November 2011 Archives

I just learned today that WMATA, the agency that runs D.C.'s Metro subway system, is renaming the metro station near my house. The station, which used to be named "Waterfront-Southeastern University," will be renamed "Waterfront." It's about darned time, since Southeastern University went out of business in 2010. But Kevin Carey's article on the University's demise is still well worth reading!...


Obviously the allegations that a Penn State football coach sexually abused young men participating in programs operated by a charity he operated, and that Penn State officials failed to act or report on evidence of this abuse, are horrible and inexcusable. And they do raise important questions about the role of sports in college culture and the prevalence of differing standards of justice for "elites." That said, I can't help also seeing the Penn State story in light of the horrendous track record that higher education institutions have in dealing with allegations of sexual assault on their campuses. As has ...


This new Center for American Progress report arguing against the publication of value-added teacher ratings is somewhat odd, largely because it feels primarily reactionary ("here are some stupid things people have done or are considering doing with teacher value-added data and why you shouldn't do them") as opposed to proactive ("here's what a smart policy and journalistic approach for providing the public and parents with useful information about teacher effectiveness would look like"). I'd sure love to see the latter, as this is a serious issue that deserves more conversation in the debate about teacher effectiveness. I mean, earlier this ...


Roxanna Elden, one of 16 Next Gen Ed leaders I profiled earlier this year, guest-blogged at Rick Hess's space last week. One of the things I really value about Roxanna's work is her ability to gently and humorously point up the blind spots of education reformers--including a tendency to resort to cliches that can inadvertently insult working educators. This blog post is a great example of that, but I particularly appreciated her comments here: This is supposed to be an argument about how introducing market-based competition in education encourages innovation and leads to better opportunity, especially for low-income families. If ...


Writing about new Head Start "recompete" regulations on Wednesday, I said that the regs "essentially move Head Start towards a charter-like model, in which continued receipt of federal funding is contingent on demonstrated quality and performance." That's true in the sense that Head Start grants will now be in the form of 5-year contracts, with continuation after the 5 year term based on performance, and the potential to discontinue non-performing grantees when their contracts expire. But I forgot one important part of the charter bargain: Charter schools get increased autonomy and freedom from bureaucratic regulations in exchange for increased accountability ...


Interesting NYT article looks at some of the implications of Early Learn NYC--a groundbreaking effort by the city's Administration of Children and Families to combine Head Start, pre-k, and child care funds to create common quality standards, improve the quality of services for young children, more effectively target early care and education resources, and leverage private and philanthropic support. Any time government entities try to reform and improve quality in a public service that spends lots of money in geographically dispersed contracts, there are going to be winners and losers--particularly in a city that has experienced significant demographic shifts--and that's ...


Big White House announcement today around Head Start quality, and new rules that would require up low-performing Head Start grantees to compete with other providers to keep federal funding. Key background here: Head Start is a federal early childhood program that awards grants directly to local grantees. Historically, once a provider received a Head Start grant, it held the grant essentially in perpetuity, unless it committed a significant violation. The 2007 Head Start reauthorization, however, changed this. The legislation set a term of 5 years for Head Start grants, required the Department of Health and Human Services to renew Head ...


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