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People: Duncan Staffer Named One Of DC's "Hottest" (2013)

image from thehill.com
Paul Kendrick has been named to this year's edition of The Hill's 50 Most Beautiful. The single 29 year-old is from West Hartford and previously worked for Geoff Canada's Harlem Children's Zone. 

Hard as it may be to believe, but I did a popular and mildly controversial annual "Hot For Education" post during the early years of this site: 2009200820072005.

Check and see who's on the old lists, if they're still in education, and whether they're still hot (for education, at least). 

In 2010, I launched Hot For Education as a standalone Tumblr (with a 2012 Pinterest interlude).

Previous posts: Ed Finance Council Makes Hill Beauty ListPS22 Choir Instructor Tops Salon List

Afternoon Video: Paul Bruno Discusses Science Standards

Here's "This Week In Education" contributor Paul Bruno talking about the new science standards, for all of you who've been wondering what he looks and sounds like:


And here's his blog post about the experience.

Thompson: Fall Testing Is A Great Idea (Even If It Comes From TFA)

StopJustin “Juice" Fong, who runs internal communications at Teach for America, in his blog post A Simple Idea to Reform Standardized Testing, offers the single best idea that I have heard to end the educational civil war that is undermining sincere efforts both sides for improving schools. 

I just wish I had thought of it!

Fong would move testing to the beginning of the year. 

Tests could then be used for diagnostic purposes, and teachers could collaboratively engage in an item-by-item analysis in the first month of school. That would help them plan for the rest of the year.

Test results could still be used as one way to assess the quality of schools.  September testing would cut down on test prep, and might become a tool for preventing summer learning loss.  

Fong says that the scheduling change would be a productive way to “blur the lines that directly tie teacher performance to high stakes test scores.”

Continue reading "Thompson: Fall Testing Is A Great Idea (Even If It Comes From TFA)" »

Quotes: Bennett Claims "We Did Nothing Wrong."

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comWe did nothing wrong, we did nothing covert, we did nothing secretive. -- Former Indiana state education chief Tony Bennett via Politico

Morning Video: MSNBC Covers Tony Bennett Grade-Change Kerfluffle

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

AM News: So Much For Duncan's Layoff Predictions

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

Fewer Layoffs Than Expected, But Sequestration Still 'Heartbreaking' PoliticsK12: It is nearly August and students around the country are starting their back-to-school shopping. Most school districts have finished their budgets for the 2013-14 school year—and there still aren't many stories of massive layoffs or even major programmatic cuts due to the sequestration.

Ark. District Arming More Than 20 Teachers, Staff NBC: In strongly conservative Arkansas, where gun ownership is common and gun laws are permissive, no school district had ever used the law to arm teachers on the job, until now.

D.C. students reach new heights in annual standardized tests Washington Post: Students in the District’s traditional public schools scored higher than ever before on the city’s annual math and reading tests this year, and they also posted the largest single-year gain since 2008, according to results released Tuesday by Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D).

Review, Resignation Urged in Ind. Grading Flap ABC News: Ind. school grading case sparks calls for review, education chief's resignation in Florida.

Elite Colleges Differ on How They Aid Poor NYT: As colleges profess a growing commitment to recruiting poor students, a comparison of low-income enrollment shows wide disparities among the most competitive private institutions.

Education Department Picks New Leader for Early-Learning Office PoliticsK12: The department said in a press release Tuesday that Doggett will also work to promote the administration's proposal to distribute $75 billion to the states to bolster high-quality state prekindergarten programs. The proposal also would include increased investments in home-visiting programs and in Head Start, which is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Chobani awarded USDA school lunch Greek yogurt contract Dairy Reporter: Under the pilot program, the USDA will trial the addition of high-protein, low-fat Greek yogurt to the National School Lunch Program in New York, Idaho, Arizona, and Tennessee. Via Politico.

Ideas: The Limits Of A "Light Touch, High Tech" Approach

image from ksj.mit.eduIt's not the quality of the idea that determines how quickly it's implemented, or even its importance or ease that determines adoption, writes surgeon and writer Atul Gawande in his recent New Yorker feature that you should read (How Do Good Ideas Spread?).

Technology and cost aren't big factors, either.

It's persistent, in-person training and support -- ongoing mentoring, essentially, which includes developing a relationship between the mentor and mentee and also acknowledging that changing behavior is a complex and difficult thing to do.

"People talking to people is still how the world’s standards change."

Incentives are also extremely limited in their ability to affect behavioral changes, according to Gawande (who believes that behavioral change is a social process not an economic one).

Read on for some more tidbits, but I'd recommend the article to you  if you're a teacher, teacher leader, principal, or funder.

There's also a list of previous blog posts about Gawande's education-applicable writings.

Continue reading "Ideas: The Limits Of A "Light Touch, High Tech" Approach" »

Quotes: Who You Calling "Private"?

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comFor decades, school districts have been contracting with private bus companies, private cafeteria services, private textbook publishers, private clock makers... Somehow, those are considered acceptable for-profits but an online education company is not considered acceptable. -- Louisiana superintendent John White in Stephanie Simon's recent Politico article

Charts: 19 Waiver States Now Have Approved TVal Systems

Nclbwaivers-072913update (1) (1)
The yellow dots represent the 19 states with waivers that have also had their teacher evaluation systems approved, according to EdWeek. The green dots are those who have merely been approved for a waiver.  Everybody else is still operating under the original NCLB.

Morning Video: "The Best New Thing In The World Today"

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

"Melissa Harris-Perry celebrates the remarkable genius-level intellect of 4-year-old Anala Beevers, an African-American girl from New Orleans defying statistics and stereotypes." (New Orleans 4-year-old refreshingly hopeful)

AM News: High-Profile Indiana Charter School's Grade Changed

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comGOP donor's school grade changed AP: When it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett's education team frantically overhauled his signature "A-F" school grading system to improve the school's marks.

Louisiana reinvents high school with private sector help Politico: State Superintendent John White said Monday that nearly 3,000 students have enrolled in an array of private-sector classes that the state has agreed to pay for, from math and literature to Japanese and German to hair styling, welding and nail manicuring. 

Cities Begin Hiring Again WSJ: Cities across the U.S. are starting to hire new teachers, firefighters and police officers as a deep and prolonged slide in local-government employment appears to have bottomed out four years after the recession ended.

Common Core supporters say defections are no big deal Washignton Post: As lawmakers in Florida and Michigan debate whether to pull out from the new Common Core academic standards, states that have been writing the standards and related exams downplayed the defections as no big deal.

Continue reading "AM News: High-Profile Indiana Charter School's Grade Changed " »

Afternoon Video: Heard Of Carol Dweck "Yet"?


See other Dweck videos at GreatSchools here.

Previous posts:  Small Failures Lead To Big SuccessTeachers Should Praise Effort, Not Accomplishment 

Media: Here Comes Slate Education Podcasts

On air radioEducation writer Dana Goldstein told Facebook and Twitter last week that she was recording a series of education podcasts for Slate, including the flipped classroom, gifted ed, choosing a school, and international comparisons.  

It debuts in September, according to Goldstein.  

In simple terms, podcasts are like a radio show -- sometimes they feature much the same content that has been broadcast already -- except you can subscribe to them and play them whenever you want, download them, etc.

There are currently a handful of education podcasts out there, including Bloomberg EDU, Harvard's EdCast, BAM Radio Network, American Radio Works' weekly offering.  In addition, education is featured occasionally on This American Life.  

There have been along the way several other education-themed radio shows.  For a time, I hosted amonthly reporters' roundup on education, and for a much longer time John Merrow had an education show on NPR.

Any others out there that I'm missing, current or former?

Media: Top Ten Worst (Most Likely) Back To School Stories

image from concordiahanoi.orgEvery year, starting about now and lasting through Labor Day, public relations folks pitch (and editors bite) on back to school stories that are usually pretty badly executed.  

It's not that the topics are so bad but rather that the stories are usually so lightly reported and so overhyped, and often focus on what might happen or what's happening in a few places but not really many of them.

It's like education news in general, only worse than usual:

The usual reporter is away, or wishing she/he were away.

Things are slow particularly.  

No one can seem to resist (including me).

There are pages to fill.  

It's sort of expected -- I mean, how will everyone know that the school year is starting without a back to school story to tell them?

Here are my predictions for some of this year's worst (and most likely) items.  

What am I missing or getting wrong?

Continue reading "Media: Top Ten Worst (Most Likely) Back To School Stories" »

Morning Video: Retired Educator Scolds Mayoral Candidate

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“Had I conducted myself in the manner in which you conducted yourself, my job would have been gone,” said Brunda, a teacher of three decades. “I don’t quite understand how you would feel you would have the moral authority as the head administrator in this city to oversee employees when your standard of conduct is so much lower than the standard of conduct that’s expected of us.”

AM News: NC Ends Teachers' Masters Degree "Bump"

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Parent Trigger Law changes failing Adelanto school into new charter San Bernardino Sun: The parents chose Tarver, whose LaVerne Preparatory Academy in nearby Hesperia also serves a predominantly poor population. But LEPA's test scores are in an entirely different league than Desert Trails': The school received a 911 API score in 2012.

What Could a U.S. Sen. Cory Booker Mean for K-12 Policy? Politics K12: Booker has a commanding lead in the August 13 Democratic primary against U.S. Reps. Rush Holt and Frank Pallone. And he appears likely to trounce his GOP opponent in the special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat.

Sequestration hits poor Hispanics hard The Seattle Times: No comments have been posted to this article. ... Matt Barreto, a Latino politics expert at the University of Washington, said: “Almost everyone saying the sequester didn't seem so bad is an upper-middle-class professional, college-educated white person.

North Carolina Ends Pay Boosts for Teacher Master's Degrees Wall Street Journal: Gov. Pat McCrory, shown earlier this month, said in a statement that the 2013-2015 budget 'maintains public investments in education.'

With honeymoon over, expectations rise for Montgomery County schools chief Washington Post: When Joshua P. Starr first took over as Montgomery County school superintendent, he dedicated his time to understanding the community and unraveling the mechanics behind the district’s successes.

Continue reading "AM News: NC Ends Teachers' Masters Degree "Bump"" »

Afternoon Video: Fake Movie Trailer For "Daria's High School Reunion"


"High school was like the Civil War...." Gothamist: Aubrey Plaza Plays Daria In Fake Daria Movie, Because Obviously

Media: Early Reactions To Politico's $8,000 / Year Education Page*

Screen shot 2013-07-26 at 3.22.31 PMFive days in, here's what little we know about Politico's new 'pro" education page:

The morning roundup has been good (and arrives super-early) but nothing spectacular.

Libby Nelson and Nirvih Shah have penned a handful of items.

Stephanie Simon's first story (on the parent trigger) came out today. (A Hechinger story on the trigger also came out.)*

Perhaps the highlight of the first week wasn't a story but rather a snippy exchange between Kady and EdWeek (see image).

Meanwhile, Politico won't tell me (or apparently anyone else) how much it will cost to get the pro education offerings:

"Subscription fees vary based on the type of organization (government, nonprofit and so on) and how many employees it has, as well as the number of coverage areas an organization wants, according to paidContent.  "Nieman Journalism Lab reported last year that an individual subscription starts at $3,295 a year, with group memberships starting at $8,000 for five people and one coverage area."

I'm sure there are for-profits and major nonprofits out there who can afford that kind of money, or will be attracted by the shiny new appeal of the Politico page, sort of like Google Glass (or a Tesla).

Continue reading "Media: Early Reactions To Politico's $8,000 / Year Education Page*" »

Update: Goodbye (& Good Luck) To LA School Report

Here's a copy of an email that I sent earlier this morning to a handful of LA educators, advocates, and journalists I've been working with for the past 18 months:


Friends and colleagues:

As you may already know, my stint building and running LA School Report ended earlier this month, just short of the site's first anniversary.

In December 2011, longtime Democratic political activist Jamie Alter Lynton called me wanting help getting a new local education site started.

She had the energy and resources to help get something up and running.  I had the know-how to make it happen.

Lynton initially wanted the site to be advocacy-based, providing readers with enough information to get them to do something (sign a petition, call a politician, appear at an event, donate to a campaign); however I was able to convince her that an independent news site covering all sides fairly would be more effective in the long run (and was necessary to attract quality writers).

When it came time to launch the site last summer, Lynton asked me to take the reins.

Continue reading "Update: Goodbye (& Good Luck) To LA School Report" »

Quotes: Why Are We Talking About Georgia So Much?

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comWell, if nobody is actually dropping the Core standards, why does it matter if they're dropping the test? - NPR's Robert Seigel on All Things Considered

Morning Video: For-Profit Colleges Under Scrutiny (Again)

Watch Educating Sergeant Pantzke on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Via PBS Frontline

AM News: Texas Eases Testing Burden -- For Older Students

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comTexas’ Bid to Ease Mandatory Exams for Public School Students Texas Tribune: Despite sharply reducing state testing requirements for Texas high school students, the 83rd Legislature brought only conditional relief from high-stakes exams for students in lower grades, who take a total of 17 state tests before going to high school.

KIPP builds college pipeline through written agreements Washington Post: The University of Pennsylvania last year had seven undergraduates who hailed from a national charter-school network that educates children from families of modest means.

Common Core Could Be Disrupted As States Drop Out Of PARCC  NPR: In addition to Georgia, a handful of other states — Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and Alabama — have dropped out of or scaled back their participation in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness in College and Career (PARCC) consortium. Florida's education commissioner is mulling a similar decision. We discuss what it could mean for the success of the standards.

Video: Go Cali! Nation's top two schools aren’t Ivy League NBC: According to Forbes, for the first time ever, the top two colleges in the nation are both from California, and neither is Ivy League. The TODAY anchors reveal the top schools and what the price tag is for a top-ranked education.

Sequester hits DOD-run schools Politico: Although the 200 schools run by the Defense Department plan to make the start of the year as smooth as possible, students will be out of school for five days between the start of classes and Sept. 21 because of employee furloughs that affect teachers, principals, and other school employees.

TFA Corps Members Won't Take Chicago Jobs Huffington Post: In his Q&A, Anderson responded to these criticisms, explaining that because the these positions are being eliminated, it is impossible for a TFA corps member to fill them. He also noted that, despite layoffs, CPS will still be hiring next year. Further, he noted that CPS principals are under no obligation to hire TFA corps members, and if they choose not to, then CPS will not pay the organization in full.

Maher: Raising Standards While Making the Profession Less Desirable

This is a guest post from Michael Maher [@mj_maher], who works at the NC State College of Education:

Nc_stateI’m not one to decry higher standards, for teachers and teacher education, but one has to wonder how we will continue to staff public school classrooms as North Carolina further disincentivizes the profession while increasing standards for future teachers.  

Here’s a little bit of what the NC General Assembly has done this legislative session that impacts public school teachers:

  1. Elimination of tenure in favor of contracts up to 4 years (with performance measures not yet defined)
  2. No raises again this year:  teachers have received a 1% raise over the past 5 years, resulting in NC slipping to 48th in average teacher salary in America
  3. Elimination of supplemental pay for master’s degrees
  4. Reduction in teacher assistant funding by 21%.  Some schools use 2 TA positions to fund 1 teaching position.  This results in larger class sizes.
  5. Phase out of the NC Teaching Fellows Program while funding Teach For America at $12 million.

At the same time, we see a push toward raising standards, including a series of new tests and requirements for teacher preparation programs. 

To be admitted to a teacher preparation program, students will now be required to complete the new Praxis I Pre Professional Skills Test.  According to ETS, these tests have been designed to be a “more rigorous and comprehensive series of Assessments”. 

Additionally, to be licensed as an elementary or special education teacher, graduates will be required to complete the new North Carolina Foundations of Reading/General Curriculum tests .  The new tests, based on the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure, have been deemed decidedly more rigorous than the existing Praxis II tests.

It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t believe in high standards and accountability for teachers and schools.  Becoming a teacher should be a rigorous process, and we should be doing all we can to entice our “best and brightest” into the profession. 

But in order to do that, we need to provide our teachers with the best possible teaching and learning environments, incentivize entrance and continuing education (graduate degrees and scholarship programs), and pay them like professionals. -- MM @mj_maher 

Media: Who Are Education's Biggest Trolls (Besides Me)?

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comUsed to be, the term "troll" was a pejorative term limited to commenters who wrote inflammatory responses to blog posts, hijacking threads and getting everyone all angry and red-cheeked.

(v.) (1) To deliberately post derogatory or inflammatory comments to a community forum, chat room, newsgroup and/or a blog in order to bait other users into responding.

These days, as this Salon article points out (Everything is “trolling” now), bloggers and writers who tend towards inflammatory blog posts and articles are considered trolls, too.

It's a compliment, of sorts.

To some extent, the term's expanded use reflects the reality that publishers and respondents share many of the same goals these days -- to win your attention and response.

It's also a result of the flattening effect of social media -- publishers, writers, and respondants are all operating in the same spaces now (ie, Twitter, Facebook).

I'm as guilty of trolling as anyone else. A reader of my Chicago site wrote in not too long ago that I "trolled like a boss," which was meant as an insult but felt like a compliment.

So, who are education's biggest trolls? Read on for the list, tell me who I'm missing and I'll add them in an update. Yes, I'm trolling you with this post.

Continue reading "Media: Who Are Education's Biggest Trolls (Besides Me)?" »

Morning Video: Common Core = Nazism, Obama Indoctrination!!?


Frightened about what the Common Core is going to mean? You will be after watching this video (via a friend)

AM News: States Sticking With Common Core, Survey Says

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comState education officials: We’re sticking with Common Core Washington Post: As the political debate swirls in some statehouses over the Common Core math and reading standards, most state education officials responsible for implementing the new K-12 standards are confident that their states will stick with the program, according to a survey released Wednesday.

Gates Announces $15M in Professional-Development Grants TeacherBeat: Its education wing today announced the awarding of more than $15 million in "Innovative Professional Development" grants over a three-year period. The funds will be split among the Fresno, Calif.; Long Beach, Calif; and Jefferson County, Colo., districts, with each receiving about $5 million.

Senate Approves College Student Loan Plan Tying Rates to Markets NYT: The plan would tie interest rates for student loans to the financial markets and brings Congress close to resolving a dispute that caused rates to double on July 1.

Obama Stumps for Education Spending, Pre-K PoliticsK12: "If you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much ignorance costs in the 21st century," the president said in prepared remarks released in advance of the speech at Knox College in Illinois. "If we don't make this investment, we'll put our kids, our workers, and our country at a competitive disadvantage for decades."

Obama Promises 'Aggressive Strategy' For Higher Education NPR: Renee Montagne talks to The Wall Street Journal's David Wessel about a shift in the Obama administration's approach to higher education, which the president alluded to in his economic speech on Wednesday.

Can an algorithm ID high school drop outs in first grade? Hechinger: Early warning systems to detect high-school drop outs are all the rage in education data circles. See this post on a new early warning system in Wisconsin. Like the Wisconsin example, most data systems focus on identifying middle school students. But what if researchers could use grades, attendance and behavior data to identify at-risk students as soon as possible — as early as first grade? That would really give counselors more time to try to motivate these kids and keep them in school!

Transgender teen may use boys' locker room Politico: The first-of-its-kind decision from the agencies tasks the Arcadia school district outside Los Angeles to change district policies and practices to accommodate the rising ninth-grade student. Teachers and staff must be trained in how to prevent gender discrimination, and federal agencies will be keeping tabs on the district through at least 2016.

Bruno: What's The Point Of Teach For America?

2281095105_fcae401f97I liked John's post about Teach for America and the "burden of proof". Experimenting in education is fine, but when a reform group commands as many resources as - for example - TfA, it really does have some obligation to prove its worth.

What complicates things is that it's not at all clear what Teach for America is trying to prove in the first place.

You might assume that the point of TfA is to staff classrooms with high-quality teachers. This is the commonsense view, and Teach for America encourages it in a variety of ways, for example by touting any research indicating that corps members are about as effective in the classroom as other teachers.

Arguably, the fact that TfA teachers are (roughly) as effective as traditionally-certified teachers reflects poorly on traditional teacher preparation. 

That does not, however, "prove" that Teach for America is a worthwhile reform initiative.

If TfA teachers are of average effectiveness but have higher rates of turnover - which is both financially costly and bad for student achievement - then the program as a whole is not obviously an improvement over the status quo.

More to the point, Teach for America conspicuously fails to include "staffing classrooms with high-quality teachers" as part of its mission. To the extent that its stated mission focuses on teacher supply at all, it is in the context of giving future "leaders" a little bit of teaching experience before they go into something else (ideally) education-related.

But if "the point" of TfA is to incubate future education leaders and innovators, what does their burden of proof consist of?

They offer as evidence much less research on this issue, and what they do offer is much more vague. There is some evidence that corps members are substantially more optimistic about the prospects for disadvantaged students and somewhat more likely to be involved in education in one way or another.

Still, it's not clear what those impacts of TfA amount to in practice. Presumably we should care not just about whether more people are more interested in education, but also about exactly what they're doing and whether educational outcomes are in fact improving as a result.

And it also matters whether the best way to go about recruiting future leaders is to develop an entirely new, elaborate alternative-certification scheme rather than simply recruiting from the pool of existing teachers.

Not only has Teach for America failed to meet that burden of proof, they haven't even adequately specified what would count as success. - PB (@MrPABruno) (image source)

Charts: Roughly Half PARCC States Save On Testing

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"For 10 states, PARCC appears to be a net savings (the states with the negative sign in front of their number), while 11 states would likely see testing costs rise." (Chad Adelman Perspective on PARCC’s Price)

Media: Nate Silver To Education's Rescue?

NorthvssouthBlogger and statistician Nate Silver is leaving the New York Times for ESPN, and as Larry Ferlazzo has already pointed out Silver apparently may do more writing about education in his new home.  

That's good news for all of us who're bored or disappointed in what the current crop of pundits and analysts have to say.  Especially if Silver agrees with us!  

Even before this latest move, education types have attempted to lure Silver into education's black hole, including Why Nate Silver Can Save Math Education in America (Mindshift), and Uber-Statistician Dismisses Value-Added (Based On Hunches (This Week In Education).  I'm sure there have been and will be more in weeks to come.

It should be noted that Silver doesn't actually do much data gathering himself, but rather creates models based on others' data.  The Washington Post's Ezra Klein makes the point here, calling Silver an innovator and journalist as much as a math wizard. "Lots of people can run the numbers. But Silver can use those numbers to tell readers an engaging, fast-paced and constantly changing story about subjects they care about. That’s a rare talent."  

In that sense, he's somewhat like Malcolm Gladwell, who popularized others' research, or Paul Tough, who explains complex research and brings it to life. But this also means that Silver will be limited by the data that are available. There's arguably more -- and better -- data on sports and politics than on education. 

Morning Video: Families Spending Less For College

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AM News: While States Wobble, Teachers Train For Common Core

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Teachers Hit The Books To Master New Education Standards NPR: School systems nationwide are scrambling to prepare teachers to implement new education standards known as the Common Core.

Common Core academic standards failing the test? Politico: States have cited a number of reasons for pulling out of the two consortia developing the new exams, due to roll out in the 2014-15 school year. A big one: Sticker shock. A related concern surfaced this spring, when several states tried online testing and experienced major glitches.

White House Ratchets Up Pressure To Pass Student Loan Deal Huffington Post:  The White House is scrambling to keep a preliminary deal on student loan interest rates from imploding, people familiar with the efforts said Tuesday, pressuring reluctant lawmakers and student advocates to support the proposal while publicly downplaying projections that borrowing costs will rise in as little as two years.

Education Overhaul Faces a Test of Partisanship NYT: The House passed a bill aimed at amending No Child Left Behind. But no Democrat voted for the bill, and the Obama administration has threatened to veto it.

How Did Sequestration Impact K-12 Schools? Politics K12: One possible reason for the lack of anxiety: States are generally much more fiscally fit than they were in past years, Griffith says. "People tend to look at the bottom line for all education spending and most states had a decent budget year. ... They increased education spending and that might cover up the sequestration cuts."

Maryland’s new approach to student discipline moves closer to approval Washington Post: Maryland education officials proposed a new set of school discipline regulations Tuesday that aim to scale back on suspensions, keep students in class, reduce racial disparities in punishment and take a more positive approach to behavior issues.

Students Recall Special Schools Run Like Jails NYT: Boarding schools that are part of a “tough love” network based in Utah are coming under fire for accusations that the troubled youth in their care were routinely abused.

Afternoon Video: Weingarten's "Find Another Job" Speech

Campaign 2013: Former StudentsFirst Flack Stumbles In NYC

Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 2.04.05 PMFormer StudentsFirst communications guy Hari Sevugan (left) hadn't been spokesperson for Eliot Spitzer very long before he went too far (on Twitter) trying to champion his boss against hometown favorite Scott Stringer.  

Sevugan, formerly of the DNC and then StudentsFirst, sent a back-handed compliment to his counterpart, Audrey Gelman (right), on the occasion of her being named to a Politico list of notables (50 Politicos to Watch) that Sevugan himself had been part of four years ago. 

But it was all apparently too much, too fast for the thin-skinned NYC crowd, creating an outcry against the DC interloper and an eventual apology. Stringer allies have good reason to feel sensitive these days, given how Spitzer has parachuted into the Comptrollers race and taken an immediate lead in the polls, so perhaps Sevugan will have the last laugh.

Read all about it here (Passive-Aggressive Spitzer Tweet Sparks All-Out Flack War) or perhaps you have better things to do.  

Thompson: Oklahoma Educators Praise and Condemn Common Core

Keep-calm-and-let-me-have-my-own-opinionDuring the recent Oklahoma Forum on Common Core, I kept recalling the way that I went back and forth on the issue, listening to all sides before reaching the conclusion that I would have liked to have supported the standards were it not for the high-stakes testing that will accompany them.

I was most impressed by the president of  Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Everett Piper, who opposed Common Core and called for a return to liberal arts education and the clash of ideas.

I disagreed with Jenni White of Restore Oklahoma Public Education but she did a good job of presenting a conservative argument against Common Core.

So, I checked out her blog, ROPE. Its graphic read, "Keep Calm and Let Me Have My Own Opinion."

I am willing to listen and work with another Forum panelist, Amber England of Stand for Children (who supported Common Core), on the issue where we agree - early education.  And, I'd work with the Tea Party in opposing federal overreach.

Bu  I do not know what to think about panelist Ann Caine, the superintendent of Stillwater Public Schools. Common Core is good for kids, Caine asserted, "End of the discussion."  -- JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via. 

Quotes: A "General Lack of Data" on Discipline

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comThe want for hard numbers is consistent with a general lack of data on school discipline issues. Through its Office for Civil Rights Data Collection, the Department of Education records figures on suspensions but not on interrogations. - From The American Prospect's Teacher, May I Plead the Fifth?

Morning Video: Meet The New Politico Education Team


"Pro editor Marty Kady leads a roundtable discussion with education editor Nirvi Shah and reporters Libby Nelson and Stephanie Simon on changes to Common Core, the status of legislation to overhaul No Child Left Behind, and the deal on student loans."

AM News: Duncan Focuses On Preschool Rather Than NCLB Rewrite

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In Denver, Duncan promotes preschool expansion and K-12 tax measure EdNews Colorado: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Friday asked Colorado voters to support President Barack Obama’s attempt to expand access to early-childhood education and endorsed efforts here to pass a $950 million tax increase to overhaul the state’s school financing system.

GOP education bill comes under fire from House Democrats Washington Post: Underpinning the law is a belief that states that receive billions of federal dollars each year must be made accountable to Washington. The GOP bill takes a different tack, returning power to the states.

Overhaul of No Child Left Behind law expected to have little impact in Kansas The Kansas City Kansan: No Child Left Behind is the name of the 2001 federal law to reauthorize the 1960s-era Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the basic law that distributes much of the money the federal government sends to states and local districts through programs

Texas Seeks Waiver from Feds on Test Exemptions EdWeek: On the heels of a significant reduction in the number of required end-of-course tests in Texas high schools, Lone Star State education officials are awaiting word from the U.S. Department of Education on their plan to reduce the number of tests high-performing elementary and middle school students must take.

Church, junior high help out Moore, Okla., schools AP: School officials in the Oklahoma city of Moore say students whose schools were destroyed in the deadly May tornado will attend classes next month in a refurbished junior high school building and a local church....

How Much Will New Common Tests Cost States? EdWeek: Resident Common-Core Queen Catherine Gewertz has the full scoop over at Curriculum Matters.

Textbook publishers revamp ebooks to fight used market Reuters: A booming market in recent years for selling and renting used college textbooks has saved students across the United States a ton of cash. 

No Evidence Harvard Officials Read Faculty E-Mails, Report Says NYT: A review commissioned by the university found that administrators involved in searching faculty e-mail accounts did not believe they were violating privacy rules.

Afternoon Video: Should Spanish-Speaking Students Be Taught in English Only?

Watch Should Spanish-Speaking Students Be Taught in English Only? on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

PBS NewsHour | July 18, 2013 | PBS.

Thompson: TFA & The Burden Of Proof

TfaA light went on when I first read the opinion of a labor economist, whom I greatly respect, when he argued that it was unclear that school reformers have the burden of proof.

It is understandable that non-educators might not judge the contemporary school improvement movement as a failure if they believe that the educational status quo is so rotten that its unintended negative consequences should be discounted.

People who never set foot in the inner city classroom might be agnostic about the modest benefits of accountability-driven “reform,” if they remain unaware of the harm that it inflicted on the most challenging schools  

It is upsetting, however, that a person who actually spent three years in the classroom would seem to claim that outsiders seeking to impose their opinions on schools do not carry the burden of proof.  But, that is what TFA Co-CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard did in her address Fighting the Wrong Enemy. She was not explicit in defining who the defenders of the status quo are, but she implied that they are opponents of Teach For America, charter schools, Bill Gates or standardized testing.

Ms. Beard was firing up a crowd of alumni. It would be doubly upsetting if she used such rhetoric for a crowd that included young teachers.  Veteran teachers should unite in explaining to the newbies that the first rule of teaching should be, “First, Do No Harm.”

Teachers and school reformers need to understand that it is better to slow down and avoid mistakes rather than clean up afterwards. Children aren't lab rats. Who would want our own family’s school leaders to deny that they have a burden of proof, as they roll the dice in an experiment that might benefit a daughter a little as it damages a son?-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.

Quotes: District Teacher Feels Shunned By Charter Students

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comI’ll say good morning to charter school kids. They don’t know if it’s okay to say hello to me. The message is that they are better than us--  LAUSD teacher Eddie Rivas, about sharing a campus with a charter school (via The Frying Pan)

Media: Politico's Education Page Launches

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As I mentioned last week, Politico's education page launched this morning. The mission statement:

"Education Pro’s focus is “cradle to career”: pre-K through higher ed, featuring policy news from Congress, the Education Department, the White House and the states. Our promise here at Morning Education is to cut through the clutter and the rhetoric and offer you exclusive reporting and incisive analysis on education policy, while making sure we share all the “must reads” from our fellow education reporters around the country."

It's not yet clear what Team Politico will offer that's going to be different from what's already out there, but the new energy and focus will likely deliver some early tidbits. 

Today's roundup, for example, includes a tidbit about the scoring costs of new Common Core assessments -- and a Arne Duncan basketball highlight reel via the Washington Post (looks like the EdSec is nursing a calf or Achilles injury) -- but there are also lots of items you've already seen here, or at GothamSchools, or etc.

There's no mention so far today of the mystery reporter that I kept hearing would be announced along with the four already named.  Maybe that will happen later, or fell through.  Four folks fulltime on education is a pretty decent-sized team, anyway.  More to come -- I've asked Politico for an interview and will see what I can find out.  

You can check out its inaugural morning roundup here POLITICO Morning Education and sign up for the newsletter (which requires membership registration). 

As with the Huffington Post education page, there will likely be a honeymoon period and then pressure to rack up viewers and scoops. Crossed fingers it all works out.  

Previous posts: Politico Launching "Pro" Education Site Monday

Morning Video: Kid President Going On Summer Vacation

Oh, no -- Kid President is going to summer camp and taking a little vacation from his regular videos.  How will we make it until he returns?

AM News: Chicago, Duncan, & Vallas

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

Chicago Schools Hit With New Round Of Layoffs NPR: Chicago's school district is laying off 2,000-plus workers, more than 1,000 of them are teachers... Chicago Public Schools is blaming this round of layoffs on the schools' $1 billion budget deficit and the lack of pension reform.

US Schools Chief Arne Duncan Labors to Straddle Political Divide Wall Street Journal: In a miasma of partisanship on virtually every front, education stands out as an issue where partisan lines are bent in strange directions and odd-bedfellow relationships are forming.

Change Agent in Education Collects Critics in Connecticut Town NYT: Paul G. Vallas, a state-appointed superintendent in Bridgeport, Conn., faces the prospect of being driven out by a vitriolic crowd unhappy with his agenda.

Poll: Parents don’t support many education policy changes WashPost: Most parents with children in public schools do not support recent changes in education policy, from closing low-performing schools to shifting public dollars to charter schools to private school vouchers, according to a new poll to be released Monday by the American Federation of Teachers.

Down in the Delta, Outsiders Who Arrived to Teach Now Find a Home NYT: An influx of young, university-trained arrivals affiliated with Teach for America has flowed into the Delta, planting roots and hoping to make a difference.

Law on Racial Diversity Stirs Greenwich Schools NYT: Connecticut limits racial deviations in enrollment within school districts, and that has challenged a town with geographic divides in its population.

Despite Education Advances, a Host of Afghan School Woes NYT: It is widely accepted that demand among Afghans for better schooling — and the actual opportunity to attend, particularly for girls — is at its highest point in decades.


AM News: Social Media Friday

It's too hot for blogging, but I'll be on Twitter @alexanderrusso which also posts to Facebook.

Afternoon Video: Thug Notes Version of "Lord Of The Flies"

Thompson: DFER's Barone Comes Clean About NCLB's True Purpose

RejectOne good thing about Charlie Barone of the Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) is that he doesn't mince words. 

In his recent post, Test Mania A Mere Symptom of Bipolar Policy Disorder, Barone replies to Brent Staples' The Trouble With Testing Mania.

Staples’ New York Times editorial cautiously and constructively criticized testing gone wild. 

Some "reformers" might have stuck with their party line that the ultimate purpose of test-driven accountability is helping children. 

Instead, Barone admits that testing and test prep has stolen time from instruction. But he claims that teachers also waste class time showing movies, texting, sleeping, and with “teacher student underage sex.”

Barone, an author of NCLB, does not claim an educational reason for its test-driven accountability. He bluntly acknowledges that the purpose of testing-driven reforms was "differentiating between effective and ineffective teachers and between successful and failing education systems."  

In theory, that could have helped more students than it hurt, but Barone is not very curious about why NCLB accountability failed.

Continue reading "Thompson: DFER's Barone Comes Clean About NCLB's True Purpose" »

Quotes: CORE NCLB Waiver Treats Educators "As An Afterthought"

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comAny effort at “whole system reform” must include “educators and their representatives, as well as other stakeholders, in meaningful decision-making roles throughout the process … not as an afterthought.” -- Local California union presidents in letter opposing CORE NCLB waiver application (in EdSource Today)

Media: Politico Launching "Pro" Education Site Monday

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Starting on Monday, July 22, Politico is adding "Morning Education" to its growing list of "pro" (subscription) services, according to a somewhat incoherent note on the site.
Having already conquored/ruined political news coverage with its free offerings, Politico recently announced it would offer premium ("pro") services, including 3 subject-specific verticals (trade, ag, and education).   The New York Times wrote about it here. Politico posted job announcements for reporters and editor.
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According to her Twitter bio, newly-hiredLibby Nelson (@libbyanelson, formerly of Inside Higher Ed) will be part of the new team, which I'm told also includes EdWeek's Nirvi Shah as editor, plus former WSJ and Reuters reporter Stephanie Simon@StephanieSimon_)  a web producer named Caitlin Emma and a mystery reporter to be named Monday. 
"I’m excited to work with a team of top-notch education reporters to launch a new coverage area for Politico," Simon wrote me by email.  "Politico is eager to lead in covering not just federal legislation, but also state policies and the politics of ed reform. We can’t wait to get started."
There will be lots of attention when the new site launches, but the longer term question is whether Politico will be able to draw enough subscribers who think it's worth paying a big chunk of extra for information that may or may not be available for free (or much less) here, or at EdWeek, Fritzwire, National Journal, etc.  
There have been various attempts at creating subscription-based information sources on education policy in DC.  When it first launched in 2010, Whiteboard Advisors said they would charge for their insiders' report, which is now given away for free. Subscriptions are more common since then, generally, but nonprofit news sites are also more common.  
We'll see how it goes.  For now, at least, it's exciting and fun.  Where can I get my complimentary subscription? Left to right, that's Nelson, Simon, and Shah above.

Morning Charts: Labor PACs Remain, No Longer Dominant

image from cdn.theatlantic.com
Back in the day, labor PACs spent more than corporate groups and nearly as much as trade groups, notes The Atlantic's David Graham.  (And they still spend a lot of money.)  It's just that trade and especially corporate PACs have risen sharply. Via The Atlantic.

Morning Video: "Cultural Disconnect" Highlighted In Martin Trial

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

"Sharpton asked Jeantel about the “cultural disconnect” between her and many of the people who watched her testify on TV, noting that he didn’t have any trouble understanding her when she spoke."



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.