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Roundup: Bullying Damages Kids' Brains

Nelson-simpsons-bully Hurtful Words Damage Brain Psychology Today:  Taunting and other verbal abuse experienced by middle school children from their peers leaves a structural imprint on the developing brain, according to a new study published on-line in advance of print in the American Journal of Psychiatry... The Empathy Deficit Boston Globe:  Even as they become more connected, young people are caring less about others... Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctors—to a striking extent—still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice?.. Cafeteria manager fired from Oklahoma Centennial High School NewsOK:  A principal testified Monday night in a seven-hour employment hearing that the Oklahoma City School District employee was rude and demeaning to students for the past six years...Twitter and the Dunbar Number Robert Pattison's Blog:  So for all of you who wish that your schools not have bullying, that your organization would be more functional, that your church would be better, that your twitter experience itself would be more satisfying, that as a entrepreneur you could see see the perils in store as you grow - here is Rob's Coles Notes...

Weekend Reading: Law Schools Join Career Colleges Under Fire

ScreenHunter_05 Oct. 30 13.02 Law schools manufacturing more lawyers than America needs Slate:  The demand for lawyers has fallen off a cliff...at the same time, universities seeking revenue have tacked on law schools... Prime Number NYT:  11: The percentage decline in private donations to the nation’s biggest charities last year — the steepest one-year drop in 20 years... Is the best way to fix the American classroom to improve the furniture? Slate: Are you comfortable? If so, chances are you are not an American schoolchild... Creeper! Rando! Sketchball! NYT:  Student slang points to an increased need to patrol social boundaries... Coming Out Illegal NYT:  What happens when college students without papers reveal their status in public and put themselves on the line? ... Researchers Tackle the ‘Hipster’ Phenomenon Miller-McCune:  Researchers tap the indie marketplace to learn more about hipsters, who don't think of themselves as hipsters despite their obvious hipsterness...What's the Use of Experts? Why are American conservatives climate-change skeptics, while European conservatives are not?... Pushing against daylight savings:  Daylight saving doesn't just make winter more depressing, it also wastes energy, makes us less inclined to exercise, and generates excess pollution by forcing people to use more electricity... Rutgers students drop out after roommate suicide:  The two have been charged with invasion of privacy and may face possible bias charges because of Clementi's sexuality...How the Republican Congress will abandon Tea Party ideas Slate:  How the Republican Congress will abandon Tea Party ideas and legislate toward the center... "A" In Lady Gaga:  Beginning in the spring, Gaga uber-fan and University of South Carolina professor Mathieu Deflem will offer students a course on "Lady Gaga and the sociology of fame."...

Weekend Reading: New Yorker On Bullying, Reform™, Etc.

261.x600.feat.essentials.illio9 The New Yorker on bullying, drug sniffing dogs for rent, Reform™, and more to come:  Behind the anti-gay bullying New Yorker:  The problem is a culture of exposure that is far more advanced than any efforts to combat online cruelty. Bullying feeds on weakness, anger, and, lately, the systematic undervaluing of privacy. There’s such a thing as violating your own privacy, too... Wanna be a School Reformer? You Better do Your Homework! Gary Stager:  In public education today, unqualified is the new qualified. The celebration of inexperience and lack of preparation is particularly disconcerting when it comes to education policy. When you allow billionaires, ideologues, pop singers and movie viewers to define reform, you get Reform™... Company Renting Drug-Sniffing Dogs to Insane Parents [Parenting] Gawker:  A Maryland company is renting out trained drug-sniffing dogs for $200 an hour. The target customer: Parents who want to find their kids' drugs. And a bonus: The dogs can find guns and explosives, too!..  Radio: Reading, Rockets, and 'Rithmetic Freakonomics: We ask Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, where the idea came from — and whether it was a tough sell, and what kind of results he’s seen so far... Once-fired Oklahoma City teacher retains job on appeal News OK:  He appealed the decision to district court, arguing he did not neglect his duties, but had been singled out for termination because of his outspoken advocacy for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights... 100 Incredibly Useful YouTube Channels for Teachers Online College Courses:  For every participant liberally dishing out misspelled racist, sexist and homophobic talking points, there is at least one whose channel genuinely offers something provocative and educational...  Teacher  Found Guilty of Murdering Her Romantic Rival Via Skydiving Sabotage Medialite:  Yesterday a Belgium court sentenced schoolteacher Els Clottemans to 30 years for murdering her romantic rival by sabotaging her parachute, ending a bizarre and fascinating saga of love, murder, and skydiving... America’s High Schools Still Top Producers of Violent YouTube Content [video] The Awl:  Do you think school administrators, like, ever search for their high school’s names on YouTube? Because students actually prefer to name their schools in the videos. It gets… better?

Magazines: Weekend Reading (Cortines Didn't Quit)

100927_TheHive_desks1 L.A. schools chief threatens to retire, then backs off LA Times:  To save money, the district is planning to instead rely on teams of lower-salaried cleaners who move from school to school at night...Schools confront gay suicide surge, minus specifics AP:  A spate of teen suicides linked to anti-gay harassment is prompting school officials nationwide to rethink their efforts against bullying -- and in the process, risk entanglement in a bitter ideological debate... Students and teachers photograph the best—and worst—places in their schools Slate:  The "Through Your Lens" exhibit features an awful lot of peeling paint and broken windows—the kind of environment you wouldn't want your kid in for an hour, much less a childhood... How Performance Pay Works TNR: The point of performance pay isn't to wring better results out of the same teaching pool. It's to change the composition of the teaching pool... New research shows precisely how the prison-to-poverty cycle does its damage  Slate:  Much of that growing inequality, which Slate's Timothy Noah has chronicled, is linked to the increasingly widespread use of prisons and jails.

Roundup: Obama Appoints An Autistic 22 Year Old

500x_fbmapbig A late-night roundup of some of the best I've found:The 15 Best #MyFavoriteTeacher Tweets The Huffington Post News Team: Below are 15 of the most inspiring, hilarious and otherwise awesome #MyFavoriteTeacher tweets... NEA Commits Cash, Manpower to Tight Races Politics K12:  The NEA is also supporting a number of vulnerable Democratic senators, including Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Barbara Boxer of California, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Patty Murray of Washington, and Harry Reid of Nevada (the majority leader)... Houston Story, Part 3 of 3  Michael Goldstein:  School turnarounds are hard.I’ve had a small role in observing a whale of a new effort in Houston, called Apollo 20. It’s a collaboration between the district and Roland Fryer’s outfit called EdLabs... “The Lottery Of Life” Larry Ferlazzo:  This is a neat site from Save The Children. It gives you a chance to see how your life might have looked if you had been born in another country... First Autistic Presidential Appointee:  Ari Ne'eman is not your typical presidential appointee. He's one of the youngest at 22, and he's the first that is autistic. President Obama nominated him to the National Council on Disability... The Ultimate Map of Internet Hangouts:  Online web comic XKCD created this awesome map of online communities, scaled to relative user activity. It's got many more websites than the 2007 original; the embedded caption indicates loads of research went into this thing... Speed Dating For Teaching Jobs:  There were over 200 schools represented inside but based on the length of the lines behind each table, I calculated that I could visit only about 10 of them. I would get five minutes at most to make a good impression and hopefully land a job offer or at least a longer follow-up interview. It was teacher-school speed dating. Via GothamSchools.

Chart: Taxpayers' $50 Tab For Federal K-12 Education

A taxpayer earning $34,000 paid $38 towards compensatory education for poor children (ie, Title I) in 2009, according to this report (Your 2009 Tax Receipt).  Add $11 more for Head Start and you're almost at $50 whole dollars.

NB the tax rules and spending dollars are somewhat different each year.  

ACT 2010 Roundup: Who Covered It Best?

12ol-style-dating_3_518996a The 2010 ACT scores are out -- which newspaper covered the results best (or worst)? Scores Stagnate at High Schools WSJ:  Fewer than 25% of 2010 graduates who took the ACT college-entrance exam possessed the academic skills necessary to pass entry-level courses, despite modest gains in college-readiness among U.S high-school students in the last few years... ACT Scores Dip, But More Students College-Ready NPR:  Average scores on the ACT college entrance exam have inched downward this year, yet slightly more students who took the test proved to be prepared for college, a report out Wednesday says... ACT scores dip, but more students meet college benchmarks USAT:  Average scores on the ACT college entrance exam inched downward this year, yet slightly more students who took the test proved to be prepared.

Roundup: "Hot For Education"

Here are some of the latest updates from Hot For Education that are too hot, or ridiculous, or just plain delicious to make it here (but still might be worth a peek while no one's looking):Daria

If Only It Were True:  "Classroom Intervention" Reality Show

Video:  57 Yr Old 3rd Grade Teacher Tasered 12 Times

(warning:  footage is disturbing).

Movies:  Haley Joel Osment (Sixth Degree) to play virgin high school sex ed teacher

Picture: Rachel Maddow’s Blonde High School Yearbook Picture

Magazines: The Nation Does Education

image from www.thenation.com Everything you've ever thought (or hated) about school reform is in the new The Nation, which includes articles by the usual suspects on the left (Noguera, LDH, Ravitch, Kirp) and a couple of welcome additions (GothamSchools co-founder Phillissa Cramer and Susan Eaton).  Most are free, though a couple are behind a paywall.  The real question is whether any of them tell you things you didn't already know or expect. 

Events: My NewSchools Venture Fund Summit List

261.x600.feat.essentials.illio12 Apparently Duncan and Miller are going to do a joint appearance at NSVF. But here are some of the many folks I'm most looking forward to meet, see in action, Twitter about, and learn something from at Wednesday's summit:  Pamela Moran, Albemarle County Public Schools (real live district person), Sajan George, Alvarez & Marsal, Amy Coe, The Bridgespan Group (real live for profit consultants), Ana Ponce, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy (interesting private school spinoff), Jennifer Dai Chen, Chicago Public Schools, Kimberly Carter, Deloitte Consulting (more consultants!), Tom Boasberg, Denver Public Schools (life after Bennet), Matthew Bishop, The Economist (journalists!), Ted Kolderie, Education Evolving (just because), Kim Azzarelli, Goldman Sachs (seriously?), Parker Hudnut, LAUSD (I think I've met him before), Ben Austin, Parent Revolution (aka the Parent Trigger), Rhonda Hopps, Perspectives Charter Schools Tony Pajakowski, Perspectives Charter Schools (Chicago charter people), Michele Jolin, White House (we go way back).

Media: Opening School Scenes

image from www.writingforward.comSchools are so convenient. I'd forgotten that this (in)famous 1996 Times magazine cover story started out with a schoolhouse anecdote:  "AS THEY PUT ON PLASTIC GLOVES FOR THEIR first litter hunt, the third graders knew what to expect. They knew their garbage. It was part of their science curriculum at Bridges Elementary, a public school on West 17th Street in Manhattan. They had learned the Three R's -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle -- and discussed how to stop their parents from using paper plates. For Earth Day they had read a Scholastic science publication, "Inside the World of Trash." For homework, they had kept garbage diaries and drawn color-coded charts of their families' trash. So they were primed for the field experiment on this May afternoon." (Recycling Is Garbage)

Thompson: Asking the Right Questions

Bigsort Its hard to know how to take California's RttT statement that "we additionally expect that evaluation systems will incorporate peer evaluation, using the Peer Assistance and Review model, as appropriate," but there is less doubt about Pennsylvania's words "districts have committed to using this tool (Value Added Models) in a manner that is consistent with due process rights."  And since Tennessee is committed to firing up the 30% of its teachers who don't meet growth targets (making a mockery of Secretary Duncan's position on using multiple measures for evaluations), we must ask the proper legal questions.  We must also understand why the the group of teachers who can't meet growth targets will inevitably include many of the best in the profession, tackling the toughest challenges while handicapped by policies beyond their control.  

Tom Kane misses the point, saying that "the (value added) system doesn't have to be perfect to get started."  But the question is when is the model valid enough to be legal. Imagine that Kane is testifying as an expert witness on the validity of VAMs in a termination case. 

Continue reading "Thompson: Asking the Right Questions" »

Thompson: Three Cheers for Randi (I think)

Ken-feinberg_2657-UP When reading the previews of Randi Weingarten’s address, it was something of a "say it ain’t so" moment. But the commentators stressed the part where she said that teachers "should be judged on a variety of measures" while overlooking the crucial statement that measures of student growth would include "classroom observations by peer evaluators and administrators." Unless I’m guilty of wishful thinking, that sounds like The Grand Bargain. I think Randi (who I’ve never met) is still my hero. Plus, selecting Kenneth Feinberg to spearhead the effort was an act of emotional intelligence genius.

Randi is correct that teachers owe it to our students to speed up the "glacial" process for terminating ineffective teachers.

Continue reading "Thompson: Three Cheers for Randi (I think)" »

Video: Why No One Blogged About "The Principal Story"

It took me a while to get into last week's PBS NOW documentary The Principal Story about two Illinois principals, partly because I'm a hard-hearted jerk and partly because the early scenes are slow and feel a little propagandistic.  I knew that the project had involved AASA and other education groups like that, and for a while I felt like I was watching the principals' version of "Stand and Deliver" or "Freedom Writers." It didn't help that the show got so little by way of reaction or commentary from other education blogs that I read.  

ScreenHunter_26 Sep. 22 18.23

Well I still have some questions but over all the intensity of the situations and the eloquence and heart of the school leaders are tremendously powerful and I am glad I finally turned it on.  What to do with the incompetent teacher in a real-life situation?  How to rally your staff without pissing them off or making them cave under the weight of expectations?  What to do about the tragedies that befall some of the students?  It's not so easy as it may seem from outside.

The documentary is beautifully filmed and scored -- even the visually mundane scenes of the principals going to or from work are poignant.  And it's not an obvious attack (or defense) of any particular policies or programs (though there is a great riff on "walkthroughs" near the end). That's why no one's blogging about it -- it doesn't support any simplistic agenda.  If you haven't watched it, you can do so online now.  If you have, I hope you liked it as much as I did and will share a favorite moment or two.  

Around DC: What Sayeth The FritzWire?

Picture 22 Looking for Washington events, report release dates, and jobs?  Check out Fritz Edelstein's FritzWire, a daily email that I post once a week. But you'll probably want to get it daily if you're a power user. 

Continue reading "Around DC: What Sayeth The FritzWire?" »

Rolling Updates Via Twitter This Week (August 17-21)

I'm officially away from the blog for this week but as usual probably won't be able to stay away from it for very long. Your best bet is to find rolling updates here (hit "refresh" if you don't see anything new):

Twitter Updates

    WEEKEND READING: July 11-12

    Work hard. Be nice The Economist
    Charter schools are a mixed bag, but the best of them are achieving results most board-run schools can only dream of and are heavily oversubscribed.

    For their own good St. Petersberg Times
    They were screwed-up kids, sent to the reform school in Marianna for smoking, fighting, stealing cars or worse. The Florida School for Boys -- that'd straighten them out.

    SlurpThe Female Discount for Sexual Predators Nashville Scene
    The evidence seems mounted against Sandy Binkley as she heads for a trial on seven counts of statutory rape and two counts of sexual battery by an authority figure.

    Wrong about the stimulus package. Slate
    A mere five months later, it's being declared a failure across the political spectrum.

    Trying to stop the spread of swine flu at summer camp. Slate
    The counselors were taking children's temperatures before letting them onboard.

    Staten Island Teen Ends Up In Manhole Gawker
    She was walking on the sidewalk. She was texting.

    Should New York Be Allowed To Close Public Schools On Muslim Holidays? TNR
    Last week, the New York City Council passed a resolution to close public schools on two Muslim holidays.

    WEEK AHEAD: Revamped FritzWire Tells All

    Like a teenager dressed up for prom, the newly revamped FritzWire is so neat and clean it's barely recognizable.  But still the same excellent information about what's going on in DC this week (especially since the USDE has failed to put out its weekly Secretary's schedule so far).  I'll use a link once Fritz gets set up with a website, but until then click below for a few events and lots of job listings. 

    Continue reading "WEEK AHEAD: Revamped FritzWire Tells All" »

    WEEKEND: Things To Read June 20-21

    The CEO of my favorite nonprofit earns more than $200,000. Slate
    Is that outrageous?

    Dirty Jokes Slate
    What kidding about sexual predators and innocent teens says about us. And them.

    Why Wal-Mart Workers Need the Employee Free Choice Act In These Times
    Since liberal Democrats and their labor supporters introduced the Employee Free Choice Act into Congress earlier this year, opposition to the legislation has reached a fever pitch.

    88585125Rise of the ‘daddy blogger’ The Week
    Stay-at-home dads have come a long way since “Mr. Mom,” but are they any match for the powerful “mommy bloggers”?

    Strange Maps: New Ways to Know Your World Esquire
    From hilarious takes on colonialism and Iran's Middle Eastern stature to genuinely mind-blowing pieces of modern cartography, a highly illustrative blog worth bookmarking.

    10 Net Memes You Can Share with the Kids (And a Bunch You Can't) Wired
    How to bring the boys up to speed on internet culture without spawning years of therapy.

    What's with all the prayer breakfasts? Slate
    Why so many prayer "breakfasts"—rather than prayer lunches or teatimes?

    A teen book burns at the stake Salon
    A Christian group hopes to set fire to library copies of Francesca Lia Block's novel about a gay boy coming of age.

    The long debate over adding ununbium to the periodic table of the elements. Slate
    The periodic table added its 112th official element Wednesday, when scientists in Darmstadt, Germany, announced they had received official approval for ununbium from an international body of chemists.


    Magazines and features that didn't get covered during the week:

    Will Higher Education Be the Next Bubble to Burst? Chronicle
    Is it possible that higher education might be the next bubble to burst? Some early warnings suggest that it could be.

    Obama's trail of broken promises Salon
    The prophet of hope now doesn't even bother with explanations when he reneges on his campaign pledges.

    Shakira’s Children NYT Magazine
    Can the Colombian pop sensation make early-childhood education the No. 1 priority in Latin America?

    07shakira.1-650Microsoft's Bing and free porn THE WEEK
    Bing may be ready to take on Google, but is it ready for children?

    Michelle Obama's organic garden and its discontents. Slate
    When Michelle Obama planted an organic garden on the White House lawn—which, she told NBC this week, has already yielded over 80 pounds of produce—the response was overwhelmingly positive. (The main criticism: She should cook, too.)

    Why insane parents are the only way to end America's tennis drought. Slate
    With Andy Roddick's loss at the French Open on Monday, American men have now failed to take the title in 22 straight Grand Slam tournaments, extending the longest dry spell in U.S. tennis history

    The Five Most Pathetic Prom Nights on YouTube Esquire
    It's that time of year again: when high school boys grow up to be embarrassed young men by singing songs to head cheerleaders on the Internet. And the like.

    FRITZWIRE: This Week In Washington


    It's Monday, time for the FritzWire -- Fritz Edelstein's daily roundup of legislation, jobs, events, and reports. 

    Check it all out below, and sign up for Fritz to get the daily version. 

    Fritz knows all, sees all, sez all.

    Continue reading "FRITZWIRE: This Week In Washington" »

    FRITZ: The Week Ahead In Washington

    180px-US_House_apportionment_(current)Legislation, events, and jobs -- all courtsey of the Fritzwire. Get a weekly dose below, or sign up for the daily email.  

    Continue reading "FRITZ: The Week Ahead In Washington" »

    PALIN: "When I Say Obama, You Say Ayers."

    The Obama-Ayers connection made it into this Saturday Night Live sketch, called "Palin Rap":

    It was too hard to rhyme Annenberg, so they had to leave that part out.

    Weekend Catch-Up

    I try to keep away from the computer over the weekend, but I usually fail.  Here are some of the things I came across that might be of interest:

    For Most Cities, Recession Has Arrived NYT
    But measured at the local level, in places as diverse as Saginaw, Mich.; Sacramento, Calif.; Honolulu; and Atlanta, the slowdowns are well under way.

    The sentences of Sarah Palin, diagrammed. Slate
    There are plenty of people out there—not only English teachers but also amateur language buffs like me—who believe that diagramming a sentence provides insight into the mind of its perpetrator.

    How often do children commit suicide? Slate
    A 7-year-old Texas boy who was found earlier this year hanging from a hook in his school bathroom did not commit suicide, according to a police report released Thursday. Do kids that young ever kill themselves?

    Old people Facebook disasters Salon
    Professionals over 30 have joined the networking site in droves, but with great convenience can come great embarrassment.

    Why do [my ]children lose everything? Slate
    Where do all the soccer balls go? There must be a hidden graveyard for them or a coach who picks them up after practice and cuts them up to make leather jackets.

    Democrats Find Their Footing on Fatherhood American Prospect
    For years, conservatives shrugged off all potential public-policy solutions to black poverty, while liberals failed to face up to any policy failures. But Democrats are changing the political conversation about fatherhood.

    Losing the Weight Stigma NYT
    Fully half of overweight adults and one-third of the obese had normal blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar — indicating a normal risk for heart disease and diabetes, conditions supposedly caused by being fat.

    Wal-Mart Watch Says  Wal-Mart's Poor Sportsmanship Cheats High Schools
    "It is outrageous that any company would undercut local high school sports programs, especially Wal-Mart - a company that endlessly touts its small-time ...

    Fighting Terrorism With Education American Prospect
    TAP talks to Sam Carpenter, founder of Kashmir Family Aid, which fights poverty and extremism by building schools in Kashmir.

    The Big Education Bailout [Updated]

    Eed1568e70bc4fcab63d12a13f561b0fIt's hard not to watch this current round of convulsions surrounding the bailout of the financial sector without worrying -- and without wondering whether there are any useful equivalents in the education space. 

    Obviously there's nothing that's quite as critical going on at this very moment.  But the issues being discussed  -- accountability, government regulation, individual vs. group benefit -- are many of the them the same.  And you could argue that, year after year, the government (in all its forms) "bails out" low- or non-performing educational institutions by continuing to fund them.  No, it's nothing like the $700B that's proposed for the current financial bailout.  But if education is a $500B a year industry as is said, then it's not nothing, either.

    Let's bail out the kids and their parents, not the schools and institutions who are clamoring for more money.  Let's focus on making taxpayers whole and getting a decent return on the government investment. Let's not reward those who have mis-spent millions in public funds already, or credulously accept their assurances that they will change moving forward.

    UPDATE:  I was writing somewhat metaphorically, but it turns out there IS new student lending bailout plan in the proposal before Congress, and Stephen Burd of New America says it's a terriblel idea.

    Tuesday Extras

    Girl Talk Has Its Limits NYT
    Sharing is good, but researchers discuss if it can spin out of control for teenagers.

    Club Penguin Anonymous Freakonomics
    My son Nicholas, age 5, recently discovered the internet. Last week I got him an account at Club Penguin, a website for kids. Since then, he has spent hours at a time on Club Penguin. He refuses to come to meals. He throws tantrums if forced to stop. PLUS:  Note on Freakonomics Student and Teacher Guides.

    Game Enables Users to Guide Evolution on Screen EdWeek
    A much-anticipated commercial computer game about evolution is getting a favorable response from some scholars, even though a few of its features sacrifice strict scientific accuracy to fun. PLUS:  Is Spore about evolution or intelligent design? Slate.

    In Tangle of Young Lips, a Sex Rebellion in Chile NYT
    Chile’s youths are living in a period of sexual exploration that, academics and government officials say, is like nothing the country has witnessed before.


    Why Policymakers (& Goalies) Always Take A Leap

    Fabienbarthez_wideweb__470x2700 Reponding to a Kevin Carey post about policymakers' decision-making process, the AFTies made a good point yesterday that sometimes policymakers leap into action without knowing where they're going (Action Bias and Education Policy).  Not surprisingly, the results aren't always pretty.  But researchers and practitioners shouldn't expect them to do any otherwise -- just like economists shouldn't expect goalkeepers to stand still and wait for the penalty kick to come their way (Economists 1, Goalies 0).  It's just not going to happen.  In penalty kicks as in policymaking, there is an expectation of action that overwhelms the evidence in favor of standing still.  This is true in many other parts of life, where research evidence and pure rationality hardly ever wins out.  There's not much point in trying to make the goalie seem smarter than he (or she) is, or mocking him (or her) for something that's unlikely to change.

    First, Kill All The Education Researchers?

    A23d3da8c862a2bedfa89b67a7b793107fd A New Zealand education researcher headed towards the big AERA ed research conference in New York next week is going to make quite a splash, based on this article (Researcher to bite hand that feeds him).  Like others before him, he's questioning the relevance of education research that's being done.  To wit:  "Very little of the investment into research actually reaches the people it most needs, the average person and their family."  What makes him unusual is that he comes from inside the ed research community, oversees grants and research for the government, and is talking publicly.

    The Week Ahead: Spellings, Fritz, Russo

    A slew of events (including the Clemens steroid testimony) this week from the Fritzwire (click below), as well as this and that from the Secretary:

    Monday, February 11  NO PUBLIC EVENTS Tuesday, February 12 9:30 a.m. EST Secretary Spellings will deliver remarks at the ACCT/AACC Legislative Conference. Wednesday, February 13  NO PUBLIC EVENTS  Thursday, February 14 10 a.m. CST Secretary Spellings will participate in an education policy event with Governor Haley Barbour at Woolfolk State Office Building. A media avail will follow. Jackson, Miss.  Friday, February 15 12:40 p.m. EST Secretary Spellings will visit Alan Shawn Feinstein Elementary School and tour classrooms and participate in an education policy roundtable with Governor Donald Carcieri. A media avail will follow. Providence, R.I.

    Also on Friday, I'll be back at theYale Education Leadership Conference for a second year, listening and talking and meeting people. Come up and say hi if you see me.   

    Continue reading "The Week Ahead: Spellings, Fritz, Russo" »

    Predictions For 2008

    You wanted predictions?  You got 'em:

    Zoltar_2 Rebounding from a 70 percent funding cut in FY2008, Reading First will rise again, becoming one of the largest and most widely-lauded federal education programs of all time.  The creators of DIBELS will receive a 2008 MacArthur "genius" grant for their work.

    Plagued by scandal and questions about effectiveness and lawmakers' willingness to pay decent wages to caregivers, universal preschool (UPK) will fall by the wayside as a popular issue.  Little children will once again be left alone to watch TV in aunty's living room while their parents are at work all day. 

    Elite private schools will begin to spin off new, free versions of themselves as public charter schools in order to serve students from all backgrounds. Charter school organizations such as KIPP and Green Dot protest loudly unfair competition.

    Thanks to a new 12-step program created by the Poynter Institute (and a powerful new form of crystal meth), education reporters and newspapers free themselves from annoying human interest anecdotes tacked onto the start of their articles, "find-the-exception" stories, stories based almost entirely on classroom teachers' complaints, and -- through a special Knight-funded 28 day residential program -- the use of headlines that use the phrase "left behind."

    NCLB will be reauthorized, largely intact, in June, following surprise endorsements by Jonathan Kozol and former NCLB supporter/opponent Mike Petrilli. The NEA and AFT will block a last-minute effort to tack on a class size reduction amendment.

    Ohio lawmaker Dennis Kucinich will leap to the front of the Democratic field, largely based on his pledge to use Pentagon spending for education purposes.  His surprise choice for VP, longtime Bush ally Margaret Spellings, will propose a radical new plan to give every child in the nation access to the same education that Capitol Hill pages receive.

    Inspired by a particularly moving episode of The Wire they saw on Netflix during Christmas, thousands of over-educated education researchers, reformers, advocates, analysts, journalists, bloggers and pundits will suddenly realize that what they're doing isn't really making a difference and apply to start schools and become classroom teachers. Much to the consternation of current teachers and administrators.

    Bought by media giant Viacom for an undisclosed amount, This Week In Education will be lauded for its wise, thoughtful, and transformative observations and in November inch past the Huffington Post in daily readership.  A month later, its creator will be arrested on charges of tax evasion and impersonating someone who works for a living.

    Questioning IQ In The New Yorker

    071217_r16908_p233 I'll leave it to others to comment on this recent article on IQ and race, written by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker (None of the Above). 

    It's not that long, by New Yorker standards.  The focus seems to be on what's learned from mixed-race and adopted children.  Writes Gladwell:

    "If I.Q. is innate, it shouldn’t make a difference whether it’s a mixed-race child’s mother or father who is black. But it does... The lesson to be drawn from black and white differences was the same as the lesson from the Netherlands years ago: I.Q. measures not just the quality of a person’s mind but the quality of the world that person lives in."

    District Fights To Preserve Deseg & Achievement Closing Efforts

    GoldsteindanaHidden in among all the early childhood stories in this month's American Prospect is a K12 story by writing fellow Dana Goldstein (pictured) about a interesting but controversial effort to improve minority achievement in Ossining New York, the town where Goldstein grew up.   Currently under legal challenge, the Ossining effort includes  special programs for African American boys and -- most distinctive -- sending local kids to three different buildings during their elementary years to ensure integration.  In what could otherwise be a standard-issue "desegregation is dead" lament from the left, Goldstein carefully traces the concerns raised by these efforts, the district's notable and self-funded resistance to give them up, and their surprisingly mixed effects.  (Left Behind?

    If You See Something, Say Something

    1106070953aAs a few folks have already done this morning, please come up and say hi if you see me wandering around DC today or tomorrow.  I'm at the Learning Point teacher quality conference at the Fairmont here to talk about media coverage of teacher quality issues (Agenda).  Learning Point runs the NCCTQ.  My panel is tomorrow.  I'm wearing glasses, a maroon tie, and a blue shirt.  Come up and say hi, or text me at 3122869242@vtext.com text and tell me you can't find me. 

    Best Of The Week

    NCLB News
    Stale NCLB Coverage In The NYT
    Veto Threat Over NCLB Reauthorization
    Dentists Good, Dentists Bad

    On The Hill
    Investing In High-Quality Teacher Retention
    Taking On The Higher Ed Lobby

    Campaign 2008
    Two Million Minutes Of High School
    UPK: Just Don't Call It Childcare

    Urban Education
    Former City Police Chief Takes Over NOLA School Security
    No "Marshall Law" For DC Public Schools, Says Millot
    A Gay Union Leader For New York City Teachers

    Teachers & Teaching
    "Grow Your Own" Teachers -- And Recruits?
    Making Teaching A Career, Not A Drive-By Charity Stop
    Video: "Nice White Lady"

    Media Watch
    Tracking Teachers' Disciplinary Records In Ohio
    Hidden Teacher Violations...In Illinois & Nationwide
    EdWeek Runs Scientologist Ad, Says NASBE

    "Super Sexy, Super Sassy, And Education Savvy" That's Me.
    Pay For Performance... In The Blogosphere
    Pay Bloggers, Or Send Us To Rehab?

    School Life
    Teaching Tolerance: "I Don't Want To Blow You Up!"
    Dear School: Don't Be Lonely, We'll Be Back Tomorrow
    Early Childhood Reading Gap Statistic Pretty Questionable, Says Freakonomics

    The Best Of The Week

    Read These First
    Needed: Better NCLB Politics -- Not More Policy
    Why Teach For America?
    Think Tank Hires Republican Education Staffer With Cool Glasses

    NCLB News
    Who Knew NCLB Was So Well-Liked?
    Better Politics -- Not More Policy
    Renaming NCLB
    Critic Explains Internal Union Dynamics

    Teachers & Teaching
    Why Teach For America?
    A Teacher's Thoughts In The New York Times

    Campaign 2008
    What Happens On Education When Hillary Wins The Nomination?
    Edwards Turns To Education To Try And Get Traction
    Plural Speech Gaffes For Bush

    Think Tanks and Foundations
    Think Tank Hires Republican Education Staffer With Cool Glasses
    Deborah Bial: An Education "Genius"

    Urban Education
    Dallas Officials Enjoy Junket While Others Get Fired
    Bringing Back Dunce Caps In New Orleans
    Is It Time For "Differentiated" Discipline Policies?

    Media Watch
    "Godsend" Journalism In The NYT
    New Face (To Me) Covering Education At The Post
    LA Times Revamps, Relaunches Education Blog
    Media Ignoring Universal Preschool For NCLB?

    School Life
    The Cupcake Wars
    Spider-Man Vs. Moses
    Stephen Colbert Is The Perfect Teach For America Candidate

    Is It Time For "Differentiated" Discipline Policies?

    Lost in the hubbub surrounding the release and interpretation of this year's NAEP scores (yawn) is a fascinating and powerful story in the Chicago Tribune about what happens when researchers analyze another kind of performance -- suspension rates -- by race and poverty groups.

    The fact that black kids --especially boys -- are disproportionately affected is vivid but not surprising. (Even though the suspension rates are double and even triple what they should be.) The fact that black middle class kids are suspended at higher rates, too, is a little more eye-opening. (Black students are no more likely to misbehave than other students from the same SES background.) And the reactions of schools with these different outcomes is perhaps the most interesting of all. (Many defend the differences because they are applying a uniform discipline standard.)

    Are discipline codes being applied uniformly in schools? Does it make sense to use them if their real-world results are so skewed? What about some "differentiated" discipline to go along with all the adjustments and tailoring that is being done on the instructional side? We know that kids don't all benefit from uniform instruction. Check it out here.

    The Week Ahead In DC

    There's not much on the Secretary's public schedule, but tomorrow the NAEP reading and math scores come out -- so much fun -- and it's rumored that a Kennedy discussion draft might come out soon. Less likely for this week, but something to look for, is the next iteration of the Miller reauthorization proposal. I read that there were 3,000 comments submitted on the draft, most of them negative.

    Big Labor Day Roundup

    Away from it all for a few days or even more these past few weeks? Me, too. To get you caught up in no time, here's a brief and highly selective guide to what you missed (not that much, actually):


    Back To School
    It's that time of year.

    NCLB Reauthorization
    Wall to wall coverage of the Miller proposal.

    Urban Education
    Where the action's at -- or at least the kids.

    Teachers & Teaching
    Can't live with 'em, can't do much without 'em.

    Books, Journalism, Blogs
    Lots about Linda Perlstein's book, and good blogging tips.

    School Life
    Not just the news of the weird.

    Labor Day Roundup: Back To School

    Tips for starting the school year rightChristian Science Monitor
    Veteran teacher and author Coleen Fitzpatrick has advice for teachers and parents.

    Record Enrollment Is Projected, But Trend VariesEdWeek
    Schools in the West and the South will receive more students, while schools in the Midwest and the Northeast will experience a decline. PIC

    Trials and Tribulations of the New School YearCarnival Of Education
    Mrs. Bluebird spent a chunk of her third full day of school outside the building. Fire drill? Nope, real emergency.

    NCLB Implementation Roundup

    Hawaii Gets No Break on School Test Scores HonoluluAdvertiser.com
    Hawaii wanted to join seven states that are now evaluated under the so-called "growth model," which measures how much progress individual students make, rather than whether they hit arbitrary score levels in the federal No Child Left Behind program.

    Schools hit penalty phase of NCLB Herald Tribune (Fla.)
    While many educators are quick to point out the shortcomings of the law, Wakeland Elementary School Principal Chuck Fradley credits it for forcing his school to make necessary changes, even though his school also faces penalties.

    Where's the support for NCLB? Tucson Citizen (opinion)
    You might think that the Democrats running for president, who rarely miss an ethnic celebration and who claim to have the best interests of African-Americans and Latinos at heart, would rush to defend No Child Left Behind - especially since the candidates who were in Congress in 2001 voted for the legislation. You know better.

    Cheating In The News

    Fascinated or appalled at all the cheating that seems to be going on these days? Check out Caveon Security's email "Cheating In The News," which showed up in my inbox this morning, including all the latest cheating news:

    Oakland charter school director resigns amid cheating scandal Inside Bay Area
    Tougher catching cheating with online test takers, educators say Naples Daily News
    Cheating on standardized tests isn't fleeting -- it's predictable SF Chronicle

    The Week Ahead


    Though it's starting off slowly, the week ahead could be busy:

    EdWeek says that the Miller education bill could come out (see below).

    AEI's got an event today: The Impact of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) . Participants: Derek Neal, University of Chicago; Katherine Haley, Office of Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI); Charles Murray, AEI; and Henry Olsen, AEI.. Time and Location: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.; Wohlstetter Conference Center, Twelfth Floor, AEI. Diana.steinmeyer@aei.org for more information.

    New America has a thing tomorrow: "Child Well-Being in America and Abroad: How Do American Children Fare in Comparison to Children in Other Countries?" Time and Location: 10:30 a.m.; NAF, 1630 Connecticut Avenue, NW, 7th Floor, Washington. Liz Wu, 202.986.2700 ext. 315, wu@newamerica.net.

    Michelle Rhee makes her Hill debut on Thursday: D.C. Public School System Reform (E&S). Subject: The Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia Subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on "Great Expectations: Assessments, Assurances, and Accountability in the Mayor's Proposal to Reform the District of Columbia's Public School System." Time and Location: 2:30 p.m.; 342 Dirksen SOB. Contact: 202.224.2627.

    No word on what the EdSec is up to. She must be still recovering from all the Bastille Day celebrating over the weekend.

    The Week Ahead

    If it's not about Iraq, health care, the campaign, or the environment, it doesn't seem like there's that much going on in DC these next few days. Fresh off her weekend in Aspen, the EdSec is going to Crystal City this afternoon to to talk about investing in children at the White House Conference on the Americas. Mysteriously, it's not open to the press. The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to mark up the Labor-HHS-Education bill on Wednesday. That same day, Secty Spellings flies up to Albany to give a commencement speech for the A Brighter Choice charter schools (single sex, BTW). Next Monday, AEI has an event on NCLB.

    Best Of The Week (June 25-July 2)

    NCLB News
    Over-Reaching On NCLB Predictions At The Washington Post
    Reauthorization? We Don't Need No Stinking Reauthorization.

    Urban Education
    CCCR: Deseg Not Outlawed
    Cristo Rey Schools Take Over The World

    Teachers & Teaching
    America's Most Wanted: Teachers
    TAP For TIF: More On Merit Pay Models
    "Help Wanted - Chinese Teachers Need to Meet New Craze"

    Students Explain Torture Letter Delivered To President Bush
    High School Student Takes On Fiery Newscaster Over Sex Ed Talk

    Media Watch
    Two Good "Time-Lapse" Education Stories
    Is Student Violence Necessarily School Violence?
    Online Bullying Goes Big Time, Depending How You Define It

    The Education Business
    Here Come Consulting Firms (Again)
    Gates Foundation Advocate Over-Involved In Texas Contracts, Report Says
    Raking In The Online High School Sports Dollars

    Foundation Follies
    Fordham For, Then Against Muslim Charter Schools
    Scandalous Mead Video Surfaces On The Internet

    School Life
    ¡Ask a Mexican!
    Roller Shoes: Lawn Darts Of The New Millennium
    Worst Security Guard Ever

    Site News
    Blogging...On Facebook

    Today & Later This Week

    There's something on the EdSec's schedule today about "President Bush’s remarks on reauthorization of No Child Left Behind" at the White House. Then later this week on Wednesday there's the USDE's SES summit. And, on Thursday, NCTQ's Teacher Policy Handbook rollout.

    The Best Of The Week (June 19-26)

    Campaign 2008
    Bloomberg Candidacy Would Bring Education Up

    The Education Business
    High-Tech Paycheck & Report Card Problems In LA and Chicago
    NCLB Tutoring: Not Working, Or Just Not Working Miracles?
    PLUS: Sylvan Sued

    Policy Watch
    What Do People Really Think About NCLB?
    Internal Differences: Preschool, Choice, and More
    Jay Mathews On Michelle Rhee: Didn't I Just Say That?
    PLUS: "What’s this Korean lady doing here?"

    Foundations & Think Tanks
    "Designated Survivors" At School Reform Confabs
    Sara Mead: Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire
    Charter School Smarick Wins White House Fellows Spot
    PEN NewsBlast Guru Rides Off Into The Sunset

    Urban Education
    Merit Pay Model Not Ready For Prime Time?
    Franchising Magnets (Just Like Charters)
    Boston Gets Memphis Chief; Balto Gets NYC #2
    Severance Pay For Vallas Might Be $500K
    PLUS: Vallas Ditches Own Going-Away Party

    Media Watch
    Colbert Loves NCLB -- Better Than Jon Stewart
    "My Name's Emmet And I'm An Eduholic."
    Mainstream Blogging's Perils & Pleasures
    The Times Vs. The Post: Education's Weekly Showdown

    School Life

    High School Sophomore Marries Coach -- Parents Sign Off
    When Celebrities Have Opinions (John Travolta Edition)
    Top 10 Party High Schools In America
    Parents, Kids, Librarians Get Ready (Potter Book Out 7/21)
    The Worst Cheese Sandwich Ever

    The Best Of The Week (June 4-11)

    Campaign 2008
    Santa Fe Reporter Challenges Richardson's Education Claims
    Richardson "Wins" Nonexistent Education Portion Of Dem Debate

    On The Hill
    "Finding, Grinding, & Minding:" How Ocean Spray Gets In The Schoolhouse Door

    Policy Watch
    Extending The Day Without Breaking The Bank
    Cheating, Charters, And More Cheating
    Teachers Threatened With Job Loss For Supporting Charter
    Everything I Needed To Know...I Learned From This Article

    NCLB News
    Achievement Up, Gaps Narrowed Since 2002
    USA Today Overviews States' Testing Games
    What To Make Of The IES Comparability Report
    Lots Of New Details, Not So Many New Ideas

    Foundation Follies
    The Multiple Providers: The Sanjaya Of School Reform?
    Somewhat Annoying Latecomers
    John Bailey At SchoolNet Conference

    Media Matters
    Time To Update The Map Of Education Blogs
    New Stats On Internet Dangers Dispell Many Myths
    Chicago Paper Reinforces Depleted Education Team
    Freedman Vs. Mathews, The College Admissions Showdown
    15 Journos Get Hechinger Fellowships
    Bad News, Good News

    School Life
    Kid Didn't Get Into Private School? We'll Help You
    What's Wrong With This Picture?

    The Best Of The Week (May 28-June4)

    Best Of The Month
    The Month In Review: Secrets, Missed Stories, & More
    More "Rolling Water Jugs" In Education
    Getting Ready For The Obama Switcheroo

    EdSec Spellings Playing The "Girl" Card
    See also: A Bush Brother Spreads His Vision NYT

    NCLB News
    Guest Commentary: Kevin Kosar On Muddled AYP Fixes
    Kennedy Began Immigration Push At NCLB White House Meeting
    Teacher Firings: Still A Myth

    Urban Education
    Breakaway LA Teachers Want To Go Charter
    What People Mean When They Talk About Human Capital
    See also: U.S. Data Show Rapid Minority Growth in School Rolls NYT
    Charter Schools Look to Address Educational Woes NPR

    Media Watch
    When A "Congressional Report" Is Not A Congressional Report
    Educating Journalists: The Best Of Both Worlds
    Taking The Pulse Of The EduSphere

    Foundation Follies
    Who's Paid What In The Nonprofit World.

    School Life
    To Sir, With Sarcasm
    Booze-Filled Flip-Flops

    The Week In Review (May 21-28)

    On The Hill/Campaign 2008
    Early Childhood Proposals, Realistic and Otherwise
    Why Are Miller & Kennedy Not Calling Beth Ann Bryan?

    Spellings Is To Gonzales As "I Don't Recall" Is To Lunchables
    Five Questions For Jon Stewart To Ask Spellings Tonight
    The Secretary's Necklace: Too Bad It Wasn't Larimar
    Spellings Suck-Up, Part 234

    NCLB News
    Growth Models For Everybody!
    How NCLB Is Like A Russian Novel
    Does More Reading Make For Better Social Studies?
    The "Lost Teacher Jobs" Myth

    Policy Trends
    Check Registers: Do They Help?
    I Find It, You Read It: The Failed Takeover Story In LA
    Utah Puts Seven K12 Admins On HIgher Ed Boards

    School Life
    Now They're Outsourcing Your Kids' Fast Food Jobs, Too
    Finding The Hidden Gems In The System

    Media Watch
    Snap Judgements In Education Reporting
    Watch Out, Cambridge
    Now I Know Your Home Phone Number

    Site News
    More Misogyny And Anger (And Irony, Too) At The HuffPo
    Mother Jones Mention
    The Worst Blog On EdWeek

    Utah Puts Seven K12 Admins On HIgher Ed Boards

    Here's an interesting and apparently newfangled way to get your PK-16 system integrated: put lots of K-12 folks including your state supe on the state board of regents and the college board of trustees. That's what Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has done with seven state higher ed spots, according to this Deseret News article (School Chiefs To Join Regents, College Boards). "The idea is to make for a seamless education system for kindergartners through college graduation."



    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.