A new study out of the University of Chicago finds that reported test score increases over 20 years of decentralization and mayoral control were largely illusory, produced by changes in testing, minimum requirements, and other statistical gimmicks rather than any real dramatic improvements that were being claimed at the time. Reading scores in particular have been stagnant, and the acheivement gap has gooten worse. Who's to blame for the poor showing and deceptive reporting? It wasn't Duncan's fault: "By no means did we ever then or now declare mission accomplished.” It wasn't Paul Vallas's, either" "I don't know what planet [the UofC researchers] are on." The state did it, says Duncan advisor Peter Cunningham: " If anything this is a challenge to the state of Illinois to come up with a better test." That leaves just two remaining culprits: NCLB and teachers. Yes, that's it. It was the federal government and the fat cat teachers who did it. Or maybe the testing companies, too. Click below to see the contrasting charts, etc.
Arne Duncan has remained silent as states like Tennessee, Florida, and Rhode Island promised collaboration with teachers and then launched assaults on the rights of teachers. Then Duncan supported Rahm Emanuel's use of taxpayers' money for the ultimate divide and conquer tactic of bribing "inviting" individual schools to break with the union there. Now, the Charlotte Observer reports that the Charlotte Mecklenburg schools have used Race to the Top funds to hire public relations coordinators to promote House Bill 546, which is “controversial legislation that allows the school board to adopt performance pay without teachers' approval.” Reform advocates have the right to attack teachers in the political arena, but not with federal funds. If Duncan will not put a stop to these outrages against the Democrats' most loyal constituencies, perhaps the General Accounting Office will. -- JT (@drjohnthompson)Image via.
To get around union resistance to a proposal that would have extended the school day this year (or halfway through it, at least), Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his schools chief JC Brizard have gone on a school-by-school campaign to encourage teachers to waive the contract schedule and agree to a longer day right now. So far teachers at about five schools have said yes, and the union says about 30 schools have had votes where the teachers have said now.
During a visit through town on Friday, EdSec Duncan didn't seem to have any objections with the idea of a longer day or the process being used to acheive it. Others aren't so sure. Does this school by school campaign constitute union-busting (violating the exclusive bargaining rights of the union) -- Wisconsin all over again, except this time Democrats on Democrats? Is it difficult but necessary way to get more class time for kids who need it -- even if there are almost 500 schools in Chicago and the school year has already started and it's not clear that there's $72 million around to pay for the additional time if everyone said yes? Is this just a political stunt designed to make the union look bad and soften them up for the contract negotiations to come?
As in many districts, teachers can waive contract provisions on a school by school basis though usually the waivers are not as controversial. One way or the other, the school days is likely to be lengthened next year, when a new law and a new contract will be in place. Read a roundup of recent coverage below.
Duncan: CPS deserves ‘a badge of shame’ for short school day Sun Times: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Thursday that Chicago Public Schools deserve the “badge of shame’’ for having such a short school day, and he wished he could have lengthened it while he was Schools CEO here.
Duncan backs longer Chicago school day Tribune: Count U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan among the biggest cheerleaders for lengthening the school day in Chicago.
Duncan says he wished he could have lengthened it while he was in charge (2001-2009), but didn't really make that much of an effort. Then, it was preferable to have labor peace and so the day stayed short and the raises kept coming. Now, the school day and the teachers unions are the lightning rod for a tremendous amount of criticism. No doubt, the school day should be longer. But Duncan's statements on the matter do raise issues of hypocrisy. The claim that the city couldn't afford it seems pretty ludicrous, given the boom times and the raises that were being given out. Duncan should admit that he didn't try hard enough, or, perhaps preferably, refrain from this kind of sanctimony.
This will be huge. Everywhere we go, we hear about ... how big the need is. - EdSec Duncan
Here it is -- an image tweeted out by Duncan himself (or so we're told). Big and blue, and hopefully comfortable but not as expensive as the President's tour bus. I'm told that they're actually traveling in the thing, though I'm guessing not sleeping in it.
No word yet on whether the bus is going to be a school bus, a tour bus, or a fancy high-security kind of thing.
In fact, I'm guessing that there's very little time actually spent on the bus.
Following up on last week's reminder that TFA founder Wendy Kopp opposes publishing teachers' value-added ratings (she calls it naive, basically) I was asking around whether other reformy types shared the same view.
I seemed to recall that Michelle Rhee wasn't a big fan of the idea, either, but was too lazy to look back and see what she'd said. The folks at StudentsFirst bailed me out with this quote from their newish spokesperson, Nancy Zuckerbrod: "We generally support empowering parents with knowledge of teacher effectiveness based on a broad-based metric with value added growth, peer evaluations, and other criteria including contributions to the school community all factored in. Since we don't believe teacher performance is measured by test scores alone, we have concerns that these newspaper ratings don't account for the true and whole picture of effectiveness that parents are entitled to"
Next up, KIPP. Anyone know what Mike and Dave think about publishing ratings? Also -- has Arne changed his tune on the publication issue? I know he was pretty gung-ho on it back last year when the LAT first published ratings but maybe he's changed his tune since then.
The whirlwind process of reviewing and approving $5B worth of Race To The Top applications is for me the most interesting and useful part of Steve Brill's new education book, Class Warfare, as well as being one of the focus points of the interview he did with me for the September issue of Scholastic Administrator. In the book, Brill describes how boxed-in Duncan and his team were when it came to a review process that resulted in some obviously in accurate state application ratings. In our interview, Brill argues that Duncan was right to go along with the outside scoring of the state applications at the time but should stop payment or even try and recover funding from states where there has been and will likely be very little progress implementing the promised reforms. It's one of Brill's better suggestions, given how much time has passed and how little seems to be happening in some of the 12 states that got all that money. A draft version is below. The good stuff comes towards the end.
I'm one of a very small (but extremely wise and influential) group of people and organizations extremely worried about the Duncan administration giving in to state and local bureaucrats and gutting the accountability measures in NCLB in a cyncial deal to get states to adopt Race To The Top-style reforms (or at least promise to). But I'm prepared to compromise on a couple of small, sensible fixes if it will help everyone feel better about themselves and get on with more important things (like checking to see how RTTT and SIG are actually being implemented). Everyone talks about expanding the safe harbor/growth model provisions so that schools get credit for progress but what about -- this is my own crazy idea far as I know -- an "AYP minus one" system in which schools that make AYP for all but one, two, or three subgroups can still be said to have made AYP. That would allow schools to focus on what they need to focus on but still keep the clear subgroup accountability for everyone. Solved. Next problem?
#nclb #waiver Despite the lack of details and the fact that they made pretty much the same announcement a couple of months ago, here's a steady flow of news coverage and analysis of the Duncan waiver plan (see lots of links below the fold). Never underestimate Team Duncan's ability to pull things out of nowhere, I guess. Still, it remains pretty unclear whether the waiver notion can go forward and if it will do any good. CEP just released a study showing that low-income kids have been making strong progress during the NCLB era. Opponents and cautioners remain numerous and powerful (House Republicans, Jeb Bush, NEA, Ed Trust, US Chamber). Everybody wants a waiver, sure, but not everybody wants NCLB rolled back or diluted. (Where are the reformers on this, I wonder? I'm calling around to see what the accountability hawks and "by any means necessary" types are saying about rolling back accountability.) And - this is perhaps most important -- we know from the RTTT process over the past two years that peer reviewing doesn't always yield strong or consistent results, that folks will promise pretty much anything to Washington whether or not they're ever going to do what they say, and that the Duncan team's ability to enforce implementation of its reforms is shaping up to be pretty weak. RTTT timelines are slipping like mad, and some Race states aren't making much progress at all. Want to know what the waivers will look like? Look at Race implementation. Links below.
Duncan'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.
If these teachers truly were not good enough for one struggling school, we have to ask whether it is a good idea to put them in another one. --TNTP's Tim Daly in response to a WSJ story about Newark schools swapping teachers to meet SIG restaffing requirements
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.
Sen. Jack Reed had some tough questions for Secretary Duncan at yesterday's appropriations hearing, as reported in HuffED, but his concern apparently wasn't focused on the Promise Neighborhoods in particular but rather "untested, large-scaled competitive grant programs" pushing out established line-item programs like school libraries:
"I’m concerned that the overarching strategy at the Department has been to focus almost exclusively on these untested, large-scaled competitive grant programs at the expense of some proven research-based programs that have a track record of success."
PS: Who's that sitting just off Duncan's left elbow, opposite Carmel Martin?
Has the Duncan team finally turned the corner and begun to understand the real limits of high stakes testing and accountability? Probably not, but there's always hope. About the next round of Race To The Top Dana Goldstein is cautiously optimistic about the administration's push for low-stakes pre-school assessments that measure children’s social, emotional, physical and artistic, as well as academic readiness for kindergarten. Goldstein urges Duncan to listen to the social science and "use test scores to help teachers better target instruction toward individual children, not to reward or punish either individual children or adults in the system."- JT (@drjohnthompson) Image via.
Maybe he should take a page out of Palin's playbook and do that whole unscheduled summer bus trip thing.
Or maybe he should just get one of his lackeys to find him some "Book of Mormon" or "Spider Man" tix.
PS: I'll be in DC on Tuesday for the AFT conference, moderating a panel on charter schools, then heading to the beach for the rest of the week.
So the NEA endorsed Obama early after all (WSJ , EdWeek) -- if only after having given its strongest malcontents a Duncan-bashing resolution to chew on (HuffED, The Answer Sheet, Washington Post). The vote wasn't even close. Speaking at the convention in Chicago, Biden called the debate over school reform 'a fight within the family' (HuffED). Was anyone else creeped out by the invocation of family? There were some substantive issues discussed: Union Shifts Position on Teacher Evaluations (NYT). But for many inside the convention and elsewhere the feelings about Obama were decidely mixed. As Slate's Dave Weigel described the mood at Aspen Ideas Festival the week before, "There's desperation where there used to be hope. No one here still believes Obama can engineer great change. He's what we've got; he's offering more than the Republicans. The most realistic ideas about what can be done politically are predicated on what Washington will be forced to do by crisis." Heading into the second half of 2011, it's increasingly clear that education has had its crisis and all we got out of it was massive job preservation and the flimsy Race To The Top. Do we deserve any more? Image via.
Can you stand six minutes of Arne Duncan answering softball questions from NBC's Andrea Mitchell at the Aspen Ideas Festival (or, as Politico dubs it, D.C.'s summer camp)?
Consider it a Fourth Of July challenge. I couldn't even bear to start.
On Monday, Duncan, Chicago Mayoral Rahm Emanuel and others will appear at West Point to talk about the DREAM Act. One of the two will reveal that he is actually an undocumented alien (no, not really).
More DREAM on Tuesday, then appearances Thursday and Friday at the Aspen Ideas Festival related to every reformers' favorite new book, Class Warfare and videogaming, too.
Anyone going to be at the AIF this year and want to cover it? Let me know. Image via
Another mini-roundup of NCLB waiver commentary and analysis, though the issue seems pretty dead to me: Can We Get 'Plain Writing' on Duncan's NCLB Waiver Plan? Politics K12: How about Duncan explains what he means by "regulatory relief" in exchange for a "basket of reforms"... Reauthorize, Reauthorize, Reauthorize CAP: The secretary should grant waivers, not regulatory relief... The Regulation Threat Sandy Kress: Every major administrative step the Administration has taken has had a weakening effect. And it appears that - for a favored few - more is in store... Reauthorization, Waivers, and the Third Variable Problem DFER: The decibel level from the usual suspects inside the Beltway is enough to rattle anyone's nerves, especially those new to the game... States Take the Lead on Accountability CCSSO Press release: Federal action must support, not hinder, state leadership on next-generation accountability systems and provide states with room to promote continuous innovation. None of the Above The American Prospect: Next month, the National Education Association (NEA), the country’s largest teachers union, which has called for an overhaul, will decide at its convention whether to endorse Barack Obama in 2012... For additional takes on the issue see National Journal here.
The [USDE's] Inspector General’s office does not execute search warrants for late loan payments. -- Justin Hamilton, USDE spokesperson
All this talk about NCLB waivers reminds me of all the waivers and examptions that are already part of the NCLB framework -- many of which make the law (according to me) too lax rather than too strict. Some of the loopholes were added even before the law was enacted: letting states backload AYP targets and lower state test standards, letting districts refuse student transfers out of hand, letting districts receive funding despite massive payroll inequities between schools. Others have been added since: redefining TFA corps members as highly qualified, letting low-performing districts provide their own federally funded after-school tutoring, letting schools use n-size definitions that limit subgroup accountability. These are only a few of the ones I can remember off the top of my head -- maybe you have a favorite? There are lots of waivers and loopholes and exemptions already in place for states and districts receiving billions in federal education money every year. A few of them made sense but many didn't. So let's make sure that any new set of exemptions is extremely targeted and justified beyond the short-term convenience of state and district administrators and their representatives in DC. Image via
Five days in and there's still pretty much no one besides the state and district administrators clamoring for relief who likes Duncan's Plan B "recess reauthorization" -- though Patrick Eduflack Riccards comes close -- and it's not at all clear that the idea has done anything to jumpstart reauthorization talks on the Hill, either (the underlying goal of the Duncan proposal). NEA president Dennis Van Roekel came out against the idea almost immediately, caling it "more of the same bad patchwork quilt of disparities in our education system." George Miller came out against it at yesterday's CAP event, according to EdWeek (Rep. Miller Not a Fan of Duncan's NCLB Waiver Plan) as did AFT president Randi Weingarten who said a waiver approach "creates a disincentive to get the law reauthorized (at about 44:20). Chairman Kline noted on NPR that Race To The Top was already one giant waiver and NCLB didn't need to be turned into another. It's a double whammy -- folks either don't like the idea of waivers, or they don't like the idea of attaching Race To The Top-like strings (see FireDogLake and Hess), or both. Not even NCLB's harshest critics -- the Diane Ravitches of the world -- have come out in favor of the waiver plan. Meantime, the tough work of making sure that Race generates some real changes continues with state implementation visits (Department Officials Visit Massachusetts to Learn About Race Implementation), and House Republicans are moving ahead with their piecemeal approach.
I mean, besides the bureaucrats? If so, I can't find any: Will States Accept Duncan-Style Reforms for NCLB Relief? EdWeek: He offered so few details about what that relief would look like that the reporters spent much of the call flummoxed over what the news actually was... Duncan's Disregard for the Constitution Rick Hess: Our earnest Secretary of Education, who famously (and bizarrely) promised Congress a billion-dollar edu-bonus if it reauthorized NCLB by the administration's deadline and to the President's satisfaction, was back at it on Friday... Duncan Wants to Use NCLB Sanctions to Force More Education Reform Measures FireDogLake: This just sounds like another version of Race to the Top, only a bit worse... What’s Plan C Anyway? Eduwonk: Congress doesn’t like being preempted – and there is, of course, a natural tension between two co-equal branches of government. But there are also a host of policy issues at play in this specific instance... “Give me the money or I shoot my foot!” and other political theories of education reform Sherman Dorn: If I had a crystal ball, I would guess this trial balloon will sink ignominiously by the end of the summer... Arnius Duncanus? Mike Petrilli: Duncan’s plans to tie regulatory relief to new requirements indicates an incredible amount of tone-deafness, not to mention Constitutional ignorance... Give Us What We Want Or You're Dead Jim Horn: There is a time bomb in your basement, and it is set to explode in 2014, maybe sooner. Only two people have the ability to disarm it... Image via. DID I MISS ANY GOOD ONES? SEE MY TAKE BELOW.
It's an attack from above -- an all-out aerial bombardment! Here's audio of the secret Friday conference call Team Duncan held with an elite group of education reporters (invitation only!). Here's the remarkable little slew of news stories that the call produced: Duncan Threatens to Alter No Child Left Behind WSJ, Arne Duncan's 'Plan B' May Leave 'No Child' Behind NPR, Duncan vows some easing of landmark education law AP, Education Secretary May Agree to Waivers on ‘No Child’ Law Requirements NYT. Here's the commentary Duncan got published in Politico (Revamp No Child Left Behind - now) to go along with the one Spellings wrote in the same publication. And they're not done. There's ANOTHER press call this afternoon, just in case anyone hasn't heard the word. But is it a good idea, what they're doing, and is Duncan right? Read on for a few thoughts on the matter.
Education Secretary May Agree to Waivers on NCLB NYT: Unless Congress acts by this fall to overhaul NCLB Secretary of Education Arne Duncan signaled that he would use his executive authority to free states from the law’s centerpiece requirement that all students be proficient in reading and math by 2014... Duncan Threatens to Alter No Child Left Behind WSJ: Mr. Duncan is promising to waive specific requirements of the law in exchange for states agreeing to adopt other efforts he has championed, such as linking teacher evaluations to student achievement, expanding charter schools and overhauling the lowest-performing schools... NCLB works but needs updates Margaret Spellings: These are the same voices that once complained to me that No Child Left Behind was too draconian — then asked Congress to fully fund it... 5,200 New Teach For America Teachers TFA: In the upcoming school year, 9,300 first- and second-year corps members will reach 600,000 students in 43 regions including new sites in the Appalachia region of Kentucky, Oklahoma City, Seattle, and the Pee Dee region of South Carolina... Department Officials Visit Massachusetts to Learn About Race Implementation USDE: Today's visit to Malden focuses on Massachusetts' progress in building statewide capacity for their education reform plan and the state's efforts to improve teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance... Self-control in childhood predicts future success Boston Globe: What will children need to thrive in this environment? Not catalogs of facts, but the discipline of mind to focus, persevere, and make good choices. A good start would be to make Tools of the Mind — or something similar — a staple of the 21st-century classroom... Where's Emma Watson off to this fall? Emma had quit US' Brown University in April saying she face trouble finding time to commit to her studies while also carrying out her film, promotional and modelling work.
The highlight of the week, such as it is, is probably the Center on American Progress event on Tuesday, which will feature Dunca, Miller, Weingarten, and Spellings. Guess what the topic is going to be? More info about the event here. Still, it's just a confab -- all fun and games until a bill lurches forward into markup or an amendment gets offered to a must-pass legislative vehicle. Click below for the rest of the EdSec's media schedule for the week. For day to day events and meetings, sign up for the FritzWire (still email-only, far as I know).
Despite a new mayor and schools chief, Chicago is apparently taking a softer approach to school rescue efforts next year. I wrote about this disappointing turn of events in the Sun-Times over the weekend (School reform goes through the motions). After years of doing closures and turnarounds, creating capacity within the district and fostering the growth of an outside group called AUSL, the city is going with the light touch option known as "transformation" -- a step backwards, even as it seems clearer than ever that making a break with the past and creating a new culture takes more than a new face in the principal's office. Of course, I get that there's no guarantee that school rescue efforts will work, and a dire shortage of principals and teachers willing to take on the work. The Chicago Board of Education and many others have botched rescue efforts more than they would care to admit. But the kids attending these schools aren't getting much of an education, and replacing staff as well as administrators seems like a pretty reasonable and necessary strategy. Let's not over-rate continuity for its own sake. And let's not forget that the SIG program is roughly as big as Race To The Top and is sending out gobs of money to nearly every state in the nation for the second year in a row.
Last week was Matt Gandal's first at the USDE, where the former Achieve EVP is going to try and help make sure that -- among other things -- the states that won Race To The Top funding end up with some concrete accomplishments by the time the money's gone. The Duncan folks know that they need some real results from their signature program, and Gandal's not the only one focused on that task. There's also the US Delivery Institute, a newish "deliverology" outfit focused on helping state departments organize themselves around specific outcomes (read more here). EdSec Duncan has an event this week focused on RTTT progress in Tennessee. A team of USDE folks including Ann Whalen, Assistant Director Jim Butler, and Race to the Top Program Officer Rebecca Zazove are part of the "Implementation and Support Unit" where Gandal will work. They will visit all the RTTT grantees and produce a big report in the fall (see here). News about Gandal here.
People are starting to wonder what if any results are going to be achieved from Race To The Top, and so the EdSec is headed off on Monday to Tennessee ($500M) to have a look around. (There's a separate team going to OH to check out its RTTT implementation efforts.) Can't wait until the House education committee starts looking at RTTT results, either. Then it's back to Washington for a LBGT summit and some budget and gainful employment hearings. See below for details. You spot him anywhere else, you let us know in comments on on twitter at @alexanderrusso. Extra points for photographs.
How Big a Change Are the Common Core Standards? Rick Hess: For good or ill, the Common Core represents not a modest technical exercise, but a serious overhaul of how states approach math and reading instruction... Waiting for a School Miracle Diane Ravitch: The accounts of miracle schools demand closer scrutiny. Usually, they are the result of statistical legerdemain... Is Teach for America Becoming 'Too Big to Fail?' Sam Chaltain: Does [Kopp] believe, given the choices available, that bigger is better; that the meaning of "community" is fungible; and that the people who make up a school system need not develop deep and lasting roots to ensure its long-term success?... An Eloquent, Well-Reasoned, Cooly Logical, Bitingly Witty Take on a Key Educational Issue Two Years At The Blackboard: There are maggots... ...in the staff bathroom... Will Popular High School Gays Also Suffer Curse of Sad Later Lives? The Awl: Don't worry, young people. Everyone popular in high school gets her comeuppance later on. Wait till your 10th high school reunion, when all the popular people come back sad and poorly dressed and puffy-faced and grey... Each Generation Lazier Than the Last The Awl: No, but seriously, the kids today are soooo much lazier...
EdSec Duncan starts the week ith a school visit and Senator Al Franken roundtable in St. Paul, Minn, and ends it with an immigration event. What he does during the rest of the week, we have no idea. Suggestions, there's no shortage of those: How about getting to work on beefing up SIG implementation? The USDE is shoveling money out the door like it was Stimulus funding or something -- not getting much for its money, far as I can tell. Or maybe you know better.
South Carolina Stance on School Aid Is Criticized NYT: South Carolina’s education superintendent faced criticism the day after announcing that the state would not compete for federal money in the Race to the Top school improvement competition... RTTT Runners-Up Not Jumping at Chance to Split $200 Million EdWeek: Now, Pennsylvania officials are telling me they might apply... Kentucky's participation isn't a sure thing either... New Fellowship Pays For College Kids To Drop Out NPR: The "Twenty Under Twenty" fellowship provides $100,000 over a two-year period to each of the recipients... Conn. group fights to end seniority-based layoffs for teachers AP: Leaders and supporters of a Connecticut group seeking education law changes are pushing lawmakers to stop school districts from using seniority to determine which teachers could face budget-related layoffs... Alabama Bill Shortens Teacher Termination Process HuffED: The bill keeps both tenure and the timeline for achieving it in place for teachers but eliminates the lengthy federal arbitration process for firing tenured teachers... Lawmakers to Duncan: Keep NCLB's Tutoring Program EdWeek: Some advocates, including T. Willard Fair want to see the reauthorized law keep the requirement that schools offer free tutoring to everyone, not just the kids in subgroups that miss AYP...
Policy people are often taken aback when I say that I have lost more than 40 students to being murdered or killing someone over the course of a long career in the classroom. Mongo Allen, principal of Oklahoma City's largest alternative school, Seeworth Academy, has produced a documentary about 300 students who are dead or in prison. Seeworth is only two miles from my old school, Centennial, and so I knew that his toll would include many of my kids. Centennial is the lowest performing school in the state, with an NCLB ranking that is even lower than Seeworth's. Our outcomes are largely determined by Seeworth's capacity. Allen's documentary deals with the murder and funeral of one of my kids. Another former student was arrested at Seeworth this week, allegedly for a drive-by. After it is full in October, our neighborhood school loses its ability to create a safe and orderly environment. Centennial is not perfect, but when the alternative school capacity was cut by 20% during an economic downturn, our fate was sealed. Now, we will receive an $11 million SIG grant and become a transformation school, but it would have been better to have invested in high-quality alternative schools and to have avoided our complete collapse. JT(@drjohnthompson)Image via.
Bill Bennett, James Madison, and National Curricular Materials Chester E. Finn, Jr.: The paranoids among us will reply that what Duncan is about is trying—without acknowledging it—to IMPOSE a curriculum... Racin' on Preschool Legs Eduflack: Of the $700 million going to RttT Round Three, only $200 million of it will go to these nine states... How to Reform School Boards Gene Maeroff: These are at least four major areas to address when it comes to school board reform... Public Schools Now Charging Thousands of Dollars Gawker: Does your child attend a "public" high school? You're so old. Also, broke, due to the fact that America's public schools these days charge lots of money. Is this a new thing?.. Mark Zuckerberg Changes His Tune on Kids Using Facebook Atlantic Wire: "We're not trying to work on the ability for people under the age of 13 to sign up… That's just not top of the list of things for us to figure out right now," Zuckerberg told the crowd at the e-G8 summit in Paris today.
We have not and will not prescribe a national curriculum. - Arne Duncan via EdWeek
Fearing that our enthusiasm for his aw-shucks demeanor and locker-room speaking style was fading -- and releived that Doomsday had come and gone without incident -- the education secretary has joined Twitter (@arneduncan). It is a move I'm sure he will regret as soon as the National Writing Project and others find him but it offers many chances for entertainment for the rest of us. Someone please register @secretaryduncan and go to town. I nominate Michelle McNeil. Via GothamSchools.
Meet Daren Briscoe, the USDE's new Deputy Press Secretary, who comes to the job from another spot within the Obama administration and before that a stint covering Obama for Newsweek during the campaign -- a move made by several journalists that was upsetting to some media watchers and conservatives. Me, I don't care. I just love the 'stache and the cool Wild West last name and if he calls me back when I blow up his cell phone with some stupid question about what Duncan's wearing. Via Edweek. Image via.
Lots of speeches and one supposedly big announcement in Arne Duncan's media schedule this week, but the highlight for Duncan is probably a return to Harvard to participate in graduation ceremonies on Thursday. It's his class's 25th anniversary -- time flies! -- and he was apparently picked as some sort of representative of the class. I'm sure there'll be lots of graduates heading into TFA and other quick-drying teaching programs to cheer him.
That's what Mediabistro thinks -- except of course they think it's the other way around.
Comment, don't care -- it makes no difference to me.
Politico's story about Margaret Spellings (Talks leave Margaret Spellings behind) paints a pretty negative picture of Spellings' prospects for influencing NCLB reauthorization. Former colleague Russ Whitehurst gets in a dig. (I was surprised not to see a sweetly poisoned comment from former Bushie Mike Petrilli.) And indeed Spellings and the Chamber are having to claw their way back into the reform conversation after a long absence. But what reporter Abby Phillip leaves out is that Spellings isn't alone in pushing for retaining or even strengthening key parts of NCLB (some of the civil rights groups support the same) *and* that the Obama folks and centrist Republicans could end up being victimized by the distance that they've been creating between them and her. In bashing NCLB and distancing itself from some of its key architects -- Spellings, Kress, the Roundtable, the Chamber -- the Obama folks in particular took the easy path and further fragmented the centrist coalition that created NCLB and could help push through a new version of the law. At some point along the way, probably near the end of a long and difficult process, Obama et al will need help from business groups in securing support from moderate Republicans. They'll need every vote to get something done and fight off extremist views on both sides. The blind quote that ends the story hints that the Obama folks know this, too.
Everyone's been wondering how Arne Duncan became so convinced that 82 percent of schools would fail to make AYP in 2011 -- especially given how waiver-happy he's been over the past two years -- but now EdWeek may have discovered how: by curbing exemptions for special education students (States Pressured to Curb Test Exemptions for Disabled Students). Sneaky, sneaky move. Then again, you give those states an inch and they'll take a mile. Can't trust anyone with anything, really.
Little noticed (by me, at least) at the time but Sandra Abrevaya (@sabrevaya?) left for the WH early last month. Congrats, condolences. No word yet on how Cunningham, Hamilton et al are surviving or whether she'll be the WH press person on education, though that would make sense. Tommy Vietor was doing that for a while, then replaced by, er, someone else.