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Schools Run By "Soft-Spoken Women Who Bore Boys"

02sex2190 Here's something to print out and read over the weekend:  Elizabeth Weil's new piece on single-sex education in the NY Times Magazine

"Nobody is keeping exact count of the number of schools offering single-sex classrooms, but Sax estimates that in the fall of 2002, only about a dozen public schools in the United States offered any kind of single-sex educational options (excluding schools which offered single-sex classrooms only in health or physical education). By this past fall, Sax says, that number had soared to more than 360, with boys- and girls-only classrooms now established in Cleveland; Detroit; Albany; Gary, Ind.; Philadelphia; Dallas; and Nashville, among other places."

The line about soft-spoken women also comes from this guy Sax, who seems to be the main proponent of single-sex options.  (I thought that was Whitmire, but I guess I was wrong.).  Am looking forward to reading the whole piece.

Around The Blogs

Book review: Spin Cycle
Charter school research gets examined.

This Is Your Brain On Math
The New Yorker does the math wars.

 Friday Frenzy: On Poverty, the NEA, and Mrs. Obama
Michele has it all.

Rubber Room Movie Team on Chicago Public Radio
This American Life does NYC's "rubber rooms" -- tonight!

Money Talks, But What Does it Say?
Most nonprofits, including “transparent” Education Sector, provide little further insight into sources and uses of funds.

Teacher leaders gone wild.

Who's No Longer Who Among American Teachers
Who's who is no longer.

NCLB: Act II: NCLB's Prospects Dim for '08, McKeon Says
House tells Senate what it can and can't do, says The Hoff

My Couch Is Open Sherman Dorn
Party at Joe's house!

Former Education Commissioner Bill Smith Passes

From Fritz Edelstein:  "It is with deep sadness that I have to inform you of the passing of William L. “Bill” Smith on Friday morning, February 29, 2009.  Many of you knew him as just Bill.  He was the first African-American and last U.S. Commissioner of Education.  Bill was an institution at the Department for close to 40 years.  Bill touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people during his many years at the U.S. Office and U.S. Department of Education.  He will always be remembered for his wit and wisdom, and his unwavering commitment to human and civil rights, equity and adequacy, access, improved teaching and learning, and a quality education for EVERY Child.  Bill was a mentor and leader to many people and breaker of barriers for many others...There will be a memorial service for him in March.  The date, time and place will be announced soon and will be included in a future email."

Even The Think Tanks Shifting Obama's Way

Over at The New Republic, Michelle Cottle describes how "Hillary's" think tank -- the Center on American Progress -- got Obamafied (CAP Trade).  According to Cottle, Obama "has captured the affections of a Beltway institution widely seen as an unofficial outpost of Team Hillary: the Center for American Progress."

Wow.  Two years ago I wrote about the way things used to be:  "Does everybody have to have their own think tank these days -- Hilary has the Center, so Barack gets Hamilton?." (Not Another Center-Left Think Tank).  Some of this shift isn't new, of course.  Longtime readers will remember that Cassandra Butts, who does some of CAP's education work, is a longtime Obama ally. (More Obama-CAP Connections).

Big Stories Of The Day

604169fee5ab702e99d863566eadc02c51c What Makes Finnish Kids So Smart? Wall Street Journal
The academic prowess of Finland's students has lured educators to learn the country's secret. What they find is simple but not easy: well-trained teachers and responsible children.

NCLB's Prospects Dim for '08, McKeon Says EdWeek
McKeon and Miller have not met in months, says McKeon, who finds it hard to imagine how the Senate education committee will be able to make progress either.

Diploma standards to remain Detroit Free Press
State Superintendent Mike Flanagan told a panel of lawmakers Thursday that he saw no reason to water down the state's tough new graduation requirements yet, despite complaints from some parents and educators. PLUS:  Looters Haunt Idle Detroit Public Schools Sites

Teacher-Pay Model Not Seen as Promising at Secondary Level EdWeek
A leading model for professionalizing teaching and changing the way teachers are paid shows mixed capacity for raising student test scores, a study concludes.

Bloomberg Slams Candidates On Accountability

Having announced he won't run for president, NYC Mayor Bloomberg still has some things to say, including this:  "Watching the 2008 presidential campaign, you sometimes get the feeling that the candidates — smart, all of them — must know better....They must know that we can’t fix our schools without holding teachers, principals and parents accountable for results." (I’m Not Running for President).

Around The Blogs

Whatever happened to public school choice, wonders Dana?  Good question.

Fighting Words in Education Crowds
Longer school days are being ducked, according to the Sun.

Everyone's Favorite Punching Bag Returns! The Annual Meetings of AERA
Why the conference sucks, according to Eduwonkette.

Spellings and State Boards
The EdSec goes where the decisions are made, finally.

UPDATE: Some posts I gathered but didn't post from Wednesday:

Kindergarten hair war
Hair, pulling hair, hair pulling.

Money Talks, But What Does it Say?
Follow the money, says Edbizzbuzz

The Quick and the Ed: Sara Returns
A new early ed blog to go along with...the other ones.

The Cyber-Bully Pulpit
Bullies, not grownup pervs, are the problem, it seems.

Think Tank Moonlighting

One more thing about education think tanks that's been nagging at me since last week:  Some think tanks say that they're all about transparency and full disclosure but don't really follow through where it counts.  This is most obvious when it comes to political work.  We have no formal knowledge of what kinds of support and involvement anyone at the Ed Sector (or at the other think tanks) has been having with the political candidates or party organizations.  Ditto when it comes to working the Hill.  That's far more significant to how reporters, readers, and others would weigh what they say in their reports and blog posts or where they got their money from or who's on their board.   And everyone in DC knows who's moonlighting for whom.  I'm not sure I'm advocating for a think tank registration and disclosure process like the ones there are for lobbyists and campaign givers.  Some of this work probably needs to be done in private.  But let's be honest about what full disclosure and transparency would really mean.  And in the meantime, we should all remember that reports and events and blog posts are sometimes the least juicy work that think tanks are doing. 

"Dummy Fatigue"

Everyone (including me) seems to have missed Greg Toppo's skeptical side piece in about kids not knowing anything earlier this week in USA Today (Dummy 'drumbeat' goes on for U.S. students).  Toppo points out that despite the slew of books and studies telling us how dumb kids are now, there's equal evidence that kids are working hard and doing their homework.  Our numbed response to all this is what he calls "dummy fatigue."

Thursday Morning News

Study Offers Initial Data on Milwaukee Voucher Program EdWeek'
The one-year snapshot of 2006-07 found little difference in state test scores between students who use the tuition subsidies to attend private schools and those who attend public schools.

Bush Education Budget Gets Bipartisan Flak EdWeek
Democratic leaders say they are willing to wait for a new president to take office who might be more disposed to supporting their priorities.
08227214716_kidmohawk227 Kindergartner suspended for Mohawk MSNBC
A kindergarten student with a freshly spiked Mohawk has been suspended from school.

Teachers Strike Back at Students Online Pranks
Christian Science Monitor
Tech-savvy teenagers are increasingly paying a heavy price – including criminal arrest – for parodying their teachers on the Internet.

Students searched by teachers over missing $5 MSNBC
A class of third-grade students got a lesson in civil liberties when an envelope containing $5 disappeared from their teacher's desk.

Around The Blogs

E7a0a2b5ee0c5185ddb428c00a3f07ac7ae He’s pimped up Bel Air, married a hottie and saved the world a few times…
When celebrities start schools.

The Education Industry Association’s Annual Washington Meeting (I)
Yes, an industry.  Yes, a meeting.

The one presidential debate that's not happening
No big surprise here.

On the Ground at the Ohio Debate
EDINO8 just won't give up.

ASBJ wins first place award for series on race in schools
Hooray for education journalism.

Common Core Off to a Dubious Start
Another education group gets slammed.

 McCain Already in NEA's Sights
Not a hard target to hit.

Who's Who In Education Update: Heather McGhee

Last week, I misidentified a picture in Hot For Education -- turns out it was Heather McGhee, not Heather Higginbottom. Thanks to a reader for helping set me straight.  Here's all about Heather M if you're curious. Pretty interesting background and accomplishments - Demos, Campus Progress, etc. 

Bedbugs And Other Media Myths

Marchillb Here, Washington Post writer David Segal takes on the media-created notion that there's been a surge of bedbug infestations in recent years (Tiny, Evil -- And Everywhere?).  But he could just as well be talking about education-related media stories:  female teachers seducing male students, schools that "just miss" making AYP under NCLB, school violence. 

In particular, Segal notes how reporters often go to people with a vested interest for information and use it without question.  For education, this would be relying on teachers alone for feedback on how a new program or effort is working, leaving out parents, administrators, and others who might see things differently.

Big Stories Of The Day

516a1af3724600d93abf492976b9bdad431 Education Gets Short Shrift At Governors’ Winter Meeting EdWeek
The long list of priorities that the nation’s governors tackled at their just-concluded annual meeting in Washington barely had room for K-12 education.

Survey Finds Teenagers Ignorant on Basic History and Literature Questions NYT
Fewer than half of American teenagers asked knew when the Civil War was fought, and one in four didn’t know when Columbus sailed to the new world.

Appeals Court Upholds Judge's Order on ELL Deadline for Arizona EdWeek
A federal appeals panel ruled Friday that English-language instruction law is so flawed that it "may well retard or reverse whatever progress has been" made.

Mayor appoints superintendent of instruction LA Times
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, moving to improve struggling campuses that are taking part in his high-profile and high-stakes school reform effort, has tapped a veteran San Diego educator to take charge of instruction at those schools.

States Move Forward on College Readiness EdWeek
More than one-third of states have adopted standards and graduation requirements designed to better prepare young people for college and careers, concludes a report.

Around The Blogs -- Quick!

Das_bloglogoThe February 25 Communique' Is Up!
The coming fight over preschool employees.

AP's "Teacher Sex Abuse" investigation wins AWE award
Now if only Romenesko knew how to spell EWA.

Obama doesn’t stand up to the homeless or the poor.
I'm being tag teamed by the willful misinterpreters known as the Klonskies.

NCLB and where we sit
Who trusts who? No one trusts nobody.

Clinton's Biggest Policy Flip Flops
#2 is NCLB

Team Obama
No mention of Heather Higginbottom or Danielle Gray

NCLB: Act II: Don't Let States Escape on Funding, Civil Rights Groups Tell Judges
The Hoff has the scoop.

Awards Season

Lunch_oscarstatue_325 It's awards season for journalists as well as film stars these days.  Last week, Josh Marshall won the Polk Award (the first blogger ever to do so): Blogger wins major journalism award

Now, EWA announces its winners for education journalism: here

Not everyone's happy, however.  The folks below are attacking EdWeek's Quality Counts as standards-based advocacy, rather than straight journalism.

Continue reading "Awards Season" »

Steve Barr: Is He Real, Or Animatronic?

Via Eduwonk

"No Bold Solutions" On Education From Younger Obama?

Ap_obama_il_senate_080225_ms The piece I've been working on about Obama's productive but mixed record on education issues in Illinois has not yet made it into print, alas, but in the meantime check out this bit from Nightline about the Illinois senator's record over all, including a smidgen of criticism on education: "There were no bold solutions, no effort to stand up to the Chicago public schools or the unions. There really wasn't, and there were opportunities to do so." ("Supporters Say Obama's Record Shows a Bold Leader). 

Big Stories Of The Day

E13886d0445940fe18f2e1624fa958fd9f1RR Donnelley wins $800M contract from McGraw-Hill Education Forbes
Donnelley, a Chicago-based printing company, said the contract covers textbooks, workbooks, testing material, teacher's editions and ancillary products.
Teens losing touch with common historical references USA Today
A study out today finds that about half of 17-year-olds can't identify the books or historical events associated with them.

Outside Help for Schools Possible Washington Post
The Washington Post reported in November that she had approached Mastery, and Green Dot Public Schools of Los Angeles and St. Hope Public Schools in...

Nearby Schools, Worlds ApartWashington Post
Both schools met their annual performance goals last year under No Child Left Behind, a feat attained by about four-fifths of schools statewide.

School district to separate boys, girls MSNBC
Nearly four decades after this rural Georgia county stopped segregating its schools by race, it wants to divide students again _ this time by sex.

Virginia considers leaving federal education act behind
The Virginian-Pilot
In Virginia, where accountability standards pre-date No Child Left Behind, education officials have asked for waivers so the state doesn’t have to comply ...

Selling Out Education, Little By Little

Kevin Carey's rundown of The Wire includes a note about how in this fictional version of Baltimore public education is getting shorted, little by little, despite the mayor's ostensible goodness, ability to inspire, and sincere interest in education (The Quick and the Ed).  In the end, the schools are just a pawn in a much larger political game, pitted against bigger players like crime and budgets. 

"Bitch Is The New Black"

Actress Tina Fey went off on politics this past weekend on Saturday Night Live, taking swipes at Oprah and Obama.  She complained about Hillary Clinton being described as a bitch.  To paraphrase:   "I'm a bitch.  She's a bitch.  You know what?  Bitches  get stuff done... It's not too late, Texas and Ohio.  Bitch is the new black."   Here's the video, and here's a partial transcript. I know you think I hate Obama and this has absolutely nothing to do with education.  But really, I just think this is funny. 

A Spin Around Das Blogs

The Games States Play: Graduation Rates
Charlie hates states like you hate NCLB.

“No Child Left Behind”: Just Our Latest Excuse for Bad Teaching
Chenoweth hates bad teaching like you hate NCLB

Obama on charter schools
Whitney should get paid as an Obama PR person.

Das_bloglogoPublic education is in peril
Or maybe it's just the last Monday in February.

Richard Rothstein and the Cream Puff Caper
Eduwonkette ain't no creampuff.

The confused controversy of cell phones in schools
It's a test security issue in FLA and elsewere.

ED in ‘08 on NBC Nightly News
They're moving up the food chain -- with 2MM's help.

Democratic Candidates Want Better Tests for NCLB
Better and more tests, Dem supporters will be sad to find out.

Students Blog
I wish there was a Chicago version of this -- or a nationwide network of student blogger/journalists covering schools.

Obama, Vouchers, And Where His Kids Go

Some folks -- usually voucher supporters -- think where candidates' kids go is relevant.  Others -- usually voucher opponents -- think it's irrelevant, or even a low blow.  Here the New York Sun (Obama and Vouchers) slams the Obama campaign for it's vouchers clarification last week, as well as for Obama (and Clinton) sending their children to private schools.  It doesn't seem like a low blow to me, though I think Chelsea attended public school for at least part of the time. 

"Big" Stories Of The Day

Multiple_choiceDemocrats’ K-12 Views Differ, Subtly EdWeek
Throughout the presidential campaign, the leading Democrats have been speaking from a similar script on education—until this month.

Reading and Math Curtailing Other Topics, Study Finds  Washington Post
The No Child Left Behind law has led many elementary schools to spend more time on reading and math and less on social studies, science, art and recess, a report released last week finds.

Some Teachers' Contracts Bind Reforms, Study Says  Washington Post
A new study says most of the country's 50 largest school systems, including Prince George's County's, have restrictive labor agreements, tying the hands of superintendents who want to pay more to top teachers and transfer them between schools according to need.

Boy’s Killing, Labeled a Hate Crime, Stuns a Town NYT
An eighth-grade boy was shot to death inside a California junior high school shortly after publicly saying he was gay.

Best Of The Week (February 18-25)

Best Of The Week
Orating Our Way To Better Schools?
"I Have Been An Unwilling Participant In The Destruction Of Young Lives."
 Hot...For Education (2008)

ObamaheismanposeCampaign 2008
Clinton "Jihad" Against Vouchers
Obama "Clarifies" On Vouchers
 Obama Rips NCLB - For Lack Of Foreign Language Instruction
 Misidentifying Obama's Campaign Education Aide

Slow Down On NCLB Rewrite, Coalition Says
How Spellings Strategy Could Screw Up Future NCLB Changes
 More Math And Reading, Less Of Everything Else

The Business Of Education
 What Think Tanks [Don't] Do
 Holding Think Tanks Accountable
The "New" Business Of Education

School Life
 Valentine's Day Drawing Gets Student Paper Pulled
 The Un-Tippable Chair
Obama "Borrowed" Lines About Supporting Charters & Being Open To Vouchers

Teachers & Teaching
 Watch Out For Teachers (& Student Profiles). Not Internet Pervs
 "I Have Been An Unwilling Participant In The Destruction Of Young Lives."

Media Watch
 Former Contributor Making Splashes At The Times
 Getting Just The Blog Posts You Want
 What Would It Take To Get More Education Coverage?
 EDINO8, Hot In '08?
 EdWeek Lets It All Hang Out

A Quick Spin Around The Blogs

A Language Policy for a School Bus Ride
No Spanish on the bus!

Ohio Teachers Want Answers from Obama
When will Clintonistas start bringing this up?

2e9954d7b2603b2dccad1b430960eb5ca44States Make Progress on Closing the Expectations Gap
Yay, Achieve, says Roy.

Deconstructing the Social Keiretsu in Education
This sounds like the title of a freshmen seminar at Yale from 1986

Teaching in the 408: These Four Walls
Restless on the West Coast.

   Klonsky broadside does Piton study wrong
Mike Klonsky -- he's the Rush Limbaugh of the Left.

The Love Boat for Policy Wonks
There should be an education version.

Obama once visited '60s radicals
Not that there's anything wrong with that. 

Orating Our Way To Better Schools?

All this talk about Obama's impressive speaking ability -- his use of words, his lines (some borrowed), his oration -- makes me think about -- you guessed it -- school reform.   

ObamaspencerplattgettyAnd my initial thought, at least, is that we need more actions and less words.  There have been some powerful speakers in education, and some powerful words, but my sense is that action, strategy, and political muscle have played a larger role and are what we need now. 

It's the Clinton argument, you might call it, not the Obama one. 
But is that right?   Perhaps this is just my bias  -- why, as I told my mom the other day, "listening to Obama too much makes me itchy."  I'm moved, but like you I've heard a lot of empty talk about kids and education, so I'm deeply suspicious. 

Can words, no matter how brilliant, increase funding for education, or open the door to bringing in new ideas? Have they?  Or does it take more than that to make real changes?  Read on for more thoughts about oratory and action in the world of schools.  Or, skip all that and tell me what you think.

Continue reading "Orating Our Way To Better Schools?" »

Getting Just The Blog Posts You Want

I was  feeling excited but a little overwhelmed at first by my BlogNetNews RSS feed.  It was drowning me in new education posts -- so much stuff that I couldn't keep up.  Plus, there was some stuff I didn't want (but you may) -- higher ed, for example.  Who care about that?

BlognetnewsBut then I found out from Dave the BNN guy that you can customize your feed so that only the stories you want get sent to you (or your RSS reader).  Just click the "sort by" button right under the top ad and choose the feed that you find there. 

Or, if you're really a control freak, go here, click on the "life" tab, then "education" and there you'll see directions on how to customize a feed further -- by key words, particular author within a multi-person blog and/or by various measures of popularity. You can then choose to have it delivered by rss, mobile, hourly or daily email etc.

Of course, there's nothing better than the hand-crafted snarky roundup that I do every day. 

What Would It Take To Get More Education Coverage?

You want to know just how unimportant education issues are in the current political and journalistic scene?  Note that the past week's kerfluffle ("Voucher-bama"?) has so far generated zero interest from the mainstream media (Google News) and not much more from the political blogs.  This at a time when it doesn't take much to get a story going (Michelle Obama "hates America" for example).  Clinton didn't use the voucher thing against Obama last night.  And voucher opponents and Obama supporters may be heaving a sigh of relief.  But don't think that this is an example of journalistic wisdom, either. 

Big [UN Conspiracy] Stories Of The Day

Virtual teachers outperform real thing MSNBC
Virtual characters and digital tutors are helping children and adults develop advanced social and language skills that can be tough to learn via conventional approaches, according to researchers who briefed reporters here last week at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

BingoUtah lawmakers, fearing UN conspiracy, kill funds for IB program Salt Lake Tribune
Lawmakers decided against helping Utah schools pay for International Baccalaureate (IB) programs after one legislator called IB's philosophy "anti-American" today.

SAT sues test-prep company over 'live' questions CNN.com
The owner of the SAT and PSAT exams sued a Dallas-area test-preparation company Wednesday, accusing it of illegally obtaining copies of "live" test questions that it then used to help students practice.

Much of Recalled Meat Sent To Schools Washington Post
More than a third of the 143 million pounds of California beef recalled this week went to school lunch programs, with at least 20 million pounds consumed, Agriculture Department officials said Thursday.

Stable Prekindergarten Funding Proves Challenging for States EdWeek
State policymakers are still scrounging for more money for pre-K programs despite a pre-K spending growth of $1 billion over the past two years.

Obama Rips NCLB - For Lack Of Foreign Language Instruction

From last night's debate:

Images"One of the failures of No Child Left Behind, a law that I think a lot of local and state officials have been troubled by, is that it is so narrowly focused on standardized tests that it has pushed out a lot of important learning that needs to take place. (APPLAUSE) And foreign languages is one of those areas that I think has been neglected. I want to put more resources into it."

A Quick Spin Around The Blogs

Setting the record straight:  "Right-wing Dems" foiled again on Voucher-Bama, says Klonsky.

Abc_barack_clinton_070425_msObama and Clinton: Educational Policy Differences:  Besides on vouchers, that is.

"i'm hot for education":  Josh Benton comes to terms with himself.

If You Can't Beat 'Em...:  Union local gives it up and joins the parade, says EIA.

Tied Down:  The Kette promos a Russo-Rotherham throwdown at AERA.

Deconstructing a "Social Keiretsu":  Edbizzbuzz goes all 80's on us with his analysis of the school reform mafia. 

Slow Down On NCLB Rewrite, Coalition Says

20mccain190a The Forum On Ed Accountability wants the Senate to slow down and let people look at their proposed revisions before marking anything up (still March 3, anyone?).  Click below for what the FEA has to say.  No word yet from the Committee on a markup date, or whether they're going to release anything more for folks to look at. 

Given the Miller experience last Fall, I can't imagine they'd want to put out a discussion draft or give folks so much time to load and fire.  But they can't do nothing -- that leaves too much room for Spellings to do the easy stuff and leaves them with an unbalanced agenda of leftovers.  (You want to tighten up on restructuring, for example, at the same time you ease up on schools that "just miss" AYP.) Plus which, there's the whole issue of maintaining turf. 

Previous Posts:
 How Spellings Strategy Could Screw Up Future NCLB Changes
 Rumored March 3rd Senate Markup For NCLB
 New NCLB Language Out From Kennedy-Enzi
 NCLB Now?

Continue reading "Slow Down On NCLB Rewrite, Coalition Says" »

More Math And Reading, Less Of Everything Else

Canonpocketronic_1 Not as much news coverage or blogging about the new CEP report on instructional time as last year:

Reading, math eat up class hours Baltimore Sun
The report released yesterday by the Center on Education Policy shows that some school districts increased math and reading time by as much as 150 minutes a week, while cutting time for social studies, science, music and art by one-third.

More Time for Math and Reading Equals Less for Other Subjects EdWeek
The findings offer further evidence that the No Child Left Behind law has led to sizable shifts in the curriculum.

Blog Posts:
CEP Adds Fuel to Fire of Curriculum Debate
Test Prep Mania in Our Schools: Who’s Really to Blame?

Big Stories Of The Day

Cabinet secretary spells out testing during visit
U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings told a group of Kansas educators Wednesday the additional testing mandated by No Child Left Behind was worth the stress.

F040107b65ce30a9964fc04c566f4846b02College Board sues test-prep company EdWeek
The owner of the SAT and PSAT exams sued a Dallas-area test-preparation company Wednesday, accusing it of trying to give its customers an unfair edge on the tests by illegally obtaining "live" copies to help students practice.

Cash Awards in Ohio Found to Lift Students’ Scores EdWeek
Federal pressure to improve student test scores prompt school districts to pay students for improved performance.

In the Bronx, a class with conservation at its core CSM
At the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation, the zoo is more than a field trip – and fieldwork covers topics from temperate forests to river turbidity.

Federal Report Counts Youngsters’ Deaths from ‘Choking Game’ AP
Federal health officials have issued a warning about the dangers of the “choking game” after determining that at least 82 youths have died in the past 12 years. 

The "New" Business Of Education

Businessofedprattlm The business of education isn't new to anyone who's been reading this blog, but if you want some new news to chew on about how the education world works behind the scenes, there's a nice new set of articles about the business side of things that's been posted on PBS's Nightly Business Report.   This includes segments like: Standardized Testing, Tutoring Services, Charter Schools, Educational Technology, Investment Opportunities.

Check them out. Let me know if you make any money. 

Valentine's Day Drawing Gets Student Paper Pulled

Oprah_wideweb__470x3122"The drawing in question ran under the hot-pink headline "Have a happy Vagina Day!" The paper's editor-in-chief, 15-year-old Richard Edmond, said he was trying to raise awareness of violence against women with a lead story about playwright Eve Ensler's "Vagina Monologues."  (School newspaper drops a V-bomb)

Knowing that some of you are squeamish, and considering the time of day, I'm putting the picture of the front page in question below. Click at your own discretion.

Continue reading "Valentine's Day Drawing Gets Student Paper Pulled" »

Obama "Clarifies" On Vouchers

Oops.  I guess Obama didn't all say what we heard him say in Milwaukee:

2008_2_obama_wins“Senator Obama has always been a critic of vouchers, and expressed his longstanding skepticism in that interview,” says the statement. “Throughout his career, he has voted against voucher proposals and voiced concern for siphoning off resources from our public schools. The misleading reports that have been circulated about Senator Obama’s position took excerpts of an interview out of context.”

That, or he realized that his comments were going to endanger his (currently slim) chances of an NEA endorsement, end up in a Clinton speech, or come up on the Sunday talk shows. 

Via the Core Knowledge Blog.   

DFER: Obama To Vouchers:  Drop Dead
MM: Obama's Damage Control on Vouchers

A Quick Spin Around The Blogs

Teacher bloggers: Don't forget who does the real work here -- but Will Okun should be included.

Glover park, $2,617,982 - a UFT Slush Fund for Clinton?:  Clinton and the UFT both pay Howard Wolfson a LOT of money.

5efd7754b3486d16516d70856007b1ee804Once More Into The...?  Where others see a clubhouse, Andywonk sees only differences. (However, there are still flashes of bloggy brilliance.  To wit:  "I'm cutting this post by 56 percent over previous ones on the same subject.")

What will the Ivy Leagues really get you?  "Not much, apparently."

Test Prep Mania in Our Schools: Who’s Really to Blame?  EdTruster Karin C. says it's not NCLB's fault, after all.  Personally, I blame it on global warming.

Questioning the Notion of Online Predators PBS blog picks up on media hype re online predators. 
It's the teachers you need to watch out for.

Surveillance Cameras Violate Fourth Amendment, Appeals Court Rules:  Someone tell Mark Walsh that this isn't blogging -- this is news!

What Think Tanks [Don't] Do

This post from Tom Toch (How We Deal) is all about what the Ed Sector doesn't do.  It isn't for or against any legislation, doesn't sign onto pledges, doesn't do fee for service work or advocacy, and doesn't take any money without disclosing where it gets it. A funder reading this list of don't might wonder what it was getting for its money.  Where and when have they and other think tanks demonstrated their supposed independence from each other?  What about political , legislative, and campaign activities that funders are paying for but don't get into reports and papers?  The real question is what the Ed Sector and organizations like it actually do, not what they don't do.

"I Have Been An Unwilling Participant In The Destruction Of Young Lives."

Are teachers responsible for what they do to kids "because they have to"? Do kids care whether it's the teacher or some outside force at work? Chicago teacher Will Okun has a new blog post out (‘They Schools’) about, among other things,  the sometimes terrible things that teachers do to urban youth, most of it involuntarily.  Okun quotes a teacher who says, "I have been an unwilling participant in the destruction of young lives. Simply being witness and not speaking out daily makes me feel the soulful guilt of a thief." He also links to a very political (and very foul-mouthed) video called They Schools, by Ded Prez, which is perhaps one of the angriest screeds from a student's perspective that I've seen in a while. 

Watch at your own risk. May be NSFW.

Obama "Borrowed" Lines About Supporting Charters & Being Open To Vouchers


No, he didn't (far as I know).  But wouldn't it be funny -- and a great relief to folks who hate vouchers but want to support Obama -- if some of the lines that have been lifted from MA Gov. Deval Patrick were those ones about Obama being open to vouchers and supportive of charters?  Then Obama's progressive supporters could heave a sigh of relief -- but their candidate probably wouldn't be as appealing to independents and moderates. 

Big [Beef] Stories Of The Day

4f2fb5a38bc3316a5a541c503229096b62aSchools Scramble Menus After Big Beef Recall NPR
The largest beef recall in U.S. history has sent school districts scrambling to clean out their freezers and shake up their menus. Melissa block talks with Marsha Metzger, nutrition director for the Fort Wayne Community School District.

Parents Rise Up Against A New Approach to Math Washington Post
In Prince William and elsewhere in the country, a math textbook series ["Investigations in Number, Data, and Space," a Pearson School series] has fomented upheaval among some parents and teachers who say its methods are convoluted and fail to help children master basic math skills and facts.

NCLB Restructuring Found Ineffectual Ed Week
In a report that raises questions about school restructuring under the No Child Left Behind Act, a national research and advocacy group says that few of the hundreds of failing California schools that enter restructuring each year pull their test scores up enough to exit the process.

Flagging Economy Propels Financial Education EdWeek
Concerns about the foundering economy are helping to highlight the need to improve students’ understanding of money matters.

Misidentifying Obama's Campaign Education Aide

Hh Heather Higginbottom is many things, including policy adviser to Barack Obama on education and other domestic issues. 

But she's apparently not the person depicted in Hot For Education 2008 (see here). 

Many, many apologies for that. I'm duly embarrassed -- and surprised it doesn't happen more often.

Here is the "real" Higginbottom.  Or so someone with her email address tells me.

The Un-Tippable Chair

Ma185x_285031a_2 You already know how to put tennis balls on the bottoms of chairs to keep them from squealing and screeching all the time. 

Now someone's invented an un-tippable chair to keep kids from leaning back and thwapping their little noggins on the floor when they fall over. 

It's a new alternative to making kids sit on the floor, trying to get everyone's attention back when they're laughing at a classmate who's fallen, or taking a student to the office when they really get hurt.

Watch Out For Teachers (& Student Profiles). Not Internet Pervs

Here are a couple of articles that support my notion that it's teachers and other real-world adults not strangers on the internet that most parents should be worrying about.  (Plus, what their kids put on their own profiles.):

Security_alertInternet-Predator Concerns Overblown, Researchers Say The Seattle Times
A lot of parental worries about Internet sex predators are unjustified, according to new research by a leading center that studies crimes against children.  

Schools Let Sex Abuse Cases Slide (first in a series) The (Portland) Oregonian
While school administrators were aware of his inappropriate behavior with students, years passed before Joseph Billera, a charismatic middle school band teacher, was arrested and convicted for raping two students and molesting two others.

Former teacher sentenced in sex case MSNBC
A former middle school teacher was sent to prison for six years Tuesday for having sexual encounters with five teenage boys. Authorities said Allenna Ward, 24, met 14- and 15-year-old boys at the school where she taught as well as at a motel, a park and behind a restaurant.  


Holding Think Tanks Accountable

There is a ton of posting and commentary flying around about whether think tank folks are overly chummy with each other -- see reader responses at Eduwonkette and edbizzbuzz

Poohsleepy011808There are a lot of smart people working on education policy these days, and they can hang out together and serve on each other's boards all they want, far as I'm concerned. But from what I have seen in recent years especially, not enough of them are holding themselves or each other accountable for the quality and impact of their work.   (Ironically, while talking about accountability and competition.)

Folks who think they're part of a club don't compete with one another, tend to defend each other against outside criticism, refrain from scrutinizing each other's ideas, and neglect focusing squarely on the quality of their ideas and their success at getting them adopted and implemented. [This has long been one of my issues with Andy Rotherham, who consistently refuses to take on other think tank folks -- even Republican ones.]

If think tank work isn't really generating transformative ideas or real-world policies and program adoption, then I think eventually funders will  find something else to do with their money.  One idea that Dean elaborated on recently would be to reconceive think tanks as marketers -- no need to generate research -- leave the advocacy to folks who do advocacy, and use consulting firms like BCG or Alvarez to get things done on the ground. What do you think?

Big [Obama] Stories Of The Day

Obama5Is Obama for or against vouchers?
Scott Elliott explains it all to us.

If a Student of Yours Plagiarized, What Would Be the Punishment?
Michele goes all schoolmarm over the borrowed Obama speech.

McCain on Vouchers: Accountability for All?
Forget NCLB, says The Hoff.  Let's talk politics!

Three Presidencies Will Decide U.S. Education Policy
Charlie for president!

Funding Frenzy
She says she's not out to villainize anyone.

Memories: Teachers in Charge
Ah, yes, those were the days.  Weren't they?

EDINO8, Hot In '08?

1105242895_7d344cc182Understandably miffed at having their logo -- but not their faces -- used in yesterday's 2008 roundup of education hotties, the folks at EDIN08 sent along this picture to remind everyone that they're hot, too. 

Dig around here and you can probably find more.  Like this, for example:2230361893_9d8b44a95a

How Spellings Strategy Could Screw Up Future NCLB Changes

Mesecar It's no big news that EdSec Spellings has the notion to revamp NCLB with or without a formal reauthorization, but this story from CQ (Bush Mints a Legacy) gives us some new details to chew on.  In particular, the piece points out that state plan approval could be used, along with directives and pilots and waivers we already know about.  Plus Spellings' secret weapon:  Acting Assistant Secretary of Education Douglas Mesecar (pictured).  However, if the USDE gives away the store -- implementing consensus items and offering states and districts sweeteners -- then it makes it all that much harder for Congress and a new President to get the other, harder stuff done in 2009.

UPDATE:  Is Assistant Sec higher or lower than Deputy Sec?  I forget (don't care).  In any case, congrats, condolences to Mesecar The Missile, per the email below. It's not how long you're there, remember, or whether you get anything done, but rather the title you have when you leave.  The rest is like your GPA -- no one remembers, no one cares. 

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