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Knocking On Edu-Neighbors' Doors

A quick spin around the block before I head out in my Reading First costume to get as many razor-filled apples as I can find:

Over at Early Stories, RLC digs out an overview of Where the Democratic Candidates Stand on Child Care and Preschool. Meanwhile, Charlie Barone writes from his hidden lair about educational triage and NCLB: Is the NCLB "Bubble Kids" Theory About To Burst? The AFTies win the best headline of the day award for their post about how NCLB is affecting Chicago area schools: Give Us Growth Models...Or The Nation Will Explode. EIA Mike keeps tabs on the NEA's anti-voucher budget in Utah (NEA Contribution to Anti-Voucher Campaign Is... $3 Million). Speaking of vouchers, Joanne Jacobs links to a story about progressive parents who send their kids to private schools (Voucher hypocrites). And, as you know, it's Halloween. What a good day for the Carnival (Let's Carnival!).

Dirty Tricks Against NYC Education Critic

When an oped piece came out yesterday criticizing Diane Ravitch for flip-flopping on her criticisms of various Bloomberg school reform ideas, some folks (Whitney, Andy and the performance pay mafia) seemed pretty happy about it. Today, however, Elizabeth Green in the NY Sun reports that the column was actually the result of some good old opposition research done by the NYC Department of Education. That doesn't mean the criticisms of Ravitch are all off, of course. It just shows you how far some people will go to try and swat away an annoyingly persistent and knowledgeable critic. Next thing you know, the NYC DOE will be staging fake press conferences and paying columnists to help them out, not just supplying dirt. Ravitch's response is coming out tomorrow, she says.

How Cash Incentives Really Work

Perhaps the most overlooked article of the week is this one from New York magazine (Can Cash Incentives Pull a Poor Family Out of Poverty?) looking into the prospects of success for New York's much-debate cash incentive program. We've heard what everyone thinks about giving incentives (aka bribes) to poor families for health and educational behaviors -- I'm OK with them, most folks aren't. Now take a look at how they work in the real world.

Too Many Reports, Says Report

"The Texas State Library and Archives Commission spent 18 months and canvassed more than 170 agencies and public colleges and universities, checking on all the reports they are assigned to do.The commission found more than 1,600, and state records administrator Michael Heskett is pretty sure his team hasn't found them all." (State report: Texas has too many reports)

Strippers Help Pass Out Candy At Local School

Scores strippers help pass out candy at Halloween carnival
NY Daily News

Peas In A Pod? We Wouldn't Last A Minute.

Eduwonkette is at it again -- and I love it. She's got mad Photoshop skills (or at least knows how to cut and paste), and has me and Andywonk dressed up as peas in a pod. It isn't pretty. I'm not sure how that would work, since co-existence is required. I was hoping for me as K-Fed and Andy as Britney. But this will do. Check it out.

A "National" Test For Urban Districts

Sick of being told that scores are going up when you think they're really not? Well the cat is soon out of the bag, for 11 big urban districts at least (Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Cleveland; Houston; Los Angeles; New York; San Diego; and Washington, D.C.). A couple weeks from now the latest reading and math scores are coming out for some of the country's biggest districts. Called the urban NAEP, or TUDA, the new data will include trend lines going back to 2003, linked to NAEP. Based on NAEP data, not all of the nation's biggest cities are doing as well as their superintendents and mayors claim.

Continue reading "A "National" Test For Urban Districts" »

The Long Goodbye - The Big Thanks

Within the next few hours (or days, as the case may be), this blog is going to move to a new home on another site. I'm going to keep posting here for a little while longer until things are ready over there but just wanted to let you know. An opportunity presented itself and I decided to make the move.

It's been great working with the EdWeek.org folks, most especially the site's ME, Jeanne McCann, who has been incredibly helpful and patient. (We bloggers are a temperamental lot, it turns out.) And of course Ginny Edwards, the head honcho. EdWeek built me a great-looking page, with lots of functions and features, and promo'd me on the front page (and in print) nearly as often as my mother bugged them to. The number of readers has gone up tremendously. The overall experience has been excellent.

Where the blog is moving is something that I hope to be able to announce as soon as tomorrow morning. I'd tell you now, but it would be confusing since nothing's there yet. Starting tomorrow, you can check here to see if there's anything new, or check This Week In Education. See you soon!

In The Classroom

Hello, India? I Need Help With My Math NYT
In a new wave of the global outsourcing of services, personal chores are moving offshore, and this is leading to some daunting challenges, both economic and cultural.

On Education: Classroom of the Future Is Virtually Anywhere NYT
There is no blackboard and no lectern, and, most glaringly, no students in the university classroom of the future.

With World Growing Smaller, IB Gets Big EdWeek
Amid heightened concern about preparing students for a global economy, the academically demanding International Baccalaureate program is catching on fast in U.S. schools.

Creepy Congressman Wants To Eliminate Digital Divide For All The Wrong Reasons

From ONN The Onion News Network:
Live From Congress: Representative Wants To See, Meet More Kids Online

Big Stories Of The Day

Standardized high school exit exams put states to the test USA Today
Twenty-two states have some type of exit exams; four are phasing them in. But the tests are proving controversial. Maryland has delayed exams by two years. The state Board of Education meets today and Wednesday to decide whether to move the date again.

School Issues Vary on States’ Ballots EdWeek
Voters will decide some notable education- and child-related questions when they go to the polls next month.

Elementary Absenteeism AP
Absenteeism among children in the early-elementary grades is highest in kindergarten and has a positive correlation with poverty, says a study.

Libraries luring students with coffee AP
Coffeehouses are springing up in high school libraries around the country, marking a departure from the days when librarians prohibited food, drinks and talking. School officials say these shops are promoting reading by attracting teenagers who might not otherwise hang out in a library.

Follow The Bouncing Ball

Using ball as chair helps focus, third-graders say
Grand Rapids Press
Katie Messina teaches to a sea of bobbing heads. Messina first experimented with using balls as chairs six years ago in another school, where her class included seven second-graders with attention deficit disorders.

Halloween Happenings Around NCLB Reauthorization

There's been a recent lull in any real NCLB reauthorization news since Kennedy's folks put out the boring parts of their discussion draft and the rest of the Hill was focused on appropriations. But the AFTies report that Ted Kennedy is back on the march and The Hoff (how come that guy never links to me?) says that the House links have gone dead. Next thing you know, the lights will go out, a door will creak open, and Margaret Spellings -- face lit from below with a flashlight -- will cackle like a witch.

Research, Politics, and -- Yes -- Personal Experience

Last week I linked to an article that mocked education research as a circus, to which some understandably took offense. Here's a recent ASBJ article on the same topic that may be more balanced but is no less scathing (Politics and Research). Advocates have learned to attack research methods ever more swiftly, even as research has gotten better, some say. Think tank "research" has all but eclipsed academic research in the policy debate in Washington. Not that better research would make a difference. Remember class size? Politics, budgets, ideology, and -- my favorite -- personal experience -- trump even the best studies. But there are a couple of folks out there doing good work, we're told -- not the usual suspects.

Better, Faster, Stronger?

There's some big news coming out about this site, which has with typical over-enthusiasm adopted Kanye West's "Better, Faster, Stronger" as its mantra. (I tried to get EdIn'08 to take it, but no go.) More on this tomorrow. Stay tuned.

A Quick Spin Around The Edusphere

Not that much is catching my eye this morning: Web Watch riffs off of yesterday's NYT story about de-stressing schools (8th Period Stress Relief). EIA Mike asks if the NEA is stalling on its endorsement to help Obama (The October 29 Communique' Is Up!). The conversation between Ravitch and Meiers is heating up (This Is Not Good Education). The Washington Monthly's uber-blogger Kevin Drum opines on gaps in the voucher argument (School Vouchers). And Joe Williams apparently forgot to invite me to one of those DFER shindigs where I get to drink beer on his tab (Talking About Ed Reform).

Dropout Mania

Wondering what this whole "dropout factory" thing is about? Me, too. Check out AP's interactive map here to see the national view and see where your state fits in. There's also district by district information if you click on the state map here.

Funders Heart TFA - But Not For What TFA Corps Members Actually Do

Lincoln Caplan provides us with some impressive new numbers in his recent Slate magazine article on Wendy Kopp's Teach For America: Almost $500 million raised, a goal of 4,000 new teachers per year by 2010, a 98 percent acceptance rate, annual revenues nearing $120 million (up from $10.5 million seven years ago). Caplan names TFA the country's largest reform effort in the K-12 education space.

I've got no argument with any of that. But Caplan seems to buy into the idea that TFA is "leveraging" widespread school reform success. That I just don't see. I don't think TFA deserves all the credit for what TFA alums do after they leave. (I don't think TFA alums think so, either.) I don't think the direct impact of TFA's classroom corps members is nearly as long or strong as it could, despite the popularity of the program. And, I don't think that the cumulative effect of TFA alumni is much more than a drop in the bucket when it comes to improving public education, writ large.

To be sure, Caplan alludes to some of this. He refers to the TFA "fable." He points out that no one has yet written a major investigative take-down of the organization (someone has, actually, it just hasn't been published yet). He jokes that depending on who you talk to, TFA is either Google -- or Enron. But Caplan's main focus is how TFA is shaping up to be a powerful and self-sustaining nonprofit institution. Mine is whether TFA is -- or will anytime soon be -- shaping up to have anywhere near as big an impact on public education as its accolades (and revenues) suggest.

Big Stories Of The Day

South's schools swell with poor kids News & Observer
For the first time in more than 40 years, the majority of children in public schools in the South are poor, according to a report released today. In 11 states, over half of students live in poverty.

A juggling act on No Child Left Behind Los Angeles Times
As Miller pushes to renew the landmark education law known as No Child Left Behind, he faces so many fights that the fate of the bill is increasingly in doubt.

Bush greets teen who told Pa. authorities of school attack plan AP
Bush greets teen who told Pa. authorities of school attack plan.

One-Tenth of High Schools Are 'Dropout Factories' AP
There are about 1,700 regular or vocational high schools nationwide that fit that description, according to an analysis of Education Department data conducted by Johns Hopkins for The Associated Press. That's 12 percent of all such schools, no more than a decade ago but no less, either.

Disabilities Fight Grows as Taxes Pay for TuitionThe New York Times
Without Justice Kennedy, the court split 4 to 4 in a New York City case on whether Tom Freston, the former chief executive of Viacom, should have put his learning-disabled son in a public school before sending him to a private school and seeking tuition reimbursement.

Obama Gets Tough On NCLB

Obama Fields Tough Questions At MTV/MySpace Forum
Obama slammed the Bush administration for not properly funding No Child Left Behind, saying he'd rethink the system to include art and music and more creative pursuits that foster student's imaginations, as well as emphasizing early childhood education. (When the student who asked the question seemed unimpressed, Obama replied, "What more do you need, Mike?," before assuring him that students for whom English is a second language would not be penalized under his revised system.)

PLUS: Richardson: Teachers should get minimum of $40,000 a year AP
Teachers should get minimum of $40,000 a year

Around The Blogs

A quick spin around the edusphere to see what looks interesting: Scott Elliott from Dayton says that there's a Big Obama education plan coming in November.I can't wait, though I'm not particularly hopeful. It's going to take lots more than a new education plan for Obama to catch up to Clinton. The New York Times' newest blog cracks wise about schools' efforts to de-fang Halloween celebrations: "The parade included a devil with no pitchfork, a Power Ranger without a laser blaster and a pint-size Batman who had been told to leave his utility belt at home." (Are We Having Fun Yet?). Reacting to a post I made last week, Kevin Carey from the Ed Sector says that Time writer Cloud's characterization of education research is exaggerated and, frankly, kind of obnoxious: "What a shame that education research doesn't enjoy the pristinely empirical, de-politicized, consensus-rich environment that characterizes debates over tax policy, entitlement reform, and other issues studied by economists like Martin Feldstein."Meanwhile, In These Times has a piece about how a two year-old split within the labor movement has affected union organizing not nearly as much as predicted: Has the Change Led to Wins? Last but not least, the Times has a fun article about parents being asked to pay for kids' Internet games: Pay Up, Kid, or Your Igloo Melts.

Spellings Press Event Tomorrow May Be Faked

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff are holding a press event tomorrow in Fairfax County on the issue of emergency preparedness. No word on whether it will be faked or not like last week's fake FEMA press conference (US disaster-relief agency stages fake press conference).

Unionized Charter Schools Headed East

On Friday, New York state officials approved Green Dot, a unionized charter school model from LA, to open in the South Bronx of New York City in partnership with the teachers union there. There are a couple more steps towards final approval, as you can see below from the joint press release.

Continue reading "Unionized Charter Schools Headed East" »

Big Stories Of The Day

A Whole School Left Behind Washington Post
But in Como and other poor, rural districts around the country, the law's regimen of testing and sanctions has had little, if any, effect.

Minnesota Plan Gives Scholarships for Child Care NPR
A new initiative in St. Paul, Minn., aims to make high-quality early childhood education more accessible to low-income residents by providing scholarships. The program is the brainchild of an economist who says it will save the state money.

Lead exposure, crime seem to correlate USA Today
For decades, researchers have known that lead poisoning lowers children's IQs and puts them at risk for severe learning disabilities and more impulsive, sometimes violent behavior. New research increasingly suggests that lead also affects long-term juvenile and adult crime rates.

A Principal Who Cracks Down on Stress NYT
Some administrators are pushing back against an ethos of super-achievement at affluent suburban high schools.

The Week In Review (October 22-28)

Best Of The Week
On The HotSeat: Scott Reeder On Teacher Misconduct
“Please go KILL these people....Please, please, please.”

Teachers & Teaching
An Oversupply Of Under-Qualified Teachers
Teachers Behaving Badly, States Ignoring The Problem
Teacher Suspended For Graphic Book Recommendation
From Happy Welcome To Jail Mug Shot

Staph Outbreak Plus More: It's All NCLB's Fault

School Life
Cleveland High School Student Shooter Video Released
Lice Costs US Schools $500 Million, Says Lice Removal Company
School Of Shock

Foundation Follies
All Of Bush's Worst Ideas Came From AEI
DonorsChoose On The Colbert Report

Media Watch
Bringing Race (and Poverty) Back Into Education Reporting
Reporter Arrested On The Sidewalk Outside Miami Central High
Alternative College Rankings Make Colbert Report

"Honk If You Have An EdWeek Blog"
Local Union Leader Seeks To Sue Education Blogger

Time Writer Calls Education Research A "Circus"

Friday Fodder

EIA Mike finds that not everyone on the left likes Al Shanker (Tough Lefties). I bet famous people wished they had control over what schools get named after them (Colin Powell charter school to close). Eduwonk mocks the AFT for incoherence and more (Terry Moe Hamstrings The AFT). Whitney Tilson has questions (Media myths about the Jena 6).

Plus some news stories I missed from earlier in the week:

Team targets struggling students Palm Beach Post
3 Catholic Schools Ask Not to Be Changed to Charters Washington Post
Child Care Workers in New York City Vote to Unionize NYT
Newark Teenagers Embrace Lessons in Perseverance NYT (Freedman)
Experimental School Gets Rid of Classes, Teachers NPR
Federal project tries to make it easier for schoolchildren to walk AP
Jacket Lets Parents Keep Track of Kids AP

Time Writer Calls Education Research A "Circus"

"Education experts seem to concur on almost nothing," says this recent Time magazine article. "Research in the field is so politicized and contradictory that you can find almost any study to support your view. If economics is a 99-1 science, education is a 1-99 circus." Ouch. The article also dismisses the latest Jack Jennings public-private differences study as Democratic advocacy, pointing out that private schools run by holy orders (not regular religious schools) make a difference on student achievement, and that SAT scores do show public-private differences even after you control for SES. Apparently SAT scores reveal critical thinking, while regular old achievement scores just track rote memorization.

It's All NCLB's Fault

Charlie Barone predicts that the recent deaths of students from the staph "superbug" will inevitably get blamed on NCLB. But why stop there? The nasty cold I have, the wildfires in San Diego County, and the coming wave of subprime mortgage defaults -- they're all because of NCLB in one way or the other.

Cleveland High School Student Shooter Video Released

"He looks like any other high school student - except for the guns 14-year-old Asa Coon holds in each hand. Coon's rampage was captured in eerie, time-lapse snapshots by security cameras at SuccessTech Academy." See more images here. The local Fox affiliate has posted the video here.

From Happy Welcome To Jail Mug Shot

Things started out so well for this new teacher (left), but ended recently with rape charges and a mug shot (right).
Via USA Today's On Deadline blog.

Big Stories Of The Day

Student's death likely caused by staph infection CNN
A middle school student from Brooklyn died Thursday, probably from the staph infection MRSA, according to the New York City Health Department.

Video shows student shooting 2 victims at Cleveland school AP
His face concealed by a white hooded sweat shirt, the determined student gunman climbed the enclosed staircase with his cache of weapons in a backpack, heading toward a shooting rampage against classmates and teachers.

Pitching for preschool, with eye on future Washington Post
For Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), improving access to preschool is a signature issue. In 2005, he ran for the office on a platform that pledged to provide universal access to preschool for the state's 100,000 4-year-olds.

Education Plays Diverse Role in 2007 State-Level Elections EdWeek
Control of one or more houses of the legislature in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia will be decided next month.

Today's Best Education Stories

The earliest roundup of education stories each day usually comes from EdNews.org, anywhere from 4 am onwards. My own "Big Stories Of The Day" supposedly shows up at 9 am Eastern. But there are a bunch of others that come out later and are often better, or at least complementary.

For example, EdWeek's own "Today's Best" features some great stories that I miss. Recent examples include:

Teachers unions are big donors to levy measure Seattle Times
Law Punishes Truancy by Taking Away Teens' Keys Washington Post
Boys get lesson in leadership Philly.com

Local Union Leader Seeks To Sue Education Blogger

You know you've really arrived as a blogger (or are going to hell for being a bad person) when someone wants to find out who you are and sue you for libel. That's what's happening in one Oregon district, where, according to EIA Mike, the local union president is so disgusted and upset by what's being said about her that she's trying to force Google to reveal the blogger's identity so that he or she can be sued.

DonorsChoose On The Colbert Report

Last night's Colbert Report interview with the founder of Craigslist included much discussion of DonorsChoose.org, the organization that links donors and individual classrooms directly:

Very impressive.

All Of Bush's Worst Ideas (Except Perhaps NCLB) Came From AEI

If you're wondering why the DC education blogs are so quiet today, it's because all the best-dressed education folks are gathered at a big AEI event on the supply side of school reform -- the "intriguing and daring" reformistas who are attracting all the attention (and funding) despite their small scale, mixed results, etc. Check out the agenda and the papers here.

Or, if you're more in the mood for a big picture view of things, check out Timonthy Noah's recent critique of AEI in Slate here. While not focused on education particularly, Noah claims that most of the Bush administration's worst ideas have come from AEI. Noah also tells the story of AEI's rise into a more ideological, glamorous think tank (past Heritage and its liberal counterpart Brookings) whose so-called scholars are everywhere on the pundit and media circuit.

Higher Ed's Role In Creating An Oversupply Of Under-Qualified Teachers

Here the Economist details the struggles of various countries to improve public education and change the large variations in how much students learn, focusing in on a recent McKinsey recommendation that nations change the way they select teachers (How to be top). I know, McKinsey. And yes, other countries. I hate that stuff too. But there's some worthwhile thinking in there, much as I hate to admit it. If education programs attract the bottom third of college students, and universities accept and train them regardless of need, the built-in limitations are obvious. Of course, reining in universities, much less the ed schools, has proven difficult if not impossible for lawmakers to do. It's much easier to muck around in K12 and ignore the role of higher ed in all this. Via Eduwonk, I think.

Lice Costs US Schools $500 Million, Says Lice Removal Company

According to entrepreneur Maria Botham, lice infestation is the #1 reason for school absenteeism, and on average it costs the U.S. public school system over $500 million every year: Gold Standard for Lice Removal Opens in Lincoln Park. Via Yahoo! Finance.

“Please go KILL these people....Please, please, please.”

School Chief’s Embarrassment Is a Lesson for Itchy E-Mailers NYT
“Please go KILL these people....Please, please, please.”

Big Stories Of The Day

Senate Reverses Bush's Cuts to Education, Health as Veto Battle Looms Edweek
Senate gave bipartisan approval to a spending bill that totals over $600 billion and reverses a raft of cuts sought by Bush to special education, health research.

Ideals meet politics in public schools debate Tribune (opinion)
Kozol would require states to authorize and finance a student's right to transfer from a failing district into a successful school in a suburban district.

Science courses nearly extinct in elementary grades, study finds San Francisco Chronicle
The third-graders looked puzzled when asked what they liked best about science. No answer. Via EdNews.org

A year of decision for six high school seniors CSM
The Monitor follows the months-long college-application process for six diverse students. Part 1 of two.

Reporter Arrested On The Sidewalk Outside Miami Central High

So there's a reporter in Miami working on a story about school violence who's told to move off the sidewalk by school board police -- on camera -- and refuses. He was arrested, and now he's being charged with trespassing and unlawful possession of a handgun, which he has a permit to carry.

Covering Education Well

Whether you're a reporter who wants to know how to cover education better, or an educator who wants to know how reporters look at things, you'll be happy to know about this collection of essays about covering schools that includes: What I Wish I Had Known as an Education Reporter (Christina Asquith); How to Spot a School That Cheats and Find the Real Deal (Karin Chenoweth); The Six Essential Elements of Good Teaching (former LAT Richard Lee Colvin), Cut to the Heart of Learning by Analyzing a Classroom (blogger and former journalist Jenny DeMonte), To Witness the Magic of Learning, Find a Classroom (Samuel G. Freedman of the NYT); Talk to Students for an Inside Look at High School Life (Jay Mathews of the Washington Post); and How to Get Gun-Shy Schools to Open Their Doors (former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter (Dale Mezzacappa). For the full set, click here.

Bringing Race (and Poverty) Back Into Education Reporting

There aren't many reporters covering the race or poverty beat these days, much less the family beat that LynNell Hancock advocated in a HotSeat interview last year. So I was pleasantly surprised to get a call from Jonathan Tilove (pictured), who writes about race for the 26 papers that make up the Newhouse News group. What happens in school is a fascinating and complex topic, to be sure, but if you add race, poverty, and all the rest in there you have a much more complete picture. Writes like Kate Boo, Stephanie Banchero, and others get that, and it makes their writing all the more powerful. Click here to see some of Tilove's writing.

Around The Blogs, Noontime Edition

On Deadline tells us that "sudents" are giving $2M to presidential candidates so far, assuming most of it comes from parents (Toddlers giving to Obama). Eduwonkette says she's on the KIPP bandwagon, at least when it comes to extended learning (What lessons does KIPP offer for urban education reform?). The folks at TLN give kudos to the LA Times for including classroom voices (LA Times Featuring Teacher Bloggers). The AFTies highlight the news that childcare workers are going to be unionized now, along with paras in NYC (Today, She Has A Union). Does that make UPK more or less costly, I wonder? The Wonks remind us it's carnival time (Carnival-Carnival). Elena Silva from TQATE posts about the NTC report on teacher turnover costs (Money's Worth for New Teachers). Jenny D. is happy to be included in a new report on covering classrooms (Hechinger's New Publication).

Teacher Suspended For Graphic Book Recommendation

Teachers can get in trouble for pretty much anything these days. This time it's a book by Cormac McCarthy that was deemed a little too graphic for high schoolers: Town in uproar after teacher put on leave over book. Like high school kids haven't been exposed to tales of murder sprees and decomposing bodies before.

Best Of The Education Blogs, Early Edition

Media watchdog Jim Romenesko reports about what happens when satire seems too real in high school (Principal confiscates papers). He also points to a recent headline saying that 25 percent of South Carolina teachers are sexual predators (Paper apologizes for hed on AP's bad teachers story). Oops! EIA Mike says that the California teachers union has its own problems (Labor Challenge).

On a related note, The Hoff says they're going viral on NCLB (CTA Goes Multimedia). USA Today's Richard Whitmire makes the case that preschool is the new NCLB for presidential candidates (Preschool vs. NCLB). I'm not buying it, but it's an interesting idea. The Hechinger Institute's Liz Willen is blogging about her son and more (Middle School Muddle). At least it's not another EdWeek blog. Last but not least, from The Onion: Diabetic Child's Survival Hinges On Contents Of Piñata.

Back On The Hill, Talking About Teacher Retention

It was great to be back on the Hill yesterday moderating a New Teacher Center event in Dirksen. Some of the faces have changed, but not much else (the abundance of Diet Coke, the abundance of cheap suits, the hidden bathrooms, etc.). Miller Title II guru Alice Cain and I reminisced about being newbies on the Senate side all those years ago when she was with Simon and I was with Feinstein. (Then she doused me with coffee -- a welcome back blessing, I like to think.)

I also met some newer folks I knew by name or email -- Steve Robinson from Sen. Obama's office, Seth Gerson from Reed, Adam Ezring from Miller, Missy Rohrbach from Kennedy. Lots of folks came up and said hi (Crystal Rosario from CCCR, for example), or to talk about the blog or about back in the day when Rena Subotnik and I were trying to hold the ed schools' feet to the fire (and failing).

On the substantive side, I learned that not only are Reed, Kennedy, and Miller (among others) interested in stemming the dropout rate of new teachers that causes so much trouble, but that there is already some Title I language in the Miller draft that would make teacher retention efforts required for schools that don't make AYP. There's been so much attention on revamping AYP and the measures used to determine it, but much less (by me, at least) on the new set of required activities for schools that fail. And until now at least it seems that retention has been much less of a front-burner TQ issue than recruitment or evaluation, despite an estimated $7.3 billion in turnover costs.

Big Stories Of The Day

Ed. Dept. Requires Changes in Race, Ethnicity Reporting EdWeek
Schools must update as needed their method of student-data reporting to the Education Department no later than the 2010-11 school year—one year later than was announced when the guidelines were proposed last year.

A Chance to Dream NYT (opinion)
The Senate has a chance today to pluck a small gem from the ashes of the immigration debate by voting for the passage of the Dream Act.

Expulsions show racial disparity Post and Courier (South Carolina)
National and state statistics, as well as data from other local school districts, show that black students were suspended or expelled at a much higher rate.Via EdNews.org.

School Of Shock

No news yet of any schools that water-board kids, but I'm sure that's not far off. In the meantime, here's a story from Mother Jones about a school that takes in kids from several states and uses electric shocks as part of its discipline system: School of Shock. The pictures of the kids are to prevent them from shocking the wrong person.

Big Stories Of The Day

Band Teacher’s Abuse Scars Family, Splits Community EdWeek
Immediately after news of one teachers arrest hit in January 2005, people began questioning the girls' motives: Why didn't they come forward sooner? Were they really telling the truth?

Noose Sent to Black Principal at Brooklyn School NYT
The hate crimes unit of the Police Department is investigating the delivery of a noose along with a racially charged letter to the principal of Canarsie High School.

Schools Put Tastes to the Test in Bid to Provide Healthier Lunches PBS
Many U.S. schools are pouring new resources into efforts to provide lunches for students that are both tasty and health conscious. Fred de Sam Lazaro reports on the strategies being employed in St. Paul, Minn., schools.

On The HotSeat: Scott Reeder On Teacher Misconduct

Every couple of years, Springfield Illinois reporter Scott Reeder (pictured) puts out a big package of news stories that includes lots of new data and some surprising findings. This year, it's about teachers who stray off the path and should -- theoretically -- not be allowed to teach any more. In reality, Reeder finds, they just find a job somewhere else.

In the email interview below, Reeder describes what he found, how he found it, how Illinois compares to other states, and why his little paper can pull off this kind of investigative report when others stick to day-by-day reporting with a lot less depth or intensity. Want to know what it's like to interview a teacher who molested children? Check it out.

Continue reading "On The HotSeat: Scott Reeder On Teacher Misconduct" »



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.