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Media: Michelle Rhee Book In The Works

image from ndn3.newsweek.comThere's a new book about Michelle Rhee in the works, set to be written by former USA editorial writer and longtime journalist Richard Whitmire. From the agent:  "Michelle Rhee, DC’s Chancellor of Education, is arguably the most famous Korean-American in the country, and quite possibly its most influential reformer...The Bee Eater is part biography, part prescription for success, and part examination of our educational system. It will chronicle Rhee’s rise from a Midwestern Korean household to Cornell University, a meteoric career in education reform, and her controversial, widely-observed time in DC."  I think Rhee wrote the foreword to Whitmire's book about boys in schools. Jossey-Bass will publish the book, slated for 2011 publication.  The bee eating reference is explained here.

Thompson: The Discipline Gap

DisruptionsI and others have long believed that the achievement gap is largely a function of a gap in time on task.  So I was initially annoyed by Noguera’s repetition in this Education Researcher article (PDF) article of the same old studies from a generation ago placing so much blame for classroom disruptions on teachers’ misperceptions. But Noguera et al also cited newer, more balanced research in their writing, which asks if "the achievement gap and the discipline gap" are "two sides of the same coin?"  Maybe we are all saying the same thing, and I’m like most teachers in being sensitive on this issue.  

Continue reading "Thompson: The Discipline Gap" »

Media: Opening School Scenes

image from www.writingforward.comSchools are so convenient. I'd forgotten that this (in)famous 1996 Times magazine cover story started out with a schoolhouse anecdote:  "AS THEY PUT ON PLASTIC GLOVES FOR THEIR first litter hunt, the third graders knew what to expect. They knew their garbage. It was part of their science curriculum at Bridges Elementary, a public school on West 17th Street in Manhattan. They had learned the Three R's -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle -- and discussed how to stop their parents from using paper plates. For Earth Day they had read a Scholastic science publication, "Inside the World of Trash." For homework, they had kept garbage diaries and drawn color-coded charts of their families' trash. So they were primed for the field experiment on this May afternoon." (Recycling Is Garbage)

USDE: 2010 Teacher Of The Year (From Iowa)

ScreenHunter_12 Apr. 30 10.04
"Teacher of the Year, HS English teacher Sarah Brown Wessling, honored by Pres. Barack Obama (VIDEO) - Johnston High School English teacher, Sarah Brown Wessling of Johnston, Iowa, was honored by President Barack Obama with the Teacher of the Year Award at the White House on Thursday, April 29, 2010."

AM News: Revamping Seniority Hiring In NY, CA, & AZ

11111111111news Last Teacher In, First Out? NYT: Similar legislation in California, where thousands of young teachers have received letters saying they could be out of work, moved forward last week, backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arizona abolished seniority rules last year, and this month its Legislature banned the use of seniority if teachers are rehired... Is Teacher Tenure Still Necessary? NPR:  The debate over whether it's time to do away with tenure is playing out in several states... Denver school district bans work travel to Arizona AP:  The head of Denver's public schools announced a ban Thursday on employees taking district-sponsored work trips to Arizona, saying the community was "outraged" by the state's new immigration law... Education stocks drop on comments by DOE official AP:  Shares of for-profit schools fell Thursday following a report that a Department of Education official criticized oversight of the industry in a speech Wednesday to state regulators... Panel Finds No Favorite in Teacher-Prep Pathways EdWeek:  A national commission says teachers from alternative programs appear no worse—or better—than those from traditional college programs.

Cartoon: A Hacker Ate My Homework

ScreenHunter_09 Apr. 28 13.10

Thompson: Embracing Tenure

Cristobama_090210 If Secretary Duncan wants moderates in teachers unions to persuade the rank-in-file to make compromises on seniority and using student growth data in evaluations, he should embrace Governor Crist’s veto of Florida’s "reform" legislation. The concessions that Duncan seeks are possible only when built on the rock of tenure.

Conservatives in the education providers complex who oppose unions may hope that teachers will follow telephone operators into oblivion as we become clerks monitoring the data systems that they peddle. But progressives would be horrified if their alma mater ended tenure, thus driving the First Amendment from their beloved college campus. Liberals who would never allow their own kids to be subjected to non-stop test prep may not understand that tenure is the only protection for poor kids from the educational malpractice "reform" de jour. Without tenure, in large parts of the country who would teach Evolution or a multicultural view of history that challenges the Texas standards?

Media: EWA Editor Praises "Teacherpocalypse" Story

Abandonedcars_crop Nice to see Las Vegas' Emily Richmond get some Linda Perlstein love (An education reporter who always delivers) but too bad that the article Perlstein links to is one of those highly speculative "Teacherpocalypse" stories (‘Almost catastrophic’ budget cuts on horizon) going around right now.  I'm also a Richmond fan, and am glad that she notes in her story that the funding forecasts are preliminary.  But she and her editors (and Perlstein) should do a better job of noting that these stories are fed to reporters by agencies seeking to influence state legislators with doomsday scenarios, and that actual layoffs are months away and usually end up being much smaller than predicted.  

Vouchers: Chicago Mayor, District Suppor Voucher Bill

Tumblr_l042mywxcP1qa42jro1_500 The myth of Arne Duncan's Chicago 'miracle' continues to implode, along with the myth that vouchers are done as a policy remedy:  Parents of 22,000 kids attending Chicago's worst schools might get vouchers to attend private or parochial schools -- "creating in one motion a program as large as Milwaukee's - which took more than 20 years to become the nation's largest," according to State News Service's Jim Broadway.  Ditto for kids attending overcrowded schools. And -- this is particularly unusual -- the Board of Education and City Hall are apparently down with that (according to this Tribune editorial Chicago vouchers), along with Democratic lawmakers who would usually go along with the teachers union and oppose. Effectiveness be damned. Then again, they're talking about bringing in the National Guard, too.  

AM News: Senate Committee Ducks Standards-Money Link


RI teachers union sues after mass firings Washington Post:  A Rhode Island teachers union has sued a troubled school district that fired all its high school teachers and staff... D.C. teacher contract undercut by doubts on private funding Washington Post:  The District's chief financial officer has rejected an unusual plan to fund a portion of pay raises for teachers with private foundation money, saying conditions attached to the donations are unacceptable, a top District official with knowledge of the issue said Wednesday... Race to Top Round Two Heating Up EdWeek:  States and teachers' unions clash over policy changes aimed at securing some of the $3.4 billion in stimulus grants still left... Reading with Tim O'Brien PBS:  A book about war that has stood the test of time. ..What Congress Didn't Say About Standards Politics K12:  A hearing by the Senate education committee is notable for not talking about the  proposal to tie Title I aid to states' adoption of college- and career-ready standards.

Thompson: What To Do About Teens and Texting?

The recent Pew study on cell phones found that students condemn "arbitrary enforcement or a lack of clarity around school rules for mobile phones." Pew also found that "in-class texting varies little with regard to the aggressiveness of a school’s regulation" of phones. 

Distracted_480Indeed, there's no easy way to enforce the rules.  "If you get caught using your phone you can pull out a fake phone, turn it on and give it to them," said one student.  I’ve fallen for that one. And in retrospect, perhaps I should have adopted the typical strategy of confiscating phones seen in class and then returning them at the end of the period so the next teacher could repeat the process. Instead I fought the losing battle of enforcing the school's rule that parents must retrieve confiscated phones.

But all is not lost.  Parents who limit their children’s text messaging, get positive results.  Schools could get similar benefits if they established credible consequences for inappropriate texting, just as they taught proper use and etiquette for cell phones. Then, teachers could incorporate appropriate texting into classroom instruction. Otherwise, I suspect our laissez faire attitude towards teens and phones will be seen as one of the great betrayals of this young generation by the adults who should have taken charge of this powerful and potentially destructive technology.

Media: New York Magazine Profiles Eva ("Evil") Moskowitz

Moskowitz100503_1_250 “Custodians did not clean 2nd-floor landing. Please talk to them about doing their job.” -- Text message from charter exec Eva Moskowitz quoted in this unflattering New York Magazine profile.

RTTT: Backing Up The Truck

Tumblr_l114iw1AgA1qa42jro1_500 Defining low performing schools "entirely differently from how the ESEA does" is the mismatch between ARRA and RTTT that is going to have the most practical effect on how school reform works going forward.  But it's not the only example.  Russ Whitehurst flags several this excellent Ed Week commentary (Did Congress Authorize Race to the Top?). The unprecedented latitude Congress gave -- and Duncan took -- is one of the main reasons that I've been so critical and cautious about NCLB reauthorization prospects.  Congressional approval for things like charter cap removal (and performance pay, and prescriptive turnaround choices) would be extremely hard to come by.  RTTT is the product of a seemingly unique situation.  I don't think that the USDE is going to get the same carte blanche from Congress next time around. The big challenge for them is to figure out how to back up the RTTT truck to get back to something that could make it through reauthorization without undercutting themselves and the states that have already moved forward on RTTT.

AM News: Three CA Districts To Apply For RTTT Funding

11111111111news California takes new tack in bid for U.S. school funding LA Times:  The state, which lost out in the first round of the Race to the Top grant competition, will have three large districts apply: L.A., Long Beach and Fresno... Hawaii lawmakers pass bill to increase school year AP:  Hawaii's shortest-in-the-nation school year will substantially increase under legislation that has been passed by lawmakers... Capistrano Unified teachers end strike LA Times: Teachers returned to classes Tuesday after reaching a midnight deal to end a three-day strike... School shocked by a suicide drafts tough policy on bullies Boston Globe:  The antibullying policy requires all staff members to report “any bullying they see or learn about’’ and pledges to “promptly and reasonably’’ investigate any allegation of harassment.... KY Parents Win Records Access EdWeek: Parents have an "absolute right" to inspect all educational records relating to their children, including e-mails exchanged between teachers and administrators... Shake-Up Gives Principals More Say on Curriculum NYT:  Chancellor Joel I. Klein said he was reshuffling the top jobs at the Education Department headquarters and eliminating the division that oversees curriculum and teacher training... 2 Days With No Text Messages for Riverdale Students NYT:  When a group of students at Riverdale Country School went a day without text messages, they rediscovered the freedom of youth.

TV: New HBO Series Takes On Charters & Choice [corrected]

ScreenHunter_06 Apr. 27 01.25 Leave it to The Wire's David Simon to work some scathing dialogue about school reform into his new HBO series, Treme, set in post-Katrina New Orleans.  Here's a snippet from a father-daughter scene from the second episode:  

Where'm I gonna to go to school?
Tulane's working on something for faculty kids. Lusher.
Lusher's not a high school Daddy.
They're adding high school.
Plus it's public.
Not anymore, it's charter.
Where are they going to put the high school?
They're taking over Forshey Fortier.
What about the Forshey Fortier kids?  Where are they going to go?
Somewhere else, I guess.
That's not fair. Probably not.  That's where we're at now.You want to go to school in New Orleans?  So this is how it works.  It's a zero-sum world, honey. Somebody wins. Somebody loses.

AM News: Vermont Out Of RTTT Running

11111111111news Vermont will not seek federal education grant AP:  Vermont will not seek millions of dollars in a federal grant program aimed at improving failing schools, joining a handful of states in dropping out of the "Race to the Top" program despite strapped budgets... Political war continues to rage in Capistrano Unified School District LA Times:  Teachers’ strike over a 10% pay cut is just the latest dust-up. Now there’s another school board recall effort — the third in five years...Angst as teachers reapply for jobs Boston Globe:  Anxiety rippled through seven “underperforming’’ Boston schools yesterday, as more than 350 teachers and staff members faced a deadline to reapply for their jobs as part of an overhaul by Superintendent Carol R. Johnson...Johnson to lead two national education panels Sacto Press:  The Duncan panel is one of two education panels to which Johnson was recently appointed: He will also lead a U.S. Conference of Mayors task force on K-12 public schools...Duncan: Detroit Schools at 'bottom of the barrel'. Newsday:  U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has voiced concern about the very high dropout rates in the Detroit school district, but says it shouldn't count on the federal government to step in and save it.

Commenting On The Commentary

25fob-consumed-articleInline-v2 Updates and snarky commentary from my Twitter feed:

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    Thompson: The Washington Teachers Union Contract

    Lemonade What do you get when you combine the District of Columbia's IMPACT evaluation system with the side letter of the proposed contract negotiated by the WTU? If implemented in good faith, you could get the Delaware RttT's teacher evaluation system. Since teacher evaluation is not negotiable in D.C., the union made the best of the situation by winning an independent evaluation and internal review of the problems with the district's system.  And it did so without giving up tenure.  The WTU maintained "just cause" as the standard for disciplining permanent employees.  The union even got Michelle Rhee to agree to the unusual provision that the standard for removing probationary teachers must be "not arbitrary and capricious."  (Typically, those teachers are "at will" employees.) We should also remember that the key to performance pay is not the extra money, but the collaboration that it can foster.  The proposed contract thus includes comprehensive mentoring and induction programs, as a system for building a team approach to increasing student performance.  Equally important, it includes provisions for enforcing the disciplinary code of conduct, and providing supports for disruptive students.

    Washington: Teachers Of The Year Take Over

    image from 2.bp.blogspot.com Only one of the state teachers of the year deigned to respond to my questions about the TOY experience: New Jersey's Maryann Woods-Murphy.  Maybe my suggestion that they heckle Arne Duncan had something to do with it.  Or maybe they had better things to do. In any case, if you want to know what at least one of the state teachers of they year thinks about merit pay, RTTT, and who's going to be named national teacher of the year, read on.  An edited version of our email exchange is below.

    Continue reading "Washington: Teachers Of The Year Take Over" »

    Video: NPR Duped By Classroom Laptop Smash Hoax

    NPR included an audio clip of an "incensed" teacher smashing a students' laptop in its recent story about students being distracted by laptops in the classroom. Here's the video:
    What NPR didn't say, however, was that the incident was a stunt, and that the professor did the same thing with a defunct cell phone five years before.  Now, what were you supposed to be doing right now?

    Quote: "An Annual Ploy" To Win Public Support

    "In part, these alarm bells about massive layoffs are part of an annual ploy to win public support while legislators hammer out budget details." -- Larry Abramson (NPR)

    AM News: Internal Clashes Hinder RTTT Efforts

    11111111111news Unions, States Clash in Race to Top Wall Street Journal:  Since the first winners were picked, spats have erupted from Florida to Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota and Colorado over demands that unions agree to proposals on merit pay and teacher evaluation to strengthen the state's chances of winning federal money... Teachers Next To Go NPR:  After cutting their budgets to the bone and exhausting millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds, school districts have resorted to staff cuts to balance their budgets. New Jersey, California and Illinois are among the hardest-hit states... For School Company, Issues of Money and Control NYT: School boards and regulators are questioning how public money is spent by a commercial manager of charters.[Read below for more headlines]

    Continue reading "AM News: Internal Clashes Hinder RTTT Efforts" »

    Thompson: Roland Fryer's Learning Process

    Paygrades "’To my surprise, incentive programs that rewarded process seemed to be more effective than those that rewarded outcomes,’" said Roland Fryer, regarding his latest experiment. Fryer belatedly recognized something that had long been the centerpiece of educational wisdom. Teachers have long been taught to concentrate on their students’ "observable behaviors." We have always been taught to jealously guard time on "task on task." Teachers have always urged kids to focus on what they can control, and not get carried away with the issues of others. "Sweat the details," we have hoped, and learning will follow.

    Fryer also concluded "it might be less effective to give teachers incentive pay (test scores of their students) relative to inputs (staying after school to tutor students).

    Continue reading "Thompson: Roland Fryer's Learning Process" »

    USDE: Teachers Of The Year (Should) Heckle Duncan

    Picture 25Nothing much to get excited about in Duncan's weekly media schedule for next week, though there's always hope that the teachers of the year will get brave and and heckle him. One year not too long ago the teachers got together and weighed in with policy recommendations, which was pretty cool.  But mostly they just act meek and obedient, which is a shame.  Maybe a couple will Twitter heckle him during the event, at least? 

    Continue reading "USDE: Teachers Of The Year (Should) Heckle Duncan" »

    Video: Scott's Tots On "The Office"

    Last week's rerun of "The Office" showed lamebrain boss Michael Scott visiting the kids to whom he'd unwisely promised college tuition if they graduated and -- almost as good -- made fun of the goofy chants and songs that teachers get kids to do and put on YouTube.  Here's a snippet:

    Want more?  The episode doesn't seem to be online anymore but here's a fake interview with Scott about how he came up with the idea of sponsoring the kids, and here's a recap from Wikipedia.

    Thompson: New Rules for Replicating D.C.'s "Pathbreaking" Contract

    Heyyou School leaders seeking to replicate the District of Columbia's innovative contract need to take a few simple steps.  Firstly, amend the Constitution so that Congress can prohibit collective bargaining on teacher evaluation.  Go on an "unauthorized hiring spree," adding 900 teachers in advance of terminating 266 others, due to a supposedly "unforeseen" financial deficit of $150 million.  Then seek a judicial venue which will permit the firings to stand, despite a seemingly false rationale, because reversing the improper actions would cause further harm. (This is doubly important when the district's leader persists in making contradictory statements, even under oath, regarding the reasons for the terminations.)  Discover a $34 million dollar surplus that allows generous pay increases.  When that surplus is shown to be nonexistent, discover another $29 million pot of money.  Above all, find enough billionaires to fund $64.5 million in ongoing expenses.  Repeat the process every few years, always seeking new private funders.

    Media: "Teacherpocalypse 2010"

    160x120_0420_tips Kudos to Reason for coming up with a name for the saturation coverage of possible job cuts in education:  Teacherpocalypse 2010.  Most of the numbers you're seeing in the paper are speculative, possible cuts, not actual job cuts.  The numbers are being put out there to pressure for more money.  Some teachers have lost their jobs, no doubt, but the actual job losses are unknown and probably small in proportion to the 6 million Americans who are already out of work.  Let's have some perspective, and some transparency from the media about where the numbers are coming from. 

    AM News: Pensions Not Pink Slips

    6a00e54f8c25c988340120a7f7436e970b-200wi Fewer teacher layoffs foreseen in Seattle Seattle Times: The number of teacher layoffs in Seattle looks like it will be much lower this year than last... Teacher Pension Plans Could Trigger Next Big Bailout Crisis
     US News:  Congress and the White House are ignoring a problem that could dwarf the big bank bailouts...
    Schools strain to hit target for budget cuts Boston Globe:  Weymouth school officials are spending the week figuring out how to cut $4 million from their budget to meet the mayor’s targeted $51.5 million spending level for next fiscal year...Manager to move ahead with Detroit school closings AP:  The emergency financial manager for Detroit's public schools is expected to follow a judge's order and meet with the district's Board of Education before moving forward with plans to close or consolidate 42 schools this year... 'Show some guts!' protesters tell Ill. lawmakers AP:  Crying "Raise our taxes!" and "Show some guts!", thousands of people rallied at the state Capitol on Wednesday to protest lawmakers' inaction on a tax hike to fix a $13 billion deficit.

    Districts: Former Duncan Colleague To Head Tiny IN District

    Eason-watkins1 Barbara Eason-Watkins, the longtime chief academic officer who Arne Duncan wanted to be his replacement, has announced her long- anticipated departure.  Where is BEW going?  Once the top academic official for the nation's third-largest district, she's going to head the tiny Michigan City Indiana school system.  She is among the last of the Duncan-era team to leave.  Several (Cunningham, Whalen, Easton, Lach) joined Duncan in Washington.  Others (Becerra, Vaughn) found work in other urban districts like Portland and Denver.  One (Scott) committed suicide.  Another (Pickens), Duncan's right hand man, kept a list of VIP admissions requests and recently resigned from the Board. 

    Rolling Updates

     I'm on another reporting trip in LA so most of my updates are going to come via Twitter.  You can read them here or on your phone. Picture 14

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      Thompson: Its The Talent Not The Playbook

      Markham Its people, not policies, that teach kids. Nowhere is this clearer than at LA's Markham Middle School:  "After 11 years of continuous, often overlapping reforms, (and) the expenditure of over $3 million dollars in extra funds," writes Robert Manwaring, "Markham Middle School is still, educationally speaking, a wreck. Sixteen percent of teachers are working under an emergency credential, 30 percent of classes in core academic subjects are taught by teachers who are not "highly qualified" under NCLB. After a turnaround partnership fired all of Markham staff, "almost half of the new hires were first- and second-year teachers, and many of them were under-qualified." I don't doubt Manwaring's indictment of the Los Angeles Schools System's policies, but we should keep our eye on the real problem with ambitions to scale up turnarounds. "The school has had difficulty finding candidates that will work in this potentially dangerous environment. ... By March 2010 over halfway through the year, 20 percent of the classes were taught by long-term substitutes." 

      AM News: Big Cuts Coming, Districts Say

      6a00e54f8c25c988340120a7f7436e970b-200wi School Districts Warn of Even Deeper Teacher Cuts NYT:  Hundreds of thousands of teachers around the country are being told that their jobs may be eliminated in June... Education Department Rescinds 2005 Title IX Change NPR:  Under the policy, schools could show they were in compliance with the law's guarantee of equal sports opportunities for girls merely through surveys that gauged interest and ability. They'll now have to prove compliance using other factors... Students seek a say on homework assignments Boston Globe:  Sometimes, they say, the homework doesn’t appear to have anything to do with what’s being taught in class. Other times, teachers hardly check to see if students completed the assignments or had difficulty with it... Regents Approve New Route to Master’s in Teaching NYT:  The New York State Board of Regents voted to approve a pilot program that would allow educational groups like Teach for America to create their own master’s programs... Teen Texting Soars; Will Social Skills Suffer? NPR:  The number of teenagers who say they text-message daily has shot up to 54 percent from 38 percent in just the past 18 months, a new report finds. The typical American teenager sends 50 texts a day. Teachers worry the texting trend will hurt their students' interpersonal communication skills... New Community College Standards Could Hike Graduation Rates NewsHour:  Community colleges are playing an increasing role in the country's higher educational system, but a high percentage of their students never finish their coursework. Jeffrey Brown talks to experts about a new national accountability standard aimed at bolstering graduation rates.

      Media: Canceled Show Leaving Classroom Legacy

      Picture 19 The PBS show NOW is ending (here) but is trying to make good use of its long run and trove of videos and other content by creating a new, expanded version of NOW Classroom.  The idea is to "transform the show's website from an inevitable ghost ship of a former program into a rich resource fully directed toward teachers."  Seems like a decent enough idea, though I have no real idea.  Check it out.  Let us know what you think. 

      Teaching: How Long Until Outsourced Grading Comes To K12?

      340x_red_penThis recent article in the Chronicle (Outsourced Grading Comes to College) describes how some college professors have turned to outsourced grading as a solution to the chronic problem of grading papers.

      How long until this comes to K12 (if it hasn't already)?  Is it any worse than the alternatives, which include assigning less, not grading everything students write, or burning out? Are you really as good a paper grader as you think, anyway? 

      AM News: Duncan Pushes Change Despite Budget Crunch

      6a00e54f8c25c988340120a7f7436e970b-200wi Duncan Prescribes Drastic Measures For Schools NPR:  The Obama administration plans drastic measures for underperforming schools. But school systems are being asked to implement these changes just as cash-strapped states nationwide are considering major teacher layoffs...Policy Change Signals Stricter Enforcement of Title IX NYT:  The reversal of a Bush administration rules change will close what the N.C.A.A. and some women’s sports advocates call a loophole in the gender-equity legislation...Want a Higher G.P.A.? Go to a Private College NYT:  A 50-year rise in grade-point averages is being fueled by private institutions, a recent study finds... Pa. district took 56,000 images on student laptops AP:  A suburban Philadelphia school district says it secretly captured 56,000 webcam photographs and screen shots from laptops issued to high school students... Philosophical reasoning taught in the second grade NYT:  Prof. Thomas E. Wartenberg and his undergraduate students from nearby Mount Holyoke College use classic children’s books to raise philosophical questions, which the young students then dissect with the vigor of the ancient Greeks.

      Thompson: Fifteen Years After

      Oklahoma-city-bombing-13 If school reform in Oklahoma City succeeds, it will be a legacy of the cooperation that grew in response to the Murrah Building bombing.  Our union president, for instance, was with his students on a field trip to the nearby hospital when the casualities flowed in, and he vowed to never again push away from the bargaining table. At our best, a bipartisan educational reform coalition continued the community spirit and it is exemplified by the nation's seventh Educare.  Hard times, however, still damage our most vulnerable.  We have worked collaboratively to turnaround our city's Central Falls.  It even required new legislation authorizing the position of a full-time substitute.  And now, the nation's worst act of domestic terrorism since 1921 in Tulsa is a part of our curriculum

      Media: Darling-Hammond Tells Her Version

      147066705_c1a74e3b64 In this email, Linda Darling-Hammond decries this recent New York Times' article as riddled with errors and describes the ins and outs of her involvement with the elementary school and the high school.  I meant to contact her earlier in the week, and will now see what the Times reporter Carol Pogash has to say. Meantime, read the email below. Picture unrelated.

      Continue reading "Media: Darling-Hammond Tells Her Version" »

      AM News: Okla. Victims' Children, 15 Years Later

      6a00e54f8c25c988340120a77999a7970b-200wi Okla. bombing victims' children build new lives AP:  Dion Thomas' life began spiraling out of control after her mother was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing, when the straight-A student started skipping classes and saw her grades slip to D's, F's and incompletes... Washington area vies for Round 2 of Race to the Top funds Washington Post:  Washington area vies for Round 2 of Race to the Top funds...Supreme Court To Hear All-Comers Policy Case NPR:  The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in a case testing whether state colleges and universities can deny official status and subsidies to student groups that bar gay and other groups from membership. The case could affect public institutions across the country...Does D.C. School System Really Have A Surplus? NPR:  Washington D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee and the teachers union have reached agreement on a new contract after more than two years of wrangling... Alternative Education for Teachers Gaining Ground NYT:  In New York, alternative teacher programs may soon offer a master’s degree, delivering a blow to education schools...New York Schools Streamline Trade-Book Purchasing NYT:  New York school officials say the new process will save the city $18 million this year, but local companies complain that it will put them out of business...Students from Haiti's Only Film School Keep Their Cameras Rolling PBS:  When New York filmmaker Annie Nocenti became the first teacher at Cine Institute, Haiti's only film school, two years ago, she was excited to see what her students would capture. Last Tuesday, her students faced their most challenging test when a powerful earthquake ravaged the island...NY teen charged with threatening school massacre AP:  Police say a 17-year-old boy on New York's Long Island threatened to go on a shooting spree at his former school on the anniversary of the Columbine (KAHL'-uhm-byn) High massacre... Food-fighting students get 'cheesy' punishment from lunch ladies AP:  Cafeteria workers served only cheese sandwiches for two days as punishment for a food fight in Atlantic City

      USDE: Duncan's Weekly Schedule

      Duncanx-large Nothing earth-shattering on the Duncan media schedule this week - some speeches (HACU, Equity in Athletics, Congressional Black Caucus, NASSP), some travel (Peoria, Nashville).

      Continue reading "USDE: Duncan's Weekly Schedule" »

      Weekend: Catching Up On A Busy Week [updated]

      Tumblr_l0srvjSylZ1qa42jro1_500Add National Prayer Day Ruling To Reading List NPR:  Because her legal opinion is likely to be a subject of discussion for a while, it's well worth taking some time to read U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb's controversial decision Thursday that holds that it is unconstitutional for the president to proclaim, under Congress' direction, a National Day of Prayer.

      Outsourced Grading Comes to College Teaching Chronicle:  The graders working for EduMetry are concentrated in India, Singapore, and Malaysia, along with some in the United States and elsewhere. They do their work online and communicate with professors via e-mail.

      Your Text Messages And E-Mails May Not Be 'Private' If You Use Co. Equipment NPR:  There's a case coming before the U.S. Supreme Court that should be of interest to anyone who has an employer-provided cell phone, computer or other device that can be used to send electronic messages.

      Arizona School Bans Lunches With 'Processed' Foods NPR:  Children's Success Academy in Tucson, Ariz. doesn't allow any foods made with processed and refined ingredients.

      Judge To Mississippi County: Stop Segregating Schools NPR:  The order issued today by the court requires the district to modify its transfer policy to permit students to transfer to a school outside their residential zone only if the student can demonstrate a compelling justification for the transfer.

      Rise of the Female Nerds The American Prospect:  Glee is one of a handful of television shows offering unabashedly smart, awkward ... well, nerdy, female characters. Will Hollywood take to the trend?

      Continue reading "Weekend: Catching Up On A Busy Week [updated]" »

      Thompson: Bubble Families

      A_helping_hand_by_kronblad New York City has abandoned a pilot project to pay parents for things like going to the dentist ($100) or holding down a full-time job ($150 per month). Children were rewarded for attending school regularly ($25 to $50 per month) or passing a high school Regents exam ($600). The reason? It didn't work for most families.  Only "high school students who met basic proficiency standards before high school tended to increase their attendance, receive more class credits and perform better on standardized tests; more families went to the dentist for regular checkups." 

      As with NCLB, the incentives program helped those who were on the bubble. We must throw out the conceit that all poor children of color and their families are the same, and that the same simple incentives and disincentives will work for all.

      Standards: NCLB Author Slams Ravitch, LDH

      Here's a pretty heated email Sandy Kress sent out this morning about the East Palo Alto charter school whose charter school was denied an extension, and standards recanter Diane Ravitch:

      ?ui=2&ik=3cfdbab5b3&view=att&th=128076fd2cbdcbbd&attid=0.1&disp=thd&zw"Linda Darling Hammond and Diane Ravitch have built their careers recently beating up on standards based reform, Teach for America, charter schools, choice, and NCLB, among other initiatives that reformers have put in place over the last 15 years. They've distorted data to attempt to show that these reforms do not work, even when objective data show otherwise.
      "Now the results are in on THEIR approach. I won't attempt to explain or manipulate the data. Look for yourself. Linda Darling Hammond had all the money in the world and the Stanford faculty, all the advantages and more than the typical charter school would have. Look at the chart of student results from her school and similarly situated schools in California, and judge for yourself."

      I get his point, though I'm not sure I think of LDH as such a standards opponent as Ravitch has become, or that one school's fate makes or breaks an entire educational approach.  Kress is not quite done, though:  "Here are the questions students in Linda's school couldn't answer. I guess they'll do better on more "authentic" questions." (PDF here)

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        Charters: Darling-Hammond School In Trouble

        image from graphics8.nytimes.com Yay! Boo!  Charters!  Linda Darling-Hammond!  The Internets are burning up over news that a California charter affiliated with Stanford professor Linda Darling-Hammond has been denied an extension.  The New York Times has it here.  Hammond was the victim of a whisper campaign during the decisionmaking process surrounding the selection of the Obama education secretary and alienated lefties by participating in a charter school effort rather than toeing the "public" school line. 

        Districts: Teacher Suspended For "Crashing" The Tea Party

        image from www.beavton.k12.or.us Beaverton (OR) school district has put Jason Levin, one of its middle school teachers teachers, on leave for an online anti-Tea Party effort called "Crash the Tea Party" that may have involved school equipment and time. 

        AM News: FL Governor Rejects GOP Teacher Pay Plan

        6a00e54f8c25c988340120a7f7436e970b-200wiFlorida Governor Splits With G.O.P. on Teacher Pay AP:  Gov. Charlie Crist’s decision spurred speculation he would abandon the party to run for Senate as an independent... NYC to stop paying teachers to do nothing AP:  The city will end the practice of paying teachers to play Scrabble, read or surf the Internet in reassignment centers nicknamed "rubber rooms" as they await disciplinary hearings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the teachers union announced Thursday... 6 states aim to reform remedial programs at community colleges USA Today:  Six states that are trying to revamp remedial education are focusing as much on what happens outside of the classroom in state policies as... Placement firm must refund $1.8M to Filipino teachers USA Today:  An L.A.-based firm that placed 350 Filipino teachers in Louisiana public schools must refund as much as $1.8 million in "marketing fees."... CA school board member pleads guilty to sex abuse AP:  A California school board member pleaded guilty Thursday to molesting a young girl over a five-year period when prosecutors said she had his baby. 

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          AM News: Harkin Proposes Teacher Bailout

          6a00e54f8c25c988340120a7f7436e970b-200wi Fund Proposed to Prevent Some Teacher Firings NYT:  Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, introduced legislation on Wednesday to create a $23 billion jobs fund to prevent teachers from being fired because of budget shortfalls... Sen. Harkin proposes $23 billion bailout for schools Washington Post:  Sen. Harkin proposes $23 billion bailout for schools... 2 more arrested at Hawaii furlough sit-in AP:  Two more people protesting Hawaii's shortest-in-the-nation school year were arrested on trespassing charges Wednesday night during their weeklong sit-in at Gov. Linda Lingle's office...Former Gov. Bush: Still in charge at the Capitol? AP: Ease class-size limits -- check. Cut corporate income taxes -- check. End tenure for new teachers and link teacher raises to student performance -- check (for now)... Click below for more headlines.

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            Quotes: "It Was, Like"

            ScreenHunter_01 Apr. 11 08.44 A fun list of bad (brilliant?) metaphors and other attempts at creative use of language, supposedly taken off of high school essays but also some of them intentional (as in part of bad writing contests).  Via Daily Dish.  My favorite?  "Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do."  What's yours?



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