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Afternoon Video: Lawmaker Tries To Explain His Teacher Evaluation Vote

Two updates from California to end the week, both via LA School Report: The first is an update on the "miscommunication" between DFER national and DFER California over the issue of a district waiver for LAUSD and other California districts (Reform Group Splits over Federal Waiver for LAUSD). No doubt, running a national organization with strong state leaders is no easy feat.  This is just one of several examples of the kinds of concerns and considerations that take place.

The second is an update from Sacramento, where six state senators on the senate education committee voted "abstain" on a proposed teacher evaluation bill that was being touted by LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy and Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst and opposed by the teachers unions and the state superintendent of instruction.  The six abstentions effectively killed the bill, and were all the more notable since five of the six had voted for or gainst it just a week before. You can watch one of the members try and explain his decision to abstain to voters in the video above. (Senators' Silence Dooms Teacher Evaluation Bill

Weekend Reading: Stuff You Missed (Or Wish You Had)

Here are some posts I came across over the weekend you might have missed: 

Teenage sleep patterns: Why school should start later. - Slate Magazine ow.ly/kvsC7

Dan Koretz, Reporters Roundtable on High Stakes Testing (Audio) ow.ly/kvs1t

No Rich Child Left Behind - NYTimes.com ow.ly/kvkhP

"President Obama has a big problem in his second term in terms of education policy: his first term." ow.ly/kvikx

Predictions of the end of the reform era remind me of Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring ow.ly/kt541

Can Co-ops Save Unions? - In These Times ow.ly/kvsyS

Michelle Rhee Discusses Possible Test Score Tampering (Audio) ow.ly/kvs3x

Doctoral degrees: The disposable academic | The Economist ow.ly/kvFiB Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time

Paying for a special-needs child - Apr. 22, 2013 ow.ly/kvsAC


Weekend Reading: Best Articles & Sites You Might Have Missed

Were Dzhokhar and Tamerlan like Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris? - Slate Magazine ow.ly/kg1CF

Exams Aren't the Enemy: How Tests Can Help Low-Income Students - @TalmadgeNardi - The Atlantic ow.ly/kfmbI

Videotaped evaluation of teachers nationwide? That'll be $5B, says @anya1anya in Forbes ow.ly/kg0jp

UPenn's Andy Porter: we don't really know if there's more or less cheating going on - American public media bit.ly/ZG5cpe

"Right now, states like New York and Illinois are in a period of education policy idealism..." says @DanaGoldstein ow.ly/kfUyB ??

Eli Broad has given $25K to UTLA-endorsed mayoral candidate SuperPAC: ethics.lacity.org/PDF/Election/2…via @hillelaron @LASchoolReport

Continue reading "Weekend Reading: Best Articles & Sites You Might Have Missed" »

Weekend Reading: Will Teachers Kill Blended Learning?

Tweets from over the weekend you might have missed:

What's new/old in Merrow's "missing memo" story - by @Joy_Resmovits ow.ly/k23Oi

Anti-Cheating Efforts Lag, but Simple Fixes Exist -WSJ.com ow.ly/k23oL

Will Teachers Unions Kill Virtual Learning? Slate Magazine ow.ly/k2kLb

Pay no attention to Stockton's bankruptcy and the teacher pension issues looming nationwide @Eia ow.ly/k1hPV

Audio: Governor Markell, Mayor Taveras on Learning Initiatives @BloombergEDU ow.ly/k2kgm

If Robots Will Run the World, What Should Students Learn? | @MindShift ow.ly/k2jEt

Audio: A new report recommends changing the way Pell Grants work @AmRadioWorks ow.ly/k2jBc

Smarick wishes he'd spent more time on teacher prep reform ow.ly/k2vpz But what about the daunting politics? @EducationNext

From Jay Mathews: Nation’s best high school may be closed: I have been ranking the most challenging schools in... bit.ly/17cPIgG

High-school rape culture in an age of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook - Atlantic ow.ly/k2360

High school apologizes over “think like a Nazi” essay assignment - Salon.com ow.ly/k2lxG

Weekend Reading: Stuff You Missed (Or Wish You Had)


 Lots of magazine, website, and twitter action from over the weekend, including topics such as cheating, hypocrisy, technology, bullying, angry progressives, and miscellaneous. Some favorites:

 The Atlanta Teacher Aptitude Test (ATAT) - NYTimes.comow.ly/jPZnv

"It would be hypocritical rail against private schools and then choose private schools." @AcmpCA_Teachers Agreed.

The hybrid educational model works via Tyler Cowenow.ly/jOkLv Even across subgroups (first gen, low-income, etc.)

With new report, America Achieves tries to refocus attention on middle-class students and schoolsow.ly/jOlCA

Check them all out below.

Continue reading "Weekend Reading: Stuff You Missed (Or Wish You Had)" »

Weekend Reading: Smart, Suspended, Racism - Discrimination?

There were some good things I came across over the weekend, checking magazines and sites I don't get to during the week (and things I missed along the way:

20K Smart, Poor Kids Are Applying to the Wrong Colleges- Slate Magazine ow.ly/j3jdF

Why do we suspend children from school? - Slate Magazine ow.ly/j3jbX

Nine High Schools, One Roof At the Stevenson Campus, - NYTimes.com ow.ly/j7FYx

From Jay Mathews: Ability grouping is back despite scholarly qualms: My elementary School in San Mateo, Calif.... bit.ly/Zk4S23

Sequester Forces Lottery Drawings To Kick Kids Out of Head Start  Programs ow.ly/1TDuYy @Jezebel [not sure if this is for real]

Is racism (and its offshoots like segregation) a product of public policy or a part of human nature? @tanehisiow.ly/j3pTR

Advocacy & Politics 101 for Teachers by @CALcharters & @LEE_National ow.ly/j3ot7

Discrimination Against Asians Admissions WBUR On Point bit.ly/1438Jp1 [Asian success kicks off Anglo debate about diversity]

Weekend Reading: Reform Superintendent Opposes Parent Trigger

Here are some of best stories and commentary I came across over the weekend:  

FLA superintendent Tony Bennett comes out against the parent trigger for some interesting reasons ow.ly/iGi9c

NM Could Become First State With Pre-School Funding Constitutionally Guaranteed ow.ly/1TqzFo [or maybe not, according to @edlawcenter]

Online education is sort of like recorded music -- not as good as live, but good enough Marginal Revolution ow.ly/iENRC

Big data enthusiast writes that People Against Big Ed Data Should Explain Why It's a Bad Idea @EricHorow ow.ly/iDhmc @EdSurge

Does 'Big Data' Mean the Demise of the Expert — And Intuition? ow.ly/iDRVX

Alberti, Hull, Teachers on Common Core State Standards (Audio) ow.ly/1ToUGr

From Jay Mathews: Arguing about school reforms that go nowhere: In the 1990s, Las Montanas High School (a fict... bit.ly/10s9Yt0

Labor’s Turnaround - In These Times ow.ly/iGmzg The AFL-CIO has a plan to save the movement. [incl Shanker anecdote]

oh, no -- they made the folks at "roosevelt middle school" change the marquee! ow.ly/iBLq6 @DianeRavitch

Weekend Reading: Sequester, UPK, Teachers Shooting Staff

What'd you miss over the weekend?  Not much -- a few sequester stories, some universal preschool back and forth, the weekly Bloomberg and American Public Radio podcasts, and -- my favorite -- news that a school worker in Texas was shot during (you guessed it) a post-Newtown gun training session for educators. 

See, the sequester is real: Duncan cancels Boston newcomer HS event sending Marco Davis instead @EDPressSec

Slate gives sequester shout-out for Impact Aid ow.ly/idKEM

China reportedly has set a goal of giving 70 percent of all children three years of prekindergarten education NYT ow.ly/igB0R

'GA and OK are held up as [preschool] models, but their programs show few gains."  WSJ.com ow.ly/iblKs @NewAmerica?

Sarah Carr, John Merrow, Andre Perry on New Orleans (Audio) ow.ly/igvNE @bloomburgEDU

American RadioWorks - Financial Ed and the Common Core ow.ly/igvt2 @AmRadioWorks

School worker shot during gun training class ow.ly/ic08V via @amandaripley Texas

Continue reading "Weekend Reading: Sequester, UPK, Teachers Shooting Staff" »

Weekend Reading: Why The School Bus Is Always Yellow

Here are some of the best things I found over the weekend -- commentary, news, long features, etc.  Take a look, enjoy, let me know what I missed:

NRA Is Grading Schools - The Atlantic Wire ow.ly/hYXju

Update on former LAUSD board member Caprice Young, now a VP at Texas' Arnold Foundation ow.ly/hYWj1

Firing Bad Teachers Has Surprisingly Meager Effects, says @KevinDrum ow.ly/i0jfl Commenters beg to disagree

Iowa SDE and USDA won't let Iowa city use free reduced lunch data for school integration plan, says @RickKahlenberg ow.ly/i0n4k

Bullying's "bystander problem" -- few take responsibility in large group situations ow.ly/i0mQd

A resurgence for arts education -- or a problem with neighborhood-based schools? @mattyglesias ow.ly/i0lbf

Founder of Wishbone writes about the power of finding kids' inspiration - @TakePart Beth Schmidt ow.ly/i0b39

How charters have forced many Chicago schools to close ow.ly/hZYCU [Despite being just 10 percent of enrollment?] @KenzoShibata

What Data Can't Do - The Browser ow.ly/hZlh8

Revamped GED Faces First Big Challenge - WSJ.comow.ly/hZfpS @lisafleisher

Why the School Bus Never Comes in Red or Green -NYTimes.com ow.ly/hYV2k

Weekend Reading: Happy Presidents Day!

Here are the best items from magazine sites, long-form blogs, and weekend news items that you may have missed over the weekend:

Chicago Teenager Shot and Killed Hours After Her Sister Sat Behind Obama at Speech About Gun Control ow.ly/hNDjz

Venture Capital's Massive, Terrible Idea For The Future Of College | The Awl ow.ly/hMBVf

Head start evaluations: As pre-K it's bad but as child care it's good. ow.ly/hMDyC

His "UPK" plan might not fly but these pics of him at an ATL kindergarten with the magnifying glass are hard to resist ow.ly/hN7L1

My h.s. science teacher retired after 32 years. His departure q&a is amazingly evocative: bit.ly/XQ3DYv @Atul_Gawande

Some schools use military-style "After Action Response" debriefings in the wake of violent incidentsow.ly/hMa2J

Book: Solutions elusive for New Orleans schools USA Today @gtoppo ow.ly/hNc3h

New life for Hollywood flop as education reformers push #parenttrigger in state capitals apne.ws/Vp0TAK#WontBackDown via @azagier

PLNs Are Returning Classrooms to Teachersow.ly/hNkIX Will Richardson, Lynne Schrum, Jason Flom

From Jay Mathews: More high school may be bad for this student: Is Laura Linder’s son Chris being pushed out of ... bit.ly/UwaEOt

Nothing New Under the Wingnut Sun: 'Textbook Wars' | The Nation ow.ly/hMYIr via @gtoppo

Suit against ex-LAUSD boss Ramon Cortines tossed shout.lt/glWg @ladailynews

A Hazmat crew was summoned to Seminole High School in Florida after a science student brought in a mercury thermometer. ow.ly/hMDic

Just three years into blogging, that slacker Rick Hess is taking a sabbatical ow.ly/hLwwp

Weekend Reading: Waiting For The (Meaningless) State Of The Union

Recent links to magazines, long-form sites, and other corners of the Internet I don't check every day:

image from farm4.staticflickr.comPictures: Michelle Obama [and Arne Duncan] Mourn Shot Chicago Teenager Hadiya Pendleton ow.ly/hzRh9

Why Can Some Kids Handle Pressure While Others Fall Apart? - NYTimes ow.ly/hzyjQ  

Two DCPS teachers standing in protest outside Michelle Rhee's book talkyfrog.com/odvszcvnj  @emmersbrown 

Democratic Think Tank Showdown: CAP's UPK proposal vs. NAF's universal Kindergartenow.ly/hAWpE

Dana Goldstein, Anya Kamenetz, Alyson Klein, and Andrew Rotherham, discuss Issues to Watch in 2013 @bloomburgEDU ow.ly/hzy6a

"This is the tragedy of big data: The more variables, the more correlations that can show significance." from Wired ow.ly/hzxt5

Tucson School District Struggles for Equality NYT ow.ly/hAWiN

From Jay Mathews: Sad failure of two inspectors general in D.C. schools: In the 42 years I have worked for this ... bit.ly/12hVQC0

Image via CCFlickr

Weekend Reading: Turnarunds & Tirades

Here's a look at some of the best stuff that came through over the weekend -- or from weekly magazines and other sites I don't check during the week:

AP: School turnarounds prompt community backlash ow.ly/hnvI0 LA Superintendent Deasy calls failing schools "immoral"

Michelle Rhee Gets an Education - NYTimes.comow.ly/hmOHa

Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Early Education (Audio) ow.ly/hmOQ8

Dear Bill Gates: You Are Cooler Than Steve Jobs - Esquire ow.ly/hndLv

Holding Education Hostage by Diane Ravitch | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books ow.ly/hmQm8

Do Unions Have a Shot in the 21st Century? -NYTimes.com ow.ly/hmOJt

From Jay Mathews: Why much-praised KIPP D.C. expels kids: Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, founders of the KIPP ch... bit.ly/TvHb6P

Land's End Founder's Attempt to Save a Chicago Neighborhood | Chicago Magazine via The Billfold ow.ly/hnTsu

Venture Capital's Massive, Terrible Idea [Udacity] For The Future Of College | The Awl ow.ly/hnTnB

Rocketship’s cofounder departing for online learning startup | EdSource Today ow.ly/hovUs

Weekend Reading: Bill Gates, Rocketship, Atul Gawande!

Here are some of the best education stories from over the weekend and some magazines that you may have missed -- let me know what I missed:

Why Tom Harkin Retiring Is a Big Deal - Politics - The Atlantic Wire ow.ly/h9YML

Bill Gates on the Importance of Measurement -WSJ.com ow.ly/haXRj via @Larryferlazzo

Mindshift follows up with more on the coming changes to the Rocketship computer lab model ow.ly/hamK5 It wasn't broken!

Prison Prep School - In These Times ow.ly/hamuI It's not just charter schools that are pushing kids out

BloombergEDU has @rweingarten talking about the teacher bar exam and other topics ow.ly/hamlL

The New Yorker's Atul Gawande makes all my dreams come true talking about education on the @HarvardGSE EdCast ow.ly/hamem

Teachers Flip for 'Flipped Learning' Class Model - AP via ABC News ow.ly/haVYG

Dartmouth’s unresearched swipes at AP: Most college professors rightly consider themselves par... bit.ly/10Xst7m

What to do / tell kids about surviving / recovering from high school, via Jezebel ow.ly/hamQE

Gun Industry Spends Millions to Get Children Into Automatic Weapons NYT via Slate ow.ly/haJGk

Weekend Reading: Great Stuff You Might Have Missed

The #thisweekined Twitter feed was dominated by the Sandy Hook shooting but there were a few notable stories from magazines, longform sites, and other outlets that you might find interesting:


Suckers for Superheroes ow.ly/g8dsf NYMag [A profile aboutt General Petreus & Lance Armstrong might as well be about Canada, Kahn, Klein, Ravitch]

The Liberal Case *Against* Right-to-Work Laws - Michael Kinsley ow.ly/g884m

How to Keep All of Huck Finn in the Classroom - Mark Berlein ow.ly/g87Zg

A Day at an Elementary School with a Cognitive Psychologist | Cedar's Digest ow.ly/g8drn

The Coming Education Policy Cliff of 2014 | Whiteboard Advisors @ddeschryver ow.ly/g887k

Why Nate Silver Can Save Math Education in America | MindShift ow.ly/g8d1i [Probably not but it's a fun headline]

Apps Alone Won’t Teach Your Kid To Read |NewAmerica.net ow.ly/g857c @NewAmerica

Weekend Reading: It's Not Too Late

Here are some of the stories I tweeted out over the weekend, which you might want to catch up on or save for later -- plus illustrated instructions on how to Gangam Style:

GangamstylehowtoWill Competition Cure Head Start—or Kill It? | TIME.comow.ly/fKcGC 

The Autism Advantage - NYTimes.com ow.ly/fJVD2

Mike Stryer's New ideas from a new generation of teachers - The Washington Post ow.ly/fKTp0

The parent trigger isn't really new, and reformers really haven't embraced it, but... ow.ly/fKEYo @RaRapoport

Pittsb City Paper - Another "expose" exaggerating the funding and influence of reform campaign funding ow.ly/fKjzb 

What Happens Now That the War on [Schools] Has Failed? - The Feature ow.ly/fJVMQ 

The Dangers of a Data-Driven World - In These Times ow.ly/fJWeF How algorithms destroy @davidsirota

At Brooklyn Free School, A Movement Reborn With Liberty And No Testing For All ow.ly/fKhER

More Colleges Dropping SAT or ACT in Favor of Admissions Requirements That Suck Lessow.ly/1PU5R2 

New book from Thirtysomething/My So-Called Life writer centers on bullied prep school student ow.ly/fJWF6

Weekend Reading: Praxis Cheating, More Cuts Coming

Sometimes the news that comes out over the weekend is just as important as anything that comes out during the week:

Teachers in several states hired stand-in to take ETS Praxis certification tests - U.S. Newsow.ly/fySG2 

U.S. School Districts, Eyeing Fiscal Crisis, Brace for More Cutbacks - NYTimes.com ow.ly/fyrRb

Civil Rights Investigation Triggers LAUSD Overhaul @ladnews ow.ly/1PKfTh

 Bonus time | The Economistow.ly/fyWIq A new contract for teachers is shaking up New Jersey’s largest city

 The digital divide isn't access it's "the way they're using the Internet" that's different @AmRadioWorks       ow.ly/fytGj

At Least 37 States Will Be Under Single-Party Control In 2013 - Mediaite ow.ly/fyrPY

Sunlight Foundation rates/ranks PAC spending and impactow.ly/fyt8z I don't see unions or reformers here, FWIW

Educate All Kids Like Sasha and Malia - In These Times ow.ly/fytOb @leoniehaimson

Weekend Reading: What You Might Have Missed

Over the weekend I tweet out stories from mazazines and longform sites that are of interest, using the hashtag #thisweekined.  It's sort of like Five Best Blogs, except for the weekend: 

Kruger_project5_9051In Andrew Solomon's new book, parents - like teachers - try to understand children much unlike themselves ow.ly/fo2x8

90 of the 105 candidates backed by StudentsFirst were Republicans, says Salon's @DanielDenvir ow.ly/fnqRF

Residency Program Tops UT and TFA on TN Teacher-Prep Report Card - Teacher Beat - Education Weekow.ly/fmf6w

Jonathan Chait on the Democrats' Class-War Triumph -- New York Magazine ow.ly/fo2mR

The Fifteen “Twitterers” Whose Tweets I Read First @Larryferlazzo ow.ly/fnLNH 

Latest BloombergEDU has Joe Williams, Joy Resmovits, Scott Elliott, and Alyson Klein ow.ly/fo4kO 

MA supe Paul Reville sheds light on the future of education policy ow.ly/foeGg @HarvardGSE

Unlike DC, Baltimore takes test tampering seriously: What would happen if the D.C. school syst... bit.ly/SGEl9S

Train plows into school bus in Egypt, 50 killed | Reuters ow.ly/fogrH

Weekend Reading: Best Stories You Might Have Missed



Charter Schools, the Cliffhanger Issue of the 2012 Election - Emily Chertoff - The Atlantic ow.ly/fc3yN

After a year on the beat KPCC's Tami Abdollah is leaving for AP/law enforcement ow.ly/fbAuZ

D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson Expected To Release List Of Schools Targeted For Closureow.ly/fbsGD

From War Zone To The Classroom : NPR ow.ly/fbrvg

Blogger calls and asks schools to intervene when students sent out racist Tweets after Obama win  ow.ly/fbqQD

Guesses and Hopes for Early Education in Obama’s Second Term ow.ly/fbprx @NewAmerica

Finding good schools in average neighborhooods: In my 30 years writing about schools, one read... bit.ly/ZncAIm


Weekend Reading: Hechinger, NPR, EdWeek, NYT

Here are some of the stories from magazines and sites I don't check during the week: image from cdn.theatlanticwire.com 

Only about half of StudentsFirst's Missouri candidate won in the primary, notes @hechingerreport ow.ly/f0JQ1

Public employees insulated from earlier job losses now face layoffs NPR ow.ly/eZD95 

Show Me Your Badge - NYT ow.ly/f0liC@kevincarey1 

How Do You Raise a Prodigy? - NYT Magazineow.ly/eZCBv #thisweekined

[Also: Where Are the Gifted Minorities? Scientific Americanow.ly/eYXmz Co-written by my former colleague Rena Subotnik]

Uh, oh, @ncate: Minnesota Colleges Must Turn Over Education Syllabi ow.ly/eYVd5 @edweek

Jonathan Kozol interview in In These Timesow.ly/eZCdE [Does he ever talk about Ravitch, I wonder?]

Image via: Great Moments of Obama Talking on the Phone #thisweekined


Weekend Reading: Scary Stories From Weekly Mags & Sites

ScreenHunter_09 Oct. 24 10.02Will GA voters create a $430 million charter-school commission? ow.ly/eDdzg TAP @RaRapoport

Governor Patrick on Massachusetts Top Spot in Education (Audio) @BloombergEDU bit.ly/RMYoTT

How the national media "maligned" the Chicago teachers strike In These Times ow.ly/eDcGq

A sad attack on Advanced Placement: Nearly all of us are experts about something...  bit.ly/ScJQhb

Can an Online [Teaching] Degree Really Help You Get a [Teaching] Job? TIME ow.ly/eDYpM

Creating a "Democracy Index" and other ideas for promoting local decisionmaking - Boston Glob eow.ly/eDd61

Critique of Katherine Boo & others who write abt poverty w/o economic/political analysis TimesLitSupp ow.ly/eDcm2

Feature about Best Busy includes useful lessons about adaptation in large organizations ow.ly/eDdNF

Direct democracy - once a progressive reform - has been hijacked by wealthy conservatives ow.ly/eDdCO

Boys hitting puberty sooner according to new studyow.ly/eDYZH #thisweekined Researchers blame high-stakes testing.

You can follow my weekend reading recommendations via the #thisweekined hashtag on Twitter if you want to catch them all / in real time.

Weekend Reading: Three Don't-Miss Things To Read

ScreenHunter_40 Oct. 22 14.26
Three of the dozen or so stories I pointed folks to over the weekend:

We've already seen some pushback against the Tough book from the right, and here's some from the left: Paul Tough Is Way Off-Base. And Stop Saying “Grit”. « Katie Osgood @ the chalk face ow.ly/e6JZb

The Chicago Reader takes a look at a charter school teachers' firing:  Fighting for the right to fire bad teachers—and good ones too - Chicago Reader ow.ly/e6IgA

Ed tech enthusiasts were hoping that access to kids would be eased, but apparently that's not going to happen just yet:  F.T.C. Moves to Tighten Online Privacy Protections for Children -http://ow.ly/e4TRf  

Looking for things to read over the weekend?  Follow me on Twitter -- I post articles and commentary you might not otherwise see, from magazines and blogs outside the usual education list.

Thompson: Thin-Skinned Response From Gates

GatesDuring the Anthony Cody's five-part exchange with the Gates Foundation at Living in Dialogue, Cody presented a series of closely argued positions on school reform, while the foundation's representatives responded with sound bites. 

Even so,  I was flabbergasted by the response in Impatient Optimists by Irving Scott and Stacey Childress to Cody’s last post.  So, I reread their "The Role of the Marketplace in Education," and Cody’s post to see what I missed that made the foundation’s representatives so angry.   They seemed livid about his words regarding the Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC) and a contract involving the Wireless Generation. 

I do not know enough to comment on their disagreement with Cody, so for all I know, they might have a point on the details that I don't understand.  For the life of me, however, I cannot see what the teacher/blogger wrote that drove the Gates people to lose their tempers in such a way. And, while I understand their pain if Cody hurt their feelings, I don’t understand why they do not feel the need to apologize for their foundation’s funding of so many baseless attacks on teachers and challenging our integrity. 

Continue reading "Thompson: Thin-Skinned Response From Gates" »

Weekend Reading: Tornadoes And Hipsters

All the best articles from magazines and other sites I don't check during the week, for your reading pleasure:


Weekend Reading: You Know You Can't Keep Away

Weekend Reading: Childcare, Like ECE In General, Forgotten Issue

Jonesbeach2012Childcare costs 2x as much as public college tuition via Slate ow.ly/cpvki #thisweekined

English teacher: I was wrong about “Hunger Games” - Salon ow.ly/cpvzu #t

10 Things in School That Should Be Obsoleteow.ly/cpvd7  @KQED @MindShift #thisweekined My favorite? The computer lab.

Three thousand education & health groups join together to oppose federal budget cuts Coalition for Health Funding ow.ly/cpq7M

Michelle Rhee on NBC's "Meet the Press" this morning (nowish) msnbc.com.

I wonder which reform group will, like Nokia (WJS ow.ly/cppyt) focus so much on early success that eventually gets passed by?

Reporters (&bloggers) should say where they get their tidbits esp negative ones slipped by the other side CJR ow.ly/cpppD

US poverty on track to rise to highest since 1960sow.ly/cpw2X 

Crime is at a 40y low but nervous parents are limiting their kids' freedom to roam & it hurts urban lifeow.ly/cpvBE 

The Long Slow Death Of NCLB @kevincarey1ow.ly/cpvNj [in case like me you still haven't read it]

Find more weekend reads at #thisweekined on Twitter throughout the weekend (or at least intermittently).  

Weekend Reading: "Breaking Bad" Will Not Teach You Chemistry

Here are some links to magazines and sites I don't check during the week, in Twitter form (#thisweekined), plus whatever else I come across along the way or missed during the week.  Good stuff, worth the click:

Come across something I've missed? Put it in comments or tweet it out using #thisweekined and it will show up above. Links and retweets aren't necessarily endorsements, you ungrateful wretches, just an effort to give you a range of interesting news and opinion with which to challenge your knee-jerk view of the world.

Graduation: Ira Glass At Goucher

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

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


Events: Educate Texas


@educatetexas #edtxLF I'm doing a journalists' panel at a conference in Austin today -- if by any chance you're here at the event outside of Austin please come up and say hello or tweet me at @alexanderrusso.  Called the Education Leadership Forum, the event's being run by the Texas High School Project -- just renamed "Educate Texas" in light of its expansion into postsecondary and advocacy areas.  They're among other things a member of the PIE Network.  Some of the most familiar names on the agenda are Vicki Phillips (Gates), Bob Wise (Alliance), and Karen Hawley Miles (ERS), Sandy Kress (Akin Gump), and Arturo Vargas (NALEO).  The journo panel includes a broad range of folks -- Alberta Williams, Bill McKenzie, and Ross Ramsey-- Vargas is moderating.  Apparently this is the 3rd of these they've done.  Though Texas is not a waiver state and stayed out of previous rounds of Race To The Top, there's lots of other action going on here: turnarounds and charters, STEM high schools, funding and equity lawsuits, among other things, as well as a new assessment and accountability system and changes to how much weigh is going to be given to end of course exams that's raising lots of concerns among suburban districts especially. There's a CMO called IDEA that's expanding into Austin.  There's KIPP and Roland Fryer messing around in Houston.  There's a newish chapter of Stand For Children that's been set up.  

Pictures: Duncan Looks For The Easy Waiver Pass

image from latimesblogs.latimes.com

A trio of highlights from over the weekend include controversial remarks about the snobbery of wanting every kid to go to college from surging Rick Santorum, a Denver Post editorial noting that only 15 states are tracking how SIG money is being spent, a new paper about the coming national education system from the conspiracy-minded folks at PEPG.  

Also, EdSEc Arne ("Jeremy Who?") Duncan excelled in the NBA All-Star Weekend celebrity game.  

Most weekends I try and catch up on interesting stories on Twitter at #thisweekined and on the blog (see latest example here).

Video: A School ID Is All It Took To Take The SAT 16 Times

"A school ID is what? Like what is that? It's like, it's some colors with literally a name and picture on it."  That's the kid kid who took all the tests -- and his description of how pathetic the security process was. And so far at least ETS is resisting calls for better security or for notifying colleges of even confirmed cases of cheating on the test.  From the most recent "60 Minutes" aired this past weekend.  Yes, of course, it's NCLB's fault.  

Update: "Occupy" Movement Gets Active On K12 In Chicago

image from www.chicagonow.comUnhappy with proposed school closings and the creation of 12 more charters (among other things), protesters in Chicago shouted down schools head Jean-Claude Brizard and forced the Board of Education to retreat into private session for three hours -- during which speakers who'd signed up to address the board spoke to empty chairs.  The effort was coordinated in part with Occupy Chicago, the local version of the Occupy Wall Street movement that has addressed student lending and international trade but not really K12 education thus far. The protest might not change the Board's mind but it was a pretty vivid demonstration of community dissatisfaction and apparently -- this surprised me -- a first in nearly 20 years for Chicago. You'd have thought that opponents would have given the Daley-era school chiefs (Vallas, Duncan, and Huberman) the same kind of treatment but apparently not.  [Cross posted from D299]

Reformageddon: Reform's "Rich Republican Job-Loss" Problem


Why are low-income minority communities, classroom teachers, middle-class parents and the public so indifferent if not outright hostile to school reform efforts?  That's the question reformer Whitney Tilson tries to address in his latest email (copied below -- it usually takes him a few days to post them on his blog). Best known as a reform fanatic whose emails (along with this blog) were primary resources for Steve Brill's book, acknowledges what few of the blowhards and finger-waggers out there seem willing to do.  It's not just the unions' fault, or even Stockholm Syndrome. Reform has problems, despite its progress, and ignoring them won't make them go away.  These include (a) the practical and political obstacles that any job-threatening reforms create, (b) the realities of poverty and the resources that will be required to bring people out of it, (c) race and class issues that arise when reformers are rich and white and reformees are not, and (d) how what was once a strength -- bipartisanship -- is now toxic to the Democratic base.  Or at least that's what I think he's saying.  Check it out and let me know. It's not something you've never thought or read before, but perhaps not from someone in Tilson's camp.  

Continue reading "Reformageddon: Reform's "Rich Republican Job-Loss" Problem" »

Weekend Reading: Stop Freaking Out Over Class Size

A few education-related articles and columns from magazines and websites I don't check every day:

ElmerJohnston on Education Reforms Bloomberg EDU (audio):Colorado State Senator Mike Johnston discusses education reforms in teaching, leadership and funding for students with special needs.

Does class size really matter? Salon (Peg Tyre):  Parents are dying to get their kids into smaller classes. But research shows they may be panicking over nothing.

Public school budgets will rise in next few years SCPR: About a thousand public school teachers finished a one week union boot camp at UCLA Friday. After losing thousands of members to teacher layoffs, the California Teachers Association conference is training its remaining teachers in negotiating and organizing skills. 

Education Needs a Digital-Age Upgrade Virginia Heffernan (NYT): Chances are just that good that, in spite of anything you do, little Oliver or Abigail won’t end up a doctor or lawyer — or, indeed, anything else you’ve ever heard of.

Study Links Decline of Unions to Rising of Income Inequality: Western and co-author Jake Rosenfeld, a sociology professor at the University of Washington, looked at the period between 1973 and 2007, when inequality in hourly wages spiked by 40 percent. 

Student Sues School Over Homecoming Week "Wigger Day" Gawker:  Rather than going along with the student council-approved theme in 2008 and 2009, Red Wing High School students at the predominantly white school held "Wednesday Wigger Day," which involved wearing clothes that, "from their perspective, mimicked black culture." 

Events: Saving The SOS March [UPDATE]

image from upload.wikimedia.orgThe upcoming Save Our Schools march in DC this week needs something more than angry frustration and sanctimonious scolds if it's going to attract cameras, new followers, and make itself a widespread movement rather than one that seems mostly made up of older upper-middle class white teachers and parents. Inspiration would be great -- but so would humor. And, looking at the lineup of speakers (and assuming Jon Stewart isn't available*) I'm thinking that the humor might have to come from the audience.  It's not too late.  The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (depicted right) helped get the anti-creationism argument across. Billionaires For Bush did the same during the Bush administrations. How about Duncan lookalikes dressed up as Margaret Spellings?  Or Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, and Jonah Edelman masks for everyone to wear? Or Richie Rich Reformers all dressed in top hats and long gloves? 

UPDATE:  Rumor is that Stewart is addressing the crowd via videotape.

Events: Live From The AFT "Teach" Conference

#tch11 I'm at the biannial AFT training conference (formerly QUEST) moderating a panel on charters and unions (and talking about my book) later this afternoon.  Here's the livestream of Twitter updates from and about the conference, assuming I've picked the correct hashtag:

Let me know if there are other good sources of information about the event, and be sure and come up and say hi if you see me (I'm in the lobby wifi area now, bearded with glasses and earbuds).

Five Best Blogs: Slow, Hot Monday (Debt Ceiling Looms!)

10CNCTEACHERS-popup Of Jonah Edelman and other braggarts Sherman Dorn:No one should be so naive to think this stuff doesn't happen behind closed doors. No one should be so naive to think this stuff is helpful to productive negotiations. 

Charter School Sends Message Mike Winerip (NYT):  It was not a natural fit for the Success charters, which are known for discipline and long school days. From Day 1 of kindergarten, Ms. Sprowal said, he was punished for acting out. ALSO:  Success Wins EdNext.

Business moves to center of school policy debate  Stateline:  Long counted on mainly as a funder and promoter of K-12 education, corporate America is immersing itself in discussion about the way school systems should be organized and operated. 

Math And Literacy Are Vocational Skills Yglesias:  It’s not about everyone needing to have basic reading and math competency so they can go to college; it’s about everyone needing to have basic reading and math skills so that they know who to read and do basic math.

Why parents love a lower-rated school - Class Struggle Jay Mathews:  The Wakefield Chapel parents are angrily demanding that their children be allowed to stay with the poor kids.

Summer Camp Just as Unbearable as College Now Gawker: You don't want just any old collection of log cabins around a lake filled with children's bodies. No: You need a place with evidence-based instruction and measurable skill-development! 

Duncan: Which Broadway Show Will Arne See?

image from www.concierge.com There's not much of note on the EdSec's media schedule next week, though he is coming to New York City for an ed tech event in the middle of the week.  

Maybe he should take a page out of Palin's playbook and do that whole unscheduled summer bus trip thing.  

Or maybe he should just get one of his lackeys to find him some "Book of Mormon" or "Spider Man" tix.

PS:  I'll be in DC on Tuesday for the AFT conference, moderating a panel on charter schools, then heading to the beach for the rest of the week. 

Continue reading "Duncan: Which Broadway Show Will Arne See?" »

Five Best Blogs: Add Supports To Reform Agenda

Ben franklin daily schedule

Reforming the School Reformers Paul Tough:  These are excuses. (In fact, they are the very same excuses for failure that the education-reform movement was founded to oppose.) 

Axe Public Programs That Don't Yield Results Joe Klein:  We can no longer afford to be sloppy about dispensing cash to programs that do not produce a return. 

The Math Problem Grantland:  Sports teams are seeking out the safety of math, trying to make extremely complicated personnel decisions by fixating on statistics.

Richard Dreyfuss on Civics, Public Education SOS:  Teachers are not the problem. Teachers are the solution. 

The Education of LAUSD’s Steve Zimmer Jewish Journal:  The teachers’ union, his most ardent supporter in the last election, has told him it will consider endorsing an opponent, which could prove a blow to his campaign. 

Managing the Teacher Workforce  Education Next:  If the RIF-notified teachers made the average salary in their district, it would only be necessary to lay off roughly 20 percent less than actual number of teachers who received layoff notices. 

NSVF 2011: Reformy Summit Returns To Silicon Valley

Last night's NSVF summit reception featured Target-branded cocktails and bass-heavy lounge music provided by a live DJ. Today the  San Francisco (adjacent) hotel where the event is being held will be swarming with sharply-dressed reformers and funders (but usually very few teachers or administrators).  Fill your day with long-distance scorn or envy by following along.  Send me email or tweets to let me know what I'm missing or what sessions I should go to:

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."

Quote: "Reformers" & "True Progressives" Both Wrong

Quotes2 On the one hand we have “reformers” who don’t really care if tests are accurate as long as “reformers” are in charge of school systems. Then on the other hand we have people who’ve decided that the one true progressive pro-teacher position is to insist that schooling doesn’t matter and educational attainment can’t be measured. -- Matthew Yglesias

Events: Notes From Yale SOM 2011

Picture 19 #somELC It was something of an "off" year for the Yale SOM education conference – not in terms of attendance or quality of the program but rather in terms of VIPs and the atmosphere of self-congratulation. Faced with charter quality problems and political setbacks and all the rest, could reformers have finally learned humility to go along with their urgency?  It wouldn't be a bad thing. In any case, there was no video greeting from Arne Duncan or even any high level USDE officials in attendance.  [Andy Rotherham complained that the USDE’s Brad Jupp had to conference into the morning session because the Administration was being “run like a Central American country."] There was no Wendy Kopp, Jon Schnur, Jonah Edelman, or even Michelle Rhee. There weren’t any other reporters or bloggers there (that I know of).   Some sort of fall-off was inevitable, considering that the previous two events took place shortly after Obama was elected and right when the hullabaloo surrounding the competition for Race To The Top was in full force. Plus a recession and all of that. 

In a positive development for a community that can be pretty insular, there were not one but two sessions focused on unions and contracts – one morning session with the AFT’s Joan Devlin and New Haven’s Garth Harries, among others, plus a lunchtime session with the superintendents for New Haven and Baltimore plus Randi Weingarten.  My small but growing list of school reform “amphibians” (those few who’ve switched from school, district, or state work to nonprofit or private sector work, or switched from labor to management):  Andy Smarick, Chris Cerf,  Garth Harries, Kevin Huffman, Sandra Scandera (NM state supe), Mike Johnston, Jon Schnur, Andy Rotherham (sort of), Brad Jupp, John King, Jo Anderson, Michelle Rhee.  

The best session I saw focused on the reform movement’s inattention to (hostility toward?) community engagement and featured some powerful insights about why reformers often find themselves fighting against (and losing to) the people they think they are trying to help. Derrell Bradford, Danielle Smith, Ref Rodriguez, and Michala English lit up the room, IMO. Ellen Winn moderated.  I wish Michelle Rhee and Jonah Edelman and others who are hoping to beef up this part of the reform effort had been there to listen because I worry that they are about to make some preventable mistakes.  Reformers are beginning to understand the need for stakeholder involvement but only as an afterthought not from the start (Danielle Smith/ BAEO Connecticut)

Other things I heard, thought, saw below the jump. TLDR?  Twitter feed here.

Continue reading "Events: Notes From Yale SOM 2011" »

Video Interlude: Old School Missy Elliott "Gossip Folks"

It's set in a school (anyone know which one?) and is a tirade against gossip:

via The Awl 

Wisconsin: So, Do "Reformers" Support Collective Bargaining?

image from images.betterworldbooks.comThe President's been waffling.  Secretary Duncan's been silent since his bland equivocations in Denver. What about reformy types?  It's been hard to tell.  Michelle Rhee announced a campaign against "last in first out" earlier this week (here) but hasn't made any statements about Wisconsin that I've seen or responded to my emails so far.  (My guess is she'll be OK with strike bans and bargaining limits.) No response yet from Stand For Children, either, though Jonah Edelman's organization did support an Illinois reform package that included strike ban legislation last month so obviously it's not a deal-breaker for them, either. Andy Rotherham claims he's not against unions -- just the laws they help get passed (here).  Only DFER says it straight-out opposes Walker's budget bill (see the email below). Of course, the seeming disarray is all very amusing for long-standing union critics like Checker Finn, who mocks reformers for waffling and ducking (here), or Mike Antonucci, who says he's ready for an end to the "fog of bipartisanship" (here). In reality it's not an easy call for reformistas, who risk losing support and funding if they go too far to the right or losing face (and funding) if they soften their critique or limit their attack. So mostly they're just keeping quiet and hoping no one notices too much.  Image via

Continue reading "Wisconsin: So, Do "Reformers" Support Collective Bargaining?" »

OHIO: Education's Own Small Facebook Revolution

image from change-production.s3.amazonaws.com
Over 165,000 folks have signed a petition to have the state reconsider the conviction of an Akron Ohio mother who faked her child's address to get them enrolled in a better school, according to Change.org (Pardon Kelley Williams-Bolar).  "That's 9,606 pages and approximately 40 pounds, delivered to Kasich's 30th-floor office and into the hands of Brad Reynolds, Gov. Kasich's Director of Constituent Affairs, earlier today." That's not the same as the nearly half million who signed the Facebook fan page that kicked off the ongoing protests in Egypt, but it's already showing some results. Kasich has agreed to investigate the case. 

Quote: Parent's Revenge On Annoying Robocalls

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com This is a Prince George's County School District parent, calling to thank you for the robocall yesterday at 4:30 in the morning.

-- Md. father uses robocall to get revenge on school officials (Washington Post)

Thompson: If The Gates Report Met Research Standards

Readexplore I wonder how the Gates Foundation's "Learning About Teaching" would be different if  the report was required to meet the standards of traditional social science before being peddled to reporters and the public.  It would begin with an introduction that objectively provided background information.  An early paragraph in the report would explain something like this:  "Youth (in grades one through three) are improving their reading comprehension MORE during the months they are in school. However, beginning in the fourth grade, that is no longer true! The above pattern implies that schooling in itself may have little impact on standardized assessments after 3rd grade."  Moreover,  the "common interpretation is that families have more profound effects on children's reading and verbal performance than teachers."'  Also, "state English test scores actually reflect the reading comprehension skills that the student brought to class, and they are insensitive to teacher effects.".... - JT (@drthompson)

Schools: High School Programming Whizzes Compete

Photo: Michael Schmelling

The scene from the International Olympiad in Informatics: 315 computer prodigies at 315 workstations ripping into 315 gray envelopes in unison, including a Shanghai-born former Mathcounts champion from Baton Rouge Magnet High School named Neal Wu.  Via Wired.

Media: States Fare Badly In International Comparisons

image from assets.theatlantic.com

It's not just the US education system as a whole that sucks in comparison to other countries -- individual states even some of the most highly touted ones look bad by comparison, too:

"Even if we treat each state as its own country, not a single one makes it into the top dozen contenders on the list. The best performer is Massachusetts, ringing in at No. 17...  On a percentage basis, New York state has fewer high performers among white kids than Poland has among kids overall. In Illinois, the percentage of kids with a college-educated parent who are highly skilled at math is lower than the percentage of such kids among all students in Iceland, France, Estonia, and Sweden." (The Atlantic "How Your State Rates")

I don't know if this is really all that new information, but here it is anyway.



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.