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Lunch Break (Around The Blogs)

Kudersurveylarge052908 Kuder Occupational Interest Survey Jezebel
Did anyone else have to take these, and if so, did the results gibe with what you later "became"?

ED in '08: From Nonpartisan to Bipartisan? Michele McNeil
How nonpartisan can an organization be when its leader and chief spokesman is so partisan? [I think I've posted about this twice before.]

Yes, they are! No, they aren’t! Firefly
Boys are being left behind, the Economist tells us.

Culture, Gender, and Math 'Kette
These findings serve as a potent reminder that the gender gap in math achievement is not driven by nature alone.

Rhee-Visiting the District of Columbia Public Schools (III) edbizbuzz
The history of business turnarounds shows there are limits to what can be gained from downsizing and reorganizing the system - improvements in productivity are necessary.

Energy drinks and teens ASBJ Blog
In March, four Florida middle school students were rushed to the ER after drinking an energy drink and experiencing sweating and heart palpitations.

Spelling Bee Video Fun

Nominee for best spelling bee video of all time:

Or click here to see video

Criticisms Of TFA Don't Stand A Chance

Maybe I can't get Wendy Kopp to write me a note like some other upstart bloggers can, but I can tell you that it's only a little while until the much-anticipated "discussion" about how to improve TFA shows up in the June issue of PDK International

4406de0c6c90a003ab799fbbcd6fcaaed87That issue of PDK will feature Megan Hopkins' analysis of what TFA could do to strengthen its program, which was mentioned in last September's New York Times overview of the program's strengths and weaknesses. 

What'll happen next?  As in the past, TFA will squash any criticism of its efforts by a combination of three strategies:  (a) killing its milder critics with passable kindness and a startling display of straight white teeth, (b) claiming to have already considered and implemented/dismissed the recommended approaches, and (c) sending out word among the reformista club to crush and question any who would dare critique TFA. 

Three More Takes On Obama's Education Speech

Obama Wonks It Up in Education Speech | The Trail

"There are always good schools in every state, in every school district and at every income level...The question we have to figure out is how do we scale up?"

Obama Urges Education Reform - From The Road

Earlier in his speech, Obama referred to the ongoing teacher talks in Denver. Dozens of teachers in two different public schools called in sick in opposition to their ongoing contract negotiations.

Obama's 'Solution' For Bridging U.S. Science Gap: Eliminate SATs - InformationWeek.

The candidate didn't come right out and say he'd scrap the SATs, but it sure sounds like he's thinking along those lines: "We also need to realize that we can meet high standards without forcing teachers and students to spend most of the year preparing for a single, high-stakes test," Obama said, according to a transcript of his remarks.


Reinventing Yourself On Facebook

These days, creating Facebook "pages" is all the rage among folks who are trying and capture some of the 70 million users Facebook claims to have (fewer but fancier than MySpace).  Barack Obama's page has 867K fans. Justin Timberlake's has 194K.

Facebook Here are links to some of the education-related pages I've come across:  Pearson Education (400+ fans), Strong American Schools -- ED in '08 (275 fans), Eduwonk (146 fans),  Chronicle of Higher Education (135 fans), Committee on Education and Labor Democrats (112 fans), Education Writers Association (63 fans), Education Week (43 fans). You can browse pages here

I snuck onto Facebook way back when you still had to give a college email to get onto the site and I started feeding my blog posts over there about a year ago (Blogging On Facebook).  I have a healthy number of Facebook "friends" -- including many colleagues and blog readers (see full list here). However, since then I have fallen way behind -- not quite sure that it was worth the effort.

I'm still not sure, but in the meantime here's my new Facebook page.  Feel free to sign up as a fan or click on the picture of me in the blue shirt to see some "secret" pics and images that you may remember from the past.

Big Friday Stories Of The Day

Journalismreporter A Crisis for a Georgia School District NPR
For the second time in five years, the school district in Georgia's Clayton County is on probation. The district faces a loss of accreditation that could mean next year's seniors will find trouble getting into college.

The new small-schools movement Newsweek
Mayors in cities like New York, Chicago, Milwaukee and San Diego have been replacing their large dysfunctional inner-city high schools with smaller ones that are specially designed to keep students from falling through the cracks. A Bronx school exemplifies the trend.

Gender-based math gap missing in some countries AP
Boys outperform girls on a math test given to children worldwide, but the gender gap is less pronounced in countries where women and men have similar rights and opportunities, according to a study published Thursday.

45 Advance to Final Day of National Spelling Bee Washington Post
No one has mastered the look of spelling bee despair better than 10-year-old Veronica Penny.

Reflecting on 'Miracle Worker' Teachers PBS
As the beginning of May heralds the end of the academic year, Time Magazine essayist Nancy Gibbs praises great teachers.

Bar Coding Kids To Make Data Entry Easier

Barcode All this assessment nonsense has made data entry a big part of many teachers' lives, even in the age of online data entry systems.  Introducing the Jeven Tracker to help.  With a device like this and a scanner sheet, teachers scan grades in rather than entering them on a keyboard or PDA. Next up:  barcoding kids' foreheads.

"Stop Snitching" In Schools?

Stopsnitchingtop The underground "Stop Snitching" campaign is now affecting not just law enforcement but also journalism, according to this article (See No Evil), and is increasingly known about among young children and teens.  There's no evidence that it's also affecting teachers and other adults in schools, but I can't help but imagine that must be the case.  After all, the prohibitions on tattling often starts on the playground. 

The New Republic Talks Education

More stuff you can get here first (or better):  Video of a recent discussion about education at the offices of The New Republic: 

Click here if the video doesn't load: 


Lunch Break: Around The Blogs

Minority_enrollment Educating a New Majority 'Kette
In this year's report, the NCES drew attention to the changing demography of American schoolchildren.

Will NEA Superdelegates Swing to Obama? EIA
There are, I have been told, 19 Democratic Party superdelegates who are associated with the National Education Association in some capacity.

Standards everyone can meet Joanne Jacobs
Some students at the high-scoring MATCH charter school in Boston are transferring in their last semester to district-run public schools, apparently in search of lower standards.

What Will Globalization Do to Languages? A Freakonomics Quorum Freakonomics
Will globalization indeed result in the hegemony of English, as has long been promised/threatened?

Love Vs. Higginbottom -- Higginbottom Wins!


Some people are all about Obama staffer Reggie Love, the candidate's "body man" who has been getting all sorts of coverage this past week. 

Me, I'm more of a Heather Higginbottom kind of person. She probably doesn't much care to be quoted in a story about Obama's cautiousness on the policy front (On Policy, Obama Breaks Little New Ground) or want me to run this picture over and over again, but that's the price the Chicago-based Obama policy guru pays for being in the public eye (and for her boss's lofty rhetoric about transformation, etc.).

Hi, Heather! (And Danielle!)

NEA Policy Wonk Enters The Blogosphere

Some of you may have noticed a new ad over on the right side, touting a new NEA blog/podcast page from Joel Packer:
Yes, Packer (and the NEA) are joining the blogosphere (here).  Should be fun. I don't care much for podcasts, but they're providing transcripts and I can imagine Joel being good at this.  It certainly seems like a wise move on their part to be getting their view out more regularly than via press release.  Now if only the AFT Blog would come back into full form, and if someone from SEIU started blogging about education issues, we'd have a quorum.

Obama In Colorado [Updated]

At the event, Obama regurgitated the (inaccurate) slam that NCLB relies on a "a single, high-stakes test," according to this report (Obama tours Colorado school, touts education plans EdWeek) and did the whole curriculum narrowing thing, too, about which I have my doubts.

He's also proposing a national service-type thing that to my eye looks an awful lot like a federal version of TFA.  Just what schools (and school reform) doesn't need -- more FNG short-timers making everyone feel good about high-need schools (Full text of Obama's education speech). Yeah, I'm against that.

Click here to see pics of Obama at the MESA school and to read his latest on revamping high school education Obama Visits School in Thorton, Colorado.

Denver Post here: Obama praises successful Thornton school

Candidates Split Sharply On Bush's No Child Left Behind Law  Wall Street Journal ($)
Sen. Obama wants to overhaul the law, while Sen. McCain wants to extend it.

Click here if the video doesn't load.

Big Stories Of The Day

Idaho asks the feds for a fresh start on NCLB Idaho Statesman
Idaho's State Board of Education wants a fresh start for hundreds of public schools facing sanctions under a tough federal education accountability mandate.

BushchestbumpAlgebra I Stumping High School Freshmen
Detroit Free Press
Thousands of high school freshmen across Michigan are failing Algebra I, the first of four math courses this class of students must take and pass to fulfill what are among the toughest graduation requirements in the nation.

Georgia Doesn't Track Students Who Fail CRCT AJC
About 36,000 Georgia eighth-graders tried but never passed the math test required for high school admission in 2006 and 2007. After that, state officials have no idea what happened.

L.A. Unified seeks to block teachers' budget protest LA Times
The union hopes to draw attention to cuts in state funding, but district officials say student safety could be compromised is teachers skip the first class of the day

Lunch Break -- Around The Blogs

LinktomegifPrincipal autonomy not all fun and games Schools For Tomorrow
The bottom line is that more budget authority for principals is not easy for them to manage. 

Life Imitating Art ... Kinda Campaign K12
In the fictional campaign, education was actually a major issue. And teachers' unions' endorsements were pivotal, according to wikipedia and my (admittedly hazy) memory.

Another Queston about News Coverage Thoughts
Why do the headline and blurb beneath only mention half the story?

Wanted: Something Else to Protest EIA
Months after massive protests and alarm over school layoffs began, only a fraction of the teachers who received pink slips will lose their jobs.

Let's Carnival! EdWonks
The 173rd edition of The Carnival of Education (hosted this week by Bluebird's Classroom.) has opened its midway! And don't forget to round out your educational experience by checking out The Carnival of Homeschooling.

LinktomegifCreationism 'Education' Still Widespread Wired
A survey of 900 high school teachers has found that 1 in 8 still teach creationism as a "valid scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species." Did we mention that these are science teachers?

Where are the grown-ups? SFT Blog
Grow up, people! Leave "ditch days" to graduating seniors.

Luckie: This is how charters should work Get On The Bus
Clayton Luckie State Rep. Clayton Luckie, D-Dayton and a former city school board member, sent out a letter today praising a new partnership between Dayton Public Schools and East End Community Community School.

Nation Suspects Leads In Local High School Play May Be Dating Onion
Citing their intensity during rehearsals as well as their offstage closeness, thousands of citizens across the country are...

Seventeen States Submit Differention Pilot Proposals

Check out the newsletter from Cheryl Sattler's new education consulting company, Ethica, for a backgrounder on where Title I schoolwide programs came from (newsletter here) and a link to 17 state differentiation pilot plans that have been submitted under the "new" NCLB. 

Introducing Mike Johnston


Here's a picture and some basic info on Mike Johnston, the Denver-area principal and recently-unearthed Obama advisor whose school is being visited by the candidate as part of a big high schools speech. 

A Colo. native and Vail Mountain School grad, Johnston is Yale undergrad, TFA 97, Harvard ed school master's degree, New Leaders co-founder (not sure how long he was there), and Yale law school.  He won an international Rubik's Cube competition at the age of eight, wrote a book about his TFA experience in the Mississippi delta, and is currently training for the 170-pound division in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.  (Two of those last three are made up.)

Whom the Candidates Listen to on Education US News
Obama to visit Thornton school Denver Post
Mapleton schools splinter in move for choice
Denver Post
Obama  to visit Denver school led by Vail's Johnston
Real Vail
YLS Student Authors, Part One
Yale Law School
Harvard Alumni Preparing Leaders for Urban Schools

Note To States & Districts: Get To Work On Cyber-Bullying

Bestblogs_landing Instead of freaking out about Internet predators and nekkid pictures, schools and lawmakers should really be tightening up on what I am guessing is the more widespread problem of cyber-bullying. 

That's what I got from this NewsHour segment from earlier in the month (Case Highlights Cyber Bullying), in which it's revealed that only 12 states actually have cyber-bullying laws with school programs on the books, despite the fact that this new and vicious form of a very old practice is seems widespread.

Some states like Illinois and Missouri are already responding, according to Chicagoist:  Suicide Inspires Legislation Against Cyberbullying.

The Obama Project

The June issue of Chicago Magazine has a feature about the swirl of Obama's past relationships and influences and how they complicate his policy positions in ways that supporters sometimes find hard to pin down:

Obama_main"Though his policies clearly tilt toward those of the Hyde Park liberals, Obama supporters find strains of the U. of C. in his thinking, notably in an openness to free-market solutions."

For many in Chicago, it's this "strain" of free-market solutions (including charter schools and performance pay) that makes Obama hard to support. Despite a small-scale and relatively careful development process in Chicago, charter schools (and the school closings that have accompanied them) seem as if not more controversial there as they are in any other part of the nation.

Obama's Chicago Posse 

So Much For "It Can't Be Done."


This school didn't just meet AYP, it met the 100 percent proficiency mark.

"We think of MSA as the floor, as sort of the basics of what all students should be doing," Principal Irene Kordick said. "We shoot for the ceiling."

School In Ocean City Nails Its Target Washington Post

I wonder how many other schools have achieved 100 percent proficiency or thereabouts -- and why it took the mainstream news so long to find these kinds of examples, given how, er, proficient they have been at finding examples of failure.

Big Stories Of The Day

'No Child,' No Problem Washington Post
Last spring, all 184 students in the third and fourth grades at Ocean City Elementary School passed the Maryland School Assessment, or MSA, a battery of tests given by the state every year since 2003 to satisfy the law. PLUS: Vermont Schools struggle with No Child Left Behind law Vermont Public Radio

Reading Scores Get 'Bump' From Student Incentives, Study Finds EdWeek
School-based reward programs that offer students such incentives as cash, free MP3 players, or other gifts appear to produce improved reading achievement across grade levels.

Schools substituting field trips with video links Sacramento Bee
Call it a 21st century field trip. Fifth-graders at Kingswood Elementary School peered into tide pools, listened to crashing waves and peppered a park ranger with questions – all without leaving their classroom in Citrus Heights.

Schools' unrest over the AP test Christian Science Monitor
Elite schools are dropping it, striking a blow to public education.

Turning Schools From Death Traps Into Havens NYTimes
Despite some progress to make schools safer, vulnerability prevails around the world’s seismic hot spots, from the Pacific Northwest to the Philippines.

French Inner City Schools Film Headed This Way Soon

18829072_w434_h_q80 Having won the top prize at Cannes last week, the French film "The Class" ("Entre les murs") is -- fingers crossed -- headed this way soon, according to Salon (10 from Cannes):

"Starring a multi-ethnic cast of actual high-school students -- playing fictional characters they developed themselves -- alongside writer and former teacher François Begaudeau, Cantet's portrait of conflict, tragedy and triumph across a single school year achieves an effortless clarity that's far more convincing than most of the talky, self-conscious documentaries about similar subject matter. Dramatically rewarding, often hilarious and ultimately heartbreaking, "The Class" has international hit written all over it."

I Was Nice Before I Started This Blog.

25cover_395 This weekend's long article about infamous blogger Emily Gould (Blog-Post Confidential) was long and ridiculous (and not nearly as salacious as it could have been) but raised a couple of worthwhile points nonetheless:

1.  Blogging can lead you to write really, really mean things.  It's only a guilty conscience and some well-timed remarks from friends and colleagues that have kept me from permanently going off the deep end on this one.

2.  Bloggers can't be counted on for introspection or candor.  Few admit to changes of heart, motivations, or satisfaction in their work, much less describe experiences in anything but the most self-promoting ways.  You know who I'm talking about.  And the other one, too. 

3.  Blogging can be deeply addictive -- especially at the euphoric start.  Witness the orgy of  opinionating that Fordham is going through right now.

Around The Blogs

NEA Conditionally Recommends Obama EIA
The National Education Association PAC Council approved a conditional recommendation of Senator Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Wendy Kopp Responds Core Knowledge
The Teach for America founder emailed a thoughtful reply over the weekend.

Subsidizing School Construction in Massachusetts Ed Policy Watch
Reports that some affluent Massachusetts school districts spending exorbitant amounts of money to build top-of-the-line school facilities have drawn media criticism and seized the attention of state officials.

Who's right about Education Trust? SDorn
There's a clash of views over at the multi-author blog I participate in, Education Policy Blog, after a post by Jim Horn on how Education Trust staffer Amy Wilkins responded to fellow blogger Dan Brown at the Ed in '08 blogger summit

No dough for the GPS truancy project? DISD Blog
The district isn't saying so officially, but it looks like administrators aren't yet behind a truancy intervention project at Bryan Adams High School.

Students in S. Bronx Refuse to Take Test ASCD Bloggers
Almost all of the eighth-graders at South Bronx's Intermediate School 318 chose to hand in blank exams at the end of a three-hour social studies practice test.

“A wet dream is kind of like a fart.”—Sex Ed Teacher Gets Shaft I Thought A Think
As the last male staff member in my K-6 elementary school, it fell to me this year to teach the human growth and development lesson to the fourth grade boys.

 Teacher lets students vote out classmate Detention Slip
About the only thing positive from this story, is the math lesson students learned about fractions.

The Second Coming Of... Sandy Feldman?

It's one thing to hear about NYC union leader Randi Weingarten -- most recently she blew up at Michelle Rhee at last week's NSVF conference -- but another thing to see her in action. And, clearly, Weingarten's media folks are making a point of "introducing" her in somewhat friendly situations.  Here she is balancing a little bit of tough talk plus lots of fairly standard support for teachers and the status quo during a half-hour Charlie Rose interview from earlier this month: 

Click here if the video doesn't load:  A conversation with Randi Weingarten

She's obviously a smart, articulate advocate.  However, she's mostly on the defensive here -- not the second coming of Al Shanker as she's been portrayed at times.

Giving Turnarounds A Bad Name

Drama042607 As if turning around a struggling school wasn't hard enough already, district officials -- in Chicago, New York City, and now LA Unified -- seem like they keep forgetting to put as much time and attention (and resources) into planning for the "old" school being phased out as they may be putting into planning for the new effort ('Neglect' cited as part of problem at Locke High LA Times).

Big Stories Of The Day

Why Education Isn't a Hot Topic in Election 2008 NPR
Former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, the chairman of the nonprofit in charge of the project, talks with Ari Shapiro about why the topic hasn't been high on the candidates' radar.

Three women rise to the top of AFT union USA Today
Delegates to the American Federation of Teachers' biennial meeting here in July are expected to elect Randi Weingarten their new president, along with two other longtime AFT officials: Antonia Cortese and Lorretta Johnson as secretary-treasurer and executive vice president, respectively.

Shazam___or_captain_marvel_by_wieri A School That Cost $20,000 Not to Go To NYT
Many New York parents paying private school tuition probably feel some pain when it comes time to pay the bill. But for Ms. Bender and her husband, David, an artist, it really hurt — they were paying for a school their daughter will never attend.

Racism claimed at Alabama school MSNBC
A south Alabama town that was the inspiration for the setting in Harper Lee's book "To Kill a Mockingbird" is finding itself as the backdrop for a real-life legal case involving allegations of racism at school.

Exemptions for Charities Face New Challenges NYT
The Minnesota Supreme Court’s ruling that a day care agency had to pay taxes because it essentially gave nothing away has alarmed nonprofit groups.

Best Of The Week (May 19-23)

Best Of The Week
Ted Kennedy & Me
"Those Ed Trust Ladies Are Fierce."
Women's Group Says Boys Not In Crisis; Female Reporters Agree
Looking Back At The Girls Crisis (2 Updates)

Teachers & Teaching
Two Great (Or At Least Amusing) Suggestions For TFA
The Unofficial TFA Blog

Foundation Follies
Microblogging The NSVF Summit
Edupreneurs Invade DC
Party Pics From The Past Two Weeks

School Life
School Districts Hire Private Investigators To Check Student Addresses
"An Oversized Frat Boy" On The Verge Of Revolutionizing LAUSD
Naked Teen MySpace Pics Get Boyfriend Arrested

Urban Ed
Acclaimed Teacher Residency Program Under Fire In Chicago
A Get-Tough Leader For Memphis City Schools?
School Reform And Love: Cory Booker
Not All Ed Associations Oppose Incentive Pay

Media Matters
Bringing ECS (& Your Organizatio) Into The Web 2.0 World
Mike Petrilli Channels Ryan Seacrest
Katie Couric Does Harlem Village Academy

PLUS:  Daily roundups of news stories and posts from other education blogs.

Looking Back At The Girls Crisis (2 Updates)

Dfe64dfdc771c7dc4c4189aa345a50e5e35**2 updates at the bottom**

Haven't already made up your mind about the AAUW report on the "boys crisis"?  The Chronicle's Peter Schmidt revisits the history of the AAUW's efforts to promote the "girls crisis" in a blog post (Derailing Efforts to Help Troubled Boys) that you might want to check out. 

Schmidt writes about affirmative action for the Chronicle and -- pointing to writing he did for EdWeek and the Weekly Standard -- suggests that the AAUW's work on behalf of the girls crisis in the early 1990s may be one of the most effective examples of advo-research in recent education history.  I don't know Schmidt, but if his reporting holds up it's pretty damning stuff.

Meanwhile, I'm still taking lots of heat for suggesting that the mainstream news coverage of the recent AAUW report was shoddy and that journalists (including women) aren't capable of the ideal of journalistic objectivity that is promoted within journalism  (Women's Group Says Boys Not In Crisis; Female Reporters Agree).  Bad Alexander.

UPDATE:  Over at the Online Journalism Review, USA Today's Richard Whitmire admires the AAUW for it's surprising success pulling the wool over reporters' eyes.

UPDATE 2:  The AAUW report is off the mark says Andywonk.  But not because it's self-serving advo-research.  In fact, it makes some good points. But overall it's wrong.  Graduation ceremonies.  Saramead.

Around The Blogs


More On Inequitable Teacher Distribution The Optimists
High-school freshmen in Philadelphia are more likely to be taught by inexperienced, uncredentialed teachers than their sophomore, junior and senior counterparts. And t

Take Care of Your School Profile — From JUtecht  2 Cents Worth
Who’s looking after your school’s online profile?”

Charter Schools, NCLB "Starving the Beast" ASCD
Last night I went down to D.C.'s Busboys and Poets for an author and activist event that discussed alternatives to traditional schooling and critiqued the purported agenda toward privatization of the charter school movement.

Shattering the Conventional Wisdom on Growing Inequality Freakonomics
Inequality is growing in the United States. The data say so. Knowledgeable experts like Ben Bernanke say so.

More Than 100 Post Journalists Take Buyout Washington Post
[My understanding is that Valerie Strauss is >NOT< taking the buyout and that Jay Mathews is, but he will be staying on under contract.]

Party Pics From The Past Two Weeks

Chicago_mafia_nsvfA combination of my own pics and those from others, below are some snapshots from the EDINO8 and NSVF conferences in DC this week and last.  Check it out -- you might be in there.

Continue reading "Party Pics From The Past Two Weeks" »

Big Stories Of The Day

Most kids not taking federal tests are poor, labeled as special needs Examiner.com
“If schools embrace No Child Left Behind, that does have to include every single child.”

Oakland students enthusiastic about tests San Francisco Chronicle
She uses the tests to frequently assess every child, determining who needs help. No child is left behind or left alone.

Despite absence, his efforts bear fruit Boston Globe
Even President Bush - a frequent target of the Massachusetts senator's jibes - worked closely with Kennedy on the No Child Left Behind legislation.

Blood Banks Target High School Donors NPR
Faced with a need for deeper blood reserves, blood banks are stepping up their recruitment in high schools. And teenagers as young as 16 and 17 years old are responding to the blood drives, contributing about 10 percent of the nation's blood supply.

Two Great (Or At Least Amusing) Suggestions For TFA

It seems like everyone's got ideas for how to use TFA corps members.  Here are two of the most amusing recent ones:

A Memo to Wendy Kopp The Core Knowledge Blog
What parent on the Upper East Side of Manhattan wouldn’t want little Tyler or Ashleigh taught by a freshly-minted Harvard or Yale grad?

Bronx Teacher Refuses to Test Ed Notes Online
Hey, TFA people! If you are going to leave after 2 years anyway, why not go out in style?

Speaking of suggestions, whatever happened to that recommendations memo that was mention in last September's NYTMagazine article about ways to strengthen TFA?  I'll have to track that down.

A Check-Plus For These Seven Blog Posts

Obama's New Math-Science Education Bill Alyson Klein
The measure, which is sponsored in the House by Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., is aimed at better coordinating the myriad of programs geared toward improving math and science education.

The Latest Media Wave: Paying Teachers Who Don't Teach EIA
We've seen it happen with performance pay, school lunches and childhood obesity, and the shortage of minority teachers. The most recent media wave concerns paying teachers who don't teach.

Qualitative data on schools SDorn
Rhee sent teams of people into schools she wanted to change...Having students, parents, and educators visit schools to provide a snapshot is dramatically different from just looking at test scores and prescribing a cookie-cutter "fix."

Questions about the CRCT continue AJC
Kathy Cox threw out the CRCT social studies scores for sixth- and seventh-graders, but kept the math scores for eighth-graders. The state schools superintendent says there’s a big difference between the two exams.

Sol Stern and the SUTVA Shenanigans The 'Kette
Experiments in social science are fundamentally different than experiments in medicine, and it turns out gold standard is often more silver or bronze than we would have hoped.

Girl Stabbed in School Fight Detention Slip
Rather than making 'burn books' and spreading mean rumors, girls are now skipping all the middle men and just slashing their enemies with a series of life-threatening cuts.

Daaaaaaamn Teaching In The 408
I heart anyone who will take a hard-line stance to the whine-despair-whine- hand-to-the-forehead-whine of the tests are big and bad and scary (there was a fair amount of editing on the actual gross tonnage of all that).

More Thursday News

The Suspension Gap Minneapolis Star Tribune
Black students in Minnesota are being suspended at a rate about six times that of white students, according to a Star Tribune analysis of state Department of Education data.  Most are suspended for lesser incidents, such as talking in class, goofing around or challenging teachers -- offenses for which there is more disciplinary leeway.

School districts attending to attendance San Diego Union-Tribune
Dropout prevention specialist Jenifer Mendel knocked several times on door of the trailer-park home of a 17-year-old El Cajon boy who had missed nearly a month of school.

Charters Break Mold by Picking, Choosing NOLA.com
Considered a trailblazing city in national education circles for embracing charter schools, New Orleans also might be the only city in the country where several charter schools have competitive admissions, requiring some or all students to have specific test scores, grades or foreign-language background to enroll.

D.C. Schools Chief Touts Value of Education Entrepreneurs EdWeek
Michelle A. Rhee said she’s looking to ramp up the role of external providers to improve the system, including to take the reins of low-performing schools.

School Districts Hire Private Investigators To Check Student Addresses

Gas_prices Some districts are hiring private eyes to verify student addresses, according to this WSJ blog story -- in response to their own rising costs and diminishing revenue, as well as in response to the increase in foreclosures that forces parents to move to other locations.

"An Oversized Frat Boy" On The Verge Of Revolutionizing LAUSD

Barr_crop There's a new article on the turnaround efforts at Locke High School in the latest Scholastic Administrator magazine and Green Dot's Steve Barr, written by former LA Times education writer Joel Rubin:

"Dressed in knee-length plaid shorts, sneakers, and a baseball cap turned backward, Barr looks more like an oversize frat boy than an education revolutionary."

NB:  This blog is currently sponsored by Scholastic Administrator magazine.

Naked Teen MySpace Pics Get Boyfriend Arrested

0521081myspace1 Toldja this was going to happen:  A 17 year old Wisconsin teenager has been arrested for posting -- and refusing to take down -- naked pictures of his ex-girlfriendon MySpace.  She's 16, and took and sent the pictures to him while they were still going out.  Via the Smoking Gun.  Isn't MySpace supposed to prohibit nudity?  And shouldn't the girlfriend be be charged, too -- for teen stupidity?

"Big" Stories Of The Day

State Notifies Parents Before Releasing Awful Test Scores Atlanta JC
Georgia school leaders were so shocked by dismal scores on state math and social studies tests, the state superintendent released a statement Monday to prepare parents and others for the results.

Nebraska boy wins geography bee MSNBC
Quick: Cochabamba is the third-largest conurbation in what country? An 11-year-old  answered "Bolivia" to clinch the 20th annual National Geographic Bee on Wednesday.

OLPC Lays Down Plans for XO-2 Laptop THE Journal
OLPC said the target price for the next-generation machines will be $75.

Zelma Henderson, Who Aided Desegregation, Dies at 88 NYT
Mrs. Henderson was the sole surviving plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the landmark federal desegregation case of 1954.

Around The Blogs In 30 Seconds:

McCain Hones Education Message Charlie
Essence Magazine publishes an exclusive interview with John McCain today in which he seems to be road testing an education message for the general election - emphasizing educational inequities and achievement gaps (who said John Edwards’ "Two Americas" theme didn’t have an impact?).

Free Trade And Education Andywonk
One thing that seems pretty clear is that the increasing churn in school systems is going to cause some displacement much in the way that globalization is causing displacement in other industries.

 Scientology School? Core Knowledge
Nary a word about it in the domestic press, but overseas papers and gossip sites are thick with stories about Will Smith–yes, that Will Smith–who is reportedly bankrolling a new California Pre-K to 6 school, The New Village Academy of Calabasas.

Rhee, the Monster if DC: Soon to Follow, the UFT Ed Notes Online
Washington D.C. schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who spends a hell of a lot of time racing around from ed conference to ed conference pushing the national regressive...

Teacher Suspended After Fight With Student Detention Slip
I can think of a lot of good reasons to fight with a student...

Ted Kennedy & Me

21kennedy2600 I spent more time fighting Ted Kennedy during my two stints as a Senate education staffer than I did fighting against the Republicans. 

First it was trying to get various amendments and changes into Goals 2000 and the Title I funding formula for Senator Feinstein.  Then it was trying to get education technology and ed school accountability provisions into the higher education act for Jeff Bingaman.  Not to speak of national standards and dropout prevention.

Of course, Kennedy has no idea who I am.  But his former staffers -- Ellen Guiney, Danica Petroshius in particular -- knew that my calls and ideas were hardly ever going to be good or welcome ones from their perspective.  But Kennedy and his education team were always prepared, always ahead, and always pretty fierce about what they were doing.  Education wasn't a genteel side game for them.  They played it just as hard as foreign affairs or anything else.  And I liked that. 

School Reform And Love: Cory Booker

Newark mayor Cory Booker gave a version of this speech at the NSVF summit yesterday, in which he talked about deep sadness and powerful love.  Seriously, love:

The video quality isn't great, but the audio is fine.  Click here if the video doesn't show.

Women's Group Says Boys Not In Crisis; Female Reporters Agree

The news coverage of the gender education issue continues to disappoint:

Yesterday's front-page Washington Post story identified the report's source and included a dissenting view but that's about it -- no examination of the quality of the report itself (No Crisis For Boys In Schools, Study Says). 

The Times' story includes no dissenting view at all and seems to suggest that the report confirms most other studies, which I don't think is the case (Girls’ Gains Have Not Cost Boys, Report Says).

EdWeek says something but I still can't the site to accept my password or something (AAUW Sees No Educational Crisis for Boys).  Help, Jeanne! Help!

Not everyone is content to let the AAUW report on gender differences in education go unexamined:  Surprise--The AAUW Finds that More Girls than Boys in College (Reason), About that education crisis (Sara Mead on TNR), and Our view on gender and education (Richard Whitmire at USA Today).

This is a report, not research.  This report comes from an advocacy group, not an independent or academic organization.  Journalistic orthodoxy is that researchers' and reporters' own personal views and experiences (including gender) don't shape their writing, but let's be honest:  that's just not humanly possible.  I'll let others consider the quality or completeness of the work itself. 

A Peek Inside The World Of Kids Magazines

225highlightsThere's a fascinating little review of kids magazine Highlights in The New York Review of Magazines, a mag put out by the folks at the Columbia Journalism School.  You've probably seen the magazine -- its circulation is listed at 2 million and it's been around since 1946. 

"Now a staple of elementary schools and doctors’ offices across the nation, the magazine aims to “help children develop creativity, sensitivity, literacy and the ability to think and reason” by presenting games and stories for children ages 6 to 12....The overwhelming majority of subscriptions go directly to families. It’s mostly parents or grandparents giving subscriptions to children.”        

I wonder if it's giving Scholastic a run for its money.  Must remember to ask.

The Unofficial TFA Blog

Teach_for_us_tfa_group_blog Wondering where all those Internet-crazy TFA corps member blogs are?  You can find a bunch of them at Teach For Us, a Facebook page whose tagline is "Closing the TFA blogging gap."  Click here for a list of blogs affiliated with the page.  (There are, of course, many others.)

Big Stories Of The Day

Fixing the Flaw in the ‘Growth Model’ EdWeek
Three education advocates offer their advice for improving NCLB's 'growth model' pilot assessment system. The improvements would be a boon, they write, to schools, states, and the federal law itself.

Schools Struggle With Dark Writings WSJ
In the wake of the Virginia Tech killings, universities are trying to keep an eye out for student writings that foretell campus violence. But their vigilance raises the prospect of infringing on students' rights.

Girls’ Gains Have Not Cost Boys, Report Says NYT
A new report says the largest disparities in educational achievement are not between boys and girls but between those of different races, ethnicities and income levels.

Why We Need ‘Translational’ Research EdWeek
Mary Brabeck urges adoption of a new paradigm that would foster better working relationships among researchers and classroom practitioners.

Teacher Contract Would End Seniority WashPost
The Washington Teachers' Union is discussing a proposed three-year contract from the school system that would eliminate seniority, giving Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee more control in filling vacancies, a union member familiar with the talks said yesterday.

Microblogging The NSVF Summit

Let's see how long I can keep up with these mini-updates:

4:50:  Some of the things I've overheard today:  *There's not as much talent in this room as the people in the room think there is.  *People like me are a dime a dozen -- there are hundreds of people who could do what I'm doing (a paraphrase from Michelle Rhee).  *That's way over the top (Newark mayor Cory Booker about Ted Mitchell's over the top introduction). *Let's be honest.  This is a grand experiment, a very high risk proposition (Tom Toch about venture philanthropy).  *I got mine -- you shut up (one wag in response to the NSVF admonition against solicitations at the summit).  *You're the one who turned me onto The Wire (NYC DOE deputy chancellor Joel Rose to me about my blog).

4:30:  Just got out of an interesting media session where edupreneurs from DC took questions from reporters (many of whom like the Times' Sam Dillon and the Post's Dion Haynes I had not met before).  Some reporters like Greg Toppo seemed to wonder where the edupreneurial strategy is on the political front -- that is, how to create more Adrien Fenties rather than just waiting for lightning to strike.  Me, I'm stuck wondering just how tough these venture philanthropists are compared to regular ones.

11:30:  I'm bored and agitated at the same time -- not sure why.  Everyone's all aflutter about Rhee and Weingarten going at it.  Ooh, conflict!  Now Rhee's up there as a panelist (vs. playing the loyal defender of TNTP from the audience), and she's still riled up and in battle mode.  Or, as she says, "terrified."  Indeed, she should be.  The situation in DC is a perfect storm for outside reform types and if it doesn't work out well, then, everyone should probably just pack it up and go home.  In a fight between Rhee and Weingarten, I gotta say my bet would be on...Weingarten.  And it may come to that in a few months.

10:20 AM:  Two straight hours of talk in the AM is a little much, according to those of us loitering in the hall and getting an early start on the cookies and Diet Coke.  When does an introduction turn into a mini-speech?  I don't know, but there were too many introductions.  Now finally into question and answer.  

As for the substance, well, it's an anti-district anti-union crowd by and large, even though there's all this lip service given to the Michelle Rhees and Adrien Fenties of the world.  A strange dichotomy.  Good to have Randi Weingarten up there pushing back on current fetishes for charters and choice.  And how fun that Rhee and Weingarten get into it about the contract in New York.  Mike is here, paying much more attention than I am:   Liveblogging the NewSchools Summit.

What else?  Lots of friends here, lots of frenemies.  Nobody likes my idea for a new blog about k12 education giving, or its proposed name ("The Magic [Bill Gates] Spray Can").  Some folks have laughed at my new cards, whose tagline is "It's not about the kids."  It's not.  You know it's not.  Maybe it should be.  But it usually isn't.  Look hard at anyone who tells you that it is. I love that the NSVF folks have been prepped not to talk to me. 

8:44 AM:  Rainy cold Tuesday morning in DC at the Capitol Hilton.  Not nearly as spectacular a setting as last year in New Orleans, and not nearly enough breakfast either.  (Let the complaining begin.)  Apparently there was something of a drunken melee at last night's NSVF "rehearsal dinner" at steakhouse Smith and Wollensky.  Gates education honcho Vicki Phillips gives a few remarks, proving that she really exists.  DC Mayor Fenty opens and calls for mayoral control not just of school systems but also of water boards and everything else.  Amazing to see so many familiar faces in one place.  It's all bold-face names, all the time.  At least for education.  (It's also a lot like speed dating, quipped Chicago's Josh Adelman about the hyper-socializing going on.)

Best Of The Blog Posts For Today

US News examines the issue of education and the campaign EWA
They're like the kid in the back of the classroom with his hand raised, whom the teacher never gets to call on because the other students are shouting for attention.

Senate Appropriations Chairman for Obama EdWeek
Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia endorsed Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois today.

Gender Bender: The AAUW's New Report on Gender Equity The 'Kette
The real trend story, though, is not about test scores, but about how girls have overtaken boys in college completion.

 Teacher Support for Differentiated Pay Ed Policy Watch
But it's simply not true that teachers monolithically oppose all types of differentiated pay.

The May 19 Communique' Is Up! EIA
NEA and AFT: Different in Difference

Consider the Snark Kevin Carey
Snark is at best a means of making a point and amusing your audience simultaneously, at worst a particularly belittling and divisive kind of discourse.

Not All Ed Associations Oppose Incentive Pay

Logoascd Think most ed groups and every ed association are all against incentive pay?  So did I.  But then I found out that the 175,000-member ASCD supports incentive pay and has endorsed the Teacher Excellence for All Children (TEACH) Act (Incentive Pay for Teachers Is an Option (Take 2).  ASCD supports incentive pay and performance pay, for individuals as well as schools.  As long as it's voluntary, not based on a single test, and determined locally.  Sure, it's not a traditional association like the AASA or the Chiefs, but it's worth noting.

Bringing ECS (& Your Organizatio) Into The Web 2.0 World

EcsEd law professor Justin Bathon writes on his blog, Edjurist, that his former employer ECS has to update its web offerings with a blog and RSS feeds if it wants people to read its generally high-quality products (ECS and Web 2.0).

Much the same could be said of many other education organizations (and media outlets), which are being left behind by upstart operations and even by the mainstream media.




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.