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Charts: Where All The Female Education Writers At?

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Only about a third of the things written online about education are written by women, according to The Byline Project (Who Narrates the World?). That's a better balance than on national politics or security, but still pretty sad.  It's even worse in the legacy category, of course.  

Five Best Blogs: More Than 25 Percent Of Teachers Are Republican?

Icedcoffee (1)Matt Miller essentially calls for a national TFA recruitment program (for career tchrs obv) ow.ly/bgXWh

New @Edsector report say CA school rating system is too easy and lacks demographic controls ow.ly/1N2id1

New info on restructuring schools: 76% extended day/yr but 59% upped teacher $, 41% gave more PD bit.ly/L9oWMp  @NCTQ

The Odyssey Project -- three young teachers off to visit the best schools in America - Kickstarter here ow.ly/bhrn3

Try parent visits, not parent takeovers of schools - Class Struggle ow.ly/bgO2A Missouri home visit program. 

"There are 1M registered Repubs who teach... and they are listening."  blogs.edweek.org/edweek/john_wi… via @mdawriter

This year's Think Tank Bunkum Awards from NEPC ow.ly/bgSXN * who won? who shld have won?


Commencement 2012: Dismal Roundup Of Education Speakers

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There are 1,400 ed schools and tens of thousands more colleges and universities in America and yet there are surprisingly few education types asked to be commencement speakers this year. 

An informal roundup of commencement speeches by education types includes Arne Duncan earlier this month at Howard in May, EPI's Richard Rothstein at Loyola Chicago, HCZ's Geoff Canada at Penn (pictured), and "Won't Back Down" actress Viola Davis at her alma mater, Central Falls High School.  Perhaps the busiest this season has been NYU's Pedro Noguera who's speaking at the commencement for Metropolitan College of NY and "four high schools; one middle school and one elementary school."  Weingarten and Spellings report that they're attending but not speaking at events this year. No response from Ravitch. Wendy Kopp is speaking at Dartmouth in a couple of weeks. 

There are probably a few more -- please let me know -- but the ho-hum slate above suggests to me that education folks of all stripes might need to take stock of how well they've done at capturing  the popular imagination and what if anything they might need to do to generate stronger, more broad-based appeal.  As I've said before to both sides:  you think you're winning but you're really not. 

Quotes: "Reassurance.... That Something Good Is Happening"

Quotes2I think people need reassurance that their tax dollars aren't getting wasted, that something good is happening [at school] that can be measured.  -- Rebecca Mieliwocki, 2012 National Teacher of the Year, via the LA Times

AM News: Democrats Battle Each Other In LA

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Eric Bauman v. Gloria Romero in Assembly District 46 LA Weekly: An obscure California state Assembly race in the San Fernando Valley has become a proxy war over which wing of the Democratic Party controls school reform in America.

Many cool on making teacher ratings public USA Today:  Speaking to Education Week, a trade publication, [Duncan] credited the Times with shining a light on the data, but asked, "Do you need to publish every single teacher's rating in the paper? I don't think you do."

Greater Preschool Access Crucial To State Future AP via HuffPost: Inadequate preschooling is causing Michigan students to fall behind early, making it harder to develop the talented workforce needed for the state to be competitive, business leaders said Wednesday.

Can You Really Teach A Kid To Become Bullyproof? AP via HuffPost: Books, videos and websites promise to show parents how to protect their kids from being bullied; school districts are buying curricula with names like "Bully-Proofing Your School," a well-regarded program used in thousands of classrooms. 

Summer “brain drain” worse for poor kids CNN: Some call it ‘the summer slide.’ Some call it ‘the summer brain drain.’ But whatever you call it, summer learning loss is a real phenomenon that has plagued students since summer vacations began.

Texas school district to track kids with chips CNN: Does tracking school children with computer chips make them more safe - or more vulnerable?


Continue reading "AM News: Democrats Battle Each Other In LA" »

TV: Bruce Jenner, Dyslexic Reality TV Dad

image from www.esquire.com



He may play the fool on the TV reality show "Keeping Up With The Kardashians," but 62 year old Bruce Jenner is really just trying to make up for his years as a selfish, extremely competitive athlete and what sounds like a difficult childhood shaped by dyslexia.  In the current issue of Esquire.

Five Best Blogs: Mitt Romney's "Better Amercia"

image from sphotos.xx.fbcdn.netStarting an Ed School » Blog Archive » Tutoring Doesn’t Work?http://ow.ly/bfD0n 

Tina Fey protests cuts in her old school district - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post http://ow.ly/bfCXE 

How much will the Common Core cost? http://ow.ly/bfCEN

Salon's @davidsirota lumps Obama and Romney together in "Selling out public schools" http://ow.ly/bfvuJ 

Pros and cons of Romney education rollout from black parents' perspective DeWayne Wickham via Atlantic Wire http://ow.ly/bes2e

The 6-Year-Old Who Qualified For The National Spelling Bee Might Be An Alien http://ow.ly/bfG9R

Quotes: "If There's A School System Or Not"

Quotes2If they're educating kids, why do I give a damn if there's a school system or not? I mean, it's the results. -- Former Clinton campaign strategist James Carville, about New Orleans, in the trailer for "The Experiment"

Charts: Pay No Attention To The Nation's Child Poverty Rate

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That long dark blue line second from the bottom is the USA, one of just two advanced industrial nations with a child poverty rate above 20 percent.  Via ILoveCharts

Thompson: One Teacher's Year-End SIG Exhaustion

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comOklahoma Centennial High School's Lynn Green embodies the essential quality for relating to teenagers - honesty.  Mr. Green's humor also is legendary.  Even as students grown at his puns, they praise his dedication. In "I Hit the Wall," Green candidly explains that near the end of the year at a school undergoing transformation, he was "emotionally and physically tapped out.  ...  So I took a Sick Leave day and stayed home."  He slept 12 hours straight, ate a bowl of cereal and then went back to sleep. Mr. Green sat in his reading chair and read for 4 hours.  But, he then went to the library for the student chess club that he sponsors.  After reading some more, the veteran teacher readied himself for rekindling his students' energy and taking advantage of the few remaining class periods.   His post-test lessons sound like they were great.- JT (@drjohnthompson) image via. 

Think Tanks: Hijacking The Education Sector*

145000-tomtom-medium_originalSomewhat lost in last week's news about John Chubb withdrawing from the Romney advisory team (here) was the news that EdSector's higher ed team was leaving for New America. Kevin Carey et al will be formally announced sometime this week.  No word yet on whether they'll be taking The Quick And The Ed with them (unlikely, given that Chubb has already started posting on the think tank's group blog).

Think tanks evolve over time, and are shaped by their boards and leaders, but I can't think of another example where a think tank has been transformed so quickly in such a short period of time. Former US News education reporter Tom Toch and moderate Democrat Andy Rotherham co-founded the quasi-journalistic think tank not so long ago, and another journalist, former LA Times writer R.L. Colvin, succeeded them.  Now Macke Raymond and John Chubb are in control.   Sort of amazing.  

Not that there are enough right-leaning education think tanks out there, compared to the masses of left-leaning ones. But I'd have never thought that the right would build its forces this way, or that the messy departures of Rotherham and Toch would allow the board to move so far to the right. Then again, why build a new think tank when you can hijack an existing one?

*UPDATED:  Just in time, New America sent out the announcement below.

Continue reading "Think Tanks: Hijacking The Education Sector*" »

Media: HotSeat Interview With NYT Education Reporter Motoko Rich

image from l2.yimg.comThe NYT's new national education reporter Motoko Rich speaks quickly but clearly, has a friendly, curious demeanor  – straightforward but not rude or gruff.  She’s been at the journalism game long enough to have done with the affectations many journalists take on.  And her excitement about the new beat seems sincere, which is great for all of us who watch or participate in K-12 education.  One example:  At the end of our brief phone interview she asked me didn't I want to know her favorite teachers -- and proceeded to name four.

That being said, she’s obviously not a softie and has some high ambitions for what she’s going to do with her new beat. She’s already getting tons of pitches but doesn’t want to give too much guidance because good story ideas come from the strangest places. The NYT announcement email (also below) notes that she's known internally for being relentless in getting straight answers from sources.   She’s on the lookout for great teacher and classroom voices (aren’t we all). 

Like any reporter new to the beat, she's everyone's new best friend -- until she writes about you.  Or at least, that's the hope.  Crossed fingers for lots of fair but incredibly skeptical front-page education stories from the Times in the weeks and months ahead.  

Continue reading "Media: HotSeat Interview With NYT Education Reporter Motoko Rich" »

AM News: NCLB Waivers For More States

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Eight More States Get Waiver From ‘No Child’ Law NYT: The move brought to 19 the number of states granted waivers this year, and Arne Duncan, the education secretary, said that more states would soon qualify for them. ALSO Eight More States Get ESEA Waivers Politics K12, Eight More States Get Education-Law Waiver WSJ, NEWS: Feds grant NY a waiver to swap new promises for NCLB rules GothamSchools, 8 States Get Waiver From 'No Child Left Behind' HuffPost Eight states get waiver from No Child Left Behind USAT

Duncan Seeks Advice: How To Have More Teachers 'Clamouring' For Low-Performing Schools? New Haven Independent via HuffPost: As Obama's top school official came to a city turnaround school Tuesday, he popped a question: How do we get more Tamara Raifords "clamoring" to teach in low-performing schools?

Sex Ed Seeks To Fight America's Worst Teen Pregnancy Rate AP via HuffPost: With her hair in a ponytail and her smile quick and wide, it's hard to tell that high school junior Donyell Hollins has been pulling all-nighters for most of the semester to take care of her infant daughter.

Common-Core Architect Helped Launch Rhee Advocacy Group Teacher Beat: One of the key architects of the Common Core State Standards, David Coleman, is listed as a director on the board of StudentsFirst, the advocacy group begun by former D.C. schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee.

Small Change In Reading To Preschoolers Can Help Disadvantaged Kids Catch Up NPR: Researchers say that changing what 4-year-olds see and think about when a book is being read can improve kids' reading skills later on. The key: Focus their attention on the words instead of the pictures.


Continue reading "AM News: NCLB Waivers For More States" »

Quotes: "We Have So Much Time"

Quotes2We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time...We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.  - Marina Keegan, Yale 2012, who was killed in an auto accident over the Memorial Day weekend.

Five Best Blogs: Peevish Hot Tuesday After A Long Weekend

120604_cartoon_062_a16036_p465More than half of US charters are authorized by local school districts, reminds @ThompsonEdu via @Nacsa ow.ly/be2u3

When big data is bad data : CJR ow.ly/be2jQColumbia j-school prof. LynNell Hancock on publishing value-added 

Is the Word 'Innovation' Bad for Education?bit.ly/KD2vzW @jtomassini channels @DanaGoldstein

MT@mikephillips1: @m_rhee #s are right: $286B of $563B (51%) goes to classroom, per @usedgov F-33 survey 

From Jay Mathews: Why Romney, Obama are education twins: Poor Mitt Romney. He appoints a splendid group of educa... wapo.st/Kv4pTe

Books: "Sticks And Stones" Headed Our Way In February

image from opinionhub.files.wordpress.comA new book about rise in concerns about -- and responses to -- cyberbullying is heading our way this winter, via Slate's Emily Bazelon.  It's called Sticks and Stones: The New Problem of Bullying and How to Solve It.  Her latest article on the topic, about the dismissal of the case against Murray County High School in the documentary "Bully," is here.  You can sign up for publication updates at Bazelon's site here.  Or if you want to know what the various state laws are against cyberbullying, check cyberbullying.us (via Bazelon) If you're in the mood to read a long, harrowing account of being bullied check out "My bully, my best friend" in Salon here.  Image via

Campaign 2012: California Union Upset Over Obama Hire

Tumblr_lw3s1u9ZBy1ql5urmo1_500You may recall from Stephanie Simon's Reuters story last week that the Obama campaign's hiring of former Parent Revolution press person Linda Serrato was a bit upsetting to some union folks in California.  Serrato left in April and things haven't been the same since, according to California Federation of Teachers Secretary Treasurer Jeff Freitas:

"We have endorsed President Obama for reelection, but it will be very hard to generate enthusiasm and the campaign would be clearly insensitive to the concerns of teachers/ educators if they send her out....  Therefore, if Linda or other anti-union advocates are here in California, we may not be able to participate in the same fight."

Righteous anger, or thinly veiled threat?  You be the judge.  The full text of the email is below, courtesy of Simon (who got it from Freitas).  Meantime, KPCC's Tami Abdollah reports that only one of the several teacher dismissal bills introduced in the California state legislature this year remains alive.  So it's not like the CFT has lost all its clout. PS:  Simon has joined Twitter: @SSimonReuters.

Continue reading "Campaign 2012: California Union Upset Over Obama Hire" »

Video: Rhee Tries To Calm The Waters


She and other reformers are being vilified says Rhee in this Gavin Newsom segment, and she doesn't believe that the teachers unions are particularly the problem blocking better schools.  But she also claims that only about half of the money spent on education is going to the classroom, which may not be accurate and is a familiar Republican attack from the 1990s.  

AM News: Back From A Long Hot Weekend

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Hard Lessons Follow Rocky Start For Chicago Teacher NPR: Tyrese Graham is a second-year science teacher at John Marshall Metropolitan High School on the West Side of Chicago. When he started teaching, Marshall was among the worst public schools in the city.

Jackson, Miss., schools to no longer handcuff students USA Today:  Public schools in Jackson, Miss., will no longer handcuff students and will train staff on better methods of discipline.

NYC teachers bouncing off the walls in mini-rubber rooms all over the city NY Post: The “rubber rooms” have bounced back. They’re just smaller and scattered now.

Why Indian Americans Reign As Spelling Bee Champs NPR: Indian-Americans make up less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, but they've won the last four National Spelling Bees and nine of the last 13. How has this tiny community become a spelling dynasty, and why are they so driven to win?

Continue reading "AM News: Back From A Long Hot Weekend" »

Five Best Blogs: "Touch It, Dude!" Said President Obama

image from graphics8.nytimes.comAll this and more at #5BB:

You're all cheating, and it's all NCLB's fault, according to this overheated Salon article ow.ly/b9TtK

Surprising — At Least To Me — NY Times Interview With Bill Gates On Education @Larryferlazzo ow.ly/b9VUr 

Let's Stop Comparing Education to the Civil Rights Movement - Education - GOOD ow.ly/b9VqX@LizDwyer Yes, let's. Please

Obama’s Education Hypocrisy — Again - Mona Charen - National Review Online ow.ly/b9UIt

Could We Depoliticize School Choice? : Education Next ow.ly/b9VcY

Are charter schools bad at special ed? - Class Struggle - The Washington Post ow.ly/b9V9v

Indelible Image NYT: “Touch it, dude!” Mr. Obama said.

Update: Chubb Withdraws, Higher Ed Team Departs

OB-TB638_romney_G_20120523135009Per the previous post: Chubb is withdrawing from his role on the Romney advisory team (see full statement below), citing a desire not to "formally or informally, in our professional capacity... be linked to any party or candidate."

At roughly the same time, though not directly connected to the Romney issue, the higher education team at EdSector is going to be moving over to New America, with a formal announcement next week.

Continue reading "Update: Chubb Withdraws, Higher Ed Team Departs" »

Think Tanks: When The Exec. Director Joins A Political Campaign

For me the big news of Romney's advisory team lineup wasn't the absence (or removal) of Margaret Spellings but rather the presence of John Chubb, who is also the newish interim ED at Education Sector.  How's that going to work?  It's not exactly clear. 

Leave-it-to-beaver-350x196Though they often help out behind the scenes, think tank EDs usually avoid taking on official partisan duties like this -- or at least take leaves of absence (as Jon Schnur did during the 2008 campaign).  Among other reasons, this is usually to preserve the veneer of independence and to ensure that funders and other candidates don't get mad at them.  Others may remember better, I can't think of another education think tank ED -- Jennings, Haycock, Finn -- who's taken on such a role, at least not officially. (That's one of the reasons the Romney announcement notes "Company/organization names are provided for identification purposes only.")  

Independence and credibility is especially an issue for Education Sector, which was founded as a quasi-journalistic think tank whose independence was a top priority.  Two of its first three heads -- Tom Toch and Richard Colvin -- were journalists rather than political types.

Anyway, I've asked EdSector whether the board knew about and approved of Chubb's joining the Romney team and am curious what happens next. So far it doesn't seem to have been much of an issue.  Chubb blogged about the Romney plan on the EdSector here, disclosing his dual roles. But I can imagine a lot of discussion internally, and some hand-wringing among the other analysts (Carey, Silva, etc.).  Some of them may have already been fed up by the Rotherham-Toch-Colvin churn.  On the other hand, the move could help EdSector attract funding and attention.

Update: Pro-Voucher Mayors, Current And Former

Images-37Support for private school vouchers (usually with conditions) isn't as unusual as you may think.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker reminded us last week before imploding over private capital that he's one of the small but growing number of Democratic leaders who's pro-voucher in one way or another.

According to Friedman Foundation folks, Antonio Villaraigosa (LA), John Hinkenlooper  (Denver), Greg Stanton  (Phoenix).  Others?  Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel.   

Former electeds include Anthony Williams, Adrien Fenty, Bill Finch, John Nordquist, Rudy Giuliani, Kurt Schmoke, Norm Coleman, and Andrew Young.


Photos: A Circular Discussion About New Orleans

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There's a funny and sad impression given off by the way these two photos appeared together in an email sent out by Whitney Tilson from Monday night's screening of The Experiment-- a circle of mostly white college-educated 30+ men talking to each other about how they're saving New Orleans. Then again, the PAA or SOS version of the same meeting would likely be full of college-educated white women, which would be just as annoying (and just as unlikely to produce better results, btw). 

Video: Andrea Mitchell On Romney's Education Record In MA

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Books: Charlie Rose Finally Has Diane Ravitch

ScreenHunter_16 May. 25 08.53With a long apology for not having her on the show earlier -- and a funny moment at the end when he checked in to make sure he'd done ok with his notoriously prickly guest -- Charlie Rose hosted Diane Ravitch on a show that was aired Wednesday.  

There's no embed but you can watch it here. It's a nice update and acknowledgement for Ravitch's supporters and sympathizers, and a good reminder of the other side's arguments for reformers who probably haven't seen Ravitch in action for a while.  

AM News: Mixed Views On Romney Education Rollout

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Campaign Flashback: Romney Praised Obama on Choice, Merit Pay Politics K12: During his education speech yesterday, Gov. Mitt Romney hit President Barack Obama really hard for being in the pocket of the teachers' unions. 

Romney off on Obama's Love for Unions AP:  Here are some of Romney's statements on education, and how they line up with the facts:

Romney Faces Tough Questions From Black Leaders AP via HuffPost: Mitt Romney struggled to find support for his education proposals while campaigning at an inner-city school Thursday, one day after declaring education the "civil rights issue of our era."

Romney discusses education policy and class size in Philadelphia LAT: At an inner-city school, he defends his claim that small classes don't necessarily improve student performance. 

Does Tough Love Work With Third Graders? NPR: Some Indiana third graders are already planning for summer school. They're preparing to retake a new statewide test, which they'll need to pass to go on to 4th grade. 

NCATE Accredits First 'Nontraditional' Program Teacher Beat: In a first, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education has given its blessing to a non-higher-education-based preparation program, the Denton, Texas-based iTeachU.S.

School Districts Cut More Nurses WSJ: The battle for shrinking school-budget resources has a new front: the nurse's office.


Continue reading "AM News: Mixed Views On Romney Education Rollout" »

Five Best Blogs: Urban League Pushes Back On Tutoring

21amfxwIn Florida, tutoring works - MiamiHerald.comow.ly/b7ExZ Urban League disappointed in Duncan

Seriously, Teachers, You’re Being WAY Too Difficult | Mr. Teachbad ow.ly/b8eVP

Slate Advice: Should you tell your sister-in-law, a middle school teacher, that her tweeting is inappropriate? ow.ly/b8fbc

The return of Skinner-style behavior modification programs [in smartphone apps and charter schools]ow.ly/b86F5

Dumb Kids’ Class: The benefits of being underestimated by the nuns at St. Petronille’sow.ly/b86sV 

Indelible Image of Boy’s Pat on Obama’s Head -NYTimes.com ow.ly/b8eeG

Pop Culture: "Be A Smarter Person," Says Bieber

Bieber says
From the new GQ profile, Man Up, Bieber 

Thompson: Support Obama Anyway, Boomer Teachers

Romney-Bain-CapitalThe question posed by Rick Hess in "How Romney Should Grade Obama on Education has an obvious answer: Romney should give Obama an A+.

The Obama education policy embodies the Bain Capital model of "churn." It has encouraged the mass dismissals of teachers as a part of a risky turnaround strategy where any amount of suffering by the majority is justified if a few innovations pay off.  

In fact, President Obama praised the mass firing of teachers. The administration's School Improvement Grants have provided a fig leaf for driving Baby Boomers out of the profession to reduce salaries and benefits.   Obama has created incentives for the privatization of public education and a fee for (so-called) student performance value system. 

The fact that Romney still attacked the Obama education record in his Wednesday speech reminds us that Romney's agenda goes even further down the corporate line.  That's why educators must support Obama's reelection despite our displeasure and misgivings.  We cannot risk a Romney presidency where the destructive policies that President Obama has imposed on schools is extended to the entire nation's economy. - JT (@drjohnthompson) image via.

Campaign 2012: Romney's Education Speech

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Also see a long list of print stories below.

Continue reading "Campaign 2012: Romney's Education Speech" »

AM News: Teacher Protests In Philly & Chicago

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Several thousand protest Philly school cuts, 14 arrested Inquirer: Several thousand blue collar union members marched through Center City today, snarling traffic in a protest against planned cuts and layoffs by the Philadelphia School District.

Pennsylvania school workers protest layoff notices CNN:  Protesters marched in at least two major cities in Pennsylvania on Wednesday in response to proposed state budget cuts intended to close gaps in public school funding.

CPS teachers fill union rally with anger toward mayor Chicago Tribune: Mayor Rahm Emanuel bore the brunt of criticism from angry teachers who filled the Auditorium Theatre on Wednesday to make clear their unhappiness with the administration's efforts to overhaul public education in Chicago.

CTU shows strength at rally Catalyst:  Weingarten said that she had just come from a conference on labor-management collaboration an hour away where 100 districts were represented. “But here in the second city of America, we have to rally to even be heard,” she said. “I will come back every time you need me.”

Continue reading "AM News: Teacher Protests In Philly & Chicago" »

Media: HuffPost's "Wily" Joy Resmovits*

image from m4.licdn.com

It hasn't been that long since she (and the Education Page) have been on the scene but it's hard to remember life before Joy Resmovits, who joined Huffington Post as their main K12 education reporter on April 2011, according to her LinkedIn.  

She's had a few scoops and avoided making any horrible mistakes (that I know of).  She doesn't feel the need to put herself into the story or go out beyond the edge of her reporting (which I appreciate).

But don't be fooled by the smile and seeming shyness, or distracted by the stupid HuffPost logo and all the commentary and aggregation that makes up the rest of the page. The 2010 Barnard grad will Gchat you into submission, slip questions into casual conversation so smoothly and quickly you don't realize you're being worked.  

"She's wily," noted a DC communications person admiringly.  

Indeed.  See her stories here.  See her Twitter here.  

*CORRECTED:  It's wily, not wiley.  Wiley is my publisher.  

Five Best Blogs: Romney Day

Oops. Romney edu plan refers to NEA as "National Education Alliance" instead of Association. Another tip from Fritz.

Randi Weingarten talks up labor-management cooperation and wraparound services in Cincy public schools MSNBC http://ow.ly/b6FsV 

NYT shouldn't be "hostile" to tax credit scholarships, say Checker and @aemerson http://ow.ly/b6Gse

On Friday, WA state chapter of @Stand4Children endorsed a Republican candidate for governor via EdWeek http://ow.ly/b6EOt

Another Chicago charter school - Youth Connection Charter School -- goes union ow.ly/b6Dvf

Todd Farley on the Florida scores:  "There was no statistic that couldn't be doctored... no figure that couldn't be bent to our collective will."ow.ly/b6CtW

Larry Strass:  "Experienced, proven, successful teachers should be collaboratively in charge of the schools at which they teach." " ow.ly/b6CjZ 

More #5bb here.

Video: Jindal Struggles To Differentiate Romney Education Plan

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Chuck Todd: "The only difference I see [between the Romney and Obama agendas] is basically this issue of charter schools vs. parochial schools."

Quotes: DC Superintendent Against Published Ratings

image from www.scholastic.com

"Our professional responsibility to our employees is developmental in nature and is not about putting a label on who they are at one moment in time." 

-- Kaya Henderson on VAM, Rocketship, cheating, and being superintendent in the new Scholastic Administrator

Labor: Chicago Teachers Maneuver To Beat SB7

ScreenHunter_09 May. 23 10.44Apologies for another Chicago blog post but it's worth noting that the teachers union there may have found a way around the supposedly supposedly insurmountable 75 percent strike threshold that was included in last year's SB7 reform. The solution is to open the strike vote early -- next month, before school ends -- so as to get the support of veteran and even retiring teachers, and also to keep the vote open for as long as necessary in order to get the 75 percent of membership that CTU somehow agreed to in SB7. That's union VP Jesse Sharkey at yesterday's press conference.  There's a rally today.  Union president Karen Lewis doesn't get a ton of respect in Chicago but is widely admired among rabble rousers in other cities for taking on the district and the mayor.   The district seems to be somewhat fearful of a strike vote in advance of the conclusion of negotiations, and I'm sure there are all sorts of Democratic operatives who are worried about the possibility of a big-city strike during the end of summer conventions or the weeks leading up to the election.   For more details and links to coverage go here.

Charts: Education's Part Of "Everything Else" In Federal Spending

image from www.npr.org

Sometimes it seems sad how little money is spent on education at the federal level -- in many cases, it's not even enough for education to get its own category.  

That's the case in this chart, via NPR, in which the light green represents the "everything else" category -- which includes education, has gone down over the past 50 years from nearly 15 percent to roughly 12 percent.  

No, I don't really care (or believe) that education is or should be a state and local issue.  

To me, that argument has always seemed quaint and ideological -- powerful, to be sure -- but neither realistic nor defensible.

I'd rather have a more equitable and uniform system than the current insupportable range of excellence and dysfunction.

And you?


Movies: Trailer Hints At How DiCaprio Will Ruin "Gatsby"

Remember what he did to Romeo and Juliet?  Well he's back to do the same to The Great Gatsby. High school English teachers everywhere keen and gnash their teeth.

AM News: Romney Campaign Discovers Educatoin

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Romney Considering Big School Choice Expansion Politics K12: Disadvantaged families and parents of students in special education could choose to spend federal funds at any district or charter public school, tutoring provider, or online course, according to the document circulated over the weekend. ALSO:  Romney Names Education Policy Advisers 

National Labor Conference Focuses Seeks To Improve Teaching Profession AP via HuffPost: Educators including the U.S. secretary of education, teacher union leaders and school administrators will focus this week on ways to transform the teaching profession with such targets as better recruiting, preparation and career development, and evaluations based on effectiveness.

AFT Task Force Eyes Teacher Preparation, Again Teacher Beat: The American Federation of Teachers has convened a task force to make recommendations on how to improve the quality of teacher preparation.

Do ‘zero tolerance’ school discipline policies go too far? TIME/Hechinger Report: The teenage girls knew they were being loud when they belted out Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and the gospel favorite “We Lift Our Hands” during lunch at New Orleans’ Sojourner Truth Academy charter school. But they never expected school officials would slap them with out-of-school suspensions just for singing in the cafeteria.

Are Teachers Prepared To Learn From Standardized Tests? HuffPost: These days, it's not enough for teachers to know how to manage a classroom, impart knowledge and deliver lesson plans.

Are Teachers Prepared To Learn From Standardized Tests? HuffPostEDU: Some teachers agree that their education didn't prepare them for the torrent of information they'd have to analyze. "The college I went to did not prepare us for the push on 'data, data, data,'" says Christine Yarzabek, a first-grade teacher in Hershey, Pennsylvania.


Continue reading "AM News: Romney Campaign Discovers Educatoin" »

Graduation: Ira Glass At Goucher

There haven't been any breakout commencement speeches this spring so far that I know of, but here's Ira Glass's speech at Goucher from over the weekend (his grandmother went there), which isn't bad if not quite viral:

Slate and Longform have combined forces to create a roundup of best speeches of all time (what's a commencement speech if not a long essay?).  My favorite speech in recent memory is Jonathan Franzen's speech at Kenyon last year, which prompted me to write Education Will Break Your Heart.


Five Best Blogs: Romney Names His Education Team

All the best blog posts from around the Internet, posted here and on Twitter at #5bb:

Tumblr_m4e0hqurbC1qa0uujo1_500Familiar names Rod Paige, Nina Rees, Martin West named to Romney K12 team WPost via GTo http://ow.ly/b4PjN #5bb Plus Whitehurst and Chubb!

Early Grade Best Practices Could Provide Important Model for District RTTT http://ow.ly/b54Is @newamerica #5bb

Then and now, the ed establishment decided they'd "rather fight everything than compromise." Patrick McGuinn http://ow.ly/b54wG#5bb

Rotherham on in-district resistance to school boundary changes that limit with integration advocates can do http://ow.ly/b54nO #5bb

The Obama administration is standing firm on some Bush-era decisions like grad rates @thompsonedu http://ow.ly/b53Xe #5bb

Yes, that's a reversible Nike trench coat with the periodic table printed on the silver side. 

Media: The Nation's "Testing Pitfalls" Webchat

The Nation was really pushing this webchat Dana Goldstein and others did last week. Anyone know whether it was well attended and/or informative?

Campaign 2012: Been To The White House Lately?

Have you or your lobbyist been to the White House for a visit or two over the past three years, whether it's to schmooze Roberto or just for a stakeholder briefing of some kind?   Here's a very partial list of who's visited how many times -- note that folks sometimes meet at Starbucks and that not all the visits are tallied for some reason:

image from www.washingtonpost.com682 visitors to Roberto Rodriguez at the White House http://ow.ly/b3SCG

306 visits to Heather Higginbottom http://ow.ly/b4VJX

143 White House visits for USDE's Carmel Martin -- best I've found so far http://ow.ly/b3SAl 

Arne Duncan is listed twice as host http://ow.ly/b4VUo and 32 times over all http://ow.ly/b4W5N (including a handful where he's logged as Arne S. Duncan -- who knew?)

Just 5 visits for Jonathan Schnur http://ow.ly/b3SWi

Just one Feb 2010 visit for LDH http://ow.ly/b3SZO

Update: Keeping The Coalitions And Campaigns Straight

image from www.scholastic.comNot content with letting EdWeek and Education Next be the only ones to write about all the education advocacy going on -- Scholastic Administrator (which sponsors this blog) has a sidebar explainer about the rise of c3s, c4s, PACs, and superPACs:  PACs Go To School.

But not all CANs are alike, I've learned just this morning:  ConnCAN isn't organizationally part of 50CAN, but rather it's own c3.  ConnCAN is also a "coalition," while 50CAN and all the other state CANs are "campaigns."

Want to walk down memory lane?  Read my Spring 2011 interview with 50CAN head Marc Porter Magee, right when things were just launching.

Thompson: What Policy Types Don't Get About Teaching Common Core


Gotham School's Philissa Cramer writes in Polakow-Suransky Tries Out the Teaching He's Been Pushing For about the curious way that the second-in-command of the New York City schools chose to "honor" teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week:  "Of course," wrote Cramer, "he made sure his lesson was aligned with the city’s new curriculum standards, known as the Common Core."  

But Polakow-Suransky did so in an AP class of one male and 17 female students, where he only had to address the class for a total of four minutes. Surely he knew that his stunt would be taken as a not-so-subtle jab at neighborhood school teachers, blaming us for being sages on the stage and not guides on the side.  

I will try to phrase this so that non-teachers will not conclude that we are again being too defensive: For years now, NYC neighborhood school teachers have been pressured to rush through skin-deep instruction in order to jack up test scores. Now, Common Core backers will invest whatever they deem necessary to align to higher standards and assessments, but they will likely ignore what it will take to align their ideals with the actual conditions of inner city classrooms.  

If the policy folks want the new standards to help neighborhood schools, they missed an opportunity.  They should want a district leader to have a glimpse of what it will be like when regular teachers transition to the Common Core pedagogy where kids are supposed to reflect on "authors’ logic and style" and savor their “emotional content.” 

Come to think of it, shouldn't Polakow-Suransky want to experience the reactions of neighborhood school students, who have been raised in an era of teach to the primitive test, when the opposite approach is mandated?- JT (@drjohnthompson) image via.    

Districts: Making Chicago The Next New Orleans

120521_cartoon_041_a16471_p465Last week just before the NATO summit began Chicago Public Schools and Rahm Emanuel announced that the city was applying for as much of the $40 million Gates charter money as it could get, hoping to open 100 new schools in four years and raise its charter percentage from a measly 12 percent to a respectable 25 percent.  Problem is, the proposal sounds a lot like the old Duncan / Daley / Cunningham initiative, Renaissance 2010, which wasn't a massive success, and most of the money is for facilities enhancements and other PRI junk that isn't very sexy.  Plus which, Chicago authorizes its own schools in house, which many operators won't like, and there's not a ton of talent lying around that hasn't already been scarfed up by AUSL, Nobel Street, UNO, and the UofC.  High quality operators would have to import talent or steal folks from other charter operators in order to ramp up quickly and well.  Then there's the whole teachers contract dispute, which could lead to a strike.  The upside is that there's lots of room for charter growth, in terms of parent interest, and a school board and City Hall eager to welcome new charters.  There are some talented folks in Chicago with a long term commitment to making things better.  The reimbursement rate isn't awful.  Chicago's a fun city to live and work in. Read some more about this on District 299: 100 New Schools (60 Charters),  Meet The "PRI".



Events: Education Speakers At This Summer's Aspen Ideas Festival

WhoscomingslideThe lineup for this year's Aspen Ideas Festival is out and you're probably not on it (2012 Aspen Ideas Speakers).  But there are lots of education folks listed, and it looks like things are shaping up for a big focus on the character and resilience issues that were the focus of Paul Tough's NYT Sunday Magazine article last September.  Tough and the folks from Riverdale and KIPP are on the list, and his book is slated to come out in September I'm told.  

Click below for my handpicked list of education folks on included in the speakers' agenda.  Let me know if I've missed someone, or if your tea leaves are better or different than mine.  Is anyone going to cover the thing this year, I wonder?  I sure hope there are some education reporters out there. 

Continue reading "Events: Education Speakers At This Summer's Aspen Ideas Festival" »

AM News: USDE Finally Unveils $400M "District" Race

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U.S. School Districts Can Enter ‘Race to Top’ Competition NYT: School districts will be able to compete for federal grants this year in the national “Race to the Top” competition, the Department of Education announced Tuesday. ALSO Rules on Way for District Race to Top Contest Politics K12, Race To The Top Adds School Districts To U.S. Education Competition HuffPost, Obama Offers School Districts $400 Million to Tailor Classrooms Bloomberg

National conference in Ohio focuses on teachers AP via Boston.com: Educators including the U.S. secretary of education, teacher union leaders and school administrators will focus this week on ways to transform the teaching profession with such targets as better recruiting, preparation and career development, and evaluations based on effectiveness.

Scholarship Funds, Meant for Needy, Benefit Private Schools NYT: A growing number of states are passing laws that allow taxpayer-supported scholarship funds, but they have been twisted to benefit private schools at the expense of the neediest children. 

Kline Asks GAO to Examine Race to Top States' Progress on Teachers Politics K12: Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee is asking the Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm, to look into state's progress in putting in place the teacher and principal portions of their Race to Top applications. 


Continue reading "AM News: USDE Finally Unveils $400M "District" Race " »

Five Best Blogs: Back In The Saddle Again

ScreenHunter_02 May. 21 11.56Back by popular demand, it's Five Best Blogs [Of The Day], your daily roundup of school reform commentary and breaking news:

Duncan to announce district RTTT plans tomorrow -- watch here -- Fritz had this days ago  http://ow.ly/b3c6z

Nick Lemann in the New Yorker: "It’s good that the interest rate on student loans isn’t on the list" [of things Obama & Romney disagree about] http://ow.ly/b33GL

How the California Teachers Association betrayed the schools and crippled the state City Journal Spring 2012 http://ow.ly/b33xe 

Iowa school isn't making excuses for its students despite their lack of immigration status Education Nation http://ow.ly/b3yMc

Democrats' spat over education reform - latimes.com Jim Newton http://ow.ly/b3yVe

You can find Five Best Blogs on Twitter all day at #5bb and each afternoon here. And let me know if you know an under-employed education journalism type who might want to (and be able to) help make this better than ever.  



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.