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Quotes: A "Defensive" Win For Teachers Unions

Quotes2[Unions] couldn’t get tax hikes for education passed in SD or AZ... failed to enshrine collective bargaining in the MI constitution... couldn’t stop charter initiatives in GA or WA. -- Union watchdog Mike Antonucci on the recent elections

Five Best Blogs: Tallying Up The Wins & Losses

Screen shot 2012-11-05 at 11.39.26 AMEducation Ballot Initiative Results Show Mixed Returns On School Reform @HuffPostEdu, @Joy_Resmovits#5bb ow.ly/1Pr3Yd

Slideshow! How Americans Voted On Key State Funding Measures For Schools ow.ly/f6wAF #5bb @HuffPostEdu

Teachers unions notch big wins on state education votes - @SSimonReuters ow.ly/f6AFK #5bb

How ["Obamacore"] Helped the Teachers Unions Take Out Tony Bennett :: Frederick M. Hess ow.ly/f6ezS#5bb

Schools, or shelters? After Sandy, they're both NYT via @annenburginst nyti.ms/UwAz37 #5bb #sandyschools

From Jay Mathews: Six non-college reasons not to blow off high school: Kevin McMullin agrees with me, but that ... bit.ly/T3Ygkw

RT @lisafleisher: "We just don't know" how many schools won't have heat, schools Chancellor Walcott says. Possibly 28.

Reform: So How'd The Advocacy Groups Do?*

6a00e54f8c25c9883401156fbc0065970c-300wiStill nothing from StudentsFirst but the other non-union national ed advocacy groups -- 50CAN, STAND, DFER have all reported in with wins and (in some cases) losses.  

These lists generally don't include primary wins and losses, and in some cases -- STAND -- don't necessarily even include a complete account of losses last night. 

Interesting to see that nobody's mentioned Indiana (Tony Bennett), Bridgeport -- maybe I should have called the ConnCAN c4 as well as 50CAN national -- or Michigan.  Yet. 

*UPDATED 5:55pm:  Preliminary information from StudentsFirst added below, but still not a full list of winners and losers.

**UPDATE 2 6:34p: Some additional information from STAND about its overall wins/losses tally, but still not a full list.

***UPDATE 3 6:45p: SF releases spreadsheet of general election candidates it supported through direct contributions or IE, which according to staff is 87 wins out of 11, and adds 35 pro reform seats to state assemblies etc. 

Continue reading "Reform: So How'd The Advocacy Groups Do?*" »

Decision 2012: Big Win For Obama's Hybrid Agenda

Folks on both sides of the education divide are going to spend a lot of time today trying to make the case that last night's election was a decisive victory for or against school reform -- Mike Petrilli's A not-so-great night for education reform is an early example -- as is the Charter School Alliance email "Public Charter Schools Win Big in Election" -- but I think they're overstating the case.  

3cdbf838b33175fc4848d7456fcced7f036a81fb_mA few reform-oriented ballot initiatives and candidates, and a few lost.  A few education spending initiatives won and lost. But none of those was decisive or numerous enough in any given direction to constitute a clear win or less.

The big story from last night's election is support for the Obama administration's hybrid agenda of both funding education and reforming it at roughly the same time -- and that the divide between unions and Democrats is real but not so large, or widespread, or lacking in pragmatism that it prevents unions and Democrats from coming together when it comes election time.  

If the pushback against reform was as big and real as some have made it, then Obama wouldn't have won the way he did, and organized labor wouldn't have done all it did to ensure that the Democrats kept the Senate and didn't lose ground in the House, and the Latino community wouldn't have come out so strongly for Obama.

The takeaway for reform critics?  People may agree with some of the points you make but not enough or in large enough numbers to change their votes. The takeaway for reformers?  Support resources as well as reform if you want to broaden your appeal.

Here's a link to the DFER 2012 Wins-LossesBelow is the 50CAN Action Fund list.  Still waiting on the StudentsFirst and STAND brag sheets.

Continue reading "Decision 2012: Big Win For Obama's Hybrid Agenda" »

Morning Video: Watch President Obama Speak Spanish

Since a big factor in the Obama re-election victory was the increase in turnout (and support) from Latino voters, let's watch Obama speak Spanish in this campaign ad.


What's he saying? "I'm sorry about the whole NCLB waivers idea -- it was Arne's fault -- but I'll try and clean up the mess during my second term."

AM News: Obama Wins 2nd Term While Congress Stays Divided

Obama Wins Second Term as President EdWeek: President Barack Obama—who pushed through an unprecedented windfall of education funding in his first term and spurred states to make widespread changes to K-12 policy through competitive grants—has been re-elected.

AMNewsKey State Ballot Measures That The NEA Is Tracking HuffPostEdu: The National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union, has taken a stance on the various measures up for vote today.

Congress Likely to Stay Divided, Will Gridlock on K-12 Continue? PoliticsK12: So does two more years of a divided Congress mean two more years of gridlock on key issues? Lawmakers will get their first test soon. 

In California, a Tight Battle Over a Tax Initiative to Help Schools NYT: California voters weighed in on a ballot measure Tuesday that would raise taxes by $6 billion annually over seven years, bringing an end to an acrimonious, $123 million battle between Gov. Jerry Brown, who said the money was necessary to save the state’s public schools, and conservative opponents in and outside the state.

Georgia’s voters approve charter amendment AJC: And, finally on Tuesday, the state’s voters said yes to Amendment One — which will change the Georgia constitution to make sure the state can approve charter schools and establish a commission to consider applications for them.

Students celebrate approval of Maryland Dream Act BaltimoreSun: The Maryland Dream Act, which will extend the tuition break to some illegal immigrants who graduate from high school in Maryland, was one of several ballot questions before state voters.

Morning Video: Campaign Strategists Ruin 8th Grade Elections


"The Daily Show team decided to make one middle school race a high-stakes game, by bringing in some big-time political consultants."  via TIME Campaigning, on a Smaller Scale  [Pt 2, Pt 3]

AM News: High Schoolers Would Choose Obama

Obama Elected By American High Schoolers In Nationwide Mock Election HuffPostEdu: According to a nationwide mock election for 54,000 high schoolers across 130 schools, Obama won the popular vote with 52.2 percent and Republican candidate Mitt Romney received 41.2 percent of the vote. 


Sick of the Presidential Race? Here Are 2 Education Ballot Measures to Watch Atlantic: There are two particularly interesting ballot measures in play: in Washington State, where voters will be asked to allow the formation of charter schools; and in Missouri, where a significant hike in the state's tobacco tax could raise badly needed revenues for both K-12 and higher education. 

Obama, Romney Change.org Petition Asks Candidates To Donate Campaign Supplies To Schools HuffPostEdu: New Jersey teacher Hope Stewart has launched a petition on Change.org, calling on Obama's and Romney's campaign offices to donate their office supplies to public schools after the election.

Graduation Rates Latest NCLB Waiver Flash Point EdWeek: A growing chorus of education policy advocates is urging the U.S. Department of Education to strengthen graduation-rate accountability in states that have earned waivers under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Georgia’s Voters Will Decide on Future of Charter Schools NYTimes: Here in Georgia, the future of charters, which are publicly financed but privately operated, could be determined Tuesday by a ballot measure that asks voters to amend the State Constitution so that an appointed statewide commission could authorize new schools.

School Life: Weak Antibullying Advice From The POTUS

image from images.huffingtonpost.com
Here's President Obama's letter in response to a girl's complaint about being teased at school for having two dads.  Sure, it's nice.  But the advice he gives her is pretty weak, if you ask me. Let's hope he's not planning on using it to deal with House Republicans if he gets a second term.  

Morning Video: The AFT Campaign Bus Travels Through Florida


Eight minutes, posted by AFT

Afternoon Video: Best Education Speech Ever?


Is it the best education speech ever, as one Forbes blogger asserts? I'm not sure. But it's good, and it's recent, and Mike Johnston may be a kind of bridge figure between career educators and reformers (though I'm sure extremists on either end will be disappointed). Forgot where I got this on Twitter -- sorry!

Campaign 2012: Feisty Los Angeles vs. Cooperative Chicago

Districts like Portland and Los Angeles haven't been able to get union support for their Race to the Top grant applications, with LAUSD superintendent John Deasy pushing the envelope as far as possible in terms of reminding everyone that the obstacle is the union.  (He didn't really think that the USDE would accept an application without union support.)

image from petecrow.files.wordpress.com
Meanwhile, Chicago -- yes, Chicago -- has apparently come to agreement and is submitting a grant application with union approval (LA School Report).  Whether it will meet muster or not with the reviewers in Washington is another question.  Chicago's grant application that's being submitted is much different from some of the earlier versions, focusing on professional development and middle school instruction rather than performance pay and other signature RTTT elements. Just a few days before Election Day, with Mayor Emanuel making fundraising calls to labor groups, the political and financial priorities in Chicago are different from the ones in Los Angeles. 

Campaign 2012: 50CAN Action Fund Focuses On RI & MN

Here's the latest education advocacy group response -- from 50CAN, one of the newest of these groups to sprout up over the past few years.  According to 50CAN c4 Action Fund ED Julie Marlette the activity focuses on candidates in two states -- Rhode Island and Minnesota:

image from www.givinglibrary.org"In the 2013 fall electoral cycle, the Action Fund engaged  worked extensively on Rhode Island General Assembly races, endorsing seven candidates; three in highly  competitive   primaries where the candidates did not face a general election opponent, and four races in the general election cycle." 

In the Primary cycle:  Mia Ackerman (H-45) Representative Jon Brien (H-50) Maura Kelly (S-5). In the general election cycle:  Speaker Gordon Fox D (H-4) Senator Donna Nesselbush D (S-15) Senator Dawson Hodgson R (S-35) Mary Ann Shallcross Smith  (H-46)

"We also did some work on behalf of Senator Dan DaPonte (S-14) and in Minneapolis, Minnesota we have done some work on behalf of  a school board candidate, Josh Reimnitz, running in district 4. We did not formally endorse in either of these races."

Anything else you want to know?  Just ask.  Previous posts: Stand For Children Endorsement ListsEighty Candidates Endorsed By StudentsFirstDFER Candidate Slate Looks Pretty Mainstream

Morning Video: Teachers Running For Office (Oh, My!)

While TFA alumni running for office will garner much more attention (and unwarranted concern, in my opinion), I'm guessing that NEA and AFT members outnumber them by quite a bit. Have asked and will let you know the numbers. 



Five Best Blogs: Teachers, Unions, Race To The Top

20121029-Union-Strength-Full-Report-1 (1)

Fordham/ERN union report generates heated oppo despite complicated mix of findings @TeacherBeatow.ly/eVhzw

The Hill names NEA's Dennis Van Roekel among its Top Lobbyists in Washington ow.ly/eUCKm @NEAMedia

In Ohio, Teachers Run For Statehouse — And Could Give Obama A Boost NPR @StateImpactOH ow.ly/eVhpp

HuffPostLA editorial slams UTLA and CTA for resistance to federal funds tied to performance evaluations ow.ly/eUX4t

Recently-resigned Chicago superintendent Jean Claude Brizard warns against too much focus on teacher effectiveness ow.ly/eUU98

It's the distribution of qualified STEM teachers that's the issue, not the number, says WPost's @ChuckLane1   ow.ly/eUEAe

Apprentice program to train new Seattle teachers | Education | The Seattle Times ow.ly/eUCCA via @AnnenbergInst

The Benefits of Practice WSJ ow.ly/eUCkZ Doug Lemov via @robertpondiscio @anniemurphypaul

Media: "Reform Scare" Stories Inflate Accomplishments

Having written several times before about LEE, the TFA spinoff dedicated to recruiting alumni to run for office, I was happy to see a new article from The American Prospect about the initiative last week.  


However, I have issues with the alarmist and exaggerated thrust of the piece, which is to suggest that TFA alumni are on the verge of becoming ever-present among the ranks of elected officials.  

Writer and activist James Cersonsky writes that "A selective crowd of high-achieving college graduates is primed to take over the leadership of America’s schools."   

Well, no, it's not.  Not anytime soon, at least.

Continue reading "Media: "Reform Scare" Stories Inflate Accomplishments" »

Morning Video: PBS "Frontline" Segment On Campaign Finance

Watch Big Sky, Big Money on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

AM News: Hurricane Sandy Extends Race to the Top Deadline

Hurricane Sandy: Race to Top District Contest Deadline Extended PoliticsK12: With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast and threatening a large swath of the nation's population—and schools—the U.S. Department of Education has announced an extension of the application deadline for the Race to the Top district competition.

Hurricane Sandy Shutters Thousands of Schools EdWeek: As Hurricane Sandy began unleashing its fury on the East Coast Monday, the storm shuttered thousands of schools across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, with millions of students to be out of school for at least two days, state education officials said.


Matching Funds Fail to Materialize for Some i3 Grantees EdWeek: Two years after the U.S. Department of Education awarded $650 million in Investing in Innovation grants and set off a mad dash for grantees to raise more than $100 million in matching private funds in five weeks, some of the i3 winners are still facing financial uncertainty stemming from initial fundraising struggles.

Federal Grant Application Sparks New Rural Tennessee Collaborative RuralEducation: Five rural Tennessee districts were part of a much larger group of 54 rural districts in the state to apply for a federal Investing in Innovation grant. They won't know whether they won until November, but five of those districts decided to form a new professional development collaborative, the Tennessee Valley Learning Network. The network is open to educators in Bradley, Marion, Monroe, Polk, and Rhea counties in southeast Tennessee.

How Will Education Groups' State-Level Endorsements Fare? StateWatch: There are big headlines today about how President Barack Obama has become the first presidential candidate to raise $1 billion in a campaign, but there's another big number in politics this year to keep in mind: 6,004. That's the number of state legislative seats that are up for election in 2012.

Five Best Blogs: Pay No Attention to State & Local Races

ScreenHunter_02 Oct. 29 16.05
State and local races and initiatives matter much more media and blogs realize, says Fordham's Checker Finn ow.ly/eRtIc

NEA sending $1.4M to ID, $900K to MI (take that, StudentsFirst!), $500K to FL, and $250K to WA via @mikeantonnuci ow.ly/eRvOA

Described as silly and laughable by unions, Fordham report on unions is useful says Mike Antonucci  Intercepts ow.ly/eRvF3

California teachers rank 8th among most powerful state teachers unions, according to Washington DC think tank ow.ly/eRtZh

LA Times look at power and peril of value added rating for teachers in LA ow.ly/eRzOb

From Jay Mathews: Admissions 101: Obama-Romney guide to great college essays... bit.ly/Y92ham

Campaign 2012: DFER's Tough Decision On MI Proposal 2

Campaign_2012State ballot initiatives in California and Michigan have created some complicated opportunities and decisions for newfangled education advocacy groups like DFER and StudentsFirst.  

In California, state DFER director Gloria Romera has enraged some union allies with her support for Proposition 32, which would limit fundraising options for organized labor. See HuffPost here.

In Michigan, Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst has come out against a pro-labor amendment to the state constitution called Proposal 2, donating $500,000 to the effort. See Mlive here and Huffington Post here.

The Michigan chapter of DFER has not taken an official position on the measure, I'm told, but may soon have an decision. State DFER director Harrison Blackmond is quoted in the HuffPost article saying he's against it.

Read more inside for more on the background of these two state ballot initiatives and the advocacy group's different decisions.

Continue reading "Campaign 2012: DFER's Tough Decision On MI Proposal 2" »

Weekend Reading: Education Politics

Here are some of the articles from magazines and other websites that I tweeted out over the weekend that you might have missed:

Edison phonograph sketch November 29 1877-thumb-615x615-103171Outside money pouring into [selected] CA house races - LA Times ow.ly/eOyHN

Reform "grifter" M. Rhee's PAC gave $500K to limit collective bargaining in Mich., says Esquire blogger ow.ly/eOzVF

A close look at the ed group endorsements in one state (TN) from EdWeek's Andrew Ujifusa ow.ly/eOO2j

Rosen on Higher Education Market, Roundtable on Math (Audio) bit.ly/VuX3T7 BloombergEDU

TFAer turned writer turned teacher Sara Mosle column on Responsive Classroom in the NYT ow.ly/1PdoRA

Five Best Blogs: Here Comes Hurricane Sandy


Michelle Rhee's Group Wades Into Michigan Union Fight @HuffPostEdu #5bb huff.to/P682UE

Hate Group Bullies School Board Into Rescinding Basic Rights for Transgender Students ow.ly/eKqZu

The tenacity of school segregation | Bleaderow.ly/eLPwr #5bb

From Jay Mathews: Readers’ cures for bad teaching of writing: The teaching of writing is one of the great weakne... bit.ly/QZmbzb

Bootleg portion of ESPN documentary about slain Chicago HS b-ball star Benji Wilson ow.ly/eLP7t

"Bunker schools" for Syrian kids Pictures following the bombing of six schools CBS News ow.ly/eL8cq

MT @MandyZatynski: “They’re like 5-year-olds fighting over a toy, except the toy is America.”


Morning Video: Kids React To The Election


‘This Is Like Middle School’: Kids Analyze the Election

Five Best Blogs: The NEA's Big Pro-Obama Campaign Bus

Tumblr_mccs9qktvZ1qa0uujo1_500N.J. education advocates to Duncan: State's waiver plan is a disaster. — NewsWorks ow.ly/eJo7S

Lessons From Los Angeles - Rick Hess Straight Up - Education Week ow.ly/eJWlz 

For President Obama, a Complex Calculus of Race and Politics - NYTimes.com ow.ly/eJnJn 

With time running out, teachers push pro-Obama message in swing states Ohio, Florida - U.S. News ow.ly/eKgZ1 

The five most important issues left out of the debates http://wapo.st/WJIIai For once, education was not one of them

A film about a Chicago basketball prodigy shot to death in 1984 may play a role in helping heal the city in 2012. ow.ly/eKi87 


Photos: Little Kid Photobombs Obama Campaign Appearance*

image from img.gawkerassets.com
Check out the little kid in the striped shirt to the left chewing his zipper and scowling. Photo of the day from the Obama campaign. Not sure what school or program this is at -- anybody know?  I can't tell charter kids from "real" kids anymore, what with everyone going for uniforms these days. *UPDATE: It's apparently the cute boy kissing the little girl at the top of the image that you're supposed to be looking at.

Five Best Blogs: Even Broad Thinks Rhee's Too Aggro Sometimes

MontessorienglewoodcpsTeachers' participation in the Obama re-election campaign is up, according to @PoliticsK12 ow.ly/eHjq6

Mitt Romney, Barack Obama Campaigns Fall Short On Specifics For Early Education ow.ly/eHqnd 

Why Preschool Can Save The World : Planet Money : NPR ow.ly/eHMbR via @LASchoolReport

15 NEA State Affiliates Ran Budget Deficits, 25 Saw Decline in Dues Income « The Greenroomow.ly/eHMhC

RT @Joy_Resmovits: Today, Eli Broad told me he plans to continue to support @m_rhee, but sometimes they disagree. 

Beyond Tokenism: Toward the Next Stage of Teacher Leadership - Ariel Sacks #5bb ow.ly/eI2iS

What is it like being bullied in school? ow.ly/eI63lBest Quora question / response Ive seen in a long time.

Campaign 2012: Stand For Children Endorsement Lists

Last week I told you about the candidate endorsements and contributions coming from DFER and StudentsFirst, which some of you found fascinating and/or disturbing. This week, it's Stand For Children. 


Six state Stands have made House and Senate endorsements, including 38 in Oregon, according to information they provided plus a slew of others: 26 IL, 9 MA, 11 CO, 24 WA, IN

Stand also reports that state affiliates have made endorsements "in school board races, the gubernatorial race in WA, the superintendent position in Indiana, etc." Here are the links that they provided: AZ governing boardTN school board (summer 2012), IN state superintendentWA gubernatorialCO board of educationLA school board.

Let me know if this is useful or what more you want to see (like contributions and IE activity).  Previous posts: Eighty Candidates Endorsed By StudentsFirstDFER Candidate Slate Looks Pretty Mainstream.  Next up is the rascals at 50CAN.  

Five Best Blogs: Education As A Foreign Policy Debate Issue


Obama should be talking about his 2 Race To The Top programs -for education & for gas mileage - says NYT Friedman ow.ly/eF6Mb

Why Education Should Be in the Foreign Policy Debate via TFA @wendykopp ow.ly/eFmDl

Newark Teachers Union Embraces Performance Pay, Wins Peer Review - Working In These Times ow.ly/eFSZf

600 Texas School Districts Sue State For 'Unconstitutional' Funding huff.to/T7642A 

Another pitch for that New Yorker story about the honors student turned hitman, this time from @tanehisi ow.ly/eG3px

Why pointy headed moderates don't get politics -- and so often lose at them - Salon ow.ly/eFTgu


Afternoon Video: Bow To The Idea Men


"I"ll be your visionary.  You do the things I come up with." (via The Atlantic

Foundations: What To Think About C4TE's Collapse?

Screen shot 2012-10-22 at 12.50.26 PMReform critics reacted gleefully last week to the news that Communities for Teaching Excellence, the Gates-funded advocacy effort in support of its teacher quality initiative, was being de-funded (LAT, LA Daily News), a reaction that was  predictable but sort of sad and short-sighted.  

Why so?  First and foremost, the outcome explodes notion that reform foundations like Gates are all-powerful, which is obviously untrue but is a myth that seems convenient to repeat. Can't be all-powerful and occasionally ineffective at the same time. It's also a reflection of the reality that advocacy groups have proliferated as much as C4TE has failed.  So if reform critics want to call the creation of tons of advocacy groups a success, then fine go ahead.  

Last but not least, trashing the efforts of folks like Yolie Flores, the former LAUSD board member (pictured) who took on the task and has dedicated her career to making schools better for poor kids, seems inappropriate coming from mostly white liberals sitting in front of computers or giving speeches.  You can read more about Flores in the LA Weekly and Scholastic Administrator (who sponsors this site), and a blog post of mine about her disagreement with LAUSD and Deasy over the changes to PSC ( John Deasy's Mystifying Labor Deal).

One last thing: a couple of people have written me suggesting that the downfall of this latest effort was comparable to the failure of EDIN'08, a comparison I get but would quibble with.  Yes, advocacy is a dicey business and folks bigger and better funded than Gates have spent scads of money in other arenas and walked away without much to show for it. The highs and lows are higher in advocacy than they are in policy and program worlds.  But I don't believe that EDIN'08 was such a big failure as conventional wisdom would have it.  And, an important difference to me is that EDIN'08 was organized around a national campaign, the presidential elections, whereas the Gates teacher quality advocacy effort was focused on the individual Gates districts without any substantial national component. 

Cartoons: Uncle Sam, Lunchroom Worker

image from media.theweek.com
Via The Week

Campaign 2012: Eighty Candidates Endorsed By StudentsFirst

Last week, you learned that the NEA and AFT were funding a handful of Republican candidates in and among all the Democratic races that they were supporting. Kinky? I know. 

Yesterday, you learned about DFER's candidate endorsements.  They were pretty boring.  Maybe not your favorite in the primaries, but at least they're all Democrats.  (DFER Candidate Slate Looks Pretty Mainstream)


Today's installment comes from Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst, which on its website lists roughly 80 endorsements for six states (Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri and Tenn).   

Click the "elections" tab to see each state's list. This being StudentsFirst, I'm guessing but too lazy to check that there are a few -- gasp! -- Republicans among those endorsed.  

This being the wacky world of Citizens United, StudentsFirst also has independent expenditure (IE) groups active in roughly a dozen races (such as the CT race with Brandon McGee). No details on where the IEs are active, but let's assume that they're in a state where SF already operates and has endorsed candidates.  

A couple more states are in the works, I'm told. The selections are made through a survey and screening process (everybody does it this way).  An endorsement doesn't necessarily mean that there's a campaign contribution.

I've also asked Stand For Children and 50Can for their candidate endorsement / contribution lists, and will report back to you when they report back to me.

Morning Video: Obama Education Guy Talks Portability

Campaign 2012: Pay Equity Questioner Was A Teacher

The questioner who prompted Mitt Romney's instantly-viral "binders full of women" response to a question about pay equity was a Long Island kindergarten teacher named Katherine Fenton.

image from img.gawkerassets.comI haven't confirmed it yet but I'm guessing she's not TFA since she didn't lock down her Twitter feed until too late (and Floral Park Queens isn't Harlem). 

Five Best Blogs: Charter Head Opposes State-Run Teacher Evaluations


Charter network founder comes out against outside / state run ratings of teachers NYT #5bb from Sundayow.ly/ey1OK

"Cheap personal attacks" mar Rothstein critique of Klein, says @saramead ow.ly/eyBqT #5bbRavitchers disagree.

Obama Administration approves Idaho’s NCLB waiver request -- now 34 plus DC ow.ly/eyYaj #5bb

HuffPost fact-checks education/gun violence links from last night's debate #5bb http://ow.ly/eyYXY

What's Behind the Mass Student Takeover of Argentina's High Schools? - The Atlantic http://ow.ly/eyZcu #5bb

Omaha schoolgirl dresses as a different historical figure each day - Omaha.com ow.ly/eyGnJ #5bb

Campaign 2012: DFER Candidate Slate Looks Pretty Mainstream

IL-10_congressional_districtReform critics like to make a big deal out of how scary and right-wing reform advocates' work is, but this slate of candidates from DFER seems pretty uncontroversial and mainstream to me, based on a cursory review. There are some candidates for Congress, for state legislature, and local school board. All Democrats, obv.  Perhaps they ran again other Dems in a primary -- it happens.  Perhaps they're pro-charter, or pro-Race To The Top.  Then again, so is the the pro-government occupant of the White House.  In any case, if there's anyone controversial on the DFER list, let us know.  I'll ask Stand and 50CAN and StudentsFirst and others for their candidate lists and see what they have to say as well -- we can compare them to the DNC lists, and the Green Party's too, if there is such a thing any more. 

AM News: "We Don't Have To Settle" For Debates Like This (Do We?)

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

Obama Makes Education A Presidential Debate Subject HuffPost: In perhaps the biggest pivot of the presidential debate Tuesday night, President Barack Obama turned a question about gun violence into an answer about education.\

At Debate, Obama, Romney Link Education to Economy EdWeek: During their second duel of this campaign, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney on Tuesday night framed the issue of education as an economic one.

Charter School Flap Escalates Wall Street Journal: Tennessee education officials withheld $3.4 million from Nashville's school district after the city barred a charter school from opening in an affluent neighborhood, in a fight that highlights the growing tension...

Progress report on Colorado SIG schools EdNews Colorado: More than $40 million in federal grants awarded to some of Colorado’s lowest-performing schools as part of a massive national turnaround effort is producing mixed results, with state officials suspending funding for five schools because of declining test scores.


AM News: Romney Might Roll Back "Prescriptive" NCLB Waivers

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.com

Romney Ed. Adviser Casts Doubt on Future of NCLB Waivers Politics K12: The waivers are "not about flexibility. They're very prescriptive. We think they have led to a very unfortunate result: ... many of these states are setting different accountability standards for different constituencies of children," said Handy, a former chairman of the Florida State Board of Education.  ALSO: Impact of NCLB waiver on poor schools challenged The Answer Sheet

Romney Adviser Calls Head Start 'A Social Experience' Huffington Post:  He chided Head Start, the federal pre-school program, saying it has "been allowed to go on for decades ... much more as a social experience, not preparing children for school."

Seeking Aid, More Districts Change Teacher Evaluations NYT: Fueled in part by efforts to qualify for grant programs or No Child Left Behind waivers, 36 states and the District of Columbia have introduced new policies.

More States Earn As and Bs on Charter School "Scorecard" for 2012 State Watch: From 2011 to 2012, the number of states earning As and Bs from from the center actually increased. In the top category, Arizona, Indiana, and Michigan improved to A grades, joining Minnesota (the state with the nation's oldest charter school law) and D.C., while California fell from an A to a B grade in that time. D.C. comes in first, while Minnesota is second, Indiana is third (improving from eighth last year), Arizona is fourth, and Michigan is fifth.

Frustrated by 'Roadblocks,' Group Reviewing Teacher Ed. Appeals to Students TeacherBeat: Using graphics that could have been pulled right out of "Mad Men," the campaign shows a silhouette of an individual wielding a flashlight. "You have the right to know," one advertisement reads. "Help us do what your university would not."

Quotes: Outside Money Turns Candidates Into Chess Pieces

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comThese are battles between gigantic groups, and candidates are just chess pieces. Candidates are becoming afterthoughts. - Los Angeles political consultant Parke Skelton, in LA School Report. 

Morning Video: Distinguishing Reformers And Republicans

One of reformers' biggest problems right now is distinguishing themselves from more conservative types with whom they share some -- but not all -- agenda elements.


The latest of these is Bruce Rauner, a wealthy Rahm Emanuel advisor who blasted the teachers' union in a recent Bush Foundation event covered in the Tribune and followed up with an opinion piece about the contract that resulted from the strike there.  His rant gets going at the 30 minute mark. 

Quotes: America Is Great -- We Must Save It!

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comOur greatest days are ahead of us, and we have the greatest history in the history of history, but this instant right now is completely screwed up, and we've got to save America from disaster. - Stephen Colbert, 

Morning Video: Watch The Obama Education Ad Against Romney

Via EdWeek

NCLB: NYT Covers Waiver Questions & Concerns

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A couple of weeks ago at Education Nation (see video above), EdSec Duncan claimed that states "dummied down" state standards in response to NCLB, and I went predictably ballistic (Duncan Cherry-Picks NCLB History). Over the weekend, in an NYT article about questions surrounding NCLB waivers, Duncan made essentially the same claim and again it went unchallenged. But the moment seems closer when concerns and questions about the rationale for the waivers become better-known.

Campaign 2012: "I Want To Hire Teachers"

image from media.salon.com

The best line from SNL's debate spoof was from the Obama impersonator, who at one point proclaims how he would solve the nation's economic problems: "I want to hire teachers, millions and millions of teachers."  

Campaign 2012: Obama Broke 2 Of 31 Education Promises

ScreenHunter_08 Oct. 08 08.54 ScreenHunter_12 Oct. 08 08.58
PolitiFact has a long, interesting look at Obama's education record (Grading Obama on education reform) that includes some curious findings -- just two of 31 campaign promises broken (funding for charter schools and IDEA), and just five promises stalled.  Take a look -- for what did they give too much (or too little) credit?

Five Best Blogs: Don't Forget Implementation, Reformers!

Tumblr_lt50v1OBql1qinh1vo1_500 Fordham's @MichaelPetrilli reports out from Minneapolis on implementation and next effortsow.ly/efJe1 #5bb @PIEnetwork

It  happens to everybody: AEI critiques @Joy_Resmovits @HuffPostEdu funding story & gets correction #5bb ow.ly/egaEx

Reassigned teacher live-streams his tedium in a “rubber room” NYPOST.com ow.ly/efYpy

Report showing Harlem district schools transfers comparable to charter prompts intense finger-pointingow.ly/efDv4 #5bb

Education a top tweet topic in first debate ow.ly/egawj #5bb USAT via @sbanchero

CAP reviews Fordham book on elite schools, raises excellence and equity questions ow.ly/efJye #5bb@EdProgress

Unions still playing a big, if different, role in elections -latimes.com ow.ly/efvGQ #5bb

Pictures: New Picture Of Rhee Surfaces

image from www.ctcapitolreport.com
This picture of Rhee waving a ruler in your (teachers') face(s) was on the CT Capital Report, which I've never seen before but looks like it comes from the old broom shoot.

Morning Video: Pink Romney Shirt Generates Discipline

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According to the student, the teacher likened the shirt to a KKK garment. NBC News.

Quotes: "I'm Not Going To Cut Education"

Quotes2I don’t have any plan to cut education funding and grants that go to people going to college. - Mitt Romney at last night's debate. 

People: An Ambivalent TFA Reformer In Los Angeles

image from laschoolreport.comOne of the most interesting characters in the LA education scene is Steve Zimmer (pictured), a TFA alum and career teacher who left his classroom to try and be a "bridge" member on the LAUSD board of education, which is still elected.  

One of the reasons you hardly ever hear about Zimmer from TFA and others is that, once elected to the board, Zimmer found himself siding with reform critics (and UTLA) as much or more than with the reform community led by Monica Garcia and the voting bloc that brought in John Deasy but could lose its slim majority in March.  (He recently proposed an increase in charter school oversight, for example, and a moratorium on new charters.)

Hillel Aron, the reporter for LA School Report, has been doing a series of interviews with board members (and flagging potential candidates for the March elections).  I thought this one, with Zimmer, was particularly interesting in the way it captures just how difficult it is to be an educator who wants change.  As it plays out in LA, basically, everyone ends up hating you and running candidates against you.

Here's the interview:  Alienating Both Sides.  Here's a preview of candidates who may run against Zimmer, including Children Now's Kate Anderson: Possible Board Candidates: District 4.Here's a look at the $5 million in independent expenditures that unions and reformers have spent on the last two LAUSD races: Dark Money Dominates.

Are there other career educators, TFA or otherwise, who've tried to be for reform but then struggled with the methods and priorities?  The only other two I can think of are Gary Rubinstine and Seth Lavin.



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.