June 2007 Archives

Some people love The Mexican. Some hate him. But no one can deny his word is spreading. Two years since I last blogged about him (Only Gringos Call Gringos Gringos, Gabacho), he's in two dozen alternative weeklies and has a book coming out. As this NYT article describes (The Mexican Will See You Now), The Mexican is everywhere. Click below to see a list of questions about kids and parents and schools that I wish The Mexican would answer....


To increase its appeal to younger school children, Nike is making “Notebook” Dunk High, “Elmers Glue” Air Max 90, and the “Crayon” Vandal High shoes. Leave it to them to make sure that no shoe marketing angle goes untapped. The Biz Of Knowledge wonders whether the kids will fall for it (Nike Designs Shoes to Go to School). I say yes, or their parents will. Previously on Shoes: Roller Shoes: The Lawn Darts Of The New Millenium...


Here's an email from CCCR honcho Dianne Piche that highlights the idea that yesterday's decision doesn't make it illegal or impossible to promote school integration: "All programs that consider race in order to foster diversity have NOT been outlawed. The votes were 5-4 against the Seattle and Louisville school districts AND 5-4 in favor of legal principles favoring diversity. This so-called “split court” is not unlike the famous “Bakke” decision in the late 1970s, where the Court struck down an affirmative action policy with respect to admissions to the University of California-Davis medical school, while at the same time setting ...


Something like 34 school-age children in Chicago have been killed in the past year, and the deaths have created a lot of media coverage and political posturing along with serious concern. Here, Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn asks whether CPS officials and the media should be linking the deaths to the school system or not, given that many of the deaths were not on or near school grounds (Should we be counting the violent deaths of Chicago Public School students?). For some reason, the fact that these children all went to Chicago schools has helped galvanize attention. It's a tough ...


Teachers Target Bush's No-Child Law for Change Under Democrats ``The American public and educators agree -- Congress needs to change No Child Left Behind,'' said association President Reg Weaver, a former middle school teacher. Charter schools booming in the suburbs Philadelphia Inquirer Once found almost exclusively in urban centers with dismal academic options, charters such as Renaissance - located in a bucolic corner of the solid-performing Phoenixville Area School District - have become increasingly common in the suburbs. Phila. to Keep Outside School Managers One More Year EdWeek Experts who have been closely monitoring Philadelphia’s experiment with outside ...


By and large, the papers play the desegregation decision pretty straight: "Thursday's Supreme Court ruling on school diversity reinterprets the venerable Brown vs. Board of Education decision" (Fracturing a landmark LAT). Some of the wall to wall coverage took a slightly different tack: Don't Mourn Brown v. Board of Education New York Times. "With yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling ending the use of voluntary schemes to create racial balance among students, it is time to acknowledge that Brown’s time has passed." Or: Brown v. Board of Education has not been overturned (Wall Street Journal): "The end of this first ...


Only at The Fordham Foundation would they resolve an internal dispute by having Checker Finn, THE Gadfly, write a "letter to the editor" to The Gadfly, the publication he edits. And it's not the first time. "As a fairly regular Gadfly reader, I often find myself nodding in agreement at the wisdom and insight that it delivers," begins Finn's letter. "But I also feel obliged to point out the occasional blind spot..."...


I can't bear to think about it, and probably don't have anything interesting or new to say anyway, but here are more stories about the Supreme Court's deseg decision than you could ever hope to read, courtesy of Google News....


Things are sure heating up in the world of selling high school sports online. In an effort to compete with sports news sites like ESPN.com and social networking sites for athletes like Takkle.com (which most of us have probably never heard of), Yahoo! last week bought Rivals.com, a giant high school and college sports site, according to the NYT (here). But that's just the latest. Two weeks ago, the paper ran a story about the growth of online high school sports sites like Takkle.com and maxpreps.com, which ranks high school athletes from all over the ...


Over at the Dallas Morning News, Josh Benton's got the drop on some apparent misdeeds at the Texas Education Agency. No surprise there, except that the misdeeds may include the Gates Foundation (TEA: Agency officials got friends contracts). It's no secret that the Gates folks of late have been getting involved in state-level advocacy work. A reasonable strategy, I'd say. But their Texas guy, Jimmy Wynn, seems to have gotten over-involved, shall we say. Via EdNews.org. While we're on the subject of foundations and nonprofits, there's a new report from the Urban Institute that some would do well to ...


One in three teens report being cyber-bullied, according to a recent study -- most commonly by having private emails forwarded by someone else or shared publicly as form of harassment or embarassment....


"A former middle school security guard pleaded guilty today to holding a student captive in his house for 10 years and forcing her to have sex with him," according to this horrifying ABC News story (Man Pleads Guilty to Holding Girl Captive for 10 Years ). "Thomas Hose, 49, was sentenced to a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, but he could get out after only five years, his attorney told ABC News." That's less time than the girl was imprisoned, the story notes....


EdSec Spellings' increasingly fleshed-out ideas about a new AYP system described in today's USA Today have at least two obvious purposes. The first is to remind the public -- and Congress -- how much more they'll like the "new" NCLB, which ostensibly will have growth models, tutoring before choice, and all sorts of other bells and whistles that folks have been clamoring for since nearly the start. A "just missed" category for schools missing AYP by a subgroup falls into the same category, and helps Spellings make the case that NCLB should be reauthorized before it's too late (ie, politics ...


Spellings favors wiggle room for schools USA Today The U.S. Education Secretary has proposed a way of evaluating schools that would differentiate between schools that are close to meeting state standards and those that are underperformers. Union to Help Charter Firm Start School in the Bronx NYT A charter school operator from Los Angeles [Green Dot] is seeking to expand into New York with the cooperation of the teachers’ union. PLUS: Patrons’ Sway Leads to Friction in Charter School Study: Federal Tutoring Helping Students AP Taxpayer-funded tutoring for poor children is paying off in some city schools, a federal ...


The Biz Of Knowledge comes up with an Onion-like headline to fit the current scramble for Mandarin teachers: Help Wanted - Chinese Teachers Need to Meet New Craze. Apparently the number of non-Chinese people studying the language is projected to increase from 30 million to 100 million within the next four years, and there is already a bit of frenzy going on in American schools that want to offer the language and need qualified teachers....


In the search for more readers (customers), political candidates, marketers, and bloggers have all been trying to get themselves into the fast-growing "social networking" worlds of MySpace, Friendster, and Facebook. That's where all the eyeballs are. So we'll see what happens now that blog posts from this site are also going to be cross-posted on Facebook. Not much, I'm imagining. But Ed In '08 is there -- 1,200 members and counting -- and EdWeek, too....


Watch three of the 50 Presidential Scholars who signed and delivered a letter to GWB during the Monday NCLB event: Or, if you're more into text, read an explanation of what happened and why here....


Here, Rory from Parentalcation digs up further evidence of the Yglesias-Mead love alliance in the form of a "scandalous" home video of Mead posted by Yglesias on his blog earlier this year. The content's nothing new -- Mead going off on Baby Einstein -- but watching her talk about it, and knowing that there's a relationship between the two makes it slightly cringe-worthy. In a good way....


The weekly showdown of national education columns between the Post and the NY Times goes to the Post this week in large part because the Post column is about K12 issues and KIPP (KIPP's Mysterious Tale of Three Cities ) and also because I don't really care that much about higher education or free speech (Film Portrays Stifling of Speech, but One College’s Struggle Reflects a Nuanced Reality). Mathews explores why one KIPP school in Maryland is closing, while others have thrived. Most of the blame seems to get ascribed to the locals, of course, rather than what I suspect ...


Everyone's hoping that newbie education reporter Amit Paley (left) turns out to be a great addition to the national education beat, and indeed he's done some good, analytic work in recent months. But this latest piece (Ex-Aides Break With Bush on 'No Child') seems like a reach -- at best an effort to make news rather than cover it and at worst a preconceived notion slapped onto circumstances that don't quite fit. If Karl Rove or Rod Paige came out against NCLB, now that would be something. And if Congressional conservatives being upset about the law was new, or growing, ...


States Urged on Teacher Qualifications AP Even as states are erecting barriers that could prevent qualified people from teaching, they also are making it too easy for unqualified people to get in, the report says. Just three states - New Jersey, New Mexico and New York - require new teachers to pass such [licensing] tests before entering the classroom. Many states give teachers one year to pass, but 20 states let people teach for three years or more without passing, the report says. PLUS: Read the full report with all its maps here. Blacks in Fairfax, Montgomery Outdo U.S. ...


AFT John writes me a stern letter from the AFT Blog summer camp to remind me that the President's claims about increased test scores due to NCLB have been around -- and hotly disputed -- for a long time, especially on the AFT blog. Thanks, John. I knew it sounded fishy, but I had forgotten....


Everywhere I go, I see kids scooting around on these rollershoes (left), which seem to be more popular than ever -- almost always without a helmet. And it occurs to me that soon enough there will be a spate of stories about how the shoes lead to injuries (some already here) and we'll all wonder why anyone ever let them be sold. Just like lawn darts from 20 years ago. Remember lawn darts?...


Forget NCLB. The new class of Presidential Scholars apparently decided to put a little heat on the President in his own house, according to The Cheese Sandwich blog (The Kids Are Alright), calling on him to end torture and illegal detentions, among other things....


Pop culture-school reform mashup of the week (so far) goes to Joe Wiliams for linking Paris Hilton and school choice. "Paris Hilton Released From Jail...Meanwhile, millions of American students remain locked up in schools that aren't getting the job done while the Democratic party stands watch." Read the rest at Joe Williams' DFER blog....


Every year the Chicago Tribune puts out a list of Our 50 Favorite Magazines, and this year's not only includes some good mags but also some great education writing: "Katherine Boo's story on the closing of one of the worst high schools in Colorado wasn't just challenging and moving, it was absolutely riveting - and a reminder that, if other magazines have more bells and whistles, the New Yorker has, pound for pound, more quality writing and reporting than anyone around." As you may recall, Boo's article on Manuel High School appeared last winter, and I posted about it here....


While most of political Washington is up in arms about the VP declaring himself not a part of the executive branch, there are still education events on the calendar. As you can see, the President's remarks at this one (video here) include the standard fare (yay, NCLB reauthorization, yay TIF and STEM). Perhaps the most dramatic claim in the President's remarks was as follows: "During the most recent five-year period on record, nine-year-olds made more progress in reading than in the previous 28 years combined." That one's new to me, and a little hard to believe. Someone's going to have ...


We've all seen full-grown adults crumble and fluster when faced with hard-charging newscasters who disagree with their points of view, but give credit to this Boulder high school sophomore Jesse Lange who takes on none other than the firebreathing Bill O'Reilly over a controversial sex and drug talk given at a Boulder high school: Great to see the kid's calmness fluster the host. If you really want to read more about this, here are some mainstream news stories....


Last week I asked whether the TAP model was ready for prime time, and got a few interesting responses. Still trying to get up to speed, I asked the usual suspects about which merit pay models seemed to work the best and/or dominate the "market" and got some information that might be useful, or not: For example, there's a December 2006 Center On American Progress report on incentive pay models. There's a Linda Darling-Hammond report that scans the various models (Odden, TAP, etc.) called Recognizing and Enhancing Teacher Effectiveness. And there's a compensation handbook also from earlier this year (Odden)....


Experts Analyze Supreme Court Free Speech Rulings PBS The Supreme Court ruled to loosen restrictions on campaign ads and tighten limits on student speech Monday. Two law professors weigh in on what the rulings mean for the nation, and what they indicate about the justices' take on First Amendment rights. PLUS: Supreme Court Backs Discipline of Student for Drug-Related Banner Ed Week Ex-Aides Break With Bush on 'No Child' Washington Post President Bush urged lawmakers yesterday to renew No Child Left Behind, his landmark education initiative, but one of his biggest political liabilities in achieving that goal comes from an ...


There's something on the EdSec's schedule today about "President Bush’s remarks on reauthorization of No Child Left Behind" at the White House. Then later this week on Wednesday there's the USDE's SES summit. And, on Thursday, NCTQ's Teacher Policy Handbook rollout....


There are a couple of good examples of time-lapse education writing out there right now, including Dale Mezzacappa's Philadelphia Inquirer look at 112 inner-city kids who were promised a college education 20 years ago, what's happened to them since (left), and a look at the other "Say Yes" initiatives that are still underway. Over at the NY Daily News, Erin Einhorn tracked down what had happened to 23 Harlem kindergarten kids over the past 13 years since 1994 (right), and found all but five....


The first Cristo Rey schoolin the DC area is opening up this fall , according to Jay Mathews (UPDATE: Before School, A Cram Session on Work) -- a low-tuition private school model first tried out in Chicago 11 years ago and since spread to 19 other locations. Besides the fact that the kids work one day a week to help pay for their education, what makes Cristo Rey schools interesting is that they are one of the only private school models funded by a mainstream education philanthropy (in this case Gates). Here's a commentary I wrote about this for The Gadfly, ...


In what can only be described as a public display of affection, wonkette Sara Mead gives a shout out to her "boyfriend" in her final TQATE post. (See Out Of The Frying Pan for background on Mead's move.) Yglesias (left), not to be confused with Enrique Iglesias, the singer (right), Julio, his father, or Trulio Disgracias, the great if occasional LA side band, is a blogger for The Atlantic Online. Still, not bad. We'll have to add them to the Power Couples list. Via Eduwonk....


Today's Washington Post has an interesting piece about the use of high-priced management consultants -- Deloitte, KPMG, McKinsey, Alvarez & Associates (of St. Louis and NOLA fame) -- in urban school districts, a good reminder that it's not just the policy wonks and think tanks that drive real live schoolpeople crazy. "Two dozen high-priced consultants have set up shop on three floors of the D.C. public schools' headquarters, wearing pinstripe suits, toting binders and BlackBerrys and using such corporate jargon as "resource mapping" and "identifying metrics," begins the piece (Big-Name Consultants Greeted With Wariness). "They come from big-name restructuring firms, ...


It's high season for recruiters, according to this article, especially those from growing districts. Watch out everyone. You think those military recruiters are bad. "Rice said Clark County has been mining dwindling districts for teachers for at least 16 years. She said the head of personnel for Chicago public schools used to tease her that they had her picture up in the airport."...


The Report Card PBS NOW returns to Lafayette Academy, a charter school where students and teachers have struggled in the past school year with mismanagement [Mosaica] and a lack of resources. NOW also visits the fifth graders at KIPP Believe College Prep, part of a successful national charter school network called the "Knowledge Is Power Program." Big-Name Consultants Greeted With Wariness Washington Post Two dozen high-priced consultants have set up shop on three floors of the D.C. public schools' headquarters, wearing pinstripe suits, toting binders and BlackBerrys and using such corporate jargon as "resource mapping" and "identifying metrics." The ...


Campaign 2008 Bloomberg Candidacy Would Bring Education Up The Education Business High-Tech Paycheck & Report Card Problems In LA and Chicago NCLB Tutoring: Not Working, Or Just Not Working Miracles? PLUS: Sylvan Sued Policy Watch What Do People Really Think About NCLB? Internal Differences: Preschool, Choice, and More Jay Mathews On Michelle Rhee: Didn't I Just Say That? PLUS: "What’s this Korean lady doing here?" Foundations & Think Tanks "Designated Survivors" At School Reform Confabs Sara Mead: Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire Charter School Smarick Wins White House Fellows Spot PEN NewsBlast Guru Rides Off Into The ...


The parents of a sophomore high school student say they tried to stop their sixteen year-old daughter from getting involved with a 40 year-old cross-country coach, but according to this story signed a consent form for them to get married. Read all about it, I guess. And if you can't get enough of this kind of stuff, check out Teachers Behaving Badly, a blog dedicated to criminal other inappropriate things that education staff do. Yes, there's a blog for everything....


Michelle Rhee (left) in the NYT about reaction to her arrival in DC: “I know what you’re all thinking. What’s this Korean lady doing here?” And, earlier in the week, EdSec Spellings on NCLB and President Bush in the Baltimore Sun: "If I do say so modestly, it is the jewel in the crown of his domestic achievements."...


Educationista Sara Mead (pictured, I think) is leaving the Andy Sector and heading over to New Dannenberg Foundation. Congrats, condolences....


Voucher Use in Washington Wins Praise of Parents NYT Students who participated in a federally financed school voucher program did not perform significantly better academically but their parents were satisfied anyway. ALSO: Voucher Students Show Few Gains in First Year Washington Post Schools Await Desegregation Ruling Courier-Journal.com With just 10 days left in its session, education and civil-rights leaders across the nation are anxiously waiting to see whether a conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court will end voluntary desegregation in America's public schools -- particularly those in Jefferson County. ALSO: High Court Rules on School Athletics, Sentencing NPR...


A reader wrote in today on my old blog -- perhaps in response to Sam Dillon's NYT article on the slow but steady rise of merit pay initiatives -- to share a deeply negative experience with one of the merit pay models that's being used in several places, the Teacher Advancement Program (now called NIET): "The TAP program was the worst thing to ever happen to my school," writes Smithie. "After 2 years, almost all experienced teachers left, including half of the TAP Leadership team...Additionally, the cost of the program is exorbitant. Off the charts." Specific complaints aside, is ...


Folks in Philly are understandably dismayed at the notion that the school reform commission there might give departing superintendent Paul Vallas a $500K severance package -- especially since he's leaving the district in dire financial straits and there's no requirement for any payment under his contract....


I'm wondering whether, when they do these all-star events, they leave a couple of folks at home just in case something bad happens at the luncheon and American's school reform movers and shakers are lost all at once? You know, like at the State of the Union -- to preserve the line of succession and all that. I think they're called designated survivors. Not sure who was given that job this time around....


There's a new and aptly-named blog at Teacher Magazine called Eduholic, although it turns out to be just the new name for a blog that's been running on the site for a while by a guy named Emmet Rosenfeld. Welcome back, Emmet. Great name for a blog....


Sara Mead over at TQATE gets the award for the most ambitious and attention-grabbing headline of the week with Preschool and School Choice Movement Leaders Combine Forces to Form New Pornographers-style Education Advocacy Supergroup, and for highlighting internal differences among various preschool advocacy folks (and similar internal differences among various choice/voucher groups). The whole supergroup thing seems like a nonstarter, but it's important not to mistake these movements -- preschool and choice -- as monolithic. Ditto for charters, standardistas, and everyone else, now that I think of it....


2300 schools face 'No Child' overhaul AP Nationwide, about 2,300 schools are either in restructuring or are a year away, according to a database provided to The Associated Press by the Education Department. Ed Department: states not meeting special-ed law requirements AP Fourth-fifths of the states are falling short of federal requirements for educating students with disabilities, the Education Department says. Teacher Turnover Costs Systems Millions, Study Projects Washington Post An independent report released yesterday estimates that the high rate of teacher turnover in U.S. school systems costs more than $7 billion a year, with systems including the ...


Over at the DFER blog, Joe Williams points out that if NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg takes the next step and enters the race as an independent candidate it will upgrade the debate on education reform since he'll be the candidate with the most of a track record on the issue (Viva Bloomberg?). For that alone, I hope he runs....


Thanks to the Schools for Tomorrow Blog for reminding me that I had never posted the Colbert Report segment on states gaming proficiency standards from a couple of weeks ago: Don't worry, it's still funny. And Colbert seems to have done a much better job than Jon Stewart of learning about (and blasting at) one of the law's not so intended consequences. (Remember, Stewart had EdSec Spellings on his show a couple of weeks ago and asked her softball questions with no follow-up.)...


Forbes has a rundown on mainstream media outlets bringing in outside bloggers (via Romenesko). Time, the Boston Globe, the NYT, the Washington Post, and many other outlets have hired outside bloggers in the past couple of years. Perhaps the most famous is the former DC gossip columnist Wonkette, Ana Marie Cox (pictured, so hot), who is now at Time.com. As a miniature example of the trend, I can attest that moving to a traditional site does include some loss of previous readers (as well as lots of new ones), and some loss of readers' trust (if that's the right ...


Not to be outdone by Michelle Rhee's splashy entry into the public sector last week, charter advocate and political up-and-comer Andy Smarick has just been named one of the 15 White House Fellows for 2007-2008. Under the program, folks from outside the federal government apply to work in the White House for a year. And everyone knows that fellows run things in DC. Lots of future stars have participated. Not that Andy isn't already a star among charteristas. Most recently, he's been COO for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Congrats, condolences, etc....


The Times' Sam Freedman faces off against the Post's Jay Mathews in their weekly education column showdown. Who do you think wins this week? A Graduate of Stanford by Way of a Transfer: One foundation tries to help talented, low-income students make the transition from community colleges into elite universities. (Freedman) The Power of Assuming All Need College: We are in the midst of a heated national debate over whether or not high schools should try to prepare all students for college. I say yes, but I acknowledge that the no side has a good argument. (Mathews)...


There's an interesting little cluster of tutoring-related pieces out over the last couple of days, including a relatively fair-minded critique from USA Today's editorial page (Taxpayer-funded tutoring fails), a predictable and unsatisfying defense from EdSec Spellings (Tutoring shows success), and an investigative piece from the Miami Herald (Needy Students Deprived of Tutoring.) I think it's a mistake to expect proof of the program's effectiveness (a problem in all of education, not just tutoring), judge the law based on its goals rather than its accomplishments, and -- especially -- to leave out the state, district, and school-based roles in making or ...


Education Week: To Know NCLB Is to Like It, ETS Poll Finds Ed Week Once the interviewer mentioned the law’s focus on standards and accountability, requiring highly qualified teachers, and other details, 56 percent said that they viewed the law favorably. Thirty-seven percent still opposed it. Plus: ETS Report. Recruited to Rescue Washington’s Schools NYT Michelle A. Rhee, the newly named chancellor of schools in Washington, seems undaunted by the challenges ahead as she prepares for her mission to raise reading and math scores in the city. Values set Baltimore school apart USA Today It has been a ...


Ahh, the pleasures of random celebrity opinions. (They're almost as bad as random man-in-the-street opinions. Just not as widely distributed.) Here's John Travolta on school shootings: Travolta Blames School Shootings On Psychiatric Drugs. Right, John. Right. But Travolta's not alone. A few months ago it was Will Smith on the perils of sending your kids to school: "The date of the Boston Tea Party does not matter. I know how to learn anything I want to learn. I absolutely know that I could learn how to fly the space shuttle because someone else knows how to fly it, and they ...


For a time, it seemed like Memphis might succeed in pulling supe Carol Johnson (left, at center) back into the fold after Boston announced she would be the permanent replacement for Tom Payzant, who left over a year ago. That would have been Boston's second near-miss. But now it seems like she's really going to make the move. Meanwhile, Baltimore is getting NYC instructional chief Andres Alonso (right), according to this Baltimore Sun article....


We're all already familiar with the idea of networks of charter schools (like KIPP) and small groups of private schools (Cristo Rey), but what about franchising magnet schools as well? That's the idea that Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan is apparently floating, according to this Catalyst Magazine article (here), which would "franchise" some of the city's most popular selective enrollment schools in order to create more seats for high-achieving kids. With varying degrees of success, Chicago already clones charter schools as a way to get around the charter cap....


Looking over the annual awards for alternative weeklies I came across this education-related item from the Orlando Weekly:: Atomic Prom, which lists the top 10 party high schools in America. "Newsweek has published a list of 100 American high schools that “do the best job of preparing average students for college.” But college is about far more than learning..." There's also lots of more serious-minded stuff you can check it out here....


If you think it's just the free, government-paid tutoring that is sometimes problematic, check out this Law.com article (Law.com - Sylvan Center Told to Refund Tutoring Costs) about how a New York City mom says she borrowed $11k to get both her kids tutoring, but didn't see as much improvement as promised in Sylvan marketing materials. So she sued. And the preliminary findings went in her favor. Of course, most states promise kids an education, and not all of them get that, either....


The news is at least a week old, but I would be remiss if I failed to notice that the infamous Howie Schaffer, who authored and popularized the PEN Weekly Newsblast e-newsletter and has been a great friend to this blog, is off to Diversity Best Practices, an organization dedicated to "improving cultural and racial sensitivity in the workplace." Longtime readers will recall that Schaffer was profiled as one of the HotSeat interviews early last year, in which he opined on all sorts of interesting things. "On the HotSeat, "SuperHowie" Schaffer slams empty school reform ideas and lame blogs, comes ...


Parents and teachers (and Harry Potter fans) would do well to remember that the latest (last) Potter book is out at midnight Thursday, according to Chicagoist (Libraries Gear up for Potter mania). "Unless you’ve been living under a rock since February, you already know that the seventh and final chapter in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows, will be released on July 21 at 12:01 a.m."...


What do people really think about NCLB? ETS will attempt to answer that question a little later today with the release of their big survey on the public's attitudes towards the law. "This year’s survey titled, “Standards, Accountability and Flexibility: Americans Speak on No Child Left Behind Reauthorization,” examines the public's views on what direction the nation should take moving forward as Congress considers reauthorizing the law. The survey was conducted for ETS by the bipartisan opinion research team of Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. and The Winston Group." If you hurry, you can make it over there ...


Interview With Education Secretary Margaret Spellings Real Clear Politics I recently had the opportunity to interview Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings about the administration's push to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act. Mental Health Consultants for Preschools Surprise with Their Success Courant States across the nation have experimented with placing mental health experts in preschool classrooms for about a decade. But while such programs can cost millions and look good, nobody has ever been sure they work. California Schools Collect Student Data to Help Kids NPR Two schools in California hope collecting data on students' progress will enable teachers ...


"An effective alternate meal has to do two things: meet federal nutritional standards and flunk child taste tests," according to this recent LA Times article on schools' effective -- but tough-minded -- efforts to get parents to pay up on their children's cafeteria bills. "The cheese sandwich, typically served on untoasted whole wheat bread, apparently qualifies as one perfectly healthy stinker of a meal."...


There's a great overview of the Vallas years in Philly by Susan Snyder from Sunday's Inquirer (Vallas in with roar, out with rancor) that details the tumultuous last days of Vallas in Philly, plus the deterioriation -- ignored nationally and in the press -- of Vallas' tenure there....


All teachers in LA and Chicago want is to get paid on time -- and in the right amounts -- and not to have to write end-of year grades and report cards by hand. As Andrew Trotter describes in this EdWeek story (Glitches in Los Angeles Payroll System Spark Furor), problems switching to a new payroll system have been enormous, and so far at least neither the consultants (Deloitte) or the software maker (SAP) are accepting blame. In Chicago, the largely unreported problems include paychecks and student grades -- leaving teachers and parents in the lurch when it comes to ...


One of the challenges of blogging all the time is that you end up thinking -- true or not -- that you already thought and said nearly everything you later read. Take today's Jay Mathews piece in the Washington Post (Maverick Teachers' Key D.C. Moment), in which he fleshes out the significance of fresh-faced Michelle Rhee being given the top spot over the DC public schools, describing her as "the first of their generation of educational innovators named to head a major school system and a symbol of their efforts to help inner-city children." Hmm. Good point. However, in ...


Long Reviled, Merit Pay Gains Among Teachers NYT Minnesota’s $86 million teacher professionalization and merit pay initiative got a lift when teachers voted overwhelmingly to expand it in Minneapolis. For Bush, 'No Child' a hard act to follow Baltimore Sun But his push this year to renew the law has made little progress. The administration is redoubling its lobbying efforts - including enlisting first lady Laura Bush - against opposition from both ends of the political spectrum. Backlash against 'zero tolerance' in schools MSNBC Lawmakers in several states say "zero tolerance" policies in schools have resulted in many punishments ...


Campaign 2008 Whirlwind Whitmire Takes Campaign '08 By Storm EdWeek Slams KIPP, Issues Report, Gives It All Away Dodd Staffer Moves To Campaign Urban Education Hyping DC's Michelle Rhee Well-Dressed Reformers Hired To Run Districts Across Nation Do Lotteries Really Work? NCLB News Adults Create Test Anxiety, Not Kids Not Much To Learn About NCLB At Reality Check '08 King Of Smug "Your Mama" & National Standards Media Watch Casey Journalism Awards Feature Strong Education Writing Preschool Fever And The Press Overplaying The Student Loan Scandal? NAACP Legal Defense Fund Starts School Integration Blog Pros and Cons Of Collaborative News-Gathering Media ...


"The Internet is fueling an extreme version of the high-school food fight, threatening innocent teachers and students with ham sandwiches, eggs and rotten tomatoes," according to this article (Internet fuelling extreme food fighting, police warn). "Police said Thursday that students are using the Internet to prepare for the fights, then posting videos on websites such as YouTube." Indeed -- here's just one example:...


Over at The Quick Ånd The End, Sara Mead's post about what's really causing kids so much test anxiety (teachers and administrators) is good -- so good in fact it reminds me that I said pretty much exactly the same thing nine months ago. To her credit, Mead adds some ideas for how to address the problem. Now when Senator Clinton next talks about sources and solutions for test anxiety the idea can properly be attributed....


One of the most persistent -- and hotly disputed -- criticisms of charter schools is that they don't take all kids. This is old news. But one key issue that I've never seen addressed is the notion that the list of kids who win the lottery to get into a charter is substantially different from the list of kids who actually enroll and start school in the fall. The perception is that the two lists are substantially different, and that kids who drop out of the process or decide to go elsewhere aren't replaced by lottery kids but rather by ...


While the Times, Post, and everyone else continues to play the student loan thing for all its worth (House Panel Passes Bill to Cut Subsidies to Student Lenders), along comes the ominously-named Business Media Institute to ask whether there's as much real damage going on as there is simple media and political opportunism (Media Exaggerate Student Loan 'Crisis'). "Evidence of wrongdoing has been limited to only two lenders and a handful of college administrators who have resigned, fired or been put on leave," according to BMI. "No criminal charges have been filed. Still, the media act like all lenders and ...


Not really any single big story today, but.. Explosives Are Found in Lockers in New Jersey School NYT A bomb squad defused 16 gunpowder-filled devices at Wayne Valley High School after 1,400 students were removed from the bulding. Do longer hours equal more learning? Christian Science Monitor Pressured to produce better students, 10 Massachusetts public schools pack more hours into their schedules. Substitute Teacher Granted New Trial in Porn Case Washington Post A former Connecticut middle-school teacher was granted a new trial today at her sentencing hearing, where she had faced up to 40 years in prison for exposing ...


Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader for sending me this story about how Omaha is potentially going from being the most racially divided school district in the nation to one of the most integrated -- largely by breaking down the barriers between city and suburban district boundaries (here). What if NCLB did the same, requiring the choice program include neighboring districts as well as schools within the district? Better yet, get rid of city-only urban district boundaries entirely and turn everyone into Charlotte-Mecklenberg, or Miami-Dade, etc....


I just finished doing a short end-of-school segment on Vocalo, Chicago's new collaborative radio station, with my friend Dan Weissmann, and at roughly the same time came across this post from Mediashift (a PBS blog) about "Collaborative" Radio, which sounds like an audio version of what we're doing here to some extent and most directly over on District 299.  My initial reaction is that for collaborative media to really work (audio or print), readers have to be willing to share information as well as opinions and analysis.  Right now, the facts (such as they are) come mostly from the press...


In Hillary: Leaving Children Behind? Probably Not, Reality Check '08 does a frighteningly amateurish job of explaining HRC's votes, positions, and all the rest --mostly taken from the Clinton website, it seems. I hope the site -- another of these FactCheck-style blogs -- does a better job on other issues than it seems to be doing on education....


Evidence thin on student gains from NCLB tutoring Ed Week Five years after the No Child Left Behind Act became law, there's still a dearth of research evidence to show whether one of the federal measure's least-tested innovations?a provision that calls for underperforming schools to provide after-school tutoring?has an impact on student achievement. Virginia Tech report calls for better communication USA Today Improved communication may be the key to preventing the repeat of a Virginia Tech-like tragedy on other college campuses, a report issued today by three federal agencies concludes. In high schools, a 'B' is new 'C' ...


There's always room for another education blog, especially one with a clear and focused agenda that's not already being met by someone else. And so it's nice to hear that the NAACP LDF has started its new Integration Blog, which features "in-depth analysis and background of the voluntary school integration cases now before the Supreme Court, and will serve as a clearinghouse for responses to and commentary on the Court's upcoming decision, which could arrive as soon as tomorrow." Of course, school integration efforts aren't doing that well right now, and no blog is going to turn that around anytime ...


I read them -- so you don't have to... EdWeek Debunks Teacher Attrition Myth EIA Teacher turnover is roughly in line with that in other professions with similar educational requirements for entry, such as nursing and accounting. And that is so even with the pressure on school districts to get rid of teachers in their first two or three years before tenure protections make it more difficult. The Carnival Of Education: Week 123 Ed Wonks Here's this week's roundup of entries from around the EduSphere. Unless clearly labeled otherwise, all entries this week were submitted by the writers themselves, even ...


Those Chinese kids do everything better, it seems. "Police had found some 42 pairs of so-called "cheating shoes" with transmitting and reception ability, selling for about 2,000 yuan each, in a flat in Shenyang, the provincial capital, state media said Thursday, adding that they--along with "cheating wallets" and hats--had proved popular this year." (Three detained in high-tech China exam cheats). Maybe this is what we'd have to look forward to with that new national test we're on the verge of having:...


Back in the 1990's, the big new thing was to have "nontraditional" folks -- generals, US attorneys, former governors -- come in and run big school systems. But they were most of them older, and male, and many of them white. Young, female, and a minority, Rhee is the next iteration of the same appealing if not always effective idea. She's also the first of her school reform cohort to take step into a big, real-world education job, and as such is the focus of the expectations and hopes of whole slew of TFA-type educationistas who hope to follow Rhee ...


Fenty's Picks Have Ties to System, And Its Reforms Washington Post The two top people chosen to lead the D.C. public schools under Mayor Adrian M. Fenty are both from a program that has played a leading role in streamlining the school system's troubled human resources department. PLUS: More Criticism Over Fenty's Secrecy When States Seize Schools Ed Week Patience has its limits, even among some of the staunchest supporters of public education, when schools consistently fall short of stipulated outcomes. But this intuitively appealing approach promises far more than it can deliver. Study: bullies prone to sleep problems ...


Susan Ohanian is working up an old-school Spellings joke and needs your help (NCLB Outrages). I know there are some good jokesters out there....


Inspired by DC Mayor Fenty's surprise appointment of school reformer Michelle Rhee to head the District school system on Tuesday, elected officials across the nation have scrambled to announce their own hires from outside of traditional education circles: In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg on Tuesday evening fired Joel Klein and hired Teach For America Founder Wendy Kopp, despite the absence of any previous district experience. "She's been running the system for the past 10 years anyway," said Bloomberg in announcing the change. "We might as well make it official." New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin announced his plan to fire ...


The 2007 Casey Journalism awards are out, including a ton of great work around children, youth, and family issues. As you'll see, the awardees make for some tough reading. This is no Paris Hilton goes to jail type of journalism. But it's worth it. Some of my favorites include Jean Rimbach and Kathleen Carroll, The (Bergen) Record, “Lessons in Waste.” A four-month investigation into fraud and waste in New Jersey’s preschool program – the most ambitious and expensive in the nation – demonstrates masterful dissection of records, crowned with skilled storytelling. Jennifer Torres, The (Stockton) Record, "A Future in the Fields." ...


Eduwonk tries to make light of being called smug (and intentionally bewildering) in a recent letter to the Washington Post (The Reviews Are In!). But the description isn't that far off. Ever more, Eduwonk's never wrong, never unsure, never not in the know. All that from a meager year spent turning off the lights at the end of the Clinton administration....


What to make of today's announcement that Michelle Rhee, until now honcho of The New Teacher Project, has been appointed to run the DC public school system? It's an interesting choice, to say the least -- exciting, a little bit nervous-making. Rhee is a standout, there's no doubt, and has accomplishments coming out of her ears. And she exemplifies the outside-in move that I've been whining about these past few months -- a nonprofit mover and shaker moving into the system and building her own experience (and hopefully improving the district), rather than continuing to work from outside. Previous posts: ...


USA Today's Richard Whitmire is all over the place these days, from a letter in the Times decrying the lack of education attention in the 2008 campaign to a recent announcement that EWA (the ed writers association) is ramping up the pressure. Current EWA board president, Whitmire says that EWA has got one of the top candidates to agree to a one on one sitdown on education topics. Maybe they'll be crazy enough to let me sit on the panel and tear into the candidates like you know I like to do. In the meantime, why isn't Ed In '08 ...


Style and hype aside, the big slam on KIPP schools has been that it can't keep its students -- they drop out or return to their old schools where things are easier and less structured, a dynamic that at a certain point sort of defeats the purpose. EdWeek takes a look at this in a recent article: KIPP Student-Attrition Patterns Eyed. "Critics argue that the loss of students at some of the network's public schools is alarmingly high." This is gonna make Uncle Jay Mathews very angry, indeed. Speaking of EdWeek, the 2nd Annual Diplomas Count is here, including a ...


Professor Dorn schools just about everyone in his recent post about accountability politics and national standards, focusing in particular on the issue of cut scores: "Whether one labels the tiers Expert, Proficient, Basic, and Below Basic; Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, and Blue; or Venti, Grande, and Tall, tying values to ordinal tiers doesn't tell us anything about the tiers themselves other than that someone wanted to label them. Confusing cut scores with rigor is an act of policy machismo, not common sense. "Yo Mama's so wimpy, she's satisfied with Mississippi's cut scores." Nice....


States Looking to Expand Charter Schooling PBS States are increasingly requesting federal support for charter schools -- publicly funded schools that are given more autonomy than their peers. The NewsHour looks at the movement to create the schools and questions raised about their effectiveness. [Meanwhile: Texas Struggles to Shut Failing Charter Schools Ed Week.] Higher Pay Urged to Fight Dearth of Math and Science Teachers Wash Post Higher starting salaries, more rigorous teacher training programs and additional support for first year teachers are just a few of the incentives needed to deal with a projected shortfall of more than 280,000...


As other may already know, MaryEllen McGuire, Dodd's former education staffer, has apparently moved to the Dodd 2008 campaign, taking the deputy policy director spot. Sharon Lewis is covering K12 issues in Dodd's legislative office, and Taniesha Woods has postsecondary. Congrats, condolences, per usual....


Journalists need to watch out for preschool fever, warns former LA Times reporter Richard Lee Colvin in this post from his generally pro-preschool blog Early Stories (Preschool as Crime-fighting). Glad to see it. There's all too much preschool fever out there as it is, among advocates and elected officials. Another slew of soft news stories would just about do me in....


One of the little-known challenges of running yearlong media fellowship programs is that it's hard to get top-notch people to participate. According to this NYT article, it's getting even harder of late, numerically and otherwise (Fewer Journalists Seeking Fellowships), The Knight program at Stanford did not receive any applications from employees at The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times and some other large newspapers....


The Washington Post editorial page comes out for national standards (Why We Need National Standards) and -- no big surprise -- EdSec Spellings comes out against them (Let the States Set Their Own Standards). Is there any new news here? Not much. Just summertime filler, I guess. All the more irrelevant given the stumbling bumbling efforts of the current Congress (Why Washington Can’t Get Much Done NYT)....


House Panel Votes to Slash €Reading First€™ Aid EdWeek House Democrats want to put their own stamp on federal education spending by increasing Title I and other programs they favor and slashing Reading First and other priorities set by President Bush. The Class-Consciousness Raiser NYT In the nation’s classrooms, middle class teachers increasingly encounter poor students, often with disastrous results. Ruby Payne says she has the secrets to help them cross the great divide. Rating Education Gains Washington Post We seem to be doing a bit better educating our most disadvantaged students. But many educators think that is not ...


Campaign 2008 Santa Fe Reporter Challenges Richardson's Education Claims Richardson "Wins" Nonexistent Education Portion Of Dem Debate On The Hill "Finding, Grinding, & Minding:" How Ocean Spray Gets In The Schoolhouse Door Policy Watch Extending The Day Without Breaking The Bank Cheating, Charters, And More Cheating Teachers Threatened With Job Loss For Supporting Charter Everything I Needed To Know...I Learned From This Article NCLB News Achievement Up, Gaps Narrowed Since 2002 USA Today Overviews States' Testing Games What To Make Of The IES Comparability Report Lots Of New Details, Not So Many New Ideas Foundation Follies The Multiple Providers: The ...


In no particular order, some of the small but important things to glean from this week's slew of NCLB-related reports: (1) Why didn't the Secretary stop the IES from trampling over all the "good" CEP coverage with its comparability report? (2) Gotta love the "I'm not judging" rhetoric from the Secretary, who's still not convinced about national standards (for good reason, (3) Anyone else notice that high standards (NC) don't necessarily translate into higher achievement (SC just as high on NAEP)?, (4) Or, that Kennedy has already bigfooted Dodd on the national standards issue?, (5) Last but not least, I ...


Bucking the nationwide trend, the Chicago Tribune bought out three of the paper's four education reporters -- and then promptly shifted folks over from other beats to help the cause. Carlos Sadovi has been the courts reporter, which will give him an interesting perspective. He's also a Spanish-speaker. Johnathon Briggs has spent three three years on the Urban Affairs team. Congrats and condolences, per usual. The two are already being raked over the coals at my other blog, District299.com....


The SchoolNet folks are having a big EduStat conference at Columbia that I've been reading about, and lo and behold there's John Bailey, who was for a short time the edtech guy at the USDE after Linda Roberts. Now he's apparently Gates Foundation big shot. Check it out....


Via The Biz Of Knowledge: What's Wrong with this Picture?...


Not much to note in this week's Gadlfly, though it was fascinating to hear the Fordham Foundation's Mike Petrilli argue for tougher regulations against parents being allowed to redshirt preschoolers (which isn't really what the Times Magazine article was about). Personal experience almost always wins out over ideology or research....


Board Game Teaches Chemistry to Kids NPR A 13-year-old entrepreneur has a way to make money and help his fellow students learn about chemistry. Anshul Samar is hoping for $1 million in revenues from the sale of his board game. Cyberfamilias: ‘omg my mom joined facebook!!’ NYT A nosy parent goes where the kids are and learns more than just what her kid is up to. He’s 9 Years Old and a Video-Game Circuit Star NYT Victor M. De Leon III — known to rivals and fans as Lil’ Poison — is thought to be the youngest pro gamer....


So to speak... Democrats aid education, health programs Associated Press Democrats awarded big budget increases for education and health care and research as a House panel approved the largest domestic appropriations bill that Congress will consider this year. Book on cheating: Paper crib notes are so old school Washington Post What do ankles, calculators and water bottles have in common? They are all prime tools for cheaters. States Taking Action on Virtual Schools Ed Week Officials respond to audits, debate expanding programs....


Check out this eye-opening piece from PBS' MediaShift about Dangers Overblown for Teens Using Social Media, which reminds us that the myth of the Internet predator is largely a creation of the media. According to the piece, young children are not the typical victim of online sex crimes, assailants are not pretending to be anything other than creepy losers that they are, and abductions or kidnappings are exceedingly rare. The real issue here according to the article is teens with troubled home lives and or past experiences of sexual or physical abuse. "This is a very different picture of who ...


In the space of less than a week, we've been inundated with reports and news stories about NCLB and testing that are all over the place: CEP puts out report stating that achievement seems to be rising since (but not necessarily because of) NCLB, the Dallas Morning News does a big series on widespread cheating on state tests, USA Today does a big package on states lowering requirements to make their test scores look better, and yesterday the USDE puts out a report showing just how different (mostly lower) state requirements are compared to NAEP (national) requirements.(You can find ...


Besides the ones further below... Under NCLB Pressure, Districts Negotiate School Improvement With Unions EdWeek In such districts as Chicago, Miami-Dade County, Fla., and Cleveland, administrators and union officials have worked together on contract provisions or formal agreements designed to help low-performing schools make gains. Some High Schools Avoid Valedictorians NPR Some high schools are getting rid of a senior class tradition -- naming a valedictorian. They say that lowering competition among students is better for their overall success. Eden Prairie High School in Minnesota will graduate its last valedictorians this year. Next year, exceptional students will receive just an ...


Lots of stuff in USA Today, including a big package by Ledge King on how states jimmy with their tests to make themselves look better (In school achievement, appearance means more than results) -- check it out, it has maps and everything -- and a much-anticipated Greg Toppo piece updating the NOLA reform scene (In New Orleans schools, it's like starting over)....


Long-time rabble-rouser Mike Klonsky goes all class warfare in this post about a newish group called Democrats For Education Reform. Klonsky mocks its founders as arrivistes with little more than money, MBA-born ideas, and slick opinions. Though he would never use that word. To be sure, the May 31 New York Sun article (here) that set Klonksy off is a little uncritical. And the "new" reform folks can seem annoyingly clubby and frighteningly like dot-commers the first time around. In fact, some of them probably were. But what I really wonder is why reformers of other stripes (groups, think tanks, ...


The Dallas Morning News has just put out a big series on -- yes, again -- cheating on the Texas state exams, called TAKS. Here's the rundown, according to reporter Josh Benton: "Day 1 is the main story, detailing what we did and what we found (Analysis shows TAKS cheating rampant). Day 2 is all about charter schools, where cheating is far more common than in traditional schools (Cheating's off the charts at charter schools). Day 3 is about how Texas could stop 90%+ of the cheating tomorrow if officials felt like it (Efforts to stop cheating often fall short)." ...


Agree with him or not, Edwize makes the case that the current fascinating with multiple (or mixed) providers in urban districts is especially troubling since it has failed so far in Philly and NOLA, and its main proponent, Paul Vallas, is the Sanjaya of school reform: mystifyingly popular despite his poor performance (Philadelphia Follies Continue). One thing is clear: the mixed provider folks have staked their claims to a large extent on what happens in NOLA, and to how well Vallas performs there....


Every Wednesday, there's Sam Freedman in the NYT (On Education) vs. Jay Mathews in the Post (Class Struggle), dueling education columnists fighting it out to the death. Take your pick of this week's offerings, both of which focus on their papers' readers' favorite topic: college admissions. Who Needs the SAT? Washington Post (Jay Mathews) About three times a week I introduce a hot topic among people struggling with the college admission system [Admissions 101], then stand back and let users tell me what is really going on, throwing in a comment or two when necessary. Getting Into College, Strumming His ...


Most folks already know that the length of the school day and the number of instructional days in the school year vary dramatically from city to city, and everyone's trying to do the whole "extended day" thing, but now there's an interesting story in Catalyst Magazine (Chicago) that lays out what the economics and politics of lengthening the school day involve. Some examples? Adding an instructional day in Chicago (which has a very short year t 174) would run about $11 million, according to the article. Adding an hour per day (Chicago's is currently 5:45) would cost about $300 ...


This happens all the time, but is rarely put as baldly as in this relocation company ad, from Newsweek, sent in by a friend:...


Reading, math scores up since NCLB, report says AP Students are doing better on state reading and math tests since the No Child Left Behind Act was enacted five years ago. New Study Finds Gains Since No Child Left Behind NYT The study cautioned that it was difficult to determine if the gains occurred because of the bill that President Bush signed into law in 2002. Study: NCLB reform seems to be working USA Today As Congress prepares to reauthorize the 5-year-old No Child Left Behind education reform law this year, a provocative new study shows that students seem to ...


This is fun. Santa Fe New Mexican education reporter John Sena wrote in to say that Richardson has done lots of good things for education in the state, but not exactly what he claimed to have done at the Sunday debate (see below). "While he has done some things to improve education here, he has not implemented "mandatory phys ed." He has started only a small pilot project funding P.E. teachers for the poorest schools. The $40,000 minimum wage is also something of a fallacy. He has implemented a three-tier system where a starting teacher makes a minimum $30,000....


The Lumina-funded Hechinger Institute Fellowships for community college reporting are out, with six fellows getting $7,500 stipend each to complete a major reporting project and nine associates. Over all, 50 reporters applied. See below for the list of awardees. Congrats to all....


Having felt burned last year by how his big annual report last year was covered by blogs and the papers, Jack Jennings' Center On Ed Policy is being especially careful in rolling out its publications this year -- most notably by putting them out in chunks rather than as one big report. The latest piece, out today, is sure to ignite a lot of conversation. It finds that student achievement in reading and math has increased since the No Child Left Behind Act was enacted in 2002, and that the number of states in which achievement gaps among groups of ...


There are a couple of fun maps of political blogs out lately (Inside The Blogway, and this one from Politico) showing the relationships among them, which reminds me that it's time (for you) to update the Map Of Education Blogs, which currently has 60-odd folks signed up. Check it out. Add yourself or your favorite education blog. It's free....


Firm Pledges to Fix Online Exam Glitches Washington Post The company that provides standardized tests to Virginia's schoolchildren will add staff and upgrade technology to help prevent technical glitches such as those that recently forced thousands of students to retake online exams, officials said yesterday. States Press Ahead on Preschool Programs EdWeek Policymakers are struggling over funding programs and determining which children will qualify. Sex Ed Landscape Shifting in States Stateline.org So far this year three states - Colorado, Iowa and Washington - have enacted laws requiring schools that teach sex education to ensure the information is "medically accurate" ...


Look at the opening image in Elizabeth Weil’s NYT Magazine article (When Should a Kid Start Kindergarten?) and you’ll get the gist of what she’s out to say (even without my unauthorized arrow-drawing): delaying the start of kindergarten gives wealthier and whiter kids with more educated parents an unfair advantage over younger, poorer, and more minority kids. The most viable solution, barring a return to the bad old days when kindergarten was kindergarten? You guessed it: universal preschool. To be sure, I haven't heard much about this trend (and am immediately suspicious of anything that could fan ...


It'll take another day or two for FactCheck to verify their claims, but on Sunday night the Dem candidates (transcript here) had little to say by way of education compared to health, foreign policy, etc. Into this vacuum stepped, NM Gov Bill Richardson, who claimed to have "got rid of junk food in schools" and "brought mandatory phys ed in." Later on, he said he would "upgrade our schools" with universal preschool as his top priority and bring in a "minimum wage for our teachers" at $40,000. "I did that in New Mexico," he said. I have no idea ...


It's no secret that lots of people don't like NCLB, especially among school- and classroom-level educators, but last week's Scripps poll and story on what the public at large thinks and knows (Majority would like 'no child' law left behind) might not have been so dramatic as it seems, according to Eduwonk and others. Check out the numbers and the questions and you'll see in several places they've been combined to make things seem worse. For example, only 14 percent of those polled actually want NCLB repealed....


"Jamestown High School senior and National Merit Scholar Jason Wagner successfully whined his way to a 4.0 GPA for the fourth year in a row, school sources reported Monday," according to this article from The Onion (High School Student Whines His Way To 4.0 GPA)....


So much for good news, I guess. According to this LA Times story, 17 teachers took back their signatures in support of Green Dot charters at Locke HS in LA, blocking the proposed conversion for now at least (District blocks Locke High's departure)."In hurried, closed-door faculty meetings, district officials tried to assuage frustrated teachers with sudden offers of increased authority and reforms. Officials also emphasized that, if the takeover went through, teachers would have to reapply to Green Dot for a job at the newly reconfigured Locke or transfer to another district school, and that Green Dot does not ...


Over at Eduflack, Patrick Riccards takes a look at the education stories I listed from last month and asks the age-old question why is so much news coverage so negative? "I'll be honest, I've been struggling for the last week to find some examples of reform done good anywhere. Maybe it is the end of the school year. Maybe folks have tired of education issues for now. Maybe the current NCLB struggles have sucked all of the oxygen out of the room. But I am desperate for a good story." Me, too. So I took a look back at the ...


Take a look at this overview of big-time DC lobbyists from Washingtonian and you'll not only see a lot of names that should be familiar to you (if you're in DC) -- Podesta, Boggs, Podesta, Weber -- but also learn a lot about how it all works -- the dark art of the earmark (a favorite of universities needing new buildings), the rivalry between private lobbying firms and law firms with lobbying practices, and the big money that's involved to get things done. (You find a client with an unmet need, you grind out an earmark or a change in ...


Illegal students await immigration plan USA Today At 23, Mariana should be carefree. She is finishing up her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles, and has been accepted to a master's program at Harvard University's education school. When Should a Kid Start Kindergarten? NYT States want children to be a year older when they enter school. This could lead to better test scores — and more inequality. Schools’ Deep-Pocketed Partners NYT When private dollars pour into public schools, questions about fairness can arise. Diplomas Denied Over Graduation Cheers AP A high school that warned against undignified behavior at ...


Best Of The Month The Month In Review: Secrets, Missed Stories, & More More "Rolling Water Jugs" In Education Getting Ready For The Obama Switcheroo USDE EdSec Spellings Playing The "Girl" Card See also: A Bush Brother Spreads His Vision NYT NCLB News Guest Commentary: Kevin Kosar On Muddled AYP Fixes Kennedy Began Immigration Push At NCLB White House Meeting Teacher Firings: Still A Myth Urban Education Breakaway LA Teachers Want To Go Charter What People Mean When They Talk About Human Capital See also: U.S. Data Show Rapid Minority Growth in School Rolls NYT Charter Schools Look to Address ...


As I first pointed out two weeks ago, the Kennedy report on Reading First was not a "Congressional study" in the sense of something like CRS or the GAO would do, despite being described as such in the press. It was internal, and partisan from the start. The good folks at the Title I Monitor have dug into this further, exposing some of the report's problems. RL Colvin over at Early Stories thinks that's a good thing. I agree....


Instead of relying on the current proliferation of disconnected three day workshops or the small handful high=prestige yearlong residential programs, the Kaiser Family Foundation has come up with a more flexible, nonresidential program for health care reporters that seems like a little bit of the best of both worlds. With seminars and field visits throughout the year, the nonresidential Kaiser program length can be as little as 10 days or as long as nine months depending on the needs of the journalist. With lower costs to operate the program, more than a couple of fellowships can be awarded each ...


Over at the PEN NewsBlast, they're worried about how to get more folks into public service. Me, I just want to know how much people make. Government salaries have long been public record, and apparently now you can get at least some salary information for nonprofits and foundations from GuideStar by looking at organization's IRS form 990. Ever wondered what Wendy Kopp makes, or your local program officer? Who's the highest-paid education ED? I don't know yet. But it's fun looking around on a hot Friday afternoon....


Looking for some dry but informative weekend reading? Check out these CRS reports from Open CRS: School and Campus Safety Programs, Head Start Reauthorization: A Side-by-Side Comparison, The ESEA, as Amended by the No Child Left Behind Act: A Primer, and High School Graduation, Completion, and Dropouts: Federal Policy, Programs, and Issues. From Open CRS....


EdSec Spellings doesn't play the "girl" card nearly as hard as former DOJ hatchet woman Monica Goodling apparently did last week in front of Congress (The Goodling Girl). But there are some parallels worth noting from Spellings' recent performances in front of Congress (and on the Daily Show). Spellings is a notorious charmer of the press, and disarms men (you know who you are) especially quickly with what seems awfully close to flirtatiousness. Not that there's anything wrong with being charming or flirtatious. Lots of men do it, too. But it shouldn't be used to cloud things, either. And I ...


Over at Intercepts, Mike A. blogs about the apparent slowdown in education posts (Intercepts: Are We Running Out of Stories?) from me and others. This morning aside, I'd say that I'm still keeping things at a pretty good clip (five or so posts a day). And there is a big new juicy audio post to listen to this AM. However, there has been a falloff in other places, as Mike points out, which I'm hoping is just a cyclical thing. In LA, School Me is gone largely because its founder, Bob Sipchen, took a job at the Sierra Club. I ...


Along with all the other things teachers have to look out for, along comes booze-filled flip-flops. “Kids wear flip-flops to school and all over the place,” said Mike Gimbel, former drug czar for Baltimore County and director of substance abuse education at Sheppard Pratt. “You would never know the kid was walking around with vodka in the bottom of their shoe.” Baltimore Examiner. Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader....


In most cases, charter schools are new starts promoted by a charter group, or occasionally conversions (as in Chicago and San Diego). But rarely that I know of have teachers decided that they wanted to go charter, and signed petitions to do so. That's what's going on at Locke high school in LA, where teachers are trying to break away from LAUSD and form a cluster of charter schools operated by Green Dot, whose teachers have abbreviated collective bargaining rights. And regardless of what happens there it creates a fascinating new grassroots way for teachers to get in the charter ...


You'd think that folks I invite to participate on the Month In Review would agree with me on all things, given my role as host. But they don't. And that's a good thing, since I learn all sorts of new things and am corrected in at least some of my misguided beliefs. In this month's roundtable MP3 here), I learned all sorts of things, including that LA Mayor Villaraigosa is a winner, not the loser I thought he was (Shuster), that the testing industry is a beast about to explode if Fairfax is any indication (Mathews), that some teachers and ...


Californian wins spelling bee with 'serrefine' CNN Read full story for latest details. U.S. Data Show Rapid Minority Growth in School Rolls NYT Driven mainly by an extraordinary influx of Hispanics, the nation’s population of minority students has surged to 42 percent of public school enrollment. Financial Aid Group Adopts Conduct Code After Loan Scandal Washington Post The trade group for university financial aid officers said yesterday that it would no longer allow student loan companies to court its members with gifts or sponsor its conferences, responding to a spate of revelations of conflicts of interest in the $85...


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