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Five Best Blogs: Excited Parents, Dread-Filled Kids

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Nearly 900 Districts Set to Compete for New Race to Top - Politics K-12 - Education Week ow.ly/dnQOV

1500 districts get 20pct+funding from the USDE, says @edwriters' MZ ow.ly/dnS2P National avg is 12 pct

Is Teach for America Working? - Room for Debate -NYTimes.com ow.ly/dnR2U 

Politico has full video, speech from Jeb Bush on educationow.ly/dnwS6

Failed Effort To Limit Use Of Student Achievement In CA: After much-last minute scrambling, CA Assemblym... bit.ly/T38hjd

Professor [Petrilli?] Vows to Grade Students Based on Their Klout Scores http://ow.ly/dmj2Q  Jezebel @michaelpetrilli

Don't teach like a champion A Chicago Latino English Teacher ow.ly/dnHYl

The importance of character: Liberals don’t want to admit it, and conservatives don’t want to pay for it http://ow.ly/dnrIg  @ttoch

Picture Reddit via Buzzfeed

Update: Failed Effort To Limit Student Achievement Use

image from blogs.laweekly.comAfter much-last minute scrambling, CA Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (pictured) decided to withdraw AB 5, the controversial bill to overhaul how public school teachers are evaluated in California (and set limits on the use of student achievement data required under the Stull Act and mandated in a recent court case, Doe v. Deasy). Fuentes issued a statement Thursday evening, reading in part: “I could not in good conscious [sic] allow the proposed amendments to be voted on without a full public hearing… I believe this issue is too important to be decided at the last minute and in the dark of night.” You can read the full statement here.

LA Weekly had named AB 5 to its list of 10 Stupidest California Bills That Legislators Are Trying to Slam Through at Final Hour. The LA Times describe the outcome as “a blow for the powerful California Teachers Assn.” (Lawmaker withdraws teacher evaluation bill). EdSource reports that towards the very end word got out that Governor Brown didn’t want the bill to pass  (Fuentes withdraws teacher eval bill; says he ran out of time). The CTA posted word that LAUSD board member Steve Zimmer sent a letter endorsing the Fuentes proposal  (L.A. School Board Member: Approve AB 5). 

Cross-posted from LA School Report

NCLB: Waivers, AMOs, and Dual Accountability Systems

A little more about NCLB waivers from the Education Trust and the Center on American Progress: 

Sistercoritarules1The EdTrust notes that while it did write a paper talking about the "half the gap" approach states could take, Virginia's waiver proposal and approval was always a big concern because it didn't have the same ultimate expectations for all groups. (Some who read the Washington Post story about the Virginia do-over might have been confused about the EdTrust's position.)

CAP notes that 13 states chose the gap-halving approach, compared to just three that kep the basic AYP way of doing things (AR, DE, NY) but that the real issue is the disconnect between the goals set in the NCLB waiver plans (called AMOs), which will be used for reporting to the USDE, and the real-world accountability systems that states are using, which will be used to tell parents and teachers and lawmakers. The danger here is that, as often happened in the pre-NCLB era, there will be two different sets of ratings for schools each year, with the state numbers generally getting more attention. 

Previous post: USDE: Other States Won't Have To Revamp Waivers

Lunchtime Video: Jimmy Fallon Shares "Crazy Teacher" Tweets

Late night host Jimmy Fallon read some of his favorite tweets on the theme #MyCrazyTeacher via EIA.

Quotes: Schools Are Like Milk

Quotes2You can get whole milk, 2% milk, low-fat milk or skim milk. Organic milk, and milk with extra Vitamin D.  There's flavored milk— chocolate, strawberry or vanilla - and it doesn't even taste like milk. They even make milk for people who can't drink milk. Shouldn't parents have that kind of choice in schools? - Jeb Bush at RNC last night, via Politico

Media: Education Examples Among Online Journalism Award Finalists

Here they are - check them out if you haven't read them, and congrats to those who have been named finalists: 


No Choice: Florida Charter Schools Failing to Serve Students with Disabilities,WLRN-Miami Herald News & StateImpact for NPR 

AM News: Romney, Bush, & Spellings Make Convention News

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Romney Disagrees With Himself  Huffington Post: One of the more awkward moments of Mitt Romney's speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention came during the newly minted presidential candidate's question-and-answer session with the audience.

Bush appeals for new dedication to equal education, wants Obama to stop ... MiamiHerald: Bush appeals for new dedication to equal education, wants Obama to stop blaming his brother. TAMPA _ Former Florida governor Jeb Bush used his prime time spotlight at the Republican National Convention Thursday to pass a symbolic torch to his party's ...

Spellings Slams Waivers, Race to the Top PK12:  Spellings and I chatted after a panel on education policy sponsored by Bloomberg and AT&T. Those appearing with Spellings included: Jeb Bush, who is clearly the K-12 Mascot of the Republican National Convention in Tampa; Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State and the new voice of the school choice movement; and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, who also trashed the waivers, calling them a "substitution of Obama standards" for NCLB. 

Stand for Children makes its endorsements EdNewsCO: The education advocacy group Stand for Children has endorsed a split ticket of six Democrats and five Republicans in 2012 races for seats in the Colorado legislature.

Norwalk, Ct., Schools Avert Budget Crisis NPR:  Like many cities, Norwalk has been repeatedly forced to cut its school budget. But this year, a $10 million shortfall forced a demand for even steeper cuts and big concessions from the teachers union. As the new school year begins, wounds are still deep after the frustrating budget battle.

Parents: School asked to change deaf son’s name sign Today: Hunter Spanjer’s parents say officials at his Nebraska school asked them to change the sign for Hunter’s name, saying it looked too “gun-like,” but the school is denying they ever made the request. NBC’s Ron Allen reports and the Spanjer family talks about what the principal told them. 

Five Best Blogs: Pay No Attention To The Mess In California

Tumblr_m9grumrhDT1ro15k1o1_500Is everything you’ve heard about failing schools wrong? ow.ly/dmgl8 #5bb @kportermagee via @EducationSector @KristinaRizga

Congrats to SacBee's @MelodyGutierrez@dianalambert on their new edblog #5bb via @Larryferlazzo ow.ly/dm28q

10 Stupidest California Bills That Legislators Are Trying to Slam Through at Final Hour ow.ly/dm1CC#5bb

Successful principal dodges D.C. rules: Many great principals sidestep school system regulat... wapo.st/PxSqtz

Top Ten Classroom Management Techniques from America's Crazy Teachers Jimmy Fallon via EIA http://ow.ly/dmhUW #5bb

Media: Everything You Read In That Mother Jones Article Is Wrong

image from www.motherjones.comThis recent Mother Jones feature (Everything You've Heard About Failing Schools Is Wrong) has gotten a lot of attention over the past week, among reform critics and fans of longform writing especially.  (There's a radio segment from KQED, too A Year at Mission High: Forum.)

Much of the praise is deserved.  The piece (written by Kristina Rizga) is vivid and well written, compelling and challenging.  But I'm not sure it's really all that convincing, or fair.  It makes some errors of fact surrounding the operation of the NCLB and SIG programs that I have come to find infuriatingly common. 

The feature denounces over-reliance on stereotypes of struggling schools and the use narrow slices of data, but then does a poor job (in my opinion) moving past stereotypes of federal policymaking and avoiding false connections.

Continue reading "Media: Everything You Read In That Mother Jones Article Is Wrong" »

Thompson: Polarizers Suck, Says John Merrow

PolarizingI applaud John Merrow's depolarizing statements in "A Polarized Education System."  But, I must admit, I am most supportive of his polarizing statements.  Even as he calls for an end to our education wars, Merrow speaks the truth in ways that are as vivid as the angriest of teachers.  He condemns the "vicious attacks" on teachers, while complaining, "Companies like Pearson are getting rich while we blather and battle." Merrow sounds as belligerent as any educator when he protests "turning away special needs children or suspending tough-to-educate kids just before the state tests are given."  Merrow is even blunter than teachers' representatives dare to be when protesting, "Why don’t we eliminate recess for white kids and replace it with drill and practice and test-prep? That’s what we do for (to) black and brown kids, isn’t it?"  In addition to articulating these perennial protests by our champions (who are called polarizing) he concludes with, "the important point — children become what they repeatedly do. So, if our kids spend an inordinate amount of time practicing to take tests, and taking tests and more tests, what will they be like as adults?"JT(@drjohnthompson)Image via.

USDE: Other States Won't Have To Revamp Waivers

Twenty-eight other states with NCLB waivers used the same or similar approach to setting proficiency targets as Virginia, which yesterday agreed to revamp its USDE-approved waiver in order to address concerns about setting different goals for different groups of students (ie, focusing on gap-closing rather than gap elimination).  Washington Post story here.  EdWeek story here. But the others won't have to revamp their waiver plans, according to the USDE, because the others "required greater progress for groups starting out further behind... everybody else’s methodology/AMOs are going to help close the achievement gap without any changes." 

Calls in to CCSSO, EdTrust, and others.  

AM News: Virginia Waiver Re-Do - Will Others Follow?


Virginia to revise student achievement goals  Washington Post
By Lyndsey Layton, The Washington Post. Virginia intends to revise its new goals for student achievement in public schools, after state and federal officials agreed that those goals did not do enough to narrow the gap.

Chicago Teachers’ Union Gives Notice of Possible Strike NYT: Union leaders will meet on Thursday to discuss their next move, which could include selecting a strike date, though it can be no sooner than Sept. 10. Should a walkout occur, the city is expected to make its libraries and park districts available to students.

Police: 100-year-old driver hits 11 near LA school AP:  The screams of women and children didn't cause a 100-year-old driver to stop as he backed his large powder blue Cadillac onto a sidewalk across from an elementary school and hit 11 people, including nine children....

Rhee At GOP Convention: Ed Reform Will Require 'Getting Ready For A Fight' Hechinger Report: Rhee said she was unhappy that, despite both candidates taking clear stances on many education issues, the topic largely has been untouched on the campaign trail. “We are not talking about this issue nearly enough in this presidential election,” Rhee said. “I would hope we try to force the issue more.”

Ryan Hits Obama's Spending Record EdWeek: Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan used his acceptance speech Wednesday at the Republican National Convention to make the case that President Barack Obama has burdened future generations with billions in unnecessary spending—but he steered clear of pointed attacks on the president's education spending. 


Five Best Blogs: VA Re-Doing Its NCLB Waiver


Virginia and U.S. Ed. Dept. Agree to NCLB Waiver Do Over - Politics K-12 - Education Week ow.ly/dks68

Kids would learn more math if their parents would get over their own fear of it, says WSJ via TAW ow.ly/djPnT

College Board,and Carnegie hosting 9/13 @NYTedtech summit featuring Nick Kristof, Linda Darling-Hammond, Kaya Henderson ow.ly/djDec

From Jay Mathews: Who’s afraid of China and India?: I like the latest big report to clog my printer — a 10...wapo.st/SPQqxL

ATL Teacher Had No Choice But to Help Students Cheat:'They're Dumb as Hell' ow.ly/djPGR #nclbmadeherdoit #toogoodtofactcheck

"Debate has become... the usual suspects saying the usual things, over and over, louder and louder."  @rpondiscio http://ow.ly/dkcKF 

Afternoon Video: Science Guy Claims Creationism Hurting USA


Oh, goody, the creationsim/evolution debate is flaring up again. Maybe *that's* what we'll get for an education question during the Presidential debates.

Thompson: Why Teachers Should "Hug the Middle"

SkunkOnce again, Larry Cuban in "'Dynamic Conservativism" and Stability," nails it. Cuban asks why teaching in all types of schools continues to look so familiar to "generation after generation of journalists, researchers, parents and grandparents."  Why "has there been so much continuity in teaching over the decades?" 

Cuban's answer is the organizational concept of “dynamic conservatism." In schools, as in other institutions, we "respond to major reforms by adopting those parts of changes that will sustain stability."  In education, we teachers have always “'hugged the middle' between traditional and non-traditional ways of teaching." "Reformers," however, are "dead-set on redesigning classrooms" and they "scorn hybrid teaching practices. They want transformation, not some cosmetic changes." 

When I entered the classroom, I shocked my liberal friends by saying, "if teaching doesn't make you a conservative, it either says something about your sanity or the enduring power of liberalism." Teaching, fundamentally, is a political process.  Our ability to teach is dependent on the consent of the taught.  Our classrooms are full of all types of individuals with a full range of preferences.  Our job is to referee this gumbo of personalities and pedagogies.  By hugging the middle, we lesson the chances that kids on one side or another will be excluded. Before long, we learn the lesson that football coaches have always emphaisized, don't put the ball on the ground.  Instructional excellence is important.  Our most important job, however, is minimizing errors.  And when more disruptive transformation is introduced into schools, protecting our kids from unintended consequences of mistakes becomes even more important.-JT(@drjohnthompson)Image via.

TrendWatch: "Gangnam Style" School Reform

During the summer of 2012, a new, unexpected brand of school reform popped up combining a strict focus on test preparation with a secondary focus on knowledge of animals, dance styles, and luxury brands.

By the way, we might be approaching Peak GIF, according to the Atlantic Wire. Use the little action clips in your classrooms, PD sessions, conference presentations, TED talks.  

Quotes: "It's Like Beyond Disappointing. It's Disgusting"

Quotes2Is it disappointing that we can’t pass a bill that if you rape a child you can’t fired really quickly? Yeah, it’s like beyond disappointing. It’s disgusting, actually. -- LAUSD superintendent John Deasy on legislators' inaction

Morning Video: Life As A Video Game, Complete With Display Info


Some teachers already have video cameras watching their every move, and coaches whispering instructions to them through Bluetooth earbuds. What's next? How about Google glasses flashing information at them while they're delivering a lesson (or going through a parent teacher conference)? Or skip the glasses -- contact lenses, or ocular implants.  Watch this video and you'll get a sense of what I'm imagining.

Morning Video: Republicans Slam Teachers Unions / Praise Teachers

Christie and Walker used the same union/teacher construction. Here's Christie. Via HuffPost.

AM News: Criticism Of Unions Gets Big Tampa Applause


Teachers Unions, Federal Spending Slammed at GOP Convention PK12: The Republicans offered up a hurricane* of tough talk Tuesday night—including battering President Barack Obama and teachers unions—as they hailed Mitt Romney as their newly nominated candidate for president.

Mojave Desert parents go back to court over charter school issue Los Angeles Times: In a continuing legal battle over the state's parent-trigger law, Mojave Desert parents asked the courts Tuesday to order the Adelanto school board to stop blocking their efforts to select a charter school to take over their failing campus. 

Perry Hall High student charged as adult in cafeteria shooting Baltimore Sun: Portrait of alleged shooter emerges as withdrawn, bullied and with troubled home life

Report: CPS teachers to file strike notice Wednesday ABC7Chicago: Chicago Public Schools teachers will file a strike notice Wednesday, according to published reports, which means they could walk out in 10 days. Filing a notice does not automatically mean teachers will walk out.

*Oh yes, they did.

Continue reading "AM News: Criticism Of Unions Gets Big Tampa Applause" »

Cartoons: Hear, Speak, & See See No Eval

ScreenHunter_09 Aug. 28 22.18
From the Scholastic Administrator (which sponsors and hosts this blog). Check it out.

Five Best Blogs: Six Reformers In An RV Van In The Desert...

Common-Sense-USA-MapRT @PoliticsK12: Jeb Bush in interview said he "doesn't forsee" being Romney's Sec. of Ed. Didn't name other names, said he was superstit...

Charter schools “wreaking havoc on private education?” Not exactly. http://ow.ly/diGEr @aemerson #5bb

StudentsFirst being shaken down in CT? via @dianeravitch http://ow.ly/diGOL #5bb

Bill Nye's anti-creationism video followed by Twitter death hoax. ow.ly/dikfF #5bb

Paul Ryan Gets Hometown Send Off at His Old High School abcn.ws/Pnq5Sr @alexanderrusso

Deaf Three-Year-Old Not Allowed to Sign His Name Because It Violates Preschool's Weapons Policyow.ly/diksP #5bb

The Baltimore School Shooter's Eerie Final Facebook Status Has Already Been Shared Nearly 1000 Timesow.ly/dikWZ #5bb

Magazines: Whatever Happened To Waldorf?

image from www.theatlantic.comHere's another oldie but goodie, a 1999 Atlantic Magazine article on the spread of Waldorf schools.  

Waldorf schools, which began in the esoteric mind of the Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner, have forged a unique blend of progressive and traditional teaching methods that seem to achieve impressive results -- intellectual, social, even moral

Whatever happened to the Waldorf movement?  They're still out there, of course, and at least occasionally a district will turn to them (usually at parents' insistence).  Maybe I'll do a Waldorf update in a future post. 


Thompson: District Claims Turnaround Failures Were Successes

Pollyanna-The-Glad-Game"Nothing illustrates the elusiveness of school reform like Reid Park Academy," writes the Charlotte Observer's Ann Doss Helms in "Westside's Reid Park Elementary Shows the Challenge of Reform." Four years ago, the school "became a pioneer in a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools push to get strong faculty into weak schools. One year ago, then-Superintendent Peter Gorman added middle school students, assuring skeptical families it was a successful school. But 2012 state ratings list it as one of the worst in CMS and the state." In 2008, Helms reports, seven struggling schools piloted Gorman’s strategic staffing plan, the removal of weaker educators, recruiting star principals and high-performing teams of teachers and rewarding them with bonuses.  The experiment influenced Education Secretary Arne Duncan and his School Improvement Grant (SIG) strategy. Now, "four of the seven pilot schools had pass rates of 50 percent or lower." Not, surprisingly, the district's district leadership still claims that they can become “90-90-90” schools that are "90 percent minority, poor and scoring on grade level." As Duncan's SIG experiment also continues to produce disappointing results, we can expect a continuation of a similar form of pollyanna-ish spin.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.

Charts: 32 Percent Of Charter Kids Pulled From Privates

image from www.trbimg.com
First things first:  The numbers -- 193,000 kids (Rand via LA Times) -- are small, over all, for a nation of 50 million + schoolchildren.  But they're much bigger in some places where charters have proliferated, pulling 32 percent of their enrollment from privates.  Some folks will look at these figures and say that it proves charters promote privatization, which is, I think a false connection.  Others will look at them and say, hey, charters are a viable alternative to private schools in some places -- bringing parents back into the public system. 

Morning Video: Learning From The Chicken Bone Lesson

Here's one of the videos referenced in Motoko Rich's recent NYT article about videotaped lessons for teachers (Videos of Top Teachers Explaining Their Craft), including both for-profit and Gates Funded efforts.  It features a teacher named Keelan Purcell, who was at the time in DC but I think has relocated to NYC.  Yes, TFA.

AM News: You're Either Back To School Or Still On Vacation*


Paul Ryan Tears Up at High School Send-off ABC:  Paul Ryan had an emotional homecoming Monday at a rally meant to send him off to the Republican National Convention in Tampa. He hopped on the stage, after an introduction by his older brother Tobin, saying, “Hello Janesville it’s good to be.

Obama vs. Romney 101: 5 differences on education Christian Science Monitor: President Obama has used back-to-school season to make the case that his education funding and policy initiatives are saving teachers' jobs, turning around failing public schools, and helping cash-strapped college students. Mitt Romney counters that Mr.

Convention Keynoter Christie Has a Flashy K-12 Record PK12: Tonight, when the GOP convention goes full throttle, the keynote speaker will be New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has a national reputation as a union-arm-twisting, voucher-loving, turnaround-supporting, education-budget-trimming chief executive. That doesn't mean, of course, that he'll utter a word about education at a convention dominated by the economy. But if he does, he'd have plenty to draw on.

Online University For All Balances Big Goals, Expensive Realities NPR: The University of the People says it's the "world's first, tuition-free, online university," designed for poor students who would otherwise lack access to higher education. The institution has 1,300 students in 129 countries, but it's also struggling to maintain its "free" mission.

Md. teen charged with attempted 1st-degree murder AP:  Authorities say a 15-year-boy has been charged as an adult with attempted first-degree murder in a shooting at a Baltimore County High School....

*Or Tampa, or Burning Man

Five Best Blogs: Out With The Teacher Prep Rules, Already

School-of-rockFacebook beef turns into first-day lunchroom shooting in Baltimore ow.ly/dgmfG

School Districts Try New Ways to Teach Foreign-Language Speakers - WSJ.com ow.ly/dgBDj

Professional derangement ow.ly/1OsZCu #5bb

Group Press the ED for Teacher-Prep Rules - Education Week ow.ly/dgBSZ #5bb @TeacherBeat

Review & Outlook: California's School Head Fake -WSJ.com ow.ly/dgBH3

Neil Armstrong's Memorable Commencement Speech - Education - GOOD ow.ly/dgvin #5bb @LizDwyer

New book about how foundations influenced foreign affairs in the 1940s might shed light on edrefrorm role today n+1#5bbhttp://ow.ly/dg4s8

Thompson: AFT Moderates -- And Chicago Militants

RandirBeing an inner city teacher, I see standardized testing as the greatest threat to my students.  But, Randi Weingarten represents teachers from across the nation, and for many of them, abusive observations by principals are a greater danger.  And that is just one example of the tightrope that she navigates. 

Reuter's James Kelleher, in his recent "Teacher Union Boss Bends to School Reform Winds," describes how Weingarten supports the New Haven teacher evaluation system which includes value-added. The union negotiated a system that minimized its potential harm and maximizes its benefits. Weingarten endorses it while adding,   "Do I embrace every single aspect of that agreement? Is every single aspect of that agreement part of my particular belief system about how education should run? Of course not."  Kelleher also reports that the AFT voted to support, "educators in hostile bargaining environment who are fighting to defend fair contracts and the right to bargain collectively." He then added, "That describes just about every AFT local in the country."

Even as 98% of AFT members voted as I would have and reelected Weingarten, it is clear that her moderation is not enough. As one Chicago leader explained,"We will not be heard at the table unless we are out there in the streets seen and heard fighting."  And in Los Angeles, the UTLA nailed it when explaining why teachers should not participate in the planning for their system's evaluation system.  It "strongly advises against volunteering for this high-stakes program in the current scapegoating environment."  During the Obama second term, it seems inevitable, teachers will need to punch back.  When teachers finally stand their ground, they can show that Weingarten has been a constructive collaborator with every "reform" that was remotely reasonable.  Because of her skillful leadership, union should be able to persuade fair-minded outsiders that teachers had no choice but to fight back.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.   

Bruno: Two New Reasons To Worry About Charters & SPED

5302562701_0b46f0cc81It was all the way back in June when the GAO reported that charter schools were enrolling disproportionately few students with disabilities. At the time many charter school advocates were eager to dismiss concerns about special education equity on the grounds that charter schools are just better at reclassifying kids out of SPED and shouldn't be expected to serve all groups of students equally anyway.

Two news stories this past week make those defenses look all the more implausible. First, the AP reports on traditional schools straining under the pressure of higher proportions of students with disabilities "as other students increasingly opt for alternatives that aren't always readily open to those requiring special education". This cuts directly against the argument that we shouldn't care whether charter schools enroll students equitably.

Second, Jay Mathews has a good short story on KIPP schools struggling with increasing numbers of students with disabilities. KIPP is refreshingly honest, here, and admits that educating students with special needs is difficult but the responsibility of all educational sectors; they might be doing good work with challenging populations, but they don't make any unjustifiable claims to Mathews about working miracles.

And crucially, KIPP school director Susan Schaeffler admits that there are problems with equitable access, saying, "We need to change the culture of not wanting special needs students to embracing them." Unfortunately, that has not always been the reaction from the charter school sector and its supporters. - PB (@MrPABruno) (image source)

Campaign 2012: Education Events At The Conventions

Screen shot 2012-08-27 at 11.57.06 AM
Nothing important will probably happen at the conventions this week or next, but some of the education events include the StudentsFirst screenings, which this American Thinker blogger thinks are notable because they're being done at both conventions (School Reformer Plays Both Sides), two Lumina Foundation panels (The College Advantage) Tuesday and then again next Tuesday.  DFER is doing an education Town Hall in Charlotte, and the NEA and AFT are hosting a joint reception at 4 p.m. on Tuesday (9/4) and apparently have some other stuff going on but I don't know the details.  Rhee is also scheduled to appear on a National Journal/Atlantic Magazine panel (from whom I grabbed this nifty logo).

As for coverage, EdWeek is sending Alyson Klein (Michelle McNeil has a newborn and David Hoff, who went with her in 2008, now works for the Obama folks).  Libby Nelson from Inside Higher Ed is going, too, I'm told. The Hechinger Report is sending Sarah B. to the events -- other reporters and bloggers may be there as well, for education coverage or pulled off to help out on the event. I'm sure there are others.  

Charts: Improving NAEP Scores Cut Both Ways

image from www.motherjones.com
This chart from Mother Jones' Kevin Drum shows that NAEP scores are rising, which Drum suggests shows us that doomsayers are overstating their case (a point Slate's Matthew Yglesias echoed over the weekend).  But the chart also illustrates that reform hasn't ruined American education, either, which suggests that those who are opposed to mainstream reform might be overstating their, case, too.  Like I often say:  They're both wrong. If only Drum could make that point, too.  

Morning Video: Union Blocks Sex Abuse Proposal

You might enjoy (or be appalled by) this Thursday night segment from Anderson Cooper 360 including footage of reporter Kyung Lah chasing the four lawmakers who killed a sex abuse prevention measure by abstaining:

It’s a little heavy-handed, but three of the four legislators play right into CNN’s hands by ducking interviews and issuing terse “no comments” while waiting for the elevator to arrive.  (Special Interests Over Child Interests?).  Cross-posted from LASR.  

AM News: Candidates Touch On Education issues


Obama, Romney Battle Over Private Sector In Education Reuters:Making a bid for young voters and their parents, Obama accused Republican rival Mitt Romney of planning to slash aid to college students. Romney hit back by noting that Obama, a Democrat, has not been able to rein in the soaring cost of tuition. 

Which 2012 candidates make the grade? MSNBC: From the schoolhouse to the White House, the Obama campaign says the Romney-Ryan ticket will only make things worse with budget cuts, but the GOP insists that’s not true. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, fact-checks both campaigns. 

Hawaii Makes Race to Top Progress, But Is It Enough? PK12: State officials, whom I met with today in Washington before their check-in meeting with the federal department, can tick off a lengthy and on-its-own impressive list of achievements:

Union endorses a candidate backed by StudentsFirstNY GothamSchools: This week, New York State United Teachers endorsed Jeff Klein, a Democratic state Senator from the Bronx with a reputation for rebuffing teachers union interests. Earlier this summer, Klein also took in money from StudentsFirstNY, a group that a union-backed coalition is attacking for its board members’ Republican ties.

Continue reading "AM News: Candidates Touch On Education issues" »

Five Best Blogs: VA Waiver Angers Black Caucus


New VA Standards Based On Race And Background Anger Black Caucus ow.ly/ddl0k #5bb

Everything You've Heard About Failing Schools Is Wrong | Mother Jones ow.ly/ddlIS #5bb@KristinaRizga

ALSO: RT @SuSaw: Leaders of #school turnarounds honored@TheWhiteHouse http://1.usa.gov/eQ3163 

Furious Debate Over "Pupil Progress" in CA | LA School Report ow.ly/ddce9 @LASchoolReport #5bb

Emory University gave out false GPA & SAT score dataTIME.com @kaylawebley #5bb ow.ly/ddpzq I blame USNews&WR. Or NCLB.

Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan Differ On Standardized Testing In Schoolsow.ly/dd0DW @Joy_Resmovits

No strike to interrupt the start of school in Chicago, but the violence continues to attract national attention ow.ly/dcXQr

Educators Have No Political Party Daily Kos http://ow.ly/dcWx1  #5bb Well, not like they used to :-)


Cartoons: "Climb That Tree"

What test should you give to a bird, a chimpanzee, a penguin, an elephant, a fish, a seal and a dog?  The tree climbing one, of course. 

Media: Who's On -- And Off -- The 2012 Klout List

Screen shot 2012-08-24 at 1.20.52 PMThe first rule of Klout is that Klout makes no sense and that anyone who brings it up automatically loses.  For example, I'm #17 on this year's version, up six spots from last year, but USA Today's Greg Toppo isn't even on there (The 30 Top Education Policy Tweeters).  Neither is Valerie Strauss, of the Washington Post. 

Indeed, some folks are listed quite high on the list -- Tom Vander Ark, Mike Klonsky -- whom I wouldn't consider especially influential (though Klonsky is admirably angry). Other notable exclusions include SLA's Chris Lehman. (Diane Ravitch is up there next to Arne Duncan,which is no surprise but still sort of saddening to me.) 

It's worth noting that the among the opinion writers the list is full of reform critics like Anthony Cody, TFT, etc.   -- which supports my December 2011 theory that reformers are way behind on social media (in favor of mainstream media, where they seem to dominate).

My post on this occasion from last year:  Ravitch Comparable To Krugman, Says Fordham

Quotes: Confessions Of A Second-Year Showboat

Quotes2I was a huge, international expert on pedagogy, classroom management, curriculum, and child development in my second year of teaching. Then, ten years later, I was mortified what an arrogant showboat I had been in the early years. - Chicago teacher blogger Tim Furman

Bruno: The Fixed Mindset Of TNTP's "The Irreplaceables"

3428588480_d8b20d36c4Would the folks at TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project) accept the argument that because many students of color and students from low-income households do not improve their academic achievement over time that we should not prioritize helping them do so? I doubt it, but I'm not sure how to make sense of their recent report on selectively retaining teachers who are most effective in the classroom without resorting to a similar sort of logic.

The Irreplaceables argues that one of the "fallacies" of teacher retention systems is the idea that "most low-performing teachers will improve to an acceptable level in the future". Their evidence is that, on average, low-performing teachers do not, in fact improve very much, even when their principals report that staff development is a high priority. 

In other words, TNTP is operating with a "fixed" theory of teaching ability rather than a "growth" theory, and they are doing so explicitly.

Continue reading "Bruno: The Fixed Mindset Of TNTP's "The Irreplaceables" " »

Morning Video: Obama Stumps Education In Ohio

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AM News: Education Peeks Out On The Campaign Trail

News2Obama pushes contrast on education in OhioNBC News: President Obama touts his education policy, contrasting his budget proposal to GOP vice presidential pick Paul Ryan. 

Obama Talks Waivers, Common Core on the Campaign Trail PoliticsK12: That changed yesterday in Nevada, when Obama gave what's probably his most significant speech on the issue during the campaign, bragging about everything from the administration's plan to offer states waivers from pieces of the No Child Left Behind law to the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Duncan addresses Baltimore County teachers Baltimore Sun: In remarks that elicited applause from 800 Baltimore County English teachers, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday that teachers should earn more and there should be more focus on educating the whole child. Duncan addressed the ...

R.I. Education Commissioner Diagnosed with Brain Tumor State EdWatch: Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and will undergo surgery in September, according to the Associated Press. She is expected to have a full recovery, but will be working a limited schedule until her operation. After her surgery, her recovery is expected to take about two months, during which time Deputy Commissioner David V. Abbott will be serving in her place.

Afternoon Video: An Anthem For Schoolyard Snacks


Kids in schools pretty much everywhere love Hot Cheetos, but LA  is the only place I've seen so many of those crazy, sticky Takis in the garish purple bag (mmmmm). And now they have their rightful place in this rap anthem to schoolyard snacks. Via Gawker Cross-posted at LASR.

Five Best Blogs: As If Obama-Romney Made *All* The Difference

Image015The Obama campaign came out yesterday with a new ad attacking Mitt Romney’s positions on education: http://ow.ly/dbEGV #5bb @wonkblog 

Obama's education reform record: worth crowing about | New York Daily News http://ow.ly/dbEkn @joshgreenman via @gothamschools #5bb

Five Things Government Does Better Than You Do http://ow.ly/dbEsi TAP #5bb Education is not one of them? 

CAP Report: How American Schools Are Short-Changing Students Of Color | ThinkProgress http://ow.ly/dbEwU #5bb

Racism Plays a Big Part in our Politics. Period. http://ow.ly/dbEDf #5bb @tanehisi 

Behind the Cover Story: Paul Tough on How Obama's Stance on Poverty Has Changed - NYTimes.com http://ow.ly/dbEPw #5bb

Quotes: "I *Know* Strange."

 Dad, image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comI go to public schoolI *know* strange.  -- Promo from new TV sitcom The Neighbors

Magazines: If Doctors Can Do It, So Can Teachers

image from www.newyorker.comLast week I tweeted out the arrival of Atul Gawande's recent New Yorker article about what the medical industry could learn from the restaurant chain called the Cheesecake Factory, suggesting that maybe there were things that the education industry could learn from the article as well: 

"In medicine, too, we are trying to deliver a range of services to millions of people at a reasonable cost and with a consistent level of quality. Unlike the Cheesecake Factory, we haven’t figured out how. Our costs are soaring, the service is typically mediocre, and the quality is unreliable. Every clinician has his or her own way of doing things, and the rates of failure and complication (not to mention the costs) for a given service routinely vary by a factor of two or three, even within the same hospital."

My goal is to make you see education everywhere, like I do, and to learn to ignore the events and coverage that are ostensibly about education but really offer little new or helpful. However, knowing that you are perhaps as lazy or even lazier than I am, I thought I'd lay out just what I learned from the article now that I finally had a chance to read through it.  If you're anything like me you'll experience recognition, rage, and some sense of what the education debate is missing.

“Customization should be five per cent, not ninety-five per cent, of what we do,” says one of the characters in Gawande's story. 

Continue reading "Magazines: If Doctors Can Do It, So Can Teachers" »

Thompson: Nobody Will Win The "Next" Reading Wars, Either

War is not healthy for children___I am impressed with everything in Kathleen Porter-Magee ‘s recent post called Common Core Opens the Second Front in the Reading Wars -- except for her conclusion. 

Porter-Magee’s overview of past and future “reading wars” provides a constructive format for discussion. I can’t agree, however, that, “No one likes war, but this is an important fight that’s worth having. And it’s one that has been put off for too long.” 

Too many “reformers” love our risk-free (for them) educational civil wars.  Common Core has potential but, like most conflicts, the battle it is prompting is not worth fighting. 

In the end, I predict, this second reading war will end in a draw.  When the dust settles, most will conclude (many reluctantly) that the decisions on instructional tactics must be made by teachers.  Even then, many “reformers” will reject that outcome and bide their time before launching another offensive against the professional autonomy of teachers.

Continue reading "Thompson: Nobody Will Win The "Next" Reading Wars, Either" »

Bruno: Your Tenure Reform Debate Is Overblown

2434803602_8b6041eb9fThe hot story in education reform this weekend was the news out of NYC that only 55% of eligible teachers made tenure this year. Tighter tenure requirements excite many reformers and terrify many reform critics, but what if tenure just doesn't matter that much and is (a little bit) good for everybody?

The intuitive assumption many tenure reformers make is that making it harder to get tenure means that many bad teachers will be less likely to earn it and thus more likely to be dismissed (and, presumably, replaced by better teachers.) On the flip side of the argument, supporters of traditional tenure rules assume that without tenure lots of effective teachers will lose their due process rights and be dismissed frivolously.

As I explain below, both of those assumptions are probably overblown, and the tenure reform debate may be distracting us from other, more important ways of making schools better.  

Continue reading "Bruno: Your Tenure Reform Debate Is Overblown" »

Update: TFA Questions Reuters Article

My-wicked-earl-02-large1Below is TFA's response to Stephanie Simon's article in Reuters last week in which the nonprofit expresses appreciation for Simon's focus on alumni impact but also claims that its internal reviews of effectiveness were underplayed and Heather Harding's comments were misunderstood. (They don't quibble with the charter placements number Simon used, which seemed pretty notable to me.)  

I don't know if this is new for TFA to respond to articles, or whether they even sent this out, but it's certainly an interesting peek into how the organization sees itself and how it reacts to media in 2012.  I can't wait for you to see my book chapter about TFA's earlier efforts at working the media (and political) machine, which is currently being edited and will be out in the early fall from AEI.

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AM News: Obama Wins PDK/Gallup Poll

News2Obama Pushes Contrast on Education in Ohio AP:  President Obama touts his education policy, contrasting his budget proposal to GOP vice presidential pick Paul Ryan.

Education Pundits Parse the PDK/Gallup Poll PoliticsK12: A poll released by Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup today reveals that while presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney gets the nod on the topic of public education among those identifying themselves as independents, President Barack Obama takes the lead among respondents overall. 

College-Bound Latino Students At New High NPR: More Latino students are enrolling in college now than ever before, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center. But Latinos still lag behind other groups in preparing for and completing college. Guest host Viviana Hurtado discusses the report's findings with Richard Fry of the Pew Hispanic Center and the College Board's Jim Montoya.

Sides dig in as Chicago teachers strike looms AP:  Teachers picketed outside a district office Wednesday in the shadow of a giant inflatable rat as school board members inside authorized spending $25 million in the event of the first Chicago teacher strike in a quarter-century....

Fla. Students Struggle Without Summer School NPR:  The school year has begun for most Florida students, but some are still trying to finish summer school. After years of budget cuts, many districts have eliminated or cut back summer school classes, leaving online school as the only option for students trying to make up courses they failed. Many have struggled with the online format and are entering the new school year still behind.

'Undroppable' puts focus on at-risk students USA Today: The film is part of a campaign to raise awareness about students failing to graduate from high school.

Continue reading "AM News: Obama Wins PDK/Gallup Poll" »

Update: Obama, Poverty, & The Harlem Children's Zone

Tumblr_m8yphtzCIJ1qf4hl5o1_250I'm away until Thursday -- feel free to post news links and comments for your fellow readers in my absence -- but will leave you with a couple of things to read and lots of opportunities to comment. First and foremost, you should check out Paul Tough's NYT Sunday Magazine look at Roseland and at young Barack Obama's notion that he could do more to alleviate poverty as a politician than as a community organizer  -- which at least so far hasn't happened. Also not to be missed -- and directly related -- is a recent Atlantic Cities blog post about why the Harlem Children's Zone, Geoff Canada's much-vaunted effort to provide wraparound services (including education), hasn't been replicated.  Tough wrote about the Harlem Children's Zone in several magazine articles and his 2008 book, Whatever It Takes. One way to read Tough's new piece is as a disappointed followup to all the hullabaloo surrounding the HCZ in 2008 and 2009.  Tough went on tour encouraging communities to try and replicate the HCA.  The Obama administration -- and the school reform community -- invited Canada to all its conferences but supported expansion of the initiative only minimally.  



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.