May 2007 Archives

Later today three big-time education journalists -- the Post's Jay Mathews, the LA Times' Beth Shuster, and USA Today's Greg Toppo -- are going to weigh in on what they think are the big stories of the past month, what got too much coverage (or not enough), and what the big stories are going to be in June. But what do they know, anyway? you can get a head start by looking over the cheat sheet that I sent them -- a list of stories and blog posts -- and see what you think. Let us know, or listen along ...


Besides the spelling bee, that is... A struggling school finds reason for hope CSM By forming community partnerships, Hope High School in Rhode Island and other struggling public schools are showing signs of improvement. Narrowing The Grade-School Standards Gap CBS Evening News After five years of No Child Left Behind, it's time for a report card. What's evident is that schools are focusing on testing, but it isn't an even playing field, becuase each state defines "proficiency" differently Most Americans want 'No Child' law left behind Scripps News A survey of 1,010 American adults reveals that nearly two-thirds of ...


There's a lot of talk about "human capital" these days, and that talk can get awfully dry. Out there in the real world, perhaps no one else besides Tomas Hanna epitomizes this trend.  A former career principal in Philadelphia, Hanna was brought into the central office to revamp teacher recruitment and retention, with the help of community groups and others that had focused on the teacher retention crisis.  Now in Providence, Hanna is trying to do the same thing as [deputy] superintendent.  I met him recently, and he seems to have that elusive combination of school-level credibility and central ...


From NCLB to Medicare to the current immigration reform bill, Ted Kennedy's ability (and willingness) to make deals and get things done is legendary. In fact, it was a meeting over NCLB that led in part to the current push on immigration reform, according to the Post article ( here), which also hints at Kennedy's desire for some additional influence this time around on NCLB. "I'm not trying to be cute with anybody about this. I want to get things done [on] challenging public policy issues that affect real people," he is quoted as saying in the article....


Over at the AFT Blog, they're still mulling over whether NCLB-caused teacher firings are a myth (as I contend) or not. Most recently, they've found someone who was fired and declared that, therefore, teacher firings are real (here). But that doesn't change things, really. Sure, handfuls of teachers have been fired through NCLB closings and conversions in San Diego and Chicago, among other places. But there are 3 million teachers out there. Teacher firings due to NCLB are still a myth, to me at least, until one percent get pink slipped. And we're nowhere near that....


Maybe I'm the last person to hear about this, but there's a new-ish mockumentary about new teaches that came out last month called Chalk that seems to be the antithesis of the sappy inspirational education movies that we all can't stand (but watch anyway). Check out the trailer here -- it might make you giggle:...


A lot of folks still seem not to understand that candidates' views and positions are going to change,once we get out of this long, tiresome Democratic primary thing -- and it may be an unpleasant surprise for many educators. This seems especially likely for Obama, who's already indicated some of his centrist (some would say conservative) views and ideas on schools, while Clinton has gone the safe (UPK) route and kept her mouth tightly shut on that front. (As I've noted in the past, Obama has already come out for charters, and has in the past said that he's ...


Some juicy tidbits from the last few days include an article about the not-so-bad real life experiences of ELLs taking English exams (As Tests Begin, English Learners Have Troubles but Few Tears Wash Post). At the same time, apparently year-end exams are going the way of the Dodo in some schools (More schools are ditching final exams LA Times). Then there's a coupla pieces about schoolgirl gossip (Grade-School Girls, Grown-Up Gossip NYT) and weed-laced yearbook photos (Yearbook photos ignite storm MSNBC). A refresher on science basics (The Known World NYT), plus yet another NYT thing on elite colleges (Elite Colleges ...


In the Sunday New York Times Magazine, Ann Hulbert wrote (Standardizing the Standards) that “With “high stakes” testing, N.C.L.B. introduces an incentive not to cheat, necessarily, but to manipulate. Signs are that states define proficiency down while schools ramp up narrow test prep.” What’s the solution to this problem? “The National Assessment of Educational Progress could serve as a model for a test that judges students’ ability to apply their knowledge and thus discourages [sic] rote coaching. But recent experience … argues against making test results the sole trigger of federal sanctions.” This is a bit of ...


Well, not really that big... A Bush Brother Spreads His Vision NYT Neil Bush, brother of the President of the United States, is behind a teaching method that is intended to bypass textbooks. Putting His Wealth to Work To Improve Urban Schools Washington Post He counts the Prince George's County school superintendent and D.C. school board president among his disciples. He has advised the D.C. mayor on cuts in school system bureaucracy. With lawsuit looming, Spellings discusses No Child Left Behind Danbury News US Education Secretary Margaret Spellings vigorously defended the No Child Left Behind Act today in ...


The student loan rip-off Salon Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings sounded like a reformer when she testified on Capitol Hill earlier this month over recent revelations of waste, fraud and bribery in the $85 billion-a-year student loan industry.But education experts weren't buying it -- and neither were Democrats. Report Card: No Child Left Behind Good Morning America So on its report card, ABC News gave No Child Left Behind's central element — testing students to meet standards — an A-. The standards themselves got a C. Equal money to schools got a D. Improving teacher quality earned a C. The handling ...


On The Hill/Campaign 2008 Early Childhood Proposals, Realistic and Otherwise Why Are Miller & Kennedy Not Calling Beth Ann Bryan? USDE Spellings Is To Gonzales As "I Don't Recall" Is To Lunchables Five Questions For Jon Stewart To Ask Spellings Tonight The Secretary's Necklace: Too Bad It Wasn't Larimar Spellings Suck-Up, Part 234 NCLB News Growth Models For Everybody! How NCLB Is Like A Russian Novel Does More Reading Make For Better Social Studies? The "Lost Teacher Jobs" Myth Policy Trends Check Registers: Do They Help? I Find It, You Read It: The Failed Takeover Story In LA Utah Puts ...


Shallow, combative, and close-minded, this blog is arguably the worst blog on EdWeek.org, which includes more than just a couple of more reflective and reasonable blogs that you may not know about: On the Reservation, for example, chronicles the experiences of a second year SPED teacher on a reservation (on break until fall), while Certifiable? follows one teacher's quest for national certification (still waiting to find out). Then there's Ready or Not, about a career-changer. More are in the works. Of course, there's also the Meier/Ravitch confab Bridging Differences (currently on break) and MA Zehr's Learning the Language ...


The big Time article on NCLB reauthorization (How To Fix NCLB) is a fun read, though it struggles hard to say much that's new. It describes the law "astonishingly" ambitious and points out -- shouldn't Toppo get royalties for this? -- that administrators and wonks like the law better than frontline teachers. There are also a handful of minor but annoying mistakes -- calling NCLB tests "high stakes," for example, is a pet peeve of mine. (That's not what high stakes really means.) But there are also some highlights, including an Ohio educator's comparison of NCLB to a Russian novel: "it's...


Here's an interesting and apparently newfangled way to get your PK-16 system integrated: put lots of K-12 folks including your state supe on the state board of regents and the college board of trustees. That's what Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has done with seven state higher ed spots, according to this Deseret News article (School Chiefs To Join Regents, College Boards). "The idea is to make for a seamless education system for kindergartners through college graduation."...


Apparently in honor of Memorial Day Weekend, the USDE announced news on the growth model front for us all to consider with our hot dogs and diet Cokes. Basically, Iowa and Ohio get to join North Carolina and Tennessee in the growth model club, plus Florida. It's more flexibility for states, without caving in on what NCLB s supposed to be all about. How do I know? Because it says that they're going to follow the "bright-line principles of NCLB," and that sounds cool and reassuring. Like "benchmarks." Let the celebrations begin!...


How to Fix No Child Left Behind TIME It's countdown time in Philadelphia's public schools. Just 21 days remain before the state reading and math tests in March, and the kids and faculty at James G. Blaine Elementary, an all-black, inner-city school that spans pre-K to eighth grade, have been drilling for much of the day. Teachers Lacking Certification Are Told They Will Be Terminated Washington PostA D.C. public schools official has notified more than 300 teachers that they will be terminated next month if they do not have the proper credentials to remain in the classroom. U.S. ...


Over at Eduwonk, Andy's Spellings suckup continues with his typically belated and rose-colored recap of Spellings' appearance on TV. According to Rotherham, Spellings "looked good, and came off well, pragmatic and not ideological...they should send her out to big-time TV more, would help their case.". Excellent. Hey, why read about it here when you can read a less critical version of it three days later over there?...


Much as I am trying to avoid it, becoming a better journalist is apparently getting easier and easier. Thanks to the folks at Poynter Online, you can now participate from your desk in "webinars" -- short, cheap, phone-Internet combo training sessions -- rather than traveling for a costly workshop or weeklong session. It's all part of Poynter's News University, a two year-old effort that currently offers 40 courses to more than 40,000 registered users. Many of the online courses are free, and interactive -- popular with journalism students and working reporters alike. There's no education-specific course yet (hint, hint), ...


I am informed (not by the USDE) that Secretary Spellings was wearing a necklace made of rose quartz, not larimar, the other night on The Daily Show. "Reflecting the azure blue waters of the Caribbean, Larimar is a recently discovered rare gemstone found in only one minesite on our Planet,"according to this website. Too bad. According to the site, "Larimar works to bring truth to the communications process."...


OK, here's the deal: I find the articles, you read them. This time, it's a long look at Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's repeated failed efforts to win control over the district schools in a recent New Yorker (Fault Lines). Looks like a fascinating story of politics, ambition, and -- now -- onward and upward to gang violence as the new issue of the day....


Schools for Pregnant Girls in New York Will Close NYT Created in the 1960s, when pregnant girls were such pariahs that they were forced to leave school until their babies were born, the city school system’s four pregnancy schools — or P-schools, as they are obliquely referred to — have lived on, their population dwindling to just 323 students from 1,500 in the late 1960s. Clinton Pitches Pre-school Access for All NPR Sen. Hillary Clinton said this week that if she's elected president, she will ensure access to high-quality pre-school for all families in the United States. Advocates say the ...


Over at the Mother Jones blog, Gary Moskowitz goes off on Spellings for shedding responsibility too easily and gives me a little shout-out for the Spellings-Gonzales comparison (despite the fact that I've been mis-spelling the AG's name for weeks now). Money quote: "In the first 30 seconds of her Daily Show interview last night, [Spellings] laughingly deferred Jon Stewart's joke about Lunchables to agriculture officials, and Stewart's food pyramid question to Health and Human Services. But her "hands are tied" arguments are wearing thin."...


Boy who slept in trash is student of the year MSNBC For much of his life, 11-year-old D.J. Graffree was a cocky kid who didn't need any adults to look after him or tell him what to do. Now he is an example for other children. How to avoid pesky NCLB testing requirements EIA Intelligencer Just start measuring fingers. Washington state teen wins geography bee MSNBC What city, divided by a river of the same name, was the imperial capital of Vietnam? The answer won 14-year-old Caitlin Snaring from Redmond, Wash., a $25,000 college scholarship Wednesday at the ...


Congrats to education journalism star and all-around smartypants Joshua Benton of the Dallas Morning News (not nearly as angelic as he appears here) for having been named just one of 30 folks to get a Nieman Fellowship to go party learn stuff at Harvard next year. (See here for the announcement). I don't really believe in these residential sabbaticals, but would go if I weren't too chicken too apply and had better clips. In any case, Cambridge will never be the same. Congrats and condolences to Benton and the rest of the education team in Dallas. I guess the New ...


What's the connection between former Justice Department official Monica Goodling (no relation, far as I know), who is testifying about her role as liaison between the White House and DOJ on the fired attorneys, and education? Well, Goodling's counterpart in the Reading First scandal has yet to be heard from. Her name's Beth Ann Bryan, and once this whole Gonzales thing is done with I hope we'll get to hear from her, too -- ideally under oath and without immunity....


Forget what I have to say (below), and check out the video yourself: That face she makes when asked about smiting the teachers unions is good, as is the wink she gives when offering her "I don't recall" answer....


EdWeek's recent NAEP test results story (Test Gains Reigniting Old Debate) does a good job exposing the ritualized response that follows the release of NAEP scores as various folks try and make sense of the results (and, often, bolster their cause). How big were the gains, and were they attributable to -- or in spite of -- the focus on reading and math that has come with NCLB and Reading First? Not surprisingly, the Administration takes the view that all good things stem from NCLB, while others -- social studies advocates, for example -- aren't so sure that federal programs ...


Integration compromise is reached Omaha.com Lawmakers took major strides Monday toward creating a metro-area school integration plan that would settle lingering disagreements and keeps the Omaha Public Schools intact. Literacy Push Starts Earlier Washington Post By pushing for all children to read before the start of first grade, Montgomery school leaders have embraced an emerging goal in public education. In essence, kindergarten has become the new first grade. Immigration Raid Leaves Sense of Dread in Hispanic Students NYT After a sweep yields 49 arrests in one Minnesota community, students head to class fearful their parents will be targeted next ...


For anyone who's not an education geek, the real fun of last night's Daily Show wasn't EdSec Spellings' appearance but rather the show's hilarious coverage of the current immigration debate going on in Congress, which included one segment in which a correspondent says reform opponents are worried about the US becoming a "backup" country for illegal immigrants -- "like Wesleyan," and another correspondent, this one tall white and balding, goes to Mexico and try and get back into the US illegally with the help of his burro "Smuggly." Hilarious, over the top, can't-believe-they-said-that kind of stuff that's usually found on ...


First went the manufacturing jobs. Then the back office call centers and tech support functions went overseas. Then, just a few years ago though it seems like an eon, we learned about tutoring from across the world. Most recently, editors started looking for overseas reporters to cover domestic news (Pasadena, to be specific). Now, one more step: outsourced fast-food order-taking. As this USA Today story describes, it hasn't gone international yet, but that's just a matter of time: 'Want fries with that?' could be coming from Delaware. What's next?...


If you have absolutely nothing better to do, check out my latest screed over at the Huffington Post (Spellings Does Comedy), which combines my last few posts about Spellings and the media into one big pile of misogyny and anger (hence the ominous picture of Heath Ledger as The Joker in the upcoming Batman movie). I promise to write about something other than Spellings next time. In the meantime, for lighter fare, check out Gerald Bracey on education research, or Ravitch on history. Man, don't those two ever shut up? (The promised irony.)...


Dear Jon: Here are some questions you might ask Secretary Spellings tonight on the show: In an all-out brawl between you and Secretary of State Condi Rice, who do you think would win, what is your preferred fighting style, and can I watch? How come that guy Alberto is getting such a hard time from Congress while you're sharing laughs and brownie recipes? Is it because he's short, or just because he's Mexican? So basically Reading First is being fixed and you've got a commission studying student loans, so we shouldn't worry or anything, right? What are we to make ...


In even the most troubled big-city school systems, I like to think that there are at least a few folks who have a combination of institutional knowledge, big-picture savvy, and organizational and interpersonal skills to get useful things done. Sometimes these gems are old hands who have been in the system forever and somehow managed not to get crushed or narrowed or made mean. All they need is to have their energies and inner entrepreneur unshackled. Sometime they are newcomers, fresh out of biz school or somewhere else who manage to pick up what they need to know about how ...


Always looking for vivid details to open and close their otherwise mundane education stories, reporters and their editors often glom onto little things that may or may not really make much of a difference to students' lives and school improvement. In this reporter's notebook, NPR's Larry Abramson comes clean about his own tendencies towards snap judgments and first impressions, and the effects reporters' feelings have on their coverage. He compares his impressions of two New Orleans schools, one favorable and the other not so favorable, and wonders how much his first impressions really matter and whether they cloud his ability ...


For a while now, especially in Texas, reformers and advocates like Peyton Wolcott (here)have been calling on school districts to publish their check registers online so that everyone can see what they're spending their money on. However, as this Dallas Morning News article points out, not every district that is participating does it for the right reasons -- and not every check register is easy to find or to understand (here). Does your district post its checkbook online, and if so what does it tell you about how they're spending their money?...


Parents of Disabled Child Win Ruling NYT The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that parents of disabled children do not have to hire lawyers to sue school districts when they attempt to ensure that their children's special needs are adequately met. Education put to the humor test USA Today With twin scandals nipping at her heels, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings tonight appeals directly to America's youth: She appears on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. Documentation for the Undocumented? Inside Higher Ed Immigration reform package would offer path toward permanent legal status to college students lacking residency rights in U.S. ...


On Monday, Sen. Clinton came out with a $10 billion early childhood proposal that (Clinton Pushes Pre - Kindergarten Proposal). Apparently designed by Catherine Brown and Jake Sullivan on the Clinton domestic team, it looks pretty vanilla to me, but wins a speedy approval from the Ed Sector's Sara Mead, who says about the Clinton plan that it is "right on the merits and also plays well politically." Oh, goody. Over at Early Stories, Richard Colvin takes a slightly broader look around, pointing out that neither Clinton nor the Ed Sector are alone in the early childhood space (New America, ...


The AFT blog links to a song that's apparently going around via email these days (Not on the Test) and then pretty much simultaneously debunks and scaremongers about the idea that teachers' jobs might depend on student test scores: "Thankfully, for the most part, and for now, this is not really true. Teachers are not yet losing their jobs because of students’ poor test performance. But it is a frightening concept. A teacher’s career and livelihood could depend upon the performance of a bunch of eight-year olds. Think about any eight year-old that you know. Even the best kid ...


Over at Eduwonk, Andy says that the wrangling over an immigration reform bill may anger conservatives and scuttle chances for anything constructive on NCLB reauthorization (The Conservatives Are Revolting!), but I think that would only be the case if NCLB 2.0 was closer to being ready to go. If immigration reform gets done, its main effect will be on the families of schoolchildren whose parents aren't here legally. Either way, it seems to me that there'll be enough down time -- and enough differences when it comes to committee jurisdiction -- that NCLB reauthorization (I'm still betting '09) won't ...


In honor of EdSec Spellings' appearance [tomorrow] tonight on The Daily Show (lucky for her she's not going to be on Colbert, who's much harder on his guests), here's the transcript from Stephen Colbert's famous spoof, No Guns Left Behind, about how the answer to school safety is to arm the teachers: here. Enjoy. She's also apparently an American Idol fanatic. It seems a little frivolous, given her current circumstances. I mean, shouldn't she be hanging out close to home, fixing student loans and Reading First instead of indulging herself? But then again, Stewart will probably fall for the charm ...


My telepathic powers over the NYT editorial board seem to have returned momentarily with this weekend's blast regarding Reading First (Putting More Profit Before Education). I have long been calling for equal treatment of Reading First with that upstart, student lending. For this I'll forgive the Times for calling RF the "cornerstone" and for calling the Kennedy report on RF a Congressional study....


Evolution Opponent Is in Line for Schools Post NYT A member of the Kansas school board who supported its efforts against teaching evolution is running unopposed for the National Association of State Boards of Education. What If Every Child Had A Laptop? Sixty Minutes Are Intel and other computer giants helping or hurting the worldwide One Laptop initiative? Fiscal Chill Puts Squeeze on Several States Ed Week In all, 11 states were taking in fewer dollars than they had expected as of February of this year. Schools can't agree on what to do with twins Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Dawn Lynch had ...


Washington Watch Reading First Scandal Moves Up The Media Food Chain Why Spellings (Probably) Won't Get Canned Kame’enui KO'd: Reading First Official To Leave ED Campaign 2008 Edwards Rolls Out College Aid Plan Top Dem 2008 Candidates Have UPK Fever Candidates Begin To Talk Education... NCLB Notes Everyone's Got Different Takes On NAEP Scores Hey, Let's Convene, Says Spellings To The Hill Big Surprise: Chicago Hates Tutoring A Recruiting Campaign That Would Make Joe Camel Proud School Life Headline Of The Week: "Love Me Tenure" The Dangerous Book For Boys Media Watch One Student Dead Every 10 Days In ...


Now that Wolfowitz is out at the World Bank, and Gonzalez seems poised for his own departure from Justice, it might seem logical that Spellings would be next. And, to some, her departure would be an appropriate result given the current spate of scandals plaguing the Education Department. However, there are a number of reasons why Spellings won't get canned, for practical, political, and other reasons. For starters, the Democratic lust for blood is likely to be sated somewhat by the Wolfowitz and Gonzalez departures. Ditto for the media. No lawmaker has taken the lead on the Spellings issue -- ...


Book for Boys Soars to Dizzying Heights Wall Street Journal (free) "The Dangerous Book for Boys" purports to aim itself at a particularly inscrutable and un-book-friendly audience: boys around the age of 10. So here are instructions on how to skip stones, fold a paper hat, make a battery, and hunt and cook a rabbit. It includes a description of the Battle of Thermopylae, but also how to play Texas Hold 'Em poker, and use the phrases "Carpe diem" and "Curriculum vitae."...


GAO report: Schools need more training on handling emergencies USA Today Eight years after the Columbine High School shootings and nearly six years after Sept. 11, 2001, many of the nation's public schools are short on both the equipment and expertise they'll need in case of a full-scale terrorist attack, natural disaster or biohazard emergency, a government report says. Principals Act in Plan to Reduce Bureaucracy NYT Chancellor Joel I. Klein is challenging New York City’s public school principals to free themselves as much as possible from outside oversight under a new reorganization. Bullying teen gets public punishment MSNBC ...


"Almost 600,000 of America's 1 million active and reserve soldiers enlisted as teens," begins this piece from In These Times that is the latest riff on the old NCLB military recruiting story (America's Child Soldier Problem). "The military lures these physiologically immature kids with a PR machine that would make Joe Camel proud. Its 7,350 17-year-olds needed parental consent to enlist, and only this April were all barred from battle zones. But the military aims even lower, marketing itself to children as young as 13 with multimedia videos, school visits and cold calls to teens' homes and cell ...


There's not much detail -- or surprise -- in this post from AFT John about Sen. Obama Addressing the AFT's Executive Council, but we'll take what we can get. Sounds like Obama has UPK fever. Ditto for Clinton. Do you have any signs of UPK fever? If so, see instruction sheet for self-care guidelines....


I'm not sure I agree with everything in this piece about how educators view the media (Elephants in the Room), but it's an important perspective: "City teachers brace themselves when a school-related story makes the front page. The news usually isn't good. When mainstream media report on urban schools, the real story is often what goes unsaid."...


The Gonzalez echoes continue today with the accusation that Education officials may have used unofficial email addresses to communicate about Reading First, just like it was said White House and Department of Justice officials might have done about firing those poor attorneys. In that case, officials were accused of using their Republican National Committee email addresses, in part to avoid having their communications stored on government computers or available to groups that wanted to FOIA the communication. Maybe the RNC email system just works better? And what about personal preference? I mean, I like Gmail, but some folks like AOL ...


See below for NAEP and Reading First stories. The Black And White Of "Ho" Culture Washington Post In a new twist in American race relations, a federal court has ruled that a white teacher in a predominantly African-American school was subjected to a racially hostile workplace. Positive Outlook Aids New Orleans School Recovery NPR Students and teachers at a New Orleans charter school damaged by Hurricane Katrina and, later, a tornado have pushed ahead by focusing on the positive. In this high school class, it is rocket science Christian Science Monitor Brett Williams has his students build a rocket each ...


Everyone's got slightly different things to say about the NAEP history and civics scores released yesterday: Basic scores are up, but not proficient or advanced. NCLB is holding history back, or helping kids read better. Younger kids are doing better than last time, but not older kids. You get the idea. Students Gain Only Marginally on Test of U.S. History NYT More than half of high school seniors still showed poor command of basic facts like the effect of the cotton gin on the slave economy or the causes of the Korean War. More Students Know Basics of History ...


The LA Times' opinion page gets the headline of the week award for this headline about the pros and cons of teacher tenure: Love me tenure. For those of you who might not remember the lyrics, sung by Elvis Presley in a movie of the same name: "Love me tender, love me sweet, Never let me go. You have made my life complete, And I love you so."...


Embattled RF advisor Ed Kame'enui is leaving his federal post, according to this EdWeek story (Former ‘Reading First’ Adviser to Leave Federal Post). You may recall Kame'enui as one of the folks who testified in front of Cong. Miller a few weeks ago, and was one of four folks who were hung out to dry in the Kennedy report. However, accounts differ as to whether Kame’enui was fired, is resigning, or is just finishing out his contract. UPDATE: Group Wants Probe of Education E-Mails A private watchdog group asked the Education Department's inspector general on Wednesday to investigate the ...


After a short but successful stint covering national stories, fast-moving former US News education reporter Elizabeth Weiss Green has now made the move to the New York Sun, where her first story has just appeared (Klein Relieves Some Critics' Concerns About Arab School). She's going to focus on NYC reform efforts, competing against the big boys at the Times, etc. Congrats, condolences, as usual....


ABC News' Brian Ross has been tracking the Reading First thing online for a while now at his website, The Blotter, but it wasn't until last night that the nightly broadcast jumped into the fray with a segment about how Reading First benefited a bush benefactor, Randy Best of Voyager, which sold for $360M. You can read about it and watch the segment online. It includes Slavin and Cindy Cupp, whose programs were excluded, and an interview with Cong. Miller. Over-simplified? Sure. Still not the lead story? Of course not. But it's another step up the media food chain for ...


While The Ed In '08 folks are concerned there's not enough edutalk in the debates (No Room for ED?), the AFTies report that Sen. Biden and other candidates are talking to teachers (Sen. Biden Talks Education) and Inside Higher Ed rounds up candidates higher ed plans (Higher Ed and 2008). What I want to know is who is doing the candidates' policy development work? I know one former USDEr who's doing some work on the side for one of the R candidates. And I've reported previously that Cassandra Butts from the Center on American Progress may be doing education and ...


"District administrators had hoped the recommended logo — three student figures in red, white and blue beneath five stars in the frame of a big blue "D" — would bolster their efforts to improve the Dallas Independent School District's image. What came out, though, was "dull, busy and marred by student figures reminiscent of Pillsbury Doughboys," according to some trustees at DISD's board briefing." (Brand New: Dallas gets a "D" in Design)...


"So far this school year, at least 27 Chicago Public Schools students have been killed. That's one young life every 10 days," according to this Chicago Tribune article. "District officials do not keep an official tally, but they know 20 students have been shot to death, matching the highest total since they began tracking it nine years ago. The Tribune has identified seven more students who were beaten, suffocated or stabbed to death. Last week was especially deadly."...


Weird Kid Shines During Dissection Project: Hollis' crooked glasses and musty odor were all but forgotten as he briefly transcended his social awkwardness in a recent dazzling display of frog dissection....Area Man Lives Vicariously Through Son's Bully: Mike Zerbe, 39, father of bullied son Timmy Zerbe, 8, expressed avid interest in the fighting stance and other qualities...Prospective Student Had Most Fun Getting Drunk At Arizona State: After taking a week off from school to evaluate prospective colleges, high school senior Angela Ross said Monday...Majority Of Parents Abuse Children, Children Report: "My parents force me to finish my ...


Calculators tell teachers which pupils need help USA Today Texas Instruments, whose calculators helped make the company a household name, has found a way to help teachers quickly identify students who may be failing math, Chief Executive Rich Templeton said Monday. Glitch Forces Students in Va. to Stop Mid-Exam Washington Post Thousands of Virginia students who took state standardized tests online yesterday were forced to stop because of a computer problem and will have to retake the exams, state education officials said....


Study Finds College-Prep Courses in High School Leave Many Students Lagging NYT Only a quarter of high school students who take the core courses are well prepared for college, the study says. Romney hearts No Child Left Behind First Look MSNBC Romney was just asked to name a policy shift he's made that MIGHT not be popular with the GOP base. Romney named his support for No Child Left Behind. (To be honest, we didn't know he supported it.) House Freshmen Could Be Pivotal on NCLB Renewal Ed Week Some opposed the law on campaign trail, but have refined their ...


Some Chicago-area students put together this video about kids being bullied. The song isn't great, but the visuals and the message are pretty powerful: via think:lab...


Hmmm. A big-city district (Chicago) examines a provision in NCLB that it has long detested (SES tutoring) and finds that 30-60 hours of tutoring per year (six to 12 days of school) has a minimal benefit (but won't release the study). Big surprise. Check it all out here: $50 million -- for what? (Chicago Sun-Times)....


Thankfully someone's paying attention to the Edwards campaign, or else I would have missed the new college plan, which TQATE's Erin Dillon posts about (here) as a plan that would increase and simply the college aid process, but might send aid to those who don't need it most. "I worry that this program would end up leaving out the students who need the most help, and inadvertently shift grant aid to students who tend to receive more in other forms of financial aid, like tax credits, loans, and merit-based institutional aid."...


Former AP education writer Anjetta McQueen is leaving the Brookings Institute, where she worked in communications, to head out to LA and be a lawyer. She's joining an LA firm that represents unions in the motion picture industry, journalism, and the public sector (yes, including teachers). After leaving AP, McQueen worked at the NEA and then Brookings. Congrats. Condolences. Etc....


In a letter from EdSec Spellings sent the day after she appeared in front of the House education committee, Spellings urges the committee leaders to...get back to work on NCLB? "I acknowledge your committee’s oversight function. I look forward to answering your questions and those of other members, and to meeting with any members who would like to discuss these matters in further detail...I am hopeful that the pursuit of oversight will not delay moving forward legislatively on these two important laws." Full text below....


Dear Readers: If you've got a question or concern about something you see on this blog -- and who doesn't, really? -- remember that you can post a comment directly on the site that I and everyone else will see. You don't have to email me individually, though you can. That way, whatever is on your mind gets directly in front of people and doesn't have to wait for me to get around to it. Whatever you decide to do, please remember that this is a blog -- an online column, basically -- not an attempt to cover anything comprehensively ...


Affirmative Action For the Obama Girls? Washington Post Barack Obama doesn't think anyone should cut his two daughters any slack when they apply to college -- not because of their race, at least. Via EdNews.org. U. of Texas Fires Officer Over Tie to Loan Company NYT The University of Texas has fired the director of financial aid at its Austin campus for improper conduct. NCLB Rules on ‘Quality’ Fall Short EdWeek Advocates vary in how they suggest the teacher-quality mandate of the No Child Left Behind Act has fallen short. Rank This, U.S. News LA Times Under the ...


Maybe this Kennedy-Spellings editorial was put into action long ago, but having it come out just now seems downright awkward. Spellings is just coming off her rough appearance in front of the House committee, and is presumably going to have do another round of the same in front of Kennedy. Not to mention that the topic -- dropout prevention -- seems wildly off message. What a 90s way to generate interest in school reform. It's all about STEM, now, baby! Those Gates folks must have put them up to it....


For a while now, the LA Times' School Me blog has been a much-admired newspaper education blog, what with its fun graphics, combo of commentary and superlocal news, and all the rest. Now comes news that the site is going on haitus. It's hard to tell whether this is temporary or permanent, but my honest guess is the latter. It's nothing more than a guess, though, and I hope I'm wrong. Either way, thanks to Bob and Janine for giving the edusphere a look at what a well-run blog could look like....


The folks over at Edutopia's Spiral Notebook link to TeacherTube.com, which, as you might have guessed, is a collection of online videos for teachers....


While others may insist on praising her performance for a little while longer, at least the NYT editorial page has joined the fray in pointing out that Spellings' "it's not my fault" excuse is neither satisfying nor particularly plausible....


"A girl and her grandparents have sued the Chicago Board of Education, alleging that a substitute teacher showed the R-rated film "Brokeback Mountain" in class," according to this article (School Board Sued Over "Brokeback Mountain" Screening). "The lawsuit claims that Jessica Turner, 12, suffered psychological distress after viewing the movie in her 8th grade class at Ashburn Community Elementary School last year."...


First they outsourced manufacturing. Then call centers. Then tutoring. Now someone wants to outsource news coverage (Pasadena Paper May Outsource 'Local' Coverage). What next? Think tanks. Yeah, that's the ticket....


Educating the Education Secretary NYT “It’s not our fault.” That’s what Education Secretary Margaret Spellings seemed to say while testifying before Congress last week about her department’s failure to halt the payoffs, kickbacks and general looting of the public treasury by a lending company that collected nearly $300 million in undeserved subsidies. The Teachers Who Cheat San Francisco Chronicle Some help students during standards test -- or fix answers later -- and California's safeguards may leave more breaches unreported. Parents withdraw students from state tests Scripps Howard News Service Albert attends a program for hearing-impaired children at ...


Campaign '08 Dem. Candidates Pilgrimage To NOLA (Again) EdCheck.Org -- Fact-Checking All The Spin Site News We're On NPR! Russo Bullies Vallas Latest Huffington Post: "Spellings Pulls A Gonzalez" Foundation Follies The Sundance Of School Reform Can Education Entrepreneurs Crack Public Education? Greeding First (& Student Lending, Too) Miller Gets Worked Up At Spellings Explanations Special Treatment For Spellings Behind The Scenes: Spellings, Miller, & Kennedy What About Beth Ann Bryan? NCLB News States Complain About NCLB Urban Education The Two Pauls In New Orleans Kool-Aid Pickles, And Cute Drug Names Too School Life The Sound Of Cell Phones One Killed ...


My latest oeuvre from The Huffington Post: Is Education Secretary Spellings The Next Alberto Gonzales? "The only thing saving Education Secretary Margaret Spellings from drifting into Alberto Gonzales territory right now is, well, Alberto Gonzales." As always, please let me know if I've missed anything or gotten it entirely wrong....


I heard last week that EdWeek associate editor Jeff Archer recently left for a new job at New Leaders for New Schools. Speaking of new jobs, former Philly Enquirer star Dale Mezzacappa was walking around at EWA with the Philly Notebook on her badge, signaling that she's likely to be doing more work for them in the near future. I had the pleasure of meeting reporter Amy Waldman down in NOLA, so I assume that means she's working on a followup to her terrific Atlantic piece. I also heard that somebody is working on a biography of Paul Vallas, or ...


Welcome to Schools For Tomorrow, the new blog from HeadFirst Colorado, the education magazine that describes itself as "education on the edge." Already in its first week, the blog has tackled topics as diverse as the Tough Choices report and the exodus of students from Denver Public Schools. And, lest you think Colorado is some sort of school reform wasteland, remember that Ed In '08 honcho Roy Romer used to be governor there, much-touted outsider superintendent Michael Bennett is pushing hard there (especially on the ELL and charter fronts), and that the Gates Foundation's first major debacle, the failed conversion ...


"What the hell is the deal with school buses?," begins this post from Fussbucket (Flying Children). "We spend the first five years of our kids’ lives breaking our backs buckling and strapping them down in the backseat of the car, only to send them off to sit in one of those giant yellow buses without even a rope to hang on to should things go awry."...


The Times (Spellings Rejects Criticism on Student Loan Scandal) and Post (Education Secretary Defends Loans Record) both take it pretty easy on Spellings, whose performance was to my view neither particularly effective or especially believable. I think that this is in part due to the ongoing tendency in the press to take it easy on her and also because it was mostly Miller and other Dems, not Republicans, who challenged her. This is in a stark contrast to the treatment that, say, Alberto Gonzalez is getting during his Hill appearances, where it is Republicans who are ridiculing Gonzalez as much ...


New Figures Show High Dropout Rate Washington Post First lady Laura Bush and national education leaders yesterday unveiled an online database that promises to provide parents across much of the nation the first accurate appraisal of how many students graduate from high school on time in each school system. For Community Colleges, 'Seduction' in Marketing? Washington Post Dear Extra Credit: I am writing to tell you about what I call the Montgomery College Seduction. McKeon Bill to Stress Tutoring CA Signal McKeon's bill is part of an effort in each party on the House Education and Labor committee to introduce ...


Get your morning started by checking out the PEN NewsBlast, which this week includes some interesting articles about how students think of themselves, what moms earn, and this week's favorite -- school bus emissions. Or, go to The Gadfly and check out their take on "STEM mania" and the queen's visit. Last but not least, there's the Ed Trust's Equity Express, below, full of all sorts of "gap-zapping" stories. I guess no one's told them about STEM mania....


No, not really (though we have been in the past). This time, it's the Bryant Park Project, one of NPR's new blog/shows, which covers the Spellings testimony and gives us a shout out over our eye for fashion (and Spellings' repetitious dressing habits). Thanks, Matt!...


States say that they don't have the capacity to implement the school turnaround provisions of NCLB, according to a new national report based on surveys and interviews with state ed officials (link here). There's some news coverage here:  Federal education mandates faulted. As in the past with this series, I appreciate the information and respect the source, but wish that it didn't rely so much on self-reported data. What do districts, federal officials, and outside observers say about state performance in terms of implementing NCLB?...


Wearing a somber black top and pearls, EdSec Spellings endured repeated interruptions, refutations, and harrumphs from a worked-up Chairman Miller in the first leg of this morning's oversight hearing (now on break, video here). Essentially, Spellings is claiming that the student lending program is complex and not entirely under her jurisdiction, and that taking lenders to court would have been difficult. For show or for real, Miller is lambasting the USDE for not having told the lenders to stop, and pointing out that many lenders did so without going to court. "Nobody at the Department of education showed up at ...


A Sweet So Sour: Kool-Aid Dills NYT They are either the worst thing to happen to pickles or a particularly brave new taste sensation, but Kool-Aid dills are now popular in Mississippi Delta. Drug dealers' gimmicks target kids Dallas Morning News Pot Tarts. Strawberry Quick. Cheese. The names are cute and hip, but the products drug dealers are peddling with them are deadly nonetheless, according to police who are struggling to keep up with the latest gimmicks aimed at getting young kids hooked on narcotics....


I love all the infighting and maneuvering that's going on behind the scenes leading up to Thursday's student lending and Reading First hearing. It's so very familiar and delicious. On Tuesday, the USDE announced that its top student loan officer had resigned -- giving Spellings the chance to tell Miller that appropriate action has already been taken on that front. (Nearly everyone associated with Reading First is already gone.) Then she gave some sort of a friendly pre-interview to Andy Rotherham on Wednesday, where she apparently repeats much of her defense from EWA last week -- some of it word ...


Copying School Plan a Mistake, Fenty Says Washington Post D.C. Mayor says the administration made a mistake in lifting sections of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., school system's "strategic plan." Charter chain shows results, ambitions Dallas Morning News The preferred term is "promotion ceremony," for the record. But whatever you do, don't call what's about to happen at KIPP TRUTH Academy an "eighth-grade graduation." Psychiatrists, Children and Drug Industry's Role NYT When Anya Bailey developed an eating disorder after her 12th birthday, her mother took her to a psychiatrist at the University of Minnesota who prescribed a powerful antipsychotic drug ...


There was no really big news at the NSVF summit in New Orleans, but I did learn some things, large and small: For example, Internet access at the Ritz costs $275 per person but a secret helper helped me out (thanks!). There was lots of talk about engaging with the public side, but there were few public-sector (SEA, LEA, school-level) folks there to provide a reality check. There was lots of talk about a "diversified provider" model of school district (ie, district plus charter schools). However, no one can really agree on what a "turnaround" school is yet (they're working ...


Federal Student Loan Chief Will Step Down Washington Post The head of the U.S. Education Department's student loan office announced her resignation yesterday amid mounting criticism of the agency's oversight of the loan industry. Government Slow To Address School Bus Emissions CNN.com Day in and day out, children across the U.S. are riding to school on aging buses, breathing what some activists say is a dangerous brew of pollutants up to five times dirtier than the air outside. Paying Brave Teachers What They're Worth Washington Post (Mathews) Eighteen award-winning teachers have come up with a performance-pay plan ...


The two Pauls -- LA state supe Pastorek and incoming RSD supe Vallas (far left and middle, respectively) -- appeared onstage today in what was billed as their first public appearance together, mapping out their plans for New Orleans. Some notable tidbits: Vallas credited Sen. Landrieu for first putting the idea of coming to NOLA in his mind several years ago; Pastorek claimed that the RSD and the Orleans Parish (elected) board were working together now and emphasized the temporary nature of the state takeover. In what might be a hint at the timeframe question that many have asked about, ...


Both Clinton and Obama were in town for the Mayors Conference, and Obama did a Saturday school event at a charter school (hint, hint). Apparently his advance folks did a fine job gussying up the library where the event was held with new books and stuffed animals. Gotta love those photo ops. Now comes news that Clinton will be back here for another bite at the apple next week at Dillard University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU)....


3 Shot By College Student In Fresno Huffington Post Police searched neighborhoods near a university campus Tuesday for a student suspected of opening fire in an apartment during a dispute over a video game console, killing one person and wounding two....


After all these years, some education entrepreneurs are still struggling with the need to engage with "them" -- the public and political entities that govern public education. You'd be amazed (or maybe you wouldn't). For that reason, the tone was calm, but the challenges presented at the opening NSVF session that just finished this morning in New Orleans were actually quite pointed. Moderated by Andy Rotherham, the session focused on whether and how the education philanthropy community and its beneficiary groups can more so in the future engage with and make a difference in the rest of the education world, ...


There are two great fac t-check sites out there, but we need a third. The first, FactCheck.org, is already up and running fact-checking the presidential candidates' claims and ideas. Amazing what those guys try and get away with if they think you're not going to know the difference. For this, the site just won 2 Webby "People's Voice" awards in the categories of politics and government categorie. And now there's a new site, FactCheckED.org, because kids need access to accurate and unbiased information, too. It lists official sources, expert views, and flags potentially biased and unreliable sources. The ...


So to speak... Obama takes US auto industry to task, offers help Detroit Free Press He said he would add funding to help with the No Child Left Behind school accountability law, increase block grant funding to cities and organize nonprofits to build “innovative mixed-income housing.” Teen arrested for essay is reinstated MSNBC.com A high school senior arrested for writing a violent essay for an English class can return to school and will be allowed to graduate with his class, his attorney says. To raise an alarm, use cellphones? Christian Science Monitor Colleges weigh text messaging as a tool ...


One of the things that drives me crazy in journalism and in policymaking is what the New Yorker's James Surowiecki calls the "vividness heuristic" (It’s the Workforce, Stupid!): "the tendency to give undue weight to particularly vivid or newsworthy examples." His example is CEOs deciding to downsize based on the few successes that downsizing has created, ignoring the widespread reality that downsizing doesn't seem to make that much of a difference. Try and avoid glomming onto the vivid and ignoring the larger truth. Please....


I'm down in New Orleans at the New Schools Venture Fund annual summit -- the Davos weekend of education, some would say. (Others would say it's the convening of fancy suits out to destroy public education, starting with NOLA.) So far, everyone's been nice to me, and I did have to beg to get an invitation, but of course that won't stop me from biting the hand that feeds me if the self-importance level gets too high (or my sugar level gets too low). So far, I've seen NLNS's Jon Schnur, tanned but not rested, he tells me, run into ...


Never afraid to say what he thinks, know-nothing Alexander Russo calls incoming NOLA superintendent Paul Vallas "a little bit of a bully" in USA Today -- among other things (His challenge: Rebuild New Orleans' schools). Check it out....


A few DC insiders have written me saying that Sec. Spellings conspicuously left one name off the list when she basically hung out to dry all of those who were "responsible" for the Reading First fiasco at last week's EWA meeting: Beth Ann Bryan. Bryan, currently a lobbyist with Akin Gump, was a senior advisor to Paige and, according to some, was Spellings' plant in the Department and the contact person for Susan Neuman. Here she is, pictured with Sandy Kress right after the passage of NCLB. Maybe this is just more Austin-Houston feuding (talk about the Hatfields and the ...


"As the police cleared the bodies from the Virginia Tech engineering building, the cell phones rang, in the eccentric varieties of ring tones, as parents kept trying to see if their children were O.K.," opens this searing reflection on violence and gun control Adam Gopnik in last week's New Yorker (Shootings)....


Whistle-Blower [Jon Oberg] on Student Aid Is Vindicated NYT The whistle-blower’s story opens a window, lawmakers say, onto how the Bush administration resisted calls to improve oversight of the student loan industry. Lieberman: More education funding needed Ct Post For 100 percent of the nation's students to be proficient in reading and math as required by the No Child Left Behind law, the federal government has to cough up 100 percent of the funds it promised when it enacted the standards. An Angry Mother's Battle for Information Washington Post Many parents who complain about information blackouts after they report ...


Posts Of The Week Work Smarter, Not Harder Spellings Denies Early Involvement In Reading First Campaign 2008 Education Shut Out (Again) During Debate What If Presidential Candidates Break Out Of The Mold? Can $60 Million Make A Difference? On The Hill Executive Privilege Over Reading First? Redacted Reading First Emails Head Start On The Move Think Tanks, Advocacy Groups, & Foundations Joe Williams Joins Newish Pro-Charter Group Think Tanks All Dressed Up & Nowhere To Go? Is The Education Trust Too Influential? Urban Education School-Level Control Still Under Attack Vallas To Run (Part Of) NOLA School System Who's Got The Best School & ...


Kevin Carey (on Washington Journal as we speak) has some useful observations about "ED In '08" in his post about the Schwarzenegger / Broad panel yesterday in LA, particularly that the effort, by picking three particular issues, limits itself: "I wonder how ED in 08 will react if a major political candidate puts forth an education agenda that meets the test of seriousness, but doesn't focus on these issues."...


Over at TQATE, Sara calls my analysis of the Gates / Broad thing overly long and way off base, but ducks (at length) the issue of whether she thinks ED In '08 is going to work or not. Ditto for Eduwonk, who's maintained an uncharacteristic radio silence on this one for over a week now. There's a good reason for this, of course. Only a crazy person would criticize an initiative funded by philanthropists as deep-pocketed as Gate$ and Broad. Plus which, acknowledging that education isn't likely to be a big issue in 2008 risks leaving the Ed Sector and other ...


You can check out my post about the Broad/Gates initiative here, along with education-related posts from the likes of Bracey, Ravitch, and others....


As predicted, Paul Vallas is headed to New Orleans to help turn around the schools there. The contract details aren't out, but apparently he's going to start in July, make less than he did in Philadelphia, and, according to someone close to the negotiations, spend "as much time [in New Orleans] as it takes to make it a success." That last element -- the part-time superintendency -- could be problematic, not only because Vallas doesn't fly. I'm also not entirely clear about what Vallas' role will be with charter schools outside of the RSD system, which have (I think) been ...


Check out education reporter Chad LIvengood's new newspaper-sponsored education blog (Taking Notes), which features some fascinating news about a student accused of being a terrorist. Welcome to the edusphere, Chad....


Last week, the Gates and Broad foundations announced that former Colorado Governor (and LA schools superintendent) Roy Romer would help lead a new $60 million initiative to make education a top issue in the 2008 presidential campaign – one of the biggest single-issue efforts ever mounted. The next night, eight Democratic presidential aspirants debated for the first time, and the education issue was nowhere to be found. Ditto for the Republican debate last night in Simi Valley. It was a complete shutout. So what will it take to make American voters – and the politicians who woo them – think about education as ...


I'm told by a knowledgeable insider that FOIA'd versions of at least some of these documents requested by one or more journalists came back heavily redacted (blacked out). I've gotta learn how to do that FOIA thing one of these days....


One thing I neglected to mention about last night's Spellings appearance in LA and her comments about not having been intimately involved in Reading First is that, in response to a question from USA Today's Greg Toppo, Spellings said she wasn't sure whether the administration would release all the documents and emails that Congressman Miller had requested, based on executive privilege. Toppo pressed her on whether she would want to release the documents, but she said it was up to the White House....


The Fordham Foundation's Mike Petrilli doesn't seem exactly sure what to say about the Ed Trust's recent NCLB recommendations (here), which include a provision that would give some states with stronger achievement a little more time past 2014 to get to 100 percent. He praises the Trust -- cautiously -- for finally seeing the light (as he so recently did that I still can't quite forget it). But he's worried about several other recommendations, and also about the Trust's inordinate influence over the process, which pushes other education groups right and left out of the way. What Petrilli's analysis leaves ...


Skim the transcript of last night's debate (here) and you'll find tempting references to children left behind and grades and such -- but none of them used in reference to school reform. A few of the candidates said they didn't believe in evolution, though....


Educators re-examine who belongs in special ed classes AP Many children in special education classes may not belong there, the government says. A new policy is aimed at intervening early with intensive teaching to give struggling students a chance to succeed in regular classrooms and escape the "special ed" label. Seeing No Progress, Some Schools Drop Laptops NYT A handful of schools are abandoning one-to-one computing programs as educationally empty — and worse. Legal fight on vouchers brewing Salt Lake Tribune It's doubtful but not impossible that Utah will have a functioning school voucher program by fall after the Utah Board ...


In what may be a preview of her testimony at next week's House education committee hearing, EdSec Spellings explained at the EWA conference on Thursday that she should not be held responsible for the problems facing Reading First. She told the audience that as head of the White House DPC she was responsible for overseeing too many programs to have been so closely involved as Doherty and others have alleged. "It would have been impossible for me to have been intimately involved with oversight of all those programs," she said, though she was "generally aware" of the status of the ...


The Nation has a new issue out today looking at No Child Left Behind 5 years later; The synopsis from the two big pieces in the issue: "With US schools lagging far behind in the world in educational outcomes, the question isn't whether or not "No Child" is working. The question is what do we really need out of an educational system?" Linda Darling- Hammond, Professor of Education at Stanford University, visits the promise and problems of "No Child," and offers a blueprint for moving forward. A panel of experts on education policy, Pedro Noguera, Velma Cobb & Deborah Meier debate ...


Predictably, the AFT Blog jumps on the anti-SES bandwagon (Red Frown Face for Tennessee's SES Providers). Claiming that NCLB "purports to be all about accountability, but gives a pass to SES providers," the AFTies cite a Tennessee study that finds few if any effects for the state's SES providers, and calls for reducing or eliminating SES in the next NCLB. I've seen good and bad SES, but it seems pretty clear that there's a near-impossibility of determining SES impacts on annual state test scores from 30-50 hours of tutoring per year. Imagine if we tried to measure classroom teachers (or ...


Sometimes, the first-day stories don't get all of the story -- or get it right -- and then everyone else jumps on the bandwagon. Oops. Teacher cleared of wrongdoing in urination incident CNN.com "Less than five minutes into the class period, the student urinated into a bottle and discarded it in a trash can," the statement said. "Shocked at the student's actions, the teacher told the student to dispose of the bottle in the restroom and wash his hands." M.I.T. Dean Who Resigned Has a Degree After All NYT Marilee Jones, the former admissions dean at M.I.T....


It's not just Oscars presenters who get swag these days, though the EWA swag bag doesn't include that cute new shirt from Kitson that I was hoping to get. Best stuff this year? A Texas Instruments flash drive/bracelet (in blue) that lets you save your data and look fashionable at the same time. Nice! Not sure it works, though -- Jeff and Scott are having problems so far....


It's an online world out there, and so it's not a total surprise that EdWeek's Teacher Magazine is announcing that it's going online-only (PDF). They've already got some good teacher blogs over there, and have always had good content. UPDATE: More information is coming in now -- including that the change involves layoffs at EPE, most of them from the Teacher Mag side of things -- and that there will still be a couple of hard copy issues. UPDATE 2: Hard to find any specifics on the number of layoffs from EPE, but I'm told it's about 15 folks who ...


Gerald Bracey has an opinion piece in the Post (A Test Everyone Will Fail) arguing that NAEP achievement levels are not only too high, but also internally inconsistent and contradict other results. Bottom line? NAEP Bad....


There are charter schools everywhere in LA, it seems -- over 100 and no state cap, I'm told -- including the Oscar De La Hoya High School across the street from the hotel. It's one of those newfangled Green Dot charters where the teachers are union. Wonder if I can watch the big fight over there with them on Saturday night? In the hotel lobby: A clean-cut guy reading "How To Bulletproof School Choice," reporters and PR folks wandering through looking for food, EWA staffers running around setting things up (apparently the Governator is coming, along with Spellings, Art Levine, ...


Liftoff for 'helicopter' parents Christian Science Monitor If employers start involving parents with hiring, when do young people learn from mistakes as well as successes? Why It Is NOT Harder to Get Into Top Colleges Washington Post Please be careful to whom you show this column...It may render obsolete one of our most beloved newsroom traditions -- the college angst story....


Loan Firms Set to Regain Access to U.S. Student Data Wash Post The U.S. Department of Education moved yesterday to restore loan industry access to a national database with confidential information on millions of students, two weeks after it was shut down amid allegations of data mining and privacy violations. Maine Proposal Requires Students Apply to College Bangor Daily News After Maine became the first state to use SATs instead of the state's own tests as an academic measuring stick for high school juniors, education officials expected to see a slip in scores. But they noticed that the ...


House Votes to End Test Central to GOP's Shift on Head Start Wash Post The House dealt a blow to President Bush's chief early-childhood initiative yesterday, voting to end the standardized testing of 4-year-olds, which was at the heart of his efforts to refocus Head Start. Head Start may reach out to more kids Booth Newspapers As early as today, the U.S. House is expected to approve legislation that would renew the program for another five years and require the 2,700-plus U.S. Head Start programs to open their doors to more children, extend the number of classroom ...


It's true. This blog is better than grad school. How do I know? A very kind reader said so: "I just wanted to let you know that I'm completely addicted to your blog. I feel like I've learned more about the "political landscape" reading your blog than in all my years of grad school." How do I know it's not from my mom? Well, because mom doesn't read my blog....


We sift through them so you don't have to...Another Nail in the Coffin of the Savage Inequalities Meme D-Ed Reckoning: According to the Kozol crowd, our educational inequalities can be solved by putting poor and minority kids into affluent suburban schools. Gagaless Over Kristoff Eduwonk: Based on emails and blog posts it seems everyone is gaga over this Nicholas Kristof column today. Me, not so much. Are People in Washington Stupid? AFT Blog: Sec. Spellings is too smart to think that her bunny attack means anything to conservatives now or that she can use vouchers, a nonstarter, to get ...


You might find it hard to imagine sympathizing with military recruiters and boot camp drill instructors -- perhaps until you read The Army We Have in the upcoming Atlantic magazine ($), which details just how much "restructuring" military trainers are having to undergo in order to deal with the challenges they're facing in finding ways to motivate and shape a skill-lacking, individualistic, video-game generation of kids. Support the war or not, it's a story about difficult changes and reforms for a large, tradition-bound bureaucracy that has been long doing it it's own way. Sound familiar?...


Sensing a timely opportunity, Ed Next is rushing out its summer profile of EdSec Spellings to coincide with all the hullabaloo surrounding her upcoming appearance on the Hill, etc. Still, can a profile put out by folks (Finn, Petrilli et al) who are distinctly on the outs with Spellings be taken seriously -- and does the profile offer anything that we don't already know? Not from the press release, it seems. The fact that Spellings is on the hotseat is pretty clear, and we already know that Spellings was a hard-ass during the first few years, and then turned softie ...


Yield Documents, Lawmaker Tells White House NYT Steve Forde, a spokesman for the committee’s Republicans said, “Overly broad and politically motivated fishing expeditions will not restore faith in these programs — programs that continue helping millions of students learn to read and attend college, even to this day.” Vallas on deck in New Orleans Philadelphia Inquirer His hiring as schools chief could come this week. By Susan Snyder Paul Vallas is set to be named superintendent of yet another struggling urban school district - hurricane-ravaged New Orleans - probably by the end of the week, sources say. Spellings Called to ...


Congressman George Miller is peeved, it seems (or he's jealous of all the fun the folks on the Judiciary Committee are having)> He's asked not just the USDE but also the White House for all communications regarding student lending and Reading First, and submitted a list of folks whose emails and letters he wants to see. See below for the Miller press release, or click here. He specifically asks for communications to and from former Education Secretary Rodney Roderick Paige; former Senior Advisor to Secretary Paige, Beth Ann Bryan; former Deputy Secretary William Hansen; former Under Secretary and Deputy Secretary ...


I rarely look at individual school- or district-level achievement data, and when I do I never know where to go. State and district report cards are often hard to find -- and not exactly user-friendly when you get there. The two sites I know about have strengths and weaknesses. There's the GreatSchools.net, which was funded in part by New School Venture Fund and is focused on parents, then there's SchoolMatters.com, created by Standard and Poor's with help from Gates and Broad. Then there's Just4Kids. Which is better? Well, GreatSchools has the 2006 data for Chicago, while SchoolMatters has ...


"The contract of your local teacher union may be the single biggest influence on what happens in schools," opens this new report from the Hechinger Institute on covering teachers unions. "Find the tools to understanding these complex documents in our primer on Covering Teachers Unions." (pdf) Eduwonk says (jokingly, I think), "I don't see why this is so complicated that we need a guide, it's all about the kids you know." No word yet from the NEA or AFT, though I'm imagining there'll be some criticism of substance or tone....


Joe Williams, the freelance journalist, education writer, and author of NYC-focused blog The Chalkboard, is quitting mainstream journalism and the blogosphere (for now) and getting into politics as head of Democrats for Education Reform, a group that I never heard of until last week when "Who The Hell Is" Whitney Tilson told me about it. Not to be confused with the Black Crusaders, Democrats For Education Reform are a "nascent political organization that aims to move the Democratic Party to embrace genuine school reform," according to Tilson. But it's not exactly new -- except to me. You can find out ...


Such as they are... Warnings on Student Lenders Unheeded Washington Post The Bush administration killed a proposal to clamp down on the student loan industry six years ago following allegations that companies sought to shower universities with financial favors to help generate business, according to documents and interviews with government officials. Montessori schools look to future LA Times The methods are being used in a growing number of public schools, currently more than 300 in districts from San Francisco to Washington, D.C....


Want to know what big-time education reporters are thinking about -- what they think's interesting, and what they know and don't know? Check out the audio "Month In Review" for April 2007, featuring Greg Toppo from USA Today, Stephanie Banchero from the Chicago Tribune, and Jay Mathews from the Washington Post. There are some things everyone agrees on -- the drama of Virginia Tech, for example -- but many areas of difference and disagreement. What was the big story of the month, who were the month's winners and losers, what stories got over- and under-reported, and what's coming up for ...


The Education Writers Association is holding its annual conference in LA later this week, and will even post blog entries from the event. Yes, EWA is blogging. In fact, there’ll be lots about new media and multi-media packages, along with appearance by EdSec Spellings, Eli Broad, and new reports from EdSource, Art Levine on education research, and info on the student loan scandal. I'll be there, trying once more to learn how to report and write like a real journalist....


Making a difference amid a school's culture of cruelty CSM Anger is the unofficial mascot at my school...The acts of grace I've glimpsed, however, give me hope that the struggle against cruelty is well worth waging. Diversity sours at Lakeside Joanne Jacobs A push for diversity has backfired at a posh Seattle private school that happens to be the alma master of Bill Gates. Views of Parents, Students and Teachers Sought NYT New York City’s Department of Education has begun a $2 million citywide survey concerning attitudes about the public schools. Barely Legal Field Trip Action The Chalkboard ...


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