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EdWeek Lets It All Hang Out

Images9 Following the lead of the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, and other outlets that initially tried to make folks pay for content but then decided to go the free/advertising route, EdWeek.org announced some changes last week that will make many of you happy (Free Content). 

Not everything's free, but a lot more than in the past -- most notable the site's AP education stories and weekly Editor's Picks. 

Big Stories Of The Day

200602122125 Bush Mints a Legacy Politico
However, the administration still has its sights on salvaging No Child for its legacy dossier — and has adopted some ingenious executive backdoor strategies for ensuring that key provisions get changed before Bush leaves office.

As graduation rates go down, school ratings go up Eureka Alert
A new study by researchers at Rice University and the University of Texas-Austin finds that Texas' public school accountability system, the model for the national No Child Left Behind Act, directly contributes to lower graduation rates.

Judgment day for L.A. teacher union officials LA Times
The band of left-wing, dissident back-benchers that took over the city teachers union three years ago faces a verdict this week on its revolution. United Teachers Los Angeles is holding elections, the results of which will affect not only teachers but also school-reform efforts and city politics.

Dallas-Fort Worth teachers flock to quicker, cheaper master's program Dallas Morning News
An unusual new graduate program is signing up Texas teachers who seek to earn a fast, inexpensive master's degree.

Around The Blogs

1101080225_400TIME Magazine on Teachers and the Candidates
Roy touts EDINO8.

“Two Million Minutes” well meaning, misleading
Education's Michael Moore movie comes under attack.

"One Size Fits All" = "I Buried Paul"
Charlie mocks a popular NCLB myth, and links to a video.

Gorillas split on teaching of evolution in Florida
Best headline of the day. 

Real Work by My Smart Daughter
Turns out there is no name for the division symbol.

A Web of Intrigue
Seriously.  I've written about this for years now to no avail. 
Is it that there are so many more blogs now?  Or is it the chart? 

Clinton "Jihad" Against Vouchers

Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader for pointing out the crazy comment from Senator Clinton that closes Elizabeth Green's Obama recent voucher story (Obama Open to Private School Vouchers): 

"Asked the same voucher question by the Milwaukee paper, Senator Clinton had a strong response, saying she opposes vouchers because they hurt public schools and could also open up the possibility of using taxpayer dollars to finance dangerous schools including training grounds for "jihad."

Here's Green's source:  Clinton covers range of subjects.  However, this view from Clinton may not be new,  Above is a clip of Clinton talking about religious discrimination and vouchers that says much the same thing.  I think it's from last summer.   Here's a reference going back to 2006.

Now I'm no legal expert, but this outcome seems pretty unlikely.  Clinton sounds like she's just really upset that Constitutional arguments against vouchers have been undermined and wants us to know of the evils of not separating church and state.  Or she's just reminding folks that Obama went to a madrassa as a child (joke!).

Former Contributor Making Splashes At The Times

12bus_650 Former contributor Amanda Millner-Fairbanks is showing up more and more on the pages of the New York Times -- most recently with this article about the only city bus that goes directly to a specialized high school (Bronx Science), and the kids who rely on it.  A former teacher and recent graduate from Columbia, she used to coordinate and edit the "HotSeat" interviews for this site.  It's great to see her succeeding on a much much bigger stage. 

Hot...For Education (2008)

Ed_in_08_logo_homehot It's not concern for the kids that energizes school reform efforts.  It's the good teeth, the charm, and the outfits that bring in the foundation dollars and get the negotiations done.

With that in mind, the third annual "Hot...For Education" issue is finally out.

No, there are no painted-on bikinis or six-pack abs. (Maybe next year?) As you will see, "hot" is defined broadly here -- think "multiple measures." Among the selected include those who are good looking, those who have had a great year, those who are particularly passionate about school reform, or some mixture of the above.For example, one of the "honorees" is no longer with us, in the traditional sense.  Another of the honorees doesn't exist, in the traditional sense.

As always, your suggestions and comments are welcome -- pictures, too.  Who did I miss?  What did I get wrong?  Remember, previous honorees aren't eligible.  Neither are folks who don't have a picture I can find on Google images.   

Continue reading "Hot...For Education (2008)" »

Big Stories Of The Day

Stink_eye McCain Emphasizes School Choice, Accountability, But Lacks Specifics EdWeek
He has supported efforts to boost federal funding for special education programs. In 2001, he voted for the No Child Left Behind Act and has voiced his support for it during his presidential campaign.

Chicago looks to 'turnarounds' to lift failing schools Christian Science Monitor
The unproven reform includes firing a school's entire staff.

Survey on Homework Reveals Acceptance, Despite Some Gripes EdWeek
According to the survey, 77 percent of students and more than 80 percent of teachers and parents say homework is important or very important.

Campuses Face New Reality of Safety Situation NPR
Following Thursday's killing of five students on the campus of Northern Illinois University, Host Liane Hansen talks with Jonathan Kassa, executive director of Security on Campus.  PLUS: Illinois College Applied Lessons From Massacre At Virginia Tech.

A Quick Spin Around The Blogs


McCain on NCLB, Obama on Vouchers, and More: The Hoff crosses the line into Michele's turf with the video above.

TIME looks at merit pay, and its history:  A good catch from a blog I should check more.

Resource on Candidates' positions: Education.com revealed as Scientology news outlet. [Before we all start using them, does anyone know who these guys at Education.com really are?]

Multiple Choices: AFT vs. Susan Ohanian -- who'd a thunk it?

Scratch a dinosaur, find a dinosaur:  Edwize doesn't like the new Fordham/Hess report on labor contracts.

A dose of reality on our dropout rate:  It's bad.  Really bad.

"Good Ideas" Not Enough, Political Panel Says

Obamasuperman Highlights from the morning panel on politics included a Paul Tough sighting (the NYT magazine editors' book on the Harlem Children's Zone is coming out in September), Joe Williams from DFER talking about what an interesting time it is now that Obama is talking charters and other labor unions besides the NEA and AFT are getting active on education issues, and Steve Barr and Marc Lampkin from EDINO8 highlighting the need to make reform a visceral middle-class issue, not an altruistic theoretical one.

What else?  Barr and Hess went out for steaks and cigars without me last night, those bums.  There's a guy talking at us while we eat lunch saying that low-cost inferior products (this blog, for example), often come in and disrupt higher-cost, higher-quality products (a newspaper, say).  Oh, and everyone here is hot for education. 

What You're Missing At Yale

I've passed in and out of consciousness during Rick Hess's opening talk at the Yale thing today -- the guy talks so fast and I'm still catching up on coffee.  Favorite lines so far include one about how he's not going to talk about how much he loves kids.  That's not the point, says Dr. Hess.  Hear hear.  I often think about renaming this blog "It's Not About The Kids."  Hess also slammed the current turnaround craze, pointing out that even in business most turnarounds fall on their faces.  That may be, says I, but new school creation isn't going to get us there, either.  Spotted so far:  Andy Newman (Eduventures), Steve Barr (Green Dot), Jonathan Gyurko (UFT), Jenny Medina (NYT), Joe Williams (mentioned on Slate!), Eva Moskowitz (NYC).  Pics and updates to follow. 

Obama And Vouchers Nothing New

Longtime readers of this blog won't be surprised at Barack Obama's willingness to talk about vouchers more openly than others.  He's said all this before (From 2006:  Vouchers & Obama In The 2008 Primaries, from 2005:  Open Minded On Education, from 2004:  Obama and Vouchers).  And indeed I've pointed out that more and more Dems have gone over to the voucher side, whether it's about DC schools or Katrina victims.  On substantive grounds, the pure antivoucher position is a tough one to maintain.  Especially given the existence of vouchers for higher ed (ie, Pell grants). 

What's different here is that Obama's in a close race for the Dem. nomination, and that his comments follow on similarly unorthodox remarks on charters.  This is the opposite of pandering to the teachers unions and labor.  He's saying he's above all that, and can say what he wants and is right.  Which is either true, or incredibly hubristic.  Right now, he's still winning union endorsements [SEIU].  But if his candidacy falls apart, and labor plays a part in that, we'll all look back to this and wonder if it was part of the reason. 

Rotherham To The Rescue

Given a choice between examining the substance or siding with his think tank friends, Andywonk chooses...his friends.  Big surprise, I know.  Within the club, these guys stick together like white on white.  In this case, it's about the Ed Next article on New York City that Diane Ravitch found objectionable and I found otherwise wanting.  Andy thinks it was declasse of me to say that I could have done it better.  I thought it would have been strange to comment on another freelancer's work without admitting my own interests. Ravitch v. Bloomberg...v. Ed Next?.

Si Se Puede (Yes, We Can)? Turn Around Low Performing Schools

Doubleturn Turnarounds are all the rage.  Politically and practically, turning around low-performing schools is essential.  It's where school leaders and politicos show their chops -- for real or at least for a moment.  It's where the kids and teachers who need help most are often congregated (5,00 schools, 2.5 million kids) .  It's where no amount of new school creation (ie, charters) is going to get you anytime soon.  It's where NCLB is going.

There is for me, however, a sickening echo of the half-baked efforts behind comprehensive school reform (CSR) from the 1990s, and small schools conversions from earlier this decade. Can we not do that all over again, please?  That's my hope.  And, intellectually at least, the new turnaround folks seem to get it (Inside the ‘Crucible’ of School Reform).  But I'm not sure anyone else does.  And no one needs another round of failed interventions. 

Next:  A conversation with Mr. Turnaround, Andy Calkins.

Using NASCAR -- And Authentic Lab Questions -- To Engage Students In Science

Forget trying to scare kids into being interested in science.  Pull them in with stuff they're already interested in -- like NASCAR, according to this New York Times article (It’s All Aerodynamics).  Nothing new to good teachers, I'm sure.  But a scientist who just wrote a book is making the point once more  -- figuring out why drafting works to make the guy following AND leading go faster, and how bumping and power bumping evolved -- is what gets kids excited. 

500logo193“When you listen to a driver and his crew chief trying to figure out how to give the car more grip in Turn 2, that’s the scientific method in action. They’re asking questions about load transfer and downforce, and they don’t know the answers until they’ve done the experiment.”

Next step:  Figure out how to make mixed martial arts a part of the curriculum.  It's the new pro wrestling.

Workplace Rivalries Lower Productivity

2008_01_29_enzyte Work related romances create a certain set of problems, according to this Time Magazine article, but even more destructive is the "collenemy" -- a friend-like colleague who is really a rival or underminer (Fear the collenemy).  It's the newest variant on the "frenemy" concept.  And it's not at all uncommon.  Something like 50 percent of workers in one survey reported losing time at work over a real or potential dispute with a colleague. 

Big Stories Of The Day

Gunman Slays 5 at N. Illinois University AP
Friday’s classes were canceled at Northern Illinois University after a gunman went into a lecture hall on Thursday and killed five students and himself. Sixteen other students were wounded.

4c147019cb5f95190334b6c75f0fe9b8865Bills to Aid School Facilities Get Attention EdWeek
Democratic lawmakers have sponsored a spate of bills aimed at providing federal resources for school construction, including so-called “green schools.

Homework Survey Shows Teacher-Parent Divide NPR
One in four teachers rated the quality of their homework as "excellent." But one-third of parents rated the quality of homework "fair to poor." Parents also complained that homework takes up too much time and deprives their children of sleep.

Varying Degrees of Flexibility Found in Teacher Contracts EdWeek
Just five of the teacher contracts in the nation’s largest school districts grant school leaders the kind of flexibility they need to run schools well.

One goof - now schools' reputations are at stake Las Vegas Sun
Elementary and middle schools in the Clark County School District have been blindsided by a scheduling error for a crucial statewide test, a mistake that has ratcheted up the pressure on many teachers and students.

Chicago looks to 'turnarounds' to lift failing schools Christian Science Monitor
The unproven reform includes firing a school's entire staff.

Secret Admirers In The Education World

11209_pvu In the spirit of secret Valentine's Day crushes, here's one of the folks who's been suggested for this year's Hot For Education.

She's Pauline Vu, the education writer for Stateline.org, who found her calling via Medill and UCLA.  Forget those credentials, though.  With that smile and that hair, her sources don't stand a chance. 

Vu says she has no idea who suggested her and wishes I wouldn't be doing this.


Are you a secret admirer?  Keep those nominations coming in!

Once Around The Blogs

Lots of good stuff out there today:

The Wages of Wynn
Criticizing NCLB may get you a teachers' union endorsement, but not a win.

Df476bc13b7b258832121222c90ced4be40Right on, Ravitch: One of the irascible Klonskies thinks I was criticizing Ravitch.

The Randi Weingarten Succession Obsession: She's got more power at the UFT than she'd have at AFT or the USDE.

Should McCain Get an "Incomplete" Grade in Education?: Flunk the old coot, I say.

We Need Better Teaching: Karin Chenoweth interviews a teacher union leader.

New Polls – ED Moves Up! Recessions are good for education, it turns out.

Obama Feeling His Oats: He might be pulling a John Kerry here, says EIA.

Vouchers: alive, well and working:  Public school choice, however, now that one's dead.

Charting The Education "Club"

Board_interlocks Much as I like eduwonkette's attempt to chart the connections between school reform groups (It's a Small World After All), appreciate her link back to a previous post of mine (A Surge Of Think Tanks), and love pretty much anything that makes Andywonk squeal like a baby, I wish The 'Kette had looked back a little further in the TWIE archives to find a string of previous posts on this same topic that might have helped her. 

The relationships go further and are deeper than everyone sitting on everyone else's boards, creating a strange little club that is hard to figure out and even harder to join.  Here's a post about power couples in education.  Here's a wiki about who's who among the wonks.  Here's a post from last year's NSVF summit (The Sundance Of School Reform).  Don't even get me started about funders. 

Education's Parallel World

Coming up tomorrow, the Yale  Education Leadership Conference is one part New Schools Venture Fund minisummit and one part job fair for SOM folks.  594de928acbf474e17ba781de17a6ee8187It looks like it's going to be full of people and organizations that I've written about in the past -- New Leaders, Joe Williams, Paul Tough, etc. -- and people I'm still hoping to profile -- Steve Barr, etc.  In addition I'm looking forward to meeting new folks -- Marc Lampkin from EDIN08 (now called "executive director" -- wonder if Romer knows?), Dennis Littky from Big Picture who I've talked to but never met, and Adam Newman from Eduventures, which just sold off part of its business.  Based on previous experience, it's likely to be a little charter-heavy and hand-wavy for me -- a little light on real folks from unions and districts and politics.  This won't be that kind of crowd.  But I'm still looking forward to it and will surely enjoy it nonetheless.


Big NCLB & AP Stories Of The Day

071105_artsmillerteddy Kennedy lends heft to NCLB Politico.com
“No Child Left Behind has become a banner for what’s wrong with our education system,” Kennedy admitted in a recent interview. “But what we have to try and do now is see how we can take the benefits of six years of this legislation — even with all of its faults — and see if we can’t find the common ground that will strengthen and improve our children’s education.”

PLUS:  Enzi adheres to ‘80/20 rule'

AP Scores Fall as Test-Taking Rises EdWeek
More students are taking Advanced Placement tests, but the proportion of tests receiving what is deemed a passing score has dipped, and the mean score is down for the fourth year in a row, an analysis of newly released data from the College Board shows.

OR:  Larger Share of Students Succeed on A.P. Tests NYT

Pointy Headed Pundits Can't Make Local Control Go Away

Schoolfunding I've already posted a couple of times about Matt Miller's fun but ridiculous article about getting rid of local school boards, but Matt Yglesias has his own thoughts and -- even better -- a handy dandy map of funding variations within states and across the country (The Trouble With Local Control). He's also got a million readers and lots of fun comments to check out.

"Miller's article isn't even primarily about money. Instead, it's about the fact that these general institutional issue persists throughout our educational system -- things are wildly different from district to district, and especially from state to state. That's the American tradition of local control at work. But while this is very much our tradition, it's not a very good one."

Yglesias' best point is his last one -- that Iowa and New Hampshire are fierce local control states, and early in the political primary season.  Who's gonna go against that if they want to win national office?  If only Miller had called Yglesias before he wrote the piece.  I propose a ban on "neat" policy notions that include no viable path towards adoption.

Around The Blogs

Here's how it works.  Bloggers blog.  I find the best ones and comment on them.  You read (or not):

2006_01_bart_schoolLearning to Lie New York Magazine
Not really a blog post but too good to pass up.

 What Happened in Public Education Before Social Entrepreneurship?
Or:  Join a consulting firm, not a think tank.

NEA's Conventional Influence
Oh no! NEA Super-delegates might decide the nomination! For Clinton, I'm saying.

Mystery meat
Mad cow in the lunchroom cafeteria.

Best headline of the day, so far. 

Crushing On A Colleague? Send It In.

KnowlesIt's almost time for the 2008 edition of "Hot For Education," an annual roundup of education hotties, male and female, famous and just well-known.

As you may recall, last year's list featured a shirtless Barack Obama (then new to the Senate education committee) and a kissable EdSec Spellings (aka, the "yummy mummy of NCLB"). 

The original group included Ted Kennedy, Nina Rees, Jon Schnur, Wendy Kopp, & Tim Knowles (pictured), as well as Pedro Noguera. 

Got any ideas about who should be in this year's edition?  The rules are simple.  Previous winners are not eligible. Nominees have to work in education or an education-related field (ie, education reporter).  They have to be hot, broadly defined.  There has to be an easily available picture.   Shout them out in the comments section, or whisper them secretly via email (thisweekineducation@gmail.com).

UPDATE:  So far, so good (see below).  Keep those nominations coming.

Big Stories Of The Day

What’s in a Name? GOP Says Anything Except ‘Vouchers’ EdWeek
When President Bush proposed “Pell Grants for Kids” recently, he added another entry into the dictionary of creative names for school choice programs.

7648c8ca713d12ef8f4c0872c848cee7bc4Settlement opens door to charter schools in L.A. Los Angeles Times
More Los Angeles campuses will have to make room for charter schools, even if some teachers are forced to give up their classrooms and become roving instructors, under a litigation settlement approved by the Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday.

New Title I Fiscal Guidance Has Big Implications for Schoolwides Title I Monitor
The U.S. Department of Education has released new Title I fiscal guidance intended to resolve, once and for all, questions about how to consolidate funds in schoolwide programs.

Teacher taught high school for 17 years without being able to read MSNBC
Corcoran's life of secrecy started at a young age. He said his teachers moved him up from grade to grade.

One Dad's Campaign to Save America Washington Post
Bob Compton may be wrong about American students losing out to our hard-working Indian and Chinese competitors, but he is astonishingly sincere in his views.

No Clinton Cabinet For Weingarten

UFT President Randi Weingarten's name came up pretty quickly a few months ago when we first started speculating about who would be the next education secretary.  Now it turns out that it wasn't such a wild guess.  From the NY Sun today (Path Clear for Weingarten In Washington):

Ms. Weingarten ruled out another possibility, that she would seek a position in a presidential cabinet were her favored candidate, Senator Clinton, to win the election.

She said she was deeply offended by the idea that she would only endorse Mrs. Clinton for the presidency in hopes of winning a cabinet seat, and she said she telephoned Mrs. Clinton to assure her that was not her intention when the speculation first arose.

Notice that she may not have ruled out being asked to be in the Clinton cabinet.  She just wanted to make sure that it doesn't look like she's angling for it.  But in doing so she makes it awkward and now public.  And since McElroy is out so early and we may not know who the Dem. nominee is much less if a Dem. wins the White House, it seems much less likely that she can keep that option open.

The Times has the AFT story but not the Clinton angle: 
Teachers’ Union President to Step Down; New Yorker Is Seen as Successor

Phantom Restrictions In District Labor Contracts

Heart Remember how Secretary Riley used to talk about "phantom regulations" back during the 1990s?  These were rules that people -- especially in Title I (NCLB) -- thought were there, or had heard about from their state or district, but weren't actually in the law?  Well, that's what may be happening when it comes to collective bargaining agreements, at least in some places. All but a few districts, however, don't know about or use the flexibility they have.  Fordham has the news -- their report is coming out on Thursday.  It's their Valentine to us. 

Ravitch Quits Ed Next Board Over Lazy Bloomberg Puff Piece

According to this Elizabeth Green story in the NY Sun (Ravitch Quits), historian Diane Ravitch has split from Paul Peterson et al on the board of Education Next over a new article that appears to praise Mike Bloomberg's stewardship over the New York City Schools and endorse his candidacy. 

Ednext_20082_10_openerMaybe this is just Ravitch throwing a tantrum -- I'll be interested to see what others think -- but publishing a puff piece about Bloomberg seems like a tin-eared and a cockeyed move to me, given all the substantive and widespread criticism that his DOE has received, not to speak of the political moment having long passed.   

Losing Ravitch and endangering Ed Next's reputation over a freelancer's article seems even dumber. The Ed Next folks had to know she'd have strong feelings about the piece, which  upon first skim reads like it was written by someone new to the topic -- not in a good way  (here).   

It's full of first-person "I met Bloomberg" fluff, includes fuzzy snapshots that look like they were taken with a disposable camera, and ignores things like the high exclusion rates that made NYC's NAEP scores seem higher than they otherwise would have been, the zigzag path of the Klein reforms, the failed efforts at weighted student funding, etc. Several other recent articles about school reform in NYC have done a much better job (LynNell Hancock in The Nation here, Sol Stern in City Journal here, Elizabeth Green from the Sun here.)

Disclosure:  I have written for Education Next in the past and could have written a much better article.  Of course, I'll probably never be asked to write for them again. 

AFT President McElroy To Retire

According to the below email, AFT president Ed McElroy is going to retire this summer:

""Both McElroy and LaCour will continue to serve in their current capacities until the July 2008 AFT national convention in Chicago, where more than 2,000 delegates will vote for AFT president, secretary-treasurer, executive vice president and 39 vice presidents. The winning candidates will assume their posts immediately."

It's not an unexpected move.  Rumor has it NYC local president Randi Weingarten is the front-runner to run the union.

Continue reading "AFT President McElroy To Retire" »

Around The Blogs

Today's best posts from around the edublogosphere:

020908_lincolnMike Huckabee for Education Secretary?
Who knows?  Maybe Hillary would go for it.

'Troublemaker' Finn Recalls Setting 'Proficiency' Standard
No mention of alleged steroid use detailed by Petrilli.

Will Obama Stand Up to the Teachers' Unions?
Sure he will -- but only until he's elected.

7th Circuit Rules Against School Districts in NCLB Challenge
We don't need no stinkin' IDEA, appeals court says.

Pace of Restructuring Is Slow, New Report Says
And likely to get slower until we get a new law.

No skipping class
Not kids, but teachers are too absent.

New Schools Upping the Ante?
Social venture entrepreneurship could be over before I knew it.

Big Stories Of The Day

School Officials Expecting Cuts Due to Downturn in Economy AP
School budgets have seemed to defy gravity in recent years — going up steadily without ever coming down. But school board members from across the country say that's likely to change soon, and they're bracing for leaner times forced by the nation's economic downturn.Areyoutheregoditsmedodai020

4 Charters Competing to Run Troubled Washington Academy Washington Post
The D.C. Public Charter School Board is weighing proposals from four charter schools to assume the management of Washington Academy, a move designed to keep the financially strapped school from closing later this month.

Philadelphia high school gets pullet surprise MSNBC
Monday mornings are hard enough. Imagine finding about 50 chickens running loose in your high school. Workers arriving about 5:30 a.m. to open Northeast High School in Philadelphia found dozens of hens and roosters wandering around the hallways.

Student Shot at a School in Memphis AP
A high school student who was arguing with another shot him during a gym class on Monday, critically injuring him, before handing the gun to a coach, the authorities said.

'Stinky' Jon Scieszka has a read on kids USA Today
"I think it's all about engaging kids first and then sparking their interest in something. It's that sense of playing around with knowledge or playing around with the actual reading."

School Integration, Despite Kozol

Paxiljpeg I can't vouch for all of it, but this might be the best article about race and schools you read all Black History Month.  In the latest Atlantic magazine (Tales Out of School) a California parent and former Kozol fanatic realizes that she's over the progressive legend:  "Pfizer should develop a special antidepressant—“Zokol: for when you’ve read too much Kozol.”  But it's about much more than Kozol.  There's funny, harsh stuff about white parents and public schools:  "For these shrinking families, the aesthetics alone of public schools are horrifying—the chain-link fence, putty-colored bungalows, fluorescent lighting."  In the end, she finds Kozol negative and oblivious, and ends thusly:  "True integration, I think, does not result from a single grand dramatic gesture, like the march on Washington Kozol envisions. True integration evolves from daily, tiny, bridging human moments." via TQATE.

UPDATE: The Atlantic link seems to have gone bad, but you can read the article here.

Chicago Debates Obama's Education Record

53402416 Education Notes does a good job of connecting some of the back and forth that's been going on in Chicago about Obama's education record (Smearing Obama).  As you'll read, the most intense criticism has come from George Schmidt, a former Chicago teacher and CTU official who feels like Obama stood by while Mayor Daley and others crushed local schools underfoot.  I've posted a fair amount about Obama's education record, more which I'm trying to unearth, though I haven't come out for or against him.  Still, that's come across as unfair and smeary according to small schools guru Mike Klonsky.


More on Obama and Education in Chicago Class Size Matters
"We wanted him to take up the LSC cause more vigorously than he did, and he disappointed us from time to time, but never on anything major."

Clinton, Obama, NCLB and the state of the Union Mike Klonsky
Frankly, I can't see any real difference between Clinton's and Obama's positions on NCLB.

Around The Blogs

It's not enough to be a good principal anymore, says the Core Knowledge Blog (Just Win, Baby!).

I'm not the only one who hates big conferences -- Dorn does too! (Huge conferences are inherently dysfunctional).

10lives190Money won't solve everything, says KDR (More on Poverty).  He's also giving up on phonics.

That Eduwonkette -- she's so topical and fun (My Funny Valentine Poetry Contest).  It's starting to annoy me.

Education research company Eduventures sale marks big changes, says Millot (The End of an Era).

Blogging Teacher Comes Out To Her Boss

Croppedj0426505 A LaCross, Wisc. teacher who had been blogging anonymously (as many teachers do) recently decided to reveal herself to her employer -- and wasn't fired or forced to take the blog down.  She and her readers have been talking about their decisions, about how various districts handle things like this, and how it feels to blog anonymously.  Via Cool Cat Teacher.

The Week Ahead: Spellings, Fritz, Russo

A slew of events (including the Clemens steroid testimony) this week from the Fritzwire (click below), as well as this and that from the Secretary:

Monday, February 11  NO PUBLIC EVENTS Tuesday, February 12 9:30 a.m. EST Secretary Spellings will deliver remarks at the ACCT/AACC Legislative Conference. Wednesday, February 13  NO PUBLIC EVENTS  Thursday, February 14 10 a.m. CST Secretary Spellings will participate in an education policy event with Governor Haley Barbour at Woolfolk State Office Building. A media avail will follow. Jackson, Miss.  Friday, February 15 12:40 p.m. EST Secretary Spellings will visit Alan Shawn Feinstein Elementary School and tour classrooms and participate in an education policy roundtable with Governor Donald Carcieri. A media avail will follow. Providence, R.I.

Also on Friday, I'll be back at theYale Education Leadership Conference for a second year, listening and talking and meeting people. Come up and say hi if you see me.   

Continue reading "The Week Ahead: Spellings, Fritz, Russo" »

Big Stories Of The Day

06obse1902A School That's Too High on Gizmos Washington Post
What's wrong with the teachers at T.C. Williams High School?

Asian students left behind on special education Boston Globe
Chinese people are a little ashamed to let others know they have a child with special needs at home," said Zhong Ruan, who reaches out to Chinese families ...

Houston, Denver Move Into Next Stage of Pay Plans EdWeek
More teachers getting compensation based on nontraditional factors.

A union-teacher gap Los Angeles Times
As the first debate got underway, 16 candidates sat at the front of the multipurpose room at Grover Cleveland High School. Facing them were 16 audience members scattered among 240 chairs set in neat rows.

Bad News Arrives Quickly NYT
Increasingly, the Internet has become the main tool to let parents know when school is canceled or to distribute any other notice that needs to get out quickly.

The Best Of The Week (February 4-11)

Campaign 200803oreskes1901
Obama's Education Law Still Roils Chicago Schools
Michelle Obama On Neighborhood Schools
The Wal-Mart Solution
Clinton Slams NCLB -- And Ted Kennedy
Cute 4th-Grade Reporter Rebuffed By Chelsea Clinton
Obama In High School: "The Audacity Of Hoop"

 Rumored March 3rd Senate Markup For NCLB
Hill Staffers On The Move- "Who's Who" Update
USDE Names New, Earring-Wearing Title I Director Named Zollie
Closing Schools Isn't Easy...Even When There's A New One Built Down The Block
It's Hard To Kill The Man Who Killed NCLB
Justifying Field Trips In The NCLB Era

Foundation Follies
Nagging Questions About New Leaders Survival Rates
Think Tanks:  A Row Of Little Georgetown Boutiques
The "New" Think Tanks: Management Consulting Firms
New Social Entrepreneurship Fellow$hip Program Being Created

Media Watch
A Scary Magazine For Education Blogs
Top Journalist Hired To Help Me Write Better Education Stories
More DC Schools Drama On PBS Tonight
High School Kids Working Too Hard, Says US News

School Life
What's Taking So Long?
Parents Fake Siblings To Get Into Magnets
Homeschool Good. Old School Bad.
An Even-Handed Look At Kids' Online Lives
A Good Teacher Can Justify Showing Any Movie In Class

Site News
Mobile-Blogging The Education World - With Your Help

Around The Blogs

NCLB supporters will miss Romney more than most, says EdWeek (NCLB's Biggest Champion on the Trail is Dropping Out). 

F29cad070e68a03683cb7f5b5b901c32430Hillary's got two different positions on NCLB, says the EIA (Hillary to Union: "We’re Going to Get Rid of No Child Left Behind").  Plus what Bill says she thought way back when.

What Would Barack Do? from Swift Biggie (WWBOD?).

Sherman Dorn is back from being a parent and down to some real posting (Kennedy/Miller endorsement and NCLB politics). Welcome back, Prof. Dorn.

If education had a Michael Moore, it would be Jonathon Kozol.  Plus what Kevin says: On Kozol.

First Things First fizzles, says Joanne Jacobs.   

Denver goes growthy, says the CKBlog (Denver Announces Growth Model).

Pensions could still plague us, says Eduwonk (A Retiring Issue).

Mobile-Blogging The Education World - With Your Help

070129_cell_phone_texting People are already starting to do this but I just wanted to encourage the trend:  Thanks to the magic of modern technology, you can weigh in on this blogsite with your thoughts or describe what's going on at event on the fly, anonymously, using pretty much any cell phone.  Good things to text about include:  SIGHTINGS (Who you just saw ducking into (or out of) the NEA building or a fancy restaurant.)  SECRETS (Great gossip about job-changes or inside thinking.) FASHION (What funny or excellent outfit someone is wearing at the meeting or event you're at.) QUIPS ( Something funny or smart or dump that you just heard.) If you have a regular cellphone, send texts to 312-286-9242.  For cellphones that allow sending and receiving emails, just send an email to thisweekineducation at gmail dot com.  Unless you want your name used, I'll just post it "From A Reader."

A Scary Magazine For Education Blogs

MaglogoI don't know if it's any good or not -- that's your job -- but there's a new "magazine" for education blogs, and they're looking for contributors.  It calls itself "the new one stop shop for all your news, views, ideas and even a touch of gossip about what's floating about the edublogosphere." Check it out.  Let us know if you find anything interesting.  It seems overwhelmingly Lucy Gray to me.  (Am I supposed to Twitter about this?)

New Social Entrepreneurship Fellow$hip Program Being Created

Social entrepreneurship is everywhere these days -- NYT here, Washington Post here. And of course it's a big buzzword in certain education circles as well.  I still don't know what it means.  But to help make it even more popular and effective, there's a new social entrepreneurship program being created by the folks at the Knight Foundation and Ashoka.  Thirty fellows over the next five years.  Read all about it here.  Make sure there's some education folks who apply. 

High School Kids Working Too Hard, Says US News

"While Maine is the only state to pass such legislation requiring students to apply to college (admittedly, not the most onerous assignment), many high schools across the country are making students complete similar—and often more time-consuming—extracurricular projects in order to get their diploma," argues this US News article (Are Students Working Too Hard for a High School Diploma?). "These tasks are intended to boost the teenagers' learning experiences, but they also raise the question of how much work students can handle."

Huh?  I thought the problem was that kids weren't being challenged enough, not too much.  But then again, I've never heard of a "capstone" project, either. 

Nagging Questions About New Leaders Survival Rates

Fast_company Britney Spears may have fallen from grace, but, nearly eight years in, New Leaders For New Schools is still everybody's darling. It's expanded to nine cities including New Orleans.  It's found ways of generating federal funding.  It's avoided public discussion of its possible weaknesses that befell its close cousin, Teach For America.  Hell, even Barack Obama loves it.

But all is not as perfect as its press would suggest.  The organization has chewed through a lot of senior staff.  To my knowledge, the organization has never allowed or published an independent evaluation of its efforts.  And, though you'd never know it from reading any of the organization's promo materials, New Leaders don't always succeed in getting and keeping jobs. 

Erin_rocheJust recently, for example, things have been going heroically wrong for a New Leaders principal in Chicago named Erin Roche (pictured) who took over a mixed-income neighborhood elementary school three years ago. He's just been let go by his school -- much to the surprise and dismay of some more parents who started sending their kids to the school in large part because of the new principal's focus on instruction and achievement.

The details in Chicago are still coming out (here), and I'm not suggesting that New Leaders is all bad.  But it occurs to me that it would be nice to know -- ideally from an independent source -- what the placement and survival rates are for New Leaders.  Being brilliant instructional leaders with an unrelenting ambition to raise student achievement is wonderful.  But they have to get -- and keep --  their jobs much longer than the usual for the model to make any sense.  In Chicago, relationships with teachers and community members, as well as school safety, seem to have gotten lost along the way. 

Big [Friday!] Stories Of The Day

In Budget Debate, Democrats Poised to Try to Wait Out President Bush EdWeek
The outcome of this year’s budget showdown could hinge on the November election, not on a compromise between the White House and Capitol Hill.

94d8d6230e5d3a6b074019c26f7b4cc8dadIn Battle to Revamp D.C. Schools, Education Leader Faces Resistance PBS
John Merrow reports on the controversial practices that D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee is using to shake up the city's school system, including closing 23 schools by 2010 in a bid to tackle a $100 million budget deficit -- a move that has raised a storm of protest.

States push for cyberbully controls USA Today
The problem of cyberbullying gained national attention last November when the story surfaced of a 13-year-old Missouri girl who killed herself following an Internet hoax.

Full-Day-Kindergarten Fees Draw Backlash, Legal Concerns EdWeek
States are looking for ways to provide money for a program that historically has been treated differently from the 1st through 12th grades.

In Bronx School, Culture Shock, Then Revival NYT
At a time when the Bloomberg administration has put principals at the center of its efforts to overhaul schools, making the search for great school leaders more pressing than ever, the tale of Mr. Waronker shows that sometimes, the most unlikely of candidates can produce surprising results.

More DC Schools Drama On PBS Tonight

Just got this from John Merrow, education correspondent for the PBS NewsHour:  "Tonight on The NewsHour watch part 3 of our ongoing coverage of Leadership: A Challenging Course.  And stay tuned for our upcoming segment on Paul Vallas in New Orleans.  Missed the previous segments?  Watch them online."

The "New" Think Tanks: Management Consulting Firms

Over at EdWeek, Dean Millot continues his analysis of the ideas market in education with the conclusion that it is management firms like The Parthenon Group, Alvarez and Marsal, Boston Consulting Group, and The Bridgespan Group deserve much more of our attention and respect (The Real Education “Think Tanks”).

Logo_bcg As Millot explains, these organizations are big, getting bigger, and actually have had their ideas adopted and implemented. "Management consulting is becoming the new think tank in education policy, and for those interested an emerging school improvement market, learning more about their work is probably more important than following the education policy marketing shops."

Around The [Mardi Gras] Blogs

The AFTies reveal who's in "the club" and who's not (Who Was That Masked Man?).  Speaking of the club, there's a new progressive teacher union organization in DC, reveals Tom Toch (Enlightened Leadership).  Who knew? Mardigrasneworleans_wideweb__470x30Don't forget to Carnival -- especially since it's Mardi Gras week (Canivals Are Open!). Drink responsibly, of course.  Interesting advice from the ASBJ blog: Take your union rep to Starbucks.  Most of the union reps I know are sorta against that place, despite its health insurance plan.  Take them to Wal-Mart instead?  The Biz Of Ed has some good news: 15 Highlights of Bush's 2009 Education Budget.  Yes, highlights. School board members who blog are struggling, notes Eduwonk (It's Hard Out Here...). Apparently, teachers have choices (Teachers and the Choices They've Always Had).  From the Diane-Deborah blog. It's not about NCLB, says The Hoff ("No Child ... " Not NCLB).  Maybe a good sponsorship op for EDINO8?

Cute 4th-Grade Reporter Rebuffed By Chelsea Clinton

The Internets are abuzz with the news that Chelsea Clinton, a newly vocal presence on the campaign circuit, displayed some Clintonesque press paranoia with a nine-year old reporter.  According to published reports:

Kidspress_rieckoffSydney Rieckhoff, a Cedar Rapids fourth grader and “kid reporter” for Scholastic News [pictured], has posed questions to seven Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls as they’ve campaigned across Iowa this year. But when she approached the 27-year-old Chelsea after a campaign event Sunday, she got a different response.

“Do you think your dad would be a good ‘first man’ in the White House?” Sydney asked, but Chelsea brushed her question aside.

I’m sorry, I don’t talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately. Even though I think you’re cute,” Chelsea told the pint-sized journalist.

No, I'm not posting this because of Scholastic. 

Obama In High School: "The Audacity Of Hoop"

Obamahoops This is purportedly a picture of Barack (then Barry) Obama as a high school basketball player in Hawaii.

It's also, I would add, a decent representation of the his current demographic -- young, male, wealthy (he went to a fancy public school).   Oh, and white.   

In the related post, the sports blog Deadspin tries to figure out which candidate would be better for college sports, and in particular basketball (The Audacity Of Hoop).

Now all we need are pictures of him and the other candidates going to school, graduating, doing their homework. 



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.