brown," the book "chronicles an important and undeservedly obscure school desegregation case that preceded Brown v. Board of Education -- and that involved several Chinese immigrant children as its plaintiffs," according to a note from Sam Freedman at Columbia about news that the author has won a Lukas award for a book-in-progress.  

"Berard tells the story “in a deeply affecting narrative that is both epic and intimate, through meticulous, original research and truthful real life portraits. She sheds new light on issues that continue to torment and resonate in our public and private lives,” according to the press release announcing the award. 

See full press release below.

Continue reading "Books: The Deseg Case That Wasn't Brown [It Was Yellow]" »

Media: Colbert To Broadcast Move Probably Bad News For Education

ColbertThere's been lots of reaction to the news that Colbert is going to leave Comedy Central and replace Letterman on broadcast television, but what does it mean for attention to education on TV? 

For years now, Colbert has been riffing off of education issues, bringing education-related guests on the show, and generally making us all feel like we're involved in something interesting and important. Just this week, he did a fun bit on the Common Core.

A search of "Colbert" on this site generates 571 hits. Memorable interviews include Roland Fryer, Arne Duncan, Davis Guggenheim, and Wendy Kopp.

No one knows for sure, but the most likely impact of Colbert's move to broadcast TV -- and out of character -- is a lot less of that. Book authors are already bemoaning the dearth of interviews that they will likely face with Colbert's move. 

There will be much less time for wonky bits, and lots more celebrities and network shows that have to be promoted -- though, arguably, any references to education will be amplified by the comparatively large audience that Late Night gets.

Previous posts about Colbert here.


Morning Video: PBS NewsHour Visits P-Tech High


From last night's broadcast: "Why six years of high school might pay off in the workforce Hari Sreenivasan tells the story of Pathways in Technology Early College High School"

Afternoon Video: Return to Montefiore Alternative School

Last week's premier episode of the VICE-produced documentary series "Last Chance High" was so rough it was hard to watch -- so be warned.  Here's this week's show.

Update: Spencer Fellowships Go To Lutton, Resmovits, & Kalita (Who?)

Christian gozales flickrAfter a bit of a delay to determine whether any of the awardees wanted to pursue alternative options, the newest Spencer Education Journalism Fellowships have been awarded to two familiar names -- Chicago Public Radio's Linda Lutton and HuffPost's Joy Resmovits -- and one unfamiliar one - S. Mitra Kalita (of Quartz & the WSJ).

What are they going to write about?  "Lutton plans to use her Spencer year creating a one-hour radio documentary examining the intersection of poverty and education through the lens of a high-poverty Chicago elementary school...Kalita will spend her Spencer Fellowship year reporting a book on school choice through the lens of one New York City neighborhood....  [Resmovits] will use the Spencer Fellowship to assess the state of education for American students with disabilities."

Read the full press announcement below. Image via Flickr.

Continue reading "Update: Spencer Fellowships Go To Lutton, Resmovits, & Kalita (Who?)" »

Morning Video: First Lady's Alma Mater Featured In New Documentary


This trailer describes both the history of the school itself and the stunning inadequacy of supply of seats given the talent and the demand.  Via CPS Obsessed.

Thompson: Bill Moyers Interviews Diane Ravitch

MoyersWhat do you get when you combine Bill Moyers and Diane Ravitch? WISDOM!

Both are among the all-time greats of their professions. During the Iraq War, I sometimes tried to duck Moyers' reports because he spoke more truth than I wanted to handle.  Similarly, as Ravitch assembles her case that test-driven accountability had morphed into "corporate reform," I'm often afraid of her message. But, Ravitch and Moyers do their homework before speaking the truths that I sometimes don't want to confront.   

Moyers began his PBS Public Schools for Sale by reviewing the $3-1/2 million dollar campaign against populist Mayor Bill de Blasio. He cited the New York Times' report that de Blasio was "even dialing up billionaires to ask for a truce." Moyers' said that what is at stake is the future of public education.

Ravitch warned that within a decade public education could be dead in cities like Detroit, New Orleans, Washington D.C., Kansas City, and Indianapolis. I've long worried about the same thing happening in my Oklahoma City. As choice in a time of cutthroat competition grows, it is easy to see how traditional public schools in those cities could become nothing more than "dumping grounds for the children that charters don't want."  Those are hard words, but can anyone on any side of our reform wars deny that the danger Ravitch describes is very real? 

Ravitch then articulated the single best principle for helping poor children of color, "Aim for equity and you get excellence."

Continue reading "Thompson: Bill Moyers Interviews Diane Ravitch" »

Media: Documentaries About Chicago & DC High Schools Win Peabodies

image from www.peabodyawards.comThis year's Peabody Awards include This American Life's Harper High School (featuring Chicago Public Radio's Linda Lutton and Alex Kotlowitz, among others) and PBS's 180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School -- both of which you've read and heard about on this page. 

Congrats to all for the much-deserved recognition. However, the celebration is necessarily bittersweet, given the difficult lives that are being chronicled. (Or, as Lutton put it on her Facebook page, "I would trade every prize in the world for them to live in a different reality.")

Events: So Long -- I'm Quitting Blogging & Joining TFA

image from 30daystox.comIt is with *extremely* mixed emotions that I'm announcing that, as of midnight tonight I'm shutting down this site, the related Facebook and Twitter pages, and also my Chicago blog and Tumblr. [Some auto-scheduled tweets from over the weekend may appear in your feed or on your Facebook page, but I officially sent my last tweet last night.]

Wow, that's hard to write. But I'm done.  You don't need me doing this every day.  I don't need to be doing this every day. It's been a long, amazing ride. I'm really proud of what I've done, and incredibly grateful to have been allowed to do it. Thanks to everyone who's helped make it happen.

What am I going to do instead of blogging?  Good question. You see, on a lark this past fall I applied to Teach For America. I told myself it was just for the book I was writing. Nobody was more surprised than I was when I actually made it through and got picked. I had to think long and hard whether or not to quit blogging and accept the spot.  But finally I said yes and so I'm going to Houston this summer and starting teaching -- here in Brooklyn, I hope -- in the fall.   Wish me luck - I'm going to need it!

Media: Education Journalists In Fellowship Limbo Until May?

image from www.journalism.columbia.eduThe Spencer education journalism advisory board met on Monday to pick the next year's three fellows but the applicants --I know who got in but am holding off on saying for some reason-- are most of them still in the dark about whether they got the nod or not and the Columbia journalism school can't announce winners for another few weeks.  

Why the delay?  Two of the three top picks for the Spencer also applied for other prestigious journalism fellowships (Nieman, Knight, etc.), whose notification timelines could stretch as late as May. 

These fellowships -- as well as the New America program -- all serve slightly different purposes. I'm partial to the Spencer for many reasons, including that it is focused on education journalism in particular and also encourages the stream of long-form education writing that's come out in recent years.

If either of the two top picks gets into one of these other programs and decides to decline the Spencer, then one of the alternates would get a spot.  (That's what happened the first year, when I got a spot after Stephanie Banchero went off to Palo Alto for the year.  I think that it's happened at least a couple of times since then.)

A month of waiting seems wasteful and nerve-wracking.  Wouldn't it be nice if Michigan, Stanford, and Columbia could coordinate so that this doesn't happen?  I mean, if charter and district schools can coordinate application deadlines and forms in some places -- and colleges can agree on some sort of window for letting students know -- then so should a handful of journalism fellowship programs.

Meantime, congrats to the folks who got picked for next year, and no hard feelings if you decide to go to Ann Arbor or Palo Alto instead of Manhattan. Someone else will happily take your place. 

Previous posts: What's Next For The Spencer Fellowship?New Spencer Fellows, New Research TopicsSpencer Fellow Gets Big Book DealNew America Fellow Writing Book On "Future Of Testing".

Media: March Madness Pits 16 Sites Against Each Other

Blank Boxes 16 Filled In Final v2
Who do you think wins the tournament this year?  Fill out a bracket and let us know who makes it to the red square (or who was unfairly omitted or seeded wrong).  

Morning Video: Too Much Focus On Testing, Agrees Michelle Rhee

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

On the TODAY show, a Boston teacher tearfully resigns from her job (a story too good to check), and Michelle Rhee complains that teachers stopped teaching her kids after testing is over each spring. 

Maps: Scared, Or Not So Scared By This Creationism Map?

Screen shot 2014-03-25 at 1.36.14 PM

This map showing where Creationism might be taught using public voucher funds at private schools should scare you, because it's so dark and scary-looking.  Or, perhaps it will remind you of the worst cell phone coverage map ever, and you will resist being scared by the people who are (and want you to be ) scared. PS This is where Politico's Stephanie Simon apparently got much of her recent story.

Afternoon Listen: Latest Common Core Shifts Challenge For Teachers



Here's today's NPR All Things Considered segment on the Common Core turnaround in Indiana, which infuses the political debate with real-world practical considerations. Reported by Elle Moxley of WFIU.

Events: Key Takeaways From The NJ TFA Media Panel

Image (1)

This past weekend's media panel at the NJ TFA summit included Camika Royal (soon to be at Loyola University in Baltimore), USC's Doug Thomas, free agent (for now) Derrell Bradford, and WSJ metro education reporter  (to be) Leslie Brody (pictured above).  

The panel included comments from me about the complicated but important process through which most education stories are assigned, written, and massaged before they're published -- and how unrealistic a picture of the education debate you can get from social media (where reform critics rule).  

There were also much more useful observations from others:  how important it is to find a workspace where you can speak your mind (Royal); teachers are unfortunately reluctant to talk to reporters about what they're seeing even when they're willing to appear in photos (Brody); Twitter is much less constructive and useful than Facebook or other venues where anonymity and unwanted intrusions can be limited (Bradford). 

Oh, and Brody [@lesliebrody] told the audience that her new email will be [email protected] -- though she's not there yet. More from the summit via #njsummit, @TFA_NJ.  Picture courtesy CR.

Media: Where Does That Public Radio Coverage Come From, Anyway?

Flckr-radio-020210The announcement that This American Life is changing distributors is a good opportunity to remind that the public radio education coverage that you and I listen to all the time comes from a bunch of different places even though most of us get it from just one location (a radio station or streaming online).  

Most of us don't really care about what goes on behind the scenes -- we just want good coverage -- but it's useful to know that what you're hearing on that clock radio by your bed or in the kitchen or in the car (or boombox!) comes from a variety of sources and is distributed by a variety of methods. Image via Flickr.

So, for example, Washington DC's WAMU radio is the delivery point for news stories that are produced by all sorts of folks including local stations like WAMU, national stations like NPR's flagship shows Morning Education and All Things Considered.

These are distributed to WAMU by a handful of organizations including American Public Media and PRI to stations who want them.  Some of these distributors also produce shows like Marketplace (APM), which is ramping up its education coverage, and American Radioworks, which already produces a bunch of education covarage.

To make matters slightly more complicated, some shows (like This American Life) share their "broadcast" show one way (through a distributor like PRI) and produce their online digital content (extras, podcasts, etc.) another way (independently).  And some newsteams divide their education teams so that one set of folks are mostly doing broadcast radio and another set of folks are doing online/digital. 

Morning Video: Rahm Emanuel Grilled On School Offerings

Rahm Emanuel Says D.C. Is Denying Oxygen To Chuck Todd's BrainRahm Emanuel Jabs Chuck Todd

Afternoon Audio: NPR Coverage Calms Common Core Freakout

Screen shot 2014-03-19 at 2.43.57 PMI can't get the embed to work but I encourage you to listen to this Q and A with NPR education correspondents from yesterday for a steady, balanced overview of what's really going on with the Common Core.


See more NPR Common Core stories here and here.

I hate to say it, but all that scary/sliced bread stuff you're seeing on Facebook and Twitter (and in a lot of mainstream media coverage) isn't giving you as good a sense of reality as you might think.

Too often, what you're probably seeing is really fear-mongering, advocacy, political maneuvering, and journalistic attention-seeking.  

Remember, the Internet magnifies everything and makes everyone seem much more confrontational than in real life. 


Media: You're Missing All The Good Stuff On Tumblr

Don Harder via Flickr Creative CommonsIn case you hadn't heard, here's this awesome, somewhat lawless place on the Internet called Tumblr -- sort of halfway between a blog and Twitter.

It's over where I and others can post all sorts of images, cartoons (like this harsh NYC charter school example), videos, and GIFs that can't go here (because: copyright).  

You should check it out here, or follow it on Twitter (@hotfored), or simply friend me on Facebook and you'll see it on your timeline.  

Next up: All the good stuff on Facebook (it's true!) and Medium.

Image via Flickr.

Media: Scripps Honors This American Life's "Harper High" Series

Harper"This American Life receives $10,000 and the Jack R. Howard Award for In-Depth Radio Coverage for Harper High School," notes KyForward.com.

"The series by Ben Calhoun, Ira Glass, Alex Kotlowitz, Linda Lutton, Robyn Semien and Julie Snyder documented daily life in one of America’s most dangerous schools.

"Their work garnered the attention of President and Mrs. Barack Obama and prompted creation of an anti-youth-violence initiative for Chicago schools."

Afternoon Video: Watch Obama Avoid Saying "Common Core" 10 Times

image from i1.huffpost.com
It's not quite a SuperCut, but HuffPost's Rebecca Klein has assembled a bunch of Obama speeches in which he talks about high standards but avoids saying "Common Core."

Thompson: Two Cheers NY Daily News' Account of Charter Wars

DeblasioTwo cheers for Parents and Children Get Caught Between Charter School Feud with Teachers Union and Pro-Charter Forces by the New York Daily News’ Ben Chapman and Greg Smith.

Newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio seeks to cut back on charter schools while their backers have turned NYC into the frontlines of the national battle for increased school choice. Chapman and Smith concluded that both sides are similarly funded, and I have no reason to challenge their findings. Presumably, both sides have an equal opportunity to fund comparable public relations campaigns promoting their dueling visions of school improvement.  

However, I would challenge the concluding quote, “the people most affected by all this — moms, dads and children — sometimes feel left out of the equation.”

The people who are most affected in New York and across the nation, are unaware of this conflict. It is the children who are not welcome in charters who have most skin in the game. Elite backers of choice, such as Eva Moskowitz, are not about to retain kids who make it more difficult to post test score increases.

For instance, Diane Ravitch and Evi Blaustein, in Fact-Checking Eva's Claims on National Television, explain that Success Academies enroll as few as1/2 as many English Language Learners as neighboring schools. The students in Success Academies have "an economic need index (a measure of students in temporary housing and/or who receive public assistance) that is 35 percent lower than nearby public schools." Suspension rates at Success Academies are up to 300% as large as neighboring schools.

The Daily News should pay less attention about the charter advocates' spin about serving children and more attention to what the parents of those more difficult-to-educate students think about their choice.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via

Books: Here Comes "Building A Better Teacher" [The Book Version]

1959701_10153910975890241_253366456_nYou probably still remember reading that great NYT Sunday Magazine article "Building A Better Teacher" way back in March 2010, which for many of us was an introduction to Doug Lemov and his "Teach Like A Champion" ideas.
Now, get ready for the book version of Elizabeth Green's article, which is scheduled to come out in August from Norton.
According to the publicity copy, Building a Better Teacher "introduces a new generation of educators who are revealing the hidden science behind their art... [and] provides a new way for parents to judge what their children need in the classroom—and considers how to make every teacher great."
It's got a blurb from Paul Tough, and reading copies are going around among those in the know.  

Morning Video: AFT President Discusses Ed Policy On C-SPAN


Here's Randi Weingarten talking education policy on C-Span's weekly Washington Journal show (via RCE), taped earlier this month. Click here if the embed doesn't work or if you want the CC transcript.

Media: RealClearEducation Disclosure/Conflict Of Interest Statement

image from www.realcleareducation.com

In case you were curious, here's the "transparency" page for RealClear Education, in which it is explained that the editorial decisions and content that are produced by editors Andy Rotherham and Emmeline Zhao will be independent from not only funders (including the Arnold Foundation, the Hume Foundation, and the New Venture Fund --a sort of clearinghouse / intermediary for foundations) and advertisers but also clients of Bellwether Education (a "growing community of performance-driven education reform leaders, entrepreneurs, organizations, foundations and public institutions").


Social Media: Clearly, I Am Over-Tweeting [23 x a day!]

Grungy-social-media-icons-297x300Check out Tweetails and you can see how much you - or someone you know - is Tweeting.  

Apparently I send out about 23 tweets a day (including blog posts), which amounts to 29 hours a month, which makes me a Level 23 Tweet Paladin (and probably a fool).

Lots more details -- word frequency, folks I tweet to/with -- below.

Give it a try and tell me what you found?

Continue reading "Social Media: Clearly, I Am Over-Tweeting [23 x a day!]" »

Media: What WNYC's Charter School Advocacy Story Gets Wrong

image from c5.nrostatic.comThe news of the day is that the DOE has appreantly reversed itself on one of its much-discussed charter co-location decisions -- Success Academy's students aren't "on their own" after all, according to the NY Post (Flip-flop Farina now wants to help charter students).

If you want, read a little more about the shellacking that reformers have been giving this week over at NRO (School Reformers Fight Back against de Blasio). This kind of robust public response has been missing in the past from polite reformers who've seemed to be scared of their own shadows (or naive about how things get done in the real world).

Still, I still want to take a minute to address WNYC's piece earlier this week about the debate going on between charter advocates and critics, because, well, I like to complain about other peoples' work and this kind of thing keeps happening and really annoys and troubles me.

The WNYC story has several great elements, but misses badly when it comes to balance and context -- and misses out on at least one obvious connection between FFES and Eva Moscowitz's charter network.

Read below for the details.

Continue reading "Media: What WNYC's Charter School Advocacy Story Gets Wrong" »

Celebrity: IB Program Takes Victory Lap Over Oscar Actress Win

Screen shot 2014-03-07 at 12.02.25 PMLupita Nyong'o didn't mention her IB education during her Oscars acceptance speech, but that hasn't stopped IB from making sure we all know what kind of school she went to (before Hampshire, and Yale).

"Her successful completion of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme at St. Mary’s School in Nairobi, Kenya, was foundational to her academic success," according to a press release from IB.

The connection has been noted in at least a couple of news accounts ( IB Graduate Takes Home Oscar for Performance as Best Supporting Actress.

See the full press release below -- thanks to EWAE for the tip.  Image via Twitter.

Continue reading "Celebrity: IB Program Takes Victory Lap Over Oscar Actress Win" »

Afternoon Video: MSNBC Segment Lambastes NYC Mayor For Evicting Schools

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

This "Morning Joe" segment feat. Eva Moskovitz keeps showing up on my Facebook timeline, so I guess you should see it. Click here if the video doesn't play. Read NY Mag here on Cuomo/de Blasio politics.

AM News: 1600 Different SAT Stories


College Board Previews Revisions To SAT NPR: The upcoming changes that were announced on Wednesday by the College Board will affect more than a million college-bound, high school students. It's the second major revision in nine years. See also WP, HuffPost, LA Times, PBS, KPCC, ChalkbeatNY, NBC News, Politico, NYT, WSJ, AP

Wendy Davis On Education: 'We Texans Have A Different Way Of Doing Things' HuffPost: "I've laid out a detailed platform … I've been talking about it already to a great extent," Davis told reporters. "Greg Abbott in contrast to that is still defending indefensible cuts to our public school system. With his words he says that education is a priority, but with his actions he shows that it's not." Abbott's campaign could not immediately be reached for comment.

Socialization technique helps in academic achievement, trial study finds WP: In a randomized, controlled trial that examined the technique known as Responsive Classroom, researchers found that children in classrooms where the technique was fully used scored significantly higher in math and reading tests than students in classrooms where it wasn’t applied.

Six Years of High School? An Educational Experiment in Chicago WNYC: At Sarah E. Goode, students attend high school for six years, graduating with a high school diploma and an associate's degree. The school is funded and in partnership with IBM, which means students also get hands on technical and business training, and the chance to land a job at IBM upon graduation. Twenty-six more such schools will open in three states by this fall.

Saucedo teachers spend Day 1 of ISAT teaching; concerns raised about intimidation WBEZ: Teachers at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy declared victory Tuesday, saying their protest of the state’s Illinois Standards Achievement Test is working. The teachers said they spent the first day of ISAT testing doing what they set out to—teaching.

More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Continue reading "AM News: 1600 Different SAT Stories " »

Media: School-Related Tidbits From Sunday's Oscars Telecast

image from a.scpr.orgThe red bracelet on "12 Years A Slave" director Steve McQueen's right write was a shout-out to the NSBA, reports the Washington Post's Valerie Strauss.

As you may recall, McQueen and the NSBA and Montel Williams among others have arranged to have the movie brought into high schools around the nation.

In other Oscars-related education news, the students from Hamilton High School who got to perform the song "Happy" with Pharrell Williams are pretty excited about the experience, according to SCPR.


It's a magnet school that's part of LAUSD whose expulsion rates and SPED services percentages are unknown.

The students did have to try out for the experience, and were prohibited from posting anything about it on social media ahead of the broadcast.

Morning Video: Schools Using Yoga To Help Destress Students


From PBS NewsHour: "When I say children are under stress and duress, it’s the little things... like a telephone, a mattress, a refrigerator with food in it, an address that you are in charge..."

Media: Please Do A Better Job Covering Testing This Year, Journos!

Journalism1-395x420How should reporters write about testing protests and parents opting out this year?

Carefully, in a word.Contextually.  Skeptically.  With much greater balance and insight.

Better than they did last year!

The testing protest/opt out coverage has already begun, and there's nothing wrong with that.  It's testing season, after all, and we knew this was coming.

Teachers at a couple of schools in Chicago say they're not going to administer the state's lame duck assessment, and somewhere around 500 parents say they're going to pull their kids from the tests.

What last year's coverage often lacked, however, was care and context.  Test proliferation claims thrown out by testing critics weren't verified (often it seemed as if no attempts at verification had been made).   Claims that weren't in dispute -- say the number of parents who opted out -- often weren't presented in context (ie, as a percentage of parents in the school or district). The emphasis was on confrontation and consequences that were often overblown and/or speculative -- most of which didn't actually happen and were never likely to.  

Parents and teachers who support testing are rarely found and presented to readers, resulting in grossly imbalanced coverage (especially since the vast majority of parents and teachers aren't actively involved in testing advocacy).

Let's not do that again. Or at least let's stop before it becomes a habit. Two recent stories from Chicago illustrate the challenges.

Continue reading "Media: Please Do A Better Job Covering Testing This Year, Journos!" »

Media: Update On LA School Report

image from laschoolreport.comNews got out this week that Hillel Aron was joining the LA Weekly as a full time staffer.  Though he stayed on for a time after my departure from the site at the end of last summer , the workhorse reporter (who did most of the daily writing for LA School Report during its first year of publication) had stopped writing for the education outlet earlier this winter.

So who's left? The masthead there currently includes Jamie Lynton (now listed as Executive Editor), Michael Janofsky (my replacement, as it turned out), and site manager Leigh Anne Abiouness. Vanessa Romo and Chase Neisner have appeared in recent weeks. Ellie Herman has been writing occasional commentaries.

There have been some notable improvements in the site.  Someone seems to have finally figured out how to livestream LAUSD board meetings. They've thankfully stopped capitalizing School Board (my fault, if I remember correctly). And they've added links to local news sites from around the sprawling district. 

And of course there's always lots of education news to cover in LA.  Current examples include the Vergara trial, the ever-contentious school board members, and the never-ending iPad debacle.

Bruno: Actually, SAT Scores *Do* Matter

Are SAT scores useful for predicting who will be successful in college?

If you read the headlines last week, you could be excused for thinking that the answer is "no."

As it turns out, however, those headlines - and even the stories themselves - did not always accurately reflect the study they were discussing.

That study is very interesting. Among other things, it finds that at colleges that do not require SAT or ACT scores, students who choose not to submit their scores do about as well as students who do.

A casual reader could be forgiven for interpreting that to mean that SAT scores "don't" or "shouldn't" matter in college admissions.

But that is not what the study found.

Indeed, as Professors Mark Warschauer and Morgan Polikoff pointed out, at various points in the study itself it is clear that in at least some circumstances SAT scores seem to matter a great deal.

Continue reading "Bruno: Actually, SAT Scores *Do* Matter" »

People: Breaking Ground with Kavitha Cardoza

ScreenHunter_05 Feb. 25 16.46I had that chance to meet WAMU's education reporter Kavitha Cardoza the other day and wanted to make sure everyone had seen her most recent long-form piece on adult education, dubbed Breaking Ground.

As you probably already know, Cardoza (@kavithacardoza) covers the DC metro area.

She's also appeared on NPR and at The Atlantic (The GED Test Is About to Get Much Harder, and Much More Expensive).

Any other favorite Cardoza pieces? Let the rest of us us know. 

Audio: Smartest Kids' Author Missed Just One Question On PISA

Ripley also talks about why Finland is doing so much better than Norway and Sweden (teacher prep has something to do with it). On WNYC's Leonard Lopate show.

Media: Politico Takes More Hits, Promotes Education Editor

Media bias bias colin dunn flickrIt was a strange 24 hours for Politico's education team:

First, the Washington Post's media critic Erik Wemple joined me in slamming the outlet for appearing to crib content from PoliticsK-12 when sending out it's email alerts.

Wemple (aka "Pobresito") has been extremely critical of Politico's journalistic practices over all, though in this case he managed to delay crediting me for having been first to reveal Politico's apparent malfeasance until near the end of his post (a Politico-like move for which he was soundly upbraided).

Then, near the end of the day, Politico announced that education editor Nirvi Shah -- a former EdWeeker -- was being bumped up to managing the site's near dozen policy verticals (Nirvi Shah Named Deputy Managing Editor for Policy). 

In its typically understated manner, the Politico announcement described Shah as "homegrown" (she's been there less than a year) and claimed that the Politico education page has already become the "go-to news resource for education professionals."

Parenting: What Happens When Mom Takes The SAT

image from www.newyorker.comBe sure to check out Big Score, Elizabeth Kolbert's New Yorker article about what happens when Mom takes the SAT.

It's based in part on Debbie Stier's book The Perfect Score Project: Uncovering the Secrets of the SAT, in which the 46 year old mom decides "to devote herself full time to the test, with the goal of achieving the maximum possible score of 2400."

TLDR?  Here's the last graf: "Whatever is at the center of the SAT—call it aptitude or assessment or assiduousness or ambition—the exam at this point represents an accident. It was conceived for one purpose, adapted for another, and somewhere along the line it acquired a hold on American life that nobody ever intended. It’s not just high-school seniors who are in its thrall; colleges are, too. How do you know how good a school is? Well, by the SAT scores of the students it accepts... As befits an exam named for itself, the SAT measures those skills—and really only those skills—necessary for the SATs." 

I've asked the College Board if they feel there's anything wrong or missing in the piece - will let you know if I get any interesting response.  



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.