Mike Petrilli asked me to comment on “Brand-Name Charters” an essay by business writer Julie Bennett in the Summer 2008 issue of Education Next.

The first National Conference on Value Added Modeling implied a consensus that value-added models (VAM) have great advantages over typical “status” methods (meet or exceed a standard), but that scholars were less comfortable using VAM in pay-for-performance because of the difficulty in isolating teacher effects on learning.

I don't agree with much of Prof. Ayers' politics, any of the Weathermen's violent activities, or many of his views on education policy, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to protest actions and tactics that can only drag political discourse into the mud.

Basic grammar offers the plain meaning of Section 1202(c)(7)(A): [A]… local educational agency shall use the funds…. selecting… a program… or procuring materials…, that are based on research that applies applies rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain valid knowledge relevant to reading etc etc.

If you think the education evaluator's debate over value-added models is arcane, this argument between lawyers is about the meaning on of two words - "based on" as in "based on scientifically based reading research."

This is a program offered by DC’s State Superintendent ‘s Office as the city’s higher education agency, rather than the Chancellor of the DC Schools as operator of public k-12 schools.

As an old Cold Warrior, I have to say it would be foolish for any school improvement provider not to participate in the process. In principle, pushing proponents onto this committees has conflict of interest implications. In practice, unilateral disarmament is not likely to create a level playing field.

The jury is still out - the question posed in the title has yet to be adequately answered. It is now a cliché that data, scientific evidence and research-based knowledge can and should shape policy and practice in education. But it is clear that education still has a long way to go before data and evidence are used systematically and effectively in school improvement.

Once the situations threatening student safety have been identified and prioritized, it’s time to determine the broad categories of activities necessary to meet a school district’s in loco parentis obligations Perhaps the simplest approach is to consider a time line encompassing what should be accomplished before, during and after each kind of threatening situation. Among other things, this exercise helps to identify activities that are common to all emergencies, or unique to a subset. It also begins to get at particular operational challenges....

Edbizbuzz readers know that I support the version of Reading First written into No Child Left Behind, but object to how Margaret Spellings and other Administration oversaw implementation at the White House and Department – especially those provisions related to the meaning of Scientifically-Based Reading Research. It would be very easy for me to write that this provides evidence of the Administration’s folly. I can safely say that the study provides no support for Reading First as a federal funding program, but it doesn’t tell us anything about the efficacy of any one of the privately-developed educational programs purchased ...


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