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News: Turnarounds In LA, Philly Fault Lines

MLA Partner Schools shows promise in turning around Manual Arts High LA Times
It's difficult keeping track of all the reformers circling the Los Angeles Unified School District, vying to take charge of dozens of schools the district plans to spin off this year.

Phila. School Leaders Faulted After Attacks on Asians EdWeek
Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman said the district has formed a "Task Force for Racial and Cultural Harmony."

Cuts Ahead, a Bronx Principal Maps Out What May Have to Go NYTNews-nurse news
While it is not known how much individual schools will be asked to shave off their budgets, schools like the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics are preparing for the worst.

School Opens Doors with Second Language Learners in Focus PBS
The New America School in Eagle County, Colo., opened three years ago to educate the area's Latino high school students.

Young, Latina and already a mom MSNBC
Sisters Edelmira and Angela Marquez are teenage mothers, a particularly widespread occurrence among U.S.-born offspring of Hispanic immigrants.

San Fran.-area schools end lessons on not bullying gays Education News
A San Francisco Bay area school board will use broad lessons against bias to replace a curriculum against bullying gay people that had become ...

Teachers: NEA Unveils New Site Design

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Hey, now.  The NEA has a flashy new website design -- and a handy guest appearance from Arne Duncan to go along with it.  (Things like this are bound to happen when Cunningham is gone this long.) 

Blogs: The Utterly Depressing Assessment

An education job you may want Answer Sheet
Here’s what Assistant Education Secretary Peter Cunningham is doing today while you are in your office: He’s continuing his “Pacific Islands Listening and Learning” tour in Hawaii.

RI raises bar for new teachers JoanneJacobs
Currently, Rhode Island ranks among the lowest in the nation, alongside Mississippi and Guam.

The Next War On Poverty Democracy500x_prospectorpleq
Conventional wisdom aside, some '60s-era inner-city programs have been a success. Now it's time for Obama to launch phase two.

The Utterly Depressing Assessment Robert Pondiscio
TUDA stands for “The Utterly Depressing Assessment.” 

That Old College Lie Democracy
Are our colleges teaching students well? No. But here's how to make them.

The Top 10 Unsung Global Thinkers Politics Daily
Can we get some love for Dave Eggers? Firstly, the guy is seriously committed to educational reform -- setting up his 826 tutoring centers in cities across the country.

Average American Consumes 34 Gigabytes Daily
The researchers also calculated that, within those 34 gigabytes, we see or hear (though not necessarily fully process) about 100,000 words a day.

Thompson: It Is Not What Parents Do. It Is Who They Are

Civil_rights_congress Imagine an anthropologist from the Trobriand Islands landing in urban America, discovering Black students, despite less access to pre-school, enter kindergarten with higher reading scores than Whites but instantly fall behind. After 12 years with teachers and union members, only 20% of those Black students have college-ready reading skills in contrast to 60% of whites. The anthropologist might also notice the correlation between the fiercest battles of the civil rights crusade and the presence of union members, and conclude that teachers and unions caused the Achievement Gap. He may never consider the possibility that correlation is not causation, and that today’s teachers commit to the inner city for the same reason as our forerunners and their unions joined the civil rights movement on the side of justice.

After the Education Trust's latest attacks on my profession, I returned to their "research." In Yes We Can, the Trust mentioned that Black students entering school only had higher scores after controlling for income and education levels of parents. Those caveats were forgotten a few pages later

Continue reading "Thompson: It Is Not What Parents Do. It Is Who They Are" »

Events: Bloggers & Bloggees Gather In Chinatown

I think it's safe to say that a good time was had by all at GothamSchools' holiday celebration in Chinatown last night.  The spread was excellent.  The setting was splendid.  The rain stayed away.  The room was full of all sorts of folks you'd never think to see in one place together -- tweedy academic types (Pedro Noguera, Diane Ravitch), suited Kleinsters (Klein, Cantor, and White), lefty stalwarts (Aaron, Norm).  Gotham%20SchoolsThere were many kind folks who came up to say hello (so nice of you!) and some blog-friends I'd never actually met face to face (Robert Pondiscio, Jennifer Jennings).  It was great to see my Columbia J-school peeps, lots of colleagues from various corners of the earth (Linda P) , and of course Philissa and Elizabeth, our hostesses.  Heading home on the subway, I realized that many of the people in this room feel the very same need I feel to take on destructive myths and powerful institutions, and have functioned in many ways as ad hoc colleagues and comrades in arms.  For me, this might have been as close to "community" as it gets.

Books: It's Counter-Intuitive!

It was, apparently, a decade of counter-intuitive thought.  Here are some of the vaguely education-related things that pundits, Malcolm Gladwell, and Slate had to say, according to a list compiled by the good people at New York Magazine.  They all run counter to previous wisdom, right?

20091207_aughts_150 Boys are the biggest victims of sex discrimination.
Being smart doesn’t help you get ahead.
Breast-feeding is not worth the trouble.
Drug dealers don’t make more money than poor people with “straight” jobs.
Impulsiveness is superior to careful consideration.
Obesity is not an epidemic.
Parental involvement in education is a waste.
Plagiarism isn’t a big deal.
Watching TV and playing video games make kids smarter.

Click through to get the full story and specific source for each item (The Encylopedia of Counterintive Thought)

Asian Victims, Turnaround Failures, & More

Asian students describe violence at South Philadelphia High Philly.com
In emotional testimony yesterday, Asian students described being victimized at South Philadelphia High for years, often as school staffers stood by, encouraged the attackers, or hurled racial slurs.

CA schools phase out gay-friendly curriculum AP
Following months of heated debate, the Alameda Board of Education has voted to phase out the elementary school curriculum it adopted in May to prevent anti-gay bullying....

Restructuring Schools Under NCLB Found to Lag EdWeek1111111111111111111
The Center on Education Policy says its report raises questions about the Education Department’s strategies for turning around low-performing schools.

Assembly panel OKs union-backed bill aimed at qualifying the state for U.S. education grants LA Times
A state legislative committee Wednesday rejected a Senate education bill favored by charter school organizations while approving rival Assembly legislation backed by teachers unions.

Dairy Groups Fight To Keep Chocolate Milk On Menu NPR
Chocolate milk has been kicked off the lunch menu at schools across the country. The dairy industry says that even though it contains more sugar than white milk, it's more nutritious than soda or other drink options. But healthful-lunch activists aren't so sure.

Pell Grant program faces shortfall MSNBC
The Pell Grant program for needy college students is facing a massive shortfall as the country's bleak job market drives people back to school. 

Amorous Teachers Caught During Talent Show

Tumblr_kuacz5j8zR1qz7lxdo1_500 I'm not sure that sending them to one of NYC's infamous rubber rooms is the right response, but that's apparently what the NYC department of education is doing with this pair of high school teachers who were allegedly caught by a janitor undressed and engaging in a sex act in a classrrom during a talent show.

Click below for additional details, but don't blame me if you do.

Continue reading "Amorous Teachers Caught During Talent Show" »

Story Began As Legend; It's Since Become True

Lipstick ProblemThis story may not, initially, have been true, according to Snopes.com, but in the dozen years (at least) since it first started getting passed around it may well have become true:

"According to a news report, a certain private school in Washington was recently faced with a unique problem. A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom...

Continue reading "Story Began As Legend; It's Since Become True" »

Video: LA Unified Won't Stop Robo-Calling TV Actor

Chris Colfer on Chelsea Lately.

Check this out: During an interview last week "Glee" star Chris Colfer (who plays Curt on the show) reveals that LA Unified won't stop robo-calling each morning to tell him that his daughter isn't at school. Colfer is 19 years old, openly gay, and doesn't have any kids. But he has given up on getting LAUSD to stop the calls and now says he's trying to find the girl they're calling about and to get her to start going to school.Only that way, he senses, will the calls ever stop.

Quote: Who Will Help Detroit?

"There is no jurisdiction of any kind, at any level, at any time in the 30-year history of NAEP that has ever registered such low numbers." 

- Mike Casserly about the TUDA results at Mike Klonsky

Blogs: Detroit, Overpromising, "Scott's Tots," & More

Detroit Leaders Sign Off on New Pact - Will Teachers Follow? Stephen Sawchuk 
Detroit schools' emergency financial manager Robert Bobb and teachers' union leader Keith Johnson have agreed to a tentative contract for the district that contains a lot of New Haven-like reforms.

"The gap is gone" Sherman DornTurquoise_crop
If Aaron Pallas's report is correct, and Roland Fryer did tell Anderson Cooper bluntly in reference to the Harlem Children's Zone and Promise Academy, "The gap is gone," Fryer committed an understandable but all too common sin of education reformers across the centuries: overpromising.

"The Office" and College Tuition Yglesias
Crack intern E.K. alerts me to the Belmont 112, a real-life analogue to Scott's Tots, except where he paid the money in the end.

For Hope about Inner-City Kids, Look Past "The Blind Side" Seth Bauer
The movie calls for entrepreneurship on the part of all of us, because the economics of the film industry means that millions of high school kids--and their parents--whose personal prospects could be radically changed simply by viewing the film may never get to see it.

Pregnant Athlete Doesn't Want To Be Babied By School Deadspin
A Texas high schooler is filing a Title IX complaint against her school district after her volleyball coach benched her in her first trimester. This sounds like a no-win situation for everyone involved.

Video: Elfin Hipster Pitches Cisco Videoconferencing

Indie starlet Ellen (Juno, Whip It) Page can be seen in TV ads for ... Cisco's video teleconferencing system:

Why? Not sure.  The ad guru at Slate.com isn't really sure either.  Why Page chose Cisco -- or why Cisco chose Page (When indie sweethearts pitch products). 

Thompson: Adult Dysfuntion and Gotchas

Gotcha1 Just after Secretary Duncan described for the Center for American Progress the harm done by "adult dysfunction" and a "gotcha" mentality, Mayor Bloomberg personified those traits by blindsiding teachers with the announcement "as it turned out, our lawyers now tell us, after a very close reading of the New York state law, the current law does not stop us from using student data ... for tenure this year. ... The law is the law - as we read it. The lawyers before said we had to stop ... today, the lawyers say we will win." (emphasis was Bloomberg's)

In this setting, as opposed to the accuracy exhibited in his interview with Education Week, Duncan hardly embodied his own value of "transparency" when misstating the record of schools that supposedly kept the "same students" in the same building and yet turned around. Even so, Kati Haycock took the prize for the gotcha politics of adult dysfunction

Continue reading "Thompson: Adult Dysfuntion and Gotchas" »

Millot: Professional Ethics on Holiday from EdSector? (III)

Growing Pains: Scaling Up the Nation's Best Charter Schools: This Education Sector report takes an objective look at how prepared the nation's best charter schools are to meet the challenge of rapid expansion.

From Education Sector’s home page

Objective: not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased: “an objective opinion.”

From Dictionary.com

If Growing represents the culmination of an ordinary process of objective research, as Communications Manager Kristen Amundson suggests, she should have no difficulty providing a statement from EdSector’s Research Advisory Board saying as much....

Returning to AERA’s Ethics Standards, Section IV covers Editing, Reviewing and Appraising Research. The first standard returns us to the decision to involve NewSchools’ director Kim Smith’s in the peer review of Tom Toch’s Sweating.

Continue reading "Millot: Professional Ethics on Holiday from EdSector? (III)" »

News: Budget Cuts, Big Bonuses, & More

Illinois Prepares for Furloughs US News
Facing budget cuts, school will enforce furloughs in spring.

LA schools approve plan to cut 5,000 jobs AP1111111111111111111
The Los Angeles school board has approved a budget plan that calls for more than 5,000 job cuts....

Despite Ray Bradbury’s Efforts, a California Library Closes LA Times
A library branch in Ventura, Calif., closed depite the efforts of the author.

Algiers Charter School Association awards $900,000 in bonuses NOLA.com
The rewards, which were distributed to about 340 educators across the association, are part of the System of Teacher and Student Advancement, or TAP.

Full-day kindergarten requirement poses problems for some school districts Cleveland.com
District officials across the state are saying they can't afford to add the teachers and classrooms that a change from the traditional half-day schedule would require.

GOP Lawmakers Wary of ‘Race to Top’-Standards Link EdWeek
Some worry of federal intrusion if states join the CCSSO/NGA push for standards to gain points in competing for stimulus aid.

Hello, My Name Is Ravenel

Being associated with hedge fund guys named Ravenel Boykin Curry IV is just what the charter school movement needs right now (Scholarly Investments). Fabulous!

Blogs: TUDA, Charter Chic, Re-Closing Schools

NAEP Measures Progress in Urban School Districts Dakarai Aarons
Results show some progress for urban cities in 4th and 8th grade math over the last two years.

Charter schools are the new chic? Liz Willen
Why are the money folks choosing charters instead of embracing some of the other struggling public schools, many of which could use an infusion of hedge fund cash at a time of deep budget cuts?

The Terminators Mike KlonskyCamera-icon.1
Bloomberg/Klein are closing schools that they opened to replace schools that they closed.

A Teacher Walks Into the Principal's Office . . . ASCD Inservice
Deirdra Grode gets her first taste of classroom management from the principal's perspective.

It’s Awards Season Mike Antonucci
It seems meta that The Edublog Awards has a blog.

On a Personal Note Sean Cavanaugh
I'll be going to work for the Academy for Educational Development, a nonprofit that works on school, human health, and economic development issues internationally, and here at home.

The GothamSchools party is tomorrow and you’re invited GS
Klein, Ravitch, Noguera throw down -- plus eggnog. 

Blackwater: A Low Point For Alternative Certification?

Picture 1

The founder of Blackwater, the security-for-hire folks we've come to know and love, has been ousted from his own company and now says he wants to teach high school. 

Via Mike Klonsky (Prince's 5th period course)

Books: 100 Best Last Lines

This one is for all the English and drama teachers in the house:

Picture 5
Do you know them all?  Are any obvious contenders missing from this list? Matthew Yglesias

Thompson: Creative Insubordination

The_parable_of_the_talents_300 The best thing about Education Secretary Duncan’s interview with Education Week was his endorsement of a fundamental value of public education - "creative insubordination." When dealing with some of his best principals in Chicago, Duncan learned that the best thing he could do was to "give them space, to get the bureaucracy off their back." So when teachers employ creative insubordination in the face of "a one size fits all curriculum," (which Duncan also criticized) we should expect his support.

The second best thing about his interview was Duncan’s apparent repudiation of his exaggeration about charters that supposedly turnaround an "existing school with the existing kids and the problems that are there." I hope Duncan realizes that the experience of principals having to earn their autonomy despite the bureaucracy helps explain why neighborhood schools can’t be compared to selective or otherwise favored schools. In education we face a modern-day version of the Biblical parable of the men bestowed with talents.

Continue reading "Thompson: Creative Insubordination" »

Black Kids Targeting Asians In Philly (& Elsewhere?)

Are Asian students being targeted in urban high schools?  The issue flared up this past week with attacks on Asian kids at South Philadelphia HS.  But it didn't start then - and it's likely not just an issue in Philalphia.  Philadelphia Weekly published this story a couple of months ago (Asian Students Under Assault).

Hope Street: A New (Kind Of) Policy Shop?

HopeST When Alice Cain Johnson left Chairman Miller's office to join Hope Street Group the other week, more than a few folks were probably wondering just where she was going.  Well, here's what little I know:  HSG is a relatively new, extremely virtual think tank / policy shop.  Its focus areas include education.  They just put out a report on teacher evaluation, whose substance we can measure against GothamSchools' summertime blog post about the process.  (Does it match up?)  They are apparently very well connected, and are trying to pioneer a new, sort of open source policy development strategy that could be cool (or could be just a lot of hand-waving).  But they haven't had a lot of consistency when it comes to staffing, and its unclear just how substantive and independent they are going to be. Former OLCA staffer  Jocelyn Pickford was hired at the beginning of the year to be the education director but then went on maternity leave in June and never came back.  At about that time, a more junior person named Catherine Cullen who came from EdSector. So we'll see.  I'm not sure why the world needs another policy group (and it's not a good sign that you can't see the list of funders without a password), but I'm curious about the idea of a more open approach to policy development.  Thoughts?  Impressions?  

News: Overstaffed District, Student Walkout

KC school district has about 1,000 employees too many, official says Kansascity.com

With about 3,300 employees, the district still has about 1,000 more people than most districts with enrollments of about 17,000 students, said Steve Harris, the new assistant superintendent for human resources.

Philly Students Plan Walkout in Wake of Attacks. EdWeek 1111111111111111111
Some Philadelphia high school students say they fear for their safety after a series of assaults last week and won't be attending classes.

Obama Drops Cautious Arts Policy WJZ.com
At a dinner during last weekend's Kennedy Center Honors, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said improving arts education will be a key element of his proposed changes in former President George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind law.

Unproved Early-Reading Program Likely to Prevail EdWeek
Early Reading First never attracted the same attention as its cousin, Reading First, and proof of its effectiveness is elusive, but advocates of early-childhood education hope the federal government will continue to build on what participants in the grant program have learned.

The Great Superintendent Search Scholastic Administrator
Superintendent search season is now in full swing. As of press time, some of the districts in the market for a new chief include St. Paul, Minnesota; Pueblo, Colorado; and Newton, Massachusetts.

Millot: Professional Ethics on Holiday from EdSector? (II)


As a critical consumer of policy studies, I'm sensitive to analysis on behalf of advocacy. But until I saw the difference between Sweating and Growing, I never thought EdSector reports would cut inconvenient facts rather than address them head on. Surely there is a principled counter-argument for the viability of CMO finances and the underlying business model. I still prefer to believe that this fiasco is an aberration rather than evidence of a pattern.

The further I get into AERA’s ethical code, the more I'm convinced that EdSector's current communications strategy – the editing process was "not... out of the ordinary," we’ve done absolutely nothing wrong, and those who differ are confused, mercenary, disgruntled or mean – is counterproductive.

Mistakes were made. EdSector would be much better off if incoming board chair Margaret (Macke) Raymond and Publisher Andrew Rotherman issued a statement saying as much, announcing that Kim Smith has decided to leave the board in the best interest of EdSector, and noting that the nonprofit's Research Advisory Board has been asked to develop an ethics policy to guide future publications. The controversy would end immediately. Indeed, EdSector would look pretty good for policing itself when less confident organizations might stonewall.

Meanwhile, back to the salt mine, assessing this situation in light of AERA's ethical standards.....

Continue reading "Millot: Professional Ethics on Holiday from EdSector? (II)" »

Blogs: All In Favor Of The Charter "Cure"

Picture 7Picture 8

Debate is raging over at the National Journal's education blog. (No, not really.  I can't believe you fell for that.)  In fact just two of the nine folks pictured here have much bad to say about charter schools -- guess which.  The rest provide everything from cautious to enthusiastic support for what I've decided to start calling the charter cure. Charters win!

SNL: Rihanna & Shy Ronnie Bring The Knowledge

SNL Digital Short

Quote: "Show Me The District," Says RTTT Critic

"I would like to see the secretary point to a district where they have done -- some district that has done what he recommends and where you can say, now, there's a district that's turned around." Diane Ravitch on Arne Dunca's Race To The Top (PBS NewsHour | Dec. 3, 2009)

Cartoon: "And Then -- Bam! -- Second Grade."

Picture 5

Thompson: Is Our Education Policy Folks Learning?

Bushfoot Given the latest discussion of the coverage of education and the press, Linda Perlstein’s hyperlink to Nick Lemann’s account of the passage of NCLB couldn’t be timelier. But first we should recall Lemann’s greatest scoop, an interview with Karl Rove on "the death of the Democratic Party" scenario where Rove systematically disabled the three key funding sources of Democrats, "trial lawyers, Jews, and labor unions." NCLB was a part of the strategy to "shrink the part of the labor force which belongs to the newer, and more Democratic, public-employee unions."

Lemann’s first article was written after the House had passed a draft of NCLB that embodied "the majestic moral simplicity of the Texas (accountability) system," while "the author of the Senate bill called the language he'd written ... ‘Rube Goldbergesque.’"

Before recounting why the damage done by NCLB was so inevitable, we should recount the law’s great accomplishment,

Continue reading "Thompson: Is Our Education Policy Folks Learning?" »

Extended Day, Asian Attack, Delayed Warnings, Etc.

The school bell rings and students stay to study LA Times
Hawaii has hacked 17 days off its school year. California schools, whose academic year has traditionally been 180 days, were not spared; districts in Riverside, Camarillo, Ojai and Whittier lopped a week off the school year and other districts eliminated after-school programs.
Asian Students Attacked AP
A counselor at the Chinatown Development Corporation says 26 Asian students were beaten in the hallways by a gang of other students throughout the day Thursday.

Nontraditional Teachers May Be In Mich.'s Future NPR
If you're a teacher in Michigan, odds are you attended a teaching college. That's because the state requires nearly all teachers to get traditional training. But the promise of federal funds is pressuring Michigan to loosen its rules and hire teachers with alternative certification.

Delayed Va. Tech alert ‘inexcusable’ AP
Some Virginia Tech officials warned their own families about 90 minutes before a campus-wide alert was issued in the 2007 slayings of 32 people, according to a revised state report.

Weekend Reading: HCZ Hype, One Laptop 2.0

Harlem's Education Experiment Gone Right 60 Minutes  
Ed Bradley first reported on Canada three and a half years ago, but back then there was no way to tell if his Children's Zone was working. Today, however, results are in and they are nothing short of stunning, so much so that the White House is now taking notice.

Rwanda's laptop revolution Economist500x_1966_sugar_ad
By 2012 the Rwandans want to be supplied with more advanced laptops that OlpC is developing. These will be made from a single piece of plastic. They will be waterproof, harder to break, have colour screens, yet could cost as little as $75 each.

An unacceptable term's work Economist
British education is shallow as well as narrow. That was the conclusion of three academics who were asked by Reform to compare the exam papers set in three subjects—English (or the equivalent national language), maths and science—in England, France, Germany, Japan, America and Canada.

Of Glee I Sing Vanity Fair
Tweaking the formula that made the High School Musicalmovies a phenomenon, Fox’s latest hit show, Glee, is a song-and-dance confection that matches its blast of teen-misfit empowerment with an eclectic playlist–and the comic zing of a truly evil cheerleading coach.

Rosie the Riveter High School Jezebel
A charter high school in Long Beach, California is taking after its namesake and teaching a new generation of young women the skills needed for careers "as welders, plumbers, carpenters, electricians and other trades."

Millot: Professional Ethics on Holiday from EdSector?

6a00e54f8c25c988340120a6d7122c970b-150wi We believe that by marrying the methodological rigor of sound research with the communications excellence of the best journalism and the real-world impact of policy analysis Education Sector is uniquely positioned to both make a compelling case for fundamental reform and to promote change directly with policymakers.

From EdSector's Our Mission and Strategy

How could EdSector change Tom Toch’s critique of CMOs in Sweating into the pro-CMO rhetoric of Growing? By ignoring the professional ethics that support “sound (education) research.”

Universities and research organizations maintain formal ethical systems for their research staff and managers. These consist of a written code of behavior, procedures for the review of materials intended for publication, and a process to investigate violations. EdSector appears to have no system to define or enforce professional standards. Like many small nonprofits, it relies on informal norms, the integrity of staff and management, and oversight exercised by its board of directors. EdSector could only publish Growing  because this approach failed on multiple occasions.

Continue reading "Millot: Professional Ethics on Holiday from EdSector?" »

New Site: The Daily Riff Slams Mainstream Media

I'm pretty sure the folks at the Daily Riff are part of some vast capitalistic conspiracy to scour the Internet and steal all its gold, but they do have good graphics and they did post a blog entry about the issue of whether mainstream journalists do a better job covering education news than everyone else.  So I feel compelled to tell you about them:


"It is not the responsibility of the Brookings Institute to establish parameters or to dismiss the effectiveness of responsible citizen journalism and alternative media." ("WHAT'S THIS MEDIA WORLD COMING TO?")

Cartoon: Education Vs. Jobs

Slate Magazine

Senate: Harkin Names Senior HELP Staff

Roadtrip_crop Chairman Harkin has named two people named Smith to run the majority-side HELP committee.   Dan Smith and Pam Smith (unrelated) are new names to me, and neither looks like they're education people in any narrow staff.  But that's not necessarily a bad thing for a staff director and a deputy.  See below for details.

Continue reading "Senate: Harkin Names Senior HELP Staff" »

EdSector: Full Statements On Toch, CMO Report

In this Education Week article Education Sector seems like it's trying to throw as many aspersions at "former employee" Tom Toch as possible (he's late, a bad writer, greedy).  At the same time, they're trying to keep the lid on the story by refusing to send me (and perhaps others) copies of statements they've issued to other media outlets. 

Mmw_miraclefruit_articleSo much for transparency, independence, and accountability and all that stuff.  (So much for previous incidents where Education Sector staffers have called out other think tanks and journalists for their work.)

But information wants to be free, and think tank watchers and funders and researchers and journalists might want to look closely at how this group is reacting to being questioned about its work and internal procedures.

Here's the full text of two written comments issued by EdSector in response to the dispute with co-founder Tom Toch and the suggestion that the CMO report was altered for ideological reasons.  Enjoy!

Continue reading "EdSector: Full Statements On Toch, CMO Report" »

Media: Kudos To The LA Times; Demerits To Me

75462598Kudos to the LA Times' Howard Blume for mentioning in this story that he got his initial lead from a blog posting. (It's almost 2010 but too many other education journalists still seem to ignore what they find out from blogs, claim they found it on their own, or say that other papers ignore them so "fair's fair.")  Demerits to me, the beneficiary of Blume's conscientiousness, for not having indicated in my original post that the person who surfaced the payment problem was Kenneth Libby from the blog SchoolsMatter.  You can be sure that I'm not going to be reading anyone's tax forms just for fun, but Libby did and the credit all should go to him.  See his October 30 post here.The LA Times has posted a correction. 

News: Fed Takeover, Revised Turnaround Number

Texas education head warns of 'federal takeover'
Embrace of 'common standards' by Obama administration is first step to losing local control, Scott says.

States Seek Stimulus Funds Tied to Education Reform PBS NewsHour
A report today says most states will apply for their share of federal stimulus money tied to education reform.

Eyeing stimulus money for education, states adopt reforms CSMScreenHunter_01 Nov. 22 01.10
A total of $100 billion in stimulus money has started going to education. A new study by the Center on Education Policy looks at the education reforms that some states are now embracing.

Obama pushes to turn around failing schools AP
Applications for the money, made available Thursday to states, should result in a list of about 1,200 schools that states have targeted for turnaround, the Education Department said, adding that the eventual goal is 5,000 schools.

Microsoft, Google in battle to win over students San Jose Mercury News
If Google could use an advantage in educational e-mail to boost its commercial business, "it's a very significant threat to Microsoft," Cain said. "So Microsoft is doing everything it can to stop commercial Gmail from being a success."

Texas students struggle on early versions of end-of-course tests Dallas Morning News
The Algebra I test was administered to nearly 79,000 students earlier this year, and just 57 percent of those students passed the 50-question exam. About 11 percent achieved "commended performance" for answering most of the items correctly.

Millot: Ed Week's Story on Toch's Sweating v. EdSector's Growing

My series on Sweating v. Growing will proceed as planned for next week, but in the meanwhile.....

Debra Viadero's article in today's online edition of Education Week (Study Casts Doubt on Strength of Charter Managers) is worth reading if you are trying to determine the extent to which EdSector manipulated Tom Toch's Sweating draft, and whether it makes any difference. The gap was wide enough for Toch to disown EdSector's authorless Growing report, but Edsector argues that "the sort of editing process it went through would not be something out of the ordinary."

All I can say is that every research analyst should hope it is extraordinary, because if what has happened to EdSectors co-founder and co-director is the ordinary course of business in education policy research, the ordinary staff member is little more than an intellectual serf.

Continue reading "Millot: Ed Week's Story on Toch's Sweating v. EdSector's Growing" »

Blogs: State RTTT Roundup, "Twilight" Teachers, & More

Updates on the Race Education Optimists
State by state roundup.

Race to the Top Versus the Money Chase Ed Next Blog
This enormous cash nexus that swamps anything any business entity has contributed creates a huge problem for Arne Duncan.504x_underwater4072109

A Look at Early Reading First, a Federal Program for Preschoolers  Mary Ann Zehr
A round-up of studies or books about Early Reading First, a federal program for preschoolers authorized by the No Child Left Behind Act.

Restrictions on Student Distribution of Materials Upheld Education Law
A federal appeals court has upheld a Texas school district's policy limiting when students may distribute written materials to their classmates.

Confessions of a Twilight-loving teacher  Joanne Jacobs
In Confessions of a Twilight Addict, English teacher Jennifer Morrison compares the popular teen vampire series to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

I'll Take "False Dichotomies" For 200, Alex Right On The Left Coast
So we either have no standards and get to teach whatever we want, or we have rote memorization of bureaucrat-approved material?

The Edublog Awards 2009 School Gate
There are loads of education bloggers out there - although fortunately, hardly any are like School Gate, writing about education from the parental point of view.

UPDATE:  Behind a kerfuffle, important questions Linda Perlstein
It will be no small feat, if it is even possible, to replicate today’s most successful charters. Hell, it will be no small feat to even keep the existing ones going. So let’s discuss those challenges fully and honestly.

TV: Faked Home Address Got Omar Out Of East Flatbush


Michael Kenneth Williams (the actor who played Omar Little on The Wire) grew up in East Flatbush but went to Westinghouse House school. 

His mom “didn’t want me going to my zone school, so she doctored the address on my form,” says Williams in this New York Magazine article (Life After 'The Wire').

Charters: Ed Sector Denies Gutting Toch Report

“A great deal of the report came through.  It was very long. The sort of editing process it went through would not be something out of the ordinary.” (Ed Sector spokesperson Kristen Amundson in EdWeek)

Instruction: The Puzzle Of Boys

The Puzzle of Boys 1

"If you don't understand the experience of boyhood," [Way] says, "you'll never understand the achievement gaps." (The Puzzle of Boys Chronicle)

Thompson: The Ethics of Evaluations

Learningstyles The best practice for a high school teacher being evaluated is to instruct students beforehand who know the answers to raise their right hands, and those who do not know the answers to raise their left hands. Even if I taught my students to silently raise their hands during class discussions, I doubt I could resist the impish temptation to call on someone with a left hand in the air. But seriously, even in classes with marginal teachers, students typically exhibit a great deal of decency during evaluations.

Data-informed systems and detailed human evaluations can be beneficial when triangulated with the Golden Rule. Combine a gotcha-driven Value Added Model with a gotcha-driven evaluation guide, as in the District of Columbia, with a willingness to change the rules at any time, and you have a recipe for disaster. I am as much of a bear on note-passing or text-messaging in class as Dan Goldfarb’s evaluator, but

Continue reading "Thompson: The Ethics of Evaluations" »

News: Michigan Might Not Race (& More)

Some West Michigan lawmakers, educators lukewarm on state's race to make ... Grand Rapids Press
... US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said he hopes to see, and the state House Education Committee has bills expected to come to a vote Thursday. ...

Teaching mildly autistic kids the ABC's of key social skills Washington Post
The middle school years, when nothing seems more important or more impossible than fitting in, are rough for nearly everyone. But they are particularly brutal for preteens such as Will Gilbertsen, whose mild autism makes him stand out.

Computer Crashes or No, It’s Open Enrollment Time for Colorado Families Ed Is Watching
According to the school district website, they hope to have the system back up and running in a little while — by noon local time.

Pregnant High Schooler Forced Off Sports Team Is Fighting The System Jezebel
Texas teen volleyball star Mackenzie McCollum was taken off her team (against school policy) when she became pregnant. When she was finally re-instated, the coach told the entire team about her pregnancy. But she and her family are fighting back.

Poll finds sexting common among young people AP
Sexting - sharing sexually explicit photos, videos and chat by cell phone or online - is fairly commonplace among young ...

Previously: Sextortion at Eisenhower High GQ Magazine

Flip-Floppery On RTTT, & More

A “Race to the Top” flip-flop Fordham
Now states will be able to claim that they have “narrowed achievement gaps” when all they’ve done is make their tests so easy to pass that virtually all kids—black and white, rich and poor—do so, magically erasing any group differences.

Boston Consortium Brings Together All K-12 Sectors Lesli Maxwell 
Educators from the public, charter, parochial, independent, pilot, and suburban schools that make up the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity have agreed to work together on promising teaching practices.Download-button-0409-lg

Homecoming Rape Case Proceeding Insanely Slowly The Awl
Six of the suspects in the Richmond High School homecoming gang-rape of a 15-year-old have pleaded not guilty to rape. Somehow, the other four (or more) suspects have not been charged yet. Nor have the approximately twenty on-lookers!

Arizona Takes on Seniority Stephen Sawchuk
A few weeks back, I mused whether we'd see more state and local action to review seniority provisions, since it seemed like states were doing a lot on evaluation and pay, but not the related issue of seniority. Somehow I...

An Overview of the Nonprofit and Charitable Sector Open CRS
Having a greater understanding of the nonprofit and charitable sector as a whole may help policymakers evaluate proposals that may impact the sector.

What's The Right Role For Government In Children's TV? National Journal
I tend to agree with Diane on this one.  Now, a short video from Yo Gabba Gabba! 

Thompson: The Politics of the RttT

Foot DHHS Secretary Mike Bloomberg announced his resignation in the wake of last week’s ill-timed statement, at the height of the battle for health insurance reform, that heart surgeons would be evaluated based on their patients’ survival rates. Though gracious in praising the outgoing Secretary, President Obama was reported to have murmured "At a time when we are trying to recruit the best talent to serve our most vulnerable populations and stress early interventions, we are going to punish doctors for conditions that may be beyond their control? ‘You can’t make that up!’ Those data-driven guys need to get a life."

Seriously, I’m hopeful that the failed politics of the RttT will kill chances of an ESEA reauthorization that seeks to reform NCLB-type accountability.

Continue reading "Thompson: The Politics of the RttT" »

USDE: Duncan Dances On RTTT, ESEA Reauthorization

DuncanIntvu_Blog Carmel Martin looks like she might be about to fall asleep in this picture but the folks at EdWeek put the screws on Arne Duncan during a recent visit to EdWeek's Bethesda compound (Education Week).

Now that the rubber is almost about to hit the road on RTTT, Duncan seems to be backpedaling and defending his positions on charter schools and turnarounds and whether RTTT is based on evidence or not. 

Duncan's ideas about ESEA still seem unformed, though.  Someone needs to remind him that, unlike with RTTT Congress will be closely involved in ESEA reauthorization.  Prepare to spread that money around.

Cartoon: Bart's Blackboard

The-Simpsons-[06x21]-The PTA Disbands!

"I do not have power of attorney over first graders" (Bart's Blackboard)



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