« Gender and Stereotype Threat in Math and Science | Main | The Trouble with the Education Policy Advocacy Industry: "Building on the Basics" »

How to Subscribe to eduwonkette

Many of you have pointed out that it's tough to find the RSS and email subscription buttons, so here are direct links:

1) To subscribe to the RSS feed in a reader, click here.

2) To receive blog posts via email each night, click here.

And thanks to the readers who let me know that the Bloglines feed has been on the fritz. The easiest way to solve this problem is to unsubscribe and resubscribe.

Congratulations to EDUWONKETTE for being singled out by the Elizabeth Green of the NY SUN

Here is the article:
An Anonymous Education Blogger Becomes Thorn in City's Side

By ELIZABETH GREEN, Staff Reporter of the Sun | July 7, 2008

Told that her child could not enroll at the local public school, a concerned mother this spring sent a frantic e-mail message to a person she hoped could help. Days later, her child had a spot and the problem was solved.

Her hero was not the Department of Education, the school principal, or an elected official: It was Eduwonkette, an anonymous academic researcher who for the past year has been writing a Web log about education news and research. She identifies herself only with an image of a masked lady superhero.

It was perhaps a sign of the blog's rising prominence that the mother said all she needed to solve her enrollment crisis was to threaten the principal and a city school official with a leak to Eduwonkette.

"It seems the prospect of you writing about this was a less than welcome one," the mother wrote in an e-mail to Eduwonkette. "Thanks again masked cyber guy."

Beginning first as an independent blog and then quickly migrating to the Web site of America's education paper of record, Education Week, Eduwonkette in the past year has become a stubborn thorn in the Bloomberg administration's side.

She sometimes stands with the city Department of Education on its policies; for instance, she supports the moves to make teacher hiring more like an open-market system, and she stood with Mayor Bloomberg and against the union in opposing a new law that bans teachers from using test scores as a factor in determining tenure.

She has also not been afraid to point out when she disagrees, and to do so with gusto.

She depicted Chancellor Joel Klein as "Darth Klein" in a Halloween-themed post, using Photoshop to mix his image with the Star Wars villain Darth Vader. She has excoriated Mr. Klein's signature small-schools initiative, under which large, failing high schools are split into smaller new schools, as a "bulldozer" that has displaced students with special needs.

A department spokesman, David Cantor, disputed that claim. He said 8% of students at small schools have disabilities, the same as the citywide average.

Eduwonkette has also tackled the prized policy that now bans middle-schoolers who have not passed certain courses from being promoted to high school. Criticizing this policy as contradicting academic research, Eduwonkette concocted a rap: "Shameful practice?/ DOE, you're just like a cactus/ Soaking up data but ya head is all dry."

Guessing her identity when the site first started was a popular parlor game not just among fellow academics but also Department of Education staffers.

Some have speculated that she works for the city teachers union, but Eduwonkette and the union's president, Randi Weingarten, disputed that. Ms. Weingarten even grilled newspaper reporters about the blogger's identity, asking if they were Eduwonkette.

In a recent telephone interview with The New York Sun, Eduwonkette insisted on preserving her anonymity.

"Universities expect us to devote our time exclusively to research, and blogging is a hard sell in that environment," she said. "It's still a new enough activity that universities don't quite know how to appraise its value."

She said she started a blog in order to summarize research on schools for a wider audience. "There's this large body of research that never sees the light of day," she said. The idea of the blog was to reverse that situation. Hypothesizing that policymakers were not taking research into account in their work, and doing so not on purpose but because they just did not have the time to comb through it all, she set out to provide them an entertaining crib sheet.

Yet as it has gone on, a running theme of the blog has become the failure of policymakers to take research findings into account and steer their practice accordingly.

"Call me old fashioned and curmudgeonly, but I can't stand it when the wonks break out in a 'research shows' chorus with no references," Eduwonkette wrote in one post. "If research so valiantly and definitively shows it, you should be able to tell us whose research shows it."

Then she quoted a top city administrator, Garth Harries, as speaking at an event about research showing that teacher quality has a greater effect on student learning than class-size reduction and yet, upon questioning, not being able to cite any studies to demonstrate it.

The blog has gotten a mix of reviews.

Mr. Cantor said: "She comes on like she's keeping it real, but time after time — on small schools, excessive testing, the budget — she uses evidence selectively or outright gets it wrong, always to the detriment of the DOE. Basically, she's a con artist, like lots of anonymous people on the Web."

A co-director of the Education Sector think tank, Andrew Rotherham, suggested on his blog Eduwonk that Eduwonkette might be unfairly pretending to be unbiased because she has "skin in the game."

A research and policy manager at Education Sector, Kevin Carey, criticized her on his blog as unreliable, saying she is "not exactly a disinterested observer."

Mr. Rotherham in an interview said he does not know who Eduwonkette is. He said her blog is good, but challenged her decision to write it anonymously.

"I don't think this is going to be remembered as Ed Week's finest hour," he said. "It's this issue of you got all this information to readers, without a vital piece of information for them to put it in context."

Others said they are not concerned with the anonymity issue.

The education historian Diane Ravitch described Eduwonkette's analysis as "brilliant."

Ms. Weingarten used the same word.

She said Eduwonkette is a rare voice in the chorus of those who have raised complaints with the Department of Education because of the way Bloomberg administration officials have responded to her.

"They have not yet figured out how to marginalize her," Ms. Weingarten said. "She knows her stuff, and she's very dispassionate about it."

Political science and education professor Jeffrey Henig, who coordinates a program on education policy at Columbia Teachers College and has written a guest-blog for Eduwonkette, said of her, "I don't follow the education blogs on a regular basis, but when I do I have admired how she wrestles with the complexities of education research in a way that makes them understandable but still does them justice."

Other people who have guest-blogged include the researcher Michael Klonsky; the founder of the left-wing activist group the Weather Underground, William Ayers, who is now a professor of education at the University of Illinois, and the Manhattan Institute scholar Sol Stern, who posted a rebuttal to Mr. Ayers's writing.

Can Eduwonkette get to the bottom of the insanity in the system. A few examples of the craziness:After 35 years on the front line I'd say the biggest problem is unqualified leadership. You know people used to take a test for these jobs. Now it's get your credits, buy your license and see who you know. And don't tell me about admin courses. Does anyone know of anybody who has ever failed one of those courses? I didn't think so. Grad schools are complicit because they want the money. Leadership should not be something that is conferred on you because you go to the academy for a few months. It is, as all else in education, experiential. People who have never had any leadership role in a school should not get a leadership position in a school because thay feel they are entitled to it or because they went through somr indoctrination that is somewhat akin to brainwashing. You are only asking for trouble. That's why you get genius principals whose idea of fixing a lateness problem among studentsis to fine students a dollar each time they are late. Wonder where the money went? Or principals who are so woefully incompetent and disorganized that they routinely lose 25 to 35 teachers a year. Teachers fleeing the insanity.There are thousands of these stories. Even if some are apocraphyl and some are told to complete non-believers,a large enough percentage must be true. I don't think even the union wants to know all stories but maybe to get a real, true-life portrait of the system, Eduwonkette will become that listening post in the night. Hope so.-----

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • S.T.Berensky: Can Eduwonkette get to the bottom of the insanity in read more
  • suburban white guy: Congratulations to EDUWONKETTE for being singled out by the Elizabeth read more




Technorati search

» Blogs that link here


8th grade retention
Fordham Foundation
The New Teacher Project
Tim Daly
absent teacher reserve
absent teacher reserve

accountability in Texas
accountability systems in education
achievement gap
achievement gap in New York City
acting white
AERA annual meetings
AERA conference
Alexander Russo
Algebra II
American Association of University Women
American Education Research Associatio
American Education Research Association
American Educational Research Journal
American Federation of Teachers
Andrew Ho
Art Siebens
Baltimore City Public Schools
Barack Obama
Bill Ayers
black-white achievement gap
books on educational research
boy crisis
brain-based education
Brian Jacob
bubble kids
Building on the Basics
Cambridge Education
carnival of education
Caroline Hoxby
Caroline Hoxby charter schools
cell phone plan
charter schools
Checker Finn
Chicago shooting
Chicago violence
Chris Cerf
class size
Coby Loup
college access
cool people you should know
credit recovery
curriculum narrowing
Dan Willingham
data driven
data-driven decision making
data-driven decision-making
David Cantor
Dean Millot
demographics of schoolchildren
Department of Assessment and Accountability
Department of Education budget
Diplomas Count
disadvantages of elite education
do schools matter
Doug Ready
Doug Staiger
dropout factories
dropout rate
education books
education policy
education policy thinktanks
educational equity
educational research
educational triage
effects of neighborhoods on education
effects of No Child Left Behind
effects of schools
effects of Teach for America
elite education
Everyday Antiracism
excessed teachers
exit exams
experienced teachers
Fordham and Ogbu
Fordham Foundation
Frederick Douglass High School
Gates Foundation
gender and education
gender and math
gender and science and mathematics
gifted and talented
gifted and talented admissions
gifted and talented program
gifted and talented programs in New York City
girls and math
good schools
graduate student union
graduation rate
graduation rates
guns in Chicago
health benefits for teachers
High Achievers
high school
high school dropouts
high school exit exams
high school graduates
high school graduation rate
high-stakes testing
high-stakes tests and science
higher ed
higher education
highly effective teachers
Houston Independent School District
how to choose a school
incentives in education
Institute for Education Sciences
is teaching a profession?
is the No Child Left Behind Act working
Jay Greene
Jim Liebman
Joel Klein
John Merrow
Jonah Rockoff
Kevin Carey
KIPP and boys
KIPP and gender
Lake Woebegon
Lars Lefgren
leaving teaching
Leonard Sax
Liam Julian

Marcus Winters
math achievement for girls
meaning of high school diploma
Mica Pollock
Michael Bloomberg
Michelle Rhee
Michelle Rhee teacher contract
Mike Bloomberg
Mike Klonsky
Mike Petrilli
narrowing the curriculum
National Center for Education Statistics Condition of Education
new teachers
New York City
New York City bonuses for principals
New York City budget
New York City budget cuts
New York City Budget cuts
New York City Department of Education
New York City Department of Education Truth Squad
New York City ELA and Math Results 2008
New York City gifted and talented
New York City Progress Report
New York City Quality Review
New York City school budget cuts
New York City school closing
New York City schools
New York City small schools
New York City social promotion
New York City teacher experiment
New York City teacher salaries
New York City teacher tenure
New York City Test scores 2008
New York City value-added
New York State ELA and Math 2008
New York State ELA and Math Results 2008
New York State ELA and Math Scores 2008
New York State ELA Exam
New York state ELA test
New York State Test scores
No Child Left Behind
No Child Left Behind Act
passing rates
picking a school
press office
principal bonuses
proficiency scores
push outs
qualitative educational research
qualitative research in education
quitting teaching
race and education
racial segregation in schools
Randall Reback
Randi Weingarten
Randy Reback
recovering credits in high school
Rick Hess
Robert Balfanz
Robert Pondiscio
Roland Fryer
Russ Whitehurst
Sarah Reckhow
school budget cuts in New York City
school choice
school effects
school integration
single sex education
small schools
small schools in New York City
social justice teaching
Sol Stern
Stefanie DeLuca
stereotype threat
talented and gifted
talking about race
talking about race in schools
Teach for America
teacher effectiveness
teacher effects
teacher quailty
teacher quality
teacher tenure
teachers and obesity
Teachers College
teachers versus doctors
teaching as career
teaching for social justice
teaching profession
test score inflation
test scores
test scores in New York City
testing and accountability
Texas accountability
The No Child Left Behind Act
The Persistence of Teacher-Induced Learning Gains
thinktanks in educational research
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
Tom Kane
University of Iowa
Urban Institute study of Teach for America
Urban Institute Teach for America
value-added assessment
Wendy Kopp
women and graduate school science and engineering
women and science
women in math and science
Woodrow Wilson High School