"You're too young to be this cynical, " he said, staring across his desk at me with a perplexed half smile.I was 10, and in the middle of our classroom's simulated presidential campaign in which we followed the election and voted for candidates, my 5th grade teacher had launched into a pep talk about the potential for real change.The last eight years have done little to temper my built-in skepticism. These are dark times, Diane Ravitch reminds us this morning. If I saw the glass as half-empty when Bush assumed the presidency, I now see it as half full ...

Does the market for research in education policymaking work pretty well? For once, eduwonk, Dean Millot, and I all agree - it doesn't. The “market for lemons,” which Jay Greene makes reference to in his most recent post, gives us insight into why.A common rationale given by economists for intervention in selected markets – for example, insurance markets - is the problem of asymmetric information, a gap in information available to buyers and sellers in a market. Using the example of used car markets, Nobel prize winning economist George Akerlof lays out this dilemma in his famous paper, “The Market ...

Over at eduwonk, the New York City Department of Education is putting its best foot forward by displaying its two strongest (and most becoming!) skills: a remarkable willingness to spin the naked facts and to personally attack anyone who questions their miracle. But Chris Cerf can't manage to slip past Sol Stern's first-rate BS detector, which is on full display in his original post and his drop-kick comment on Cerf's post, which are both must-reads.Here's what I don't get. If you're a believer in Truth, why spin checkable facts when you're no doubt going to get busted? It's just ...

Let me use the occasion of Jay Greene's response to my earlier post to explain the differences between blogging and research, as I see it. Greene makes no distinction between the two activities, and is, as a result, skeptical about my anonymity. As he explained to me off-blog, "The same basic principles apply. They are both part of the spectrum of how people communicate ideas that may be related to policy decisions."Blogs provide opinions, commentary, and analysis. Blogs are a place to discuss ideas, consider other points of view, and hear what a community of readers has to say. ...

Stefanie DeLuca is a sociologist who teaches at Johns Hopkins. Self-described as "Ann Coulter's anti-matter, but not as tall," DeLuca has recently been named a W.T. Grant Foundation Scholar - a prestigious five-year award - to study residential mobility in the lives of poor adolescents. Deluca is a rare find in educational research as she is equally skilled in quantitative and qualitative methods, and has used both approaches to study the effects of residential mobility on poor children and their families.DeLuca's work on the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) program, which attempted to relocate poor families from high-poverty neighborhoods ...

If you think "Education Department Employs Squadron in Search for Truth" is a spoof article from The Onion, guess again. You'd think that PR flaks would know better than to name an otherwise mundane 21st century version of letters to the editor the "Truth Squad," and in doing so, make it worth reporting on. Said New York City Deputy Chancellor Chris Cerf, who came up with the Truth Squad concept: "We try to keep track of what people are saying about us, and we respond periodically. Because we believe in the truth."Is that truth with a big T, truth ...

Here are four blogs - 3 of them are relatively new - that you should definitely check out:* The Lights of El Milagro: Stories from One of America's Most Innovative Charter Schools: This is the first blog written by a charter school founder and current principal that's come across my screen. Kevin Riley, who chronicles the ins and outs of Mueller Charter School in California, brings a unique set of experiences to the blogosphere, and has a great post up about AYP and baseball box scores. Of the wait to find out if his school cleared AYP, he writes, "we ...

“Better schools. Higher scores. And satisfied parents. That's the record of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.” Thus begins Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings’ column in yesterday’s Washington Post. In this piece, she seeks to rally public support to renew the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), which provides scholarships up to $7,500 to use towards the costs of a participating private school, including tuition, fees, and transportation. The authorizing legislation stipulated that priority for scholarships was to be given first to students attending schools that were judged in need of improvement (SINI) under NCLB standards. Last month, the ...

Mica Pollock is an anthropologist who teaches at Harvard's Graduate School of Education. She has two new books coming out this summer: Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real about Race in School (on which she has written the FAQ below) and Because of Race: How Americans Debate Harm and Opportunity in Our Schools. Her first book, Colormute: Race Talk Dilemmas in an American School, won AERA's 2005 book award. And she has just launched a new blog, schoolracetalk.org. Head on over to her site for what promises to be a provocative discussion.1) What is "anti-racism?"By “everyday antiracism,” we mean ...

Today, Marcus Winters, Jay Greene, and Julie Trivitt are releasing a study called, "Building on the Basics: The Impact of High-Stakes Testing on Student Proficiency in Low-Stakes Subjects."It may be an elegantly executed study, or it may be a terrible study. The trouble is that based on the embargoed version released to the press, on which many a news article will appear today, it's impossible to tell. There is a technical appendix, but that wasn't provided up front to the press with the glossy embargoed study. Though the embargo has been lifted now and the report is publicly available, ...


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