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Update: Why Alt Certification Is So Bad (Too) UPDATED*

Jetsons robot teacher via smithsonian pandodailyOne of the big stories out of yesterday's NCTQ report was the weakness of alternative certification programs, as noted by Teacher Beat (Alternative Certification Deemed Weak). "For the most part, the 85 alternative programs analyzed weren't sufficiently selective, didn't ensure that applicants knew their content, and did far too little to supervise the new teachers in the classroom, the NCTQ concludes."

As this AEI paper from 2012 describes, one structural reason for the lack of quality behind alt cert programs is that their graduates are deemed highly qualified under NCLB and allowed to be hired without any negative consequences -- a provision created for TFA and staunchly defended by it in the intervening years.  The paper also notes that TFA is the brand name for alt cert but its members are very much the minority in terms of overall alt cert teachers. 

 UPDATE: "All eight TFA regions received the highest rating for how we admit talented individuals into teaching," notes TFA's response to the NCTQ report. "Additionally all eight regions received high ratings in supervised practice." See full statement below.

Continue reading "Update: Why Alt Certification Is So Bad (Too) UPDATED*" »

Quotes: No Obama Administration Over-Reach.... On Standards, At Least

Quotes2You can argue that some of the OTHER things the Obama administration has done constitute something of an over-reach, but not on standards. -- Achieve's Mike Cohen speaking at #EWA154 (at roughly the 8:33 mark)

Maps: Where The 74 School Shootings Since New Town Took Place

Screen shot 2014-06-11 at 10.56.06 AM
"Blue markers represent incidents in 2014; red markers are for incidents from 2013. You may have to zoom in to view separate incidents in the same city. Cities that were home to multiple shootings are Atlanta; Grambling, La.; Savannah, Ga.; Jackson, Tenn.; Roswell, N.M.; Milwaukee; Augusta, Ga." (There have been at least 74 shootings at schools since Newtown) Click the link to zoom in and get more information.

Five Best Blogs: #Vergara Decision Triggers #CommonCoreDelay

The Vergara decision came down -- largely in favor of the student plaintiffs -- but then the Gates Foundation came out with a statement in support of a Common Core delay (in terms of high-stakes implications), seeming to catch everyone by surprise:

Did @gatesed @drvickip et al not realize that #Vergara was coming down today, or not care, or not believe that they could wait?

"A blanket delay is not appropriate for all states," says @CCSSO's @minnichc in response to @gatesed call for #commoncoredelay.

Still no word from @ArneDuncan on #commoncoredelay statement from @gatesed, pro or con, or what would be required to implement.

#Vergara judge: "“The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience." via @StephanieSimon_ http://ht.ly/xQNWK 

College presidents express support for Common Core - Newsday http://ht.ly/xQJqY

How much Bill Gates’s disappointing small-schools effort really cost - @valeriestrauss http://ht.ly/xQlwu 

A Black Father's Search for a Diverse Preschool - Education Week http://ht.ly/xF2s5 

@AP: BREAKING: Police: Shooter used rifle in fatal attack at Oregon high school; teacher injured.

Media: What The Post Gets Wrong About Gates & Common Core (Plus Reactions Roundup)

 Yau Hoong Tang FlickrThere's a long piece about the Common Core in the Washington Post you should probably read -- but be forewarned that the view of events and the causal chain that's cobbled together in the piece isn't entirely accurate or fairly contextualized (and differs from other accounts of what happened and why).

Basically, the Post's piece makes the claim that Bill Gates was behind the Common Core's rapid spread over the past few years. Indeed, the headline claims that Gates "pulled off" the Common Core, like it was a heist or a grift. 

"The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards. With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes." Both left and right -- Diane Ravitch and NRO's Stanley Kurtz  -- are already calling for Congressional hearings.

Gates' support is clear, and no doubt played a role.  There are some fascinating tidbits about that process in the piece.  But let's be clear: the idea for common national standards and tests goes back a long long way before Gates (and David Coleman), the spread of the Common Core in recent years wasn't merely a function of Gates' enthusiasm and largess, and the myth of the all-powerful billionaire is just that. 

Continue reading "Media: What The Post Gets Wrong About Gates & Common Core (Plus Reactions Roundup)" »

Update: What If The Common Core Required The Metric System?

 

800px-metrication_by_year_map
Want to imagine the s--- really hitting the fan? Think about what'd happen if the Common Core state standards and assessments required use of the metric system, which has been adopted worldwide. Olds among you will remember that the US tried to do this in 1975 but the effort was voluntary (really voluntary, no strings attached).  Want to relive the mess that effort was, if only to realize that the current mess isn't quite as bad? Vox has it all -- and thinks it's time to go for it again: It's time for the US to use the metric system.

Thompson: Michelle Obama, Meanwitchs and Stinkburgers

Michelle2

I love Michelle Obama as much as I remain loyal to her husband, despite his awful test and punish education policy. When the First Lady is attacked, I am angered almost as much as when the Obama administration assaults public education.

The issues underlying both Michelle Obama's Let's Move healthy schools campaign, and President Obama's corporate school reform are equally complicated.

Time Magazine's Jay Newton-Small, in Michelle Obama Bites Back at Critics of Her Healthy School Lunch Standards, reports that a million fewer students ate school lunches in the first year of the program. The bigger problem is anecdotes and twitter photo campaigns featuring students who want their junk food back.

In light of the House Republicans' assault on anti-obesity efforts, Burkhard Bilger's 2006 New Yorker article, The Lunch Room Rebellion, should now be reread. As the First Lady explains, the "stakes couldn't be higher" in the battle to improve children's health, so the fight is worth it. But, given the difficulty Bilger described in providing nutritious meals in the affluent Berkeley, California schools, we must prepare for a long, frustrating struggle.  

Bilger told how a "haute cuisine chef," Ann Cooper, got schooled when she brought nutritious meals that were a hit in a progressive private school to a public system. Cooper's biggest problem was that children's food tastes (not unlike some of their learning habits) are established before they enter school. But, a seemingly absurd combination of political and institutional dynamics created unforeseen complications, even in a system where only 40% of students were eligible for free or reduced lunch.

Continue reading "Thompson: Michelle Obama, Meanwitchs and Stinkburgers" »

Media: CQ Roll Call Reporter Joining EdWeek's Politics K-12 Team

image from spencerfellows.orgNews is out that CQ Roll Call reporter (and current Spencer Education Journalism Fellow) Lauren Smith Camera is going to join Alyson Klein at @PoliticsK12, EdWeek's blog covering the USDE and Congress.  

No longer will Camera's work be hidden behind CQ's paywall.  She'll be out front, doing daily battle with all the new upstarts that have appeared in basically the same space (RealClear, Politico, etc.).

Camera will be replacing Michele McNeil, the blog's co-founder, who left recently to join the College Board.

Camera's Spencer year has been spent looking into whether federal funding in the form of competitive grants is a good investment (compared to dedicated funding streams).

Previous posts: New Spencer Fellows, New Research TopicsRecollections, Controversy, & Advice From Departing PK-12 BloggerDo Journalists Make Good Program Officers?Two Journos Win Nieman Fellowships, Another Heads To College Board. Image via SpencerFellows.org

Morning Video: Rand Paul Nobody In DC "Knows A Damn Thing" About Education

 

This video from last month shows Rand Paul talking education reform in Milwaukee. Rebel Pundit via RCe. Link here.

Afternoon Video: Will Chicago's BAM Program Go National?

"In a report for the Hamilton Project, they propose allocating $400 million over five years to competitive program that would select forty cities, in each of which a local nonprofit would offer the program to 500 youths." (How Chicago is using psychotherapy to fight crime — and winning Vox)

Trends: Have We Reached Peak Privatization Yet?

Privatization_folliesThere's an interesting new article by The Atlantic's Molly Ball out just recently (The Privatization Backlash) that makes for good reading even though it doesn't address education issues directly.

In it, Ball traces the trend towards contracting out public services that's been taking place since at least the 1980s and has grown substantially. "An estimated $1 trillion of America's $6 trillion in annual federal, state, and local government spending goes to private companies."

But privatization isn't always cheap or effective, and Ball, observes that the appeal seems to be wearing thin with some recent experiences (like the parking meter fiasco in Chicago). "From Halliburton to Healthcare.gov to private prisons and welfare systems, contracting has often proved problematic."

According to Ball, the move against privatization is nationwide.  "Laws to rein in contractors have been introduced in 18 states this year, and three—Maryland, Oregon, and Nebraska—have passed legislation, according to In the Public Interest, a group that advocates what it calls "responsible contracting.""

Ball doesn't address various forms of subcontracting out of education, which some would call privatization. And she notes that anti-privatization views skew Democratic and labor only late in the article.  

One last tidbit: there's an Annual Privatization Report put out by Reason. I wonder how much if any education-related subcontracting is included?

 

Update: More Questions About Warren's Pro-Choice Views

LowerBGIt's no big surprise to find out that Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) doesn't actually support private school vouchers, an issue that came up last week in a blog post I wrote.

Here's an MTA voter education form stating that “Warren opposes private school voucher proposals and similar proposals that take money away from public schools.” and a MassTeacher update indicating that "This was confirmed with the candidate and her campaign back during the nomination process.” 

Both of these are courtesy Senator Warren's press office, which also notes that the proposal comes from Warren's 2003 book not her new memoir.  

But that still leaves the underlying (and quite revolutionary in some circles) notion of universal public school choice.  Does Warren's support include choice for schools within local districts, or inter-district transfers (as proposed, however weakly, in the NCLB law that Ted Kennedy and George Miller co-sponsored)?  

Vox's Libby Nelson wrote that "Warren's views aren't entirely out of step with the education reform wing of the Democratic party." But of course, Warren isn't generally considered a reformer. 

Numbers: Visualizing State, Local, & Federal Education Spending

Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 2.13.50 PMFederal spending on K-12 education comes in at just under $60B, compared to local funding that's a whopping $464B, according to a blowup of the federal budget created by Visualizing.org (2013 Federal Budget).  Click the link to explore the methodology used and see the full chart in all its glory. 

Update: National Audit Of Testing Proposed By Senate

Screenshot.16Curious about just how much testing is going on in schools, and frustrated with the anecdotal reports and hyperbolic accounts?  

So was the Senate HELP Commmittee, way back in 2011-2012.

That's right. There was language in the bipartisan Harkin ESEA bill calling for the creation of a national commission that would have, among other things, been charged with "determining the frequency, length, and scheduling of such tests and assessments, and measuring, in hours and days, the student and teacher time spent on testing."

The Senate language was proposed by Senators Alexander and Bennet.  

Indeed, Bennet introduced standalone legislation last year. Colorado has been working on auditing and coordinating tests for several years, according to this 2011 Durango Herald opinion piece. Alexander is listed as a co-sponsor.

Since then, the noise surrounding test proliferation and/or test uses has risen exponentially -- warranted or not, we don't really know.  Chicago and DC have already initiated testing audit/streamlining procedures. 

The TeachPlus report that came out the other day indicated that there were large variations around the country, and that official and classroom views of the testing burden are very different.  However, the report was limited to a small set of districts. [See here for some updated information on why its Chicago numbers were initially wrong.]

I proposed something along the same lines in my latest Scholastic Administrator column: "Secretary Duncan has at least one thing he could do with his remaining time in office that could be both effective at preserving his initiatives and popular with educators and parents. He could begin to address concerns over test proliferation...  Serving as a watchdog against overtesting, he would also effectively be protecting the Common Core assessments during a very vulnerable time."

Hardcore testing opponents would not be appeased, of course -- look no further than the reactions to the New York State attempts to compromise on Common Core implementation for evidence of that. But, depending on the results such an audit provided, everyone else might be reassured and glad to know how different states and districts compare.

No word back yet about whether the USDE had taken a position on the language or not -- or what they think of the idea now.   

TV Shows: Thinking "West Wing" In A "House Of Cards" World

Screen shot 2014-02-03 at 1.03.12 PMThere are lots of lessons reformers might glean from the NYT Sunday Magazine preview of season two of House of Cards -- greatest among them the dangers of imagining they're working in a "West Wing" world where good ideas, research results, and smarts prevail when the reality is much more "House Of Cards" (in which idealism and book smarts matter less than street savvy and knowing how to work the media).

Of particular note, the article focuses on the young(ish) show-runner, who worked on the Howard Dean campaign and watched as it responded to the press frenzy surrounding the "Dean Scream" by taking the higher ground rather than responding vigorously -- and in the end let Dean's opponents (and the media) define him and derail his campaign.

Sound familiar? 

To be sure, both shows are exaggerated, fictionalized versions of reality.  But there are real-world historical lessons to be gleaned from the show and article.  

For reform opponents, the dangers illustrated by the show are the ever-present possibility of public revulsion and political excommunication that would likely follow revelation of cut-throat tactics no matter how worthwhile or well-intended the aims.   

 Previous posts:  House Of Cards Revisits 2000's ESEA Authorization EdWeek's Take On "House Of Cards"

AM News: LAUSD Superintendent Might Stay - Or Not

News2

Momentum builds for retaining Deasy as LAUSD chief LA Daily News: As civic groups mobilized in support of Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy, board member Steve Zimmer expressed optimism Monday that the embattled schools chief can be persuaded to stay on as head of the nation's second-largest district.

Los Angeles Schools Leadership Questioned WSJ: The Los Angeles Unified School District is slated to meet Tuesday to discuss whether to renew its superintendent’s contract—a decision that could change the leadership of the nation’s second-largest school system.

Zimmer: LA Unified Board Wants Deasy to Stay LA School Report: In anticipation of what’s sure to be a long and dramatic school board meeting tomorrow, LA Unified board member Steve Zimmer says he’s optimistic that the board can convince Superintendent John Deasy not to resign as head of the nation’s second largest school district.

L.A. schools improved, but Deasy fell short of ambitious goals LA Times: Supt. John Deasy, whose annual review will be conducted Tuesday, failed to meet many goals he set for himself. Even so, school board members and civic leaders cite long-term gains. 

LAUSD needs Deasy LA Times (editorial page): We don't always agree with him, but the superintendent has excelled in a difficult position.There are so many dramas and mini-disasters at the Los Angeles Unified School District, they have to take a number and line up for attention.

Texas No Child Left Behind waiver means concessions to feds Politico: Critics often tie No Child Left Behind waivers to the Common Core and equate them with operating in the pocket of the federal government. Some say Texas crushed that theory. Others say the state's recently won waiver reinforced it.

New Jersey School District Cancels Testing After Exams Are Leaked on the Internet NYT: The breach of test security in the Montclair, N.J., school district was discovered by a parent on Friday, leading to a “full legal investigation.”

Continue reading "AM News: LAUSD Superintendent Might Stay - Or Not" »

AM News: NEA Opposes House-Passed Background Check Bill

News2

U.S. House Approves Bipartisan Background Check Bill Politics K12: Mary Kusler, the NEA's director of government relations, wrote in a letter to lawmakers that the measure is "well intentioned" but could "run counter to existing state laws requiring background checks."

Senator Raises Questions About Protecting Student Data NYT: Senator Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, is investigating whether federal rules governing the sharing of student data provide adequate security and privacy protections.

Local Education Hiring is Up, Even With Sequestration Cuts PoliticsK12: Local government education employment posted a monthly increase of 9,500 jobs, according to the September jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That brought the overall gain to 56,400 jobs since June.

Common Core Reading Survey Shows Slow Start To Teaching Shift HuffPost: Based on an extensive survey of a small but nationally representative sample of teachers last year, the group suggests that teachers mostly have not yet overhauled reading instruction in a way that will herald change. "In summary, these results reveal that many teachers have not yet confronted the new text complexity demands of the Common Core," the report concludes.  [ALSO: Teachers Are Supposed to Assign Harder Books, but They Aren't Doing It Yet AtlanticEDU]

Teacher Who Died Trying To End Shooting Remembered As A Hero NPR: Michael Landsberry was a 45-year-old former U.S. Marine who served in Afghanistan with the Nevada Air National Guard.

Nevada School Shooting Draws Fresh Focus on Bullying, Harassment State EdWatch: A new law in Nevada requiring school districts to track and report incidents of bullying could be put to use after a school shooting on Oct. 21.

Continue reading "AM News: NEA Opposes House-Passed Background Check Bill" »

AM News: Toughen Up NCLB Waiver Renewals, Say Reform Groups

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Advocacy Groups Urge Arne Duncan to Get Tough on NCLB Waivers PoliticsK12: In a letter sent to the Education Department today, these groups express deep concerns about waiver implementation, from how graduation rates are factored into state accountability systems to how subgroups of at-risk students are being helped.

School iPads to cost nearly $100 more each, revised budget shows LA Times: The L.A. Unified School District will spend $770 per iPad, a 14% increase over earlier cost estimates, the revised budget shows.

Language-Gap Study Bolsters a Push for Pre-K NYT: A Stanford psychologist found that affluent children had learned 30 percent more words from 18 months to 2 years of age than children from low-income homes. Video: Middle schooler: Shooter was aiming 'at my chest' NBC: Sparks Middle School shooting survivor Jose Cazares describes the scene inside the school Monday when teacher Michael Landsberry got between him and the 12-year old shooter. 

Sequestration Cuts Lead To Bigger Classes, Shuttered Arts Programs In Schools HuffPost: For the current school year, the group heard back from 298 school districts in 42 states. Eighty-six percent factored sequestration cuts into budgets -- up from 36 last year -- and 144 reported they deferred building maintenance or purchases. Eight closed or consolidated schools.

West Point Women: A Natural Pattern Or A Camouflage Ceiling? NPR: Since 1980, the percentage of women at the U.S. Military Academy has stayed the same, leading some to conclude that the school has set an artificial cap on the number of female cadets that it accepts. Now, West Point has been told it must raise those numbers to meet the demand for more female leaders.

Crash Course on Speaking in Tongues, All 22 of Them NYT: A workshop in Brooklyn was held over three hours, in seven classrooms, featuring classes on nearly two dozen languages taught mostly by native speakers.

For many young D.C. parents, city schools remain a sticking point Washington Post: Public school enrollment in the District has risen nearly 18 percent over the past five years, mostly in the early grades and charter schools, as an increasing number of parents have been persuaded to give D.C. schools a try. 

Study: 15 percent of US youth out of school, work Associated Press: Almost 6 million young people are neither in school nor working, according to a study released Monday. That's almost 15 percent of those aged 16 to 24 who have neither desk nor job, according to The Opportunity Nation coalition, which wrote the report.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visiting Wheeling Thursday Chicago Daily Herald
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will visit with students at Wheeling High School on Thursday to discuss the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and tour the school's new nano technology laboratory, ...

Crenshaw Digital Team Brings its ‘Game’ to the White House LA School Report: The team, which is sponsored by the grassroots education nonprofit Mother of Many, raised nearly $10,000 for the trip by selling more than 50 gaming apps to Microsoft as part of the company’s “Keep the Cash” app-a-thon. One of the games, “Going Bananas for Health,” is now available on the Windows 8 App Store.

Media: 12 Problems With Politico's TFA Story (+1 With TFA)

image from images.politico.comWriting about TFA is fun.  I do it all the time.  They're the most iconic school reform organization out there.  People love them or hate them (or like me, it depends on the day).  There's always something new to talk about!

However, fulltime paid journalists writing for for-real mainstream media outlets ostensibly writing straight news coverage  shouldn't be throwing around half-hidden opinions and only getting two thirds of the full story.  That's what bloggers, part-time freelancers, and columnists are for!

Plus which, writing about pro-reform endeavors all the time is predictable and boring, especially when there's lots of other big education action going on out there that might warrant some careful examination, too (ie, the watered-down teacher dismissal bill in CA, or the funding equity fight in IL, or the  new LAUSD board president who apparently has a temper and appropriate behavior problem).

Which brings us to today's Politico education story bylined by Stephanie Simon -- and yet another set of problems and issues with the journalism being provided. Plus one obvious issue related to TFA's new Congressional fellows program.

Continue reading "Media: 12 Problems With Politico's TFA Story (+1 With TFA)" »

Afternoon Video: Kid Version Of "Crossfire" Premieres

First there was Kid President.  Now there's Kid Crossfire.  What's next?  Kid Congress, of course.  Except we already sort of have that, don't we?

Am News: Budget Deal Gives TFA Another Two Years

News2Budget Deal Would Allow Alternate-Route Teachers to be Deemed "Highly Qualified" PoliticsK12: The legislation, which is expected to be approved by both houses of Congress very soon, would allow teachers participating in alternative-certification programs (for example, Teach for America) to be considered "highly qualified" for an additional two years, through the 2015-16 school year. 

[For the full backstory on this provision's history, see my long article: Teach For America & The Alternative Certification Loophole]

Federal workers returning to a 'mess' Politico: The Commerce, Education, Housing and Urban Development and Labor departments, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, have largely been dark since Oct. 1. Not only are those workers almost three weeks behind schedule, many will need to spend the next few days just digging through clogged inboxes and answering phone messages.

Education Commissioner Opts for Private Meetings After Heckling WNYC: New York State Education Commissioner John King said he understood parents are frustrated. But he said he would not participate in any meetings with disruptions, like the Poughkeepsie hearing where parents shouted at him. 

In Laurel, 'intense' but promising shift to Common Core Baltimore Sun: At first glance, the bulletin boards lining the hallways of Oaklands Elementary School in South Laurel look like any typical display of students' work — drawings, short essays, a display of some dioramas.

New standardized tests boast less risk of cheating — by students and teachers KPCC: Last school year, students were caught taking pictures of the tests with their cellphones to share with others.But this year's computer test gets rid of those answer sheets and booklets. Tests will be given on computer, and officials can monitor when a student is logging in and out of a web site to take the test.

Study: Poor children are now the majority in American public schools in South, West Washington Post: A majority of students in public schools throughout the American South and West are low-income for the first time in at least four decades, according to a new study that details a demographic shift with broad implications for the country.

Continue reading "Am News: Budget Deal Gives TFA Another Two Years" »

Morning Video: Duncan Returns To Colbert Report

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

AM News: Study Supports TFA As Congress Considers TFA Loophole

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New study finds Teach for America recruits boost student achievement in math Politico: A rigorous new study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education finds that Teach for America recruits lead students in impoverished middle and high schools to higher achievement in math than teachers who have come through traditional training programs.

Some teachers left behind? Politico: The House's first lob in the budget fight, a continuing resolution filed late Tuesday that would keep the federal government in action through Dec. 15, doesn't include language that would allow educators in alternative-certification programs to be considered "highly qualified.

Also: Teach for America is a deeply divisive program. It also works. (Washington Post), TFA Teachers Perform Well in a New Study -- But Teacher Experience Still Matters (Dana Goldstein)

Federal government threatens action against Calfornia if it cuts student tests KPCC: Torkalson is urging legislators to pass the bill and has said he will try to get a waiver from the federal government later. It had been expected to go to the state senate for a vote Tuesday, but the vote was not scheduled.

Arizona and Education Department in NCLB Waiver Standoff Politics K12: Arizona may be the next state headed toward high-risk status for its No Child Left Behind Act waiver after it submitted a final draft of its accountability system—a plan that does not meet federal demands on high school graduation rates or teacher evaluations.

No Child Left Behind ends in PA The Reporter: Adequate Yearly Progress is a thing of the past in the North Penn School District and in districts across Pennsylvania after the  USDE  approved the state's request to ignore parts of No Child Left Behind.

Okla. school changes policy on dreadlocks AP: An Oklahoma charter school is changing its dress code after inciting criticism for telling a 7-year-old girl that her dreadlocks violated the school's policy...

Continue reading "AM News: Study Supports TFA As Congress Considers TFA Loophole" »

Quotes: Spellings Critiques Hill Republicans On Higher Ed

Quotes2While Hill Republicans seem to be shy on these [higher ed accountability] issues, this is the kind of thing you’re hearing Republican governors talk about all the time. - Former EdSec Margaret Spellings in Inside Higher Ed

Quotes: President Clinton Defends Common Core

Quotes2We cannot be disheartened by the forces of resistance to building a modern economy of good jobs and rising incomes, or to rebuilding our education system to give all our children a common core of knowledge necessary to ensure success... - Former President Bill Clinton, via USA Today's Greg Toppo

Morning Video: Obama Lays Out College Costs/Ranking Proposal

 

Here via PBS NewsHour is the President laying out the plan late last week. Reactions have been mixed.

AM News: Districts Cutting PD During Key School Year

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

Sequestration Effects: 59 Percent of Districts Cut Professional Development PoliticsK12: Districts are dealing withautomatic, across-the-board trigger cuts of federal education funding by slicing professional development (59 percent of districts), eliminating personnel (53 percent), increasing class size (48 percent), and deferring technology purchases (46 percent).

Obama pushes ambitious Internet access plan Washington Post: There’s just one catch: The effort would cost billions of dollars, and Obama wants to pay for it by raising fees for mobile-phone users. Doing that relies on the Federal Communications Commission, an independent agency that has the power to approve or reject the plan.

Charter partnership gives L.A. Unified school new name and outlook LA Times: In an unprecedented partnership, the L.A. Unified School District has joined forces with Crown Prep, an outside charter operator, to run the persistently low-performing campus south of downtown.

Top Obama Higher Education Official, Resigns Huffington Post: Her departure thins out the ranks of the Education Department's first-term upper echelons. Until recently, the department lacked heads for its preschool and civil rights offices, and a general counsel. The department has "acting" leaders in charge of "innovation and improvement," "planning, evaluation and policy development" and communications.

Continue reading "AM News: Districts Cutting PD During Key School Year " »

Morning Video: A Different View On NCLB's Flaws & the House Version

Parents got left out of NCLB in terms of engagement, transfers, and tutoring, says NACS's Nina Rees in this recent WSJ Opinion Video -- but the House rewrite of NCLB over-corrects the law's problems.

 

People: Duncan Staffer Named One Of DC's "Hottest" (2013)

image from thehill.com
Paul Kendrick has been named to this year's edition of The Hill's 50 Most Beautiful. The single 29 year-old is from West Hartford and previously worked for Geoff Canada's Harlem Children's Zone. 

Hard as it may be to believe, but I did a popular and mildly controversial annual "Hot For Education" post during the early years of this site: 2009200820072005.

Check and see who's on the old lists, if they're still in education, and whether they're still hot (for education, at least). 

In 2010, I launched Hot For Education as a standalone Tumblr (with a 2012 Pinterest interlude).

Previous posts: Ed Finance Council Makes Hill Beauty ListPS22 Choir Instructor Tops Salon List

AM News: House Takes First Steps Towards NCLB Rollback

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

House takes up GOP version of No Child Left Behind AP: The House is ready to make the final tweaks to its Republican-led rewrite of the sweeping No Child Left Behind education law that governs every school in the country that receives federal education dollars.

Rollback of NCLB to get vote Politico: A bill to roll back No Child Left Behind, the far-reaching 2001 education overhaul that expired six years ago but remains in effect, will finally get a vote in the House of Representatives later this week after clearing a procedural hurdle Wednesday night—and despite grumbling from some of the chamber’s more conservative members.

House Lawmakers Set to Debate No Child Left Behind Act Rewrite Politics K12:  On the eve of a possible vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on long-stalled legislation to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act, the bill's road to passage is still somewhat bumpy. House leaders have scheduled votes for Thursday on a host of amendments to the proposed Elementary and Secondary Education Act revision—26 of them altogether. But so far, a vote on final passage hasn't been scheduled, which gives leaders extra time to twist some arms, if they need to.

Senate Reaches Deal to End Fight Over Student Loan Interest Rates NYT: A Senate aide said that the new proposal, which had been the subject of tense negotiations since the rates doubled on July 1, would include a cap on federal Stafford and PLUS loans and a relatively low interest rate.

Plan approved for Conn. school shooting donations AP: Families of the 26 children and educators killed in the Connecticut school shooting will receive $281,000 each under a plan for dividing up $7.7 million in donations....

Texas School District Drops Microchip-Tracking System WSJ:  District officials decided that attendance didn't increase enough to justify the costs of the program, said Northside spokesman Pascual Gonzalez. "The lawsuit and negative publicity were part of the conversation, but not the deciding factor in ending the program," he said.

Arne Duncan presses GOP to back universal pre-K Politico: Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday he's urging reluctant Republicans in Congress to get on board with funding universal preschool. One of the big sticking points for Republicans has been coming up with new money for the program.

25 Children Die From Tainted Lunches at Indian School NYT: The authorities were searching for the headmistress of a primary school in the eastern state of Bihar after children were served food contaminated with insecticide.

Lists: 99 Problems But Being Hill Staff Ain't One

"Got a master’s degree? Yes, great. Then you can help with folding mail." 

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2 of 29 Hill Staffer Problems: Having a master’s degree and feeling stupid.  Image via Buzzfeed.

 

AM News: Republicans Divided Over NCLB Rewrite

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GOP divided on rewrite of 'No Child Left Behind' AP: Conservative Republicans don’t think a GOP rewrite of the No Child Left Behind education law does enough to reduce Washington’s influence. Moderates are warily eying proposals that would expand charter schools’ role. Those intraparty differences appear to be blocking the bill’s momentum.

Cantor, Kline Push No Child Left Behind Rewrite, Public School Choice Politics K12: School choice will be part of the debate when the U.S. House of Representatives takes up its version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, possibly as early as this week. The House Majority Leader, Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., who has become much more active on K-12 issues lately, has introduced an amendment that would allow Title I dollars to follow children to the public school of their choice, including charter schools.

Republican House leaders visit DC charter school to tout education bill Washington Post: House Republicans have taken a clear turn away from Bush's philosophy that states receiving billions of dollars each year in federal aid should be accountable to Washington.

The Charter School Vs. Public School Debate Continues NPR: The charter school movement turns 21 this year and the latest study shows kids in most charter schools are doing as well or better in reading and math than their counterparts in traditional public schools. But now, leading charter school supporters are questioning that study.

Morning Video: The *New* Schoolhouse Rock

 

How Congress Works, care of Jimmy Kimmel, starts at about the 3 minute mark.

AM News: Congress Gives "Serious Abuse" To Obama Programs

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Senate Panel Nips at Key Obama Competitive Grant Programs Politics K12: The Obama administration's signature competitive grant programs survived, but took some serious abuse this week from some Democrats during the Senate Appropriations committee's consideration of a bill to finance the U.S. Department of Education in fiscal year 2014, which starts Oct. 1.

Wyo. delays No Child Left Behind waiver request AP: Wyoming is pushing back by a year its request for a waiver from federal education requirements. Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, schools are required to meet rising benchmarks toward all students testing proficient.

Teachers Respond to Tennessee Pay Plan - Teacher Beat Teacher Beat: Tennessee has become the latest state to experiment with a new teacher-pay system, thanks to new rules passed by the state's board of education at its June 21 meeting. Via GothamSchools.

Does Obama's Early Education Proposal Have a Chance? Huffington Post: Children's advocates high-fived when President Obama called for "high quality preschool" for "every child in America" in his State of the Union Address. The details of the plan are considerably more complicated.

Ready Access to Plan B Pills in City Schools NYT:  Through a patchwork of nurses’ offices and independent clinics at New York City schools, girls can get free emergency contraceptives in more than 50 high schools.

Diary reveals school aide had student's baby AP: Authorities say the diary of a Southern California teacher's aide reveals her sexual relationship with an underage student and that she gave birth to the boy's baby.

Morning Video: Student Loan Interest Doubles Today

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The Senate can pass immigration reform, and the Supreme Court can overturn DOMA, but Congress can't yet agree on a student loan interest rate deal.

Morning Video: USDA Revamps School Food (Again)

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Via Morning Joe -- less fat, more grains in snack foods (and less caffeine, too).

AM News: What Happens When Waivers Expire?

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Is NCLB Waiver Renewal the Next Big Issue? EdWeek: The waivers are only set to be in place for two years, and it's unclear if Brokedown Congress will get its act together to pass a rewrite. 

Arne Duncan Expected To Tap Emma Vadehra As New Chief Of Staff Huffington Post: She is expected to be replaced by Emma Vadehra, who works as the chief of staff for a charter school management organization known as Uncommon Schools, the sources said. 

Education with a LIFT NBC: Schools adopt program to LIFT low income students to higher learning.

In Dallas, 3-Year High School Diploma Would Expand Preschool NYT: Dallas Independent School District, the state’s second largest, is developing a voluntary three-year high school diploma plan that is likely to start in the 2014-15 school year and would funnel cost savings to finance prekindergarten.

Defiant LAUSD Superintendent Says He’ll Push Targeted Spending Plan Anyway LA School Report: “The Board voted down the directive to have me come and do it,” said Deasy, referring to Galatzan’s local spending resolution. “[But] they can’t stop me from doing it; we’re doing it anyway. If they had voted to prevent me from doing it… well they didn’t think of that.”

A Lifeline for Minorities, Catholic Schools Retrench NYT: Many blacks and Latinos say they can trace the success they have achieved in their careers to the guidance they received in Catholic schools.

Texas school district apologizes to valedictorian AP: A North Texas school district has apologized to a high-school valedictorian whose microphone was switched off during a graduation ceremony when he deviated from prepared remarks.

AM News: Another Day, Another NCLB Rewrite

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comRepublican-led House committee passes new federal education bill Washington Post: A Republican-controlled House committee Wednesday approved a new version of the country’s main education law that would sharply shrink the federal role in K-12 public schools. 

Did Obama Diss Catholic Education In Northern Ireland? BuzzFeed: Education remains deeply divided in the region, with the children of Catholics mainly attending Catholic schools and the children of Protestant families mainly attending government-run schools.

Online Classes Fuel a Campus Debate NYT: A heated discussion has emerged over whether free online college classes will lead to better learning and lower costs — or to a second-class education for most students.

Condoms Approved for Schools in Massachusetts NYT: The new policy allows students to obtain condoms, unless parents opt them out, and makes sexual education a required part of school health curricula.

Lax Education In Humanities, Social Sciences Spark Outcry NPR: A new report argues that humanities and social sciences are as essential to the country's economic and civic future as science and technology. The study by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences was commissioned in 2010 by a bipartisan group of members of Congress.

Marathon Board Meeting Signals Changes to Come LA School Report: Among several key decisions the Board arrived at during the lengthy session were votes to award a $30 million contract to Apple, close a charter school that had dodged a district audit, and add some local regulations to the controversial parent trigger process (but not call for the law’s repeal).

Weekend Reading: Can Hillary Save Universal Preschool?

Hillary gives early childhood agenda what it needs: A public boost. | New Republic ow.ly/m4mV8

Study: Reading novels makes us better thinkers -Salon.com ow.ly/m4krN

Do Schools Know How to Spend Their Ed Tech Money Wisely? | MindShift ow.ly/m4kbz @MindShift

How online tools may change classrooms today and forever. ow.ly/m4k74

After Newtown shooting, mourning parents enter into the lonely quiet - Washington Post ow.ly/m4kMt

Uh-oh! Inspirational Text Messages Won’t Improve Teens’ Grades, according to Roland Fryer studyow.ly/m4jGY @getschooled

Sir Ken Robinson, Teachers on Creativity in Schools (Audio) ow.ly/m4k8k

Big data is not our master -TNR ow.ly/m4mYl

Trying to make separate equal | Feature | Chicago Reader ow.ly/m5hNB

From Jay Mathews: School ignores advice from learning disability experts: Stacie Brockman is the Prince George... bit.ly/13RA8qe

Did Ritalin Make Kids in Quebec Dumber? | New Republic ow.ly/m4mGH

My little future iPad addicts - Salon.com ow.ly/m4m7QWhy am I still insisting on rules?

11-year-old mariachi earns roaring ovation from NBA crowd - Salon.com ow.ly/m4ktI

Student Athlete Named ‘Creepy Smile Kid’ in High School Yearbook | TIME.com ow.ly/m4WBM

Morning Video: Eighteen Minutes With EdSec Duncan

Arne Duncan slams No Child Left Behind (diagnoses Congress, etc.) POLITICO

Media: Another Media Outlet Bites The Dust

CashNonprofit news outlets seem to be popping up everywhere, but at the same time the commercial ones seem to be all falling by the wayside.

The latest example is Thompson Media Group, from which plastform Andy Brownstein and Chuck Edwards have been reporting for the past bunch of years.

I know  Brownstein mostly from the Title I Monitor, a Thompson newsletter that's been around since I was on the Hill, and from Brownstein's more recent blog posts. (Click here if you want to skim Brownstein's appearances on this site.)

If I understand correctly, Thompson has been bought by LRP, a competitor, and Brownstein and Edwards are unlikely to be retained with the new, merged operation.  I can imagine them writing for another trade publication, or being grabbed up by a smart nonprofit, association, or Hill office looking for deep knowledge of federal policy, regulation, and political mechanics.

AM News: Duncan's All-Out Effort on "Preschool For All"

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Education Secretary Arne Duncan works to sell Obama administration’s preschool initiative Washington Post: He is reaching out to Republican governors, hoping they will help him persuade GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill to embrace the “Preschool for All” initiative. But it’s a tall order for many Republican governors who are cool to the notion of new taxes.

Senate Committee Passes Democratic NCLB Renewal Bill EdWeek: On a completely predictable party-line vote, the Senate Education Committee approved a bill to reauthorize the long-stalled renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Senate committee approves bill updating federal education law Washington Post: On a party line vote, a Senate committee approved a bill Wednesday to update the country’s main federal education law by erasing some of its most punitive aspects.

No Child Left Behind Bill Passes Senate Committee, But No End In Sight For Recasting Bush Law Huffington Post:  Harkin says he intends to bring his bill to the Senate floor sometime this year -- hopefully by the fall -- and would allow amendments to be made during that process. But even if the overhaul makes it through the floor vote, it is unlikely to be signed into law because the predominant legislative vision in the House varies significantly. 

States Seek Flexibility During Common-Test Transition EdWeek: A flurry of education groups are staking out positions on the role tests should play in evaluating teachers and labeling schools.

Continue reading "AM News: Duncan's All-Out Effort on "Preschool For All"" »

Morning Video: Reading, Writing -- Republicans!

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MSNBC's Chuck Todd talks about the conservative attack on the Common Core. Not mentioned: lefty reform critics' attacks.

Update: Big Suburban District Coalition Has Yet To Make Big Splash

This isn't news except to me but perhaps you missed it too:  Roughly a dozen of the biggest suburban districts in the country have started their own "Coalition" to share ideas and make their voices heard in state and national debates over education.  

Dubbed the Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium (LCASDC?), the group was announced last year -- see EdWeek piece (Big Suburban Districts Form Network of Their Own) -- and has yet to make any big splash that I know of.  Then again, I didn't know anything about it until I had the chance to interview Joshua Starr (MCPS) the other day.

Does the group take positions, issue press releases, offer quotes to the press?  That could be sort of interesting.  Someone ask them if they like/dislike the new Harkin ESEA proposal and let us know what they think.  It's operated out of AASA and handled by Education Counsel, apparently.

AM News: Rival Teacher Prep Approaches In Congress

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Differing Viewpoints on Teacher Preparation Reflected in New Bills EdWeek: The first bill, known as the GREAT Act, was introduced May 23 in the House by Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Tom Petri (R-Wis.), and in the Senate by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). The second bill, known as the Educator Preparation Reform Act, introduced the same day, is sponsored by Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

President Obama calls on teachers to help identify mental health disorders EdSource Today: More than 75 percent of mental illnesses, including depression, panic disorder, schizophrenia and anorexia nervosa, emerge when children are school-aged or young adults, Obamanoted.

Candidates but Also Parents and Former Students NYT: The 11 contenders, who have a mix of backgrounds in private and public education, have made standardized testing and arts classes familiar issues in the campaign.

The Students That Keep Teachers Inspired NPR: Teachers endure bored, misbehaving, or totally tuned out students, often with little recognition. In a commentary in The Chronicle of Higher Education, professor Charles Rinehimer pays tribute to the completely engaged students who gave him the strength to deal with tough cases.

Vaccine Exemptions Could Help Make Whooping Cough a Thing Again Atlantic Wire: The rising percentage of parents opting out of at least one mandatory vaccination could be a major factor in the recent increase in whooping cough cases.

Charts: The Rise & Fall of NCLB Funding

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Inflation-Adjusted Title I Budget Back to Pre-George W. Bush Level via Thompson (Andy Brownstein plus special appearance by Wayne (CRS) Riddle).

Morning Video: Preschool Funding Decline = $75B Obama UPK Plan?

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Study finds steep drop in funding for preschools despite push for increased early education programs. NBC News' Danielle Leigh reports. (NBC News Funding for preschools fall)

Washington: "He Who Makes The Rules"

image from wamo.s3.amazonaws.comThere's a good long piece in the latest Washington Monthly looking into what happens to federal laws after they're passed, titled He Who Makes the Rules, that makes some good reading for any education watchers.  

While it focuses on non-education issues (Dodd-Frank implementation), it tells the story of how the regulatory process -- rules, interpretations of Congressional intent, public comment, and final determinations -- can make or break the statutory language that Congress passes and a President signs into law.  

"It may seem counterintuitive, but those big hunks of legislation, despite being technically the law of the land, filed away in the federal code, don’t mean anything yet."

Who cares what happens to a law once it's passed?  I can think of at least three education examples where rulemaking has played a big role:  (1) the 2002 passage of NCLB, which was followed by some frenzied rulemaking around such hot topics as highly qualified teachers, tutoring (SES), and AYP; (2) the more recent passage of what became Race to the Top, extremely brief statutory language that blossomed into a much bigger, broader program; and, (3) the higher education regulations and rules surrounding Title II teacher quality grants (about which I know frighteningly little except they've been hotly debated and delayed).

As you'll see from the TWM story, a committed group of individuals can carve up a law they don't like by attacking language and swarming the process.  It's been a while since that's happened in K-12 but if anything big ever happens and one side or the other (or both) doesn't like it, they know that they can probably get things changes further down the line, after most folks have moved onto other issues.

Bruno: What Economists Think About Universal Pre-K

Last week's IGM survey of economists was - excitingly! - about education.

Specifically, respondents were asked whether expanded pre-K programs would have "a much lower social return" than the best existing programs currently generate.

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I'd have guessed that economists would answer that question with a resounding and disheartening "yes", but the actual results were somewhat mixed with only 1/3 of economists answering in the affirmative. (This increased to a bit over half when survey results were weighted by confidence.)

The biggest takeaway seems to be that mainstream economists as a group know and/or care relatively little about education. (In this regard they are perhaps not that different from the general public.)

Consider, for example, that 29% of respondents reported being "uncertain."  Another 18% didn't answer the question at all. Also notable: though the IGM survey sometimes asks a second, related question, in this case it didn't bother even though an obvious follow-up was available.

After all, what we want to know is not necessarily whether universal pre-K access would result in diminishing returns, but whether such an investment would generate positive returns.

On that question economists apparently remain unsure or indifferent. - PB (@MrPABruno) (image source)

Afternoon Video: Dangerous Schools At CPAC2013

Cantor: 'Our schools are too dangerous' (via Politico) #CPAC2013

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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.