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Happy Holidays

Gold121107I probably won't be able to keep away from posting something for the entire time, but I'm basically off duty until January 2nd.  If you see anything that needs immediate attention, comment here or let me know at thisweekineducation @gmail.com.  Thanks and happy holidays.

Around The Blogs In 60 Seconds

Forget your growth models and primary politics.  Scott Elliott goes where the real action is this week with his post Spears prompts national sex talk.

The Education PR blog goes with another slice of contemporania:  Dear admissions officer: Please click here.  Clean up those MySpace profiles before submitting college apps, folks.

2006_01_rulerOver at Edweek.org, The Hoff notes that Bush Sees Bipartisan Commitment to NCLB.

A look at the recent Republican debate leads Schools For Tomorrow to ask for A teaspoon of moderation, please on choice issues. 

Mike from EIA riffs on one Republican candidate in particular: Is Huckabee Triangulating on Education?

How can a school be dangerous and successful, asks Joanne Jacobs:  Dangerous ‘A’ school.  Not even NCLB has been able to pull that one off, far as I know.

Low performing schools are all staying in a new performance pay program in NYC, notes InsideSchools.org: Moving into phase two. What's with that?  Maybe they think they're likely to get paid better at those schools.

Should there be more, or less, standardized testing,  questions TQATE: The Testing Quandary

Mystery Signatures Raise Questions About Oversight

Bird You don't have to give a hoot about the DC public school system to find today's Washington Post education story (A $2.9 Million Payout, With a Few Shortcuts) worthwhile reading. 

Full of juicy details, it describes how a former DC principal started and grew a professional development program that, for all its potential effectiveness, seems to have lacked any real oversight or structure. 

The district gave out big money without a contract, the approved program didn't mesh with other district efforts, the program founders fought internally and one ended up dropping a dime on the founder, and -- my favorite part -- current and former district officials are denying that approval signatures found on various documents are actually theirs. 

Big Stories Of The Day

Final 2008 budget a mixed bag for schools eSchool News
The budget contains $59.4 billion in funding for the U.S. Department of Education (ED), though an across-the-board recision of 1.75 percent will leave actual ED spending at $58.4 billion.

In Many Districts, the Gifted Are Left Behind Maryland Online
Statistically, 20 percent of U.S. school dropouts test in the gifted range, said Jill Adrian, director of family services at the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a nonprofit founded by philanthropists Bob and Jan Davidson out of a concern that the nation's most gifted and talented children largely are neglected and underserved.

Five Ways Out of the Homework Trap Washington Post
Tom Loveless, senior fellow and director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution, has been making trouble again.

2 Young Hedge-Fund Veterans Stir Up the World of Philanthropy NYT
Holden Karnofsky and Elie Hassenfeld rank charities by analyzing the numbers in much the same way they did at their investment management company.

"The Wire" Produces A Real-Life Success Story

290x375aspxLooking for a way to reach a kid who's really struggling, or needing some inspiration yourself?  Maybe this new book from The Wire's little assassin, Felicia "Snoop" Pearson, will do the trick.  Discovered at a Baltimore nightclub by the actor who plays Omar Little on the show (read a long Washington Post profile from 2006 here), Snoop plays a menacing but affable killer whose deadpan demeanor and mumbled lines have made her a fan favorite.  In real life, Pearson was a crack baby who was raised in the foster care system and had already gone to jail by the time she was 15 (for second-degree murder).  Now she's been on The Wire for two years and has this new memoir out. 

Earmarks And Education

Gr2007122000173_2 Yesterday's story in the Washington Post (A Reading Program's Powerful Patron) isn't just about the DC Public Schools or Voyager Expanded Learning or the Senator from Louisiana who helped win 14 earmarks worth over $8 million for the program over the past five years. 

It's about how education politics really work, for better or worse. Specifically, how lawmakers and administrators help make decisions that affect what materials and curricula are used in classrooms outside of program channels.   Once confined to higher ed, earmarking like this happens more and more in K12. And not just in DC.

In this case, as the Post story outlines, those involved include a Republican businessman (Randy Best), a former House approps chairman (Bob Livinston), and a Democratic senator on the right committee (Mary Landrieu). 

Clinton Temporarily Misplaces Universal Pre-K In Xmas Ad

Everyone's got a holiday campaign ad this year, and Hillary Clinton's includes her wrapping Christmas gifts and putting labels on them.  The gift cards read "bring the troops home, middle class tax cuts," and things of that nature: The punchline comes when a momentarily-frustrated Clinton says, "Where did I put universal Pre-K?"  Panic sets in at the thought of another year going on without UPK.  But then, Senator Clinton remembers where that pesky gift has gone.  "Oh, there it is."

Whitney Watch

In response to angry emails from Whitney Tilson and others, the Obama campaign announced today that Stanford professor Linda Darling Hammond was resigning from his advisory committee.  Just joking.  In the absence of such an announcement, Tilson remains upset about Obama's appointment of Linda Darling-Hammond as an education adviser, though it's slowly sinking in that Obama is probably doing what he needs to do to win the primary (More comments on Linda Darling-Hammond and Obama).  And I still think this is an unwise over-reaction on his part -- both the extreme disappointment and going public about it.  But at least he's slightly more focused on Obama's decision rather than publicly slamming someone professionally than he was last week.

Blog Posts Of The Day

BoardBuzz starts us off with the heart-warming school story of the year:  Talk about giving a gift. The AFT Blog gives some much-deserved love to The Fritwire, which is an invaluable way to track what's going on on the Hill and in DC: Get Wired -- Fritzwired, That Is.

Bush_runsKennedy's descent into confusion over NCLB is described by The Hoff:  Kennedy Listens to NCLB's Liberal Critics. Speaking of changing views, did a certain Arkansas politico change his views on vouchers, asks Michele McNeil: Should Huckabee Be Wearing Flip Flops?.

Teachers tend to be absent on certain days, says EIA: Monday I'll Have Friday on My Mind.

Growth models and broader ways of measuring achievement are tricky, says TQATE: It's (Not) So Easy.  But SES has been good, according to Charlie B and RAND:  Supplemental Educational Services Get Straight A's.

Sometimes reporters really muck things up, says the ASBJ blog: It was the reporting, not school communications, that went wrong. Speaking of wrong, Eduwonkette has strong-armed several bloggers into telling everyone 7 Things You Didn't Want to Know.  Joanne Jacobs and I are the last holdouts.

Eduwonk notes that the creator of the Teacher Advancement Program has passed away: Lew Solmon.

Dismal Results For Many Education Budgets

Education groups in DC that fought for more funding for key programs have come away pretty disheartened after the long appropriations process leading to a disappointing omnibus. 

Cover091207img03From the NEA:  "A few key programs have been cut further than what was listed in the table in the omnibus bill (see below).  The differences appear to be related to the application of the across-the-board rescission (excluding Pell Grants).  NCLB Act programs, in general, and ESEA Title I, specifically, are now below the President’s original budget request.  Pending any other update from the Department, these are the numbers we should be using, such as they are."  (See details below.)

From CEF:  "Overall, the FY08 omnibus bill provides less than inflation level funding for IDEA, Impact Aid and Improving Teacher Quality State Grants. The bill substantially cuts vital programs such as Even Start, Teacher Quality Enhancement, and Comprehensive School Reform and eliminates Title V Innovative Education. Finally, the bill also cuts a majority of the student financial aid programs and most other education programs by 1.7% - a total of $501 million. Earlier in the week, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee David Obey (D-WI) was quoted in CQ Today as saying the bill is wholly inadequate to meet the needs of the country here at home."  (More details below.)


Continue reading "Dismal Results For Many Education Budgets" »

[Not So] Big Stories Of The Day

There's really not that much going on when it comes to mainstream news, besides the teaching scholarships (previous post):

Maze Reading Program's Powerful PatronWashington Post
Earmark guided into law by Sen. Mary Landrieu illustrates the unusual role that Congress has played in shaping the District's troubled school system.

NCLB in waiting Washington Times
Yesterday, across the United States, more than 7,000 students dropped out of school. And the same number will drop out tomorrow, and the next day.

Guns N' Roses karaoke scares teacher MSNBC
A school custodian's impromptu after-hours karaoke performance prompted a police response when a teacher thought she was being threatened over the loudspeaker.

A Rhodes Scholarship For Teaching?

Foundation Hopes to Lure Top Students to Teaching NYT

A foundation at Princeton University hopes to lure top students into teaching and transform teacher education in the United States.

Foundation Will Offer $30,000 Stipends Washington Post

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation launched a $17 million effort yesterday to improve teacher education and steer highly qualified teachers to high-poverty and struggling schools.

Philanthropies Launch National Teacher Education Fellowships EdWeek

The $17 million program is described as a “Rhodes scholarship” for teaching.

Moody, Tired, Forgetful Teens? It's Adults' Faults, Says PBS

Student_brain_nyorker_0906 Curious about why teenagers over-react to some things, and under-react to others?  Wonder why they're always tired and seem to have to be told things over and over? 

It's not that they're just the stereotypically lazy drama queens, according to a Frontline documentary that aired on PBS this week.  (Check it out here.)

And schools, in particular, aren't particularly well set up to deal with teenagers' developing brains and needs for sleep (during which new memories and skills are apparently practiced and consolidated). 

Rick Hess's New Club

PeyoteI never got a response from the normally-responsive Rick Hess about just what the newly-established "Future of American Education Project" at AEI (a right-leaning think tank) is supposed to do that isn't already being done. 

This possibly means that the question was ridiculous, or embarassing, or that the email never got through.

What I do know is that the new initiative is supposed to "discover and promote original empirical work on K-12 school reform" and was kicked off last week with the first meeting of a working group consisting of "twenty leading reform-minded U.S. researchers and educators" many of whose work is already well known (see list below).

Continue reading "Rick Hess's New Club" »

Best Of The Blogs Today

Teacher JM Holland has a list of Great Blogs Around the Country -- mostly teacher-written blogs, some of which were new to me. 

Speaking of teacher blogs, Will Okun has another intimate look at his students and their lives (“Afternoons with Worsom”). 

Back to politics, Gerry Bracey for one doesn't much like the fear-mongering and test-based hype coming from EDINO8 (The Inmates Who Want to Run the Asylum).

435_rcbugsEdWeek's ELL blog looks at a recent report about illegal kids in schools (The Cost of Educating Undocumented Students). 

TQATE digs into last week's ETS report and finds that not ALL teachers are better academically than their predecessors (A More Selective Pool of Teachers).

In These Times has a post on the ASVAB test that some schoolkids still have to take (The Militarys Stealth Test).

Statline has a post about international comparisons (Time to think global in testing).

Sam Freedman looks at the contradictions in how schools are rated in NYC and elsewhere (How a Middle School Can Be ‘Dangerous’ and Still Get an A).

Another Week, Another Report

A week or so ago, the Center On Education Policy issued a report about how restructuring efforts in Baltimore weren't doing much good, according to the Baltimore Sun:  Fixing schools usually fails. This week, the Brookings Institute (or was it the Urban?) issues a report pointing to the relative success of some of these efforts, which is picked up in today's USA Today:  Baltimore's 'innovation schools' yield higher test scores.  What to think?

[Not Very] Big Stories Of The Day


Daringbookforgirls121707Whittle Aims to Open Private Schools EdWeek
Edison Schools Inc. founder Christopher Whittle hopes to convert a 35-acre property in suburban Washington into a private school to help jump-start his latest venture: a globe-spanning network of private schools.

Monkeys Rival College Students' Ability to Estimate NPR
Given a basic math test, the monkeys were right 75 percent of the time, while the students scored correctly 90 percent of the time.

Tiered Licensing Systems Being Used by States to Help Teacher Quality EdWeek
As states explore how to get, keep, and improve the practice of teachers, one popular change has been to do away with lifetime licenses.

What the kids are talking about:  Britney Spears' little sister is pregnant at 16.

Education Blog At The Columbus Post-Dispatch

Eteam_header_2 You gotta give credit to these education reporters from the Columbus Post-Dispatch for putting their names and faces out there for everyone to see (The E-Team).  This is their group blog, one of what is still just a handful of newspaper-published education blogs.  Other papers are thinking of it, though right now it seems like many of the reporters who want to blog are being told not to and the folks who don't want to blog are being told to get on with it.  By which I'm not saying that the reporters here didn't want to blog. 

New EDIN08 Video: "I Will Steal Your Car"

Here's the video of the new ad that EDINO8 just released, which features normal-looking teenagers individually speaking directly to the camera about the bad things that will happen to them (and, as a result, to the rest of us):

What do you think?  Powerful?  Compelling enough to create some real action? 

LA Moves To Prevent Further Departures

Yesterday's NPR segment on Locke High School has lots of nice touches (an "Earth Wind and Fire" opening) and insightful observations about the big money ($20 million) involved in the handover and the fact that many Locke teachers aren't going to be hired or stay around to see what the new school is going to look like (Parents Force Charter Takeover of L.A. High School). GreenbuttonDitto for the related segment focusing on Steve Barr, founder of Green Dot (Private Takeover of L.A. Schools Gets Results - who knew he was an actor and author, too?

What both segments miss out saying, however, is just how quickly the Mayor and LAUSD have moved to woo other struggling schools and ensure that there aren't m/any more Locke High School rebellions in the near future costing them even more money and further embarrassment.  So far, a handful of LAUSD schools have signed on, including Green Dot-candidate Santee High School.  For more on this development:  Victory for reform (LA Daily News).

UPDATE:  The LA Times has all the details and in-fighting about this, including competition between the mayor's initiative and another plan put forth by the head of LAUSD. 

Best Posts Of The Day

Hard-hitting new ads from EDINO8 are the subject of Michele McNeil's latest post (I Will Steal Your Car). Reminds me of the ADHD "hostage" ads I posted about a couple of days ago that say "We have your son..."

The EIA links to A Few Words from Uncle Jay. I love it.  Plus, the weekly Comminique is up. 

071218_foreclosureErin Dillon at TQATE has some questions about the high school reform strategy outlined on Larry Ambramson's NPR segment ("School Choice on Steroids").  My question is whose idea at NPR was it to send Ambramson out on this high school reform goose chase?

The failed history of the Clinton class size initiative is on Charlie B's mind (Under The Clinton Regime, The Education Dice Were Loaded).  What a boondoggle that one was.  And supported by the research, they said.

Not sick of NCLB news yet?  The Hoff has a roundup (NCLB Debate Doesn't Take a Holiday).  Some stuff you might not have seen.  TeacherKen weighs in on the Rothstein piece in American Prospect over at Daily Kos.

Last but not least, the AFT blog ponders this much-blogged quote:  "The quintessential liberal fascist [in the US] isn't an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade-school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore."

"Who's Who?" Update: Power Couples And Quick Turnarounds

What Republican education guru is advising the same campaign that her husband is working on?  What communications guy announced his departure from an education advocacy group just over a month after arriving?  Click here to see what's new on the Campaign 08 page for "Who's Who In Education?"  Click here to see what's new on the Communications page.    As always, feel free to update, correct, or add any information you want -- job departures, staff shakeups, power couples, etc. 

Kennedy Shifting On NCLB Mirrors Miller -- Kozol Helped

Nochildleftbehind While many of us mocked him for it at the time, Jonathan Kozol's partial fast in protest against NCLB got him and the issue a ton of press coverage -- smart like a fox! -- and may even have contributed to a turnaround of sorts by Sen. Ted Kennedy on NCLB.  The two met about 10 days ago, and the PURE blog links to the letter Kozol wrote about the encounter.  Of course, Kennedy like Miller has been long been girding himself for a politically necessary shift on NCLB, though not as publicly as Miller (who now practically flays the law he helped write).  EdWeek's David Hoff reports that Kennedy met with the teachers unions about NCLB recently, and that Miller's folks have taken down the old discussion drafts from September. 

School District Responds To "Lunch Lady" Lies

Survivor_china_official_logo According to a gossip blog that just happened to appear on my screen, Denise Martin from Survivor is not actually a lunch lady -- she's a custodian -- and she wasn't punished for appearing on the show like she said.  Her sob story helped earn her $50K, but will it cost her her job ?  The district released a press release and they sound pretty pissed (Survivor’s Denise Martin is a Liar).  No, that's not the headline of the press release. 

PS:  Sorry to everyone who was mad at me for revealing the series finale results yesterday. I should have run a spoiler alert.

Times, Post Run Home School Huckabee Stories On The Same Day

While no respectable journalist (or blogger) would admit to being manipulated by advocates into running a story, an eagle-eyed reader pointed out that yesterday both the NY Times and the Post just happened to run stories about Mike Huckabee and home schoolers (Huckabee Draws Support of Home-School Families, Home-School Ties Aided Huckabee's Iowa Rise).  I wonder how that happened.

UPDATE:  Even better, one of the reporters who wrote the Post story is Perry Bacon, Jr., the young reporter whose front-page article on rumors surrounding Barack Obama caused tremendous controversy last week.    

Big Stories Of The Day

Governors Cite Education Records EdWeek
The three current presidential hopefuls with experience as state governors have records on education that offer voters an unusually detailed preview of what the nation’s schools might expect if any of the three should win the White House next year.Child_books_dinosaurs

Private Takeover of L.A. Schools Gets Results NPR
Steve Barr, a 43-year-old California entrepreneur, founded an organization that runs 12 schools in the city that have managed to graduate 90 percent of their students, a significant improvement in L.A.'s toughest neighborhoods. PLUS:  A District Where No Two Schools Are Alike.

Democrats Trim Some Education Increases In Latest Budget Bill EdWeek
Federal education spending would increase by 3.2 percent in fiscal 2008 under a bill that Democrats in Congress hope to pass by the end of the week, favoring Democratic priorities over President Bush’s.

Computer-free students find life hard without them USA Today
Caitlin Magnusson's laptop was on the top shelf of her closet, sealed in flowery wrapping paper, covered in duct tape and caged in a box.

Edwards Hates Standardized Tests, Loves Teachers

Here's some video that's being passed around of Edwards blasting standardized (fill in the bubble) tests, exclusion of teachers from the reform process, and punishing low-performing schools:

This is from December 1 in IA, if YouTube is to be believed.  In it, Edwards also says that NCLB is a Bush effort to privatize public schools. 

Questioning IQ In The New Yorker

071217_r16908_p233 I'll leave it to others to comment on this recent article on IQ and race, written by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker (None of the Above). 

It's not that long, by New Yorker standards.  The focus seems to be on what's learned from mixed-race and adopted children.  Writes Gladwell:

"If I.Q. is innate, it shouldn’t make a difference whether it’s a mixed-race child’s mother or father who is black. But it does... The lesson to be drawn from black and white differences was the same as the lesson from the Netherlands years ago: I.Q. measures not just the quality of a person’s mind but the quality of the world that person lives in."

Levine Announces New Effort To Upgrade Teaching

On Wednesday, former Teachers College president Arthur Levine is going to announce some sort of new fellowship program to promote better teaching, long a concern of his.  Levine is now at the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and has issued a series of reports critical of ed school programs in recent years.  The state effort will start off in Indiana, and the national program will include four nationally known ed schools.


Changes To Site Appearance

They're revamping the site, as you may be able to tell -- going to a two-column format and inserting ads along the top and down the side.  There's the same squinty picture that many of you seem to like much more than the old EdWeek one.  If you're looking to email me, get the RSS feed, etc., that stuff is all in the right margin down towards the bottom -- just scroll down to find it:

The posts are now black, not pale gray, which is I think better.  Still to come:  a search box, a larger default font size.  Let me know if you have any problems or want to see any changes.  I'll do what I can do.

District Settles School Uniform Case

Tiggerbio Wow.  A Napa, California school district has just settled a suit filed against its school uniform policy that was initiated by a student who wore Tigger socks to middle school as an act of protest.  The district settled for over $90,000 instead of going to trial. Could other school uniform policies --popular since Bill Clinton fell in love with them in the mid 1990s -- come under legal attack as a result of this decision?  I have no idea.  It surprises me that this hasn't happened before.  You know, the whole Free Speech vs. Minors and Schools thing.  Thanks to my ghost contributor for the link. 

A Hard Right For Giuliani Education Team

Giuliani_516 The most interesting aspects of this story on the Giuliani education team (Champions of Choice) from Friday's New York Sun are first that it signals Giuliani's effort to move to the right on education -- much like he's done on immigration and other issues since becoming a candidate.  (Now he's for vouchers among other things, and at least one education guru has left his camp in response.)

At the same time, the piece shows how Giuliani is trying to counter claims that he didn't do much on education as mayor.  (It's not for lack of trying.  I remember from my brief days as an aide to NYC schools chancellor Ramon Cortines how hard Giuliani was criticizing the school system and pushing for direct control.  He was only slightly better behaved when Rudy Crew came in.)

"No Comment" On Dem. Candidates From Eduwonk

No_commentPeople keep asking me what's happened to Eduwonk, and of course I have no real idea.  But it seems clear that Andywonk doesn't want to comment much on the chances of the various Democratic presidential candidates.  (You won't find much of anything about Clinton, Obama, or Edwards during the past month, for example.) 

Of course, this makes total sense.  For all of the "inside" scoop it's provided, Eduwonk has always been careful to avoid offending funders and allies.  Now, the blog is avoiding ruffled feathers among the Democratic candidates to whom Andy likely wants to have access and/or employment in the future.  It must be killing him. 

What we really need now is an anonymous education blogger or commenter from inside one of the campaigns or the DNC.  Wouldn't that be fun?

Today's Best Blog Posts

Schools are finally figuring out how to make schedules fit kids, not adults, according to Joanne Jacobs (Flex-time high schools).  She's also got a post about these ADHD ads (see picture) that are freaking everyone out.  Gal_agitad_2_3

Speaking of freaking out, Insideschools tells us about how fun it's going to be when New York releases its new growth model rating system to go along with NYC's new grading system (Not happy with one school grade? Have two!).

The Biz Of Knowledge tells us How to Keep Teachers from Enjoying the Holidays. Steal their computers.  D-Ed Reckoning has an interesting discussion going on about learning and research, complete with a response from one of his victims: Downes responds

Winding things up, The 'Kette tells us how folks really respond to threatened closings (Does the Threat of Closing Schools "Work?").  Last but not least, Michele McNeil at EdWeek joins in the "Next Secretary" game (Oprah, the Next Education Secretary?).

Denise The Lunch Lady Comes In 4th On "Survivor"

Survivor_china_official_logo No one watches Survivor anymore -- I know.  But how often does a self-described "lunch lady" from Revere, Massachusetts, make it to the finals?  Not that often.  A karate teacher on the side, Denise made it to the final four, which is more than most of us can say. 

Big Stories Of The Day

No Child Left Behind? Say It in Spanish NYT
Child_books_iggy_peck With the influx of Hispanic stud ents sharply rising, suburban schools are challenged to provide them with the tools to succeed.

Mainstreaming to Cut Costs Wall St. Journal
While studies show that mainstreaming can be beneficial for many students, critics say cash-hungry school districts are pushing the practice too hard, forcing many children into classes that can't meet their needs.

Calls Grow for a Broader Yardstick for School Washington Post
For nearly six years, the federal government has defined school success mainly by how many students pass state reading and math tests. But a growing number of educators and lawmakers are pushing to give more weight to graduation rates, achievement in science and history and even physical education.

Senator Know-It-All -- Or Just Trying Too Hard?

022107clinton I'm a week late in posting this mean but perhaps funny column about Senator Clinton's overly wonky and smartypants speech to the New Hampshire NEA, which had just endorsed. 

Comparing laundry list of  a speech and show-off speaking style to that of failed Democratic wonks of the past -- Al Gore, John Kerry, and Michael Dukakis, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank mocks Clinton's attempts at sounding all educational (Teaching the Teachers). 

His take angered several commenters (see at the bottom) who felt Milbank was being a jerk.  Milbank's critics may be right, but still it IS pretty funny when politicians try to talk about thinks like auditory and kinesthetic learning styles, cohorts and homogenized learning. 

Best Of The Week (December 10-16)

Campaign Staff & Advisory Committee Members
Dissapointed In Obama, Reformista Attacks Linda Darling-Hammond
EXCLUSIVE: Obama Education Adviser Responds

Foundation Follies
Ed In '08 Goes For Theatrical Release
Bloomberg For President

Insideteaching7dTeachers & Teaching
Could "Checklists" Improve Academic Outcomes?
Why The Uptick In Teacher Qualifications?
Better Qualified -- And Better-Looking?

"Put Your Big-Girl Panties On," Says Spellings
Mortgage Meltdown Begins To Affect School Budgets

Urban Ed
They're Water-Boarding Principals In Chicago
New Orleans Job Not Big Enough -- Vallas Considers Side Jobs
Esquire Profiles Harlem Village Academy Founder
Mysterious Klein Aide Leaves Mysteriously 

School Life
US Mint Creating New 15-Cent DIBELS Coin
Drug Dealers Join Junk Food Sellers In Marketing To Kids
Would You Like A Happy Meal For That Grade?
Life Out Of School
Bulletproof Backpacks, Clothes, and Clipboards

Media Watch
New Byline At The NY Times
Stop Wasting Readers' Time With Fluffy Story Openings
US News Suffers High School Ranking Embarassment

Site News
Feeling A Little Down?  Here's Why.
Finding Older Posts

"Put Your Big-Girl Panties On," Says Spellings

Slogans_spellings_3 EdSec Spellings makes it to Number Four on Time Magazine's list of T-Shirt Worthy slogans for 2007 with this instruction apparently given to incoming White House spokesperson Dana Perino on the occasion of her getting the job.

This sounds to me like a female, Texas version of the now-ubiquitous instruction that is given to "man up."

Of course, there are many women who man up more often than men, and several men I can think of who really need to put their big-girl panties on. 

Speed-Reading The Education Blogs

Education For two VERY different views on Obama education adviser Linda Darling- Hammond, check out The 'Kette (Ed Schools Eat Children, Kill Puppies) who calls the attack on her "bilious," or see the DFER guest apologist blogger Siobham Sheils (LDH, the Democrats, and Education Dollars). 

For two slightly different takes on the most recent Democratic debate, you can go to the Daily Kos (A kudo to Hillary) or the American Prospect blog (EDWARDS IS GREAT ON EDUCATION).

Speaking of teachers, here's John Norton's take on the recent ETS report on teacher qualifications (No Magic Wands).  Tim at Assorted Stuff finds that SPED teachers are more content with their work than you might think (Happy Work).

Want something about classrooms, too?  There's a cute post about in-class experimentation over at Circle Time (Save Humpty Dumpty!).  Gotta love Ella Jenkins.  And Will Richardson of Web-logged has some notions about what to do with a popular video game (The Wii as $99 SmartBoard).

US Mint Creating New 15-Cent DIBELS Coin

In partnership with the US Department of Education, the US Mint is planning to create a new 15-cent coin honoring DIBELs.  DIBELS is an early literacy assessment popularized in recent years through Reading First.  Each new coin will be accompanied by a pouch handcrafted and signed by a highly qualified teacher. 

Big Stories Of The Day

Champions of Choice Named to Giuliani Education Team NY Sun
The appointments announced by Mr. Giuliani's campaign today come a day after Senator McCain made an indirect dig at the former mayor's education record by praising Mayor Bloomberg for turning around a system Mr. McCain said had been "clearly broken." 

Testy121307Principals called key in failing schools  Baltimore Sun
An alarming proportion of Maryland's poorest and lowest-performing schools have the least-experienced principals and struggle with high turnover in leadership, according to a study of dozens of schools in the region released yesterday.

Schools Chief Is Home-Schooler
A mother who backs conservative education policies and home-schools her four daughters has been elected head of the board that oversees South Carolina's public schools. PLUS:  Md. Schools Chief Is Reappointed Washington Post

 School Recess Gets Gentler, and the Adults Are Dismayed NYT
Grade school recess — long seen as a way for children to develop social competence, recharge after long lessons, and resist obesity — is being rethought and pared down.

New Orleans Job Not Big Enough -- Vallas Considers Side Jobs

Vallas2 While foundations have just ponied up some serious money to help Paul Vallas revamp the NOLA school system, Vallas is considering taking on side jobs according to this report (Vallas seeks a 'vision' for schools) which says that Vallas and his merry band of consultants would help advise the city of Peoria, Il to the tune of $600,000. 

Vallas, who commutes between NOLA and Chicago, says he won't take any money.

UPDATE:  The firm was invited in to propose a variety of ways to help revamp the 31-school district, according to one of those involved, Gary Solomon.  No budget has been set.  I did some consulting for Solomon when he was a honcho at The Princeton Review. 

Esquire Profiles Harlem Village Academy Founder

Deborahkenny1207lgEsquire magazine's "Best and Brightest 2007" includes a profile of Harlem Village Academy and its founder, Deborah Kenny (pictured).

"How does a white woman, an erstwhile soccer mom, [and a Jack Welch devotee] end up leading the charge for radical education reform in Harlem?

Read the profile and you'll find out. 

Why The Uptick In Teacher Qualifications?

No one really knows why teacher qualifications are up, but some of the most obvious candidates include NCLB's HQT requirement and -- possibly -- TFA's crazy popularity. 

To this list, former Miller staffer Charlie Barone adds that some of the improved academic backgrounds in the teacher candidate pool may have come from the 1998 Higher Education Act amendments, which required ed schools to report their candidates' pass rates on teacher certification exams. 

"This simple provision was spearheaded by Congressman George Miller and Senator Jeff Bingaman (the latter aided by, among others, fellow blogger Alexander Russo) and fought tooth and nail by teachers’ unions and schools of education (AACTE) who argued that this provision would result in lower standards for teachers."

Charlie's too polite to say so, but it was Rena Subotnik, then a Bingaman fellow on leave from Hunter College and now a bigwig at APA, who led the Bingaman effort towards ed school accountability.

Obama Education Adviser Responds

Obama08_badge2tlEXCLUSIVE:  Here's what Linda Darling-Hammond has to say about TFA, teacher preparation, and her role in the Obama campaign:

"TFA has done a great job recruiting committed young people into education for 2 year stints. I've continued to urge the organization to build more and more systematic preparation and supports into their model for these young people so that they can be increasing effective at what they do, and to encourage them to stay longer so that districts get the benefit of the skills they eventually acquire. I'm not sure that encouragement has always been appreciated :) "

As you'll see reading the rest of the email below, LDH also describes the Teacher Residency model that Senator Obama has proposed expanding to other cities, and clarifies that she is just one of many who provide ideas and advice to the candidate.

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Around The Blogs In 60 Seconds

Dffy121107Mary Ann Zehr points us to yet another crazy thing that schools think of doing (Wake County, N.C., Schools Aim to Cap Number of ELLs Per School).

The AFT blog points out that, contrary to what KC claimed, Winerip actually had some ideas in his column about schools and poverty  (Wine-Ripples).

Trapped in NCLB limbo, The Hoff is ramping up his pop culture operation ("Boston Legal" Produces Diatribe Against NCLB).

The Education Intelligence Agency bemoans just how slow and late everything seems this week (It Can't Be THAT Slow).  [Speaking of late, Andywonk yet again posts something from the 1960s (It's All About The Kids!).]

Get Schooled ponders the implications of fly-by-night tutoring companies (Tutoring Firms: Worth The Cost?).  Joanne Jacobs points us to news from California about nefarious charter motivations (Colleges start prep charters).

Better Qualified -- And Better-Looking?

Teachersxlarge_2 Read the comments on yesterday's USA Today story about teachers having higher academic qualifications than they did in the past and you'll come across one wag who notes that it's not just the teacher qualifications that have improved.  They also seem to be more stylish and attractive.

"If the picture shown is an example; teacher qualifications have improved greatly since my school days."

At left, picture  USA Today ran (of Caitlin Woo) that inspired the comment.   Yes, she's from TFA.  There must be something in the water. You know you've thought this. 

Drug Dealers Join Junk Food Sellers In Marketing To Kids

Strawberry_quikForget about companies marketing junk food to kids.  It's drug dealers who are marketing their newest product lines with kid-friendly names. 

According to this story (STLtoday), "Strawberry Quik" is now a slang term for flavored methamphetamine in some neighborhoods.

"Cheese" is  a newly packaged form of heroin that sells for around $2 a dose and resembles grated cheese.

Dissapointed In Obama, Reformista Attacks Linda Darling-Hammond

Hcgj670_obama_20070404185338gifI have some real problems with the tone, substance, and strategy of DFER moneyman Whitney Tilson's post (here) about Stanford professor Linda Darling- Hammond.  Tilson being upset about Obama choosing her as a campaign adviser isn't the issue - he and others have contributed to Obama hoping that he would be a reform-minded candidate and at times like this it's pretty clear that Obama isn't going that way.  And Tilson seems to have figured out in the last few hours that LDH is not going to be Obama's education staffer (click here to see who is). 

But Tilson's anger is focused on LDH, not Obama, and in the process I think he distorts her record and does disservice to his own interests.   I don't always agree with her, but I respect her and think the record is pretty clear that it was Darling-Hammond, among others, who brought the whole issue of teacher quality to the fore as head of NCTAF 10 years ago.  Without NCTAF, I'd argue, we're not talking about performance pay today.  And LDH's critique of TFA is ancient history at this point -- attacking her for that is fighting an old war and makes Tilson and his allies look defensive and mean.  Attacking Obama for his choice just seems politically naive. 

Previous Post:  Who The Hell Is Whitney Tilson?

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