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Video Interlude: "Beasts Of The Southern Wild"

A film featuring deep Southern poverty that's been to Cannes and Sundance.  Two minute trailer.  

Five Best Blogs: A Million Homeless Students


 Homeless kids reach 1M, 15 states see 20 percent increases, says new report via @HuffPostEdu @Joy_Resmovits ow.ly/bV0Lt 

Educators increasingly familiar with (&liking) Common Core but public still mostly in the dark via @Achievesurvey ow.ly/bV5EW 

Randi Weingarten floats a "bar" exam for teachers at the #aspenideas festival -via The Atlantic and @EdWriters ow.ly/bV7fx 

Whew. Obamacare decision doesn't endanger current or future use of of commerce clause, says @prospect @lemieuxigm ow.ly/bV6AJ 

Sky Gallegos, latest @StudentsFirstHQ hire, might have the best name in school reform ow.ly/bV8B3

Dan Willingham explores the ridicule @valeriestraussand others heaped on the Gates "engagement" bracelets ow.ly/bV6LV 

Nobody Loves Standards (and That’s O.K.) « The Core Knowledge Blog  ow.ly/bV77s @robertpondiscio @5bb From 6/14

Pictures of the USDE-branded basketballs Duncan has on school visits? I simply must see (and share) them.

Thompson: Newark Turnaround Still Lacks Discipline

GloverSara Neufeld's recent "A Newark School Prepares - Again- to Reinvent Itself," in the Hechinger Report  showers well-deserved praise on principal Erskine Glover. Serious disruptions and violence have decreased greatly under his watch. 

But here’s how he describes his 47 8th graders:  Only one or two have significant behavioral issues and most don’t skip school, but only seven are “truly prepared” for high school.  An one scene from Neufeld's story, a dozen middle school boys "trickle into their English class over a 15-minute period, alternately slamming the door behind them and leaving again to use the bathroom. … One boy comes in playfully hitting another; the teacher kicks them out. ..."  

One wonders about the definition of “serious,” in terms of disruption when there is no violence in the room but one student is singing and one “who has been trying to work complains about all the door-slamming. He puts down his pen and goes to talk to a friend working on a computer at the back of the room. The screen shuffles between a grammar assignment (“Which sentence uses correct capitalization?”) and NBA standings.”- JT(@drjohnthompson) image via. 

HotSeat Interview: Citizen Journalist Extraordinaire Seth Lavin

ILstatemapThere are lots of so-called citizen journalists out there these days, toiling away on their own or for Patch or Huffington Post, but few have taken the job as seriously or gotten as far as the Chicago Schools Wonks' Seth Lavin.

In lenghty weekly emails,, Lavin aggregated the news, picked up additional key tidbits, and provided some heartfelt reactions to what was going on during Mayor Emanuel and Jean-Claude Brizard's first tumultuous year.  

It's been fascinating and somewhat disheartening to chronicle his slow loss of enthusaism for reform (In Praise Of Moderately Successful SchoolsLost In ChicagoYoung Reformer Loses Faith, Returns To Teaching).   At times he seemed to be doing a better job at covering Chicago education news than everyone else. 

Alas, it was over too soon.  Lavin recently announced his decision to quit the newsletter business and re-enter the classroom.  ("So how much did you pay Seth to stop publishing?" a friend asked me.)

Under intense email questioning (below), the relentlessly nice- and decent-seeming Lavin tells the story of the long dark night he started his newsletter last spring, how he came up with the impressively awful name, why he made it an email newsletter rather than an online social site, what his goal was and whether he thinks he accomplished it. His dark (private, really) side comes out only here and there when he declines to answer some probing questions (as he's obviously entitled to do). Asking questions is much more fun than answering them -- every journalist knows this.

Continue reading "HotSeat Interview: Citizen Journalist Extraordinaire Seth Lavin" »

Media: Behind The Scenes Of Campaign Season Press Announcement

Cruious about how your education news gets shaped and delivered to you these hazy days of summer? The process isn't quite as convoluted as Congressional sausage-making but it's not straightforward, either. There's lots of schmoozing and advantage-seeking involved, some pecking order stuff, and a certain amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth.


If I've got the story right about today's mini-story on the new NCLB waivers, the White House decides last night to announce another five states getting NCLB waivers -- including Virginia.  (They've got potential items like this lined up from around the various cabinet agencies to keep a flow of good news going in general and on the education front hope to erase the memory of Iowa getting rejected.)

The White House press office takes the lead.  The story gets offered to the AP for a 6 am embargo (see story here) The other national education reporters get left out and have to "follow," which papers hate to do with competitors. That's at least partly why, so far at least, we haven't seen anything from the NYT, WSJ, Washington Post, or USA Today. The other reason being it's not that big a story.  

By 9, EdWeek gets a story up -- just about the same time as the official release comes out -- from the White House. As of 11, there's still no press release from the USDE press office.  

Nefarious?  Not at all?  Unusual?  Not the least (for campaign season).  Important?  Probably not. But still good to know what's going on behind the scenes, why stories appear in some places and not others, etc. And it's probably quite annoying to education reporters and USDE folks who are used to doing things their own way.

Continue reading "Media: Behind The Scenes Of Campaign Season Press Announcement" »

Morning Video: "The Myth Of The Super Teacher"

In this ten-minute video, Roxanna Elden delivers one of EWA12's most popular presentations, talking about first-year teachers and the myths they have about themselves (and we have about them).

Media: Education Stories Win Casey Awards

image from journalismcenter.orgCongrats to the journalists recognized for the Casey award, especially including education-related winners like “Assault on Learning,”The Philadelphia Inquirer, “An Epidemic of Expulsions,” The Center for Public Integrity,and “Getting In,” Boston Globe.

AM News: Five More Waivers Plus Health Care Implications


Five More States Get NCLB Waivers PK12:  Five more states, including Virginia—a state that did not sign onto the Common Core State Standards Initiative—have received wiggle room from the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act. ALSO: George W. Bush Institute Examines NCLB Waivers

Health Care Ruling Has Implications for Education Spending SchoolLaw: The Elementary and Secondary Education Act and other education laws were part of the discussions in the historic case. ALSO: Health Care for Young Adults: What the Supreme Court Decision Means HuffPostEdu

Bill to expedite firing teachers is rejected Los Angeles Times: Los Angeles schools chief John Deasy blasted state lawmakers Thursday for not passing a bill to speed up the teacher-dismissal process, which he and others pushed following the sex-abuse scandal at Miramonte Elementary School.

Schools chiefs give publishers ultimatum about new standards GothamSchools: Calling for a “buyers’ cartel” against the publishing industry, more than 30 large urban school districts have formed an agreement to purchase only instructional material that meets new learning standards’ high bar of rigor.

New Companies Seek Competitive Edge in LMS Market  EducationWeek: Companies old and new are jockeying for position in the unsettled market for learning-management systems, seeking to innovate and fulfill districts' evolving needs

San Antonio Mayor Wants 1/8cent Tax to Finance Pre-K  NYT: Since Texas lawmakers cut over $200 million in grants that supported full-day public prekindergarten in 2011, school districts have worked to fill in where the state left off.

Tests, Standards, Budgets, and Charters StateWatch: In case readers discover they can't read more than three lines of non-health-care news before their eyes stray to yet another analysis of the Affordable Care Act decision, State EdWatch has put together fun-size pieces of state education updates.

Five Best Blogs: Close Call For ObamaCare Edition

image from 25.media.tumblr.com

Five ways to find, pick and train principals better than we do now - new report PDF via @WallaceFdnow.ly/bT8ce

Texas business leaders accuse educators of ‘scaring mom’ about standardized tests ow.ly/1O9K0c@answersheet 

Will Obama address the @nea next month? If so he might get booed, says @Eia mike ow.ly/1O9K3u

The return of Rod Paige -- sort of The Root via @AISRow.ly/bTGqR

"Work-life balance is for lazy racists!" from @RoxannaElden's @edwrriters "superteacher" talkow.ly/bTskJ 

The perils of school gentrification [loss of Title I funding] from a parent's perspective NYT via @gothamschoolsow.ly/bTqwP


Thompson: Districts May Serve More SPED Kids, But Not Very Well

Special-Education-WordleThe key finding in the recent GAO report on special education disparities is that 15.5% of special education students in public schools have disabilities that require them to be outside of regular classes 60% of the time. Only 6.7% of IEP students in charters have disabilities that severe.

But the report shouldn't be used to focus exclusively on charter school SPED programs.  While districts serve more of their fair share of special education students, they don't necessarily do so particularly well. Erica Green's recent Baltimore Sun article (For Baltimore Schools, Special Education Still a Work in Progress) reports that auditors found Baltimore's IEP students didn't get one-fourth of the accommodations listed in their individualized education plans. Auditors said that "while it's laudable to integrate special education students into regular classrooms, the district still needs to learn how to do it well."  A retired assistant state superintendent for special education concluded, "The city has moved very quickly in putting a lot of kids in the least restrictive environment, and for every kid, it's not the best thing." Baltimore has improved tremendously, "but it's not like they've figured out how to really teach kids with disabilities."

On the other hand, Green described a full inclusion program utilizing co-teaching as an example of Baltimore's successes. "It's almost miraculous what can happen, because it's extra everything with two heads in a room," said a psychologist. But, only 14% of that school's students are on IEPs.  With numbers that manageable, it might as well be a charter school.- JT(@drjohnthompson) image via.

Video: Have Schools Gone Too Far On Discipline & Enforcement?

Watch Harsh Punishment for Misbehavior in Texas Schools on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

This PBS NewsHour segment from earlier this week focuses on Texas schools but don't be fooled -- the issue of disproportionate and excessive school punishments has come up in Chicago, Los Angeles, and many other parts of the country and is a topic on which educators and reformers sometimes flip sides.  

Campaign 2012: Few TFA Alums Running For Higher Office

00031zqtThere are a couple of things worth noting about Ben Wieder's new Stateline article about TFA alumni running for state legislature this year, most in the category of cautions and clarifications:

The numbers of TFA alumni running for office in 2012 are very, very small.  The positions they're running for are at the very low end of the totem pole.  The candidates don't necessarily hold a uniform set of pro-reform views (neither does TFA, for that matter), so it's unclear exactly what impact TFA alums in office will  have, anyway.  It's appointments where TFA alumni seem to thrive and are likely to continue popping up in disproportionate numbers.  

There's already been more than enough hype about TFA classroom teachers already, given the remarkably small size of the program; let's not recreate the hype on the political front, too.  More details below.

Continue reading "Campaign 2012: Few TFA Alums Running For Higher Office" »

Quotes: Enough With The "War On Education" Rhetoric

Quotes2Last I heard there were not any education reform terrorists. No hidden cells of militant teachers planning an attack on Charter Schools or roadside school bus bombs. -- Megan Rosker in the Huffington Post 

Photos: Duncan Forced To Shoot Hoops Wherever He Goes

Wherever he goes, Secretary Duncan is pretty much required to shoot some hoops. If he's lucky, it's just a couple of three pointers. Worst case, H-O-R-S-E.

image from bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com
This from earlier this week in St. Louis.  Note that Vashon HS principal Derrick Mitchell is wearing what looks like those sweet Cole Hahn two-toners matching a light blue tie.  Score!

Media: Snapshot Of Education Journalism Changes

Screen shot 2012-06-20 at 4.13.04 PMThere are some great people covering national education news these days, both veterans (Stephanie Banchero, Greg Toppo) and relative newbies (Stephanie Simon, Joy Resmovits, Motoko Rich).    But as you'll see below there have been lots of changes.  

Six years ago I wrote a post about who was covering education news for the various outlets, which generated a slew of corrections and additions and eventually a half-assed 2007 'wiki'.  The vast majority of the folks listed -- Ben Feller, Sam Dillon, Nancy Zuckerbrod, Joel Rubin, Lynn Olson, Alex Kingsbury -- are no longer in their positions.  Others -- Dana Goldstein, Elizabeth Green, Paul Tough -- were new to the beat or not even yet on the radar.   

Despite all the foundation support for education journalism the changes just keep coming.  

AM News: Biding Time Until Today's Obamacare Decision

Which Districts Are Getting Race to the Top Buzz?  PoliticsK-12: According to a survey of "education insiders" recently published by Whiteboard Advisors, the smart money is on the Los Angeles Unified School District. You also probably wouldn't go broke betting on Hillsborough County Schools in Florida.


Segregation Fear Sinks Charter School  WSJ: Nashville school officials have rejected a proposal to open a charter school in a middle-class part of the city, highlighting a broader national battle over efforts by operators of such publicly financed, privately run schools to expand into more affluent areas.

New Congressional Nominee Favors Subsidizing Private Schools NYT: Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, hot off primary night where he won the Democratic nomination for Congress, set off a controversy when he came out in favor of support for private and religious schools -- but not for vouchers.

Teach for America Alumns Take Aim at State Office Stateline: At least six TFA alumni are running for state legislatures this year, and many others are running for boards of education. Like Ferguson and Johnston, most of these former teachers likely will have to overcome union opposition to win.

Mike Turzai, GOP Lawmaker Behind Controversial Voter ID Remark, Was Backed by Education Union HuffPostEdu: Turzai, however, has received some support from the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), which -- like other labor unions -- is traditionally a constituency that backs Democrats.


Video: Soon There Will Be (Already Are?) K12 Versions Of This

The cast of SNL tells you how to get your four-month college degree from the University of Westfield which, ironically enough, is the name of the school that the charter principal said she got her PhD at (read all about it in Nichole Dobo's story here).  Via the listserv at @EWA.

Five Best Blogs: This Scary Man Wants To Teach You Science


Latest installment in Slate's science education issue includes unfortunately creepy closeup of Finnish sci teacher ow.ly/bRVpe 

Harsh Punishment for Misbehavior in Texas Schools | PBS NewsHour [from last night] ow.ly/bRSOE

Aspen Ideas Festival education sessions start THURS -- @educationnation promo list ow.ly/bRHct hashtag? #AspenIdeas

Will other groups follow EdVoice's lead using the courts to litigate school compliance? @PIEnetwork ponders ow.ly/bRVfl 

Conn. Joining Teacher Trend - WSJ.comow.ly/bRSA0

Elite HS cheating scandals in NY and NC @HuffPostEdu ow.ly/bRSk5 Quick, blame NCLB!

TN touts "largest aggregated gain" in history of state tests and gets kudos from Arne Duncan ow.ly/bRQBb@TNedu 

Unions esp. necessary during recessions - Mark Thoma in the Fiscal Times via @wonkbooks ow.ly/bRIBp

Like it when I tweet your stuff? Might be good form to return the favor. You know who you are. 

Update: Rough Transcript Of USDE Meeting

They're working on making the video available but in the meantime here's the rough transcript of last week's confab with USDE and think tank folks that had ornery Rick Hess gushing in this Monday post:

Click the bottom left corner if you want to view in full screen mode.

Quotes: Which Innovations To Take Seriously

Quotes2For innovation to survive, it has to be self-sustaining. If something’s not self-sustaining, it’s not serious. -- Arthur Levine on Relay GSE (in EdNext)

Update: Unraveling The Story Of Change Vs. Reform

Tumblr_lbysakTxOD1qz6f9yo1_r2_500What a strange little story this is turning out to be:

On behalf of public employees and their unions, a  progressive organization seemed to have kicked two hard-charging school reform groups out of its system.  The Huffington Post's Ryan Grim seemed to have broken the story.  

Only it turns out not to be as simple as that.  Four takeaways:  (1) The "victory" against Stand and StudentsFirst was real but it wasn't immediate or complete.  (2) Some organizations that seem super progressive -- Apple, Change -- turn out not to be as pure or open-minded as they might seem.  (3) StudentsFirst and Stand may share beliefs, funders, and strategies but are very different organizations.  (4) Like many other media outlets, HuffingtonPost needs to figure out how to update stories and/or post corrections more prominently.

Continue reading "Update: Unraveling The Story Of Change Vs. Reform" »

Morning Video: 7th In Literacy, 27th In Math, 22nd In Science

Here's a clip from the opening of The Newsroom, the new Aaron Sorkin series no one seems to like very much, which features a obscenity-filled rant from the show's opening that lists America's failings:

"We're 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science.... We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending..."  Watch the whole episode online (at work, if you dare).

AM News: Charter Leader Staying Out Of NYC Politics (For Now)

Eva Moskowitz Delays a Run for Mayor WSJ: "Right now, I can contribute more on the schooling side," she said. "That doesn't mean I plan to be absent in any way about the public debate about the issue." via GothamSchools. News2

Kasich signs legislation for schools, work force ColumbusDispatch: Gov. John Kasich signed wide-ranging education and work-force development legislation yesterday that will implement a third-grade reading guarantee, a tougher evaluation system for schools starting next year and a requirement that schools provide tutoring and other intervention to struggling readers. 

U.S. secretary of education shoots hoops at Vashon St. Louis Today: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asked students about school violence and shot a few baskets in the gym at Vashon High School during a visit to St. Louis this afternoon.

How Bloomberg's City Council 'Dance Macabre' Saved Children's Services HuffPostEdu: This coalition of advocates came together in March, after Bloomberg proposed cutting $70 million from after-school and early child care programs. 

NJ Lawmakers Pass Teacher Tenure Bill  AssociatedPress: A bill to make teacher tenure harder to get and easier to lose was sent to Gov. Christie's desk on Monday after both chambers of the Legislature approved it unanimously.

1.9 Billion Bond Issue Plan Would Rebuild Houston's Schools EducationNews: Houston Independent School District Superintendent Terry Grier plans to seek voter approval for a $1.9 billion bond issue that would see most of Houston’s antiquated school being rebuilt or renovated. His proposal would phase in a tax rate increase of 7 cents.

40% of 11 Year Olds Don't Read for Fun EducationNews: A study by the publisher Pearson has found that concern in schools about children’s reading ability and desire is widespread.

To Change Behavior, Students Act as Teachers WNYC:  Teachers often wish students could spend a day in their shoes, especially the more difficult students. Beth Fertig reports on two teachers who got their wish when they experimented with a program to improve classroom behavior.

Five Best Blogs: I Got Nothing

Shepard fery peace corps postEd Next looks at Relay in "A New Type of Ed School" rly.gs/ca2fa @relaygse

New on @HuffPostEdu - Arne scorns Iowa - huffingtonpost.com/michael-j-petr… via  @MichaelPetrilli

Why is @DianeRavitch is trumpeting success of American schools while railing against NCLB? @bigswifty, help me out?  via @benjaminjriley

 Rick Hess: The real CC test will be whether states are willing to invest in assessments & curricula via @alliekimmel

Sequestration could really happen on the defense side, say NatJourn insiders http://ow.ly/bQxFc 

Think before you flip @nctq http://ow.ly/bQxOf 

Cartoons: Shipping Them Off To Summer Camp

image from www.newyorker.com

School's over, which means kids home all day every day.  That's not good.  Summer camp! Via The New Yorker.

Quotes: Why Evolution Doesn't Matter

Quotes2The dirty truth is that a 10th grade knowledge of evolution adds only slightly to a 10th grade understanding of biology. -- Mother Jones "The Fight Over Evolution Isn't Actually All That Important"

Bruno: People Who Disagree With You Aren't Crazy

128761500667747657Generally speaking I think it's a small step forward for the education reform debate any time somebody acknowledges that teachers are not, in fact, monolithic in their views. Still, I was not encouraged by this piece from pseudonymous blogger "Horace Mann" at Nancy Flanagan's site wondering if teachers who support "reform" in any way may be "compliant" because they are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. On the one hand, "Horace" wants to argue that "[t]eachers and parents need to comprehend that they know better about what works for children than legislators...and private corporations". On the other hand, he's troubled that many, many parents and teachers seem not to agree with him on various reformy topics.

Unfortunately, rather than try to explain this lack of consensus by engaging with the substance of the issues, Horace proceeds to dismiss the opinions of millions of his professional peers by making a series of  dubious, speculative arguments about why teachers who disagree must all be psychologically impaired in some way. Not only is Horace's article unlikely to be persuasive to anybody who doesn't already agree with him, lots of teachers could justifiably feel insulted by it.

For example, I've got numerous math teacher colleagues who are genuinely excited about the Common Core math standards. While I'm not a math teacher myself, I've heard them explain the reasons behind their excitement in ways that seem pretty well thought-out. To Horace Mann, however, it cannot be the case that my colleagues have carefully considered professional judgments. Rather, they are "rolling over" because they are insufficiently "self-assured" in the face of authority (or suffer from some other psychological inadequacy), and their views should thus be summarily dismissed.

As somebody who is skeptical of a lot of the reform movement, I'd feel better if I thought other reform critics were taking seriously the reality of diversity of opinion among teachers and parents. Writing off those who disagree with us as crazy, stupid, or dishonest is a recipe for political failure. - PB (@MrPABruno) (image source)

Thompson: A Teacher's Lessons From ED In '08

ObamaOld-fashioned journalists no longer have a monopoly in writing the "first draft of history." Alexander Russo's The Successful Failure of ED in '08,  published by the American Enterprise Institute, has laid the foundation for the political history of this pivotal development in education advocacy, and it foreshadows the history of education policy during the Obama years which, hopefully, is still a work in progress.  Even the political history of the 2008 campaign cannot be completed, however, until we learn whether the politician who was most influenced by ED in '08 was helped or will be defeated for reelection, in part, due to his support for the campaign's "reforms."

Continue reading "Thompson: A Teacher's Lessons From ED In '08" »

Reform: Advocacy's Latest Ups And Downs

Let's be clear. Advocacy work is not easy -- there's no secret magic to it -- and its outcomes aren't guaranteed no matter how much of a funding or media advantage you might appear to possess (pretending for the moment that labor is helpless and unable to fight back against reforms it thinks unwise or simply disadvantageous). 

image from blogs.laweekly.com
Read below to find out the latest ups and downs in reform-land and how this nice smiling man fits in.

Continue reading "Reform: Advocacy's Latest Ups And Downs" »

Morning Video: Whatever Happened To Antipoverty Programs?

During his talk with Bill Moyers from Friday, Peter Edelman criticizes pre-Clinton welfare, explains how welfare has been stripped down to little more than Food Stamps in many states, and defends Obama's record funding antipoverty program:

Video above, transcript here. Previous posts: Will Reformers Ever Broaden Their Agenda?Pay No Attention To The Nation's Child Poverty Rate Poverty Is Back!,  Bruno: Both Sides Mis-Calculate On "Out-Of School" FactorsLet's Not Talk About 43M Poor People.

AM News: Vouchers, Career Training, & Common Core


Boehner and Lieberman Save the DC Voucher Program  EducationNews: As a compromise with the Obama Administration, the program will be funded for the next fiscal year, and will operate without student caps for the first time.

5 Percent of Job Programs Fail Test on Graduates’ Success NYT:  The Department of Education is issuing data on Tuesday showing that 5 percent of career-training programs failed all three requirements of the department’s new gainful-employment regulations.

Common Core Legislation: How Did Your State Do?  StateWatch: So far, 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted both sets of standards, and Minnesota has adopted only the language arts standards. The first assessments tied to the common core are due to come online in the 2014-15 school year.

A Year Without Mexican-American Studies in Tuscon NPR: An Arizona law that went into effect last year essentially ruled that the Mexican-American studies program offered in the Tucson public school system was divisive and should be scrapped. At the end of the first semester without the classes, hard feelings still linger.

The lies behind diploma mills DE News Journal: Lewis does not need a Ph.D. to be school leader at Pencader. The state does not require any specific credentials for school leaders, a measure that’s meant to give charter schools flexibility to be innovative. Lewis holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix and an undergraduate degree in math education from the University of Delaware.

Video Interlude: Justin Bieber & "The Sixteenth Chapel"

In this clip late night host David Letterman implores teen hearthrob Justin Bieber not to go crazy with the tattoos and turn himself into the Sistine Chapel. Bieber replies, "I'm not going for the Sixteenth Chapel."  Letterman laughes... and quips, "Canadian high school." TMZ via ONTD

Five Best Blogs: Snapshot Of StudentsFirst's Early Fundraising


StudentsFirst raised nearly $8M from 10/10 to 8/11 says Politico ow.ly/bOEej 

Thanks to @Joy_Resmovits for SCRIBD-ing the StudentsFirst 990s ow.ly/bOEHV 

My Hat's off to ED - Rick Hess Straight Up - Education Week ow.ly/bOlPJ

A huge win on tenure | NJ.com ow.ly/bOjid via @DFER_News and Derrell Bradford  [benefits of avoiding LIFO?]

Brooklyn school faces $360K "gentrification cliff" with loss of Title 1 funding ow.ly/bObAP This happens way too often

Jeb Bush is making things complicated for Mitt Romney (and for ed reformers, I'd add) ow.ly/bObq7# @SSimonReuters

Too much focus on young unemployed, not enough on middle ageds, says Ben Casselman in the WSJow.ly/bOber via @wonkbooks 


Thompson: Two Generations Of Teachers Travel To NYC

Brandyclark2012Pulling out of the driveway, starting a trip to New York City where Diane Ravitch would be honored with the Deborah W. Meier Hero of Education Award, I recalled the words of the person who would be introducing her. Randi Weingarten says that education is based on the concept of "L'dor V'dor," or "from generation to generation." 

I would be traveling with a former student, Brandy Clark.  We have developed a father-daughter relationship, and Ms. Clark was rebuilding the drama program at our old school. We would be reflecting on the end of her seventh year in the classroom.

As we started out, by accident, the last stanza of the title track of Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball came up on the CD player.  It really was an accident. It was my fault that Brandy rejected my explanation, however.  I had long argued that all teachers needed to listen to "the Boss," and it was too early in the morning for her to listen to one of my lectures on his lyrics.  She put in earphones as I turned to NPR. Our next cross-generational conversation was no better - at first. 

Continue reading "Thompson: Two Generations Of Teachers Travel To NYC" »

Video: Update On Bus Monitor Bully Apologies

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

The donations are now in excess of $600,000, and the bullied bus monitor has received some apologies from kids and parents.  Here she is on NBC's Today show this morning.  

Update: Varied Responses To "The Successful Failure Of ED In '08"

My favorite response to the piece so far has been Craig Jerald's observation that he proposed something like the empty chairs on the Mall that was done last week by the College Board's "Don't Forget Ed" campaign (" This reminded me of a stunt I pitched while I was with ED in 08 but couldn't get permission to do.") Seems like that was par for the course.  He's at @breakthecurve.


Andy Rotherham admonished that the lack of education debate this time around doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the absence of a campaign to promote education issues.  ("Someone needs explanation of correlation & causation."

Education researcher Kevin Kosar said he'd liked the way the piece showed that "Big money does not equal policy efficacy." (@kevinkosar)

Mike Klonsky called me the "new favorite of AEI. Extreme right-wing group with racist history." @mikeklonsky)

Thanks for the feedback, critical and otherwise.  Keep it coming here or on Twitter.  (Haven't read it yet? It's 18 pages here.)

Lots of people have asked when the next installment is going to appear, and I'm happy to say that there are at least a couple more in the works -- one about some important and generally misunderstood dynamics that took shape during the NCLB debate and continue to the present, and the other about some new variations on reform that reform refugees and others are trying around the country.  

Charts: The State Funding Cliff Is Already Happened

image from i.huffpost.comWho needs a federal funding cliff (ie sequestration) when there's already one that's happened at the state level?

A new Census Report shows that local governments paid more than states towards the USA's $593B 2010 funding for education - for the first time in 16 years.  

This is mostly because of state funding going down a whopping 6.5 percent, notes a Huffington Post writeup of the report from which I am cribbing.

It's 44 percent to 43 percent now, with federal funding at 12.5.  The per pupil average is $10,615.

Best Of The Weekend: What'd You Read?

Zw0105The most important thing I read all weekend was probably this Peter Edelman description of where we are in terms of poverty and social support programs in the US.  You'll be surprised to see what's happened to the safety net.  

Poverty reduction wasn't a prerequisite to crime reduction in NYC, notes this thought-provoking article.  All it took was racial profiling and drones :-)

There's a worthwhile Huffington Post story about three different approaches to reform (dubbed traditional, reform, and broader bolder.  

The Hechinger Report describes how an Australian company you've never heard of came to dominate NYC's $100M professional development sector.

Here's a Slate article describing how there's something about a school bus that seems to promote bullying.  

n+1 shares its "best and crankiest" writing about higher education (including a feature that calls on so-called progressives to burn their master's degree certificates).  Wish they'd do the same for K-12.  

For all the rest I tweeted out you can always check #thisweekined, your weekend guide to education news and commentary.  

Morning Video: Parents Tell Kids "Summer Is Over Time For School"

It's from last year but I missed it and you probably did, too.  Part of late night comic Jimmy Kimmel's YouTube audience prank series.  

AM News: Waiting For The Supreme Court Health Care Decision

Give Us Details On Planned Education Cuts EdWeek: A bipartisan pair of lawmakers, U.S. Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and John McCain, R-Ariz., championed a measure that would require the White House Office of Management of Budget to provide a detailed account of just what the cuts would mean for all sorts of federal programs, from Head Start to Title I grants for districts to defense spending.

Standardized test cheating in D.C. limited, probe reveals USA Today: Teachers helped students answer questions on standardized tests in three classrooms in three schools in D.C., according to an investigation. 1309732802_news

Debt-ridden ICEF spent nearly $1.4 million on harassment claims LA Times: A financially struggling charter school organization has paid nearly $1.4 million to settle three sexual-harassment claims against its highest-profile educator, Fernando Pullum, a widely honored musician and teacher, The Times has learned.

N.C. School Districts Fight Online Charter School NPR:  One of the fastest growing segments of the charter school movement is online charter schools. For-profit company, K-12 Inc., runs online charters in more than two dozens states and wants to expand to North Carolina. But it's run into fierce opposition from public school districts there.

Pa. teacher suspended over blog sues district AP:  A teacher who was suspended from her job last year for a blog in which she called students "disengaged, lazy whiners" has filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the suburban Philadelphia school district.

Former Principal Charged In Stabbing Rampage Huffington Post: It wasn't that long ago that Anthony Giancola was considered one of Tampa's top young educators, consistently receiving great reviews from superiors and affection from students who called him "Mr. G."

Five Best Blogs: Education? We Don't Need No Stinking Education.

Fingerlakes2Want Obama and Romney to pay more attention to education? Sign the Don't Forget Ed petitionow.ly/bLJK2 via GOOD's @LizDwyer

Civil rights groups decry @m_rhee appearance at for-profit college convention in Las Vegas ow.ly/bLl73

Rick Hess gives highlights and key lesons from the EDIN'08 saga ow.ly/bLGpN Thanks for all the feedback you've been sending!

Web video of NY bullying stirs passion, anger; site raises $440K-plus for target: apne.ws/KZZtp5 -CJ

Which 12 ed schools have the classroom simulator @amadaripley mentions ow.ly/bLGdT and how much time does each student get?

John Merrow loves the energy and smarts of charter people, worries about messaging @LearningMatters ow.ly/bLjfo 

Privatizing vs Contracting: It's a Real Difference slate.com/blogs/moneybox… via @mattyglesias via @saramead 

Charts: Public Trusts The Supreme Court More Than Teachers

ScreenHunter_38 Jun. 22 08.24Yesterday's chart showed Gallup results over time when it came to public education.

Today's shows where public education fits in with other American institutions:  above Congress and the media, below the Supreme Court and organized religion.

Thompson: A Looming Teachers' Strike In Obama's Hometown

Ctu_wideA recent NPR piece (A New Union Battle as Chicago Teachers, Mayor Clash) notes the looming possibility that there could be a teachers' strike in the President's hometown on the eve of the 2012 presidential election.  This would be the product of what CTU President Karen Lewis describes as Mayor Rahm Emanuel's "absolute abject lack of respect and scapegoating of teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians throughout this country." 

Emanuel, President Obama's former chief of staff, is just an extreme example of the gratuitous attacks on teachers and unions that have been further encouraged by an ostensibly pro-union president. But, President Obama may learn that his "Sister Soldja" tactic, of beating up teachers in order to demonstrate his toughness, may not be cost-free.  The NPR piece compared the Chicago dispute to the attacks on labor in Wisconsin (which was another place where the Democratic president distanced himself from the party's loyal allies) and closes with the observation of labor professor Robert Bruno, "How exactly does it look to have a major collective-bargaining dispute — a strike of public-sector workers — in his (Obama's) home city, on the eve of a tight presidential election with battleground states all around Illinois?"

Labor should stage an intervention for President Obama.  Unions should announce that until his policies change, they will tithe 10% of the donations that should go to his campaign to strike and legal funds to fight the abuses by Emanuel and other union bashers.- JT(@drjohnthompson) image via.  

Quotes: Less Talk, More Walk

Quotes2It is time, finally, to start training teachers the way we train doctors and pilots, with intense, realistic practice... to stop saying teaching is hard work and start acting like it-- The Atlantic's Amanda Ripley 

Morning Video: How Reading Helped LeBron James Win

Love him or hate him, you might be interested in seeing James reading before and after games and talking about how helpful reading has been to help him keep focus. Valerie Strauss via Mike Wilbon.

Reform: Contrasting Responses To "Change" Setback

Silly-animalsFollowing the news that they would no longer be able to post petitions and gain supporters on Change.org, Stand For Chidren and StudentsFirst took notably different tacks.  State and national leaders for Stand issued statements decrying the decision and listing recent accomplishments (including collaboration with progressive groups in some places).  Click here for the Jonah Edelman statement.  StudentsFirst won Huffington Post coverage for a letter to NEA and AFT leaders urging them to collaborate on reform efforts moving forward. Click here to see the story and the letter.  Stand is not on it.  


Foundations: Progressive Group Announces Lawsuits

The Ford- and Open Society-funded Alliance for Educational Justice burst onto the scene yesterday in Chicago, holding a press conference announcing its intention to file civil rights cases against education reform efforts in eight cities:


Parents, students from other cities join Chicagoans in claiming school ‘reforms’ violate minority students’ rights Sun Times: Parents and students from seven cities joined Chicago activists Thursday in filing civil rights complaints against school closings, phaseouts and other “rampantly horrible” reform upheavals that contend disproportionately victimize minority communities.

Students file civil rights complaints against school closings Catalyst: The groups filing the complaints were brought together by the Alliance for Educational Justice, a new national organization focused on organizing parents and students. The Alliance for Educational Justice, which is funded by progressive foundations, including the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Institute, is holding a retreat in Chicago.

Chicago community group joins other cities in filing Title VI complaint Tribune: Groups in Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Atlanta, Washington and Baltimore filed Title VI complaints with the Department of Education, asking for the federal agency to investigate school closing policies and staff overhauls of underperforming schools known as "turnarounds."

Education activists: National school reforms violate civil rights law WBEZ: Activists said they are filing separate civil rights complaints arguing that national education reforms — like school closings, turnarounds and charter schools — negatively affect black and Latino children.


AM News: No Waiver For Iowa [Harkin's Not Gonna Like That]

Iowa Turned Down for ESEA Waiver EdWeek: Iowa is the first state to be turned down for a waiver, although at least one other state—Vermont—decided to drop out of the process altogether.

Louisiana Illegally Fired 7,500 Teachers, Judge Says  NYT: A judge confirmed that here on Wednesday, ruling that the Orleans Parish School Board and the Louisiana Department of Education, in laying the groundwork for a school reform movement that has become nationally recognized, illegally fired 7,500 school employees.


NH and PA School Choice Efforts Hit Snags EducationNews: After legislative failure in NH and PA, efforts to bring school choice to those states have stalled for the immediate future.

Lawmakers Close to Consensus on NY Teacher Eval Rules EducationNews: New guidelines will allow parents to view the overall ratings received by school teachers but will not make public the details of the evaluations themselves.

Houston's YES Prep charter schools win Broad prize AP:  A Houston-based charter organization serving predominantly minority and low-income students won the first Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools and will receive $250,000 to boost college readiness among low-income students....

Continue reading "AM News: No Waiver For Iowa [Harkin's Not Gonna Like That]" »

Charts: A Long Slow Loss Of Confidence

Confidence in public ed is down to 29 pct but it's worth noting that it's been trending down pretty steadily since the 70s & has been below 40 pct since 1991:

image from sas-origin.onstreammedia.comIt also might be worth noting that the latest results aren't just a reflection of public feelings about traditional public schools but also the potential for charters and other reformy vehicles to generate real improvements.  Something for everyone to think about.  via @aisr

Five Best Blogs: YES Prep Lords Broad Win Over Other CMOs

Schoolhellspread3Tutoring lobby backs bill that would undo a NY state reform effort @gothamchools ow.ly/bJEIF #5bb

Mass Insight's @juscohen weighs in on the pros and cons of another SIG option ow.ly/bJwNM

Confidence in public ed is down to 29 pct but it's been trending down since the 70s & has been below 40 pct since 1991 ow.ly/bJBsk

Boot Camp for Teachers - One of the Atlantic's 23 1/2 biggest ideas of the year.theatlantic.com/magazine/archi… via @michaelpetrilli

Censorship of parent voice in Chicago | Stand for Childrenhttp://ow.ly/bIRci 

Internet donates $28k to hapless Rochester school bus monitor whose abuse by students was caught on video http://ow.ly/bIDMF 




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.