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Thompson: Which Dominated, Accountability -- Or Hiring?

160x120_2106_vlbywpfj_c Marguerite Roza and the Gates Foundation have a righteous cause (equity) and they will say anything to advance their agenda (of undermining collective bargaining). So, Roza said "adding adults... was the dominant reform model of the last decade." In fairness to her strange claim, Roza, described the hiring of adults as a result of NCLB. But that raises further questions as to why data-driven accountability, which was the dominant reform of the decade and which has failed so badly during times of supposed overstaffing, would actually improve teaching quality? If she is so disgusted by the way districts responded to NCLB, why would she expect school systems to display better judgment in using the same primitive data for evaluations and equity?

Parents: Care & Feeding Of Recent College Grads

ScreenHunter_02 May. 03 14.28 What do I feed my college graduate? Why is my college graduate so fussy? How should I respond to political temper tantrums? The New Yorker provides some excellent answers to questions parents may have about their newly-minted college graduate  (A Parents’ Guide Via EdSector)

Techno: German Poem Unlocks School Cyberspy System

image from www.uni-heidelberg.de Your district may be spying on students and teachers via laptops -- and so may outside hackers.  A laptop cyberspy program installed in 200K school and government computers can be hijacked and used by anyone, according to this story in Wired.  And the key to hacking the system is a German poem.  

AM News: Twitter Friday (RIP, EduJobs?)

07teachers-art6-popup Links, news, commentary all in one place:

    Hit "refresh" to get newer items, or click here to get older items.

    Magazines: The Nation Does Education

    image from www.thenation.com Everything you've ever thought (or hated) about school reform is in the new The Nation, which includes articles by the usual suspects on the left (Noguera, LDH, Ravitch, Kirp) and a couple of welcome additions (GothamSchools co-founder Phillissa Cramer and Susan Eaton).  Most are free, though a couple are behind a paywall.  The real question is whether any of them tell you things you didn't already know or expect. 

    Teachers: Duncan Follows Up On Conference Call Fail

    image from accomplishedcaliforniateachers.files.wordpress.com

    EdSec Duncan made followup calls to Facebook teacher group leaders after a Monday afternoon conference call disappointed many who participated, according to teacher blogger David Cohen (Can You Hear Me Now?).  The Facebook group is Teachers’ Letters to Obama.

    Thompson: My VCR, R.I.P.

    Jon-stewart This may be my last month in our school, so perhaps I saw too much symbolism in the death of my VCR and my fruitless search for another one. I would not mourn the loss of a reliable old tool if I saw students being exposed to PBS.org and NPR.org via digital technology. But I blame the almost complete disappearance of VCRs from our school on the stigmatization of teachers who use video by true believers in top down curriculum alignment. No longer is C-SPAN available in our classrooms. No longer do teachers spark a class discussion with satire from Jon Stewart or "The Simpsons." This was the first year that I did not show Tavis Smiley’s "State of Black America" to my seniors, and I missed the subsequent discussions so much that it hurt. Maybe I am reading to much into this technological change, and Larry Cuban is a more reliable source.

    Cartoon: "Hey, Kids! Look! High Definition!"

    image from content.cartoonbox.slate.com

    Qote: Rhee Describes Herself To Sacto Press Corps

    Quotes2"I am someone who does not mince words. I am someone who does not spare feelings. And I am someone who does not pull punches  when it comes to doing what is right for kids." -Michelle Rhee (via Small Talk)

    AM News: Duncan Et Al Keep Pushing EduJobs

    image from www.reuters.comDems trim jobs bill to woo moderates:  Economic relief legislation pared back as union leaders and business lobby battle behind scenes... Teach for America expands into Detroit:  The national organization will send 100 of the top college graduates from across the U.S. to teach at public and charter schools in the city. How should we teach our future teachers?: Ball said the people who will someday replace the nation's 3.8 million teachers need to learn how to do the same things in the right way, much like doctors who are all trained to deliver a baby, suture a wound and give a shot... Ann Curry Cites Wrong School's Alumni in Speech:  In a commencement speech to graduates at Wheaton College in MA on Saturday, the 'Today' show's Ann Curry named some of the famous alumni they were joining. Unfortunately, the graduates she named, including Billy Graham, went to a different Wheaton College -- an evangelical school in Illinois with the same name.

    Pictures: Kagan's B Minus

    ScreenHunter_05 May. 26 16.24

    NYT via GOOD

    EduJobs: Duncan Claims White House Support For Harkin Provision

    "I speak for the administration," Duncan said at a news conference quoted in this Eliza Krigman story just out now. "Any sense that the White House isn't behind this is an absolute myth." 

    Krigman also notes that the Harkin provision could be restored in conference, and that the measure was under attack from reformy types who wanted it to be, well, reformy.

    Media: What Would You Pay For This Blog Post?

    Reblog Erika from The Notebook tells us in a comment that a subscription model is coming at some point in the future.  The Notebook, like many other outlets, seems to have found that foundation funding and advertising / sponsorship aren't enough to pay for content.  And the popularity of services like iTunes and paid applications for mobile phones and the Kindle suggests that readers may finally be ready to pay for news just like they pay for other things -- through their phones or Internet accounts.  It just has to be good.

    Thompson: Solving "Teacherpocalypse" With Buyouts

    Wolf2 I'd quarrel with the tone of Eric Hanushek's criticism of efforts to save teachers' jobs ("Cry Wolf!") but not the substance of his recommendations.  We need teacher evaluations based on "direct evidence about teacher effectiveness," so districts could fire the weakest instructors.  That should rule out test score growth for evaluations (at least in the hands of management) because the results of primitive growth models say little about whether an individual teacher is effective.  Either peer review, or "the Grand Bargain" of submitting test score data to a team of teachers and administrators, would meet the goal of removing the bottom 8 to 10%.  Typically, it is management that balks at these common sense methods of upgrading teacher quality because they do not want to share control. And that his why Hanushek's next best scenario makes sense.  If districts do not value the wisdom of veteran teachers, they should offer severance packages to higher paid educators.  I would be reluctant, however, to support his proposal to buy out teachers when there actually is direct evidence of their ineffectiveness.  

    EduJobs: White House Never Weighed In On Harkin $$

    image from images.politico.comOops! EdSec Duncan came out in favor the edujobs spending but the White House left it out of its priorities list, according to this Politico story I got off Wonkbook (here). Sounds like one hand didn't know what the other was doing, or maybe that the complicated reform/jobs dance finally caught up with them.  It's hard to keep things straight when the things you're for change from week to week. [Speaking of which, the EdSec is not unconcerned about the Texas textbooks thing. He was never not concerned.  Not never unconcerned.  Etc. ]

    Events: Venture Capital Summit 2010

    image from berkerynoyes.com Got a great idea to fix education and make some money along the way?  Sure you do.  And there's an Education Innovators Showcase next month that you should probably be a part of.  "The Showcase will provide a select group of ten early-stage companies, poised to make their mark in the education sector, the rare opportunity to present their companies to the Summit attendees, which will include venture capitalists and influential leaders in the education industry."  It's all part of the Venture Capital in Education Summit 2010, sponsored by BerkeryNoyes, Startl, and Scholastic. It's guaranteed to make NSVF look like AERA. 

    AM News: Harkin EduJobs Bill Derailed For Now

    Prospects for school funding help wilt in U.S. Senate Reuters:  Senator Godeep_homepageTom Harkin said on Tuesday he would drop plans to attach a $23 billion public education fund to a supplemental defense spending bill, bowing to Republican opposition and procedural complications... Virginia may pass on U.S. education grant contest Richmond Times Dispatch:  A major factor in the state's deliberation on whether to reapply for grant money is the Obama administration's push for states to adopt common national standards in reading and math... Board Approves Reinstating Teachers NYT: The board of the Central Falls School District approved an agreement on Tuesday to allow teachers at a troubled high school to keep their jobs after all of them were fired... Deal reached to end Hawaii school furloughs AP:  Gov. Linda Lingle and the state's political leaders ended the state's infamous school furloughs Tuesday, grabbing hold of a serendipitous deal that involves a $10 million bank loan and forces no one to give ground... Virginia to Expand Post-High School Tracking EdWeek:  The state's massive data system would link to college and workforce data through a $17.5 million federal stimulus grant... 

    Cartoon: Recess Is Over, Kids Tell Lawmakers

    image from content.cartoonbox.slate.com

    Thompson: Words Have Meanings

    Loose-lips-sink-ships-posters Unless he also was misquoted by Steve Brill, Dan Goldhaber said "The effect of increases in teacher quality swamps the impact of any other educational investment, such as reductions in class size." Goldhaber has a case regarding class size, but does he really have evidence to refute James Heckman, Russ Whitehurst, and Dan Willingham that high-quality pre-school, health and nutrition, intensive diagnostic assessment for reading comprehension, and/or an effective and engaging curriculum would be more cost-effective? When writing for RAND, Goldhaber compared teacher effects to other "school-related factors," which are much smaller than outside-of-school factors, and that are measured because they are currently in existence.  That's a long way from the grandiose words in Brill's opinion piece.

    Media: AFT Claims NYT Mag Included Made Up Quote

    Scantron2 Nearly a week after the article was posted online, the AFT came out with talking points knocking it down but forgot to send them to you. (Problem solved -- here they are:  Brill Talking Points). Therein the claim is made that writer Steven Brill made up a quote from Weingarten, which Eduwonk surmises is this one:

    “Deliberately or not, President Obama, whom I supported, has shifted the focus from resources and innovation and collaboration to blaming it all on dedicated teachers."

    Brill denies any such thing in a note to Eduwonk, claiming that he wouldn't have bothered to make up such a mundane remark. 

    If I were going to “fabricate” a quote, why would I pick one that is so unsurprising?

    Hmmm.  You'd be surprised how mundane the things journalists fabricate can be.  And the quote obviously didn't seem mundane to the AFT, whose trying to stay on the Administration's good side while they get this $23B bailout thing worked out. I wonder how the Times magazine is feeling about having published Brill's article - excited about all the attention or unsure whether they've (again) jumped into a story with a writer who's new to education and, well, gotten used.

    Quote: Duncan Unconcerned About Texas Textbooks


    "Whatever Texas decides, I do not think there will be large ripple effects around the country. Textbook companies today have a real ability to customize textbooks." -- Arne Duncan on CNN

    Pundits: Smarick Returns To Public Service

    image from www.edexcellence.net Proving yet again that he's not afraid to work in the agencies that he writes about, Andy Smarick is headed off to New Jersey to be the deputy superintendent for the state DOE, according to EdWeek.  I didn't always agree with Smarick, or even understand what he was saying (about turnarounds, for example), but he was a smart, friendly, welcome addition to the blogosphere and I admire him for walking the walk and returning to public service. 

    Money: Districts Might Cut Summer School

    image from 
www.robertbatemansecondary.comDistricts might lay off hundreds of teachers, and they might cut summer school, too:  A poll by the American Association of School Administrators found that 34 percent of respondents are considering eliminating summer classes for the 2010-11 school year because of money woes.(Summer School Canceled in Many Cash-Strapped States).  

    AM News: All Arizona (Tax Breaks, Ethnic Studies Ban)

    ScreenHunter_30 May. 07 00.19 High court to hear Arizona school case AP:  The U.S. Supreme Court will consider ending a lawsuit that challenges Arizona's tax breaks for donations for thousands of private school scholarships....  Ariz. Ban On Ethnic Studies Divides Educators NPR:  The law targets any ethnic studies classes in the state's public school system that "advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.".. Miss. board denies staging 'sham' prom for lesbian AP:  A rural Mississippi school district that was sued by a lesbian student who wanted to bring a same-sex date to the high school prom is denying accusations it routed her to a "sham prom" while most of her schoolmates partied elsewhere... Television Review: Considering Separate but Equal on PBS NYT:  “A Place Out of Time: The Bordentown School” on PBS traces the history of an all-black school in New Jersey, a microcosm of good intentions and misguided theories... 9 plead not guilty in Obama loan case AP:  The former employees of Vangent Inc. are accused of gaining access to a computer at the contractor's office in Coralville between July 2007 and March 2009 and getting into Obama's records while he was either a candidate for president, president-elect or president.

    Thompson: This Isn't About Fill-In-The-Bubble Tests

    Accountability"Teaching youngsters to decode words will get you through the fourth-grade test but it’s not going to prepare you for the skills you need in middle school and high school." -- Meryl Tisch in the New York Times

    Media: Mainstream News Outlets Point To Outside Coverage

    Picture 7 Last week, the New York Times magazine story about teachers unions linked out to EdWeek for additional coverage of the RTTT process.  Today, the Washington Post's Ezra Klein links out to the Wall Street Journal's Stephanie Banchero for her story on the NAEP results.  This kind of thing is a small but important shift in the way traditional media outfits have operated for years, refusing in many situations to link out much less acknowledge the existence of other news outlets.  It's a good thing, over all.  Readers know that the page they're reading isn't the only one out there, and want to be pointed to the best coverage rather than having to find it on their own. 

    AM News: Districts Cutting Summer School

    ScreenHunter_32 May. 07 01.15 Colorado education law may mark a national shift LA Times:  A landmark Colorado law that ties teacher evaluations to the progress of their students on achievement tests could help build momentum for a national movement that seeks to overhaul how instructors' tenure and pay is earned, education leaders say...  Cash-strapped districts cutting summer school AP:  Amber Bramble had to scramble to arrange summer plans for her 5- and 7-year-old daughters after their suburban Kansas City school district gutted its summer school program this spring...Educators push a college alternative NYT:  What’s the key to success in the United States? Short of becoming a reality-TV star, the answer is rote and, some would argue, rather knee-jerk: Earn a college degree... RI to submit new bid for federal education money Boston Globe:  Rhode Island's getting ready to submit another application in the Race to the Top competition for federal education funding... Texas board approves social studies standards that perceived liberal bias Washington Post:  The Texas state school board gave final approval Friday to controversial social studies standards that minimize the separation of church and state and say that America is not a democracy but a "constitutional republic.".. Studied: Studies Show Bullies Want Friends, Too NYT:  Bullies are “looking for attention and affection from their own peer group,” a recent report says.

    Advocacy: Teacherpocalypse 2010 Continues


    Arne Duncan on Teacher Evaluations and Saving Jobs in a Recession NPR:  Duncan says he worries about summer school disappearing, teachers being laid off and school days being cut and that there's a lot of work to be done... U.S. schools chief: We're in 'educational emergency' CNN:  Soledad O'Brien talked with the top school official in the nation, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, about the ties between the economy and schools, the state of education and options for the classroom... Visits to NY and Boston Underscore Why We Cannot Afford Teacher Layoffs ED.gov:  Two days in two cities and five school visits provided Secretary of Education Arne Duncan opportunities to meet students, teachers, administrators, and community leaders and have engaging conversations about the importance of saving teacher jobs and quality public schools, including charter schools.

    Hill: Jockeying For Position On ESEA & Campaign 2010

    1269144861681s Dem Challenges Administration On School Turnarounds National Journal:  Rep. Chu's efforts come on the heels of the decision to rehire all of the teachers at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island... Alexander to GOP: Step it up - Mike Allen Politico:  Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, says he’d “like to see Republicans step up on education more” if they win the majority back in November.. Miller on ESEA Politico:  “We’d really like now to put more emphasis on better teachers, more emphasis on better leadership and then stand back and hold them accountable for results."

    Video: "My Mom Doesn't Have Papers"

    If only she'd addressed the First Lady in Spanish then we would have been talking about this all the way to Memorial Day.  But alas.  Here's the video of that little girl asking Michelle Obama about immigration:  "My mom said Barack Obama is taking everybody away that doesn't have papers," said the 2nd grader at a Silver Springs elementary school.  Then:  "My mom doesn't have papers."  Here's an article about the fallout  (Comments revive debate over mixed-status families). 

    Labor: The Secret Teacher Hiring Spree

    image from im.rediff.comIt wasn't just a mad house-buying spree we were going through over the last decade, according to this eye-opening EdWeek article from Stephen Sawchuk. It was a mad teacher-hiring spree, too.

    Six million Americans are already out of work. Layoff notices will outnumber actual layoffs by 100 to 1 when all is said and done.  Meanwhile, increases in the size of the teaching force more than doubled increases in student enrollment.  And the US Department of Education and the teachers unions (and bend-over-backwards education writers) all say that there's some sort of teacherpocalypse already upon us. 

    It's impressive, and shameless, and it's sort of working.  Reformy types are whining about lack of strings attached to the Harkin jobs bill but are being told to shut up and go play in their little RTTT and i3 sandboxes. They can bask in all the glowy New York Times press coverage they want, as long as the teachers get their $23 billion.  Long live the teaching bubble.  May it never pop.  Because teachers unions aren't on their last legs.  They're the industry that's still too big to fail.

    Media: "Salacious Trivia" Funds Serious Journalism

    "I suppose this kind of tabloidy mashup of salacious trivia with serious reporting might be a model for the future." -- Mother Jones's Kevin Drum on the Huffington Post's 5th anniversary

    AM News: Detroit, Denver, and DC Lead The Way

    Godeep_homepage In Detroit Schools, State Takeover Leads to Leadership Dispute PBS:  A report on the progress of Detroit's public school system, following last year's tumultuous takeover by the state of Michigan, following allegations of corruption, a $316 million hole in its budget and tumbling enrollment... A Rougher Road to Tenure NYT:  Gov. Bill Ritter Jr. signed a law on Thursday that will make it more difficult for teachers to get tenure and will require that at least half of their annual evaluation be determined by the academic growth of their students... Report: D.C. schools make most significant reading gains among urban systems Washington Post:  A federal study of trends in 11 major urban school systems shows that only one has made significant gains in reading achievement since 2007 in fourth and eighth grades: D.C. Public Schools. 

    Thompson: Education from the Bottom Up

    Commie-schoolAt the Shanker Institute, Ernest Green of the Little Rock Nine condemned the top-down teaching of history that has been made worse by NCLB-type accountability. Green cited the preoccupation with the single hero of Rosa Parks in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the neglect of the 11/2 year bottom-up process where an alternative transportation system was designed and operated. Similarly, we ignore the foundations of the movement laid by Parks, Martin Luther King, and others at the Highlander Folk School.  When a hero of the civil rights movement speaks, those of us who see education as the civil rights movement of the 21st century must listen.

    Joy Hakim then explained the professional risks that often are required of teachers resisting the educational malpractice that can be dictated in the name of "accountability."  She recounted the story of teachers who won the right to teach the full richness and drama of America’s history because, it turned out, the superintendent had read Hakim’s work. Teachers take minimal risks, however, when compared to the danger faced by Eleanor Roosevelt when she traveled to the Highlander School, at night with a loaded pistol on her seat, after the Tennessee Klan placed a $25,000 bounty on her.  

    Continue reading "Thompson: Education from the Bottom Up" »

    Media: Washington Post's New(ish) "Education Report"

    image from www.washingtonpost.comNot to be outdone by Ezra Klein's snazzy "wonkbook," the education team at the Post has put together a new(ish) Education Report with stories and blog entries (five of each) and started emailing it out to folks who sign up. (Take a look at a sample below.) They've even got an advertiser to help pay for the thing. So far, it's weekly, a sort of "best of."  But it could go more frequently in the fall.  It started in January, I'm told, as part of an effort to get the best of the Post's education coverage to readers. Long live email.  Do you get it?  Do you like it?  What do you think?

    Continue reading "Media: Washington Post's New(ish) "Education Report"" »

    Quote: What Next On Ed Reform Efforts?

    “Now it’s the committee’s turn." 

    - House education committee chairman George Miller at NSVF conference last week.

    AM News: Dems Continue Push For School Bailout

    ScreenHunter_35 May. 07 18.46

    Senate to consider $23 billion for schools Reuters:  The top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee slammed the education fund, calling it a "$23 billion bailout for state governments" that a country with a deficit of more than $1 trillion cannot afford...  Prince William County schools approve bonus plan for instructors at poor schools Washington Post:  The Prince William County School Board approved a new compensation plan Wednesday night that would provide bonuses to teachers and principals who help high-poverty schools succeed... Obama Blasts Republicans for Not Supporting Economic Recovery Plans CBS News:  President Obama dropped in on the rust belt to trumpet administration recovery efforts and blast Republicans for sitting on the sidelines... Charter Effort Gets a Boost WSJ:  The U.S. Secretary of Education gave a symbolic boost to efforts to raise the state's charter-school cap during a visit to New York City on Tuesday to stump for a $23 billion federal bill to save teacher jobs... What does Mark Souder's resignation mean for abstinence education? Washington Post:  Souder was a warrior for abstinence-only sex education and a critic of other forms of sex education, and he repeatedly intervened to make sure abstinence advocates were represented -- even to the inclusion of other experts -- on panels about sexual health...Students escape bus that ignited on LA freeway AP:  Motorists jumped from vehicles to kick open doors and help about two dozen third-graders out of a blazing school bus that had stalled on a busy freeway Wednesday near Universal Studios Hollywood, authorities and witnesses said.... SAT prep company stops claiming 255-point boost AP:  The Princeton Review company no longer claims that its "Ultimate Classroom" SAT test-preparation course can boost SAT scores by 255 points.

    Video: The Dan Meyer - Grayson Chance Showdown

    ScreenHunter_02 May. 18 00.07 Two great videos going around the Internet these days, one a TEDtalk from math teacher Dan Meyer about patient problem solvers and engaging kids in math, the other recital footage from a Oklahoma 6th grader performing Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" in front of his classmates. You can watch either, or both. I won't tell.They're both work related, right?

    Continue reading "Video: The Dan Meyer - Grayson Chance Showdown" »

    Media: CT EdCoverage Gets Veteran Voice

    image from www.ctmirror.org Bob Frahm and other Hartford Courant refugees are doing a great job covering education and other issues at a new site called the CT Mirror, I'm told by reformy types who hail from that part of the world.  I haven't checked it out in any detail and have my nagging doubts about nonprofit media lasting long without readers or revenue, but I'm glad to see Frahm back on the beat, and glad to know that there's some interesting education coverage going on outside of the names you always hear.  Check out some of his latest stories here.

    Thompson: The Narcissism of "Self-styled Reformers" (& Writers)

    Littleknowledge "Same building. Same community. Sometimes even the same parents ..." writes Steve Brill, implying that charter schools face the same challenges as neighborhood schools. 

    Like the "self-righteous reformers" he praises, Brill does not know that it is politics that determines whether schools can enforce their attendance, behavioral, and academic standards.  When one school is empowered, neighboring schools are further damaged as the most challenging students are dumped on them, often creating an extreme critical mass of suffering children and perpetuating the blame game. 

    Brill does not even know enough about public education to ask why more of that testing is supposedly necessary to remove ineffective teachers or to consider the better alternatives for improving teacher quality.

    Washington: EdTrust & Achieve Launch New "Delivery" Group

    ScreenHunter_03 May. 19 01.30 Just what DC needs - more education groups.  National Journal's Eliza Krigman offers a late, weak look at Bellwether.  Hooray, they have a website and a logo.  But the real news on the edgroups front this week is the unveiling of EDI, Education Delivery Institute, the new outfit founded by the UK's Michael Barber, created by EdTrust and Achieve, and headed by GA state superintendent Kathy Cox.  Read all about it here. Read the initial reaction back home here.

    Media: Brill's Big Sloppy Wet Kiss For Reformy Types

    The.Simpsons.S21E07.Rednecks.and_.Broomsticks What do the people at the Department and on the Hill think about Schnur taking all the credit for coming up with RTTT? Brill writes like he's Bruce Weber and Schnur's a half-naked Marky Mark.  In what ways could RTTT conceivably overshadow health care reform?  None that I can think of. Who cares about TFA members losing their jobs when they'll leave for law school in a year or two anyway?  My sympathy's with the three-to five year folks.  What was the best line in the whole piece (The Teachers’ Unions’ Last Stand )?  Saying that RTTT presenters from NYC looked like they were in a "hostage tape" (or maybe the line about reformers being snobbish and self-righteous). What makes this journalism not commentary?  Brill's reformy bias is clear right from the get go. He makes a slew of unsupported claims and ignores the uncertainties and opposing forces at play (including, for example, the White House's decision to back the Harkin jobs bill and the Department's fears about "mass firing" stories.  Pic via Bart's Blackboard. 

    AM News: More Students Struggling With Reading

    Study says more students struggling with reading at end of pivotal third grade Washington Post:  Nearly two-thirds of students in Virginia and Maryland do not read proficiently by the time they finish third grade, according to a national report released Tuesday... Princeton Review ends free tutoring program AP:  Test prep and online learning company Princeton Review Inc. said yesterday it will no longer offer its free after-school tutoring program once the current school year ends...District tells varsity team it can't play in Ariz. AP: Morgan Bartelstein was clearly uncomfortable that her suburban Chicago high school basketball team got caught in middle of the immigration debate after district officials told the team they couldn't go to Arizona for a tournament... Education Secretary Duncan Visits Brooklyn Schools NYT:  Views about charter schools and federal money dominated the day as Secretary Arne Duncan visited New York... Ala. teacher uses assassination example in class AP:  A Jefferson County geometry teacher was investigated by the Secret Service after he used a hypothetical assassination of President Barack Obama as a way to teach geometric angles... School backs out of 'stay at home' field trip LA Times:  Verdugo Hills High had arranged for seniors to stay home during three days of standardized testing for underclassmen. After district officials raised questions, the school is scrambling for new plans...Feds: Virginia Tech Violated Law In '07 Massacre Virginia Tech disputes the department's finding that it violated the Clery Act's requirement of a "timely warning" to the campus when crimes or threats are reported. The shooting rampage left 33 people dead, including the gunman.

    Thompson: Isaiah & Real Community Schooling

    ScreenHunter_02 May. 18 00.07 As a sophomore, Isaiah (as I will call him) articulated the rationale for community schools better than anyone else ever had.

    I use him as an example for my modest reform proposal.

    Here's how it happened.

    Continue reading "Thompson: Isaiah & Real Community Schooling" »

    Media: Readers, Reporters, And Paying Customers

    ScreenHunter_44 May. 17 11.57 The Chicago News Cooperative produces a regular stream of reported education stories, has a bigtime outlet for much of its work, and -- this is key, folks -- a paying customer.  As such, it might be a useful model for nonprofit ednews outlets struggling to figure out how to make things work in the new era.  Set up by former Chicago Tribune folks, the Coop has assigned Crystal Yednak to the education beat and its work is included in the Midwest edition of the New York Times.  Here are some of her recent stories: Seeking to Assure Students' Safety Outside School, Educators and Parents Await News on Cuts‎, City Schools' New Criteria for Diversity Raise Fears. It's not perfect, but these are the three elements -- output, readers, and cash coming in -- that so many other outfits seem to lack. Catalyst Chicago, the Philly Notebook, and the Hechinger Report all seem to have more editors than they do writers, don't have access to a big enough distribution network (ie, a local paper or popular website, and rely on foundation dollars for almost all that they do.  Imagine how powerful it would be if they changed that up a bit. 

    Media: Steve Brill's Last Stand

    image from graphics8.nytimes.com The latest NYT Magazine preview is out, and its feature story is about unions and reform and alla that (The Teachers’ Unions’ Last Stand).  But that's not all.  When you're done there, EdWeek.org has some exclusive content from the article's author, Steven Brill.  (Nice job, EdWeek.org!)  Brill is everywhere these days, but not so long on the education beat.  Last we saw him, Steve Brill was penning the umpteenth "rubber room" story (albeit for the New Yorker). I can't help but feel like Brill is slanted to the right on all of this stuff rather than coming at it from the middle, and also that he's slumming a bit writing about schools and teachers and stuff.  But he's obviously got access to bigtime outlets, so there's that.   Let's just hope his stuff is good, right?

    Quote: "Where Obama Doesn't Get It"

    Quotes2 "That’s where Obama doesn’t get it. It can’t even just be the Congress. It’s got to be school boards, city council, state legislature, county commission, governorships.” -- Gingrich calls for education overhaul (Politico) 

    AM News: Subdued Response To Central Falls Re-Hire

    6a00e54f8c25c988340120a77999a7970b-200wiUnion boss Randi Weingarten forces Education czar Arne Duncan to add third stop on visit to NYC NY Post:  His choreographed visit comes as the battle over charter schools heats up ahead of the June 1 deadline for New York to apply for "Race for the Top" money... R.I. teachers subdued after agreement AP:  The president of the teachers union said collective bargaining had worked. The school superintendent lauded a new era of collaboration for a failing high school singled out by President Obama. But the bottom line of a labor agreement approved yesterday showed another, hard-edged result... Tensions grow as Boston prepares for teacher contract talks Boston Globe:  Boston parents, students, community activists, and civic groups have launched lobbying campaigns to press for changes to the teachers union contract, in what observers say could be the most acrimonious bargaining climate in a decade... Student Accused of Faking His Way Into Harvard AP:  A Delaware man has been charged with faking his way into Harvard and duping the university out of $45,000 in financial aid, grants and scholarships... School Buses Now Take Wireless Internet For A Ride NPR:  The Vail School District in southern Arizona last year installed a wireless router above the front windshield in buses for students who have long commutes. After hearing about the program, about 25 U.S. school districts have also signed up for the service. But one concern for administrators is making sure every student has a laptop. 

    Thompson: My Story of Teaching and Learning

    Brandy%20sitting[1] I got my start in education as a hiking counselor for inner city children where I gained the insights that can only be learned in the middle of the night with tent mates or sharing the challenges of nature. I’ll never forget the thrill of guiding children on a fossil hunt, and the cry of joy of a little girl "I just found a dinosaur nose! It still has blood on it!"

    After crack and gangs hit my neighborhood, I became an inner city high school teacher .. and completely fell in love with the job. When a kid transferred into my class from the deep South he asked whether I had Black kids. "You’re always talking about ‘ma kids’" said the student as he mocked my Okie accent. From all over the room came laughter and the reply, "D.T. has hundreds of Black kids!" Then the class clown added, "Yeah, D.T. is a playa!"

    Continue reading "Thompson: My Story of Teaching and Learning" »

    Business Of Ed: For-Profits Signing Homeless Up For "College"

    "For- profit schools are tapping shelters and halfway houses for new students, loading them with debt and leaving taxpayers on the hook," according to this disturbing story from Bloomberg Businessweek's Daniel Golden (The Homeless at College). 


    What's the nonprofit/ K12 version of this, I wonder?  Bilking the public by signing homeless kids up for expensive online programs? Enrolling kids in community college to take noncredit remedial coursework? There's gotta be something.  [Update:  National Journal is debating for profit EMOs this week - how timely!]



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