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Is Miller Breaking Up With Pro-NCLB Groups?

Perhaps the most compelling interpretation I've heard of the Miller speech from yesterday is that Miller was emphasizing that (a) the reauthorization process is still moving along despite recent delays, and (b) multiple measures are going to be part of his bill no matter what.

If multiple measures are definitely in, then this represents the first big break by Miller from the groups that helped craft and defend NCLB 1.0 and the EdSec -- and a big win symbolically at least for NCLB 1.0 critics like the NEA who have been clamoring for years now that annual standardized tests were a bad way to go and, more recently, working hard on freshman lawmakers that previous compromises (like the growth model or the idea of treating schools that just miss AYP one year differently from those that miss it all the time, every year) aren't enough.

More Folks Like NCLB Than Like Their Local Schools, Says New Poll

It's easy to forget that parents and the public don't necessarily think the same things about NCLB that you do -- and that their feelings about NCLB may actually be better than their feelings about their local schools or schools nationwide.

JoanneJacobs has more evidence of this, citing a new poll showing that 57 percent of the public back reauthorizing No Child Left Behind "as is or with minimal changes." A lot higher than you thought, I bet. But don't worry, the number goes down to 41 percent for current and former teachers, says Jacobs.

That's roughly the same percentage that give their own public schools an A or B -- a figure that drops to 22 percent for public education nationally. So the public likes NCLB more than their local schools, even, and educators like NCLB about the same as their local schools.

NB: The poll was put out by the generally conservative but pro-NCLB Hoover Institute and will be in Education Next magazine sometime soon. Changes in the wording of these poll questions can often affect their outcome -- an analysis I'll leave to others.

Parents, Pedophiles, & Places For Their Kids

Parents' Ire Grows at Unabashed Pedophile's Blog NYT
Jack McClellan, who calls himself a pedophile, has had Web sites in Seattle and Los Angeles detailing how and where he trolls for children.

Parents still seek the elusive 'right' school LA Times
No one knows exactly how many students are still without a school, but indicators show that the annual last-ditch scramble for a seat at a school of choice is in high gear.

Inane "I Like Turtles" Video Goes National

If you ever think that something I'm putting up on this site is inane, remember that this clip of a 10 year old boy at a carnival saying "I like turtles" comes from the Washington Post -- apparently the clip has become something of an Internet sensation.

Go here: For the 'I Like Turtles' Boy, 17 Seconds Of Fame

Big Stories Of The Day

I'm using the term loosely here.

Pupils too passive, education chief says Denver Post
U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings on Monday confronted a challenge on many Americans' minds: how relatively comfortable U.S. students can compete against the family-driven zeal children bring to school in countries such as China and India.

Clouds Gather Over D.C. Schools Washington Post
One month before school starts, District officials said yesterday that half of D.C. public schools do not have all their required textbooks and half of the school buildings will not have any air conditioning on the first day of school -- conditions as traditional in the city as back-to-school...

Liked raw carrots, hated green beans Seattle Times
The menu at William V. Wright Elementary School is getting a makeover after Constantine Christopulos' class went on a poignantly polite letter-writing campaign aiming to see less of that particular vegetable in the cafeteria.

Test scores? Check. Application? Check. And now, the slideshow AP
The University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business will begin requiring prospective students to submit PowerPoint-like slides with their applications this fall.

Wait Until September, Says Miller

There's wall-to-wall coverage of the Miller speech on Monday morning, which tells you just how little is going on. Sherman Dorn goes point by point here. EdWeek's Mark Walsh has it here. (wait until September). Sara Mead sees room on multiple measures here. The prepared text is here. And the NYT coverage focusing on reactions to the speech is here.

UPDATE: What I'm not clear on is why Miller felt like he needed to make this speech, which doesn't appear to have been particularly reassuring to either side of the strengthen/weaken NCLB debate, or what he hoped to gain. We already knew that things were going slowly, and that multiple measures (anything other than math and reading tests) was an issue. But it's not like Miller has been giving regular updates in the past. Hmmm. I'll ask around and see what I can find out.

Report Praises Chicago Transfer Policy, Slams Evaluation

Hoping to influence the legislature or the contract negotiations or both, there's a new Joyce-funded report from The New Teacher Project out today on teacher ratings, hiring, and all the rest.

The big news? Chicago's longstanding elimination of "bumping" is a notable exception to how other cities handle transfers, and just 12 percent of applicants are hired (up from 18 percent four years ago) -- but its evaluation system is a mess. See Tribune story here.

The report also calls for an evaluation and pay system that's independent of the labor contract, which I don't exactly know would fly.

Cross-posted from District299.com.

Continue reading "Report Praises Chicago Transfer Policy, Slams Evaluation" »

Scribbled Notes On A Cocktail Napkin: DFER Happy Hour

Things I learned at the Democrats For Education Reform happy hour on Friday in Manhattan: Green Dot founder Steve Barr is thinking about an "affiliate" model along the lines of KIPP et al in order to continue its expansion to New York and other places (Chicago?). There's yet another Green Dot profile coming out next week -- this one from Forbes. Joe Williams is a gracious host. Why the picture of Lindsay Lohan, the tabloid media's current obsession? Because right now Green Dot founder Steve Barr is education's LiLo-- minus the stints in rehab and ankle bracelet (so far). Or, I may still be drunk from the weekend. Either way, imagine if Barr could get a photo op with Lohan, or -- even better -- an endorsement?

UPDATE: Here's the Forbes article.

AACTE Coming From Behind

Stuck in third place early last week, AACTE's Jade Floyd is currently in first place with over 2500 votes over at FishBowlDC -- thanks to your efforts, and, I'm guessing, lots and lots of popularity-obsessed ed school profs and administrators weighing in on her behalf. You know how those guys love rankings.

Big Stories Of The Day

Such as they are...

Stemming the Summer Slide Washington Post
Summer can be the enemy of the schoolteacher: Students forget their math. They stop reading. And in the case of those with limited English skills, they lose their newly acquired words.

Simple Safety Solution: Classroom Locks MSNBC
Safety experts say that while school officials across the nation re-evaluate campus safety in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy, many are overlooking a simple solution: putting locks on the inside of classroom doors. PLUS: Witnesses: Teen Said Principal Would Die Washington Post

‘Play It Smart’ High School Program Is Putting Some Players on Track NYT
Rutgers running back Ray Rice is one player who has benefited from Play It Smart, a nonprofit program to help football players in inner-city schools with their studies.

(You Are) Live-Blogging The Big Miller Speech Today

Chairman George Miller is scheduled to give a "major" speech on NCLB reauthorization at 10 today at the National Press Club -- should be lots of tidbits and hints at what happens next. Antsy and bored? Make good use of that Blackberry and email me your impressions and observations about the speech, who's there, and -- most important -- what they're wearing. Yes, you can do it anonymously. To: thisweekineducation @ gmail dot com.
UPDATE: EdWeek confirms the delay until September and rehashes some of the conflicts that may be causing it (ie, multiple measures).
UPDATE: McKeon statement (below) emphasizes "content" over "calendar."

Continue reading "(You Are) Live-Blogging The Big Miller Speech Today" »

Best Of The Week (July 23-29)

Posts Of The Week
How Steve Barr Is Not Like The Other Charter Show Ponies
Teaching Parents To Play With Their Kids: What If We're Wrong?

EdSec Wants More "Pocket Protector" Skills
The Two Margaret Spellings

On The Hill
How Congressional Earmarks Work
Senate Higher Ed Bill Endangers Quick NCLB Reauthorization
Our Hottie Is So Much Hotter Than Their Hotties

EXCLUSIVE: Miller Reauthorization Memo To Freshmen
Turning Up The Heat On "Multiple Measures"
Who's For, Against Letting Students Transfer To Better Schools

Campaign 2008
Obama Advocates Sex Ed For Kindergarteners, Does He?
What Anderson Cooper Should Have Asked The Candidates
Video NCLB Excerpts From Last Night's Debate

Urban Education
Weighted Student Funding (Among Other Things) Collapses In NYC
Taking Back Mayoral Control: It Ain't Going To Happen
Public Prep: A Public School With A Private Feel

Media Watch
Post Education Writer Doesn't Last Long
Comparing Coverage Of The "Curriculum Narrowing" Report
Former Washington Post Reporter Looks Into Testing Effects
Little Action, Lots Of Blogging

Business Of Education
Reader Rabbit Takes Over Publishing

School Life
StateTris: earn Where The States Are, Waste Time
Let's Simpsonize The Education World

Site News
What Your Free Daily Email Would Look Like -- If You Signed Up For One

The Two Margaret Spellings

On your left, you have US EdSec Margaret Spellings -- complete with pearls, flag in the background, and that cute smile with her tongue. On your right, you have the somewhat frumpier Simpsons version of the Secretary, who looks (like many Simpsons characters) a little transgendered. Sorry, Madame Secretary -- it was the best I could do.

Let's Simpsonize The Education World

This is going to have to be a group effort, since the Simpsonization site is working so slowly. But here's the preliminary list of folks who should be Simpsonized (even though some of them already look Simpson-esque in real life)>: Margaret Spellings & Rod Paige, George Miller & Ted Kennedy,
*Paul Vallas, Joel Klein, Rudy Crew, & Michelle Rhee. Or pick your own favorite education person. Either way, we'll have yellow Simpsons versions of our characters, to save and share and play with during the cold winter ahead.

UPDATE: Weeks and months ago, it seems, blogger Sherman Dorn (pictured) has Simpsonized himself (again, already fairly Simpsoneque before he started).

Taking Back Mayoral Control: It Ain't Going To Happen

The main observation missing from today's NY Sun article on mayoral control (By 2009, Mayor's Control Of Schools Could End) is that going back is so tremendously difficult and unlikely. Mayors and their rivals are unlikely to support it, legislators who voted for mayoral control are unlikely to want to reverse themselves. Take Chicago, where not everything has gone well in the last 12 years but no serious effort to reverse the law has been mounted.

What Your Free Daily Email Would Look Like -- If You Signed Up For One

Click below to see what your free daily email would look like, if only you signed up for one. It arrives at around 10 am, and so is timed beautifully to capture the morning news roundup plus whatever late-night tomfoolery I've come up with. Check it out, then sign up in the little box to the right under my pic. Free. Easy. No remembering required.

Continue reading "What Your Free Daily Email Would Look Like -- If You Signed Up For One" »

Little Action, Lots Of Blogging

There's not that much going on in the education-policy-politics space, but that doesn't seem to be stopping anyone from starting new blogs on the topic. Last week's newest addition was NCLB 2, EdWeek's reauthorization blog. Now it's the Education Writers Association who are blogging about education, politics, and the 2008 campaign, according to Dayton Daily News blogger Scott Elliott (Barack Obama, education and me). Different reporters are going to track each of the main candidates for the next 18 months, and send their observations here. Congrats, condolences, per usual.

*Free Daily E-Mail Updates Now Available -- See The Yellow Box To The Right.*

Learn Where The States Are, Waste Time

Remember Tetris, the video game where you have to move falling objects so that they fit into your puzzle? Well, now there's StateTris, where the challenge is to move falling states to where they belong. As Boing Boing puts it, "Get 'em into the right spot or the US will overflow into Canada and everyone gets socialized medicine!."

*Free Daily E-Mail Updates Now Available -- See The Yellow Box To The Right.*

How Congressional Earmarks Work

Think the Dems are allocating education and social services money any better, or differently, than those big bad Republicans did? Think again.

"When the House divvied up $282.1 million in earmarks for schools, hospitals and social programs, many poor congressional districts took a back seat to those represented by appropriators, party leaders and politically vulnerable lawmakers," according to this story from CQ Today (CQ Today - House Earmarks for Social Programs Follow Power and Political Needs). "The disparity can be seen by comparing the proposed disbursements to Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles, who represents the fourth-poorest House district as measured by median household income, with the earmarks corralled by Ron Klein of Florida, whose 22nd District includes the beachfront condominiums in Boca Raton and gated retirement communities in Palm Beach and Broward counties."

*Free Daily E-Mail Updates Now Available -- See The Yellow Box To The Right.*

Big Stories Of The Day

No Child law runs into GOP revolt Gannett News
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, is set to outline his changes to the law Monday and is expected to propose legislation in September.

Studying math improves science scores MSNBC
Students who had more math courses in high school did better in all types of science once they got to college, researchers say.

U.S. Poised to Sit Out TIMSS Test EdWeek
The U.S. Department of Education has said budget and staffing constraints will prevent one of its agencies from taking part in the upcoming 2008.

*Free Daily E-Mail Updates Now Available -- See The Yellow Box To The Right.*

Former Washington Post Reporter Looks Into Testing Effects

Praise is already rolling in for Linda Perlstein's new book, Tested, which charts the (mostly-negative) impact of test-based accountability on a Maryland school that had increased its test scores dramatically in recent years. So far, the book has been blurbed by David Simon, author of The Corner and executive producer of HBO's “The Wire,” E.D. Hirsch Jr., author of The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy and The Knowledge Deficit, and Stanford prof Larry Cuban. TeacherKen also does a long post about it at DailyKos.You can order it here.

Weighted Student Funding (Among Other Things) Collapses In NYC

Before you drink the NYC/Bloomberg Kool-Aid, read this piece by Sol Stern which adds some new information to the increasingly-familiar refrain that chancellor Klein has sexed up recent test scores, churned out too many policy ideas, and become more abstract and technocratic. Stern adds that Klein's popularity is now down to 37 percent, there are 29 people in the DOE communications office, a third of NYC schools may still not be making AYP, the decentralization program may be more sizzle than steak, and the weighted student funding initiative -- under policy darling Robert Gorden (now departed) -- collapsed under predictable opposition from the teachers union. Most of all, Stern captures the "never wrong" mentality that starts out projecting confidence but quickly alienates supporters and the public. Eventually, the press catches up.

UPDATE FROM NYC DOE: "Our communications office has a staff of 14 (soon to be 13), which includes two secretaries. Not 29...I gave Sol the correct number during his research for the piece, but he choose to use the larger and incorrect figure. I don’t believe our communications staff is disproportionately large for an organization with 140,000 employees. You may feel differently, but Sol’s count is wrong in any case."

*Free Daily E-Mail Updates Now Available -- See The Yellow Box To The Right.*

What Anderson Cooper Should Have Asked The Candidates

What followup questions should Anderson Cooper have asked the Presidential candidates -- if only he knew a little about education? Eduwonk has some ideas here (Ed Politics), including challenging Richardson on his NCLB-bashing and probing Dodd on whether he's for NCLB or national standards. "It fell to Mike Gravel of all people to say that maybe some choice and competition might help!"

*Free Daily E-Mail Updates Now Available -- See The Yellow Box To The Right.*

Who's For, Against Letting Students Transfer To Better Schools

Jonathan Kozol is for it. The USA Today editorial page is for it. But not -- why am I surprised? -- the National School Boards Association. In a pro/con debate on student transfers from yesterday, the paper comes out saying that there should be more city-suburb transfer programs like the ones in St. Louis (Let urban kids transfer out) -- and that NCLB's weak transfer provision should be beefed up to create more real opportunities. But NSBA president Norm Wooten says no -- transferring out is not popular with families and wastes school funds (here). Funny thing is, NSBA represents mostly districts that would be receiving students --and money--for transfers. Maybe they think this is a stalking horse for plans to abolish district boundaries entirely.

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Turning Up The Heat On "Multiple Measures"

Here's a feisty op ed in the SF Chronicle about efforts to soften (improve?) NCLB via multiple measures:

"Expect Democrats to try to squeeze as much money as possible from federal taxpayers, while watering down accountability requirements so that schools won't have to do a better job of teaching," says the piece (Rx for failure). "And they'll do it by undermining the testing system so that illiterate students can be labeled as success stories."

*Free Daily E-Mail Updates Now Available -- See The Yellow Box To The Right.*

The World According To Digg

Here are some of the top education-kid-parent stories of late, according to Digg:

1 in 10 Parents Don't Understand Bedtime Stories
Almost a quarter (23%) skip passages they cannot read or invent words to get to the end of a sentence, the poll found.

When Soccer Moms Attack
These histrionics took place at an "under-8" match for boys in Pickering on the weekend. The referee? A 14-year-old girl.

Boys face sex trial for slapping girls' rear-ends
Two middle-school students in Oregon are facing possible time in a juvenile jail and could have to register as sex offenders for smacking girls on the rear end at school.

Senate Forcing Colleges to Spy on Students
Twenty-five schools will annually be singled out, required to police their students with network surveillance technologies, and forced to provide evidence to the Secretary of Education about their efforts to stop file sharing.

CNN Map: Obesity in US 1985-2004
By examining the percentage of adults who are estimated an obese, see how entrenched the condition has become over the years.

Big Stories Of The Day

Major Study of City Schools Shows Charters in Lead NY Sun
Researchers took advantage of New York City charter schools' popularity -- applications outnumber available seats, on average, 3 to 1 -- comparing students who applied and were accepted through a random lottery to students who were rejected.

In science, rural kids strongest AP
Rural students perform better in science than their urban counterparts, and rural teachers generally are happy with their schools, a federal study finds.

Bloomberg's New Slogan: A Harry Potter in Every Pot Washington Post
Bloomberg laid out an agenda that includes several items opposed by teachers' unions, a major backer of Democrats, including making it easier to fire ineffective teachers, offering bonus pay for teachers and principals whose students perform well on tests and even denying tenure to teachers whose students don't do well.

Vallas Puts Team to Work NOLA.com
When the Recovery School District opened its Poland Avenue offices last year, there were so few people in the building, there seemed to be an echo. Almost a year later, the office bustled with sound, while employees squeezed by each other through narrow halls, past doors with names printed on white paper.

*Free Daily E-Mail Updates Now Available -- See The Yellow Box To The Right.*

Miller Speaks Monday -- Who's "DanB"

This just out: "On Monday, July 30, at the National Press Club, U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA) will deliver a major speech on the future of Lindsay Lohan's acting career the No Child Left Behind education law." 10:00am ET at the Press Building. NB: Eagle eyed readers of the Miller memo (see below) want to know who DanB (the author) is. Any ideas? I'm too lazy to figure it out for you.

Our Hottie Is So Much Hotter Than Their Hotties

As you can see, our education hottie, Jade Floyd of AACTE (left), is so much hotter than any of the other two front-runners (Jessica Ferguson, Sen. Thune in the orange, Pepper Pennington, Rep. Feeney in the black top). And more scantily clad, to boot. However, stuck at the bottom of the ballot, Jade needs your help to leap past these two other contestants. Go here, scroll to the bottom, click the little circle next to Jade's picture, and click "vote." No registration or anything else is required.

Post Education Writer Doesn't Last Long

FishBowlDC reports that newbie Post education writer Amit Paley is headed off to some other, more cushy job. Covering Iraq. Starting September. Congrats, condolences. No word yet on who (if anyone) is replacing Paley. In the meantime, I guess that just means more work (and less vacation) for Jay Mathews and Valerie Strauss.

EXCLUSIVE: Miller Reauthorization Memo To Freshmen

Thanks a ton to a brave reader for sending in the Miller memo to House freshmen from earlier this month, which outlines where things are (or were) on the House majority side at least. As you can see, the two-page memo (PDF) dated July 7 outlines nine key proposals and asks for feedback. The proposals range from the obvious ("Allow states to use growth models that recognize progress over time," improve test quality, prioritize schools with the most problems) to the highly controversial ("Allow states to use more than test scores to measure student learning and school performance") to the ho-hum ("Address the high school dropout crisis and take comprehensive steps to turn around low-performing high schools," increase funding, etc.). This explains some of the recent weeks' twists and turns, including the new left-right coalition to save NCLB and -- most obviously -- the Friday the 13th letter to Chairman Miller from concerned parties.

Free Daily E-Mail Updates Now Available -- Sign Up In The Yellow Box To The Right.

Teaching Parents To Play With Their Kids: What If They're Wrong?

Apparently playing on the carpet and making up stories with little kids isn't as "natural" as we are being told -- and may not be so much better for them. (Plus which, it's boring -- admit it.) That's the idea that this largely-ignored Boston Globe article from a couple of weeks ago raises (Leave those kids alone) -- along with questions about the idea that schools and other agencies should try and teach low-income and minority families to play with their children the way that many affluent, white families currently do. "The proselytizing on behalf of playful middle-class approaches vexes many anthropologists," according to the article. This apparently includes Paul Tough's article on the differences between low-income and middle-income parents, which may according to the article have over-stated the deficits of low-income parents when it comes to stimulating their children's development. There are also lots of implications for the universal preschool crowd (Clinton et al), whose programs often include a hefty dose of parenting instruction.

Big Stories Of The Day

Besides the curriculum narrowing story, of course....

2 New Jersey School Districts Regain Some Local Control NYT
The state will continue, however, to oversee academic instruction in the Newark and Jersey City public schools. Via EdNews.org.

How Schools Get It RightBaltimore Sun
Tucked amid a block of rowhouses around the corner from Camden Yards is an elementary school with a statistical profile that often spells academic trouble: 76 percent of the students are poor, and 95 percent are minorities. Via DA Daily.

Groups Lay Out Compensation €Essentials€ EdWeek
Performance-pay systems for teachers that are set up wrong might be worse than no performance pay at all, a coalition of groups promoting teacher quality warned here yesterday.

Immigrant Parents Struggle to Keep Their Children Bilingual Boston Globe
After a lunch of hot dogs and rice, Jordy Berges blasted a ball off the wall of the lunchroom at his mother's office, his stomping grounds for the summer."No juegues aqui," Yovanna Berges scolded her 7-year-old son, telling him in Spanish to stop. "Sorry," he answered her, in English. Via DA Daily.

Comparing Coverage Of The "Curriculum Narrowing" Report

Lots of folks take a swipe at reporting this year's version of the CEP survey of school districts about the impacts of NCLB on instruction. The AP version of the story is pretty cut and dried (No Child law has downside, survey finds). In contrast, the NYT spends a lot of time trying to explain why the percentage of districts decreased so much from last year -- a change the report authors attribute to a wording change in the survey (Focus on 2 R’s Cuts Time for the Rest, Report Says). Remember, it was the Times that heralded last year's findings. Over at the Post, it's most a roundup of reactions to the shift in instructional priorities-- Manhattan Institute and EdTrust come in for the focus on reading and math, Andy "Doughnut" Rotherham comes out against (English, Math Time Up in 'No Child' Era).

Senate Higher Ed Bill Endangers Quick NCLB Reauthorization

The last time the Senate reauthorized the HEA was a long time ago. I was still working for Jeff Bingaman and we thought that we could really, finally, get ed schools to do a better job on teacher prep. But now the Senate has passed its version of the bill -- no House companion to go along with it, and congrats to everyone there for getting that done.

The implications for NCLB as I read them are bad, however. With two weeks left before August recess and a big education bill in hand, no one on the Senate side at least is going to feel any great rush. And we still don't have any bill language (do we?) from Kennedy or Miller to look at, though I know it's out there and you can send it to me anonymously at thisweekineducation at gmail dot com. Last but not least, there's the exhaustion factor. Many of the same folks work K12 as well as higher ed.

EdSec Wants More "Pocket Protector" Skills

According to this press release, EdSec Spellings thinks employers wants more kids with "pocket protector" skills, which means (a) geeks, (b) people who know not to put inky pens in their pockets, (c) something having to do with pocket pool, or (d) all of the above.

Here's the quote: "Employers today need workers with 'pocket-protector' skills, creative problem-solvers with strong math and science backgrounds," said Secretary Spellings. "The more students we train to be entrepreneurs and creative problem solvers, the more jobs they'll create, and the greater ability they'll have to improve the quality of life for others."

Filling Space At The Quick & The Ed

The use of interns is a delicate thing, which is why by and large I've limited the ones I've worked with to morning news roundups and describing events they attend -- extremely useful tasks but not ones that presume any inside knowledge or policy chops. Not so The Quick & The Ed, which is letting interns post commentary like this recent post, which begins "Flipping through my 10th grade U.S. history text book..." Who has their 10th grade history text nearby? A junior at Brown does. Which is fine -- it's just not something I'm expecting to see published by a relatively new organization that's trying to be taken seriously.

How Steve Barr Is Not Like The Other Charter Show Ponies

The most interesting thing to me about Steve Barr (Maverick Leads Charge for Charter Schools) is that Barr doesn't seem like he really wants to be the show pony for Gates, Broad, the Andy Sector, and the New Schools Venture Fund -- folks who are trying to create or promote more of what the Times describes as "nonprofit, high-performing charter chains" along the lines of KIPP and Achievement First. He'll take their money and their praise, but he doesn't want to expand as fast as they want him to, whether it's to parts of LAUSD where he has no credibility or across the country.
He sure doesn't want to dress or talk like them, from what little I've seen. He's been around the block. He's seen what happened to small schools, among other ruined efforts. If he can do what he wants and keep to his vision, he'll have threaded a very difficult needle. Sort of reminds me of the crazed but brilliant director Billy Walsh in HBOs "Entourage," whose favorite saying is "suits suck." Right on, Billy, I mean Steve.

UPDATE: Joe Williams of Democrats for Education Reform makes some interesting if slightly over-enthusiastic observations here, and helpfully rounds up other reactions to the Times story.

Reader Rabbit Takes Over Publishing

The lineup of folks coming in to sell schools books is going to be slightly different this year. Both EdWeek and the NY Times recently have articles on the publishing industry, following up on the "merger" of Houghton Mifflin and RiverDeep -- known for Reader Rabbit among other things (Riverdeep buys Houghton Mifflin for 1.8B eSchool News). Quoting former Hill rat Jay Diskey, the EdWeek story describes how Houghton Mifflin is going to buy Harcourt Education, creating a "big three" of textbook publishers in the US (Houghton Mifflin, Pearson Education, and McGraw-Hill). The NYT story focuses on the implications of RiverDeep's move to become the largest textbook publisher in the US via via the takeover of Harcourt (Deals in Textbook Business Make Irishman a Leader in U.S. Publishing). Every buyer needs a seller, however, and some folks are happily heading out of the US education segment.

UPDATE: It's also worth noting, I'm told, that Pearson has proposed to buy Harcourt's Assessment and International divisions.

AACTE Hottie Needs Your Vote

Partial to all things education? Got a little time on your hands in between all that doing good? Owe her a drink? Vote for AACTE hottie Jade Floyd (here at the annual EWA conference in LA), recently named a finalist as one of the hottest PR types in DC by Fishbowl DC: FishbowlDC. Vote now -- even if it's just to embarass the AACTE, who must be horrified that this is happening. She's one of their communications gurus, after all.

UPDATE: Also pictured: Stephaan Harris, senior media coordinator at the Economic Policy Institute in D.C.

Video NCLB Excerpts From Last Night's Debate

Thanks to DAD for recording and uploading these NCLB excerpts from last night's debate, which include Bill Richardson slamming the law for, among other things, taking money away from low-performing schools and districts (huh?), Joe Biden channeling Paul Wellstone and calling it a mistake, and Chris Dodd jumping in at the end to protect his buddy Ted by saying we should get NCLB right but not abandon it (NCLB: Scrap, Keep or Punt until 08?):

No Clinton or Obama or Edwards footage, alas.

Here's the video question that prompted these responses, which uses a whiteboard and some really bad heavy metal music to make its point:

Meanwhile, EdIn'08 again castigates the candidates for not focusing enough on education -- though perhaps their real beef is with CNN and YouTube for not airing enough education questions: "More questions were submitted about education than on any other issue. Like their Republican counterparts, the Democrats have given nothing but lip service - and not much at that - on education. Never have so many said so little about something that means so much. This is a dramatic failure of leadership...The candidates' failure to offer courageous and bold leadership on education is a failure for students throughout the country."

Big Stories Of The Day

First Lady Makes Rare Foray Into Lobbying for ‘No Child Left CQ
Complicating the lack of movement are significant policy debates that have emerged between Republicans and Democrats, particularly over the weight standardized testing should be given in determining adequate yearly progress — the centerpiece of the law once expected to be President Bush’s domestic legacy.

Maverick Leads Charge for Charter Schools NYT
In seven years, Steve Barr’s Green Dot Public Schools organization has founded 10 charter high schools and has won approval to open 10 more.

An Imbalance Grows in Cambridge, Mass., Schools Boston Globe
Five years after Cambridge began using family income instead of race to assign students to schools, the system has become more racially segregated, a Globe review of data shows.

Public Prep: A Public School With A Private Feel

So far, at least, most charter schools have focused on serving low-income kids and ensuring that they learn basic skills. That's where the biggest need is. Now some folks are thinking about starting charter schools of a different kind -- aimed at a more elite educational model: private schools. It's happening already in a fancy park of Brooklyn (2 Park Slope Fathers Dream Big NY Sun), and I can't imagine it not happening elsewhere.* And, I'm not sure there's anything wrong with it. Like a magnet school or G&T program, it brings private school parents back into the public system (or keeps them there). At the same time, it brings private school ideas into the public school testing ground, where they may flourish or fail. Either way, an interesting development.

*The only example I know of is LA's private school Crossroads spinning off into New Roads and then Camino Nuevo charter.

The Week Ahead

Highlights of the week ahead in DC (mostly) include:

Today: Hearing on S. 1642 (Kennedy, Massachusetts), the “Higher Education Amendments of 2007” to reauthorize the Higher Education Act of 1965 .

NB: Also today: Spellings does press event (National Science Teachers Association) and meets with Congressional Black Caucus education task force re NCLB.

Also: The Center for American Progress (CAP) and the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) will host a news conference to release the report, "Creating a Successful Performance Compensation System for Educators." 10:00 a.m.; National Press Club, 14th and F Streets, NW, Washington,

Senate committee meeting Wednesday (misc.)

Also Wed: The Center for American Progress Action Fund will host an event to highlight the recently introduced pre-kindergarten bills by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Sen.
Bob Casey (D-PA) [Note: RSVP required.] 10:30 a.m.; Center for American Progress Action Fund, 1333 H Street, NW,

Thursday Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on School Safety among other things.

More EdSec events:
Tuesday: Event with First lady at Driggs Elementary in CT.
Wednesday: Appearance before the Future Farmers of America
Thursday: Speaks before the Hugh O’Brian (H.O.B.Y.) Youth Leadership World Congress

Via FritzWire, USDE, and a little birdie.

Obama Advocates Sex Ed For Kindergarteners, Does He?

This latest kerfluffle over Obama's comments about kindergarten sex ed to Planned Parenthood seems to have come and gone, alas, but reveals how easy it is to get in trouble on education issues: Sex ed for kindergarteners 'right thing to do' says Obama ABC News (video here): "Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told Planned Parenthood Tuesday that sex education for kindergarteners, as long as it is "age-appropriate," is "the right thing to do." Meanwhile, Obama Girl and Giuliani Girl are fighting it out on YouTube.

Big Stories Of The Day

Students Want Presidential Hopefuls to Make Education a Priority AP via EdWeek
A group of S.C. honors students videotaped a question to candidates for the upcoming debates.

Test mess entangles school St. Pete Times
Some 28 severely disabled children are at the center of a controversy that has pushed West Hernando Middle School to the brink of federal sanctions, according to school officials.

School Recruiters Turn To 'Innovative Places' Washington Post
Ireneo Abadejos and Julieta Perez are among what they call the "lucky 30" Filipino teachers hired by the Prince George's County school system in October 2004 as part of an experiment to help fill a big teacher shortage.

Mo. Begins Online Test Experiment AP Via EdWeek
Missouri education officials on Thursday told the state Board of Education about a pilot project creating an online exam to complete a newly required personal finance class.

How Can You Distinguish a Budding Pedophile From a Kid With Real Boundary Problems? New York Times Magazine
It can be difficult, but research is showing that when it comes to sex crimes, youths are not just little adults. So why does the law tend to treat them that way?

Best Of The Week (July 16-22)

Education Department
Spellings & Rove, Sitting In A Tree? As If.
Running Out Of July

Dem Groups Concerned About Miller NCLB Bill
Civil Rights & Business Groups Join Together To Fight For NCLB
Opting Out Of Highly Qualified Teachers
NCLB Implementation Roundup
Convenient Arguments: Clarence Page

Teachers & Teaching
University Of Chicago Calls Out Rest Of Higher Education Community
Louisiana Gives Teacher Mercedes Benz

Campaign 2008
Dems & Vouchers
More Kids Killed In Chicago Than Soldiers In Iraq

School Life
Dutch Kids Help Build Viking Ship Made Of Ice Cream Sticks
Bootylicious Teachers & Their Flip-Flops

Urban Ed
Charters Get Their Own Search Engine...iPhone Next.
Accidents: Yet Another Reason To Get Rid Of Summer Break
Cheating In The News

Media Watch
Merrow Team Wins Third Emmy Nomination
NY Times (and Balto Sun) Break Harry Potter Embargo
Best Of The Blogs
Now Blogging NCLB: The Hoff

Site News
Daily E-Mail Updates Now Available

Bootylicious Teachers & Their Flip-Flops

Twenty-something teachers are pissing off the medium-to-older set (of teachers) by wearing flip-flops and giving kids extra credit for spelling words like "bootylicious," according to this post from AFT John based on a Teacher Magazine posting (here). It's an all-out generational war, I tell you.

NCLB Implementation Roundup

Hawaii Gets No Break on School Test Scores HonoluluAdvertiser.com
Hawaii wanted to join seven states that are now evaluated under the so-called "growth model," which measures how much progress individual students make, rather than whether they hit arbitrary score levels in the federal No Child Left Behind program.

Schools hit penalty phase of NCLB Herald Tribune (Fla.)
While many educators are quick to point out the shortcomings of the law, Wakeland Elementary School Principal Chuck Fradley credits it for forcing his school to make necessary changes, even though his school also faces penalties.

Where's the support for NCLB? Tucson Citizen (opinion)
You might think that the Democrats running for president, who rarely miss an ethnic celebration and who claim to have the best interests of African-Americans and Latinos at heart, would rush to defend No Child Left Behind - especially since the candidates who were in Congress in 2001 voted for the legislation. You know better.

Cheating In The News

Fascinated or appalled at all the cheating that seems to be going on these days? Check out Caveon Security's email "Cheating In The News," which showed up in my inbox this morning, including all the latest cheating news:

Oakland charter school director resigns amid cheating scandal Inside Bay Area
Tougher catching cheating with online test takers, educators say Naples Daily News
Cheating on standardized tests isn't fleeting -- it's predictable SF Chronicle



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.