July 2007 Archives

Perhaps the most compelling interpretation I've heard of the Miller speech from yesterday is that Miller was emphasizing that (a) the reauthorization process is still moving along despite recent delays, and (b) multiple measures are going to be part of his bill no matter what. If multiple measures are definitely in, then this represents the first big break by Miller from the groups that helped craft and defend NCLB 1.0 and the EdSec -- and a big win symbolically at least for NCLB 1.0 critics like the NEA who have been clamoring for years now that annual standardized ...


It's easy to forget that parents and the public don't necessarily think the same things about NCLB that you do -- and that their feelings about NCLB may actually be better than their feelings about their local schools or schools nationwide. JoanneJacobs has more evidence of this, citing a new poll showing that 57 percent of the public back reauthorizing No Child Left Behind "as is or with minimal changes." A lot higher than you thought, I bet. But don't worry, the number goes down to 41 percent for current and former teachers, says Jacobs. That's roughly the same percentage ...


Parents' Ire Grows at Unabashed Pedophile's Blog NYT Jack McClellan, who calls himself a pedophile, has had Web sites in Seattle and Los Angeles detailing how and where he trolls for children. Parents still seek the elusive 'right' school LA Times No one knows exactly how many students are still without a school, but indicators show that the annual last-ditch scramble for a seat at a school of choice is in high gear....


If you ever think that something I'm putting up on this site is inane, remember that this clip of a 10 year old boy at a carnival saying "I like turtles" comes from the Washington Post -- apparently the clip has become something of an Internet sensation. Go here: For the 'I Like Turtles' Boy, 17 Seconds Of Fame...


I'm using the term loosely here. Pupils too passive, education chief says Denver Post U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings on Monday confronted a challenge on many Americans' minds: how relatively comfortable U.S. students can compete against the family-driven zeal children bring to school in countries such as China and India. Clouds Gather Over D.C. Schools Washington Post One month before school starts, District officials said yesterday that half of D.C. public schools do not have all their required textbooks and half of the school buildings will not have any air conditioning on the first day of ...


There's wall-to-wall coverage of the Miller speech on Monday morning, which tells you just how little is going on. Sherman Dorn goes point by point here. EdWeek's Mark Walsh has it here. (wait until September). Sara Mead sees room on multiple measures here. The prepared text is here. And the NYT coverage focusing on reactions to the speech is here. UPDATE: What I'm not clear on is why Miller felt like he needed to make this speech, which doesn't appear to have been particularly reassuring to either side of the strengthen/weaken NCLB debate, or what he hoped to gain. ...


Hoping to influence the legislature or the contract negotiations or both, there's a new Joyce-funded report from The New Teacher Project out today on teacher ratings, hiring, and all the rest. The big news? Chicago's longstanding elimination of "bumping" is a notable exception to how other cities handle transfers, and just 12 percent of applicants are hired (up from 18 percent four years ago) -- but its evaluation system is a mess. See Tribune story here. The report also calls for an evaluation and pay system that's independent of the labor contract, which I don't exactly know would fly. Cross-posted ...


Things I learned at the Democrats For Education Reform happy hour on Friday in Manhattan: Green Dot founder Steve Barr is thinking about an "affiliate" model along the lines of KIPP et al in order to continue its expansion to New York and other places (Chicago?). There's yet another Green Dot profile coming out next week -- this one from Forbes. Joe Williams is a gracious host. Why the picture of Lindsay Lohan, the tabloid media's current obsession? Because right now Green Dot founder Steve Barr is education's LiLo-- minus the stints in rehab and ankle bracelet (so far). Or, ...


Stuck in third place early last week, AACTE's Jade Floyd is currently in first place with over 2500 votes over at FishBowlDC -- thanks to your efforts, and, I'm guessing, lots and lots of popularity-obsessed ed school profs and administrators weighing in on her behalf. You know how those guys love rankings....


Such as they are... Stemming the Summer Slide Washington Post Summer can be the enemy of the schoolteacher: Students forget their math. They stop reading. And in the case of those with limited English skills, they lose their newly acquired words. Simple Safety Solution: Classroom Locks MSNBC Safety experts say that while school officials across the nation re-evaluate campus safety in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy, many are overlooking a simple solution: putting locks on the inside of classroom doors. PLUS: Witnesses: Teen Said Principal Would Die Washington Post ‘Play It Smart’ High School Program Is Putting Some ...


Chairman George Miller is scheduled to give a "major" speech on NCLB reauthorization at 10 today at the National Press Club -- should be lots of tidbits and hints at what happens next. Antsy and bored? Make good use of that Blackberry and email me your impressions and observations about the speech, who's there, and -- most important -- what they're wearing. Yes, you can do it anonymously. To: thisweekineducation @ gmail dot com. UPDATE: EdWeek confirms the delay until September and rehashes some of the conflicts that may be causing it (ie, multiple measures). UPDATE: McKeon statement (below) emphasizes "content" ...


Posts Of The Week How Steve Barr Is Not Like The Other Charter Show Ponies Teaching Parents To Play With Their Kids: What If We're Wrong? USDE EdSec Wants More "Pocket Protector" Skills The Two Margaret Spellings On The Hill How Congressional Earmarks Work Senate Higher Ed Bill Endangers Quick NCLB Reauthorization Our Hottie Is So Much Hotter Than Their Hotties NCLB News EXCLUSIVE: Miller Reauthorization Memo To Freshmen Turning Up The Heat On "Multiple Measures" Who's For, Against Letting Students Transfer To Better Schools Campaign 2008 Obama Advocates Sex Ed For Kindergarteners, Does He? What Anderson Cooper Should Have ...


On your left, you have US EdSec Margaret Spellings -- complete with pearls, flag in the background, and that cute smile with her tongue. On your right, you have the somewhat frumpier Simpsons version of the Secretary, who looks (like many Simpsons characters) a little transgendered. Sorry, Madame Secretary -- it was the best I could do....


This is going to have to be a group effort, since the Simpsonization site is working so slowly. But here's the preliminary list of folks who should be Simpsonized (even though some of them already look Simpson-esque in real life)>: Margaret Spellings & Rod Paige, George Miller & Ted Kennedy, *Paul Vallas, Joel Klein, Rudy Crew, & Michelle Rhee. Or pick your own favorite education person. Either way, we'll have yellow Simpsons versions of our characters, to save and share and play with during the cold winter ahead. UPDATE: Weeks and months ago, it seems, blogger Sherman Dorn (pictured) has Simpsonized himself (again, ...


The main observation missing from today's NY Sun article on mayoral control (By 2009, Mayor's Control Of Schools Could End) is that going back is so tremendously difficult and unlikely. Mayors and their rivals are unlikely to support it, legislators who voted for mayoral control are unlikely to want to reverse themselves. Take Chicago, where not everything has gone well in the last 12 years but no serious effort to reverse the law has been mounted....


Click below to see what your free daily email would look like, if only you signed up for one. It arrives at around 10 am, and so is timed beautifully to capture the morning news roundup plus whatever late-night tomfoolery I've come up with. Check it out, then sign up in the little box to the right under my pic. Free. Easy. No remembering required....


There's not that much going on in the education-policy-politics space, but that doesn't seem to be stopping anyone from starting new blogs on the topic. Last week's newest addition was NCLB 2, EdWeek's reauthorization blog. Now it's the Education Writers Association who are blogging about education, politics, and the 2008 campaign, according to Dayton Daily News blogger Scott Elliott (Barack Obama, education and me). Different reporters are going to track each of the main candidates for the next 18 months, and send their observations here. Congrats, condolences, per usual. *Free Daily E-Mail Updates Now Available -- See The Yellow Box ...


Remember Tetris, the video game where you have to move falling objects so that they fit into your puzzle? Well, now there's StateTris, where the challenge is to move falling states to where they belong. As Boing Boing puts it, "Get 'em into the right spot or the US will overflow into Canada and everyone gets socialized medicine!." *Free Daily E-Mail Updates Now Available -- See The Yellow Box To The Right.*...


Think the Dems are allocating education and social services money any better, or differently, than those big bad Republicans did? Think again. "When the House divvied up $282.1 million in earmarks for schools, hospitals and social programs, many poor congressional districts took a back seat to those represented by appropriators, party leaders and politically vulnerable lawmakers," according to this story from CQ Today (CQ Today - House Earmarks for Social Programs Follow Power and Political Needs). "The disparity can be seen by comparing the proposed disbursements to Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles, who represents the fourth-poorest House district as ...


No Child law runs into GOP revolt Gannett News Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, is set to outline his changes to the law Monday and is expected to propose legislation in September. Studying math improves science scores MSNBC Students who had more math courses in high school did better in all types of science once they got to college, researchers say. U.S. Poised to Sit Out TIMSS Test EdWeek The U.S. Department of Education has said budget and staffing constraints will prevent one of its agencies from taking part in the ...


Praise is already rolling in for Linda Perlstein's new book, Tested, which charts the (mostly-negative) impact of test-based accountability on a Maryland school that had increased its test scores dramatically in recent years. So far, the book has been blurbed by David Simon, author of The Corner and executive producer of HBO's “The Wire,” E.D. Hirsch Jr., author of The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy and The Knowledge Deficit, and Stanford prof Larry Cuban. TeacherKen also does a long post about it at DailyKos.You can order it here....


Before you drink the NYC/Bloomberg Kool-Aid, read this piece by Sol Stern which adds some new information to the increasingly-familiar refrain that chancellor Klein has sexed up recent test scores, churned out too many policy ideas, and become more abstract and technocratic. Stern adds that Klein's popularity is now down to 37 percent, there are 29 people in the DOE communications office, a third of NYC schools may still not be making AYP, the decentralization program may be more sizzle than steak, and the weighted student funding initiative -- under policy darling Robert Gorden (now departed) -- collapsed under ...


What followup questions should Anderson Cooper have asked the Presidential candidates -- if only he knew a little about education? Eduwonk has some ideas here (Ed Politics), including challenging Richardson on his NCLB-bashing and probing Dodd on whether he's for NCLB or national standards. "It fell to Mike Gravel of all people to say that maybe some choice and competition might help!" *Free Daily E-Mail Updates Now Available -- See The Yellow Box To The Right.*...


Jonathan Kozol is for it. The USA Today editorial page is for it. But not -- why am I surprised? -- the National School Boards Association. In a pro/con debate on student transfers from yesterday, the paper comes out saying that there should be more city-suburb transfer programs like the ones in St. Louis (Let urban kids transfer out) -- and that NCLB's weak transfer provision should be beefed up to create more real opportunities. But NSBA president Norm Wooten says no -- transferring out is not popular with families and wastes school funds (here). Funny thing is, NSBA ...


Here's a feisty op ed in the SF Chronicle about efforts to soften (improve?) NCLB via multiple measures: "Expect Democrats to try to squeeze as much money as possible from federal taxpayers, while watering down accountability requirements so that schools won't have to do a better job of teaching," says the piece (Rx for failure). "And they'll do it by undermining the testing system so that illiterate students can be labeled as success stories." *Free Daily E-Mail Updates Now Available -- See The Yellow Box To The Right.*...


Here are some of the top education-kid-parent stories of late, according to Digg: 1 in 10 Parents Don't Understand Bedtime Stories Almost a quarter (23%) skip passages they cannot read or invent words to get to the end of a sentence, the poll found. When Soccer Moms Attack These histrionics took place at an "under-8" match for boys in Pickering on the weekend. The referee? A 14-year-old girl. Boys face sex trial for slapping girls' rear-ends Two middle-school students in Oregon are facing possible time in a juvenile jail and could have to register as sex offenders for smacking girls ...


Major Study of City Schools Shows Charters in Lead NY Sun Researchers took advantage of New York City charter schools' popularity -- applications outnumber available seats, on average, 3 to 1 -- comparing students who applied and were accepted through a random lottery to students who were rejected. In science, rural kids strongest AP Rural students perform better in science than their urban counterparts, and rural teachers generally are happy with their schools, a federal study finds. Bloomberg's New Slogan: A Harry Potter in Every Pot Washington Post Bloomberg laid out an agenda that includes several items opposed by teachers' ...


This just out: "On Monday, July 30, at the National Press Club, U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA) will deliver a major speech on the future of Lindsay Lohan's acting career the No Child Left Behind education law." 10:00am ET at the Press Building. NB: Eagle eyed readers of the Miller memo (see below) want to know who DanB (the author) is. Any ideas? I'm too lazy to figure it out for you....


As you can see, our education hottie, Jade Floyd of AACTE (left), is so much hotter than any of the other two front-runners (Jessica Ferguson, Sen. Thune in the orange, Pepper Pennington, Rep. Feeney in the black top). And more scantily clad, to boot. However, stuck at the bottom of the ballot, Jade needs your help to leap past these two other contestants. Go here, scroll to the bottom, click the little circle next to Jade's picture, and click "vote." No registration or anything else is required....


FishBowlDC reports that newbie Post education writer Amit Paley is headed off to some other, more cushy job. Covering Iraq. Starting September. Congrats, condolences. No word yet on who (if anyone) is replacing Paley. In the meantime, I guess that just means more work (and less vacation) for Jay Mathews and Valerie Strauss....


Thanks a ton to a brave reader for sending in the Miller memo to House freshmen from earlier this month, which outlines where things are (or were) on the House majority side at least. As you can see, the two-page memo (PDF) dated July 7 outlines nine key proposals and asks for feedback. The proposals range from the obvious ("Allow states to use growth models that recognize progress over time," improve test quality, prioritize schools with the most problems) to the highly controversial ("Allow states to use more than test scores to measure student learning and school performance") to the ...


Apparently playing on the carpet and making up stories with little kids isn't as "natural" as we are being told -- and may not be so much better for them. (Plus which, it's boring -- admit it.) That's the idea that this largely-ignored Boston Globe article from a couple of weeks ago raises (Leave those kids alone) -- along with questions about the idea that schools and other agencies should try and teach low-income and minority families to play with their children the way that many affluent, white families currently do. "The proselytizing on behalf of playful middle-class approaches vexes ...


Besides the curriculum narrowing story, of course.... 2 New Jersey School Districts Regain Some Local Control NYT The state will continue, however, to oversee academic instruction in the Newark and Jersey City public schools. Via EdNews.org. How Schools Get It RightBaltimore Sun Tucked amid a block of rowhouses around the corner from Camden Yards is an elementary school with a statistical profile that often spells academic trouble: 76 percent of the students are poor, and 95 percent are minorities. Via DA Daily. Groups Lay Out Compensation €Essentials€ EdWeek Performance-pay systems for teachers that are set up wrong might be ...


Lots of folks take a swipe at reporting this year's version of the CEP survey of school districts about the impacts of NCLB on instruction. The AP version of the story is pretty cut and dried (No Child law has downside, survey finds). In contrast, the NYT spends a lot of time trying to explain why the percentage of districts decreased so much from last year -- a change the report authors attribute to a wording change in the survey (Focus on 2 R’s Cuts Time for the Rest, Report Says). Remember, it was the Times that heralded last ...


The last time the Senate reauthorized the HEA was a long time ago. I was still working for Jeff Bingaman and we thought that we could really, finally, get ed schools to do a better job on teacher prep. But now the Senate has passed its version of the bill -- no House companion to go along with it, and congrats to everyone there for getting that done. The implications for NCLB as I read them are bad, however. With two weeks left before August recess and a big education bill in hand, no one on the Senate side at ...


According to this press release, EdSec Spellings thinks employers wants more kids with "pocket protector" skills, which means (a) geeks, (b) people who know not to put inky pens in their pockets, (c) something having to do with pocket pool, or (d) all of the above. Here's the quote: "Employers today need workers with 'pocket-protector' skills, creative problem-solvers with strong math and science backgrounds," said Secretary Spellings. "The more students we train to be entrepreneurs and creative problem solvers, the more jobs they'll create, and the greater ability they'll have to improve the quality of life for others."...


The use of interns is a delicate thing, which is why by and large I've limited the ones I've worked with to morning news roundups and describing events they attend -- extremely useful tasks but not ones that presume any inside knowledge or policy chops. Not so The Quick & The Ed, which is letting interns post commentary like this recent post, which begins "Flipping through my 10th grade U.S. history text book..." Who has their 10th grade history text nearby? A junior at Brown does. Which is fine -- it's just not something I'm expecting to see published by ...


The most interesting thing to me about Steve Barr (Maverick Leads Charge for Charter Schools) is that Barr doesn't seem like he really wants to be the show pony for Gates, Broad, the Andy Sector, and the New Schools Venture Fund -- folks who are trying to create or promote more of what the Times describes as "nonprofit, high-performing charter chains" along the lines of KIPP and Achievement First. He'll take their money and their praise, but he doesn't want to expand as fast as they want him to, whether it's to parts of LAUSD where he has no credibility ...


The lineup of folks coming in to sell schools books is going to be slightly different this year. Both EdWeek and the NY Times recently have articles on the publishing industry, following up on the "merger" of Houghton Mifflin and RiverDeep -- known for Reader Rabbit among other things (Riverdeep buys Houghton Mifflin for 1.8B eSchool News). Quoting former Hill rat Jay Diskey, the EdWeek story describes how Houghton Mifflin is going to buy Harcourt Education, creating a "big three" of textbook publishers in the US (Houghton Mifflin, Pearson Education, and McGraw-Hill). The NYT story focuses on the implications ...


Partial to all things education? Got a little time on your hands in between all that doing good? Owe her a drink? Vote for AACTE hottie Jade Floyd (here at the annual EWA conference in LA), recently named a finalist as one of the hottest PR types in DC by Fishbowl DC: FishbowlDC. Vote now -- even if it's just to embarass the AACTE, who must be horrified that this is happening. She's one of their communications gurus, after all. UPDATE: Also pictured: Stephaan Harris, senior media coordinator at the Economic Policy Institute in D.C....


Thanks to DAD for recording and uploading these NCLB excerpts from last night's debate, which include Bill Richardson slamming the law for, among other things, taking money away from low-performing schools and districts (huh?), Joe Biden channeling Paul Wellstone and calling it a mistake, and Chris Dodd jumping in at the end to protect his buddy Ted by saying we should get NCLB right but not abandon it (NCLB: Scrap, Keep or Punt until 08?): No Clinton or Obama or Edwards footage, alas. Here's the video question that prompted these responses, which uses a whiteboard and some really bad heavy ...


First Lady Makes Rare Foray Into Lobbying for ‘No Child Left CQ Complicating the lack of movement are significant policy debates that have emerged between Republicans and Democrats, particularly over the weight standardized testing should be given in determining adequate yearly progress — the centerpiece of the law once expected to be President Bush’s domestic legacy. Maverick Leads Charge for Charter Schools NYT In seven years, Steve Barr’s Green Dot Public Schools organization has founded 10 charter high schools and has won approval to open 10 more. An Imbalance Grows in Cambridge, Mass., Schools Boston Globe Five years after ...


So far, at least, most charter schools have focused on serving low-income kids and ensuring that they learn basic skills. That's where the biggest need is. Now some folks are thinking about starting charter schools of a different kind -- aimed at a more elite educational model: private schools. It's happening already in a fancy park of Brooklyn (2 Park Slope Fathers Dream Big NY Sun), and I can't imagine it not happening elsewhere.* And, I'm not sure there's anything wrong with it. Like a magnet school or G&T program, it brings private school parents back into the public ...


Highlights of the week ahead in DC (mostly) include: Today: Hearing on S. 1642 (Kennedy, Massachusetts), the “Higher Education Amendments of 2007” to reauthorize the Higher Education Act of 1965 . NB: Also today: Spellings does press event (National Science Teachers Association) and meets with Congressional Black Caucus education task force re NCLB. Also: The Center for American Progress (CAP) and the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) will host a news conference to release the report, "Creating a Successful Performance Compensation System for Educators." 10:00 a.m.; National Press Club, 14th and F Streets, NW, Washington, Senate committee ...


This latest kerfluffle over Obama's comments about kindergarten sex ed to Planned Parenthood seems to have come and gone, alas, but reveals how easy it is to get in trouble on education issues: Sex ed for kindergarteners 'right thing to do' says Obama ABC News (video here): "Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told Planned Parenthood Tuesday that sex education for kindergarteners, as long as it is "age-appropriate," is "the right thing to do." Meanwhile, Obama Girl and Giuliani Girl are fighting it out on YouTube....


Students Want Presidential Hopefuls to Make Education a Priority AP via EdWeek A group of S.C. honors students videotaped a question to candidates for the upcoming debates. Test mess entangles school St. Pete Times Some 28 severely disabled children are at the center of a controversy that has pushed West Hernando Middle School to the brink of federal sanctions, according to school officials. School Recruiters Turn To 'Innovative Places' Washington Post Ireneo Abadejos and Julieta Perez are among what they call the "lucky 30" Filipino teachers hired by the Prince George's County school system in October 2004 as part ...


Education Department Spellings & Rove, Sitting In A Tree? As If. Running Out Of July NCLB News Dem Groups Concerned About Miller NCLB Bill Civil Rights & Business Groups Join Together To Fight For NCLB Opting Out Of Highly Qualified Teachers NCLB Implementation Roundup Convenient Arguments: Clarence Page Teachers & Teaching University Of Chicago Calls Out Rest Of Higher Education Community Louisiana Gives Teacher Mercedes Benz Campaign 2008 Dems & Vouchers More Kids Killed In Chicago Than Soldiers In Iraq School Life Dutch Kids Help Build Viking Ship Made Of Ice Cream Sticks Bootylicious Teachers & Their Flip-Flops Urban Ed Charters Get Their Own Search ...


Twenty-something teachers are pissing off the medium-to-older set (of teachers) by wearing flip-flops and giving kids extra credit for spelling words like "bootylicious," according to this post from AFT John based on a Teacher Magazine posting (here). It's an all-out generational war, I tell you....


Hawaii Gets No Break on School Test Scores HonoluluAdvertiser.com Hawaii wanted to join seven states that are now evaluated under the so-called "growth model," which measures how much progress individual students make, rather than whether they hit arbitrary score levels in the federal No Child Left Behind program. Schools hit penalty phase of NCLB Herald Tribune (Fla.) While many educators are quick to point out the shortcomings of the law, Wakeland Elementary School Principal Chuck Fradley credits it for forcing his school to make necessary changes, even though his school also faces penalties. Where's the support for NCLB? Tucson ...


Fascinated or appalled at all the cheating that seems to be going on these days? Check out Caveon Security's email "Cheating In The News," which showed up in my inbox this morning, including all the latest cheating news: Oakland charter school director resigns amid cheating scandal Inside Bay Area Tougher catching cheating with online test takers, educators say Naples Daily News Cheating on standardized tests isn't fleeting -- it's predictable SF Chronicle...


Edwards touts diverse schools plan in Rust Belt cities AP The plan calls for beefing up inner-city magnet schools to attract suburban kids, and providing extra money for schools in middle-class areas as a reward for enrolling more low-income students. Ten schools join state plan to lengthen school days Associated Press Ten more schools will lengthen their days next year, more than doubling the number of Massachusetts schools that are adding class time in a bid to improve academics. At this Irvine school, that sound you hear is Chinese LA Times Slater Stanley is only 14 but already has big ...


Thinking she was going to talk student lending or something, EdSec Spellings instead got some surprise questions about her former suitor, Karl Rove, from the Washington Post editorial board -- a conversation that eventually led to her tearing up (though not over Rove, thankfully (A Pop Quiz for the Education Secretary (Washington Post))....


We read them -- so you don't have to: Over at Joe Williams' blog, Joe reflects on the AEI event earlier this week and observes that Charles Murray gives him heartburn, incentives work (not that there's anything wrong with that), and don't mess with Mesecar. Meanwhile, Richard Lee Colvin resurfaces to point us to an excellent editorial in the Boston Globe about holes in Hillary's pre-k plan. Now you're done....


Just like they did with the Center On Education Progress's 2006 report on curriculum narrowing -- only much, much worse -- the NY Times has apparently broken the embargo on reviewing the new Harry Potter book. This is making some folks crazy, including at the Huffington Post, which has all the details -- but no spoilers. Don't remember the hullabaloo surrounding Sam Dillon's story last year? Read here and here....


Thanks to the wizards and code monkeys at EdWeek.org, you can now get DAILY email updates of whatever's new on this blog. Just sign up in the new yellow box just under my picture. It's not quite the same as making it your homepage or checking it obsessively (I know who you are), but it's a big set up from the weekly email summary or the occasional glance. I encourage it as a time-saving convenience. Never miss a brilliant post again!...


Ice cream stick ship set to sail A Viking sailing ship, made in the Netherlands from 5 million recycled ice cream sticks with the help of 5,000 school children, is ready for the high seas. Click here to see close-ups....


Kudos to the good folks at Learning Matters, whose PBS series on a failed effort to bring in superstar principals to turn around struggling schools has just been nominated for an Emmy -- the third they've gotten. The competition -- ABC World News, CBS Evening News, Good Morning America and NBC Nightly News -- doesn't stand a chance. You can read about and watch the program here: Turnaround Specialist....


Thanks to a friend for passing this one to me. They really know how to do things down there, I guess....


All of these bills are just markers for future wrangling, but one of the most notable elements of the NCLB proposal unveiled yesterday by Senators Lieberman, Coleman, and Landrieu is that it would let states opt out of the current HQT requirements, which have been pretty ineffective at doing anything beyond making sure districts didn't hire uncertified teachers (an accomplishment, actually), and replacing that with measures of teacher effectiveness. Coleman backs changes to No Child Left Behind education law AP As Congress debates whether to reauthorize President Bush's landmark No Child Left Behind education law, Sen. Norm Coleman and two ...


Edwards Pushes Better Education for Poor EdWeek Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has called for measures to strengthen education for poor children and make schools more economically diverse in order to fight poverty. DC Conference Centering On Vouchers NY Sun Giving private school vouchers to Washington, D.C., schoolchildren has increased the funds available to the city's public system at large, but it has not triggered a competitive pushback of improvement in the public schools, researchers will argue at a conference in Washington today. Abstinence Education Faces an Uncertain Future NYT Opponents of abstinence education cite a study that found ...


This week's EdWeek includes a noteworthy commentary from UofC education honcho Tim Knowles (pictured) in which he calls out the rest of higher ed for not being more substantially involved in K12 school reform issues (John Dewey for Today). As Knowles describes, the UofC is running a fast-growing network of charter schools, providing support services to another set of regular Chicago public schools, and even have a small practice-based teacher prep program. All this without having a formal ed school....


Never want to see my grinning gargoyle of a head shot again? I got no problem with that. First, ditch that bookmark -- you never remember to check it anyway. Go to the first yellow box right under my picture and sign up for a weekly email summary of what's been on this site. At least that way you won't be entirely in the dark. Want something more frequent? Go to the second yellow box and sign up there -- you'll get a daily report on whatever crap material that I've posted during the day -- just like the SmartBrief ...


You may or may not think it's significant that there's another new NCLB-related organization. Hard to keep up with how many there are these days. But this one includes a pretty diverse set of players including the Business Roundtable, the Chamber of Commerce, La Raza, NCEA, the Citizens' Commission, and the Ed Trust. And it's pretty staunchly in favor of keeping, if not strengthening, NCLB. Of course, other folks who might help get something done -- CAP, Fordham, New America, CEP, etc. -- aren't signed on, either because they officially "don't do" advocacy or because they think it'd be more ...


I was more than happy to find out I'd been included in Slate.com's roundup of blog posts from a few weeks back, but I wish they'd been able to tell that I was joking about why Bush Administration officials including ones at the USDE might use RNC e-mail addresses instead of their official ones (Today's Blogs). I said that maybe the RNC email was easier to use....


There's something a bit too convenient about the most recent "bubble" kids study that says low- and high-performing kids are being left behind, while "bubble" kids in the middle get all the attention. Ditto for today's Clarence Page column in the Chicago Tribune, which riffs off of the study to -- no surprise -- call for lowering NCLB's proficiency requirements (Leaving children behind, again). You could argue that the bubble kids are increasingly higher-achieving, as the NCLB proficiency cutoff moves up over time. But the answer to teachers focusing on the middle kids (as they always have) doesn't seem to ...


What to do if you're no longer the Education Secretary and can't judge schools anymore? Judge beauty contests, of course. In Mississippi. That's what Rod Paige is doing these days, according to this Sun Herald story (Miss Heritage is the new Miss Mississippi). Better to judge than be judged, I guess....


What to do if you happen to use the n-word during a board meeting? Resign, I guess. (R.I. School Official Resigns After Slur AP). Meanwhile, educators in New Mexico found out they won't get in trouble from the feds for a high school racism project that labeled water fountains "Whites Only" and, quaintly, "People Of Color". See: No sanctions for mock-segregation project MSNBC....


Forget the Challenge Index and all that nonsense about Advanced Placement Courses. So 90's. Now Forbes is out with its ranking of districts, based on their notions of who's got the most bang for the buck(Best And Worst School Districts For The Buck). According to Forbes, Marin County, California comes out number one. The others in the top five are Collin, Texas; Hamilton, Ind.; Norfolk, Mass.; and Montgomery, Md. Losers include Alexandria, VA. Others on the bottom of the list include Glynn, Ga.; Washington, D.C.; Ulster, N.Y.; and Beaufort, S.C. For all its obvious flaws, the ...


NCLB Seen as Curbing Low, High Achievers' Gains EdWeek "This is the irony of the `soft bigotry of low expectations,`” he added, quoting a line from President Bush. “Having lower standards is actually beneficial to low-advantage children." College Board Tries to Police Use of ‘Advanced Placement’ Label NYT To help protect its brand, the College Board is creating a list of classes that high schools are authorized to call AP and reviewing the syllabuses for classes. Head Start Renewal AP via EdWeek The bill is virtually unchanged from the version approved in February by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and ...


Not everyone's so sure they're going to like what House education committee chairman George Miller comes up with, according to this letter sent last week from left-leaning progressives who are concerned about Miller watering down the law too much. What a contrast with the last time around, when Miller and the Ed Trust and others worked seamlessly on NCLB and rarely if ever had to resort to public letter-writing like this....


The Etch-A-Sketch was invented 47 years ago last week, according to my new favorite site, How Things Work, which includes a history, information on what's inside and how the things work, and some examples of fancy sketches that people have made. And apparently the gizmo is still appealing to some kids, even though they have computers and the Internet these days....


If I had it my way, this blog would be splashed across EdWeek's front page each and every day -- a notion that I'm sure many would find horrifying. Fair enough. I get that -- though it hurts my feelings and doesn't make sense to me. So when little signs of love come down from EdWeek headquarters, you can imagine how good it makes me feel. Like this new ad, which, now that I think about it, should probably be splashed across the front page....


Every year, Democratic politicians' opposition to vouchers gets narrower and narrower, even though there still aren't a ton of voucher programs around. In fact, one Democratic front-runner, Barack Obama, has not only voted for targeted vouchers (Katrina, etc.) but also indicated he'd support them in other situations. So maybe this is the year for a Dem or two to cross that big divide. Here, Joe Williams calls for a big school voucher proposal from John Edwards, who's proposing a housing voucher instead (Holy Moses)....


AFT John reminds us to read Congressional Quarterly a little more often, especially when it includes tidbits about the increasing unlikelihood of a summer bill introduction and markup for NCLB (Slouching towards 2009). Not enough July left, and not enough of a majority for either party to push something through....


Those charter folks are so creative, so inventive, so damn entrepreneurial. Now, according to SmartMoney.com, they've got their own search engine: American Charter Schools to Receive Funding from New Search Engine. What will they think of next? Charter school credit cards, I'm guessing, or mileage programs. Special handshakes, too. Maybe their own version of YouTube? Or iPhone....


As if there we needed any more reasons to get rid of the long summer break, US News reports that summertime is downright dangerous to children, spiking to more than 2.4 million ER visits (and 2100 deaths) each year and that only with increased diligence can injuries be avoided (12 Ways to Childproof Your Summer). Over at Slate.com, they debunk the notion that summer break was invented to follow the agricultural calendar. It was money, folks, that ended summer quarter -- and some strange notions about kids' development (Why do schoolchildren get a three-month summer vacation?)....


No Child's authors work on a revision Boston Globe "Everything's up for review," said Miller , Democrat of California and chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. Limelight Has Eluded Fired D.C. Schools Chief Washington Post It's been a tough month for former D.C. school superintendent Clifford B. Janey since his abrupt dismissal by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty in a late-night telephone call. Via DA Daily. Nipping Bias in the Bud LA Times As soon as Violet Feldman laid eyes on her cousin's short haircut, she wanted one too. The 5-year-old begged her parents to trim her dark-brown ...


Over at EdBizzBuzz, Marc Dean Millot digs up a how-to on making AYP (How to Make AYP). See? It's not so hard to understand. Actually pulling it off isn't so easy, though more folks are doing it than many imagined -- with and without tricks and gimmicks....


Though it's starting off slowly, the week ahead could be busy: EdWeek says that the Miller education bill could come out (see below). AEI's got an event today: The Impact of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) . Participants: Derek Neal, University of Chicago; Katherine Haley, Office of Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI); Charles Murray, AEI; and Henry Olsen, AEI.. Time and Location: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.; Wohlstetter Conference Center, Twelfth Floor, AEI. [email protected] for more information. New America has a thing tomorrow: "Child Well-Being in America and Abroad: How Do American Children Fare in Comparison ...


A few weeks ago, the Chicago Tribune's Stephanie Banchero tracked down just how many Chicago public school kids had died during the first half of the year -- 34 and counting -- a statistic that generated a lot of discussion not only because it seemed so high but also because most if not all of violence happened off campus. Since then, the statistic has been used by the school system to argue for more education funding, and, most recently, by political candidates like Barack Obama to make the case for paying more attention to the plight of the urban poor: ...


EdWeek's much-anticipated new blog "NCLB Part II" didn't show up on my RSS reader until this morning even though its author, reporter David (Hassel)Hoff, had kicked things off last week by pointing out one of my many mistakes. Welcome to the blogosphere, David. Part of me thinks that having an EdWeek blog dedicated to NCLB will be helpful and great -- less work for me to do, the more the merrier, etc. Another part of me thinks that there are already too many blogs out there doing pretty much the same thing. I guess the real test will be ...


Law makes state oversee failing schools New Haven Register It is far more specific than the federal No Child Left Behind law, which introduced nationwide testing goals and accountability measures. NCLB-Renewal Ideas Circulate on Capitol Hill EdWeek Rep. George Miller, D-Calif. has signaled to freshmen in Congress that he’ll propose some major changes to the 5½-year-old NCLB Act when he releases his reauthorization bill, possibly in the coming weeks. School Diversity Based on Income Segregates Some NYT Recent experiments show how hard it can be to balance academic success and socioeconomic and racial diversity. Intel, in Shift, Joins ...


The Big Picture Where's Our Michael Moore? Capturing The Current School Reform Moment ... Down To The "Granular" Level On The Hill Fresh Off The FritzWire Burr & Gregg Deliver The First Volley ....Or They Could Introduce NCLB Reauthorization Language The Week Ahead (July 9-13) NCLB News Burr & Gregg Deliver The First Volley Addressing NCLB's "Reverse Lake Wobegon Syndrome" Urban Education Payzant Says He Didn't Know About Pilot Schools Screening Kids Either Do AP Incentive Programs Skew The Challenge Index? Expanding District Boundaries, Beefing Up The NCLB Transfer Provision Teachers & Teaching What Most Folks Don't "Get" About Schools Now Cool: Librarians Foundation ...


Appropriations: On Wednesday, July 11, the House Appropriations Committee completed mark-up on a $607 billion Labor-HHS-Education spending bill that will set funding levels for education, health and labor programs for FY 2008. The bill allocates $62.6 billion for the Education Department, an increase of $2.3 billion over current funding. Overall, the total bill is roughly $7 billion more than that approved for FY 2007. Go to: http://appropriations.house.gov. The measure next moves to the House floor for consideration. The Senate has yet to move on its version of the bill. Introduced Legislation: S 1775 (Burr, North ...


Recently named along with Joel Klein as one of the most influential parts of the New York City education scene, InsideSchools.org goes beyond the usual news coverage and profiles individual schools. Now it has a blog to go along with all the rest....


NPR reminds us that it was 50 years ago that the Little Rock Nine were escorted into white schools (Little Rock Marks Desegregation Anniversary. Jonathan Kozol observes in a recent NYT opinion piece that the Supreme Court's decision last week still allows all sorts of methods of increasing integration, including beefing up the transfer provision in NCLB (Transferring Up). Meanwhile, the NY Sun tells us that imaginative folks there are wondering what would happen if they did that whole city-suburban district thing (Activists Revive Idea of Blending Students From City, Suburbs)...


Positive Trends Recorded in U.S. Data on Teenagers AP Fewer high school students were having sex and more were using condoms in 2005, according to the latest government report on the well-being of the nation’s children. Via EdWeek.org. Government Eyes Seat Belts for School Buses AP The government is looking again at whether children are safer in seat belts when they ride the bus to school, months after a deadly crash in Alabama. Via District Administration. U.S. education official touts charter schools Albany Press & Sun Bulletin With a successful charter school's graduation ceremony as a backdrop ...


According to the attached press release, Republican Senators Gregg and Burr are today introducing a "comprehensive" NCLB reauthorization bill -- the first of will likely be several volleys from folks who want to push or promote something that's not quite the same as what the committee and leadership staff are up to....


Sick of everyone putting in their two cents instead of just giving you the facts? Me, too. According to this Times Magazine story from earlier this month, we should all be turning to Wikipedia for information -- including breaking news -- since the collaborative website is all about maintaining a neutral point of view. Sound interesting? Well, not so fast. The articles all created by group effort, and are not necessarily complete or accurate even if they're neutral. Maybe that's why people like opinion -- better sifting. Here's the entry for Reading First. And for NCLB. Click "history" to see ...


Thanks to everyone who wrote in explaining that it's insider Jennifer (Jenny) Medina who's now writing city education stories that we'll all be (and are already) reading. According to an internal email announcement someone sent me, Medina "began her career at The New York Times as an intern in education where working with Tamar Lewin she turned out a memorable series on how city schools were pushing students out so they wouldn't count as part of the dropout rate." Since then she's covered NY and CT state politics, as well as the Lieberman campaign, and more. "All of this was ...


Following up on the Boston Globe's story that Boston's famed pilot schools were screening students rather than taking all comers like everyone else (is supposed to). former Boston superintendent Tom Payzant (under whose leadership the pilots were started) said that he didn't know about the practice, either. Writes Payzant: "Frankly, I was surprised that schools other than Quincy Upper and the Arts Academy had special requirements. Sometimes the Supt. is the last to know." Payzant said he'd tell the schools to cut it out, though perhaps allowing schools to require a parent visit upon acceptance so that they know what ...


Word is that NYT education reporter David Herszenhorn has in fact left (escaped?) and is already down in DC covering Congress. [Read more about and an outdated but still reasonable look at where education reporters go to when they are no longer education reporters here.] No word yet on who's going to replace him in covering the NYC schools. How about Columbia's LynNell Hancock (right), who recently wrote a great send-up of the NYC reform effort in The Nation and who still may not have forgiven my for my ambush interview of her (here)? Or maybe Elizabeth Green (left), who ...


In yesterday's education column, Times education writer David Herszenhorn reflects on what it's been like covering NYC schools for over four years -- and what most adults don't (or don't want to) understand: "Working with children looks easy. It is not." Then the tagline at the end of the story seems to indicate that Herszenhorn is leaving the beat. Working with schools isn't just hard on teachers, it seems. Congrats, condolences. I'll try and get more information....


House moves to lower interest on student loans AP Legislation to lower interest rates on student loans and increase aid to poor people who want to go to college won House approval yesterday. Potter Has Limited Effect on Reading Habits NYT The truth about Harry Potter and reading is not quite a straightforward success story. Teacher-Turned-Astronaut to Deliver Educational Payload EdWeek Barbara R. Morgan and the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour will conduct a variety of educational activities on an 11 day mission....


I managed to pull myself away from Burger King's "grow your own mustache" site (I'm 'stashing Obama) to skim this week's ed policy posts over at The Carnival Of Education: Week 127 and saw that there are posts on zero tolerance, harassment, student obesity, and the gaps between research and policy. Check it out....


I'm finding it hard to get worked up about education reform these days when crazed but brilliant "Sicko" documentarian Michael Moore is taking on CNN's Wolf Blitzer, handsome medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, and mainstream coverage of health care issues (as well as missing the boat on Iraq, the treatment of veterans, etc.). It makes you think. Wouldn't it be horrifying and exciting and disruptive if someone in education -- a more charismatic and compelling version of Jonathan Kozol, Debbie Meier, Marian Wright Edelman, et al -- was pushing this hard on the school reform front, and getting this kind of ...


Dallas Morning News education columnist Josh Benton isn't the first to raise questions about Newsweek's High School Challenge Index (aka "Uncle Jay's List'), but the fact that two local Dallas high schools -- both in the same building -- got ranked #1 and #2 this year does give him an interesting perspective. In his column (here), Benton points out that at least some of the Dallas success is due to a local incentive program that pays kids and teachers for AP participation. In fact, Texas was the home of these AP incentive programs, which spread nationally and are now funded ...


Anyone dealing with kids this summer is probably dealing with water -- water balloons, water bottles, water guns. Here, Slate takes the time to rate the water guns that are out there, most of which are are far cry from the puny translucent pistols some of us may remember from long ago: Scouting out the best water guns. The top-rated Tarantula (pictured) is introduced as follows: "Packing a gun this well-designed almost feels like cheating....Its overdone space-age styling may seem a tad embarrassing, but its performance on the battlefield will teach your enemies to show some respect."...


OK, I think I understand at least some of the basics now, thanks to Gates spokesperson Marie Groark. Former Portland supe Vicki Phillips (right) will be the "new" Tom Vander Ark, heading the education initiative. However, the setup is different, too. Education is now going to be under US Programs, run by Allan Golston, and expanded to include special initiatives, which is being run by former JFF-er Hilary Pennington (left). Within education, Steve Seleznow (the white guy) runs the Western States plus Ohio. Jim Shelton runs the Eastern states and "new school creation and replications." A slightly outdated version of ...


Washington Post, media critic Howard Kurtz points out that much of the astounding success of the Huffington Post, a group blog that features all sorts of generally Democratic commentary and content (including mine), has come from the ability (and willingness) of its editors to go beyond the now-standard "most read story" gizmo in the corner and actually bring popular articles to the front page, top center. Editors hate this because it means that readers are making placement and prominence decisions and mixing commentary with news. Advertisers love it because it makes the site the sites that do this (Daily Kos ...


Defending -- much less advocating -- NCLB has to be one of the most thankless jobs out there, but the LA Times' columnist Ron Brownstein gives it a shot in Don't leave this law behind. Sounding like he's been talking to EdSec Spellings, Kati Haycock, and Bruce Reed a lot, Brownstein admits that the law has "minted enemies" and blames the current AYP system for creating a "reverse Lake Wobegon syndrome" in which too many schools are rated as low-performing. But he concludes that improving the law is possible, and that with immigration reform seemingly done in "educational accountability offers ...


Texas to End High-School Exit Exams NPR The Texas legislature has voted to end one of the most controversial aspects of its school accountability system: exit-level exams that students must pass to get their high-school diplomas. Locke High's weary teachers face a hard multiple-choice test LA Times They're divided over whether to become a charter school. School settles after student's mouth taped MSNBC.com A school district agreed to pay $33,250 to settle a lawsuit by a former student who accused an elementary school teacher of wrapping tape around his head for talking too much. Pittsburgh schools drop 'public' ...


From today's Washington Examiner, via The Quick And The Ed: Communications breakdown caused boxes of sporting goods, computers and other essential equipment to be left padlocked in a shuttered District of Columbia junior high school for almost an entire year while a neighboring school was starved for supplies, a city consultant told The Examiner. From the June 21 edition of The Nation: The [bus route] chaos was caused in large part by the financial consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal, an outfit the department hired without competitive bidding at $16 million to find $200 million from the [New York City] department's budget ...


While the Gates Foundation continues to influence education reform near and far (just this week strong-arming the LAUSD school board), no one really seems to have a complete picture of who's who and who does what in their education division these days. So here's your chance to show off what you know, individually and as a group, by sharing who does what out there and in the states. Phillips? Shelton? Sanford? Bailey? Fleischauer et al at GMMB? Together, maybe we can piece it all together....


I skim them so you don't have to.. Reading on the same page Joanne Jacobs Congress hates the most successful part of No Child Left Behind, writes Charlotte Allen in a Weekly Standard story on Reading First. Lampkin Goes Off On NEA And Prez Candidates Joe Williams' Blog Marc Lampkin, of Ed in 08 fame, and writing on the Huffington Post, gave all the candidates who appeared at last week's National Education Association Pander-Palooza an 'F' grade. It's All About The Kids! Eduwonk The Washington Post editorial board lays out the real behind the scenes tension surrounding confirmation hearings for ...


Though I usually find articles in The Nation tiresome and predictable even when I agree with them, I knew I was going to like LynNell Hancock's recent article on school reform in New York City when she started out making fun of the word "granular," which is currently being over-used in certain circles when it comes to describing detailed data. But it's not just that......


Public Schools Feed Multitudes in the Summer NYT The New York City school system has become one of the nation’s largest summer soup kitchens. Pilot Schools Setting More Hurdles Boston Globe Most of Boston's experimental pilot high schools, held up as a national model and acclaimed for outperforming traditional public schools, have quietly created admissions hurdles that call into question whether they are stacking the deck with the most successful students. More than half of teens forgo summer jobs USA Today Perhaps the biggest reason teens are bypassing work is to spend more time studying, even during the summer: ...


A lot of people seem to be enjoying this NYT Magazine article about new-era librarians (A Hipper Crowd Of Shushers): "With so much of the job involving technology and with a focus now on finding and sharing information beyond just what is available in books, a new type of librarian is emerging — the kind that, according to the Web site Librarian Avengers, is “looking to put the ‘hep cat’ in cataloguing.” There are an increasing number of librarians who are notable not just for their pink-streaked hair but also for their passion for pop culture, activism and technology."...


Maybe the week won't be so slow after all, I'm told, if Hill staff finally release the bill language that they've been working on feverishly with hopes of -- could this really happen? -- marking up a bill before August recess? It doesn't seem possible, but who knows. Congress Now says "As for No Child Left Behind, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers is making a push to mark up its reauthorization before the August recess, with the hope of reauthorizing President Bush's landmark education reforms before they expire at the end of September. Staff from both parties are negotiating ...


If it's not about Iraq, health care, the campaign, or the environment, it doesn't seem like there's that much going on in DC these next few days. Fresh off her weekend in Aspen, the EdSec is going to Crystal City this afternoon to to talk about investing in children at the White House Conference on the Americas. Mysteriously, it's not open to the press. The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to mark up the Labor-HHS-Education bill on Wednesday. That same day, Secty Spellings flies up to Albany to give a commencement speech for the A Brighter Choice charter schools (single ...


Not really that new or big, but more to come with Congress back in session... Advocates for Students With Disabilities Balk at Proposed NCLB Changes EdWeek Some fear high standards for such students could be sacrificed as states seek more flexibility in the law. Nutrition education ineffective USA Today The federal government will spend more than $1 billion this year on nutrition education but an Associated Press review of scientific studies examining 57 such programs found mostly failure. Schools turn to private donors Detroit Free Press Once limited to colleges and private schools, reliance on private donations has become a $31.5...


Bush Administration Aspen-Bound EdSec Briggs Nominated & Confirmed For USDE Post Over-Reacting On Deseg Implications? Campaign 2008 Obama Hands NEA Endorsement To Clinton Bad Republican Advice On NCLB Strategy Remembering John Kerry Biden Takes The Lead No Clear Way To Pay For Initiatives, Says FactCheck NCLB News Growth Models Across America -- And More Pilots To Come Summer School For The Princeton Review Spying On The NEA Convention Foundation Follies Looking Back At The Year That Was: The Fordham Version Job Of The Week: The Andy Sector Wants You! Media Watch Does "The Pulse" Need CPR? EdWeek's Online Extravaganza School Life ...


Eduwonk thinks that Obama did himself good with the merit pay mention, or at least does no harm. But at the same time he reminds us that John Kerry didn't win any friends with his merit pay ideas in the 2004 elections. Here's a rundown of what Kerry did and didn't propose on education, from EdWeek. Interesting stuff to remember....


Many have noted Barack Obama's brave foray into the wilds of merit pay in yesterday's speech (so much for the notion that it's widely accepted), but what about his apparent slam at teachers (and others) for their poor attitudes about low-income and minority kids? "I was talking to one of the young teachers there about the challenges they faced, and she mentioned what she called the “These Kids Syndrome” - the willingness of society to find a million excuses for why “these kids” can’t learn," says Obama according to his prepared remarks (Remarks of Senator Obama at NEA). "It’s...


Charismatic pol gets ovation, but GOPer Huckabee a hit, too Philadelphia Daily News The rock star of Democratic presidential candidates, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, made his appearance yesterday before 9,000 delegates at the National Education Association convention, as did a long-winded local favorite, U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del. Vying to be teachers' pet Philadelphia Inquirer Eight presidential candidates came to Phila. to court the National Education Association. They said largely what teachers wanted to hear. Schools Move Toward Following Students’ Yearly Progress on Tests NYT Schools are looking to use an increasingly popular way to analyzing test ...


Summer vay-k* is getting shorter and shorter for some St. Louis area students, according to this story (For St. Louis, School Begins in the Middle of August): "This week, fireworks and hotdogs. Next week, shopping for school supplies....Classes start as soon as Aug. 13 in some local schools...Students are predictably aghast." Via DA Daily. *Also spelled like it's pronounced: vay-kay....


Over at National Review Online, Carrie Lukas has the questionable notion that Fred Thompson could run -- and win -- by running against NCLB (Fred To School). First off, I can't realistically imagine anyone winning anything on an education issue right now, no matter how good. Second, running against NCLB might help marginally in the primary -- might -- but would hurt just as much if not more in the general. That's one reason why Obama and others are holding their fire, and something that Sen. Clinton will have to deal with if she wins the nomination. Via the Fred ...


So last week's nearly-forgotten Democratic debate finally included some education talk (minimum wage for teachers, healthy breakfast for all kids, college access). But was any of it really do-able? Probably not says one group that watches out for over-promising politicians, ccording to FactCheck.org. "Candidates said little about how they planned to deliver on those promises, how much their plans would cost or who would pay." Of course, no one paying attention really thinks any of these things are going to happen. The key here is to promise as much as you can get away with during the primary and ...


Someone told me that you're not supposed to do mouth-to-mouth anymore, just clear the airway and focus on the heart compressions. Whatever it is, District Administration magazine's group blog "The Pulse" may need it. The posts are increasingly infrequent, it seems, and many of those included are too busy blogging and writing in other places to contribute much. (Sorta like me with Edustat and the Huffington Post.) There's got to be a better way to get diverse perspectives and create some sort of conversation going, but I don't know what it is....


Many teachers dubious of merit pay Boston Globe Merit pay tied to student test scores seems all the rage in some educational [and journalistic] circles, but many teachers think it's an idea whose time hasn't come. In School Takeover, Newark Union Tries to Prove It’s Part of the Solution NYT The powerful Newark Teachers Union is telling as many as a dozen teachers at the troubled Newton Street School that they have to leave because they do not fit in with a plan to improve the school. U.S. OKs Pilot ‘Growth Models’ for Last 2 States EdWeek Arizona ...


Things to do today include: read or listen to someone else read the Declaration of Independence, play some soccer (sorry, baseball), eat a lot of grilled meat (or vegetables), look around and see what a fascinating, troubled place and time this is. Think about what, if anything, to do about making things better....


Folks in Chicago are ripping me a new one for stereotyping Spanish speakers and spreading degrading notions with that post about "Ask A Mexican!" and a follow-up one I did just to fan the flames of immigration reform frustration. Check it out here and here....


Like I said last week, who needs a reauthorization when you can just change the law as much as you want without anyone really protesting? Not that there's anything wrong with that. Case in point, today the EdSec announced more growth model approvals. The latest three include Alaska, Arizona, and (last week) Florida. See below for the press release. Additional waivers/pilots to look for in the coming months while reauthorization languishes include: that "just missed" AYP designation that she talked about last week in USA Today, a blanket waiver of some kind on HQT (statutorily, it's time to declare ...


And they say that everything's been breezy for test prep companies. Well, maybe so, but tthings have been pretty rough for The Princeton Review of late, according to Robert Baird Associates' monthly Class Notes: "A 13% increase of shares of Renaissance Learning and modest increases in shares of Scientific Learning (+5%), Plato Learning (+3%) and School Specialty (+2%) were offset by a 27% decline in shares of Princeton Review following the announcement that the company dismissed its auditors and made changes to the board of directors including the resignation of the chairman." According to Class Notes,TPR has announced the ...


New America snagged Sara away to do early education, leaving Andy et al in the lurch. Here, Kevin Carey makes the pitch for a bright shiny face to fill in the void....


The EIA takes one for the team and covers the NEA convention in Philly this week -- now featuring video highlights: Check out his moment-by-moment coverage here. It's sure to be entertaining -- even if you're already there....


If anyone asks you about The Futures Channel, I suppose you could tell them it's "YouTube for nerds" as some have described it -- video, lots of it, concerning the sciences, technology, engineering and allied fields....


Forget the Supreme Court, the pundits and opeds, the failure of immigration reform and Obama's $32 million in fundraising. Forget Scooter LIbby's commuted sentence. The most interesting thing that happened in the last week was Checker Finn's roundup of the 06-07 school year (here)). First off, it's impressive that Finn even remembered that the school year was over -- a testament to the foundation's grounding and still noteworthy role as a real-world charter school authorizer in Ohio, I like to think. To the extent that charters are real schools, that is. (I joke, I joke!). Then there’s the ever-convenient ...


Charter contract believed to be the first tying salaries to performance. Philadelphia Inquirer Three years after organizing, teachers at Camden's first charter school have settled their first contract: a three-year pact with performance incentives. Democrats: No Child Law Needs Overhaul AP They all voted for it, but that was then. Democratic presidential candidates came out swinging Monday, not at each other but at the No Child Left Behind law. They spoke at the annual convention of the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union. [Word is that HRC has the endorsement locked up.] PLUS: 'T' is for teachers - ...


You might not know it, but EdWeek has lots of other blogs -- seven of them -- and lots of other original online content to check out that's probably much more timely and interesting than anything you'll find here. Even better, now there's a fancy new widget thing on the right side of the page to make it easy to check out what everyone else has to say. (Or, just go the front page and you'll see Web Updates, Daily Clips, WebChats, TalkBacks, and all sorts of other stuff.) Tell them Russo sent you....


...in answering the AFT's presidential questionnaire (here)....


Early summer in Aspen is not a bad place to be, so it's no surprise that the EdSec is going to be there this week, ostensibly for an Aspen Institute confab on the 5th and 6th -- one session on education, and the other on women in politics. Nice work if you can get it....


Before the belated invention of wheeled bags, folks used to tie their bags and boxes to chrome wheelies with bungee cords. (Remember, back in the days when only nerds hooked their backpacks over both shoulders?) In the years since, teachers, and then kids, have been using wheeled backpacks and briefcases with abandon. Now, according to the NY Times, the rest of the teen and adult world is coming around -- fashionability be damned (in some cases):"When I suggested to my teenagers that they switch to backpacks with wheels, they looked at me as if I had suggested a return ...


I'm not sure why anyone would want to stay in the USDE so late in the game and when the chips are down as they are now, but I guess some people are loyal that way and a promotion doesn't hurt. Congrats, condolences, per usual....


'No Child' in the Crosshairs Washington Post (editorial) Act. The federal law is not perfect, but its architecture of But that's the approach being advocated by those who find fault with the No Child Left Behind... Newer Presidents See Role of Unions Changing, Study Finds EdWeek The changes are attributed to “new realities” in public education that threaten the future of both teachers’ unions and public schools. Study: Black Students Lag in Success on AP Tests Boston Globe Participation in the Advanced Placement program has more than doubled in 10 years, but this surge in college-preparatory testing has not reached ...


Maybe those legal affairs correspondents went a little overboard about the deseg case last week, says Jeff Rosen in the Sunday NY Times: Can a Law Change a Society?...


NCLB News Over-Reaching On NCLB Predictions At The Washington Post Reauthorization? We Don't Need No Stinking Reauthorization. Urban Education CCCR: Deseg Not Outlawed Cristo Rey Schools Take Over The World Teachers & Teaching America's Most Wanted: Teachers TAP For TIF: More On Merit Pay Models "Help Wanted - Chinese Teachers Need to Meet New Craze" Students Students Explain Torture Letter Delivered To President Bush High School Student Takes On Fiery Newscaster Over Sex Ed Talk Media Watch Two Good "Time-Lapse" Education Stories Is Student Violence Necessarily School Violence? Online Bullying Goes Big Time, Depending How You Define It The Education Business ...


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