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TECH: Free Lectures & Books At iTunes U

20_stress_unhappiness There are tons of free audio and video files at iTunes U, which I'd never heard of until last week.  Check it all out and tell me if it's any good. Via Kottke.

TECH: What You Look Like Online

There are conflicting signals about the screen-based lifestyle these days, including this New York Times Magazine package that suggests all of these screens we live on are making the world a creepy place. Here's what kids (and, by extension, adults) look like playing video games. What if there was a camera behind the computer screen you're working on, recording what you looked like right now? 

MEDIA: Proposal To Ban Papparazzi Near Schools

Classgrades They might be considering this in DC if the Secret Service didn't already handle this type of thing:  An LA city councilman has proposed a ban on papparazzi near schools and other "sensitive-use locations" (Ban Paps From Schools And Hospitals Perez Hilton). Yes, I read too many gossip sites. 

OBAMA: Funding Increase Not Too Much To Ask For

"This is decimal dust in the federal budget."

Obama transition team leader Linda Darling-Hammond, asked whether there are enough resources to spend on education initiatives. (Stanford professor leads Obama transition team)

BOOKS: The Street Stops Here

26123109Given how many charter school programs resemble inner-city Catholic schools, Patrick McCloskey's new book The Street Stops Here makes for particularly timely reading.

From Publishers Weekly:  "Students feud, teachers jockey for power, and administrative control must be maintained at all costs. Powerful, eloquent, candid, McCloskey's account should be required reading for those who seek to remedy the academic woes of our troubled urban schools."

I had a chance to talk on the phone to McCloskey the other day about his book, the all-boys Catholic school in New York that he wrote about, and the potentially confusing fact that there's a movie by the same name coming out also.  McCloskey is a Columbia J-School graduate and has written for EdWeek and The New York Times.

TECH: Google Publishes Millions Of LIFE Pics

Life_logo_3 Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google.  LIFE photo archive hosted by Google. Via Kottke.

Esquire's 70 Greatest Sentences - Esquire

"A child is a territory, a landscape, a region, an outpost, a republic and island of worry." 

Esquire Magazine's Esquire's 70 Greatest Sentences
Alec Wilkinson, "Sam and Other Reflections on Being a Father," 2000

Continue reading "Esquire's 70 Greatest Sentences - Esquire" »

BLOGS: Around The Blogs

2233371418_8c14473cecGood Intentions, Ignorant Elites, and Scoundrels
"Amazing that so much genius about how to run a terrific education system has been sequestered in child-free, student-free offices in the District of Columbia."

Mike scheduled to appear on CNN Tuesday morning
Petrilli mucks it up going with the power blue sweater.

Potted Plants, Leadership, Vision, and Team Play
Charlie Barone worries over Obama's next moves.

Tough Choices for Tough Children
NYT's Judith Miller on what to call kids.

MONEY: School Districts Deserve Bailout, Too, Says Miami Supe

874carvalho2embeddedprod_affiliate5 '''The question in my mind is this: At a time when we're continuing the bailout of key industries, at what point do we have a bailout of public education?'" asked Carvalho according to this Miami Herald article (Schools deserve bailout, too).  "Some municipal leaders, too, are seeking a share of the bailout. Last week, three big-city mayors -- Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, Shirley Franklin of Atlanta and Phil Gordon of Phoenix -- asked the federal government for a portion of the rescue plan."

Assisted Suicide of a Generation

SeenoevilMarc Aronson says that America’s dropout epidemic for children of color is the "assisted suicide of a generation," but educators can not discuss it candidly.

Five KIPP schools in the San Francisco Bay had an attrition rate of 60% between 5th and 8th grade, giving ammunition to KIPP's detractors. Conversely, if teachers would reinvent high school during their spare time, then we could re-engage alienated teens. And so goes the blame game.

So, why not focus on highly mobile and excessively absent students? After all, there must be a rational limit to the scorn we can heap on educators for their inability to help children who are not in school.  It is manifestly impossible for teachers, who already have their hands full, to reach out and rescue many of those children who miss school too much.  New York City has 392 people to monitor 200,000 students who are chronically absent, but the district adopted the predictable response - blame the principals.

When 20% of a city's elementary students are absent for more than a month, is it any suprise when that number grows to 40% in high school?  Given its seven billion dollars of new money, why didn't the New York City schools invest in their most vulnerable students?  I blame ideological conflict and political correctness.  Who wants to address the embarrassing question of how schools can graduate more students than the number of students who actually attend class?

Continue reading "Assisted Suicide of a Generation" »

SEX: Teacher Dates Model Student, Challenges Dismissal

Alg_salominawalter_2Usually, it's the teacher who's the hottie and there's no doubt about the crime that's been committed. 

This time, it's the student who is a model -- literally -- and the 37 year old teacher is claiming that her 16 year old lover's prolonged absences from school make their affair not a dismissable offense

Teacher sues city after being fired for affair with runway model student (NYDN via New York Magazine).

EDSEC: Post Columnist Admires Them All

"I have admired several U.S. education secretaries -- Bill Bennett, Dick Riley, Rod Paige and the current jobholder, Margaret Spellings."

Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews (A Track Record Obama Would Prize)

TECH: Kids Share Teaching Tricks Via Video

Kids may be savvy about technology and the Internet, but as you can see from this CBS Evening News segment they're not always so smart about remembering that the Internet goes out to everyone (and lasts for a long time):

Web Tests Kids' Desire To Cheat

HOTSEAT: Elizabeth Green To The Rescue!

Elizabeth_weiss_green_140x140jpg Known for her persistence, her red hair, and her scoops, wunderkind education reporter Elizabeth Green has written for US News, the New York Sun, and now GothamSchools, a three-person online venture focusing on New York City Schools.

On the HotSeat, Green explains why she chose to go from mainstream to online, describes what GothamSchools is all about, regales us with stories of her reportorial exploits, and artfully fends off my obnoxious questioning. 

Click below to get all the details.

Continue reading "HOTSEAT: Elizabeth Green To The Rescue!" »

TRANSITION: More Contenders Bow Out

Alvinchipmunks111208Wise, Caperton say they'd probably turn down Obama cabinet post Times-West Virginian
Caperton, a Democrat, said he is, however, extremely supportive of Obama's stances on education.

Domestic Adviser May Play Greater Role Washington Post
Barnes has a reputation as a pleasant but firm presence who is well versed on policy issues.

Experts Say Obama Must Build a Bipartisan Machine to Move Education Law Washington Post
"Forget the details of No Child Left Behind," said Gary Huggings, director of the Aspen Institute's Commission on NCLB. "The big challenge there is having to rebuild that bipartisan coalition."

BLOGS: Education Writers Blog Contest

Section_pic_award Always up on the latest trends, EWA is now including a category for blogs in its annual award program (Contest Categories). 

NEWS: Big Stories Of The Day

Ca_lat South Los Angeles high school still reeling after lockdown LA Times
Manual Arts was locked down Friday after reports of a gunman on campus. Staff and students say there was little communication about what was going on, and many had no access to restrooms or food.

Educators protest TEA choice of evaluation system Houston Chronicle
If the agency has its way, the Pearson method will be used to grade Texas schools under the federal No Child Left Behind Act next year and perhaps under the ...

Pittsburgh Public Schools look at teacher incentive pay Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Now that the district has implemented a performance-pay system for principals, the Pittsburgh Public Schools may explore the possibility of extending the practice to teachers and other employees.

FSU Football Star Wins Rhodes Scholarship NPR
Myron Rolle, the starting strong safety for the Florida State Seminoles, has been awarded the Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University. The pre-med student had to miss part of Saturday's game against Maryland because he was being interviewed for the scholarship.

Slam Poet Gayle Danley Teaches Kids How to Soothe Their Wounds Washington Post
She starts off with a poem titled "Round Like Bubbles": "Round like a big fat green birthday balloon kissing the sky," Gayle Danley begins, then turns her backside to the audience of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders at Deerfield Run Elementary School in Laurel and adds, "Why can't I have a round...

CELEBS: Obama Not The Only High-Profile Parent Out There

Madonnadavidbandafrenchschool04_2Madonna Signs Up David For French School

BLOGS: Best Of The Day

Melody Barnes Gets Key Domestic Policy Role Campaign K1209love500
President-elect Obama has named Melody Barnes, the former general counsel to Sen. Ted Kennedy and the policy guru at the Center for American Progress, as the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.

Obama’s own bolder, broader plan Small Talk
What a shift from the neocons, the great redistributors, who oversaw the greatest redistribution in wealth in history, from poor to rich.

Stimulating Eduwonk
I’d argue that per-K should be a major -  even the major - education spending item for the Obama Administration.  But, as a matter of near-term economic stimulus doesn’t school construction make more sense? 

 Teens' online habits ASBJ
Kids are learning valuable technical and social skills that aren’t always understood or appreciated by adults.

Philadelphia Public Schools Gain Market Share, Blames Charters TQATE
More students, less money, and the city complains?

LOCKE: Fox News Updates Locke HS "Turnaround" Story

N6916_35613190_7539 Wondering what I've been up to lately? 

Here's a Fox News four-part report on Locke High School, the place where I've been spending so much time this fall (Promises to Keep Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four). 

The picture I'm seeing of the school is perhaps more mixed than the rose-colored version presented here, though no one would argue that there aren't several enormously positive things going on. 

My story / book /miniseries won't be out for a while now, so in the meantime you should check this out. 

The "Highly Mobile"

Prodigalsonright When students transfer out of my school, I usually say, ""I’m sorry to lose you. But, is this good or bad news for you?" Rarely do I get an unambiguous answer. 

After 25 years of playground basketball, I’m still amazed that every pickup game has kids who come from the same neighborhoods, but attend schools that are scattered so widely across the county. A few have relatively straightforward explanations for their mobility, like a family illness or transportation problems, but rarely is there a simple path to an inner city secondary school.

As with the rest of the nation, the saddest tales are of students who shuttle from one home to another, one neighborhood school to another, one alternative school to another, and one district to another. The most frustrating stories are of kids who simply mature more slowly and thus can’t fit into our lockstep system.

The greetings, goodbyes, and welcome backs are always poignant, but now it is harder to show proper respect to each individual as transfers occur almost daily. Twice, I have had long goodbyes and a couple of hours later my former student was dead. Twice, within a couple of hours of saying goodbye, my students had shot people. Plenty of times I have reunited with former students on the streets or living in parks, and been stunned that those sweet children now looked older than me.

Others come back from their journeys with new dedication, and return to show off their degree, their uniform, or their child. One vexing student came back as a principal. I wish I knew where he went wrong. - John Thompson

MONEY: Disparate Effects On Education

Custom_1226425094747_grinchSchools feel pinch from economic woes CSM
Officials look for the least painful trims, but many worry about their ability to close achievement gaps.

High School Dances Shine Just a Little Less Brightly NYT
From affluent neighborhoods to blue-collar ones, the homecoming dance is a more modest affair this year.

Show Winner, Now Bankrupt, Will Keep Vow NYT
Kathy Cox, the Georgia state schools superintendent who won $1 million on a game show, filed for bankruptcy, but plans to fulfill her pledge to donate her winnings to local schools.

Funds sliced, teacher sells ads on tests San Diego Union-Tribune
Kevin Change said it was strange the first time he saw an advertisement across the bottom of his calculus test. But now he and his classmates look for them.

TRANSITION: Coalitions, Appointees, Etc.

Experts Say Obama Must Build a Bipartisan Machine to Move Education Law Washington Post
President-elect Barack Obama has made big promises to educators, parents and the nation's nearly 50 million public school students.

Obama_111308Stanford professor leads transition team San Francisco Chronicle
It's been a busy week for Linda Darling-Hammond, a Stanford University education professor who heads back to Washington, D.C., on Sunday to preside over the start of what she hopes will be a new - and better funded - era for public schools.

An Education Reformer? Newsweek
"People don't want to say anything publicly, because of the 'No-Drama Obama' stuff," says one well-placed reformer with ties to the incoming administration. "But many of us were stunned that Linda Darling-Hammond is still as influential as she is."

Obamas Pick Sidwell School NYT
Malia and Sasha Obama will attend Sidwell Friends School, the pricey and prestigious academy that has educated generations of Washington’s elite.

Litmus Tests for the Next Secretary of Education EdWeek
Potential candidates' views on the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind and the issue of teacher quality should help President-elect Obama in choosing an effective secretary of education, says Anthony Ralston.

N.Y. school renamed for Obama MSNBC
At the behest of its students, an elementary school near New York City has been renamed after President-elect Barack Obama.

NEWS: Big Stories Of The Day

Post1124Spellings Touts Support Effort At Fairfax High Washington Post
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings visited Fairfax High School last week to spotlight a program she deemed promising for preventing dropouts and getting more students into college.

Title III Supplanting Provisions Draw Questions Title I Report
Practitioners reacted skeptically to plans by the U.S. Department of Education to bring stricter interpretation and stronger enforcement to the “supplement not supplant” provisions of the English language acquisition program.

'What Works' Process Called Scientifically Sound EdWeek
A congressionally requested study of the federal research-review agency cheers federal officials but leaves critics unsatisfied.

Va. Math Standards' Bar Might Be Raised Washington Post
Kindergartners would be expected to be able to count to 100, not just to 30. Perimeter and area would be introduced and explored in third grade, instead of in second grade.


OBAMA: Sidwell Friends For Daughters


The Obamas Pick a School -- It's Sidwell Friends

Washington Post

NAMES: How Long Until We Get The First "Obama High"? [Not Long]

New_school_front2 UPDATE:  NY elementary school renamed for Obama Associated Press

It used to be that folks only got schools named after them long after they were gone (or at least out of office). t I'm guessing it won't be nearly that long until someone decides to name (or re-name) a school after President-elect Obama. 

Maybe it won't be a district school but rather a charter.  I mean, those guys name schools pretty much anything they want.  And people are already naming their kids Obama.   

So it might not be that long until we get the first KIPP Obama, Animo Obama, or Obama Tech. 

UPDATE:  NY elementary school is renamed for ObamaThe Associated Press

MEN: Celebrity Boarding Schools Are All The Rage - For Women

Leodicap112008How come it's only celebrity women like Angelina Jolie and Oprah who have sponsored third-world boarding schools (here), not male superstars? 

It's not like DiCaprio and Clooney don't have any spare change lying around.

EDWEEK: McNeil Smacks Down Fordham EdSec Guess

I'm starting to worry about the credibility problem over at the Fordham Institute.  Here, Michele McNeil belittles the Petrillian notion Bill Richardson will be Secretary (NCLB Foe as Ed Sec?) and reports on some NEA favorites. 

UPDATE:  Indeed, Friday afternoon it was reported that Richardson was offered Commerce.

TRANSITION: The Schnur Stands Alone (On Obama Transition Team)

Schnurphoto_2 Edspresso takes a look at the education team earlier unveiled this week as part of the administrative (agency?) review for Obama, and Jeanne Allen he doesn't like what she sees: Un-Transition. A noticeable lack of reformy types are there.  The late addition of Bob Shireman won't make him her feel better, I don't think.

REGS: Any "Midnight Regulations" For Education? [updated 2x]

Scancfr45 Lots of news outlets are telling us about the Bush administration's push to get out "midnight regulations" that would take effect even after Obama takes office (Google News), but no one has told us yet whether there are any regs getting pushed out the door that affect education. 

Any last-minute rule changes or definitions they're trying to sneak by us?  I'm counting on you OMB watchers and lobbyists to tell us what's going on.

UPDATE:  I'm being reminded that the USDE issued a big batch of Title I regs last month (New federal regulations on graduation rates have school officials ...) that might, depending on your definition (90 vs 60 days), be described as midnight regulations. 

UPDATE 2:  ProPublica is tracking midnight regs but doesn't seem to have included any education ones (here).  Maybe the October education regs are only considered to be "twilight" regs?  But that hasn't stopped folks from complaining about them -- see the NEA's press release from a few weeks back.

TV: Fifteen Best TV Shows

2982281565_65ae45517e 2) Buffy
4) Dawson's Creek
6) My So-Called Life
13) Fame
14) One Tree Hill
15) Beverly Hills 90210

The 15 best TV shows set in schools
School Gate

Click to see the full list.
Anything to add?  Let us know.

BAD: Kids, Teachers, Parents Behaving Badly

Wtf Seven cheerleaders from Morton Ranch High School in Katy, Texas have been formally charged with hazing for throwing junior varsity cheerleaders into a pool while bound and gagged earlier this year.

A Canadian junior high school has warned its students against participating in South Park's "Kick A Ginger Day".

A 10-year-old girl from Wisconsin faces misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges for penning a list of 25 classmates and teachers that she wants to kill.

Good Morning America covers  some of the same ground as our earlier posts on the MySpace trial, but also includes a deeply chilling recording of the 911 call that Megan's mom, Tina, made on the day of her death.  All via Jezebel.com

NEWS: Big Stories Of The Day [TGIF!]

Tn_ttThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective Schools TIME
The Leader in Me, now in bookstores, tells the tale of how several principals nationwide applied his 7 Habits to their struggling schools.

Emanuel tells GOP leaders that their voices will be heard
"We would like and welcome their ideas on a host of fronts, be that in the area of education, healthcare, taxes, energy policy, national security," Emanuel ...

The New Team Arne Duncan NY Times
Mr. Duncan helped shape Mr. Obama’s education program. In his own words: “We are one of the few districts in the country that has shut down underperforming ...

Feds say no to testing experiment Salt Lake Tribune
The federal government will not let two Utah school districts experiment with a new testing system at the expense of No Child Left Behind requirements.

 A new lesson plan for education shakes things up Medill Reports
Many teachers are excited at the prospect of a more data-driven approach to policy, but worry their voices may be lost in the process.

Lobbyist's ties surprise Tenn. school coalition The Tennessean
Chairman failed to disclose that the firm he steered his colleagues toward employs his son.

WEB2.0: Scorned By Teachers, Wikipedia Gains Journo Users


"Dismissed by traditional journalism as a gimmicky source of faux information almost since it debuted in 2001, Wikipedia may be gaining some cautious converts as it works its way into the mainstream, albeit more as a road map to information than as a source to cite."

American Journalism Review: Wikipedia in the Newsroom

BLOGS: Best Of The Batch

RandicandleWeingarten Makes the Case  Insights
Weingarten's caution against placing all our reform eggs in the performance pay and tenure baskets went largely unnoticed.

Public School Parents, Unite! Education Watch (NYT)
Despite the excitement over Obama's win, our schools are still not getting the attention they deserve.

Handmaid Ladling Norm? TCKB
For months, Democrats have been squabbling back and forth as to what Barack Obama really believes on education. 

Check out Dalton Sherman on Oprah! DISD Blog
Dalton Sherman -- the 10-year-old DISD student whose oratory ability made him an instant hit   -- appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show yesterday.

Crisis killing small schools Small Talk

Faced with spiraling budget deficits, school districts across the country are closing their small schools and consolidating students into larger schools and larger classrooms.

A Turnaround for Baltimore Schools On Education
A modest enrollment gain this fall could signal a big shift for the school district.  

4-day school week smackdown BoardBuzz
Not exactly a smackdown actually, just a civil debate on the editorial pages of USA TODAY this week, with MACCRAY (Minn.) Public Schools Superintendent Gregory A. Schmidt making the case for a four-day school week, while the paper's editorial staff counters with concerns.

TRANSITION: More Agency Review Team Names

Back to the real world:  More agency review team names (scroll to the bottom). Thanks to everyone who sent me word about them.   Lots more higher ed folks than you might have expected, though perhaps some of them are more organizational types than policy or research gurus.

Ann O’Leary  (SF Mayor’s office)

Jonathan Schnur

Maria Blanco (Univ. of Cal, Berkeley)

Juliette Garcia (Univ. Texas, Brownsville)

Gene Garcia (Arizona State)

Joan Baratz Snowden (retired from AFT)

Goodwin Liu  (Boalt Law School)

John Polidori (Delaware State Education Association)

Jon Weintraub  (retired from the Hill and Department)

Steven Robinson (Obama Senate staff)

TRANSITION: New Recommendations Memo Turns Up

Change_memo_rd_final_p_1Hah!  The first page of the long-rumored recommendations memo from the Reformy Democrats* has finally surfaced.

You read it here first.

I'm still looking for the rest of the memo.  In the meantime, click to enlarge.

*Not to be confused with Democrats For Education Reform.

PARENTS: Crowdsourcing Author Asks For Special Needs Help

Crowdource_2 The author of the book Crowdsourcing (which refers to using large groups of people to solve problems collectively) is applying the principal to his own life, writing about his special needs son and asking for help (A Boy Named Finn). Read his account and see what readers have advised him to do so far. 


TRANSITION: "Insiders" Wrong On EdSec Pick (Again)

Those folks saying that Janet Napolitano was a top contender for the education job?  Wrong (Politico).  They've been wrong so many times I'm amazed they're not too embarrassed to keep guessing.  A few more wrong guesses and we're gonna have to take away their "insider" status. 

Seeking Answers

Zora_neale_hurston_nywts "Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying around with a purpose." - Zora Neale Hurston.

As much as I love to read educational research, nothing compares with the hundreds of little research projects I follow every day as teaching immerses me in the "boiled down juice of human living."

Research, like education and politics, requires debate. When a troubled student unexpectedly asserts, "Claude McCay was a better poet than Langston Hughes," what teacher would try to shout her down?

The term educational politics is redundant. Education is politics. How else would you describe the process by which a diverse set of adults attempt to transform teens into a learning team? But education requires the politics of inclusion.

I am struck by the venom of some of the remaining supporters of NCLB when they condemn supporters of the Bolder Broader Approach, and their horror that President Obama would listen to educators who do not kneel before the Holy Grail of Accountability, but I do not want to refight that issue.

Continue reading "Seeking Answers" »

FAIL: Find The Error On This School Billboard

FailownedanotherpubliceducationfailOn the Internets and among the cool kids, "FAIL" is (in the broadest sense) the new "owned" (or pwned or doh!) as an expression of mishap, failure, humiliation, etc. 

Unless I've got this Internet meme all wrong, in which case I'm sure one of you will FAIL! me.

In any case, there's a blog (of course) and it has pictures of things that have gone awry.  Sometimes they include school-related content.

Another Education Fail

SITE: Examiner.com Stealing My Blog Contents

N218067_34695357_7690 Knowing what a freakish stickler I am about journalists and other sites not crediting or linking back to what they learn here, or even excerpting too long a paragraph, you can imagine what I thought when I saw this page from the Examiner.com's New York page.  The Examiner is snagging my content -- and many others' I'm sure -- and selling their own ads.  What to do?  I'm not sure.  Maybe I'll hand this one over to the folks at Scholastic and see what they have to say.  Any ideas?

NEWS: Big Stories Of The Day?

Politico1119Teachers protest pension change Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Retired teachers swamped the offices of the state Teacher Retirement System in Atlanta on Wednesday, winning a battle to keep their automatic cost of living increases

Obama’s win could have effects within classroom AJC
Obama has spoken repeatedly about the role education played in his life. His win can motivate young black men to see themselves leading a..

Researchers Pitch Policy Ideas to Obama Advisers EdWeek
A prestigious education group aims to steer the Obama administration and new Congress toward evidence-based policy changes.

Obama Pressed on Cabinet, Policy ABC News
The unsolicited and sometimes conflicting advice represents an early leadership challenge to Obama, who is deep in the process of selecting his own team and settling on an initial legislative strategy at a time when the economy seems likely to subsume all other issues.

Community colleges suddenly in spotlight MSNBC
Long the neglected stepchildren of American higher education, community colleges have come front-and-center in the eyes of students, policymakers and philanthropists.

TRANSITION: LDH Confirmed Officially As Obama Policy Chief

13obama_515 Here's another report that LDH is going to head the policy team, this time from Hotline (Policy Worker Bees).  But is it official official?  Yes, it is. Take that, every other education blog [and mainstream outlet] that didn't think I had it right lo those many days ago when I first reported it.  I only roll with the best sources. Meanwhile, over at TNR, they're wondering what everyone else is wondering:  Could Policy Group Heads Be Cabinet Picks?.

UPDATE:  Former Gates education honcho Tom Vander Ark can't make up his mind who he wants for EdSec so in the Huffington Post he names nearly everybody he can think of (here).   

BLOGS: Best Of Today

Fixation on Outcomes Leads to Impossible Standards TCKB
“We’re giving huge amounts of money to people who admit that not only have they failed but they almost destroyed the whole economic system of the world.  Then somebody asks me if kids should take violin and do I have evidence?!” So said Geoffrey Canada, the head of the Harlem Children’s Zone, speaking at a New York...

Il_cstPresident-Elect Barack Obama and Bilingual Education LTL
Education Week has published an article, "Advocates of Bilingual Education Eager to Embrace Obama as Ally," in which I report on Barack Obama's endorsement of transitional bilingual education during...

Open Source Testing Barone
I know the words "Gates" and "open source" are not exactly synonymous... but Gates has reportedly said it will make its test available to states "at no cost" so it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch.

What to read into the Reading First study Petrili
The Institute of Education Science’s final Reading First evaluation report is out today, and the news is mixed. Schools receiving funds from the program saw their students’ decoding skills improve, but not their comprehension skills.

Who Lost Andrew Sullivan? Antonucci
“The lengths to which Rhee must go just to apply basic standards of accountability in the teaching profession is mind-boggling. And reading the comments from the leaders of the teachers’ unions really does drive home the point. Until we really do bust the teachers unions, the next generation of kids [...]"

Outcast High Jacobs
A proposal high school for gay and lesbian students in Chicago has expanded its focus to all “disenfranchised” students and changed “Pride” to “Solidarity” in its name. [since withdrawn]

Want to Be in the Obama Administration? Hand Over Your Blog NYT
Ex-roommates and former lovers, blogs and Facebook pages: all are subject to scrutiny as the Obama administration vets potential employees.

FRITZ: Fritz Knows All Things, Sees All Things, Hears All Things

Obamalincolnna01vlvertical_01 Click below for your weekly dose of Fritz Edelstein's Fritzwire -- chock full of hearings, reports, events, and more. 

There's an inauguration countdownd, 4 new hearings, etc. 

Want to know where you can see Susan Neuman in DC next?  Fritz has it. 

Continue reading "FRITZ: Fritz Knows All Things, Sees All Things, Hears All Things" »

OPRAH: School Scandal Drops From Headlines

Imgmgoprahschool9_151645563513 On November 5 [2007], Oprah Winfrey appeared live via satellite on a 10-foot television screen at a South African hotel. She told journalists she had been “shaken to the core,” and called the Makopo incident “one of the most devastating—if not the most devastating—experience of my entire life.”

But among South Africans, the “Oprah school scandal” has been greeted with a shrug. It’s not that the public is averse to tabloid news. It’s just that the charges against Makopo have been swallowed by the horrific headlines we read every day.

The Oprah School on Trial

[that's Makopo, the accused schoomistress]


NEWS: Big Stories Of The Day

Triage at the Schools Washington Post
It isn't enough to hope for a mild winter or lower gas prices.

Study of Reading Program Finds a Lack of Progress Washington Post
Students in the $6 billion Reading First program have not made greater progress in understanding what they read than have peers outside the program, according to a congressionally mandated study. PLUS:  No Effect on Comprehension Seen From 'Reading First'

No gay high school -- at least not in '09 Chicago Sun Times
Designers of a plan to create the city's first gay-friendly high school pulled the plug on a watered-down version of the plan Tuesday but vowed to resurrect the idea next year.

Experts: Lack of playtime is hurting children Eureka Alerts
Without ample opportunity for forms of play that foster innovation and creative thinking, America’s children will be at a disadvantage in the global economy, psychologist argues.

TRANSITION: Chicago Schools Chief In New York City

Calfskin2_crop Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan gave a speech in New York City earlier this week, during which he spoke about school reform in the Obama era.    The prepared -- and, I'm assuming, approved -- text is below.  In it, Duncan says that he thinks education is going to be a higher priority for Obama than many expect.  There's also shout-outs to KIPP, Schnur, Kopp, and Rhee -- and a hopeful line about how unions and management have "worked together to bring new approaches and ideas into our classrooms." Right.  It all seems like happy talk to me, more Obamaganda  -- plus a chance for Duncan to test his speaking chops outside of Chicago.  But maybe some of it could happen.  Interesting to note that Duncan was not asked to act as a surrogate during the campaign.  Was anyone else at the event?

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GENTRIFICATION: When The Neighborhoods Flips But Not The School

13 Walking around Brooklyn the other day I was reminded that some local schools gentrify along with the neighborhood, but others don't.  Conventional wisdom is that the schools change when the new families come in, but that's not always so.  Not in Chicago, where there were schools in gentrified neighborhoods that served few of the "new" local kids.  Not here, it seems.  There's a lag -- sometimes a very long one.  We've all seen it, I'm guessing.

This is not a bad thing, necessarily.  Continuity is good, and if the education is a good one it doesn't really matter where it happens.  But I wonder if anyone's studied how that process.  Which schools get flipped, and which don't?  How good is the quality of education at the schools that stick with the previous population?  Does it get better as the neighborhood improves, or is it just a familiar place? And how long do schools like this "hang on" before they switch over towards serving the new population of kids?



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