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Update: The Pet Goat, The 7 Minutes, The Kids Grown Up

Three education-related 9/11 moments, and an update:  In Farenheit 9/11, Michael Moore showed us the video of the event during which the Commander In Chief seemed stunned and uncertain as the Twin Towers were being attacked.  The New Yorker then told us about the story (The Pet Goat) that students were reading.  A SF blogger named Peter Smith had discovered the story was actually a reading exercise in a Direct Instruction textbook (text here).  Now there's a pretty fascinating AP story about what happened that day in that school and what's happened to the educators and students -- now high school seniors --since then.

Charters: Darling-Hammond School In Trouble

image from graphics8.nytimes.com Yay! Boo!  Charters!  Linda Darling-Hammond!  The Internets are burning up over news that a California charter affiliated with Stanford professor Linda Darling-Hammond has been denied an extension.  The New York Times has it here.  Hammond was the victim of a whisper campaign during the decisionmaking process surrounding the selection of the Obama education secretary and alienated lefties by participating in a charter school effort rather than toeing the "public" school line. 

Crib Sheets: Palin Wasn't Cheating -- But You Were

Blog_Palin_Hand_Notes Ever write something on your hand to pass a quiz?  I sure did.  Now's the time to come clean.  Last weekend, Sarah Palin did what kids have been doing for years to help remember things (and occasionally to cheat on vocab quizzes):  she wrote some key phrases on her hand.  The Internet has been exploding about this in the days since then.  (No, I don't think she was really doing anything wrong.)  But I tried this method to cheat on a vocabulary quiz in 5th grade.  The effort wasn't much better concealed than Palin's.  Mrs. Cholden pulled me aside, told me I didn't need to do things like that, and I never did again. Did you ever try and cheat as a kid -- and what happened when you got caught?

Thompson: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Rumi, and Raising Test Scores Holistically

Who was the American president at the start of the Korean War?
A. John Kennedy
B. Franklin Roosevelt
C. Dwight Eisenhower
D. Harry Truman

As American high school students bubble in these rote answers, Canadians are asked,
A feature common to the Korean War and the Vietnam War was that in both conflicts:
a) Soviet soldiers and equipment were tested against American soldiers and equipment
b) the United States became militarily involved because of a foreign policy of containment
c) the final result was a stalemate; neither side gained or lost significant territory
d) communist forces successfully unified a divided nation.

Rumi While American high school students name the two main gases of the atmosphere, Australians "design a drug that will be effective against a virus" and "outline how your drug would prevent continuation of the cycle of reproduction ..."

Tom Vander Ark recognizes ½ of the problem, "in addition to devaluing science, we’ve made it boring. ... And rather than expanding multiple choice testing about science, we need to get more kids doing science ... Every student in grades 6-12 should be involved in a science-related project and demonstration every year. ... This is a culture problem first and foremost. ... The most important long term issue for the US is education for innovation. We need a STEM culture."

Before quoting Rumi, Vander Ark asserts "‘it doesn’t really matter what the teacher talks about

Continue reading "Thompson: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Rumi, and Raising Test Scores Holistically" »

CAMPAIGN '08 [revisited]: Ayers Risked Education Debate During Campaign

I must admit being surprised to read in this Chicago Magazine article that Bill Ayers, who seemed to have gone totally silent during the run-up to the November election, never stopped arguing education (What Bill Ayers Wants). 

"The other stuff—that was about a cartoon character. It had nothing to do with me.”

Apparently it all went down under all of our noses -- in the comments section of Eduwonkette.  But the mainstream media never picked up on it. (Or maybe I missed that, too.)

VIDEO: "Whatever We'd Like" Is For These Kids To Go Away

Those "Whatever You Like" kids are back with a post-election attempt at fame, and I am obliged by law to let you know:

Or just watch the original video: Kids Rapping About The Election also via Videogum.

ELECTION: Happy, Realistic, Purposeful

Barack Obama's election as President has made a lot of people understandably very happy.  A change of parties in control of the executive branch.  A new generation of leadership in the White House.  The first African-American president-elect.  Lots of new opportunities for work.   If my meds didn't prevent me from experiencing strong emotions, I'd be happy too.

ArtobamaspeechcnnBut there's a reason that -- did you notice? -- Obama was hopeful but not exhultant last night during his acceptance speech

In education, for example, no one has presented a realistic path by which education issues become any more of a priority (or a reality) than they were 24 hours ago. Don't let anyone tell you they have, or dangle shiny plans in front of you without explaining how they get enacted.  With the campaign done, it's clear that much of what was promised cannot and will not happen anytime soon. The economy is such a mess and foreign relations needs immediate attention. 

So let's not beat our heads against the wall about that, or pretend things are going to happen when they're not.  Instead, how about focusing on smaller, lower-cost things that could still have a tremendous impact on improving schools:  viral philanthropy like Nothing But Nets, better research so we know what we're doing before we jump into things (again), open-source alternatives to costly software applications, community engagement efforts (parents union, anyone?). 

I think there's lots of good things to be done in education during the next four years.  Just probably not many of the things that people are talking about now.

ELECTION: Schools As Voting Places

                                                  Obama at Shoesmith Elementary in Chicago. 

Do you like it as much as I do that voting often takes place in schools?  I think it legitimizes schools and is great people watching, too.  (It's almost as fun as report card pickup day.)  Lots of folks who go in have never been inside the school -- except maybe the previous year.  Sure, it's a lost instructional day, etc.  But still.  I'd rather them use schools for voting places than not use them.  What do you think?

SECTY: Tidbits & Tirades About The Next Administration

Some thoughts (and questions) about who might be Obama's pick education secretary if he by any chance manages to win:

That Boren thing in Politico was wack.  So much for the quasi-mainstream media getting things right.  I mean, I had to look it up to make sure that guy wasn't a Republican.

Folks on the center/right who are freaking out about Darling-Hammond may only have themselves to blame, given that she's not an established political operative has less in common with Obama ideologically than many other candidates, and has no real inside track.  Self-fulfilling prophecy, anyone?

Why is it that so many education blogs go strangely silent when there's a really hot education story out there?    Two main reasons:  They don't want to admit how little they actually know.  They don't want to risk their precious access by revealing what little they know.  So much for transparency (or journalism, for that matter).

Whitney Tilson for Education Secretary! 

You heard it here first. 

Last time around for the Democrats, I'm told, there wasn't all that much intrigue about Dick Riley because he and Clinton had such a long and close working relationship as Southern Governors. Someone who is a real journalist should look that up and school us on the history.  (Not it.) 

Most people who want jobs in the Obama administration will get staff jobs, which are nothing to sneeze at.  I think a great wheeler-dealer like Jon Schnur would make a great Chief of Staff to the Secty, for example.  Amy Wilkins would make a great Assistant Secty for Congressional Affairs (though Kennedy and Miller might veto her).  USA Today's Richard Whitmire has already endorsed Andy Rotherham for the newly-proposed Office of Innovative Entrepreneurship.

The movement to support Arne Duncan has got to be nothing more than an "anything but Linda" strategy.  Ducan''s not taken very seriously, I don't get the sense. Daley would be pissed. Obama doesn't owe Duncan in any way (though Obama does owe some of his Chicago backer$).  The only way Duncan gets the job is as a neutral candidate everyone can live with publicly.

Speaking of last time, is there ANYONE involved in the current campaign's internal debates about education who has been through a transition before?  I hope so.  Besides Podesta, however,  I'm not sure there is. Scary. 

Maybe Margaret Spellings should stay on, given the crisis that's going on in America right now?  That's what Bloomberg is suggesting.  (Then again, some knucklehead in this Inside Higher Ed story thinks Riley should come back.)

Could Joel Klein abandon Bloomberg and go for the EdSec job?  He's got both DC and big-city experience, is a former Clinton appointee, and can work with Randi a lot better than many reformistas can. The NY media would have a field day, what with Bloomberg's attempt to stay in power.

How amazing that the Podesta's Center for American Progress -- originally thought of as a home for Clinton -- has become Obama central.  Then again, there are lots of folks who were for Clinton who've switched over now (Bersin, Rotherham).

Hard to imagine some fancy higher ed spot wouldn't tempt Michael Dannenberg to come back to DC from his Brooklyn aerie.  Come back, Michael! Come back! 


  Roland Fryer for head of IES.

Kudos to Inside Higher Ed for making calls and getting on the the record responses about this whole thing.  [How come the Chronicle and EdWeek can't do this?] Lots of ridiculous recommendations and predictions in there, though.

ANTIMETABOLE: Inverting To Educate, Educating To Invert

"For Obama and McCain, charter schools are not just schools of choice.  They are their choice of schools."-- paraphrasing of James Merriman, NYC Center for Charter School Excellence.

Think you can do better?  Go for it.  For inspiration, check out Slate's winning antimetabole reader submissions.

POLITICO: Boren, Kean, and Miller Top EdSec Contenders

540pxdavidborenbyphilkonstantin Maybe  all this worry about Duncan and Darling-Hammond was nothing more than speculative froth.  But David Boren as Obama's Education Secretary?  Really?  That's what Politico thinks, at least (Dems sketch Obama staff, Cabinet).  The site names Boren, former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean (R), who was chairman of the 9/11 commission, and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) as top contenders.

Kean we've heard about before.  Miller is an obvious consideration though it's hard to imagine he wouldn't want to continue expanding his empire in the next Congress.  The surprise name is Boren, who is more of a foreign policy guy than anything else. He is currently president of Oklahoma University and maybe that's close enough.  (Quick -- what's his position on charters and TFA?)

Not to be forgotten, site favorite Heather Higginbottom gets named by Politico as a likely part of the White House DPC team (the job Spellings used to have), and CAP civil rights wonk Cassandra Butts is penciled in as as staff secretary. 

CAPTION: "Well, Senator Obama, ..."


BIDEN: Interviewed By A Palm Beach 5th Grader

Still not rolling along with the work mode?  Me, neither.  Here's the Biden interview by a 5th grade Florida student named Damon Weaver that's going around.  Check out the great microphone work and the smooth voiceovers:

Best line:  "Senator Biden is now my homeboy." Kudos to Damon and his teachers.

CHARTERS: National Association Alliance Weighs Into Politics

Here's an image from an ad that the National Association Alliance of Public Charter Schools is running in 5 states including Ohio:


More and more education outfits are getting into the the political game, it seems -- not just EDIN08 and DFER and the unions. That's good thing, I'd argue, for people who want education taken seriously.

PETRILLI: "An Enormous Distortion" Of Obama's Position

Michaelpetrilli While there's no dispute that the topic of portfolio assessment came up on NPR this morning during a discussion about Obama's education platform, Fordham's Mike Petrilli seems to be the only one who thinks that the Obama campaign revealed any big change of its position on NCLB accountability (ie, the desire to "dump") standardized testing. 

Observers suggest that there was no explicit connection made between portfolios and getting rid of standardized assessments.  EdWeek's Michele McNeil says the same, and has a rough transcript here. And the campaign says there's no there there, calling Petrilli's remarks "an enormous distortion."  Here's Obama talking about testing in Thornton, CO a couple of months ago, from the campaign:

“This doesn’t mean that we won’t have a standardized test, I believe children should master that skill as well and that should be part of the assessments and tools that we use to make sure our children are learning. It just can’t dominate the curriculum to the extent where we are pushing aside those things that will actually allow children to improve and will accurately assess the quality of teaching that is taking place in the classroom. This is not an either/or proposition, it is a both/and proposition, and that’s what we will be working on by fixing NCLB.”

No big deal. We all get things wrong sometimes.  (I posted the fake Palin SAT scores a couple of weeks ago.)  But it's too bad if Petrilli can't say so.  Being in DC too long has that effect on people. 

FUNDING: Where Was Obama On Illinois Funding Gap?

Who cares whether Obama did any good on the board of the Annenberg Challenge, or protected  local control of Chicago schools?  Illinois schools are among the most inequitably funded districts in the nation, as this CBS News segment shows.  Where was Obama?

The funding issue has been highlighted this year by a group of South Side ministers who have conducted high-visibility events -- sending Chicago children to suburban schools to see if they could enroll there (they couldn't), and protesting a Chicago Cubs baseball game (a sacrilege if there ever was one).

EDINO8: It's Not Over 'Til It's Over

Edin082color From a blog post (Quixotic Signage of the Day) written just before last night's debate:

"Behind Matthews’s head, a large sign, its black background and its orange and white lettering standing out among the sea of Obamian Red and Blue, is being propped up by an unknown advocate. The sign advertises Ed in ‘08, an attempt to make education reform a key issue in the presidential campaign. I’ve written about their efforts before, on Campaign Desk, and must sadly acknowledge that, however worthy their cause, and however noble their efforts toward achieving it, that cause has now been completely trumped by the economy."

Give EDIN08 credit for sticking through it to the end.  Maybe they can get Joe the Plumber to do some PSAs for them. 

ELECTION: Michelle In The Middle On Vouchers (& Candidates!)

Mccainrheeobama_0This keeps getting better and better:

First, Rhee reveals that she is against vouchers as a large-scale policy lever, but OK with it as an individual decision.   

Holy nuance!  Reminds me of how hard a time people had when Obama wanted to leave the door open on vouchers last summer.

And -- news to me -- it's now revealed that Rhee's critical of Obama's education positions, though she's a longtime Democrat: (Obama & McCain Fight Over A Woman Fast Company).

What could be next?  Maybe Rhee will tell us what she really thinks Kopp, or Schnur, or Klein. 

Meantime, Rhee is not exactly doing anything to keep herself out of the story.  The Obama folks must be pissed!

DEBATE: Rhee Position On Vouchers Not Entirely Clear

Last night's debate ended with some generally uninformative discussion of education issues, until Senator McCain started claiming that DC chancellor Michelle Rhee supported vouchers.

15debatestatic2_600 Obama, who had first mentioned the DC success story, corrected McCain, saying she supported charters not vouchers.  But McCain persisted.  (Transcript here, see video too at the 1:24 mark.)

What's the scoop?  Well, it turns out McCain wasn't as wrong on the subject as you might have thought:

"While Chancellor Rhee hasn’t taken a formal position on vouchers, she disagrees with the notion that vouchers are the remedy for repairing the city’s school system."

Rhee “Hasn’t Taken a Formal Position on Vouchers” City Paper (DC)

Make of that what you will. 

Obama's Slim Connection To The Chicago Annenberg Challenge

Obama_points Just how thin is this Ayers-Obama-Annenberg Challenge story?  Nine months ago when I was looking around for something to write about Obama's education record in Chicago,  I considered writing about the Annenberg Challenge.  Not because of the Ayers angle, but rather because Obama had claimed to have led the Challenge, which seemed like a wild overstatement to me (and a strange claim given the CAC's lack of obvious results). 

So I talked to the folks who'd been involved -- now-familiar names like Ken Rolling, Anne Hallett, etc. -- but there just wasn't enough real evidence of Obama's influence on the Challenge to warrant much of a story.  So instead I focused on Obama's record supporting local school control, where at least there was some consensus that Obama had been involved, if only minimally.  (You can read that article from Slate here.) Even there, Obama's footprint was hard to detect.

Others have pointed out how skimpy the Obama-Ayers connection is.  What gets lost in that story is that the Obama's involvement in Annenberg was so thin, too. 

SAT Scores For Republican VP Candidate Leaked Faked Onto Internet

What would be worse -- being humiliated by seeing Barack Obama's high SAT or LSAT scores, or being a little skeeved out by seeing Sarah Palin's frighteningly low SATs?

Now we know at least part of the answer to that question. 

UPDATE:  Alas, too good to be true.  Check out the back story here.

Congressional Quarterly Picks Vallas For McCain EdSec

Johnmccaincrash Check out CQ's guesses at who the candidates might pick for Education Secretary, including longtime Democrat Paul Vallas as an "unorthodox" McCain pick (and no Jon Schnur for Obama): The Cabinet.

Sure, McCain's reckless.  But I'm not sure he'd be that reckless.  And Vallas, well, Vallas wanted to be EdSec eight years ago, it's true.  But he's the kind of guy who wants to be everything.

Charter School Teacher Suspended For Obama Video

This might make you embarrassed to support Obama:

Teacher suspended for students' Obama chants Kansas City Star
A teacher at a Kansas City charter school was suspended Monday after video of his public school students chanting in praise of Barack Obama became a national sensation on YouTub.  Via Ednews.org.

Idiot Teacher Gets Himself Suspended

10022008_obama300x225 This will all soon be over, I hope:

A Florida middle school teacher has gotten himself in hot water for using a racial epithet directed at Barack Obama. 

What he wrote on the board?  "CHANGE:  Come Help A [Expletive] Get Elected."

Panhandle Teacher Suspended For Racial Slur

Sentimental Supreme Court Wishes

Huckleberryfinndef63542565 It's nice to see that some people are still dreaming big on the education front, whether or not their dreams have much chance of ever happening. 

Here, Chicago lawyer Thomas Geogehan makes the case for one or more legal decisions against locally-funded education (Back to School, Back to Court). 

There's no argument from me that local funding is unfair and inefficient -- or that local control is a sentimental leftover from a previous era. 

That such cases could prevail in court -- or would get shaped and implemented in any useful way -- those are other questions.

Scraping The Barrel For Obama-Ayers Influences

There's not much news in the new NY Times article on the Obama-Ayers relationship.  The piece debunks the notion that Ayers got Obama appointed to be the head of Annenberg Challenge board.  It notes that Obama listed an Ayers book (on parenting) as something he'd read.  But the connection is still being used by the McCain campaign (see ad below), and the Obama campaign has, according to the Times, made things worse by down-playing the amount of contact that Obama and Ayers had. 

20 Out Of 653

Eep_logo"Of 653 questions asked at the 30 debates, only 20 questions addressed education," according to a letter sent Monday (PDF) by EDIN08 top brass (including JC Watts). "Yet voters repeatedly rank education as one of their highest concerns, and for good reason. "

Obama's Misleading Slam On Education Funding

2008_9_dogs_for_obama FactCheck's list of Whoppers of 2008 (so far) includes this item about Obama that I haven't seen much about in the press or on other blogs:

"Obama has misrepresented some of McCain's votes on school funding as votes for cutting education spending. In fact, of the five votes the Obama ad lists, one was for an increase in school funding (just a smaller one than Democrats wanted) and four others were against increases and not for spending cuts."

Sure, the Obama claim isn't as bad (or incindiery) as some of those made by McCain (ie, sex ed for kindergartners), and sure, some Obama supporters are urging him to mix it up with McCain rather than gently let accusations go unanswered. 

But this longstanding line of argument comes up with NCLB funding, too, and is pretty pathetic and unfair.

Obama, Ayers, & "Radical" Education Reform

Bill_ayers_wsjA piece in today's Wall Street Journal digs deep into the history of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge to try and figure out how close was the association between Barack Obama and Bill Ayers, and indeed unearths some new documentation that no one else has gotten to (ie, minutes and records from CAC board meetings). 

But the paper's findings don't seem to me to be so startling or upsetting as the paper would make it seem  (Obama and Ayers Pushed Radicalism on Schools).  We already know that Obama and Ayers overlapped  working on the project.  We already know what the CAC did:  hand money out to community and education groups. 

Sure, the Obama campaign may have downplayed the association.  Shame on them.  But nothing "radical" came of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.  The Challenge gave money to education and community groups but failed to transform CPS in any wide or lasting way.  For my 2001 chapter on how the Challenge evolved in Chicago, click here: From Frontline Leader to Rearguard Action (Fordham Foundation).

Schnur Leaves New Leaders To Join Obama Campaign

Jon Schnur, one of the cofounders of New Leaders for New Schools, is taking a leave of absence from the organization to work on the Obama campaign between now and election day, according to an email from Schnur that someone passed on to me over the weekend (thanks!).

Jon_schnurEven before this, Schnur had been actively involved in setting up events during the Denver contention and developing Obama's education speech earlier this month.  In the email, Schnur says he's going to co-chair the Obama education policy committee.  No word yet on who the other co-chair is, or Schnur's plans for after the election.  It is not uncommon for those involved in campaigns to take these kinds of leaves of absence. 

New Leaders currently has 550 residents in 9 different cities. Click below to read the entire email.

Continue reading "Schnur Leaves New Leaders To Join Obama Campaign" »

Wishful Thinking About Obama

Ewatch_nyt It feels to me like there's at least a little bit of wishful thinking in Bruce Fuller's post about Barack Obama in the New York Times (Right About Education).  In particular, Fuller seems to think that Obama would abandon much of the accountability and testing regimen of NCLB in favor of new programs, controlled charter school expansion, and early childhood education.  Obama has become notoriously hard to read on issues that divide his supporters -- his campaign famously announced that Obama approves of both the Broader Bolder agenda AND the Education Equity Project.  But I don't think dismantling the "top-down" standards and accountability system  is what Obama wants to do -- or what's going to happen.  For starters, neither charter accountability, nor performance pay work without them.

Don't Forget Duncan

ArneduncanNothing's more difficult in Washington than admitting fault, and so Fordham's Mike Petrilli has determined that his omission of Chicago superintendent Arne Duncan in a recent roundup of top EdSec candidates wasn't a mistake.  Instead, Petrilli conjures up the argument that Duncan isn't a viable candidate because... he isn't as well known as Jim Hunt and can't help Obama win Southern states.  Well, last I looked, cabinet announcements are often made after elections and aren't usually called on to help win them.  No one in the real world has ever heard of Hunt or Duncan -- or knew Paige or Spellings before they were appointed.  The real reason Duncan won't ultimately get the nod is that he sounds like a goofball when he talks and is a follower rather than a leader.  But that doesn't mean he's not a contender.

Hedge Fund Guy Single-Handedly E-Mails Obama To Victory

Picture_14_2If Barack Obama wins election in November he may have to credit school reform hedge fund guy Whitney Tilson for putting him over the top.  Not with campaign donations, however.  With emails.

In the past few weeks especially, Tilson has worked night and day sending what seems like hundreds of emails (each of which contains multiple items), which no doubt translate directly into Obama votes.

Want to help the cause and receive Tilson's emails?  You can sign up here (WTilson@T2PartnersLLC.com).  Previous Posts:

Who The Hell Is Whitney Tilson?
Reformista Attacks Linda Darling-Hammond
Somewhat Annoying Latecomers Try New School Reform Strategy:  Campaign Giving

What Happened To Head Start Could Happen To Obama's NFP Expansion

Louis_vuitton_pigs Interested in learning a little more about the nurse-family partnership program that's been mentioned several time of late as part of Barack Obama's early childhood plan?  Check out Swamp Nurse, Kate Boo's 2006 New Yorker article about the real-life prenatal family care nurses that make housecalls in places like Louisiana. 

Worth noting is that, while successful, the family-nurse program has not previously been rolled out nationally in large part because of its developer's concerns about what happened to Head Start:  "A rapid, politically driven expansion inflated public expectation while diluting program standards."

Just so you know. 

Not Much New News In Times Obama Article

There's not much new news in this NYT piece on Obama's education DNA (If Elected) beyond (a) a great Obama education timeline (below), (b) news that Obama and early childhood economist James Heckman (think Swamp Nurse) live near each other, and what sounds like better documentation of the Obama-Ayers overlap working on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (Ayers developed the plan, Obama served as board chair).  No mention of Obama's role in the local control debate which I continue believe is the most substantive thing Obama has done on education.  No new information on what specifically Obama did to influence the Annenberg Challenge -- where his fingerprints are, if anywhere.  No real discussion of his interest in the residency-based teacher prep model that some Chicago and Boston schools use.  Oh well.


McCain Attacks Obama's Education Accomplishments

Via Sam Stein at the HuffPo.

Big Obama Speech

Trying to get the conversation back on more advantageous ground, Obama gave a speech today on education:

Obama education speech in Ohio. Transcript. Chicago Sun Times
Obama dishes out tough talk on education CNN
Obama Goes to Bat  Over Education Record Washington Post

It's a much better -- and easier -- topic for Obama to deal with than the Fannie Mae bailout.

Bad News For Abstinence-Only? Maybe Not.

Denied a Republican convention or a good storm (so far), everyone's jumping on the Bristol Palin pregnancy bandwagon to bash Republicans, conservative politics, or -- most relevant here -- abstinence-only sex ed. 

But that last bit may be a little over the top, points out this post from Jezebel (Let The Opprobrium Begin).  I mean, besides the obvious part about using children this way.

Among other things, Jezebel notes that Palin has not been a big abstinence-only advocate, and most Alaska schools teach comprehensive sex ed.

Check out the post for more details and links to useful information.  Let me know if there's something missing. 

Obama, Charters, Bipartisanship?

Barack_the_dad_081308 I'm still not finding much to support the notion that Obama was in any way a leader in the 2003 effort to bring more charter schools to Chicago, much less a clear instance of bipartisanship as was claimed by the camapign (see post from yesterday.  The deal to give Chicago 15 more charter slots was negotiated between the Board and the union and then put into an omnibus bill.  Fourteen of 59 state senators cosponsored the legislation, which passed unanimously in both houses.  Charter supporters should note that the legislation wasn't a big win for charter advocates, limiting as it did the terms under which charters could expand in Chicago, one of the more restrictive setups in the nation.  Here are some helpful links provided by a friend:  the legislation, the roll call vote, the bill summary

Obama Exaggerating Claims On Charter Expansion Law?

Barack_obama_080708 Way way down in the Obama campaign response regarding bipartisanship you can see a couple of education-related entries (The Obama record on bipartisanship). 

Only problem is, I don't really remember Obama being involved with -- or credited for -- the charter school expansion that took place in 2003. 

I'll check with my Chicago people but this claim, at least, seems exaggerated. 

Dems Pick This Guy To Keynote Convention

Warner So says EdWeek's Campaign K12 (Keynote Democratic Convention).  In addition to his work on education, he was once considered a Presidential front-runner (this pic is from a 2006 New York Times Magazine cover)  and is still on some peoples' lists for VP.

While all that remains uncertain, it seems unlikely that we'll get the same kind of eye-catching keynote speech that we got last time around, when Obama took the podium four years ago.   

EdWeek Story Rehashes What You Already Know About Campaign Advisors

Oly8 You won't find much that hasn't already been covered in Alyson Klein's new story on campaign advisors -- especially not on the Democratic side, which I've written about extensively.  Give Klein extra demerits for relying on as Petrilli and Rotherham rather than folks inside the campaigns themselves for quotes. All is not lost, however.  Klein does fill in some new Republican names, and does get Rotherham to admit what everyone knew but he failed to admit for months to his readers:  that he was a Clinton advisor (Advisers Take Public Roles in Campaigns EdWeek).

Cross Duncan Off The List

Anything could happen, but EdWeek's campaign blog leaps far out into the unlikelysphere with its notion that Chicago's Arne Duncan might be a leading candidate for EdSec under Obama (Arne Duncan?).  The guy doesn't have nearly enough heft -- or success - to make the cut.   Even his supporters would admit that he isn't a charismatic or dynamic speaker.  He doesn't really give Obama anything politically. Hell, I don't even think Duncan realized he was signing onto two different manifestos.  (But I'll check, just to be sure.)

Changes In The Dem Party Platform

Click on over to Joe Williams' DFER blog to see how this year's Democratic party platform differs in small but perhaps significant ways from four years ago (Democrats for Education Reform).  Again, things do not seem to be moving in the BB direction.  Not that the two agendas are mutually inconsistent, of course. 

Denver Update

20narc500 Here's some more specifics on who's going to be talking at the Denver education event two Sundays from now (Agenda).  You'll see that there are some Broader Bolder folks involved -- Bob Schwartz is on one panel, for example.  And lots more on the invitation list.  So there's at least some effort to make this inclusive.  There's also a follow-up event on Monday that I'm told may include a Randi Weingarten appearance.  The big question now is whether Obama will show on Sunday. 

AFTERNOON UPDATE:  Bob Schwartz says that he was invited to attend but will not be at the Denver event on Sunday.  Schwartz says he would have participated but that the plans were never finalized and he now has a scheduling conflict.   

McCain's Your Guy!

Ap_mccain_obama_080731_mn If teachers want NCLB gutted, then McCain's the man who's going to do it, says Richard Whitmire (McCain's Your Guy!).

And it's true.  But teachers know, somewhere, that getting rid of NCLB won't make everything better.  And it certainly won't generate a slew of new funding for schools. 

Convention Event Highlights Obama Direction

Challenge_for_changeAnyone who wants to get a crystal clear sense of which direction Obama is really going on education issues need only glance at this invitation to a big Denver education event that's being coordinated by DFER, the campaign, and other reformy types: Challenge For Change (PDF). 

It's all Sharpton/Klein, all the time.  Maybe they'll include some bolder, bigger types in the program - -like New Schools did with its memorable Weingarten-Rhee session in DC earlier this year.  And maybe Obama will be persuaded not to sign onto the Sharpton Klein agenda officially, as a courtesey of some kind or to avoid looking like he's caving into McCain's dare.  But the message -- and the divisions -- seem clear. 

What the more liberal end of the education world will do in response to this, I have no idea. 

Different Takes On McCain Vs. Obama

McCain and Obama's Education Policies: Nine Things You need to Know HuffPo
For those who don't follow the education debate closely, there are two main philosophies that currently dominate the field: one is that market competition (choice) among schools gets kids learning more, and one is that more learning means investing more and earlier in kids and better teachers.

Ap_mccain_obama_080731_mnWho's the better education candidate? Capitol Hill Blue

Obama's education prescriptions are akin to feeding poison to a dying man. The cure for poisoning is not more poison. The cure for failing schools is not ...

Obama and McCain miss the mark on education LA Times
Although Barack Obama and John McCain try to offer solutions to help America break from conventional thinking on educational policy, both senators are missing key pieces to the puzzle of why our public schools are failing.

Obama's liabilities - race and class Washington Post
They saw mandatory school busing as robbing them of their chance to secure a better education for their children by moving into better school districts.

Despite Republican attempts to paint him as all style and no substance, Zenilman reports that Barack Obama has been releasing many more, and much more specific, policy white papers than McCain.


Politicians And Their Promises

A college scholarship program that John Edwards started in 2005 is being shut down, says Wonkette (John Edwards Screwing High School Kids, Too).

How Many Democratic Education Coalitions Does It Take To Hurt Obama's Chances?

McCain's efforts on other fronts may be embarrassingly bad (and this one on education may in the end be for naught), but McCain's campaign really put the screws to the Obama folks last week and today by endorsing the Klein/Sharpton platform. 

Amd_john_mccainIt's a ridiculous, which is to say brilliant, move.  It makes McCain look active on education issues -- see quotes below -- and puts Obama in a jam between the union people who support Bigger, Bolder and the reformistas who support Klein/Sharpton -- during the weeks leading up to the convention. 

Brilliant.  No matter that McCain has no real commitment to education.  No matter that someone from Obama's campaign said that he'd support both platforms (see June 17 post here).  No matter that Obama's record, such as it is, is better on education than McCain's. 
In reality, Obama probably does support both positions -- they're not totally exclusive -- but doing so, or declining to pick one or the other, will either way look bad.

This, by the way, is why so many campaign people hate education.  Two largely Democratic education groups both simultaneously rolled out dueling manifestos -- for a long time oblivious each to the other and then unwilling or unable to work together to push for something everyone could live with.  Thus showing what a leadership vacuum there is on education, and creating room for McCain to step in and play each off the other. 

It won't lose Obama the election, but it certainly isn't helping him.  The only upside is that it's made education more of an issue than it otherwise would have been.  Maybe EDINO8 is behind it all.

Previous Posts: 
What Will The Platform Say About Education?

Varied Responses To McCain Speech

Obama, Sharpton, & The NEA
Obama Stakes Out Bold New Education Position(s)
Which Manifesto Would Obama Have Signed?



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.