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Five Best Blogs: "Disruptiness" In Education Reform

Singinintherain Disruptiness in K-12 Sherman Dorn: To wave one's hand and ignore either the history of public-private interfaces in education or the history of problems with unregulated privatization is foolhardy... First Year of Teacherpocalypse EIA:  Hiring 81,000 people one year and laying off 31,000 the next is the hallmark of a system in which there is no direct relationship between the size of the workforce and the mission it undertakes... Dear Diane: Education Next: After several years (more or less) of fairly relentless criticisms of school reformers, she is back to her old self today, telling the New York Times that the new NAEP history  test results are “alarming.”... “I Used to Think . . . And Now I Think . . .” Harvard Education Letter: I used to think that policy was the solution. And now I think that policy is the problem... When you actually know the topic about which The Economist writes:  Schools aren’t being shuttered willy-nilly, leaving little Johnnies and little Susies without... Fact Checking the National Council on Teacher Quality John Thompson: The problems are always the same - education schools, due process, not enough performance pay, and the failure to use enough standardized testing when evaluating teachers... 


NCLB: Waiver Debate, Week Two

DiscmanAnother mini-roundup of NCLB waiver commentary and analysis, though the issue seems pretty dead to me:  Can We Get 'Plain Writing' on Duncan's NCLB Waiver Plan? Politics K12:  How about Duncan explains what he means by "regulatory relief" in exchange for a "basket of reforms"... Reauthorize, Reauthorize, Reauthorize CAP: The secretary should grant waivers, not regulatory relief... The Regulation Threat Sandy Kress:  Every major administrative step the Administration has taken has had a weakening effect. And it appears that - for a favored few - more is in store...  Reauthorization, Waivers, and the Third Variable Problem DFER:  The decibel level from the usual suspects inside the Beltway is enough to rattle anyone's nerves, especially those new to the game... States Take the Lead on Accountability CCSSO Press release: Federal action must support, not hinder, state leadership on next-generation accountability systems and provide states with room to promote continuous innovation.  None of the Above The American Prospect: Next month, the National Education Association (NEA), the country’s largest teachers union, which has called for an overhaul, will decide at its convention whether to endorse Barack Obama in 2012... For additional takes on the issue see National Journal here.

Five Best Blogs: "Sorry About Your Burning Village"

Dance_steps_multiple_small Unions Assail Duncan's NCLB 'Regulatory Relief' Scheme Teacher Beat:  NEA wants the whole law waived, no strings attached! AFT probably feels like it's more likely to get changes to its liking through a rewrite than through a waivers-and-strings approach... Sorry About Your Burning Village Cato:  Most people in education policy pick and choose when they’ll invoke the Constitution based on whether or not they like what the Feds are doing or are proposing to do...  The No Child Left Behind Showdown Rotherham:  If the almost universal unpopularity of Duncan's proposal ends up bringing people together and energizing the legislative process, then it's a clever act of leadership... Stop blaming teachers for poor student performance Baltimore Sun:  The entire focus of President Barack Obama's educational policy is to replace public schools with charter and non-union schools... Younger People Have The Most Favorable View Of Labor Unions Matthew Yglesias: This may just be that young people are more left-wing in general. Or it may be that older cohorts’ views of labor unions are very impacted by labor’s role in the inflation of the 1970s... Do American Schoolkids Suck at History? Mother Jones:  American schoolkids aren't getting any worse at history. It's also clear that the history profession has a very high bar for what it considers minimal proficiency in U.S. history...  Tiger Mom's Daughter Was Valedictorian Gawker:  Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, perfect Chinese daughter of tiger mom Amy Chua, gave the valedictory speech at her high school graduation. 


Five Best Blogs: (Not About Duncan's Waiver Proposal)

100927_talkcmmntillus_p233 The 14 Biggest Ideas of the Year The Atlantic:  The conservative damning of the public unions was not entirely wrong, but it was crucially incomplete... NPR Gives Up On CFHS Tom Hoffman: Out of all the schools in the state, CFHS's turnaround should have been approached with care and caution, not haste... Full disclosure is fine with us NCTQ:  The belief that the teaching profession is way overdue for significant reform in how we recruit, prepare, retain, and compensate teachers is no longer partisan... 10 Things A Good Business Article About K12 Would Cover Tom Vander Ark:  Last week John Hechinger posted a lame wandering attack on learning online, K12 in particular, and oddly one early investor in the public company, Michael Milken...Do You Know More U.S. History Than a High Schooler? Atlantic: In 2010, American students appear to be worse at U.S. history than any other subject. Naturally, we wondered how hard these questions could be--and, to be honest, some are difficult... High-School Confidential New Yorker:  I was an awkward child. Tall, gangly, and, like everyone else in my family, severely myopic... 

Best Five Blogs: Does *Anyone* Like Duncan's Waiver Idea?

image from www.goldminemag.com

I mean, besides the bureaucrats?  If so, I can't find any:  Will States Accept Duncan-Style Reforms for NCLB Relief? EdWeek:  He offered so few details about what that relief would look like that the reporters spent much of the call flummoxed over what the news actually was... Duncan's Disregard for the Constitution Rick Hess:  Our earnest Secretary of Education, who famously (and bizarrely) promised Congress a billion-dollar edu-bonus if it reauthorized NCLB by the administration's deadline and to the President's satisfaction, was back at it on Friday... Duncan Wants to Use NCLB Sanctions to Force More Education Reform Measures FireDogLake: This just sounds like another version of Race to the Top, only a bit worse... What’s Plan C Anyway? Eduwonk:  Congress doesn’t like being preempted – and there is, of course, a natural tension between two co-equal branches of government.  But there are also a host of policy issues at play in this specific instance... “Give me the money or I shoot my foot!” and other political theories of education reform Sherman Dorn: If I had a crystal ball, I would guess this trial balloon will sink ignominiously by the end of the summer... Arnius Duncanus? Mike Petrilli:  Duncan’s plans to tie regulatory relief to new requirements indicates an incredible amount of tone-deafness, not to mention Constitutional ignorance... Give Us What We Want Or You're Dead Jim Horn:  There is a time bomb in your basement, and it is set to explode in 2014, maybe sooner.  Only two people have the ability to disarm it... Image via.  DID I MISS ANY GOOD ONES?  SEE MY TAKE BELOW.


Five Best Blogs: Hubris, DFER Standout, & Ugly Habits


Does Reform Have to Equal Sagging Polls? EdSector:  Which would you rather have: a sweeping reform whose implementation is delayed in the courts and likely to be overturned at the next election? Or a reform effort that elicits buy-in and thus long-term impact?... The Right Way to Approach School Reform American Times:  Hubris is at the heart of all this overreach, in Florida, in Wisconsin, in Michigan. And hubris comes at a price. ... The Inside Game Tom Hoffman:  Boy that guy from DfER is a real standout jackass... And the Most Overhyped Edu-Entrepreneur of the Moment Is...? Rick Hess: We have this ugly habit in education of taking sensible ideas, overselling them, turning them into fads, inviting backlash, and then slouching away when they inevitably fail to deliver on ludicrous, inflated expectations... On Ron Wolk's new book Annenberg Institute: He considers the school district to be an outmoded governance structure that mostly serves to perpetuate the mistakes of the past and the flawed assumptions of the present... Time to Make Professors Teach WSJ:  Roughly 21000 articles have been written on Shakespeare since 1980. Wouldn't 5000 have been enough?... This Seems Kind Of Wrong of the Day: The Daily What: Iowa State Senator Shawn Hamerlinck (R-Dixon) tells student leaders attending a Senate Education Committee meeting on budget cuts to pipe down while adults are talking about their future...

Radio: Showdown Between Ravitch & Alter

image from www.artsjournal.com Ever wonder what would happen if Diane Ravitch and Jonathan Alter were on the same stage or in the same studio?  Who would interrupt whom?  Would apologies and FOIA requests be required to get access to the tape?  Thanks to a Denver progressive radio show, it's happened (here), and nothing untoward seems to have taken place.  However, it may not have been enlightening or definitive.  Grumpy Educators describes it as a "must listen" (and tells us that Ravitch will be debating Rhee on C-SPAN later this summer).  Mike Klonsky says Alter received a "spanking" from Ravitch.  EdNews Colorado describes the debate as a dual filibuster.  Take a listen -- what with the heat and my general grumpiness I can't bear the thought -- and let us know what you think about who won, what was revealed.  Win extra points by conceding that the person you generally disagree with might have said something interesting.  Image via.

Five Best Blogs: "Nobody Gives A Crap About Turkey"

ScreenHunter_62 Mar. 15 15.22 How to Blog Irresponsibly (About Education) Thought News: Given that the educational lives of vulnerable American students are at stake, we should be even more suspicious of those who would dismiss action on grounds of uncertainty... Nobody Gives a Crap About Turkey Tom Hoffman:  If a group of people from one country quietly start a bunch of schools in another country -- that's news, period... School success stories not in doubt Jon Schnur: We cannot be paralyzed in our effort to improve our schools. We must act on multiple fronts now... Moe v. Meier Hess:  There was clear agreement about the value of teacher professionalism and voice, with Harding flagging the promise of new organizations intended to give teachers a voice in policy. The question was really about how that voice can and should be channeled... Some Notes on Leaving TFA Two Years At The Blackboard:  Ultimately what I see, and have seen throughout the year, is an organization that cares about the opinions of its members, and isn't afraid to be criticized.  Hell, TFA has been re-tweeting my posts practically since I started this thing...

Best Five Blogs: Reality Is Indifferent To Your Ideas & Entreaties

ScreenHunter_10 Jun. 04 00.25 Wishing doesn't make it so Freddie deBoer: If I could ask popular writers on education for one thing, it would be to understand that reality is perfectly indifferent to their frustrations... Better teacher evaluations may not help much Jay Mathews: I am beginning to wonder if it’s worth so much effort...  Poverty Matters: Does Education? Yglesias:  The relevant issue here is whether or not provision of educational services is a promising way to help people overcome those disadvantages...  Facts and opinion from Steve Brill’s new book Hechinger Report:  Those in the education realm, including those on Brill’s side, may be less certain on some of his points, however, so I thought I’d explore a couple in more detail here... Grad Rates Edged Up in 08 Tom Vander Ark: We knew more about bottles of ketchup 25 years ago than we know about American students today, and that’s just criminal... Dept. Of Education: We Did Not Raid Man's Home Over Defaulted Student Loans HuffPost:  Stockton, Calif. resident Kenneth Wright told the local ABC affiliate that on Tuesday, approximately 15 officers stormed into his home at 6 a.m.

Five Best Blogs: Debunking IL's SB7 Reform Law (Again)

ScreenHunter_09 Aug. 23 18.20 Don't Believe Everything You Don't Read DFER:  Had anyone taken the time to dig deep into [Illinois SB7] they might have stopped to scratch their head in wonder as to why all the hoopla...  An Interesting Few Days Diane Ravitch: The night before Alter criticized me for "phony empiricism," I received the Daniel Patrick Moynihan award from the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences for promoting "the use of informed judgment to advance the public good"... The ends of education reform Mike Petrilli:  If we are to get beyond the “100 percent proficiency” or “all students college and career ready” rhetoric, these are the conversations we need to have.... Whither ESEA Reauth?  Eduflack: Assuming Duncan and company can secure the dollars for their agenda in the upcoming budget, 2013 doesn't seem so bad after all... Low-income students and KIPP charter schools Rick Kahlenberg: It remains telling that on the one occasion when KIPP took over a regular high poverty public school KIPP failed and got out of the business of running regular neighborhood public schools... A Glut of New Reports Raise Doubts About Obama's Teacher Agenda Dana Goldstein:  Athough much of the Obama administration's education reform agenda promotes test score-based teacher evaluation and pay, the tide seems to be significantly turning against such policies, at least among wonks and academics. 

Five Best Blogs: Pro / Con On Ravitch, NYC NAACP

Photo_3471_landscape_large Duncan's Alter boy spearheads personal assault on Ravitch Mike Klonsky:  What an upside-down picture of the ed-world Duncan and his apparatchiks have created, a world where liberals and pro-union activists are the enemy and teacher-bashing T-baggers like Daniels are warmly embraced... An off-base critique of Ravitch Education Next:   Ravitch has recently insinuated her name into the papers in part by using fiery, scornful language to argue that education “reformers,” with their penchant for testing, are obliterating America’s system of public schools, which, she always misleadingly implies and occasionally incorrectly adduces, were previously wonderful, enlightening places... The NAACP enters an unholy alliance Stanley Crouch: At no point in the past would one have expected the NAACP to try to halt the creation of schools that have helped so many black children succeed. As Canada and others have pointed out, the suit threatens the schooling of thousands of children in New York... Why Can't More Poor People Escape Poverty? TNR: Consumers became more susceptible to tempting products; chronic dieters overate; people were more likely to lie for monetary gain; and so on...  Don’t Ride the Charter Unionization Roller Coaster EIA:  Neither side should get too excited until the unionization rate exceeds the rate of establishment of new charters – that is, when the union increases market share. Win a few, lose a few, will probably be the pattern for the foreseeable future...  

 Duncan's Alter boy spearheads personal assault on Ravitch Mike Klonsky:  What an upside-down picture of the ed-world Duncan and his apparatchiks have created, a world where liberals and pro-union activists are the enemy and teacher-bashing T-baggers like Daniels are warmly embraced... An off-base critique of Ravitch Education Next:   Ravitch has recently insinuated her name into the papers in part by using fiery, scornful language to argue that education “reformers,” with their penchant for testing, are obliterating America’s system of public schools, which, she always misleadingly implies and occasionally incorrectly adduces, were previously wonderful, enlightening places. And yet when Ravitch wishes to make her points by animadverting on a particular school, she suddenly finds student test scores a useful and worthy measure of that school’s worth. Hence: hypocrite... When the NAACP Writes a Press Release About School Reform RiShawn Biddle: While reformers will bicker over such matters as the role of the federal government in education policy and the need for Common Core curriculum standards, they largely agree on this... The NAACP enters an unholy alliance Stanley Crouch: At no point in the past would one have expected the NAACP to try to halt the creation of schools that have helped so many black children succeed. As Canada and others have pointed out, the suit threatens the schooling of thousands of children in New York.

Weekend Reading: Showdown At The Reform Corral

ScreenHunter_09 May. 28 21.45 A roundup of some of the best stuff I didn't get to during the end of the week.  What'd I miss?  As Gates Foundation Grows, Critics Question Methods NPR:  In an independent survey last year, many partners said the foundation didn't understand their goals, was inconsistent in its communications and often unresponsive... Ohio Unions Fight to Roll Back Labor Law WSJ:  Organized labor is bringing 10,000 volunteers and a $25 million budget to the latest round of the union-rights fight in Ohio, pushing an effort to repeal a new state law reining in public-employee unions...  Don’t Believe Critics, Education Reform Works Joanathan Alter:  In truth, as Jon Schnur, the original architect of Obama’s Race to the Top initiative puts it, “No serious reformer says accountability should just be based on test scores. We all favor multiple measures.” Education According to Mike Milken Businessweek: Eleven years after its founding, K12 has 81,000 students in 27 states and the District of Columbia... For-Profit 'Charter' Schools Don't Address Core Problem Susan Estrich: If you're serious about real education reform, the name of the game is transforming public schools, not allowing a few extra children the advantages of charter schools... The Continuing Success of KIPP Schools American Times:  While I’d like to see KIPP expand there is certainly no evidence yet that it can scale in truly significant ways... NBA finals and ‘no excuses’ charter schools The Answer Sheet:  "No excuses” schools are the worst type of classism, and they are the ultimate reduction of education to enculturation... Concessions or a Cave-In? Inside Higher Ed:  Observers pointed out that the department's changes supplied most of the items on for-profit colleges' wish lists...  Scotty McCreery Took An AP Exam Last Week Crushable: It’s not enough that Scotty McCreery just became the youngest American Idol winner ever – he took a “super secret” one day trip back to his high school in Garner, NC to take his AP exam in English..

Five Best Blogs: Shortcuts, Miracles, & Ending Zero Tolerance

image from star.psy.ohio-state.edu

 Shortcuts, School Reform & Private Foundations Larry Ferlazzo:  The root of the word “foundation” means “discovered.”... Miracles that weren’t Fordham:  Diane Ravitch’s latest piece in the New York Times contains some fine, necessary instruction to which many in the education-policy world might listen: stop creating education miracles... GOP School Lunch Plan: Less Knowledge, More French Fries Angela Glover Blackwell:  Meet the next target of the "all-regulation-is-bad" crowd: school lunches...‘Bridging Differences’ needs more difference Jay Mathews:  “Bridging Differences” is one of my favorite blogs... The Fab Five Colleges For Low-Income Students Matthew Yglesias:  Congratulations to the CalState Fullerton, CalState Long Beach, Baruch College and Queens College (both CUNY), and UNC-Greensboro... Zero Tolerance Losing Its Appeal? Kevin Drum: How on earth did we ever stampede ourselves into adopting en masse a policy aimed at children that didn'tconsider age, intent, and risk of harm? 

Five Best Blogs: Belated Attention For The Common Core


How Big a Change Are the Common Core Standards? Rick Hess: For good or ill, the Common Core represents not a modest technical exercise, but a serious overhaul of how states approach math and reading instruction... Waiting for a School Miracle Diane Ravitch:  The accounts of miracle schools demand closer scrutiny. Usually, they are the result of statistical legerdemain... Is Teach for America Becoming 'Too Big to Fail?' Sam Chaltain: Does [Kopp] believe, given the choices available, that bigger is better; that the meaning of "community" is fungible; and that the people who make up a school system need not develop deep and lasting roots to ensure its long-term success?... An Eloquent, Well-Reasoned, Cooly Logical, Bitingly Witty Take on a Key Educational Issue Two Years At The Blackboard: There are maggots... ...in the staff bathroom... Will Popular High School Gays Also Suffer Curse of Sad Later Lives? The Awl: Don't worry, young people. Everyone popular in high school gets her comeuppance later on. Wait till your 10th high school reunion, when all the popular people come back sad and poorly dressed and puffy-faced and grey...  Each Generation Lazier Than the Last The Awl: No, but seriously, the kids today are soooo much lazier... 

Five Best Blogs: Fewer Kids, More -- Or Better? -- Teachers


Trading students for employees EIA:  Twenty-seven states had fewer students in 2009 than in 2008, but 16 of them hired more teachers... America May Need Fewer Teachers In The Future, But It Will Probably Want More Yglesias:  information technology means we’ll “need” fewer teachers, but I’m not sure how much need really has to do with it... Building Better Teachers Kevin Drum: We had better figure it out before we commit to some massive nationwide program to train better teachers... Twilight for Education Policy's Idols Conor Williams:  One of the most frustrating things about the current education reform wars is the cults that form around dominant personalities...  Testing STudents To Grade Teachers NYT:  What do we know about using student achievement tests to judge teacher performance?... Teachers as temps PressTV:  The corporate education project has nothing to do with growing new generations of smarter, socially aware, independent-thinking citizens, but is designed to raid public treasuries through wholesale contracting-out of public schooling... Mark them tardy to the revolution Steven Pearlstein:  The battles over standardized testing and adoption of common national standards were just the warm-up.

Five Best Blogs: Have New Orleans Schools Really Been Fixed?

Dysentery School Performance In New Orleans Matthew Yglesias: It’d be better to have NAEP data instead of state test stuff, and it’d be better to look at demographic sub-group... School Reform in New Orleans Kevin Drum: We'll need a considerably more detailed analysis before we can genuinely conclude that their educational reforms have really worked... Money and L.A. Unified LAT:  Deasy says he will not "accommodate a funder" and that he'll set the agenda. But those lines can blur all too easily in a cash-strapped school system that must continually plead for money... Meet The Billionaires Who Are Trying To Privatize Our Schools And Kill Public Education Think Progress:   This rapid expansion of voucher programs is remarkable. After all, vouchers have been unpopular with the American public...  The Campaign to Discredit Michelle Rhee Richard Whitmire: That message -- getting rid of ineffective principals and teachers produces gains -- is a nightmare message for some... Teacher Evaluations through Student Testing Linda Darling-Hammond (on Education Nation): Smart evaluation will put test score data in its rightful place – as a small part of a much more comprehensive picture of what teachers do... 


Quotes: The "Humpty Dumpty Of Public Education"

Quotes2 The tragedy for our all our children may be that once the Humpty Dumpty of public education falls and is shattered it may never be put back together. -- Edie Shanker

Five Best Blogs: Preschoolers Get $500M, States Get $200M

UnderConstruction Bill Bennett, James Madison, and National Curricular Materials Chester E. Finn, Jr.: The paranoids among us will reply that what Duncan is about is trying—without acknowledging it—to IMPOSE a curriculum... Racin' on Preschool Legs Eduflack:  Of the $700 million going to RttT Round Three, only $200 million of it will go to these nine states... How to Reform School Boards Gene Maeroff: These are at least four major areas to address when it comes to school board reform... Public Schools Now Charging Thousands of Dollars Gawker:  Does your child attend a "public" high school? You're so old. Also, broke, due to the fact that America's public schools these days charge lots of money. Is this a new thing?.. Mark Zuckerberg Changes His Tune on Kids Using Facebook Atlantic Wire:  "We're not trying to work on the ability for people under the age of 13 to sign up… That's just not top of the list of things for us to figure out right now," Zuckerberg told the crowd at the e-G8 summit in Paris today.

Best 5 Blogs: Ravitch Apologizes To Gist (Sorta)

Esq-j-crew-ludlow-suit-052011-lgMinnesota inches closer to banning Common Core Kathleen Porter-Magee: The Minnesota Commissioner will not be able to adopt common standards in any other content area, no matter how good those standards may be...  Political Andywonk:  Underneath all the chattering there is a quiet consensus among some key players that current law – with all its problems – is preferable to a law that only focuses on 5 percent of the schools... Illinois Is Proving any State Can Change its Schools Suzanne Kubach:   A dozen or so leading citizens, backed by local and national philanthropy, put Illinois on this path to becoming a national leader in education reform, distinguishing its approach from its neighbor... VideoGate, Day 7 Jay P. Greene: There is something self-serving and potentially insincere about Ravitch’s generic denunciation of “the spirit of meanness that now permeates so much of our public discourse” coming only after she is potentially caught in making inaccurate allegations against others.... [Or: Ravitch Backs Down Gracefully Tom Hoffman]... Rhee Teams Up With Former Union Chief Parker Stephen Sawchuk: Parker's positions were never simplistic, and they were influenced both by pragmatism and by a deeply divided WTU membership, which made for very challenging politics... The Service of Democratic Education Linda Darling-Hammond:  Public education has a secret weapon—a Trojan horse, if you will: the members of the profession like yourselves who have mastered a strong body of professional knowledge, who hold a strong ethic of care and who are determined to transmit this knowledge and this commitment to others throughout the education system...

Best 5 Blogs: Debating Valerie Strauss (& Education)

6a00e54ef96453883401538e8b83e9970b-250wiValerie Strauss is the Lou Dobbs of Education Jay P. Greene:  Just as CNN needed a reinvented Dobbs to capture some of the audience attracted to O’Reilly at Fox, maybe WaPo needed a reinvented Strauss to capture some of the readers attracted to Ravitch and Eduwonkette... Teach Plus changes Web site to reflect reality Valerie Strauss:  Today the nonprofit organization Teach Plus changed its “Why We Exist” statement on its Web site in regard to the importance of teachers in student success... A Times Derby Education Next:  How did we get to the point where we now can’t teach kids unless we first fix their parents and make them middle class? Cheaters Cheaters...Everywhere? Luke Kohlmoos:  It is statements like these that push the message that there is an epidemic of cheating that undermines all test scores, all assessment measures, all efforts to increase accountability...Creating Educational Monocultures John Thompson: Given the deplorable conditions in our urban schools, there is much to admire in the sense of urgency that private donors bring to education ...Why Movements Matter: Paradigm-shifting elections don't shift paradigms if there aren't corresponding social movements for change...Want Kids to Win the Future? Turn Them Into Makers Wired:  Nolan Bushnell once almost destroyed his family's garage. As a youngster in Utah, he went tooling around with a liquid-fuel rocket on a roller skate and things went awry... At the Movies! Eduflack:  Pop the corn, fill the barrel of soda, and get ready for the next round of the "great education movie."

Best 5 Blogs: Carey & Greene Call Out Hess & Ravitch

Drink through coffee lid What Does Rick Hess Believe We Should Do? Kevin Carey:  When do we get to the part in this story when all of the aggrieved Hill staffers and disrespected small-government conservatives actually explain how their sacred principles translate into law?.. Diane, Release the Tapes — Day 1 Jay Greene:  A video of the meeting would reveal the answer and it will be released if all parties give permission.  Gist has already done so and we are waiting for Ravitch... Liberals See Victory in Their Wisconsin Union Defeat Atlantic Wire:  Republicans are less motivated by the union fight, Silver says. That means that the "enthusiasm gap" Democrats suffered last  year could shrink... Agents of Change or an Oppositional Force? Students First:  If kids and quality education are ever to win out, the power of the teachers unions must be drastically reduced... When Should Governments Contract Out? Megan McArdle:  We should be extremely cautious about privatizing services with a captive audience, especially when the people they are supposed to serve have little political voice...Why Don't Schools Learn From Each Other? Scholastic:  Within a year, teachers in Fresno, Oakland, Compton, and Garden Grove were trained in Map2D and math scores in their districts were going up, too... 

Best 5 Blogs: The Fury Of Middle-Class Parents

20101218_xwd001A drastic break with failure LAT (column):  The students were trying to save an entrenched regime, one that shackles them to failure... High Pay Leads to Layoffs NYT (Winerip):  An audit found that the Henry Viscardi School, one of 11 schools of its kind in New York, paid its top executive $1.25 million over two years... Closing more bad charters sooner Jay Mathews:  The D.C. Public Charter School Board may soon close the Ideal Academy Public Charter School, more than a year and a half after I told it to... Gates' Education Buying Spree - For What? American Thinker:  Buying a group of number crunchers to determine what our children may be taught in the classroom has little connection to equipping children to better themselves in order to better society... Are gifted education programs a waste of money? WCI:  Hell hath no fury like the middle class in defence of its privileges... Teacher Quality In Finland Matthew Yglesias: Whatever approach you favor you’re necessarily having a conversation about how to get different people into the profession than the ones who are currently there... Farewell to Anchovy Sherman Dorn:  I will very much appreciate not having to work with colleagues to figure out how to write a brand-new dilemma every year for Orlando Quieto and his colleagues at Anchovy Middle School...Newt Gingrich and "the food stamp president" Salon:  He didn't call Obama a "strapping young buck," but his slur is coded racism (and not very Catholic) just the same...

Weekend Reading: How Academia Got Rid Of Rick Hess

image from media.nj.com

Weekend reading from Slate, Salon, and some of the other magazines -- tell me what I missed: Nothing, Absolutely Nothing, to See Here, Folks Rick Hess:  David Imig, the then-president of the AACTE, suggested that the University of Virginia (my then-employer) really ought to consider whether, given my skepticism about teacher education, I deserved to be employed at its School of Education... The secret sex lives of teachers Salon:  The revelation that Judy Buranich, the same woman teaching classics like "Catcher in the Rye" to high school students, also writes erotic novels with names like "Rednecks 'n' Romance" shocked a small group of parents in the town of Middleburg, Penn... I.R.S. Moves to Tax Gifts to Groups Active in Politics NYT:  Big donors like David H. Koch and George Soros could owe taxes on their millions of dollars in contributions to nonprofit advocacy groups that are playing an increasing role in American politics... State ignores teacher licensing violations Star Tribune:  More than 900 Minnesota teachers over the past five years have violated licensing rules aimed at making sure that children get a proper education, including 62 instructors who taught with no license at all...New Autism Findings  WBUR On Point: A new study finds 1 in 38 children have traits of autism. We'll ask how that can be. And what it means... Death to high school English Salon: I lived for English, for reading. I spent so much of my adolescence feeling different and awkward, and those first canonical books I read, those first discoveries of Joyce, of Keats, of Sylvia Plath and Fitzgerald, were a revelation... Xerox PARC, Apple, and the truth about innovation New Yorker:  In late 1979, a twenty-four-year-old entrepreneur paid a visit to a research center in Silicon Valley called Xerox PARC. He was the co-founder of a small computer startup down the road, in Cupertino... What happened to the "Huxtable Effect"?  Salon: Now, new data from both politics and pop culture raises the possibility that we're suddenly headed back to the pre-"Cosby Show" days...The longest 40 minutes Slate:  What makes some minutes feel longer than others?... PS22 chorus covers the Smiths, owns this town Salon:  Staten Island's public school system is sitting on a gold mine, what with PS22 having the best known elementary school chorus on the planet."

5 Best Blogs: Conservative Infighting A Delightful Diversion

8889ded3cf466b85e38b2a422cb47a4a7acfa598_m Fordham and the Use of Passive Voice Jay P. Greene: Fordham, in coalition with its friends at Gates, Pearson, AFT, and the US Department of Education are trying to subvert this historical and legal consensus against federal control by failing to be candid about what they are proposing... Common Core Meltdown Whiteboard Advisors:  These folks are not the tools of Beltway bureaucrats — that much is certain. This will ultimately be their decision, not Washington’s...  School Turnarounds: Time to Try, Try Again? Education Next:  Even if most individual turnaround attempts fail, you can achieve a cumulative success rate of 70 or 80% by retrying rapidly: bringing a new, more capable leader; closing the school and starting fresh with a new operator; or closing the school altogether and dispersing the students to other, better schools... The Obituaries for Data-Driven 'Reform' Are Being Written John Thompson: We should not rejoice in a return to the 1970s. But the sooner we throw the data-driven accountability hawks on the ash pile of history, the sooner we can get back to reality-driven school reforms...  Spring Cleaning EdNext: School districts “with off-cycle elections pay experienced teachers over 3 percent more than districts that hold on-cycle elections.” ...The Facebook Worm Named After a High School Girl Gawker: Nicole Santos does exist. She's a high school student in Northern California running for vice president of her class...  

5 Best Blogs: Everyone Hates Rigor (& Eva Moskowitz)

340x_checklist425 Bias against rigor in urban schools Jay Mathews:  Rhee and the principals and teachers she brought into the system talked about raising the ceiling on achievement and bringing more Advanced Placement and other college-level programs into D.C. high schools, but they didn’t do much... It's Broke, So Fix It Cynthia Brown (CAP):  The next version of ESEA should look markedly different than it does now, and such significant change will require hard, bipartisan work...  Middle School 'Graduation' Is No Time for Excessive CelebrationRobert Schwartz (HGSE): Downplaying the pomp of eighth grade culmination ceremonies may do little for the circumstances of students living in poverty; however, the expectations that adults have for students can help change such circumstances and eighth grade culmination is as good a place to start as any... Cultural Differences Two Years At The Blackboard:  While new teachers often feel the urge to try to "blend in" in the community in which they serve, there's really no point; they can tell you are white/rich/educated/etc, and students can smell B.S. a mile away... Texas to Layoff 100,000 Teachers While Giving Millions to Formula One Racing GOOD:  There are plenty of examples of misplaced funding priorities to be found, I haven't heard one as egregious as Texas' plans to slash education budgets and layoff almost 100,000 teachers, all while agreeing to pay $25 million per year through 2022 to Formula One auto racing... Moskowitz makes a play for brownstone New York Capital New York: This time, she’s going after the middle class.Publish

5 Best Blogs: Deception, Rage, Enemies - Personalization?


Deception and Rage The Question Sheet:  I may disagree with Michelle Rhee about school vouchers but that doesn’t make her deceptive...  Will liberals finally jump the Rhee ship? Mike Klonsky:  This must be embarrassing for liberal Democrats who lauded Michelle Rhee when she was D.C.'s schools chief or who were moved by her anti-public-school demagogy in the film, Waiting For Superman... The Real Enemy of Unions Washington Monthly:  Organized labor should join with entrepreneurs to bust the corporate monopolies threatening them both... The History of "LIFO" Dana Goldstein:  The acronym powerfully recalls one of the most potent critiques of teachers' unions, that they provide incompetents with job protections for life... Obama Made the Right Choice GOOD:  If you watch it all the way through and see what kind of change is possible in some of our toughest schools, it's pretty impossible to not walk away feeling emotional and inspired... The pitfalls of personalization Diana Senechal: Subjects can be leveled and individualized only up to a point. In every subject, there are topics that touch many levels and go beyond skills... Boy's Romantic Prom Invite Gets Him Banned from Prom Gawker: A senior at Shelton High School in Connecticut wanted to make a grand gesture when inviting his "good friend" (riiiight) to the prom, but now that gesture has gotten him banned from the very prom he hoped to attend.

5 Best Blogs: Nationalization Weasels & Feckless Allies

ColorblockPique-7035 Nationalization Weasels Jay Greene:  If advocates of the nationalization of education had greater intellectual integrity, they would openly declare that they favor nationally uniform standards, curriculum, and assessments, and that producing greater uniformity was desirable... Order of Battle Tom Hoffman:  I'd put Gates first, and throw Pearson, ACT and the College Board in for good measure.And beyond that everyone who stands to collect consulting fees from the transition, the Dana Center, NCTE, etc... Preparing for Growth CAP:  Better-performing charter management organizations, or CMOs, must grow at much higher rates, which will require significant resources, including talented people, to make this happen... How deceptive is this letter from Rhee’s organization? Answer Sheet:  Those not steeped in education reform might not know that the reforms referred to in this letter are in many cases geared toward privatizing public schools... Says Who? Lots of Folks, Actually… Core Knowledge: If teachers have come to suspect that the world looks at them and thinks the only thing standing between every child and upward mobility is them, it’s not something they just made up... “Science On The Simpsons” Larry Ferlazzo: A collection of video clips from The Simpsons television series that could be used by science teachers. They’re downloadable, but not set-up to stream on the web..

Best Five Blogs: Now It Gets Interesting

Nyt andy rementer 050811 Now It Gets Interesting Rick Hess:  A few months back, I noted that the impressive early success of the Common Core effort risked breeding overconfidence, complacency, and inattention to how the effort would play out in practice... The Challenging Mathematics Of Producing Economically Integrated Schools Yglesias: There’s no way to solve the problems of high-poverty schools merely by dispersing people. You need to actually attack the poverty, and you need to actually get better outcomes out of schools... Trust For Teachers Andrew Sullivan (quoting Klein): It is a system built on trust, and the film really drives home the notion that trust – rather than faux accountability – leads to real results... No more blame game on teachers Washington Post:  If anyone is demonizing teachers, it’s those who believe all teachers should earn the same pay, and get the same raise, no matter how much harder they work or how much more some of them accomplish. We think teachers deserve a different sort of appreciation and respect... Margaret Spellings vs. Mitch Daniels Mike Petrilli: Daniels is humble about his accomplishments in Indiana and humble about what the feds can do to fix our schools... Long-Term Gains In Minority Education: An Overlooked Success? Jack Jennings:  In both reading and math and at all three ages tested, each of the three major racial/ethnic groups made greater gains in achievement than students did overall... The DeVos Family AlterNet:  Meet the Super-Wealthy Right-Wingers Working With the Religious Right to Kill Public Education.. Do We Need a Class War in Education? Education Next:  Their silence in the face of crushing inner city educational failures has been deafening.  Not a single protest, that I know of, during this long inequality crisis...  Alabama to Undocumented Kids: No Prom For You! Mother Jones:  Having trouble finding a date for the prom? Don't worry; under a bill that recently passed the Alabama state senate, undocumented teens might not be able to attend either.

Weekend Reading: TFA's "Significant Gains" Mess

Narcissistic millennial

TFA's Data Emphasis Two Years At The Blackboard:  I can’t help but get a little uncomfortable that TFA cares so much more about succeeding on standardized tests than questioning their value... The Narcissism Myth Utne Reader:  Young people don’t blog out of self-love, but in pursuit of affirmation. We didn’t grow up “amid a chorus of applause,” but with intense parental pressure, as competition for college spots soared... From Hope to Despair in Providence AISR:  All of these partners deserve credit when these efforts succeed, and all deserve scrutiny and blame when well-intentioned and research-based reforms fail to take root... What's The Cost Of Dropping Out Of High School? TNR:  Even if you took the high school dropouts and managed to get all of them through school they'd have much higher levels of unemployment anyway... Don't build schools in Afghanistan Slate:  Throwing up structures is simple. Educating children is a much more complex, expensive, and necessary goal...  The "Hooker Teacher" tells all Salon:I have two master's degrees, five years' experience in the nonprofit sector and three years' experience teaching -- and I cannot get a job. Why? Just google me... Why it's good to be a high school loser Salon:  Whether you were the head cheerleader or president of the math club, whether you're still trying to forget that time you got a swirlie or you wish you could relive your glory days as homecoming king, those years take up a lot of space in our minds... Color Blind TNR:  It is laudable that many of us want to show that we understand what institutional racism is. Yet, doing that does not always help the people undergoing the effects of institutional racism. Sometimes, what actually does is a little bit of, yes, segregation... A Call to Arms for Education Innovation Robert Slavin: America leads the world not because of its capability in managing existing systems. It leads the world because of its unparalleled capacity for innovation. [picture via Utne Reader]

5 Best Blogs: Education Already Too Much Like Supermarkets

090810-001-happy-tv-thumb-300x219-44056 Why Can't Public Schools Serve Poor People Better, Like Supermarkets Do? Scocca: Holding up the supermarket industry as a model for the equitable distribution of life's necessities is like holding up the NFL as a model of gender parity... (PLUS: An Ed Reform Metaphor More Idiotic than RiShawn Biddle's "Hollywood Model")... This Standardized Testing Story Will Break Your Heart GOOD:  Although most places probably don't allow a student all day to take the state test, the video is a reminder that sometimes what seems like sound educational policy to many adults often isn't what's best for kids... We Are Not Going To Charter School Our Way Out Of This Beachwood Reporter: The candidate for the elite got elected while the candidate for everyone got pummeled...  Faulty Towers: The Crisis in Higher Education The Nation:  “I won’t talk to students about graduate school anymore,” he explained. “Going to grad school’s a suicide mission.”... A Call to Arms for Education Innovation Jim Kohlmoos:  See this excellent Huffington Post commentary by Alliance member Bob Slavin of Johns Hopkins and the Success for All Foundation touting the ground breaking potential of the administration’s ARPA-ED proposal for FY12...

Best Blogs: If It's Smart & Good, I Will Feature It

Fruit More Dumb Ideas About Education The Awl:  Holding up the supermarket industry as a model for the equitable distribution of life's necessities is like holding up the NFL as a model of gender parity... Gov. Mitch Daniels, Uber-Wonk, on Indiana's Ed Reforms:  Yesterday, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels gave an education speech to a packed house at AEI that included CNN, C-SPAN, and a slew of breathless political press (they were hoping he'd signal whether he's going to run for President)... Value-Added: Two Things Are True Rick Hess:  I got a number of notes regarding yesterday's post, mostly either dinging me for my concerns about value-added systems or asking how I can raise such concerns and still write, "Value-added does tell us something useful and I'm in favor of integrating it... Zuckerberg 2.0: Cami Anderson and Newark Education Next:  Just in the nick of time, another Teach for America / Joel Klein School of Big City Reform alumnus is heading off to take the reins of a troubled city school district... Not Everyone Happy With Toy Story's Woody in 'It Get's Better' Ad Gawker:  It was the appearance of Woody from 'Toy Story' that really got viewers worked up... Teachers Deserve More Than A Week Kati Haycock:  A friend of mine used to work for the National Association of Office Workers. When Secretary Appreciation Day rolled around every year, they very deliberately ignored it -- offended by the idea that "bosses" could appreciate their "secretaries" one day a year, only to mistreat them the other 364.


Quotes: Sweeping Solutions To Highly Varied Problems

Quotes2 All too many [experts] promote sweeping, ideological solutions to problems that defy one-size-fits-all answers... the facts on the ground bear little resemblance to the fierce policy battles they wage. -- Foreign Policy Magazine 

Best Blogs: More Questions About Value Added & Ending LIFO

Edamame-beans AFT Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week With Teacher Bashing Yglesias:  But when Teacher Appreciation Week comes around then of course teachers and their representatives want to emphasize the fact that one of the many things that makes a difference is the quality of teaching... Value-Added Evaluation & Those Pesky Collateralized Debt Obligations Hess:  Even the cleverest of models is only as good as the data...  The myth of the superstar novice teacher The Answer Sheet:  I have a long way to go to Teacher of the Year, but I have learned from every year, and every year has made me a more competent teacher... Matt Yglesias on Teacher Compensation American Times:  Seniority factors into many professions. Very few professions rely as heavily on test-results as edu-reformers would like teaching to rely... Teaching About Terrorism Andrew Sullivan: Photo of Gary Weddle, a middle school teacher who refused to shave after 9/11 until bin Laden was captured or killed... Slow Off the Mark CAP:  It is elementary school mathematics and science that lay the foundation for future STEM learning, but it is elementary school teachers who are often unprepared to set students on the path to higher-level success in STEM fields... Gates and Pearson Lay Their Cards on the Table Tom Hoffman:  Hopefully people will now start to understand what has been going on here, what Gates' plan has been all along... The New Layoff Formula Project Shanker Blog: But these were voluntary surveys (total response rate was roughly 40 percent), and TNTP makes not a single mention about the non-random nature of these samples, and how this may have distorted their results.

Best Blogs: I See Angry Teachers, Everywhere

Tumblr_lkmp9r5uya1qz7lxdo1_500 'Parent trigger' limbo LAT:  Parent trigger is an idea with real merit that deserves to go beyond a pilot program... Teacher ‘mad as hell’ over political rhetoric Yahoo! News:  The letter has clearly struck a chord with educators, as teachers are reposting it and discussing it on personal and education blogs... Teachers in the Trenches Aren't Impressed GOOD:  From the reactions around the web, many educators don't seem too thrilled by Duncan's words... Anne Bryant: It’s “wrong” for unions to “buy” school board seats Fordham:  Similar words could well have been spoken by Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, Jeb Bush, or any other dyed-in-the-wool reformer [but haven't been]... Charities Struggle in Wake of 'Three Cups of Tea' Scandal Atlantic Wire:  Charity Navigator previously gave Mortenson's institute four stars -- its highest rating... The Evidence Is In—School Vouchers Work WSJ:  A study published last year found that D.C. voucher recipients had graduation rates of 91%. That's significantly higher than the public school average of 56%... 2011 Teacher of the Year talks about reform and more The Answer Sheet:  I’m a science person, and I love numbers, so I do understand. But students aren’t formulas. Teaching can’t be boiled down to a formula...  Friday Night Lights: You're letting Julie off too easy Slate:  Unlike, say, Easy A, the Emma Stone cyberbullying movie, FNL doesn't wring many laughs out of the situation. Instead, the episode unfolds as a parable about parenting and the need to guide children to become moral adults.

Best Blogs: Best Blog Posts & Commentaries Of The Day


Why America’s best school may be no better than yours Jay Mathews: Jefferson is the most selective  high school in the country... Duncan To Teachers: I Hear You, I Value You And I Respect You Arne Duncan:  I have met with thousands of teachers in great schools and struggling schools, in big cities and small towns, and I have a deep and genuine appreciation for the work you do... Five Categories Jeopardy! Should Avoid GOOD:  Fifteen whip-smart educators from across the nation will compete for the top prize of $100,000 and a spot during the popular show's Tournament of Champions... The University Has No Clothes NY Magazine:  The notion that a college degree is essentially worthless has become one of the year’s most fashionable ideas... The Law School Bubble TNR:  I'm not saying law schools will go away -- the prestigious ones, especially, will probably come out just fine -- but vast swaths of it will probably disappear... Race to Nowhere riling up parents across the country Salon:  The emotional discussions following the screenings are excellent introductions to the contentious debate about what we want from our kids and from the people who educate them.

Teachers: Blaming Soldiers, Blaming Teachers

image from graphics8.nytimes.comThis commentary by writer Dave Eggars and some other guy is getting a lot of attention today because, well, Dave Eggars co-wrote it and the NYT published it.  The general thesis is that we should be nicer about and take better care of our teachers-- by paying them more, among other things.  Sixty-five thousand would do it, apparently. I've got nothing against that, but the notion seems pretty out of step with the finances and politics of the moment, in which governments are sucking air and Republican governors are having a field day noting that public employees like teachers have better benefits (and are still employed in much larger percentages) than the rest of the working world.  Plus which, it just doesn't fly that military problems don't generate concerns about the quality and capabilities of soldiers.  How many articles have their been over the past five years about the declining intellectual and physical abilities of entering recruits? Anyway.

Best Blogs: New Michelle, Same As The Old Michelle

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

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

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

Best Blogs: Debating Jeb Bush's Importance


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

Best Blogs: Reacting To Walker's Voucher Expansion Proposal

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

Best Blogs: Are Reformers Tracking Our Location Data?

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

Best Blogs: More Questions About Nat'l Certification Bonuses

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

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

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

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

Blogs Of The Day: Divergent Responses To Columbine

A108d7ce-6639-47f4-942a-8aed111ee5c9 Virginia’s largest school district says no to performance pay Answer Sheet:  Just as soon as Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell announced a new teacher performance pay pilot program that would tie their pay to student standardized test scores, the state’s largest school system said thanks but no thanks... Feedback on Winerip article Whitney Tilson:  My last email about the NYT's Michael Winerip's hatchet job generated quite a few responses... Twelve Years After Columbine, No Consensus on Making Schools Safer Atlantic Wire:  The push to allow guns on college and even high school campuses is gaining ground in some parts of the country... Seven misconceptions about value-added measures Class Struggle:  #7: Value-added is a magic bullet that will transform education all by itself.... Free Advice Education Sector:  “Plans” is not a plan... It's Not Just Rude, It's Ruining Your Brain Mother Jones: You should stop. But if you can't do that, you should at least take frequent breaks where you're fully engaged in a single task and exercising your normal analytic abilities... KIPP and Its Critics Are Both Right John Thompson: By pretending that KIPP serves our most vulnerable students, society is given an excuse for starving alternative services for our most traumatized kids... 

Roundup: Obama's Accountability Stance Is Pretty Soft, Actually

340x_geek-monkey On laws and effects that aren’t so Sherman Dorn: I don't think the corrupting effects of high stakes is universal. I just don't know where and how it is most or least influential... America Cares About Buying Guns, Not Educating Kids GOOD:  Federal spending on education has never topped 4 percent of the budget—and is on its way down again... When Power Asks for Civility, It Means You're Starting to Get Your Point Across Tom Hoffman: In his first speech since being named chancellor, Dennis Walcott poured on the charm, asking everyone to “dial down the rhetoric” and giving no hints of any new reforms he’s planning... 'Three Cups of Tea' Publisher Launches Review of Mortenson AW: Mortenson has stood by his account so far but conceded that it was based on a "compressed version of events." ...  Obama's wobbly on accountability Sandy Kress:  Only slightly more than half of the black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students in the school [Obama visited] are proficient in math!... Does Kevin Carey think that Jim Hunt, Tim Kaine, and Mark Warner are teacher-bashers too? Mike Petrilli: Is making Wisconsin’s or Ohio’s education systems more like Virginia’s or North Carolina’s really “going nuclear”?...

Roundup: The $40 Billion Budget Cut That Wasn't

How Did $38 Billion in Spending Cuts Turn into Only $352 Million?  Atlantic Wire:  Much of what was cut comes from grants to state and local governments that haven't gone into effect yet. Other cuts withdrew appropriations outlays from earmarks that were never spent--and might never have been... Big victory for the corporate "reformers" in Chicago Mike Klonsky: This latest attack on teachers' collective bargaining rights wasn't made by a Tea Party governor or even by Michelle Rhee....image from images.amazon.com The False Promise of Class Size Reduction Yglesias:  There are significant positive externalities associated with kids actually learning more while the customer satisfaction that comes from smaller class sizes doesn’t... New Orleans schools ‘miracle’ not so miraculous The Answer Sheeet:  Education Secretary Arne Duncan was just in New Orleans, praising to practically the heavens the charter school-dominated school system that was rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina swept through in 2005 and left it in shambles... No, Wearily, No Kevin Carey:  Ravitch has essentially spent the last several years boiling down the anti-school reform argument into the pure essence of caricature. It is now the only language she speaks... Paul Vallas on Detroit’s reform efforts & more Hechinger Report: "The Chileans are extraordinary; it’s an extraordinary country. They had a million children displaced in Chile because of the earthquake—the second most-powerful earthquake in history—and in 45 days they had all those kids back in school. It’s amazing."... 13% take rigorous classes Joanne Jacobs:  Another 46 percent take a “midlevel” curriculum,  increased from 26 percent.

Roundup: Where Have All The Good Blog Posts Gone?

Blog_defunding_leftIf Schools REALLY Worked Like Businesses Tom Hoffman:  School districts wouldn't compete with charters, they'd buy them and run them into the ground... $4B vs. $4B Eduflack:  While Race may be a nice showhorse in the great education reform parade, SIG has is the real workhorse... Get Tutored! Eduwonk:  Everyone wants to get rid of No Child Left Behind’s tutoring provisions right? Well, not exactly... VA 4th Grade Teacher In Trouble For Holding ‘Mock Slave Auction’ Medialite:  Just as there are infinite different types of young people out there, there are infinite different methods of teaching... You Have the Right to Remain Silent Edna Lee:  Knowing the truth is not what matters. Having Sally THINK I know the truth is what matters...The Fordham Report Drinking Game Jay Green:  Next week the Fordham Institute is supposed to release a report that will attempt to explain their support for a nationalized set of standards, curriculum, and assessments while also embracing local control and federalism... Dumbest “real” reformy graphs!  SF101: This graph shows the average pass rates on state assessments for kids in each class. Nothin’ else. Not gains. Just average scores. Gains wouldn’t necessarily tell us that much either. But this is truly absurd... 

Blogs: "Chocolate Milk Is America's Greatest Education Controversy"

ScreenHunter_44 Jul. 07 17.48 Smoke and Mirrors Watch Mother Jones: If these reports are correct, the bill contains only about $11 billion in hard cuts... Students Win The Right To Heart Boobies Gawker:  A judge in Pennsylvania has ruled in favor of students who were suspended for wearing "I heart boobies" bracelets... Chocolate Milk Is America's Greatest Education Controversy Gawker:  Chocolate milk! Going inside of your child's body, and doing who knows what to Aedynn's delicate little organs!... What if Learning -- Not Fighting -- Were the Focus? Sam Chaltain: To help provide the answers people need, Faces of Learning is asking people to personal stories of their most powerful learning experiences... How To Teach Books To Kids Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Atlantic):   School is utilitarian. Given that it's supposed to prepare you for the job market, it kind of has to be right?... Known Knowns vs. Known Unknowns Robert Pondiscio:  Dan Willingham suggests education needs a “What’s Known Clearinghouse” to provide teachers with current and accurate summaries of education research... Republicans Are Attacking Teachers’ Unions While Adopting The Worst Parts Of Their Agenda Kevin Carey (TNR):  The GOP is simultaneously emasculating teachers’ unions while adopting the worst parts of their agenda. The result could be devastating... Will a Revolutionary Reform in Los Angeles Live up to its Potential? NAPC:  Los Angeles is not only home to the highest number of charter schools in the nation – it is also home to some of the highest-performing schools in California.

Commentary Roundup: Supe Obsession "Missing The Point"

image from graphics8.nytimes.com

Stop Waiting for a Savior NYT (Hacsi):  Until the headlines and our attention focus on what the research shows can directly improve school performance instead of the latest savior/soon-to-be-failure, we are missing the point... Incentivizing School Turnaround CAP:  We disagree that school improvement should be left entirely to states, due to the systemic nature of the problem... Tightrope Walking in the South Bronx EdNext:  There is no secret sauce, it seems, other than that of grinding dedication, intense focus on details, and hard work...  First Chapter of My Book Now Online For Free Larry Ferlazzo:  Eye On Education, the publisher of my book, has now placed the entire first chapter on “How To Motivate Students” online. It includes several lesson plans and hand-outs... Strawman Down! Plus The Anemic Fight Over DC Vouchers Eduwonk: I don’t really care that the paper chose Ravitch to review the book, I like an edgy review, but am disappointed that the review didn’t engage with the actual manuscript and its ideas (as most reviews have failed to)... The Meaning of Kaplan U EdSector:  Suddenly, as long as you were accredited somewhere you could be in businesseverywhere... The Case For The School Nurse Yglesias: The UK, your local public school, and even the otherwise poverty-inducing government of Cuba are all extremely cost-effective health care delivery systems. So is the Veterans’ Administration system in the United States... Stalkerish Subject Lines From Emails Sent By Colleges And Universities After My Daughter Took The PSAT, In Ascending Order Of Creepiness The Awl:  2. Your time is running out...1. St. Olaf College will surprise you.

Blog Roundup: It's All About The Teachers

image from shankerblog.org

The Elephant In The Classroom Shanker Blog:  The current education debate seems to have developed a laser-like focus on teaching (see cartoon)... A love-hate relationship with TFA  The Answer Sheet:  I don’t believe two years is enough, which is why seven years later, I think my school community still needs me and other teacher leaders committed to staying and making change where change is needed most... Duncan Criticizes Scott Walker on Teacher Unions American Times:  I get the feeling that Arne Duncan and President Obama are initiating some sort of shift in policy toward education reform. Obama recently made remarks casting doubt on the usefulness of high-stakes testing... Democrats Agree to $38B in Cuts Daily Beast:  Democrats agreed to $38 billion in cuts Friday, but that may still not be enough for Republicans, who are now demanding to cut Planned Parenthood off from federal cash...  Black’s Departure Is Almost Certainly Good News For New York City School Reform Yglesias:  I, personally, like hard-charging loudmouth jerks and think people like me have a role to play in the process of political change. It’s just not necessarily the role of administrator for the long haul... Rio School Shooting Shocks City WSJ:  He told guards he was there to give a presentation to students as part of the school's 40th anniversary celebrations. Then, he walked casually into a classroom and opened fire, officials said... Texas Students Horrified As Police Officer Uses Pepper Spray On Baby Squirrel Medialite:  Texas has come forward with a good one for your Friday viewing pleasure: video shot by students at a middle school in Mesquite, Texas of a school resource officer taking down a baby squirrel–with pepper spray.



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