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Best Blogs: New Michelle, Same As The Old Michelle

2yts2mw Making Evaluations Work For Students And Teachers Michelle Rhee: Teachers were getting passing grades even as their students were failing... Study: Observers can spot best teachers Joanne Jacobs: Evaluators and administrators must complete an intensive training course and accurately score videotaped teaching examples... Teacher Headhunting Mike Goldstein:  First, teachers like Aguilar will be headhunted. Second, top teachers will also get some of the same treatment high-scoring schools are right now: hundreds of visitors... A lesson from KIPP Fordham:  KIPP could easily have noted that 95 percent of KIPP graduates also graduate high school, which is an unqualified marvel... How Afghan Insurgents Recruit High-School Students Newsweek:  As soon as this school year ends, he’s planning to head back to Afghanistan to complete his training for the war against the Americans... Fundamental Right to Sell Junk Food to Kids Under Attack Gawker:  Despite the food industry's previously stated commitment to developing healthier Pop Tarts, government bureaucrats have decided to infringe the fundamental right of good American food-sellers to market corn syrup-soaked processed corn nuggets to children, using fun cartoon characters... Eighth Grader's 9/11 Documentary To Screen at Tribeca Film Festival GOOD:  He collected 18 hours of emotional interviews with students, teachers, principals, and firefighters living and working in the area around Ground Zero on 9/11 [his second day of kindergarten]. 

Video: What About Obama's Grades, Asks Trump?

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
America Needs to See Obama's Report Cards
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

Now Donald Trump wants to see Obama's Occidental records, but Stephen Colbert thinks that's not going far enough.  How about Obama's high school records, and elementary school grades?  Did he play well with others?  "Did he bring gum to class, and if so did he bring enough for everyone?" Etc.   It's not over.  Not by a long shot.  

Radio: Jeb Bush, Rick Hess, And Me (Tonight!)

Picture 9 This evening or over the weekend you might want to tune into Bloomberg EDU, "the nation's only weekly radio program devoted to education," to hear Jane Stoddards Williams' Jeb Bush interview and a realtively polite throwdown between me and Rick Hess over the resurgence of interest in vouchers. (He smashes me on both points and style, though i might have eked out a draw on substance).  More details and some teaser quotes from the Bush interview are below.  (AM 1130 in New York)

Continue reading "Radio: Jeb Bush, Rick Hess, And Me (Tonight!)" »

Thompson: Teaching Attention -- Intentionally

EduwonkOn yesterday's Fresh Air, Andrew Rotherham described "intention" as the key to the schools that prove effective despite student poverty.  They are intentional in everything they do because they must teach students a mindfulness and a focus on learning.  When I was a kid, the phrase we always heard from our fathers and other mentors was, "Pay close attention.  I'm only going to show you once." A village-full of adults taught us to "keep your head in the game."  When something happened on the ball field, coaches would yell, "Go to school on that."  In other words, my friends and I were being taught to "Learn how to learn."  As Rotherham rightly observed, to educate students who have not been taught at home to be students, we need schools that build a culture of intentionality, and teach kids how to participate in it.- JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.

Photo: Will Learn For Food

Will learn for food
In the not too distant future, or perhaps this is already happening.

Quote: Money-Saving Vouchers

Quotes2Surely everyone from Tea Partiers to Democrats can see that when it costs less to give a student a private school voucher than to educate him or her in a traditional public school, everyone wins.  - Robert Enlow, Foundation for Education Choice

AM News: Schools Worry About Money -- And Performance

image from webmedia.newseum.org High school physics teacher perfects the formula for inspiring students LAT:  Amir Abo-Shaeer's successful combination includes founding a growing engineering academy and inspiring motivated, robot-building students... Son of Advocates Makes Education His Mission CNC/NYT:  Stand for Children, an education-reform group making a name for itself, is led by a true son of privilege, Jonah Edelman, whose Washington-elite parents have Kennedy and Clinton connections... New Jersey School Budgets Pass in 80% of Districts NYT:  The election results in the first year of Gov. Chris Christie’s 2 percent tax cap contrasted with last year, when voters rejected most spending plans...TPS, teachers clash again over use of federal funds Toledo Blade:  Ohio school districts and charter schools have spent only about 10 percent of the $360 million in Education Jobs Fund money, which was part of an Obama Administration aid package passed by Congress last year to save teachers' jobs. ... Tougher tests bring less progress for many schools across state Tulsa World:  The number of Oklahoma schools failing to make “adequate yearly progress” under the federal No Child Left Behind Act jumped dramatically from 2009 to 2010, according to preliminary data...  School Districts Look to Parcel Taxes for Aid Bay Citizen:  Financially struggling school districts, hoping for revenue from parcel taxation, are turning to expensive campaign consultants to help them persuade voters to approve the taxes...  Increasing Early Teacher Retirement Could Mean "Brain Drain" HP:  Schools trying to mend budget holes are offering teachers incentives to retire early, as replacing the highest-paid staff with new, lesser-paid employees saves money and averts layoffs... For state budgets, a long road back to peak revenue Stateline:  State revenues are coming back. But most states have a long way to go before they'll be bringing in as many tax dollars as they did before the recession...Going To College Via Smartphone HP:  Earlier this week, the University of Phoenix became the latest for-profit institution to dip its toe in the rapidly expanding marketplace of higher-education apps.

Best Blogs: Fickle Data Will Betray You Every Chance It Gets

ScreenHunter_03 May. 03 14.30

Good KIPP Bad KIPP Eduwonk:  In this highly politicized environment we are in today data are weaponized rather than discussed thoughtfully...  When reformers reject data they don’t like Ravitch: The corporate reformers brought out their heavy guns to argue that it wasn’t true, it couldn’t be true, and even if it were true, it didn’t matter...  For-Profit Colleges Mount Unprecedented Battle For Influence In Washington:  Overall, the industry spent more than $8.1 million on lobbying in 2010, up from $3.3 million in 2009... Women Now Earning More Bachelor's and Graduate Degrees Than Men GOOD:  Only a decade ago, men held the majority, 55.4 percent, of advanced degrees... The People Behind The Interest Group Yglesias: This entire trail of dependents fears change, and deems itself entitled to whatever economic privileges the industry in question currently receives... Is Obama Actually a Moderate Republican? American Times:  These aren’t so much Republican ideas as they are Republican feints. They are almost always repeals and almost never ideas to replace or strengthen entitlements or make more them efficient... You Can’t Defend a Failed Vision of American Public Education Whitney Tilson: While reformers may have some issues, RiShawn Biddle correctly argues powerfully that those defending the status quo are facing an impossible task: defending the indefensible... Sometimes Second Place Is Better EIA:  Topping the list is Anne Gust Brown, the governor’s wife. In second place is Joe Nuñez. Who?... Poverty? Ask J-C Brizard Education Next:  There are too many millions of people like Brizard who “used the U.S. education system” to drag themselves out of poverty to count them as exceptions that prove some demography is destiny rule... Poor Teaching for Poor Children Alfie Kohnrkable results with low-income students of all ages have also been found with the Reggio Emilia model of early-childhood education, the “performance assessment” high schools in New York, and “Big Picture” schools around the country.

Video: School Food Reconciliation Wins TV Spot For LA Super

Proving yet again that celebrity, politics, and pocketbooks are the only things that anyone really cares about, the seeming resolution of the LAUSD dustup over reality TV access and chocolate milk won new superintendent John Deasy a spot on the couch on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night.  More coverage:  LAUSD to remove chocolate, strawberry milk from schools, superintendent says LAT... LA school head joins chef Oliver on TV after clash AP... Jamie Oliver & the LAUSD Make Nice on Late Night TV LAist

Quote: Ohio Gov. Calls TFA Corps Members His "Cavalry"

Quotes2 They're going to ride on white horses with white hats into our schools and be able to interject a tremendous amount of enthusiasm, talent, capability, and real-world understanding. -- Ohio Governor John Kasich

Thompson: "Martial Law" In Detroit, Says Rachel Maddow

RachelThe Rachel Maddow show recently presented some dramatic footage of a Detroit alternative school for young mothers and their arrest for protesting the school's closure by the Detroit Emergency Manager Robert Bobb. Maddow went to the heart of the matter quoting Bobb about how he drools at the thought of the additional power he has been given to restructure Detroit's schools.  Maddow observed, "Power, tastes great, more thrilling - 'I do drool."  The main problem, said Maddow is that our corporate-inspired reformers have declared "financial martial law,"  and they believe, "Democracy is the problem." For Detroit students, their only hope is "that the dictator is benevolent."  Maddow followed up with a report on a lawsuit filed by Jesse Jackson and the Legislative Black Caucus.  The effort to quash contracts is not limited to extreme cases like in Michigan.  It is a nationwide attack on contracts signed in good faith. - JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.  

Media: AOL Hyperlocal Site "Patch" Joins The Fray


EdWeek covered Duncan's visit to a Montgomery County school yesterday (Duncan Fields Tough Questions in Community Forum) -- and so did Patch (video above).  Who did it better?  I'll leave you to decide.  AOL's hyperlocal news site, Patch seems lately to be providing competing coverage for issues that newspaper reporters and bloggers have previously had to themselves.  How's it doing in your part of the woods? Helping?  Hurting?  Not making much difference either way? (Hey, at least they pay their writers and don't aggregate.)

AM News: Midwestern States Making Big School Changes

image from webmedia.newseum.org Indiana lawmakers OK broadest voucher plan in US AP:  Unlike other systems Indiana's voucher program will be open to a much larger pool of students, including those already in excellent schools... Ohio Could Be First To Implement Merit-Based Pay Statewide HP:  The unions, with support from Democrats, have launched a drive that will ask voters in November to overturn the measure, which has not yet become effective...   Conn. mom pleads not guilty over school enrollment AP:  A homeless single mother who lives in her van pleaded not guilty Wednesday to stealing nearly $16,000 worth of education for her son by enrolling the kindergartener in her baby sitter's school district.... NJ gov to discuss education plan ABC's at Harvard Globe:  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will air his education plans in another high-level academic setting... High-schoolers who work less likely to finish college USAT:  They are less likely to go on to finish college, a new study finds, but are jobs the cause or just another effect?... In a first, women surpass men in advanced degrees AP:  For the first time, American women have passed men in gaining advanced college degrees as well as bachelor’s degrees, part of a trend that is helping redefine who goes off to work and who stays home with the children... Study: Good schools hiding big achievement gaps The Lookout: A new report by the non-profit Education Trust warns that the low achievement of minority and low-income students in high-achieving schools is often masked by the education world's focus on averages... Philly schools may cut nearly 1,300 teachers AP:  The Philadelphia public schools will have to cut 3,800 jobs -- including almost 1,300 teachers -- if the governor's planned budget cuts are approved...  Clayton teacher strips at school, arrested AJC:  Harlan Porter was caught by another teacher walking the halls of B.C. Haynie Elementary School in Morrow with his clothes off, according to a police report obtained Wednesday by the AJC.

Best Blogs: Debating Jeb Bush's Importance


[What'd I miss?] On the Road with Jeb Bush Education Next:  We learn that Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education  received $2.9 million in 2009 from the Gates and Broad foundations, “among others."...  A Waiver for Tougher Standards?: Thompson Publishing:  So the district is implementing what they argue are more difficult assessments based on a more stringent standard... Testing For Thee, But Not For Me Mother Jones: Why does Walker want to do away with the requirement that students in tax-supported voucher schools take the same tests as students in tax-supported public schools?....Group ranks top 120 community colleges The Lookout:   The analysis and resulting list are part of an initiative to improve graduation rates.. Making New Standards Matter in Classrooms Education Sector:  Neither will make much of a difference in what gets taught or learned unless teachers get the support, resources and encouragement they will need to incorporate them into their daily practice... Flash: School reform ‘won’t fix everything’ Joanne Jacobs: Are reformers ignoring the problems of poor kids by trying to get more effective teachers in high-poverty schools?... The Teacher-Parent Berlin Wall Michael Goldstein: As you read the seven visions from The Futures of School Reform project, here is one I don’t think you will see: tearing down the Berlin Wall that separates parents and teachers... 

Quotes: How Conservatives Unintentionally Help Unions

Quotes2 Education policy... will force conservatives to confront a contradiction between their correct theory and a stubborn fact. - George Will via Jonathan Chait.


Video: Old Diane Debates New Diane

Old Diane is younger than new Diane, and the two Dianes' voices are hard to distinguish, but this dramatization of the @olddianeravitch twitter feed might be worth a quick watch:

Via Jay Greene, who notes that New Diane has tweeted nearly 15 times a day since she joined Twitter 600-plus days ago.

Quotes: Inequality Breeds Mistrust (Reformers Take Note)

Quotes2Inequality among players had a corrosive effect on trusting behaviors, particularly when players had specific knowledge of one another’s endowments... -- NYT Economist Blog


Ratings: Clothing Labels Show Dangers Of Unreliable Measures

image from graphics8.nytimes.com Before anyone starts letting states or districts make up their own school rating systems again, let's take a look at the always-informative world of fashion.  There, as noted in this recent NYT story (Tackling a Crazy Quilt of Sizing), sizing among different manufacturers (and even among different styles) has lost any real semblance of uniformity, making it hard for people to figure out what to buy and what's going to fit.  Generally adjusted to make people feel better about their bodies, the sizes aren't reliable anymore -- and ultimately end up being useless.  I've made this point several times before, but it's worth repeating.  

Thompson: Pay Kids To Take Advanced Placement

Top-one-percentRetired Advanced Placement teacher Junia Yearwood recently described in the Boston Globe the rage felt by a student who had earned a "D" as a junior but who was put in a senior A.P. class.  He and other students weren't allowed to transfer out because the administration was determined to jack up A.P. participation numbers.  On NPR's Talk of the Nation, Ms. Yearwood further explained the frustrations of students with 5th grade reading skills who were forced to take the college-level class. I know from personal experience that Yearwood's experience is not unique.  Before my old school abandoned A.P., the academic skill level of its students varied just as widely.  Most took multiple A.P. classes, while participating in numerous extracurricular activities, working 35 or more hours a week, and balancing the responsibilities that too many urban youth handle.  This is one area where I would favor pay for performance.  Pay A.P. students at a generous hourly wage to do the practice, practice, practice that is required to meet high standards.- JT(@drjohnthompson) Image

Politics: Mitch Daniels (R-IN) Poised To Take Education Mantle

image from images.rcp.realclearpolitics.com

Call it the second coming of Jeb Bush.  Indiana's Mitch Daniels has just passed four education bills that RealClearPolitics describes glowingly as "some of the most sweeping education changes in the country."  His state superintendent Tony Bennett calls the package "the most aggressive, far-reaching legislative package in the United States when it comes to reforming education in one fell swoop."  Jeb Bush and others have good things to say about him and his reforms.  Of course, aggressive and far-reaching legislation is just the start of the process -- let me know when the implementation is happening.  Meanwhile, I'd love to see what he got (or didn't get) compared to DC or IL or even Florida.  Things have a way of getting called "sweeping" that aren't always as transformative as they sound.

Head Start: The Biggest Story No One's Talking About

Postcard_cropOne of the oldest and most unchanged federal education programs, Head Start, is slated for a major shakeup but no one except New America is paying much attention since there's rarely ever any news about Head Start besides changes in funding levels. What's the news now?  The bottom 25 percent of grantees are soon going to have to re-apply for their grants along with newcomers, rather than being pretty much guaranteed continued funding. This means that programs might get better and that funding might shift, ever so slightly, to places where the numbers of low income families with young children have grown. And it's all being done administratively -- no revamp of the law required. The proof's in the pudding, of course, and things seem to move slowly in early childhood land.  (Not much that I can tell came from the money for ECE in the stimulus.)  But crossed fingers.


AM News: Will The "Florida Formula" Go Nationwide?

image from webmedia.newseum.org Jeb Bush Pushes for Change With ‘Florida Formula’ NYT:  The former Florida governor has been a little-known common denominator behind sweeping measures in nearly a dozen states..School budgets up for a vote NPR:  It's that time again in cities and towns across the country. We take an inside look at the battle in Cherry Hill, N.J... Duncan Backs Delaware for Withholding District's RTTT Funds EdWeek:  Arne Duncan is publicly supporting state officials in Delaware who plan to withhold $11 million from the Christina School District for reneging on school-turnaround plans... LA hires five key administrators at Deasy's request LAT:  The new superintendent says his focus is on instruction, but some question the salaries of the administrators and the district's use of financial gifts from philanthropists...  Eemployee claims racial discrimination Baltimore Sun:  A former Baltimore school system employee is claiming that he was unlawfully terminated because he was white... Foes of education cuts rally in central Pa. AP:  Opponents of education cuts proposed to help balance the state budget focused Tuesday on central Pennsylvania in trying to persuade lawmakers to restore funding for K-12 schools and public universities...  Bloomberg’s Big Push for an Applied Sciences School NYT:  The mayor’s grand idea has piqued the attention of the academic world, but critics are worried about the costs... Teen Strikes Plea Deal In Phoebe Prince Bullying Case AP: If accepted by a judge, 17-year-old Sharon Chanon Velazquez's plea deal would be the first criminal case resolved in connection with South Hadley High School freshman Phoebe Prince's suicide... 

Best Blogs: Reacting To Walker's Voucher Expansion Proposal

Memes-illustration-631 Public Money Without Public Accountability Yglesias:  The dispute over exactly who gets their hands on the accountability-free funding stream is ultimately not that important. (ALSO:  The Voucher Revival)... When Will Testing Company Employees Get Laid Off? GOOD: Maybe all the laid off teachers will go work for the testing companies. Given their growth, they're sure to be hiring...Teacher teams lead turnarounds Joanne Jacobs:  T3 teachers say they applied for leadership opportunities and the chance to be part of a strong team. They also receive a $6,000 bonus... A Portrait of School Improvement Grantees EdSector:  Eighteen percent are rural, 17% suburban, and the grantee list includes dozens of charters and many more magnet schools... Great brains tackle teacher evaluation, and lose Class Struggle:  I have nothing but the highest respect for the authors of a remarkable new report just released by the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution... Can You Identify Good Teachers Just By Watching Them? EdNext:  Most teacher evaluation systems that are currently in use rovide little information about which teachers are effective and which are ineffective... The Law Lottery Daily Dish: Many law schools all but explicitly promise that, within a few months of graduation, practically all their graduates will obtain jobs as lawyers, by trumpeting employment figures of 95 percent, 97 percent, and even 99.8 percent. The truth is that less than half will... Teenage Boy Told to Leave Class for Wearing High Heels Gakwer:  Here's another story of high school gender confusion, this one coming from America's great pulsating phallus, Florida. It seems a Tampa-area teen wore high heels to school, causing an uproar. The uproar? This teen was a boy.

Thompson: A Culture of Argument (In The Good Sense)

Debate Mike Schmoker and Gerald Graff, in More Argument, Fewer Standards, explain why every teacher and administrator should know the powerful case for a "culture of argument."   If we want to increase student performance, we must restore debate to its rightful place in the center of schooling.  Schmoker and Graff cite a range of research, that is lost on many policy theorists, why the clash of ideas is the key to learning.  "Argument, in short, is the essence of thought."  All of our kids, from the earliest grades, deserve the opportunities that the billionaires would not deny to their children.  All students, Schmoker and Graff argue, must have the chance "to dismantle and defend arguments about increasingly rich, complex texts." - JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.      

Media: Foundation-Funded Workshop On Foundations' Role

image from www.loukrieger.comLast fall, Columbia held a seminar for education reporters that tried to help journalists report on the contentious debates surrounding many education issues.  You can get lots of information and video from that session here.  The series (officially called The New York Times Institute on Education Reporting) continues next month,this time  focusing on the role of foundations in education reform (here).  Funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Spencer Foundation. Image via.

Quote: Emanuel Alludes To Mysterious Duncan Lawsuit

Quotes2 The Secretary of Education Arne Duncan [had a] similar lawsuit in his background. That comes with the territory of trying to make change when stakeholders realize that, you know what, they may not be the beneficiary anymore. -- Rahm Emanuel defending his embattled schools appointee

AM News: Early Childhood Can't Catch A Break

image from webmedia.newseum.org Funds Down for Pre-K Programs NYT:  The recession took its toll on the nation’s early childhood programs in the 2009-10 school year, with total spending by states decreasing for the first time since experts began keeping track... California's preschool spending holds steady in 2009-10, report says LAT:  Only about 17% of the state's 4-year-olds attend state-funded schools, a national report says, and budget cuts could weaken programs... Decline In Minority Teachers, But An Increase In Minority Students? Denver Post:  As the number of minority students has grown in Colorado schools, the number of minority teachers has declined — spurring districts to address the disparity... High School Classes May Be Advanced in Name Only NYT:  Courses may sound more rigorous, but standardized test scores have not risen accordingly, researchers say... For New Jersey School Budget Votes, Tempers and Tax Rises Ease AP:  As state finances rebounded, Gov. Chris Christie restored some aid to local districts that he had cut last year... Duncan Issues Far More NCLB Waivers Than Predecessors EdWeek:  Mr. Duncanhas embraced his waiver authority in his current role. The majority of the 315 NCLB-related waivers granted in 2009 were ...  Rahm Emanuel defends his schools chief on federal discrimination lawsuits Sun-Times:  Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel said Monday he’s not troubled by a federal discrimination lawsuit filed against his new schools CEO because similar charges were made against U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan when he ran Chicago schools... Trump: Obama wasn't qualified for Ivy League AP:  Trump, who is mulling a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, offered no proof for his claim but said he would continue to press the matter as ...

Best Blogs: Are Reformers Tracking Our Location Data?

Large (2) A lesson in Advanced mis-Placement Boston Globe:  Many of my AP graduates were placed in no-credit, remedial reading and writing courses their freshman year in college... The Long Knives Come Out Jay P. Greene:  FOP is trying to undermine the political standing of the AFT while also stifling support for a convicted cop-killer... Illinois Bill Exemplifies Groundbreaking Education Reform CAP:  At a time when many states are eager to display their commitment to education through unnecessary contentiousness, Illinois is serving as a model of collaboration... A $1.5B Enterprise EIA:  An Education Intelligence Agency analysis of Internal Revenue Service filings by the NEA and its state affiliates reveal the union amassed more than $1.5 billion in revenue in 2008-09... A scandal that can't be ignored Philly Notebook: Archie used his role as SRC chair to effectively nullify the decision to give Martin Luther King High School to one charter organization and lobbied instead in favor of the nonprofit Foundations, Inc... Chiefs, Change, Cheers? Eduflack:  If we are going to see real movement in the area of school improvement, we need a real call to action at the state level.  Chiefs for Change could be that vehicle, if it learns from the past and engages for the future... School Janitor Donates $40,000 To Build Race Track Huffington Post:  Tyrone Curry has dedicated the last 34 years to Evergreen High School in Washington as the school's custodian and track coach... The magic of hard work Jim Colgan (LAT): The educational establishment of Southern California divides fairly neatly into three groups: those who recognize the need for radical and sustained improvement but fear that it's impossible; those who actively oppose change because their allegiances require them to defend failure; and that small but growing and inspiring group of advocates who see a way to improve and are actually making it happen... Charter School Space: Free of Rent, Maybe, but Not of Hurdles Mike Winerip (NYT):  The schools, which can use parts of public school buildings rent-free, are fighting for locations, with suspicion rising over some successes in obtaining space...

Charts: Who Pays Teachers Most For their Time?

image from 25.media.tumblr.com

This chart from the futurejournalismproject tries to capture how much teachers work in various countires and how much they're paid.  I'm sure there are issues with the calculations or presentation, but perhaps not entirely disqualifying ones. What's the chart get wrong or right?


Quote: Making Teachers "The Heroes"

Quotes2 We have got to reward excellence, have consequences for nonperformance, but really make teachers the heroes and not lock them into an assembly-line mode. -- Joel Klein in Reason

Thompson: Parents Protest Test Testing In Charlotte-Mecklenberg

Nclu As a part of a continuing, seemingly endless, stream of reports on testing insanity, "School District Field-Tests 52 (Yes, 52) New Tests on Kids," by Valerie Strauss, describes the Charlotte-Mecklenberg district's testing of their standardized assessments on students.  Kids will have to take those 52 tests again in May. A massive protest by parents prompted the district to answer questions on its web site about the experiment. This is to fulfill promises made for the Race to the Top, and the school board will apparently have no vote on the matter.  Teachers are stressed out.  They were not consulted.  Some classes lost up to 30 hours.  - JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via

Cartoon: What Next For Cathie Black & Charlie Sheen?

ScreenHunter_24 Apr. 25 10.27

Illustrator Barry Blitt imagines a sort of musical chairs game for the recently-deposed (including Katie Couric, Glenn Beck, Manny Ramirez, and Gilbert Gottfried). From the April 25 New Yorker

AM News: 100 New York Schools Piloting "Common Core"

image from webmedia.newseum.org Federal education money coming to Texas Austin News:  US Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced Friday that the money would be released by his office, about a year after most states received their portion of $10 billion in funds set aside to protect education jobs... A Trial Run for School Standards That Encourage Deeper Thought NYT:  About 100 New York schools are experimenting with curriculum requirements known as the “common core” to better prepare students to take on college work... Big Cuts for Magnet Schools in Dallas Stir Conflict Over Spending on Education Texas Tribune:  Proposed cuts for Dallas’s highly ranked magnet schools have prompted accusations from parents that the administration is using a tight economy to weaken a program it never supported... Dennis Walcott Brings Softer Touch NYT:  In a lengthy interview, Mr. Walcott struggled to name any achievements for which he had been the driving force, finally citing the creation of an early-literacy program for children in public housing and a mayoral Office of Adult Education... School Principal Cyberbullied With Vulgar Facebook Page Huffington Post: After the Seattle-area principal found her Facebook impostor wrote wall posts suggesting sexually inappropriate relationships with students, she tells the news outlet she was so humiliated that she didn't want to go to work... NYC officials defend decision to cuff 1st grader Associated Press: The mother of a special education first-grader wants to know why her son was handcuffed when he became upset while decorating an Easter egg at his New York City school.a


Twitter: "Old Diane Ravitch" Confronts Her Present Self

Rainy Saturday thanks to whomever thought up @OldDianeRavitch, a twitter account featuring some of Ravitch's views from the past, which are -- you guessed it -- at odds with her current views.  A sampling: 

"Without testing, there is no consistent way to measure success or failure...Public contracting is often referred to as "privatization," but that label is misleading... It may be harder to graduate from high school than to become a certified teacher... Every school should have the power to select its own teachers, remove the incompetents...Texas model has successfully improved the performance of black and Hispanic students, particularly in math and writing... NYC schools chancellor should have the power to close schools that consistently fail or engage in corrupt practices... Every classroom should have a well-educated, knowledgeable teacher. We are far from that goal today..."

 image from newtalk.orgimage from newtalk.orgimage from newtalk.orgimage from newtalk.orgimage from newtalk.orgimage from newtalk.orgimage from newtalk.orgimage from newtalk.orgimage from newtalk.orgimage from newtalk.org

The quotes are most of them seemingly taken from past New York Times articles.  There's even an old school headshot of Ravitch to add to the effect, and some witty banter between the old Ravitch and the current one.  As for authoriship, Jennifer (eduwonkette) Jennings is my guess -- what's yours?  Someone should sleuth the links or followers to figure out who it is, as was done by Chicago teacher Seth Lavin to solve the MayorEmanuel mystery.  Via Whitney Tilson.

Video: Preview Of "60 Minutes" Eli Broad Profile

Looks like he's going to get glowing coverage, given this preview and the press release from the Broad Foundation that went out.  Two questions to consider as you watch (if you watch):  What does the show get right or wrong, factually?  How much has Broad's work influenced real-world events in education, for better or worse, once you get past the massive media coverage?  

Best Blogs: More Questions About Nat'l Certification Bonuses

F041-M15012823294344c6ecb5a0ef7f Better Teachers Andywonk:  There are probably better ways to spend $10,000 to attract and keep one [NBCT] teacher in a high-poverty school... Teachers Aren't the Enemy Pedro Noguera, Michelle Fine:  We can begin to feel the rumble of solidarity, with parents, teachers, labor and youth taking back what is rightfully theirs—public schools and democratic public education... Trouble With Celebrity Philanthropy Dana Goldstein:  I hope this sordid tale serves as a reminder that the media ought to be far more skeptical and hard-headed about evaluating philanthropic claims, both domestic and international... A teacher inside struggling KIPP school reports improvements GothamSchools:  Of the four KIPP schools that have been open long enough to get progress reports, KIPP AMP’s C grade put it at the bottom last year... Finding Out About Fired Teachers Almost as Hard as Firing Them EIA:  It took almost six months and $170 just to find out how many teachers had been fired. Little wonder the actual practice is so rare... I Too Have Fond Memories of My Time at Princeton Review Tom Hoffman: I can’t believe I’m teaching this stuff to little kids. This is the world we have bequeathed our children?... Friend Watches Student's Murder via Webcam Daily Beast:  A 23-year-old York University student, a Beijing native, was killed in Toronto, while speaking to her friend in China by webcam...  Yawning in Colorado Checker Finn:  The Centennial State yesterday named a thoroughly lackluster pair for the key role of education commissioner...

Thompson: Early Intervention Pays Off, Lacks Funding

KidscountWhat if we had funded a twelve-year No Child Left Off The Graduation Stage law, and now 89% of poor children of color were graduating from high school? Donald Hernandez' "Double Jeopardy," funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, shows that that could have been the outcome of intensive interverventions to ensure that every third grader is proficient in reading.  He also cites the huge benefits of addressing early absenteeism and "summer loss" in reading for poor children.  If we conducted rigorous cost benefit analyses of educational policies, would it not have made sense to launch programs that give the biggest bang for the buck, as well as minimizing the destructive effects of turning our schools into political battlegrounds? What would have been the downside in a reform that yielded $8.24 dollars for every dollar invested?- JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.

Bullying: Suicide Pacts & Celebrity Dropouts

ScreenHunter_18 Apr. 22 12.37 ‘We should have paid closer attention’ TODAY:  Haylee Fentress, a bubbly redhead, or her best friend, Paige Moravetz, a hockey goalie with an infectious smile,  hanged themselves in what family members and authorities believe was a suicide pact... 1 in 4 report bullying at Mass. schools Boston Globe:  One-fourth of MA middle-schoolers and 16 percent of high school students report enduring bullying at school, according to a federal report released that puts the state at the center of the national discussion over the issue... Did bullying drive Emma Watson out of Brown University? Gawker:  Last month Watson, 21, announced she was putting her studies at the Providence, Rhode Island institution on hold.

Video Interlude: Watch a Baby Penguin Get Tickled

Go ahead. You know you want to. We won't tell. (via Crushable)

Politics: Redistricting, Campaign Finance, & Collective Bargaining

image from images.politico.comFirst the debate over education reform turned into the "war on teachers" and then morphed into a debate over collective bargaining for teachers, whose contracts set many of the basic rules under which teachers are hired evaluated and dismissed. This evolution may not have been the conscious intention of those like Michelle Rhee who began the focus on teacher effectiveness -- indeed Andrew Rice's recent New York profile of Rhee suggests that she may not be entirely clear on the dynamics of the world she's entered -- and may not even have been caused by reformers like Rhee (as Richard Kahlenberg recently suggested).  But the cat is out of the bag now (Ind. gov OKs teacher collective bargaining limits AP) and union forces are ramping up to defend their interests (New labor plans Politico).  There's little that Obama can really do to tamp down a debate that's turned into partisan politics in many places (Duncan Calls for Collaboration With Teachers WNYC).  And, ultimately, the debate over collective bargaining may not be a bad thing, in that it forces everyone to take a moment and think about allegiances (with a political party, a group of employees, a classroom of students), and to understand the girders and beams that lie within the education system rather than focusing on external features as we do so often.  For a while now, as with redistricting and campaign finance, we'll be focusing on the insides of the machine. 

Video Interlude: Starburst Prom Dress Took Six Years To Make

Via Wonkbook and everyone else.

AM News: All Eyes On New Jersey

image from webmedia.newseum.org Duncan visits NJ, says minority teachers needed AP:  U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan made several stops in New Jersey on Wednesday, pushing a program aimed at recruiting more teachers to work in urban and rural areas... Newark schools superintendent search narrowed to 2 candidates, sources say:  Former Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and a New York City schools superintendent, Cami Anderson, are the two finalists (via GothamSchools)... Alabama city to try full day of school online AP:  Teachers at Mountain Brook, Ala., schools are getting ready for the system's first e-day, which will allow students to receive instruction and ... Budget Cuts Lead Some AP Students to Enroll Online WSJ:  While only about 0.5% of AP classes are currently taken online, virtual courses are becoming available through online schools in 27 states, state programs that allow students to sign up for individual online courses in 32 states, or charter schools....More U.S. Students Learning Chinese As School Language Programs Expand Reuters:  There are at least 50 Chinese-language immersion programs at U.S. schools for children in grades 12 and below, compared to about a dozen six years ago...  Husband-wife teachers face teen sex charges Friday Orange County Register:  Both are charged with sexually assaulting the minor over a period of several months after they groomed him by plying him with alcohol and entertaining him in their Huntington Beach home... High school secretary-turned porn star, outed by student, fired by school:  A Canadian high school secretary says she was fired when a student outed her as a porn star after she refused to perform a sex act in exchange for his silence... Student fakes pregnancy as social test about stereotypes, rumors Yakima Herald Republic:  For the past 61/2 months -- the bulk of her senior year at Toppenish High School -- the 17-year-old A-student faked her own pregnancy as part of a social experiment.  

Best Blogs: Fallout From "Three Cups Of Tea" Fiasco?

Lockers Columbine Anniversary Bomb Plot? Atlantic Wire:  Investigators are looking into whether a pipe bomb that was discovered in a Littleton, Colo. mall was connected to the 12th anniversary of the shooting rampage at nearby Columbine High School...  Three Cups of Bitter Tea Huffington Post:  In the wake of allegations that "Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson lied about his story, his charity's operations, and the misuse of donations -- coupled with Madonna's school in Malawi being nixed after $3.6 million was spent -- I feel small nonprofits like my own will suffer the most... Hand Sanitizers Will Not Save You From the Coming Plague Gawker:  The Food and Drug Administration has issued a caveat today, reminding consumers that any hand sanitizer or antiseptic product claiming to be effective against antibiotic-resistant infection is telling you a Bald. Faced. Lie... 

PLUS:  Eli Broad scheduled for a 60 Minutes profile on Sunday.

Cartoon: Sometimes Adults Twitter More Than Kids

Liza Donnelly

"Mom -- the rule is, no tweeting in the sandbox.!" via Salon

Thompson: You Broke It, You Bought It

Plate spinningWhen I started teaching I was appalled by the conventional wisdom that the job of educators was to "keep the plate spinning" until the end of the school year.  Two pieces in the Huffington Post, a reported story by Simone Landon and a column by Richard Whitmire explain how "reformers" have bit off more than they can chew.  Although schools are awash in billions of dollars for "innovation," draconian budget cuts threaten to bring their educational plates crashing to the ground.  The data-driven crowd, as well as the Far Right, bought the financial rationale for undercutting collective bargaining contracts, as they rammed through expensive and experimental "reforms."  They have made great strides in closing schools, damaging unions, and getting rid of teachers, but who is going to keep the plate spinning?  Demoralized veterans, rookies, and untested charters. To paraphrase Whitmire, the accountability hawks cheered as plates broke, and now they have bought them.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.  

Quote: "Yeah, Just Leave Them Alone" (About Reading)

ScreenHunter_11 Apr. 20 14.28

 "A lot of us couldn't read, but those of us who really sucked at it we weren't made fun of.  It was more or less, like, yeah, just leave them alone about that issue."   - Jerone (upper left) in a segment from a short TEACHED documentary called The Path to Prison.


Common Core: Denver, Baltimore, Hillsborough To Pilot Standards

Backpain-1292835351#exclusive? This morning's news included a story from Florida (Common U.S. school standards debut in Hillsborough first) mentioning 15 districts who'd be first to pilot the Common Core.  Nothing's listed on the Common Core website (you should update that thing, folks!) and the folks at USDE are sleepy this morning but @tjsarah pointed me to the Urban District Leadership Network page that lists the following LEAs:  Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Denver, District of Columbia, Hillsborough County FL, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Prince George’s County, Rochester, and Seattle. Then -- the drama unfolds -- a helpful person at Aspen let me know that the standards will be piloted in three districts (Hillsborough, Baltimore, and Denver) first, then rolled out to the rest of the network and then.... world domination.  Not on the UDLN website but apparently also involved are Washington DC public schools and the Achievement First charter network.

NCLB: Kress & Petrilli Clash Over Impact Of Subgroups

ScreenHunter_16 Apr. 21 08.26 On Tuesday, Fordham's Mike Petrilli (right) posted a blog entry titled Fact-checking Sandy Kress which took issue with Kress's claims that the Obama (and Fordham) idea of backing off subgroup accountability for all but the worst-performing schools is a very bad idea.  (In fact, according to Petrilli, subgroup gains petered out relatively early in the 2000's -- not long before Petrilli switched sides on NCLB and declared he was against it.)  Kress (left) responded with the email below, in which he reiterates his claim that disabled and bilingual kids did better under NCLB than in the past and that subgroup accountability should be retained for everyone as it currently is in NCLB.    There's also a Hechinger Report interview with Kress here.

Continue reading "NCLB: Kress & Petrilli Clash Over Impact Of Subgroups" »

Magazines: Javanese School Teasing Shaped Obama Demeanor

"Westerners sent their children to the Jakarta International School, but it was expensive and difficult to get into. Obama attended two Indonesian schools, one Catholic and one Muslim. The experience cannot have failed to have left a mark. The Java­nese, especially the Central Javanese, place an enormous emphasis on self-control. Even to sneeze was to exhibit an untoward lack of self-control..." (NYT Sunday Magazine via The Atlantic)

AM News: NJ Gov. Declares Enthusiasm For Obama Efforts

image from webmedia.newseum.org Christie 'wholeheartedly' agrees with president's education reform efforts NJ News:  The Republican governor emerged to describe himself as an ally of Democratic President Obama when it comes to education reform.... Chicago schools appointee from NY promises fixes WSJ:  On Wednesday, Emanuel defended picking Brizard because improvements are needed in graduation rates, test scores and the district's finances... Chicago's new school chief leaves his old district mired in questions Chicago Tribune:  A Tribune analysis of state and district records shows that even the accomplishments Brizard has heralded in his short time in Rochester are not what they seem... Common U.S. school standards debut in Hillsborough first TBO:  Hillsborough is one of 15 school districts across the country participating in a pilot program to implement the new benchmarks, a process that will involve retraining teachers and creating new tests... Robbed Of Their Rights? Mich. Teachers Who Strike Could Lose License HuffPost:  If new state legislation passes, teachers participating in illegal strikes could have their licenses revoked for two years -- or permanently in some cases... Ala. GOP senators push through tenure revisions AP:  Republicans in the state Senate Education Committee have pushed through legislation to rewrite Alabama's tenure law... School district lags on criminal checks Boston Globe:  Hundreds of state-mandated criminal background checks of teachers that came due for processing in January 2010 were never run in the Brockton public school district... Demand for Educational Resources for Children Outstrips Supply PBS:  For public school systems, the demand for special educational and treatment resources for children with autism often outpaces what is available... The Far-Reaching Teachings Of Russlynn Ali NPR:  Russlynn Ali, the Education Department's top civil rights official, works to ensure the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws related to education... 



Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.