skoolboy was having a spirited discussion with some of his students the other night, who have taught in school systems such as New York City, Detroit, LA, New Orleans, Washington, DC, Newark, Oakland, and elsewhere. The topic of the day: what's the worst-managed big-city school system--and why? Readers, what do you think? Discuss....

skoolboy has been worrying about how he was going to make this week's COWabunga award. There haven't been any comments to his posts! Hard to believe that such witty and incisive remarks would draw nary a "well done!" or "you're full of it, skoolboy!" Turns out that the website woes that Ed Week has endured the past few days include a disabling of the comment features here. The good people at Ed Week are now aware of this, and I look forward to hearing what readers have to say when the problem is resolved. It's not the first time that ...

Yesterday, State Senator Rev. James Meeks engineered a boycott of the Chicago Public Schools, urging CPS students to travel with him to high-spending districts in Chicago’s suburban North Shore to try to register for school. The objective of the protest was to draw attention to inequalities in school funding in Illinois. Rev. Meeks sought to contrast the Chicago Public Schools, which annually spends a bit over $10,000 per student, with New Trier High School, which spends in the neighborhood of $18,000 per student. Publicity stunt, or principled protest? Probably a bit of both, in skoolboy’s view. ...

Even though eduwonkette and skoolboy have been unmasked, skoolboy plans to continue to refer to himself in the third person. Why? If I did it at school, my students would laugh me out of the classroom. If I did it at home, my wife would kick my butt. So let me (er, skoolboy) have some fun, OK? And for the record: both skoolboy and eduwonkette are lower case. Only proper nouns warrant capitalization, and it should be clear by now that skoolboy isn't very proper....

It’s back to school! Today, more than one million schoolchildren will get up from the breakfast table, strap on a backpack, and trundle off to … the living room. Home schooling has been expanding rapidly over the course of this decade, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, representing approximately 2.2% of the student population in 2003. (The NCES definition of home schooling is children who are schooled at home instead of in a public or private school for at least part of their education, and whose part-time enrollment in public or private schools does not ...

skoolboy has explained, much more eloquently than I can, why achievement gaps matter even if the scores of white, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian students are all rising equally: There are a great many social institutions that sort and rank individuals on the basis of test scores and the competencies they represent. Most of these institutions don’t have an unlimited number of positions or slots—rather, individuals are competing against one another for access. When these institutions rely on test scores, and there is an achievement gap among racial/ethnic groups on these tests, the lower-scoring group will be underrepresented. ...

This week's "Comment of the Week Award" goes to TangoMan for his insightful explanation of why education has followed a different trajectory than medicine in its use of evidence, and what role education schools might play in addressing this problem. I would add that superintendents and administrators are bigger culprits than teachers, who are simply ordered to implement their instructional whims. The full comment is here, and an excerpt highlighting the central themes is below:Here's my hypothesis - teachers don't think like scientists. They're more idealists at heart. They envision a certain role for themselves and they gravitate to ...

Now that eduwonkette has revealed herself as Columbia doctoral student Jennifer Jennings, skoolboy is gingerly sticking his head out of the closet and looking around. (If I see my shadow, I may go back inside for another six weeks.) skoolboy is Aaron Pallas, a Professor of Sociology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. I study inequalities that are created and perpetuated by the ways schools sort and select children and youth, and the role that education plays in individuals’ adult lives. Recently, I went on the record in the New York Sun on a topic near and dear to ...

1)Klein Petrilli Barcelona: Mike Petrilli has a stalker, he says, and it's not the sizzling Javier Bardem. Nonetheless, the NY Times blog chronicles it all here. 2) Welcome Meredith Kolodner!: I'm a little late, but the Daily News has a new education beat reporter who, from this article on NYC's SAT scores, seems to like digging into the numbers. Though the DOE stressed that the number of students scoring at 600 or above went up 3.6 percent, Kolodner recognized that if the average is falling, there must be more low scoring students as well. As she wrote: At ...

Bruce Fuller, sociologist and professsor of education and public policy at the University of California - Berkeley, has co-edited a new book, Strong States, Weak Schools: The Benefits and Dilemmas of Centralized Accountability. Below, he provides a Q&A on the book’s findings. Q. Media reports summed-up your findings by saying that teacher responses to the No Child Left Behind Act and state accountability efforts have been “haphazard”, and teachers are feeling demoralized. Didn’t we know this already? A. We do know that teacher associations are eager to revamp No Child following the November elections, and even recraft ...


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