October 2011 Archives

The Education Department reports that 35 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, have submitted applications for the Early Learning Challenge Race to the Top program. The inclusion of California and Florida (which required special legislative action to be eligible), two big states that didn't submit letters of intent to apply in July, is an interesting development. My guess is that California has no shot due to budget and data system issues, but Florida may be more competitive that some folks think. Another interesting development is the state of Tennessee's decision not to apply. Tennessee was generally regarded as ...


Lots of people have been tweeting or forwarding me Wednesday's Nicholas Kristoff column calling for increased investment in early childhood education as a response to growing economic inequality. And with good reason--it's rare that early childhood education gets such high-profile media coverage.* But at the same time, this column also demonstrates how superficial media attention to early childhood education really is. Kristoff writes: President Obama often talked in his campaign about early childhood education, and he probably agrees with everything I've said. But the issue has slipped away and off the agenda. The irony here is that this article appeared ...


What's striking about this otherwise pretty tedious dispute that Lawyers, Guns and Money's Erik Loomis is picking with Matt Yglesias about school reform is how it's become taken for granted, common knowledge in some lefty circles that "Education Reform Doesn't Work." I mean, Loomis just says so in the title of the post, without feeling any need to back up or justify the statement. (Also, this post is pretty good). But is that true? There actually is some evidence on this score, the best of which comes from the National Assessment of Education Progress. As this chart from the long-term ...


Today is the deadline for states to submit their applications to the feds for the Early Learning Challenge Race to the Top competition. Now the action moves to the agencies and the cohort of anonymous peer reviewers who will ultimately determine the outcomes of this competition. In July, 36 states and the District of Columbia indicated their intention to apply--it's not clear whether all those states will actually submit applications, and possible that some that didn't do so will. The big question, though, is what the impact of all this will be. When the preliminary Early Learning Challenge criteria were ...


Check out their new Team & Family Blog, here, for updates across the full KIPP network....


Ok, so I'm way behind in writing about this excellent recent Atul Gawande article on coaching. In the piece, Gawande makes the case that coaching--receiving individualized feedback and advice to improve one's performance from an objective, expert observer--is a powerful tool for improving performance of professionals--and goes so far as to subject himself as a guinea pig (he thinks it's working, even though it's challenging for him). This piece is, like most of Gawande's work, interesting, and he includes an example from K-12 education of coaching as a strategy to improve teacher effectiveness. I found the piece particularly timely because ...


My colleague Andy Rotherham, in a post about the new Senate ESEA bill, rhetorically asked: "Why are poor and minority kids so different from special education kids?" Andy's point is that many of those who rail against the "one-sized fits all" NCLB accountability provisions designed to advance equity for low-income and minority kids would never in a million years lob similar attacks at IDEA requirements which actually exert much greater federal influence on the day-to-day operation of schools. Good point--but I don't think Andy's as naive as the question implies. The reason poor and minority kids are so different from ...


Sincere apologies for being an incredibly lousy blogger the past month--I've been working on a very intensive, time sensitive project that's taken up most of my time and brain power and as a result haven't gotten around to blogging, or kept up with what's going on in the blogosphere. And, wow!, a lot has happened! Senators Harkin and Enzi released an ESEA bill. When both the NEA and the Ed Trust dislike your bill, that's not a good sign. The folks at Quick and the Ed and my colleague Andy Rotherham have some good analysis. For some reason, everyone decided ...


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