Yesterday, several key Senate Republicans announced a five-bill package laying out their vision for overhauling No Child Left Behind (nee ESEA). The proposals offered by Senators Lamar Alexander, Richard Burr, Johnny Isakson, and Mark Kirk sketch a dramatically leaner federal role than does the Obama administration's "ESEA blueprint" (which itself represented a big step back from NCLB circa 2001). The GOP proposals would retain strong federal requirements regarding transparency, annual assessment, and disaggregation of data; that Title I dollars be used to serve low-income children; and that states take steps to address their worst-performing Title I schools. But they would ...


There's been a surge in attention paid to edu-philanthropy of late, especially with Sam Dillon's piece in the New York Times in May and Bill Gates' WSJ interview this summer. The condemnations of "corporate philanthropy" and of philanthropists giving away tens of millions as "MBAs run amok" fly hot and heavy. I think the critics are mistaken and way too quick to hurl accusations here. I don't remember them raising concerns about the pernicious influence of grantors when the Ford Foundation bankrolled litigation to boost edu-spending or when the Annenberg Challenge pumped $500 million into a mash-up of ineffectual mid-1990s ...


I didn't really mean for yesterday's quick post on Cory Koedel's paper on grade inflation for education majors to become a multi-post arc. However, after this morning's post, I received a note from a colleague who teaches at one of the nation's top-ranked schools of education. The source was scared of being identified and sanctioned by fellow faculty members, so asked that I leave both them and their institution anonymous. But the source did share with me a PDF of page six from the school of education's faculty handbook, the page on which "grading" is addressed. The guidance is pretty ...


I blogged yesterday on Cory Koedel's eye-opening research regarding the inflated grades awarded to undergraduate education majors. In response, several colleagues from the world of teacher preparation have asked what I'd have them do. Not wanting to seem unhelpful, here are a couple suggestions to get things started. (That said, I trust those involved in teacher ed, if they put their minds to it, can readily come up with many more and better.) First, the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education could insist that institutions calculate and report average GPA for education majors compared to other undergraduate majors. AACTE ...


There are perennial concerns about the rigor and quality of teacher preparation. These have become so familiar that ed programs have taken to shrugging off the critiques as uninformed or anecdotal. Well, University of Missouri economist Cory Koedel has provided some new, clear, and pretty troubling evidence about the lack of rigor in teacher preparation. In "Grade Inflation for Education Majors and Low Standards for Teachers: When Everyone Makes the Grade," he compares grade distribution in education departments to that in twelve other university departments. Turns out that ed faculty are much more generous when it comes to grading (full ...


When I heard the makeup of the President's double-secret, anxiously awaited plan to create millions of jobs and make America happy again, I unaccountably found myself flashing on the scene in "Knocked Up" where Seth Rogen meets Katherine Heigl. The overmatched Rogen is on the dance floor, shimmying and pumping his arm in his "rolling the dice" move. Watching the sorry spectacle, one friend notes, "Dude, I think he's doing the dice thing too much." The other thinks for a moment and nods, then notes, "That's really all he's got." What to make of Obama's call for a third round ...


Robert Scott has been the commissioner of education in Texas since 2007. Before that, he was interim commissioner from 2003 to 2004 and chief deputy commissioner from 2004 to 2007 until he was appointed commissioner. Of late, Texas has been in the news for any number of high-profile decisions, including passing on Race to the Top, not signing onto the Common Core state standards, and opting out of the Council of Chief State School Officers. Especially with Texas Governor Rick Perry now drawing attention as the newly installed favorite in the Republican presidential field, including some harsh words from the ...


Folks, generational warfare is here. As Congress's "super committee" begins its deliberations with an eye towards its November deadline, and as the debate for 2012 heats up, it's time for those in the education space to pick a side. You're either with the kids or with those rushing to the ramparts to defend retiree entitlements. So, which is it? Consider the President's vague calls last week to spend billions more on school construction and preserving school staffing levels (which would've been more compelling if he had offered any inkling as to how we might pay for it). Obama finds himself ...


I've been executive editor of Education Next for more than a decade. In that role, one of the things I've done is coordinate our "forums" on various topics. Over the years, we've done 40-odd forums, and have usually gotten our first-choice authors. When we haven't gotten them, we've almost invariably gotten our second choice. All of which makes it astonishing that, over the past three months, we've now asked six individuals involved in the Common Core math standards to pen a piece making the case for their rigor and quality, and each has declined in turn. This is, quite literally, ...


I've long griped that the Obama administration has talked too often about more school spending and not enough about smarter school spending, and I was particularly disenchanted to hear the President go back to talking this week about pumping more borrowed federal funds into school facilities and salaries. So I'm pleased to laud the administration for its recent, smart, and gutsy decision regarding special education spending. Especially given that its decision was sure to annoy the intimidating, self-righteous special education lobby, ED showed admirable courage and common sense. Here's the deal. Education Week's Nirvi Shah yesterday reported that, "Districts that ...


The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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