February 2007 Archives

The next time you see a big chunk of quoted text in a blog post, ask yourself why it's there. Is it concern that the link (to a newspaper, say) might expire or become outdated? Is it a sincere desire to create reader convenience? Or is it at its core simply a blogger wanting you to stay where you are and worrying that you won't come back?...


As I mentioned last week in that long post about the lack of "grownups" writing about education, on Monday the unlikely duo of Diane Ravitch & Debbie Meier have run away and joined the circus started a blog of sorts. Called Bridging Differences and hosted at EdWeek, it's now off and running. Congrats and condolences. My next mention of this blog will, invariably, be critical. Who's next? Kozol? Kotlowitz? Maeroff? Murnane? PS: Debbie Meier's first foray online might well have been her comment from late 2005 about my infamous post about warring camps in education ("povracers and schoolrefs"), which she quite ...


The battle between think tanks and academic researchers over the issue of whose reports and research are more trustworthy continues this week in EdWeek, with a commentary (Truthiness in Education). Written by the folks who started the Think Tank Review Project, the commentary points out: "At a time when America’s education policymakers have nominally embraced the idea of tying school reform to “scientifically based research,” many of the nation’s most influential reports are little more than junk science..often written by people with little discernible expertise and invariably not subjected to peer review, these reports consistently end with ...


USA Today's Greg Toppo has a piece in yesterday's paper about the new reality show coming out from Survivor creator Mark Burnett, called "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" He's kind enough to include my trenchant observation that most parents helping out with homework are already on this game show pretty much every night of the week. Here: For $1 million, are you smarter than these kids?. PS -- I guessed the turtle answer -- correctly. Luck....


State poised to OK school for Chinese immersion Boston Globe Children would spend the bulk of their school days speaking and learning core subjects in Mandarin Chinese in a proposed charter school founded by parents and educators who say children need to master Chinese to succeed in the future workplace. Justices Hear Arguments on Autism-Case Dispute NYT The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard an appeal that will clarify the situation for the parents of millions of children with disabilities and for the public school districts that are obliged to serve them under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. $3M grant ...


Refusing to knuckle under to the bullying views of know-nothing education bloggers like Kevin Carey and me, a brave education reporter named John Krupa from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Northwest takes on the notion that, in this case at least, the Wall Street Journal's recent story on parents moving across the country to get better schooling for their children was a "fake" trend. Writes Krupa: "I agree we need to be mindful of turning isolated anecdotes into trend stories. But it's not obvious to me that the Journal reporter committed this sin after reading her story. I feel like she did ...


New New America higher ed guy Stephen Burd takes an unfortunately predictable and under-nuanced swipe at the University of Phoenix and for profit higher ed companies in general in his post Fed Up at the University of Phoenix. In the piece, Burd rehashes the discredited NYT story from earlier this month, describes in broad terms other complaints about for profit postsecondary education outfits (Wall Street = bad), and calls for close Congressional scrutiny. Come on, Stephen, you're at New America now. Blaming Wall Street and slamming for-profits without acknowledging the massive problems facing higher ed in general (tuition costs, lending practices, ...


Education lobbyist Ellin Nolan is one of those folks who never gets much publicity in DC -- she doesn't want it. But that doesn't mean she's not well know or influential in her own right. President of Washington Partners LLC, Nolan has helped turn the firm into a powerhouse full-service education lobbying firm. Staffers and members of Congress may come and go, but lobbyists like Nolan are always there. On the HotSeat, Nolan dispells everyone's notions about how lobbyists work (ie, in the dark of night), describes her favorite lobbying reform (attach lobbyists' names to projects), explains how education earmarks ...


Education isn't the only industry that has a problem with a growing gap: "This year's Academy Awards' pre-ceremony red-carpet display suggests that the growing divide between the nation's best and worst dressed shows no sign of slowing," according to this story from The Onion (Oscars Reveal Widening Gap Between Best, Worst Dressed), "as some celebrities' Q ratings skyrocket year after year while others are forced to continue living well below the taste line."...


I'm just starting to sift through all the great work that's collected at Listen Up!, but this first video, "A Girl Like Me," already lets me know that there's lots of powerful stuff here. Broadcast on NPR in the fall, A Girl Like Me (2nd from the top) shows young African American girls talking about how they're perceived, and how they perceive themselves, and -- perhaps most heartbreakingly -- re-enacts the "doll test" in which younger black children are asked which of two baby dolls (black and white) they want to play with, or which they think is the nice ...


Little Rock school case ends, 50 years after desegregation crisis LAT A judge in one of the nation's longest-running school desegregation cases released the Little Rock district from federal supervision Friday, nearly 50 years after President Eisenhower sent in troops to escort nine black students into all-white Central High. Demand for English Lessons Outstrips Supply NYT A survey last year by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials found that in 12 states, 60 percent of the free English programs had waiting lists, ranging from a few months in Colorado and Nevada to as long as two years ...


Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader for sending me this Houston Chronicle story about a Houston school district cafeteria worker who, after much discussion, gets to keep a pan on which, yes, an image of the Virgin Mary might be seen. UPDATE: Forty-five minutes later (not bad, actually), Eduwonk catches up....


There's lots of good stuff in Elizabeth Weiss Green's US News story on national standards -- including about the grassroots version of national tests that might be bubbling up from the states via Achieve. Check it out towards the end of the article here. What's a national policymaker to do, then? Well, to get us out of the this stalled go/no debate on national standards that we've been in for a few months now, some enterprising member of Congress might propose new funds to help states implement these state-developed "national" standards, and encouraging more states to follow. At the ...


I wouldn't have heard about this series of reports from NACSA's if I wasn't talking to a Chicago friend, but it surprises me that the report hasn't gotten more attention, given the timeliness of its topic -- how to restructure low-performing public schools. In essence, Starting Fresh is a how-to manual for districts outside Chicago that may want to close low performing neighborhood schools and open new charters -- based on Chicago's experience both with charters and with Ren10, Chicago's controversial school closing- and opening initiative. Agree or disagree, it's a series worth looking at, as is Chicago's experience closing ...


Back in the day, there used to be a thing called a "side by side" that would compare the key provisions of different versions of legislation category by category or even sometimes provision by provision. Maybe it's still done. In the meantime, David DeSchryver from Brustein & Manasevit has done somewhat the same thing based on seven NCLB reauthorization reports (USDE, Commission, Chiefs, NEA, AFT, NASBE, NCSL. Common if not unanimous areas of interest and direction include: a focus on standards and cross-state comparisons, calls for more flexibility in accountability models, improved assessment quality, a better menu of sanctions and corrective ...


Virginia Backs Down in Testing Showdown Learning The Language Charles Pyle, the director of communications for the Virginia Department of Education, told me that Virginia has decided to "move on" ... Teacher Sends Text Messages Meant For Drug Dealer To State Trooper Huffington Post A middle school teacher trying to buy pot was arrested after she sent text messages to state trooper instead of a dealer, police said. Democrats Pledge: No Vouchers in NCLB Heartland Institute Matthew Ladner, vice president of research at the Goldwater Institute, a free-market organization in Phoenix, said differing statements from leading Democrats such as Kennedy and ...


Not bad, for a holiday-shortened, Congress in recess, Anna Nicole/Britney-fied week: Best Of The Week Remembering Shanker Kids, The Internet, & Adult Fears What Passes For Ideas These Days Candidates: Take Your Pick Of Education Plans NCLB Alternative Unveiled Today What Is "Adequate"? School Finance Suits In The States Foundation Follies Flipper Finn? What I Really Want from The Ed Sector Apple & Dell Square Off On Teachers Unions Reading First No One Cares About Local Control Anymore The Monitor Vs. the Daily: Different Takes On RF Media & Blog Watch Grownups Needed On The Blogosphere The "Moving Across The Country" Anecdote ...


Often expressed in terms of fears for children, concerns about technology are often in my view just as much about adult ignorance, as well as fear of what children themselves do with technology. These two articles capture some of these issues particularly well: Protect the Children From Porn Wired Sending a teacher to prison for mishandling a classroom porn storm does not address the root of the problem: fear that traces back to ignorance. Say Everything New York Magazine As younger people reveal their private lives on the Internet, the older generation looks on with alarm and misapprehension not seen ...


Much as some would want it thought of as a fully-formed and sufficient world, it's no big secret that much of the current universe of education blogs --policy oriented ones in particular -- sorely lack key ingredients like deep experience, reflectiveness, and -- how to put this delicately? -- modesty. It's all Fox News and the Daily Show, not much NPR or PBS. Now imagine a world in which some good number of the most knowledgeable and experienced folks in education are present in the blogosphere to comment directly on the issues of the day or week, rather than the ...


"In its most recent investigation into Reading First - the fifth of six planned reports questioning the program's management - the department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) also alleges that federal officials knowingly stacked panels at a series of training academies with members who favored two commercial reading programs," according to a Title I Monitor story. "In doing so, the OIG says the Education Department (ED) created the impression that the two programs, Direct Instruction and Open Court, topped an agency "approved list" of Reading First programs." To read the OIG report, go here. Meantime, Ed Daily has a broader ...


Looking for some good reading this weekend? Then check out Susan Orleans' fascinating article in the New Yorker about -- of all things -- origami (The Origami Lab). It chronicles the story of how one American physicist named Robert Lang "dropped everything for paper folding" -- and how origami has evolved as a pastime (ie, laser-cutting hundreds of folds) and as a scientific application (for surgical implants)....


Join the campaign to get rid of biweekly emails (so 90's) and maybe even win $35 by entering the Ed Sector's online survey about, among other things, what to do with the their "digest" (Education Sector Needs Your Feedback!). The Sectorans are also contemplating event webcasts (a good idea) and webchats like on EdWeek (sure, why not). Of course, what I really want from the Sector in its second year is to have its abundant commentary and analysis better balanced with its relatively slender list of research and reports.But that's probably just me....


Last week, I was complaining (as usual), and the topic was the lack of "big" ideas in education, along the lines of a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing everyone an decent education (see here). This week, I read about a new book (School Money Trials) on how adequacy lawsuits based on state constitutions have fared. Check it out....


Even with the NAEP scores out, it doesn't seem like it's been much of a week. Maybe it was the holiday-shortened week, or the fact that many folks seem to be heading off on vacation (or wishing it were so). Still, there's always the PEN NewsBlast, including topics like high stakes testing, the relevance of progressive education, new ideas for education reform, and more. And the Fordham Gadfly, which includes bits on whole language, the podcast, private schools for the poor, and something from Checker I couldn't quite follow....


Grades Rise, but Reading Skills Do Not NYT, WaPo, LAT, Wash. Times, CNN.com High school students nationwide are taking seemingly tougher courses and earning better grades, but their reading skills are not improving through the effort, according to two federal reports released here Thursday that cite grade inflation as a possible explanation. PTA's Go Way Beyond Cookies NYT The transformation of Livingston’s pizza lunch reflects how parent groups across the country, especially in affluent suburbs, are undergoing a kind of corporate makeover, combining members’ business savvy, technological prowess and negotiating skills to professionalize operations. More 'reliable' Wikipedia soon ...


In case you hadn't seen it, this post from The Quick & The Ed (here)points out how the WSJ turns an education-related anecdote into a trend story -- and how quickly the anecdote gets picked up and used in the public debate as a truism. What isn't noted is that this isn't the first time that this reporter (Suein Hwang) has written a story whose main premise has seemed to some to be more controversial than well-documented. Just over a year ago, it was a front page story called "The New White Flight," about how schools in Silicon Valley were ...


Joe Williams reminds us that Al Shanker passed a decade ago today and says some very nice words about him (The Chalkboard: The 10-Year Void). I only met him a couple of times, but I remember them vividly....


High School Students Taking Tougher Courses EdWeek The proportion of high school students completing a solid core curriculum has nearly doubled since 1990, and students are doing better in their classes than their predecessors did.But that good news is tempered by other findings in two federal reports released here today. Reports: Test scores, grades don't jibe Houston Chronicle Large percentages of high school seniors are posting weak scores on national math and reading tests even though more of them are taking challenging courses and getting higher grades in school, two reports released Thursday show. Now's the time to test ...


Just what the world needs -- a reality/quiz show demonstrating just how smart or dumb we grownups are: Fox Announces A New Reality Show Questioning Whether Viewers Are “Smarter Than A 5th Grader”...


New Jersey Schools Told to Protect Gay Students NYT Students who are bullied by other students because of their sexual orientation are protected by New Jersey’s antidiscrimination law, and school districts must take reasonable steps to stop such harassment, the state’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled yesterday. Tempting Teachers To County Classrooms WaPo At a recent job fair at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education, more than 200 teacher recruiters -- some from as far as Atlanta and Denver -- competed for the attention of about 330 graduates clutching freshly printed r?sum?s. States standup to ...


Fresh off of his appearance in Hot For Education last week, former Reading First czar Chris Doherty is back in the news. EdWeek (E-Mails Reveal Federal Reach Over Reading) focuses on the extent of the intrusiveness in RF and the historic ban on federal meddling in local decisions. The Title I Monitor details his close relationship with reading guru Reid Lyon, who is interviewed in the piece about his role and what happened ("Reading Czar" Served as Conduit Between ED, White House). What jumps out at me when I try and figure out why these Reading First stories never make ...


Over at Eduwonk, Andy links to the back-and-forth about teachers unions that's going on between Apple bigwig Steve Jobs and his counterpart at Dell (Eduwonk.com: No Apple For Teacher). It's interesting to note that the Gates Foundation -- as opposed to Gates the individual -- has thus far come across as basically neutral on unions....


Over at Small Talk, Mike Klonsky takes the flip-flop idea a little further (Finn, Fordham, Flip-flop). According to Klonsky, "Finn and friends have recently done an about-face and have become enemies of NCLB, after years of pushing it on schools and school districts....Finn ("Fool me twice") has suddenly figured it all out. You see, NCLB is trying to force standardization and compliance on schools and educators and that just won't work....It was only last June that Finn personally attacked Jonathan Kozol for his hostile anti-NCLB stand."...


The inimitable Casey Lartigue complains (rightly) about being excluded from Hot For Education 2007 "right in the middle of black history month." Check it out here: I've been disqualified...


The Forum on Educational Accountability is unveiling its alternative to NCLB today: "Leaders of national education, civil rights, religious, civic and disability groups will hold a news briefing Wednesday, February 21, 2007 at 9:30 am to release the Forum on Educational Accountability's Redefining Accountability: Improving Student Learning by Building Capacity, a new report with recommendations for replacing the test-based sanctions of the “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) law with means to hold states and localities accountable for making systematic changes that improve student achievement. You can see it here....


The 107th Carnival of Education is up at History Is Elementary. Here's a great section on Parental Involvement: Richard over at Shadowscope provides a parent view regarding our public schools. It’s honest, it’s frank, and I know that many of us on the frontlines feel his pain. Visit Richard at Public School. Matt over at Going to the Mat gives us a view of what can happen when we have Parental Involvement In VA Schools. Does a Flower Turn to the Sun? No, this isn’t a science post. Here’s a partial quote, “…parents don’t really ...


A History Department Bans Citing Wikipedia as a Research Source NYT With the move, Middlebury, in Vermont, jumped into a growing debate within journalism, the law and academia over what respect, if any, to give Wikipedia articles, written by hundreds of volunteers and subject to mistakes and sometimes deliberate falsehoods. Jobs, Dell appraise technology, schools eSchool News In a rare joint appearance, Jobs and Dell, whose namesake company, Dell Inc., is the world's No. 2 computer manufacturer after HP, sat down with a small group of educators and policymakers in Texas to discuss attitudes on education and talk about ways ...


Education Sector today released a report called Eight for 2008: Education Ideas for the Next President. Aiming to appeal to Republicans, Democrats and coincide with NCLB, Ed Sector has come up with eight possible education plans. While education, unfortunately, does not always receive a large part of the national election attention, Ed Sector offers these ideas to be included in the "ideas primary" while candidates are learning what is most important to Americans. A brief review of the report is listed below. The Full report can be found here....


It matters much less whether you are a boy or a girl - success or failure can be a matter of how you feel about school and yourself, and almost nothing to do with your actual abilities. Black Parents Seek to Raise Ambitions WaPo Tom and Renee Carter joined last year with about 15 families, including the parents of nearly every black male sixth-grader, to push their sons to graduate on time in 2012 with options for the future and without lowering their expectations or test scores along the way. They call it Club 2012. Researchers: Math anxiety saps working ...


In Vermont, Prisoners Go To High School Behind Bars WaPo Vermont's largest high school is run by the Department of Corrections. The school -- operating in each of the state's jails and prisons, with walk-in schools at Probation and Parole offices -- has about 3,500 registered students, though only about 350 attend classes every day. With One Word, Children's Book Sets Off Uproar NYT The inclusion of the word (scrotum) has shocked some school librarians, who have pledged to ban the book from elementary schools, and reopened the debate over what constitutes acceptable content in children’s books. More ...


Best Of The Week Did The NYT Get It Wrong On The University Of Phoenix? Would a Constitutional Amendment Do Any Good? If SEIU and Wal-Mart Can Do It, Education Can, Too Hot For Education 2007 (Sports Illustrated Edition) On The Hill Kennedy Head Start Reauthorization Quick Out Of The Gate Live Blogging The Aspen Institute Report Release The Papers Cover The Aspen Commission Report People & Places Obama Panders, Then Pushes, On NCLB Who's Who: Edison Lobbyist Heather Podesta Ed Trust's Amy Wilkins Is Back Lawyers' Committee Honcho On The HotSeat Aspen Report Leader Heads To The Hill Education Policy ...


Tearing down NCLB (and most efforts to improve it) has emerged as the central strategy of the Fordham Foundation's Checker Finn during the past few weeks and months. According to Finn (and his deputy Mike Petrilli), little good came from the original NCLB -- and little can be done to improve it. No doubt, Finn and Petrilli (with whom I have worked) find lots of company in criticizing NCLB from both the left and right, though most seem to want to mend, not end the act. But it's hard not to notice that these two were critical friends of the ...


The Coalition of Essential Schools folks tell me that they are premiering a new film about their efforts developing small schools on February 28th in Providence, for anyone who's interested. Ted Sizer is going to be there, and the film has apparently won the Aegis Award for Best Educational DVD....


The latest Federal Update from Brustein & Manasevit is out, and includes a few key details you may not have seen elsewhere. For example, Head Start is apparently on the move after its long reauthorization delay. The Senate committee has already passed a bill (s556) that omits provisions that were objectionable, such as giving faith based providers to hire staff based on religious preferences and allowing states to run HS programs....


Here are some interesting pieces that I missed during the past week or so: Did Help Get Left Behind? US News & World Report Five years after No Child Left Behind was enacted, educators and lawmakers are asking whether the stomachaches caused by the legislation have been worth it. Tutoring program in trouble Detroit Free Press A tutoring program for low-income students attending under-performing schools is being criticized for not reaching enough eligible students in Michigan and for failing in many cases to provide proof that tutors are living up to expectations. No Classroom Left AloneAmerican Spectator Not even LBJ could ...


Usually thought of as either all-important or ridiculously out of touch, philanthropy is increasingly diverse, occasionally innovative, and important for educators and the media to understand. Starting with a Jonathan Alter piece on DonorsChoose, here's a slate of Slate articles to help the cause: A nonprofit works marketplace magic. Four years ago, my office phone at Newsweek rang: a cold call from Charles Best, a 26-year-old Yale graduate who was teaching in a public school in the Bronx....By the end of the call, I knew I had seen the future of American philanthropy. Making philanthropy cool.From education to ...


Little by little, step by step, there's more education-related audio (and video) that you can listen to or watch on your computer: Eating Disorders on America's College Campuses John Merrow In this exclusive video podcast, we take a look inside America’s college campuses, where eating disorders may affect up to 20% of its students. The Problem with Praise NPR (On Point) Challenges, self-esteem and our children. New findings say too much praise may be a problem for the kids. Who’s Afraid of the New Economy? NYT (David Brooks) A group of Democratic economists and strategists (The Third Way) ...


While no one was looking, New America hired veteran Chronicle of Higher Ed reporter Stephen Burd to join the team (Stephen Burd), and let Justin King move over to workforce and family issues. This makes Burd what, the thousandth education reporter to get out of the newsroom in the last few years. Congrats and condolences to all....


PBS's John Merrow isn't the first to put NCLB in the context of the war in Iraq, but he does have some interesting things to say: "As the law enters its sixth year, “staying the course” would be disastrous for public education and, eventually, American society. But a “surge” strategy won’t save the No Child Left Behind Act either. Washington insiders say there’s no rush to reauthorize the law, particularly with a presidential campaign already under way. We ought to use the time to debate the kind of education we want for our children, an opportunity that should ...


I'm up at an education conference at the Yale School Of Management and what jumps out at me so far is (a) just how frighteningly big "mainstream" interest in education reform has gotten. (the opening speaker actually warned folks off of getting into education just because it's so "sexy" right now.); (b) just how easy and appealing it is to work in education without working IN education (ie, foundation, nonprofit, private sector work, vs. district, state, federal or advocacy work -- or, god forbid, school-level work); and (c) just how much better-looking in person Paul Tough and MaryEllen McGuire are ("He's...


A School District With Low Taxes and No Schools NYT A loophole in Arizona law allowed for Patrick Flynn to create a school district with no schools to avoid paying higher property taxes on million dollars homes. Flu outbreak closes three schools in North Carolina CNN.com Three schools closed until Monday because of an outbreak of flu-like symptoms after attendance dropped 20 percent. The closings were recommended to give the students a break to get to the doctor and stop spreading the germs. Rhode Island launches first statewide curriculum Boston Globe These step-by-step lesson plans, available to the public ...


All this back and forth with The Quick & The Ed's Sara Mead got me wondering well, what difference would a Constitutional amendment on education make, anyway? Would it be merely symbolic, as so many things are, or would it have any real impact? The answer, I'm learning, is that if enacted it would have an enormous effect. And, regardless, it challenges the ed policy world to consider big ideas along with little ones. Click below to read more....


Like me (see below), at least a couple of other blogs including edspresso (here) and eduwonk (here) have linked to the thing about how the NEA opposes incentive pay. But what they don't tell you is that the item was sent to them (ie, "placed") by the Republican Senate communications shop, which of course has an interest in making Dems and the NEA look bad. I think that's worth knowing. Not sure why the others didn't mention it....


For a time, there didn't seem to be anyone who got more stuff into more legislation than the Ed Trust's Amy Wilkins, who was notoriously good at doing the Vulcan mind-meld with Congressional staff (including me) and powerful lawmakers (like Miller). It was crazy, as was the amount of positive press that the Trust got during those days. K12, higher ed, they were everywhere. Then Wilkins went off to do a few other things -- early childhood, charter school cap stuff, etc., and the Trust kept pushing along but not, it seemed to me, quite as powerfully as before. But ...


Like the NYT, EdWeek now has a "most viewed" stories tab that lets you see which stories are getting the most reads (for an example see here). And, over the past few weeks, this blog has steadily creeped up the list and is (today at least) number two. Of course, the list is totally unfair to everyone else at EdWeek, since I'm slapping up 5 or more posts every day and they're putting out one or two real articles a week. At best, the blog is "most glanced at." But at least EdWeek readers seem to like the blog, and ...


The security clearance issue keeps bubbling along, with a website with background and information (Employee Clearance - Home), which includes the letter signed and sent to the USDE (but no names of signatories). There's big money in these USDE contracts and the regional education labs, points out Andy Zucker, the informal head of the rebellion, which may explain why so few folks like SRI or AIR protested publicly. Remember, these are full-on security clearances, not background checks or fingerprinting we're all used to for better or worse. Previous post: Security Checks For Ed Researchers...


Here's a light profile from the Wall Street Journal of one of the lobbyists who works on education issues on the Hill for clients including Edison Schools, Heather Podesta (New Congress, New Lobbyists). We met at the start of the year. If I recall correctly, she shares a birthday with NCLB. Married to Tony Podesta, flamboyant brother of former Clinton Chief of Staff and current Center On American Progress head John Podesta. They throw good Oscars parties, or used to. Maybe it's not too late to make friends and get yourself an invitation....


No big ideas for the Ed Sector's Sara Mead, thank you very much. She says she prefers "small-bore ones" instead. And then she cryptically links to yet another DC schools article -- enough already -- without really making any point. Mead's knee-jerk disdain for "big, flashy ideas" like amending the Constitution to make education a Constitutional right might be understandable if it weren't so obviously ill-considered, if we weren't already so used to the Ed Sector's tendency towards quick dismissals of any ideas that aren't "theirs," and if Mead's boss Andy hadn't just the day before highlighted a very similar ...


Schools strive for 'no parent left behind' CSM No Child Left Behind (NCLB) actually requires schools that need improvement to inform and involve parents in their strategies, but federal and state monitors haven't been paying much attention to that part of the law. No Child Left Behind? These Kids Just Want to Come in From Cold WaPo Students share their thoughts with reporters about how they felt when their schools were unable to et them attend because of damages due to weather. The "Other" Gap EdWeek Why aren’t educators and policymakers talking about low-achieving Asian-American students, who they are, ...


So the NEA sends a letter to Senator Alexander urging him to vote against his own amendment to restore the TIF funding that was eliminated in the House. And the Senate Republicans want us to know. Sen. Alexander describes the situation here: Sending the letter to Alexander is nothing big -- happens all the time -- but, not having seen the letter, I still wonder why the NEA is working against the TIF when (a) it has so many bigger fish to fry and (b) the program has already been funded and money sent out starting last year? There are ...


As predicted here several months ago, Aspen Institute NCLB Commission head Alex Nock is leaving his post after having successfully delivering the report yesterday and is heading back to the Hill. Formerly the education guy for the House education committee, he's now going to be the deputy chief of staff overseeing education, labor, and other issues for Chairman Miller. Tommy Thompson announced it yesterday after the report was rolled out. Denise and Alice are still in place. Congrats and condolences....


I've been feeling down about the lack of big ideas out there on education -- even bad ones -- but my little Valentine's Day gift from Cong. Jesse Jackson Jr (D-IL) comes in the form of a bill proposing an amendment to the Constitution (yes, that one) that would make access to a quality education a federal, not state by state, right (Library of Congress). Here's the text -- short and sweet (based on last year's version): "All citizens of the United States shall enjoy the right to a public education of equal high quality. The Congress shall have power ...


Effective teachers brace for change USA Today Even at a glance, Zakia Sims seems like a good teacher....But in a few years, her credentials might not help her keep her job. It might come down to this: How well do her 6- and 7-year-olds do on standardized tests? On Education: On Different Pages With Bilingual Education NYT Recent decisions on school closures have fueled the debate over bilingual education. Kansas: Anti-Evolution Guidelines Are Repealed AP The State Board of Education repealed science guidelines questioning evolution, putting into effect new ones that reflect mainstream scientific views. Mikulski Seeks Federal Aid ...


The 106th Edition is up over at The Education Wonks. It was a pleasure to host the carnival last week, thanks to those who submitted posts. Here's a taste of this week's carnival:Have you ever considered what it means to have a right to an education? An easy concept to consider, but not necessarily so easy to articulate. Consider taking a look at this well-articulated consideration of this basic human right by Principled Discovery....


One of the most popular -- and embarrassing -- posts that's ever run on this site has been Hot For Education, a highly arbitrary and much-commented on listing of some of the folks who might qualify as "hot...for education." And, in honor of this snowy Valentine's Day (and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, just out), I'm giving it another try. With any luck, this year's winter edition will be just as controversial -- and fun. Or at least it'll embarass EdWeek. The rules are simple. To qualify, someone needs to work in education and to be thought to be ...


Everyone covers the Aspen Commission report from yesterday, including: 'No Child' Commission Presents Ambitious Plan  Washington Post A commission proposed a wide-reaching expansion of the No Child Left Behind law yesterday that would for the first time require schools to ensure that all seniors are proficient in reading and math and hold schools. Panel Recommends No Child Left Behind Changes NPR A panel appointed by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, led by Tommy Thompson, is scheduled to release its recommendations for strengthening the No Child Left Behind Act. Tougher Standards Urged for Federal Education Law NYT A private bipartisan commission recommended...


As Chief Counsel and Senior Deputy to the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, John Brittain is in a tremendously interesting and influential position when it comes to school reform, which many describe as the civil rights issue of our era. On the HotSeat, Brittain praises NCLB (for its focus on the achievement gap), but admits that it took time for civil rights groups "to wrap our arms around" NCLB provisions like AYP. He says that the feds can meddle in teacher assignment issues (if warranted) and that states shouldn't cap charters (but should monitor their performance). He reminds us that ...


Plenty, according to Mike Klonsky's Small Talk Blog (Straight from Iraq to the DOE). Evers has been nominated to the USDE, as described here. Klonsky points out that Evers is from Hoover, was part of Paul Bremer's Provisional Authority in Iraq, and is an enemy of "social justice."...


There's probably no one who knows more about college graduation rates than longtime USDE data guru Cliff Adelman (now Senior Associate, Institute for Higher Education Policy). While not criticizing Dillon directly or praising the University of Phoenix for its programs, Adelman says that data used prominently in the NYT story are extremely problematic. "I don't think one can even judge a Phoenix "graduation rate" in the traditional sense of beginning students completing degrees---not with our current formula." Click below to read the full Adelman analysis....


You can watch the Aspen Institute NCLB report release event "live" on your PC right now. The key players are talking. They're on stools. Or, you can read the report here. It includes 75 recommendations. There were 12 hearings and "over 10,000 emails, submissions of written testimony, meetings and letters from those with thoughts on how to improve the law." As previously reported, the Commission is planning a series of events through 2007. The responses are already beginning. PEN is calling for more focus on improvements not just sanctions, and more focus on parent engagement, and more resources. PEN ...


Thanks to DA Daily for this link to an LA Times story about angry teachers and other unauthorized school-based videos that are being put up on YouTube and other video sites. Surf here for clips of angry teachers....


Yesterday, I told you how a NYT story about the University of Phoenix might have been just a wee bit too comfortably critical of nontraditional (for-profit) education compared to traditional education. Today the University of Phoenix fired back, describing the NYT story as unfair, misleading, and "symptomatic of a prevailing bias against non-traditional higher education." The U of P not liking the story and writing an angry letter is one thing. But did the Times get the story wrong or present it misleadingly? Based on a very preliminary scan, it may have....


I was not one of the big time bloggers who got sent a new laptop from Microsoft earlier this year, but maybe that's a good thing considering all the hell they're getting for taking and not all disclosing the corporate freebie (Bloggers Need to Come Clean NPR). But it is a good reminder that bloggers, like journalists and lawmakers and researchers, often have complicated and sometimes conflicting relationships with the people and issues that they're discussing. In this regard, my only saving grace is that I write for lots of different folks, rely on none of them particularly, and take ...


Phone Ban Sought for School Bus Drivers AP The American School Bus Council plans to issue guidelines Tuesday calling for a ban on drivers using cell phones when the bus is moving or when students are getting on or off. Md. 'Gum Game' Used for 9 Years WaPo Rockville Pregnancy Center, a faith-based organization that offers counseling and support to pregnant women as an alternative to abortion, was expelled from the schools in January after a parent alerted school officials that a speaker had asked students to take turns chewing a piece of gum. Time for Daylight Savings patches eSchool ...


Once again, the ideas and movement on the health care front seem to be far outpacing whatever atrophied and occasional movement we see the education front. Two weeks ago, it was the President proposing a new $100B health care tax credit in place of the current employer based two-tiered system (Health Care Big, Education Small). Last week, longstanding opponents Wal-Mart and the unions proposed a joint health care initiative (Wal-Mart, Union Leaders Collaborate on Health Care PBS). What would the rough equivalent of that be in education? An NEA-Alliance For School Choice deal on vouchers? I don't know of anyone ...


The long-awaited Aspen Institute report on NCLB is coming out tomorrow (Webcast here), but there's no telling if there' going to be anything new or interesting in it compared to everything else that's already been said and laid on the table. Will it break new ground or rehash what most of us already know? My guess is that the report will tend more towards kitchen-sink inclusiveness than depth or focus. More importantly, will it have any impact on the upcoming reauthorization debate -- speeding it up, slowing it down, nudging it this way or that? The Commission will continue to ...


Changing the way districts give out funding to schools so that the funds are more equitable and better targeted is a technocrat's dream, especially if it leads to a better distribution of highly qualified teachers and ends the hidden subsidy to schools with all-star faculties that has long plagued urban education. But, as this post from Chicago shows, changing funding schemes is no easy task. As reported in the February Catalyst Magazine, the district tried to pilot a change last year, only to be fought off, and is trying again this year. And as you can see in the reader ...


This weekend in Des Moines, Barack Obama first pandered, then pushed in response to a teachers' question about NCLB, according to this story in the the Des Moines Register. Specifically, he called for more money for the law and for teachers. But then called for more accountability for achievement. Will this candor hurt Obama's chances of winning the nomination?...


This weekend's NYT story about the questionable quality of the University of Phoenix (Nation's Largest Private University Faces Economic, Institutional Woes via Huffington Post) might seem on the surface to be good news for traditional colleges and foes of for-profit education. The graduation rate from the school is miserably low, especially among traditional-age students. Some of the recruitment practices are questionable. But at least some of the concerns aired in the piece cut both ways. How could things have gotten so bad at the University of Phoenix if the current postsecondary system of regional accreditation and self-governance was effective?...


"Two teenage girls posted a fake announcement on their school district's Web site that said school was closed for the day due to winter weather, police said," according to this CNN.com story (Police: Students posted fake snow-day notice on school's Web site - CNN.com). "The notice, posted Monday, confused many parents -- snow was not in the forecast -- and persuaded some students to stay home."...


In a historic first, Harvard chooses woman president CSM The Ivy League has reached a milestone in gender equality: Half of the eight schools are now run by women. Drew Gilpin Faust emerged from the weekend as Harvard University's first female president. A current Harvard dean, she will not only sit at the pinnacle of higher education, but will oversee a budget on a par with top corporations. Broad Voucher Plan Is Approved in Utah NYT The Utah State Legislature approved one of the broadest school voucher programs in the nation on Friday, allotting up to $3,000 for any ...


Best Of The Week Carnival 105th: The Over-Scheduled Carnival Kid Dropouts In Baghdad (Kerry Was Right) Private Schools & The Poor The USDE Security Checks For USDE Researchers Mesecar (& Others) On The Move Keeping Talent At The USDE "Scoundrels" At The USDE? NCLB News When NCLB Opponents Make You Wince Few Mysteries At Thursday's Hearing NCLB Hearing Teachers & Teaching When Performance Pay Goes Public What To Do About Teacher Quality? Advanced Placement To The Rescue Media Watch Kopp Survives Colbert The Gad-Blast: Best Of The Gadfly & The NewsBlast Catching Up With NPR More Newspapers With Education Blogs - Finally EdWeek's Latest ...


Halfway through January, I wrote about how researchers were being asked to go through unnecessary-seeming security clearances to work on USDE projects (see here). Less than a month later, the NYT runs a piece about the situation (Critics Question Education Department’s Screening), which has since ballooned into a mini-uprising on the part of researchers who refuse to participate. Thanks to the researcher who originally brought this to my attention. If someone has a copy of the letter to Spellings, please share it....


It's not just teens, college kids, and business types who want to connect. If you combined LinkedIn, the professional networking site, with Teach For America, Wendy Kopp's effort to get elite college grads to teach in low income schools and take over the world, then you'd have LinkEd, a new organization based in New York and started by a couple of TFAers. They're having an event in NY on Tuesday, and they're already hooked up with DonorsChoose....


After two years heading Edison's DC outpost, Doug Mesecar is headed back to the USDE for more punishment. Previously, he was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy. He's going to be Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation to work for recent nominee Bill Evers. (Eduwonk on Evers here: It's Official, It's Evers.) In other Edison news, current deputy New York City schools chancellor and former Edison president Chris Serf is coming under fire in the Times: Schools Official Deflects Query About Stocks NYT Meanwhile, the FritzWire reports that Bob Stonehill who managed 21st Century ...


It's been roughly a month now since I've been here on EdWeek.org, and so far, so good, it seems. Thanks to everyone who's bravely checked out the site for the first time -- and all of you longtime readers, thanks for making the move. Thanks also to the EdWeek.org folks for putting up with my incessant demands -- if I was a real employee you'd have fired me by now. Aren't you glad I'm not? To register any complaints, questions, or compliments, email me at thisweekineducation at gmail.com. Or, slap a comment in the comments section. Remember, ...


"Students at Adams Middle School have been feverishly speculating about the true circumstances surrounding seventh grade history teacher Mr. Benson's unannounced second-semester leave of absence—now approaching one month—raising the mysterious disappearance well into the status of legend among the student body at large," according to this article from, yes, The Onion (Teacher's Leave Of Absence Shrouded In Legend). "I heard he was a pot addict, and he went mental, and they took him away to a mental institution," said Gregory Oswald, 13, a student of Benson's, adding that he remembered noticing a growing impatience in Mr. Benson in ...


If you've been reading along this week, you've already seen most of what the weekly newsletters have to say.  But there are some new things, too. At the PEN NewsBlast, there are posts about financial inequalities in Illinois, more about the FY08 budget, some things from the TC Record (which I never seem to get to), an English-only pledge of allegiance, more about NCLB and gifted students, and a fascinating little article about just how hard school boards (and board members) are to contact. Over at The Gadfly, they're looking for fellows, fighting against fatalism, railing against What Works, and......


A little bit of Enron in all of us? JS Online Lynn Brewer, the former Enron Corp. executive who blew the whistle on corrupt practices at the energy giant, delivered a chilling message about wrongdoing in corporate America to the 800 students, faculty and members of the public who came to hear her speech Thursday at Marquette University. Schools Picked to Pilot Sex-Ed Lessons WaPo Should the pilot program go forward, it would mark the first time sexual orientation has been addressed directly in eighth- and 10th-grade county health classes. Gender Gap in GPAs Seen as Linked to Self-Discipline EdWeek ...


"When Senator John Kerry said last fall that students who didn’t do well in school were more likely to “get stuck in Iraq,” he was immediately attacked for insulting the intelligence of U.S. troops," according to this Harper's Magazine article (Kerry Was Right). "Of course, Kerry’s comment was entirely accurate—not because American soldiers in Iraq are dumb, but because the Pentagon, in seeking to overcome serious recruiting shortfalls, has enlisted growing numbers of high school dropouts." Felons, too, according to CNN's Paris Hilton Anderson Cooper -- but of course that's someone else's problem....


The teacher quality provisions of NCLB are some of the most important -- and least effectively implemented -- provisions of the law, and there's more than enough blame to go around for all the delays, gimmicks, and obfuscation that's taken place. However, the Center on Education Policy has some answers, based on meetings held in the fall, about what to do the next time around. They include encouraging states to develop performance-based certification measures and more nuance in the definitions of HQT, incentives to address equity, and better data systems. It's core, achievable stuff -- some of it too tame, ...


Long ago and far away, I helped NM Senator Jeff Bingaman get the federal AP incentive fund funded -- the first national effort at subsidizing the costs of AP exams for low-income kids. But things have changed a lot since then, and it's interesting to compare everyone's coverage of the annual Advanced Placement report. Everyone covers it differently, as you'll see. UPDATE:...


Pretty much every company out there has some do-gooder initiative going on these days, whether it's VH1's "Save The Music" campaign or Wal-Mart's "We Really Care" (I made that one up). But who knew that Hooters had one, too? Thanks to eagle-eyed Howie Schaffer from the PEN Newsblast, now we do: "Hooters Restaurants "Wings for Children" program is underway once again at all Chicago area locations, raising money for the Holy Family Lutheran School through proceeds from the sales of their world famous chicken wings. In 2005, Hooters raised $33,000 for the school. Almost $170,000 total has been ...


"Out of thirty-six federal agencies surveyed, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ranked dead last on job satisfaction," according to this article in Slate (Department of Homeland Dissatisfaction). DHS also ranked "dead last on being "results-oriented"; second to last on "leadership and knowledge management"; and among the bottom five on "talent management." No word on where the USDE ranked, but I'm eager to find out....


Rural Colleges Seek New Edge and Urbanize NYT At the same time, officials have realized that a more urbanized version of the ideal campus could attract a population well past its college years — working people and retiring baby boomers — if there is housing to suit them. Overachieving Students Hear a New Message: Lighten Up WaPo In a region where the high school experience has evolved into an advanced placement-fueled academic arms race, parents and school officials are starting to do the unthinkable: They're saying no to adolescents who want to load up on AP courses, schedule eight-period days and join ...


Knowing that many of you like to listen to things while sitting at your desk, I'm trying to keep track of what's going on at NPR and other stations about education. This latest roundup includes audio segments about the Bush budget proposal, extended time, college diversity, and school safety. Oh, and one about schools over-reacting to lice. Check it out -- and if I've missed anything, let me know....


Well, it took less than a month for This Week In Education to lose its standing as EdWeek's newest blog. But the newbie isn't the Ravitch-Meiers confab that many of us have been expecting. Instead, its a blog focused on ELL called Learning the Language, written by EdWeek assistant editor Mary Ann Zehr. Congrats, condolences, and welcome....


Thanks to a friendly reader for passing along this list of Bush administration "scoundrels", which includes an Eric Andell from the USDE who apparently did something wrong related to Safe and Drug Free Schools. Read all about it....


Once again, The Atlantic Monthly ($) has a thought-provoking article about education. Last month, it was about New Orleans. The latest is about private schools in other countries that have been set up to educate the very poor -- and the mixed feelings of international aid organizations and others about a private approach to a public problem. "Cheap private schools are educating poor children across the developing world," begins the piece. "But without much encouragement from the international aid establishment." In some ways, it reminds me of the Cristo Rey schools here in the US, about which I've written several times ...


Once in a while, Sherman Dorn and I agree about something, and this is one of those times. "There are plenty of ways I can criticize NCLB and its implementation," writes Dorn in this post (Ugly arguments against NCLB), "but to whine that it drains resources for the gifted is one of the more disturbing arguments I've read (and today's story by Joseph Berger isn't the first time it's appeared in the New York Times)."...


Usually, Steven Colbert (of the Colbert Report) eviscerates his guests by turning their arguments on their heads and asking ridiculous questions. So much so that someone even wrote an article about how to survive a Colbert interview. But as others have noted he took it pretty easy on Teach For America founder Wendy Kopp last night. Cobert managed to get in a couple of jabs -- that Kopp never actually did what she's asking other folks to do, that Colbert is really the one who's "teaching America," that college grads should be out making money not helping kids, and that ...


Who knew that former EdSec Rod Paige was writing a book? Not I. Who knew it was going to blame pretty much everything on the teachers unions? Again, not I. But apparently that's what he's done. Called The War Against Hope:How Teacher Unions Hurt Children, Hinder Teachers And Endanger Public Education, "offers the inside story of how teacher unions like the National Education Association (NEA) are selfishly shackling our students to a failing education system, while exposing the bullying techniques that are used to obstruct meaningful reform." I guess that whole calling the NEA a terrorist organization wasn't a ...


Advanced Placement Tests Are Leaving Some Behind NYT More high schools across the nation are offering Advanced Placement courses to help students get into college and get ready for its academic rigors. In the process, however, many minority students who often need help most urgently are missing out. A positive (top) spin on education CSM Ranging from third grade to eighth, about 30 students at Confluence Academy's Old North St. Louis campus have recently formed a new sports team, with the help of a volunteer who played competitively in China. One of her first lessons: Please don't call it ping-pong. ...


The first rule of Carnival is to publicize the Carnival. The second rule is to remember that next week the Carnival comes home to The Education Wonks. The deadline for submissions is: 9:00 PM (Eastern) 6:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, February 13. Submissions may be sent to: owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net . Contributers may also use Blog Carnival's handy submission form: http://blogcarnival.com/bc/submit_5.html Now, on to this week's Carnival, #105: The Over-Scheduled Carnival Kid. We've all heard a lot about over-worked, over-scheduled kids, and we're here to tell you: it's all true. The Carnival ...


These days, you can find out what parents think about your teacher, what campaigns your teacher gives to, whether or not he or she's "highly qualified" under NCLB, and -- for the places that have performance pay programs in place -- who's getting a performance bonus. That's according to this interesting piece in the St. Pete Times. "Thanks to a new bonus plan, we'll know which teachers get the rewards. But what will parents do with that knowledge?" (Via EdNews.org) The day after the teacher info came out in Houston, according to the article, the site got 400,000 ...


Looking at the witness list for Thursday's HELP committee hearing, there aren't a lot of mysteries. In particular, Chicago's Hosanna Mahaley Johnson, head of the new schools office (and oft-rumored successor to Arne Duncan), is almost certain to support the USDE proposal to bypass state charter caps and allow more conversions. Under Renaissance 2010, the district's current school turnaround effort, a slew of schools have been closed and opened -- probably more accountability-based closures than anywhere else in the nation -- but the charter cap for the city is stuck at 30 so they can close all they want but ...


Don't pay good money for CRS reports -- they're public documents, sort of. And as you may recall from previous posts, many of them you can find online at Open CRS. Today's example: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Overview and Selected Issues....


I'm jumping the gun here a little bit, since we're hosting the Carnival Of Education tomorrow, but here are a couple of blog posts that I've been meaning to highlight: Teacher Pandering Getting Stale? The Chalkboard Newsweek's Jonathan Alter says it is time for America to stop pandering to teachers, and uses the "hack" word to describe Democratic politicians who engage in the most hard-core bootlicking. Competition or Criticism How To Best Motivate America's Schools? OUP Blog Patricia Graham questions the best techniques for reforming America's schools. Last but not least, you can find a weeklong rumble over various NCLB ...


This morning, NPR points out what a big difference it makes to the budget process to have a Congressional majority that's not the same party as the occupant of the White House. In the past, the Republican majority would actually receive and make use of the President's budget, perhaps even have helped develop it. This year, the Democratic response is just as negative, and much more empowered. Of course, that leaves the Democrats with the task of coming up with their own budget ideas. More budget reactions since yesterday: States feel the pinch of tight federal budget Stateline.org States ...


Supervisors Step Up In 'No Child' Fight WaPo The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors sided with school officials yesterday in a showdown with the Bush administration over the federal No Child Left Behind law, accusing the U.S. Department of Education of having a "tin ear" in its policy toward testing immigrant students. Coming US challenge: a less literate workforce CSM The reason: Most baby boomers will be retiring and a large wave of less-educated immigrants will be moving into the workforce. This downward shift in reading and math skills suggests a huge challenge for educators and policymakers in the ...


What seems clear already, just hours after the President's budget has been released, is that the funding levels for NCLB and other much-watched programs aren't nearly high enough to win over much Democratic support. On this, the basic go/no go issue, the reaction is "no go." Not that the Dems really expected anything else. They've been setting it up to slam the President on the budget (and, by extension, NCLB reauthorization) for a couple of weeks now, at least. Knowing this, the Administration probably figured it couldn't appease the Dems, so why try? It's a Democratic problem now, and ...


Last summer, I somewhat over-enthusiastically predicted that there would be a big surge in newspapers with education blogs (Everybody On The Blogging Bandwagon). Well, that didn't pan out exactly, but they're slowly coming on line. And the latest is just started at the St. Petersburg Times in FLA, where Jeff Solocheck is up and running with The Gradebook. Good luck, Jeff! Welcome to the edusphere....


Thanks to a kind reader, here are the proposed FY08 education budget levels, plus a handy-dandy review by the Labor-HHS Subcommittee staff. Terminations Perkins NCLB Subcommittee Analysis PS: I think this last document isn't up anywhere else. (At least that's what folks are telling me.) If you use it, please link back here rather than snagging the contents and running. Your readers won't mind the extra click....


Nanotechnology inches its way into classrooms WaPo Recognizing that changing curricula can be next to impossible, the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network is developing and distributing programs aimed at engaging schools in nanoscale science and engineering education, said Carol Lynn Alpert, director of strategic projects at the Museum of Science, Boston, and a co-principal investigator of the network. California School Under Fire Over Volunteer's Sex Record NYT He confessed to touching the woman but denied molesting the child. He was convicted of two felony sexual batteries — one for the woman and one for the child — and his sentence of probation ...


Best Of The Week School Reform Hurricane: The Atlantic Monthly's Amy Waldman What's Going On In The Education Industry? Please Ma'am -- Step Away From The Blog On The Hill The Budget Is Coming, The Budget Is Coming Federal Education Budget Update Senate HELP Subcommittee Lineup Teacher Incentive Fund Nearly Eliminated In Budget Agreement The Department of Ed When The EdSec Meets The Blob Clowns To The Left Of Her, Jokers To The Right Labor Budget Leaked -- Where's Education's? NCLB Reauthorization Quick NCLB Reauthorization Not Looking Likely - Still The Education Industry & NCLB Reauthorization Education Policy Fordham Math Grades ...


The House of Representatives voted to cut interest rates on certain student loans last week. What do you think? Georgia Cummings,Systems Analyst: "But the only excitement I have in my life is the cat-and-mouse game I play with my student loan officer." Jeffrey Cain, Referee: "I can't wait to tell my loan officer that I'll be paying back my loan two weeks earlier than my previously stated goal date of never." Robert Loehman, Body Piercer: "As this will inevitably entice many to purchase more education than they can afford, please let me know when I can buy one of ...


Highlights of the Labor section of the budget request have already been leaked (Al Kamen - Aide at Labor Found Budget's Weaknesses, So Democrats Don't Have To - washingtonpost.com) -- where's education's? I'm counting on one of you folks who've already been briefed to pass something along. You know who you are....


The February issue of Baird & Co's Class Notes is out (PDF here), and as usual it's full of fascinating news from the business side of education that I would otherwise not likely know. Apparently K12 education stocks are beginning to rally, especially Leapfrog Enterprises (+13%), Scientific Learning (+11%), and Educate (+10%). However, the publishing index increased a modest 1% due to small declines of shares of John Wiley, McGraw-Hill, and Scholastic. What else? Apollo Group (owners of Phoenix, right?) bought the online high school company Insight Schools, and Educate announced it has "entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired ...


More and more, it seems, folks are blogging without reading other blogs first, or just ignoring what they've seen on another site.  This happens to me all the time these days, and it seems especially true of the group or "team" blogs, in which folks dip in and out of the sphere without necessarily keeping up with it.  Not surprisingly, it's frustrating.For others, however, it might be a perfectly good way to go, assuming their readers aren't reading anyone else, either.  Who's to notice you're posting something that someone else posted hours or days ago?  After all, that's...


Idiots of the week goes to the Cartoon Network and its ill-considered attempt to publicize Aqua Teen Hunger Force To The Rescue (or something like that), which created a bomb scare in Boston earlier this week: 2 Arrested in Boston Over Bomb Scare - New York Times....


Bush's 2008 Budget Calls For Boost to Pell Grants WaPo The president's 2008 budget, which will be unveiled next week, would increase the annual Pell grant next year by $550, to a maximum of $4,600. Michigan: Affirmative Action Suit Settled NYT The university will pay $10,000 each to the lead plaintiffs, Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher, to cover miscellaneous costs, both sides said. In exchange, the two agreed to drop all claims under a nearly 40,000-member class-action lawsuit against the university over its former affirmative action admissions policies. Texas bill proposes fine for missing teacher meetings CNN.com...


Not enough time to read through all the stuff that comes your way? Me, neither. But, unlike you, I don't have anything better to do. Where to start? At EdWeek, there's a followup story about NCLB reauthorization that's worth checking out: Spellings Hits Road, Stresses Charter Plan. Over at Teacher Magazine, there's an interview with Mr. Controversial, Bill Cosby: Tough Love. As if the Reading First fiasco wasn't enough, this week's Gadfly features a report about how balanced literacy is just whole language in disguise: Whole-Language High Jinks. The Gadflly Show, which I only listened to for you, includes Rick ...


People always ask me how many folks read this blog, and I always tell them "One or two" -- which isn't all that far off. It's quality, not quantity. Others are taking a different tack, however. The NSBA's Board Buzz recently claimed that it had 100,000 unique visitors per month. Wow. The PEN Newsblast says it's "informing 250,000 readers." Impressive. And EdNews says it's got almost 2 million readers. Amazing. But there's no common or independent ranking system, so they can pretty much say what they want. In which case, I'd like it known that I'm 6'2", 215 ...


I don't know if this is entirely kosher, but if you want to read the entire article that goes along with the interview I did with Amy Waldman earlier this week (see below), try clicking here: Reading, Writing, Resurrection. It's a free link, for now. And it's a great article. Just don't tell them that I sent you....


A lot of folks have been banking on the $99 million TIF fund to kick-start their pay for performance plans and help spread the idea, but, according to this Title I Monitor report from two days ago, it's all but eliminated in the new spending agreement: Democrats Unveil Joint-Funding Resolution for SY 2007-08. "The program, funded for the first time this school year, provides financial incentives for teachers and principals who successfully boost student achievement." Unless this got changed yesterday and I just missed it. UPDATE: Meanwhile, Houston's pay for performance plan is creating controversy, according to EdWeek: Houston in ...


As if it isn't bad enough that a 29 year-old sex offender signs up and attends school for a time as a 7th grader, it turns out that he's done this before -- and this time at least chose a charter school. "Though many parents have publicly praised the Surprise school’s handling of the deception, Mr. Rodreick’s enrollment has raised questions about admissions procedures, which officials at Imagine, one of the state’s largest charter schools, said they were reviewing," according to this NYT article (Posing as a Family, Sex Offenders Stun a Town). "Arizona, the nation’s ...


Everyone now knows that Barack Obama didn't attend a radical Muslim school in Indonesia as a youth, but many will be surprised to find out that as a child Obama was impish, hyperactive -- and known as "Barry." According to this story (Impish Obama couldn't sit still, says school pal). "Former student and Ibu Karim's grandson, Bandung Winardijanto, remembers Obama as a "hyperactive junior who was daring, impish and could not stand still...We called him curly eyelashes because he had long and curly eyelashes...We knew him not by the name of Barack Obama but as Barry Soetoro...We ...


"The bill includes increases for students with disabilities, underprivileged schools, and early childhood education," according to this eSchool News article (Congress saves E2T2, hikes '07 funding). "But the majority of education initiatives--including the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT or "E2T2") block-grant program, the primary source of federal funding for school technology--would be "level-funded" under the deal, meaning they would get the same funding as in 2006."...


There's been a ton of instant analysis about the politics of the proposed NCLB reauthorization, and its substantive impact on schools (if any). But what I haven't seen much of any of is an analysis of how it would affect the education industry -- publishers, testing companies, tutoring and test prep folks, school management folks. And so, here's my quick take: Testing: As long as voluntary national testing doesn't happen, the testing folks have to be happy with NCLB since it brings in so much business -- annual tests, lots of subjects, so much analysis to be done. (Of course, ...


Kids win weight-loss game USA Today A quick-stepping video game could someday become the unofficial pastime of children in West Virginia. Va. Is Urged to Obey 'No Child' on Reading Test WashPost The U.S. Department of Education threatened yesterday to take "enforcement action" against Virginia if any school districts defy a federal mandate to give reading tests to thousands of immigrant students. 27% of top college blacks came from immigrant families Chicago Sun Times Black students with U.S. ancestry appear to be less represented in college than race-based statistics indicate, as immigrants make up a disproportionate share of ...


In case you're wondering, there is a rough schedule for new posts on this site, but I don't think I've ever laid it out. Every morning M-F there's a roundup of the day's big newspaper stories (thanks to Margaret), as well as the Wednesday Carnival of Education Blogs and the occasional coverage of a hearing (anyone remember "cup-stacking" in the House education committee room?). Every week, there's a HotSeat interview with someone interesting (thanks in large part to Amanda). This week's HotSeat is Amy Waldman, who wrote about New Orleans in the Atlantic Monthly. In between all that, there's the ...


Take a look here if you want to see the full Senate HELP subcommittee lineup, but the top spots are nothing unexpected: Dodd, Mikulski, and Patty Murray head the three subs, with Alexander, Burr, and Isakson as ranking members. Obama and Clinton are both on the K12 and employment subcommittees, and not on aging....


Cafeteria Inspections Lag, Study Finds WaPo High school cafeterias in the District, Virginia and Montgomery County routinely fail to meet federal food safety standards that require them to be inspected twice a year, according to a study released yesterday. Reading, writing, and a roof overhead CSM Officially, it's known as Joe's Place. But one of its first residents has dubbed the cheerful yellow house "Big Bird." It opened recently with enough space for four homeless boys who attend high school in the Maplewood Richmond Heights (MRH) district, near St. Louis. West Virginia kids win weight-loss game USAT Researchers plan to ...


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