October 2007 Archives

Knocking On Edu-Neighbors' Doors

A quick spin around the block before I head out in my Reading First costume to get as many razor-filled apples as I can find: Over at Early Stories, RLC digs out an overview of Where the Democratic Candidates Stand on Child Care and Preschool. Meanwhile, Charlie Barone writes from his hidden lair about educational triage and NCLB: Is the NCLB "Bubble Kids" Theory About To Burst? The AFTies win the best headline of the day award for their post about how NCLB is affecting Chicago area schools: Give Us Growth Models...Or The Nation Will Explode. EIA Mike keeps ...


Dirty Tricks Against NYC Education Critic

When an oped piece came out yesterday criticizing Diane Ravitch for flip-flopping on her criticisms of various Bloomberg school reform ideas, some folks (Whitney, Andy and the performance pay mafia) seemed pretty happy about it. Today, however, Elizabeth Green in the NY Sun reports that the column was actually the result of some good old opposition research done by the NYC Department of Education. That doesn't mean the criticisms of Ravitch are all off, of course. It just shows you how far some people will go to try and swat away an annoyingly persistent and knowledgeable critic. Next thing you ...


How Cash Incentives Really Work

Perhaps the most overlooked article of the week is this one from New York magazine (Can Cash Incentives Pull a Poor Family Out of Poverty?) looking into the prospects of success for New York's much-debate cash incentive program. We've heard what everyone thinks about giving incentives (aka bribes) to poor families for health and educational behaviors -- I'm OK with them, most folks aren't. Now take a look at how they work in the real world....


Too Many Reports, Says Report

"The Texas State Library and Archives Commission spent 18 months and canvassed more than 170 agencies and public colleges and universities, checking on all the reports they are assigned to do.The commission found more than 1,600, and state records administrator Michael Heskett is pretty sure his team hasn't found them all." (State report: Texas has too many reports)...


Strippers Help Pass Out Candy At Local School

Scores strippers help pass out candy at Halloween carnival NY Daily News...


Peas In A Pod? We Wouldn't Last A Minute.

Eduwonkette is at it again -- and I love it. She's got mad Photoshop skills (or at least knows how to cut and paste), and has me and Andywonk dressed up as peas in a pod. It isn't pretty. I'm not sure how that would work, since co-existence is required. I was hoping for me as K-Fed and Andy as Britney. But this will do. Check it out....


A "National" Test For Urban Districts

Sick of being told that scores are going up when you think they're really not? Well the cat is soon out of the bag, for 11 big urban districts at least (Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Cleveland; Houston; Los Angeles; New York; San Diego; and Washington, D.C.). A couple weeks from now the latest reading and math scores are coming out for some of the country's biggest districts. Called the urban NAEP, or TUDA, the new data will include trend lines going back to 2003, linked to NAEP. Based on NAEP data, not all of the ...


The Long Goodbye - The Big Thanks

Within the next few hours (or days, as the case may be), this blog is going to move to a new home on another site. I'm going to keep posting here for a little while longer until things are ready over there but just wanted to let you know. An opportunity presented itself and I decided to make the move. It's been great working with the EdWeek.org folks, most especially the site's ME, Jeanne McCann, who has been incredibly helpful and patient. (We bloggers are a temperamental lot, it turns out.) And of course Ginny Edwards, the head honcho. ...


In The Classroom

Hello, India? I Need Help With My Math NYT In a new wave of the global outsourcing of services, personal chores are moving offshore, and this is leading to some daunting challenges, both economic and cultural. On Education: Classroom of the Future Is Virtually Anywhere NYT There is no blackboard and no lectern, and, most glaringly, no students in the university classroom of the future. With World Growing Smaller, IB Gets Big EdWeek Amid heightened concern about preparing students for a global economy, the academically demanding International Baccalaureate program is catching on fast in U.S. schools....


Creepy Congressman Wants To Eliminate Digital Divide For All The Wrong Reasons

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Big Stories Of The Day

Standardized high school exit exams put states to the test USA Today Twenty-two states have some type of exit exams; four are phasing them in. But the tests are proving controversial. Maryland has delayed exams by two years. The state Board of Education meets today and Wednesday to decide whether to move the date again. School Issues Vary on States’ Ballots EdWeek Voters will decide some notable education- and child-related questions when they go to the polls next month. Elementary Absenteeism AP Absenteeism among children in the early-elementary grades is highest in kindergarten and has a positive correlation with poverty, ...


Follow The Bouncing Ball

Using ball as chair helps focus, third-graders sayGrand Rapids PressKatie Messina teaches to a sea of bobbing heads. Messina first experimented with using balls as chairs six years ago in another school, where her class included seven second-graders with attention deficit disorders....


Halloween Happenings Around NCLB Reauthorization

There's been a recent lull in any real NCLB reauthorization news since Kennedy's folks put out the boring parts of their discussion draft and the rest of the Hill was focused on appropriations. But the AFTies report that Ted Kennedy is back on the march and The Hoff (how come that guy never links to me?) says that the House links have gone dead. Next thing you know, the lights will go out, a door will creak open, and Margaret Spellings -- face lit from below with a flashlight -- will cackle like a witch....


Research, Politics, and -- Yes -- Personal Experience

Last week I linked to an article that mocked education research as a circus, to which some understandably took offense. Here's a recent ASBJ article on the same topic that may be more balanced but is no less scathing (Politics and Research). Advocates have learned to attack research methods ever more swiftly, even as research has gotten better, some say. Think tank "research" has all but eclipsed academic research in the policy debate in Washington. Not that better research would make a difference. Remember class size? Politics, budgets, ideology, and -- my favorite -- personal experience -- trump even the ...


Better, Faster, Stronger?

There's some big news coming out about this site, which has with typical over-enthusiasm adopted Kanye West's "Better, Faster, Stronger" as its mantra. (I tried to get EdIn'08 to take it, but no go.) More on this tomorrow. Stay tuned....


A Quick Spin Around The Edusphere

Not that much is catching my eye this morning: Web Watch riffs off of yesterday's NYT story about de-stressing schools (8th Period Stress Relief). EIA Mike asks if the NEA is stalling on its endorsement to help Obama (The October 29 Communique' Is Up!). The conversation between Ravitch and Meiers is heating up (This Is Not Good Education). The Washington Monthly's uber-blogger Kevin Drum opines on gaps in the voucher argument (School Vouchers). And Joe Williams apparently forgot to invite me to one of those DFER shindigs where I get to drink beer on his tab (Talking About Ed Reform)....


Dropout Mania

Wondering what this whole "dropout factory" thing is about? Me, too. Check out AP's interactive map here to see the national view and see where your state fits in. There's also district by district information if you click on the state map here....


Funders Heart TFA - But Not For What TFA Corps Members Actually Do

Lincoln Caplan provides us with some impressive new numbers in his recent Slate magazine article on Wendy Kopp's Teach For America: Almost $500 million raised, a goal of 4,000 new teachers per year by 2010, a 98 percent acceptance rate, annual revenues nearing $120 million (up from $10.5 million seven years ago). Caplan names TFA the country's largest reform effort in the K-12 education space. I've got no argument with any of that. But Caplan seems to buy into the idea that TFA is "leveraging" widespread school reform success. That I just don't see. I don't think TFA ...


Big Stories Of The Day

South's schools swell with poor kids News & Observer For the first time in more than 40 years, the majority of children in public schools in the South are poor, according to a report released today. In 11 states, over half of students live in poverty. A juggling act on No Child Left Behind Los Angeles Times As Miller pushes to renew the landmark education law known as No Child Left Behind, he faces so many fights that the fate of the bill is increasingly in doubt. Bush greets teen who told Pa. authorities of school attack plan AP Bush greets ...


Obama Gets Tough On NCLB

Obama Fields Tough Questions At MTV/MySpace Forum Obama slammed the Bush administration for not properly funding No Child Left Behind, saying he'd rethink the system to include art and music and more creative pursuits that foster student's imaginations, as well as emphasizing early childhood education. (When the student who asked the question seemed unimpressed, Obama replied, "What more do you need, Mike?," before assuring him that students for whom English is a second language would not be penalized under his revised system.) PLUS: Richardson: Teachers should get minimum of $40,000 a year AP Teachers should get minimum of $40,000...


Around The Blogs

A quick spin around the edusphere to see what looks interesting: Scott Elliott from Dayton says that there's a Big Obama education plan coming in November.I can't wait, though I'm not particularly hopeful. It's going to take lots more than a new education plan for Obama to catch up to Clinton. The New York Times' newest blog cracks wise about schools' efforts to de-fang Halloween celebrations: "The parade included a devil with no pitchfork, a Power Ranger without a laser blaster and a pint-size Batman who had been told to leave his utility belt at home." (Are We Having ...


Spellings Press Event Tomorrow May Be Faked

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff are holding a press event tomorrow in Fairfax County on the issue of emergency preparedness. No word on whether it will be faked or not like last week's fake FEMA press conference (US disaster-relief agency stages fake press conference)....


Unionized Charter Schools Headed East

On Friday, New York state officials approved Green Dot, a unionized charter school model from LA, to open in the South Bronx of New York City in partnership with the teachers union there. There are a couple more steps towards final approval, as you can see below from the joint press release....


Big Stories Of The Day

A Whole School Left Behind Washington Post But in Como and other poor, rural districts around the country, the law's regimen of testing and sanctions has had little, if any, effect. Minnesota Plan Gives Scholarships for Child Care NPR A new initiative in St. Paul, Minn., aims to make high-quality early childhood education more accessible to low-income residents by providing scholarships. The program is the brainchild of an economist who says it will save the state money. Lead exposure, crime seem to correlate USA Today For decades, researchers have known that lead poisoning lowers children's IQs and puts them at ...


The Week In Review (October 22-28)

Best Of The Week On The HotSeat: Scott Reeder On Teacher Misconduct “Please go KILL these people....Please, please, please.” Teachers & Teaching An Oversupply Of Under-Qualified Teachers Teachers Behaving Badly, States Ignoring The Problem Teacher Suspended For Graphic Book Recommendation From Happy Welcome To Jail Mug Shot NCLB News Staph Outbreak Plus More: It's All NCLB's Fault School Life Cleveland High School Student Shooter Video Released Lice Costs US Schools $500 Million, Says Lice Removal Company School Of Shock Foundation Follies All Of Bush's Worst Ideas Came From AEI DonorsChoose On The Colbert Report Media Watch Bringing Race (and Poverty) ...


Friday Fodder

EIA Mike finds that not everyone on the left likes Al Shanker (Tough Lefties). I bet famous people wished they had control over what schools get named after them (Colin Powell charter school to close). Eduwonk mocks the AFT for incoherence and more (Terry Moe Hamstrings The AFT). Whitney Tilson has questions (Media myths about the Jena 6). Plus some news stories I missed from earlier in the week: Team targets struggling students Palm Beach Post 3 Catholic Schools Ask Not to Be Changed to Charters Washington Post Child Care Workers in New York City Vote to Unionize NYT Newark ...


Time Writer Calls Education Research A "Circus"

"Education experts seem to concur on almost nothing," says this recent Time magazine article. "Research in the field is so politicized and contradictory that you can find almost any study to support your view. If economics is a 99-1 science, education is a 1-99 circus." Ouch. The article also dismisses the latest Jack Jennings public-private differences study as Democratic advocacy, pointing out that private schools run by holy orders (not regular religious schools) make a difference on student achievement, and that SAT scores do show public-private differences even after you control for SES. Apparently SAT scores reveal critical thinking, while ...


It's All NCLB's Fault

Charlie Barone predicts that the recent deaths of students from the staph "superbug" will inevitably get blamed on NCLB. But why stop there? The nasty cold I have, the wildfires in San Diego County, and the coming wave of subprime mortgage defaults -- they're all because of NCLB in one way or the other....


Cleveland High School Student Shooter Video Released

"He looks like any other high school student - except for the guns 14-year-old Asa Coon holds in each hand. Coon's rampage was captured in eerie, time-lapse snapshots by security cameras at SuccessTech Academy." See more images here. The local Fox affiliate has posted the video here....


From Happy Welcome To Jail Mug Shot

Things started out so well for this new teacher (left), but ended recently with rape charges and a mug shot (right). Via USA Today's On Deadline blog....


Big Stories Of The Day

Student's death likely caused by staph infection CNN A middle school student from Brooklyn died Thursday, probably from the staph infection MRSA, according to the New York City Health Department. Video shows student shooting 2 victims at Cleveland school AP His face concealed by a white hooded sweat shirt, the determined student gunman climbed the enclosed staircase with his cache of weapons in a backpack, heading toward a shooting rampage against classmates and teachers. Pitching for preschool, with eye on future Washington Post For Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), improving access to preschool is a signature issue. In 2005, he ...


Today's Best Education Stories

The earliest roundup of education stories each day usually comes from EdNews.org, anywhere from 4 am onwards. My own "Big Stories Of The Day" supposedly shows up at 9 am Eastern. But there are a bunch of others that come out later and are often better, or at least complementary. For example, EdWeek's own "Today's Best" features some great stories that I miss. Recent examples include: Teachers unions are big donors to levy measure Seattle Times Law Punishes Truancy by Taking Away Teens' Keys Washington Post Boys get lesson in leadership Philly.com...


Local Union Leader Seeks To Sue Education Blogger

You know you've really arrived as a blogger (or are going to hell for being a bad person) when someone wants to find out who you are and sue you for libel. That's what's happening in one Oregon district, where, according to EIA Mike, the local union president is so disgusted and upset by what's being said about her that she's trying to force Google to reveal the blogger's identity so that he or she can be sued....


DonorsChoose On The Colbert Report

Last night's Colbert Report interview with the founder of Craigslist included much discussion of DonorsChoose.org, the organization that links donors and individual classrooms directly: Very impressive....


All Of Bush's Worst Ideas (Except Perhaps NCLB) Came From AEI

If you're wondering why the DC education blogs are so quiet today, it's because all the best-dressed education folks are gathered at a big AEI event on the supply side of school reform -- the "intriguing and daring" reformistas who are attracting all the attention (and funding) despite their small scale, mixed results, etc. Check out the agenda and the papers here. Or, if you're more in the mood for a big picture view of things, check out Timonthy Noah's recent critique of AEI in Slate here. While not focused on education particularly, Noah claims that most of the Bush ...


Higher Ed's Role In Creating An Oversupply Of Under-Qualified Teachers

Here the Economist details the struggles of various countries to improve public education and change the large variations in how much students learn, focusing in on a recent McKinsey recommendation that nations change the way they select teachers (How to be top). I know, McKinsey. And yes, other countries. I hate that stuff too. But there's some worthwhile thinking in there, much as I hate to admit it. If education programs attract the bottom third of college students, and universities accept and train them regardless of need, the built-in limitations are obvious. Of course, reining in universities, much less the ...


Lice Costs US Schools $500 Million, Says Lice Removal Company

According to entrepreneur Maria Botham, lice infestation is the #1 reason for school absenteeism, and on average it costs the U.S. public school system over $500 million every year: Gold Standard for Lice Removal Opens in Lincoln Park. Via Yahoo! Finance....


“Please go KILL these people....Please, please, please.”

School Chief’s Embarrassment Is a Lesson for Itchy E-Mailers NYT “Please go KILL these people....Please, please, please.”...


Big Stories Of The Day

Senate Reverses Bush's Cuts to Education, Health as Veto Battle Looms Edweek Senate gave bipartisan approval to a spending bill that totals over $600 billion and reverses a raft of cuts sought by Bush to special education, health research. Ideals meet politics in public schools debate Tribune (opinion) Kozol would require states to authorize and finance a student's right to transfer from a failing district into a successful school in a suburban district. Science courses nearly extinct in elementary grades, study finds San Francisco Chronicle The third-graders looked puzzled when asked what they liked best about science. No answer. Via ...


Reporter Arrested On The Sidewalk Outside Miami Central High

So there's a reporter in Miami working on a story about school violence who's told to move off the sidewalk by school board police -- on camera -- and refuses. He was arrested, and now he's being charged with trespassing and unlawful possession of a handgun, which he has a permit to carry....


Covering Education Well

Whether you're a reporter who wants to know how to cover education better, or an educator who wants to know how reporters look at things, you'll be happy to know about this collection of essays about covering schools that includes: What I Wish I Had Known as an Education Reporter (Christina Asquith); How to Spot a School That Cheats and Find the Real Deal (Karin Chenoweth); The Six Essential Elements of Good Teaching (former LAT Richard Lee Colvin), Cut to the Heart of Learning by Analyzing a Classroom (blogger and former journalist Jenny DeMonte), To Witness the Magic of Learning, ...


Bringing Race (and Poverty) Back Into Education Reporting

There aren't many reporters covering the race or poverty beat these days, much less the family beat that LynNell Hancock advocated in a HotSeat interview last year. So I was pleasantly surprised to get a call from Jonathan Tilove (pictured), who writes about race for the 26 papers that make up the Newhouse News group. What happens in school is a fascinating and complex topic, to be sure, but if you add race, poverty, and all the rest in there you have a much more complete picture. Writes like Kate Boo, Stephanie Banchero, and others get that, and it makes ...


Around The Blogs, Noontime Edition

On Deadline tells us that "sudents" are giving $2M to presidential candidates so far, assuming most of it comes from parents (Toddlers giving to Obama). Eduwonkette says she's on the KIPP bandwagon, at least when it comes to extended learning (What lessons does KIPP offer for urban education reform?). The folks at TLN give kudos to the LA Times for including classroom voices (LA Times Featuring Teacher Bloggers). The AFTies highlight the news that childcare workers are going to be unionized now, along with paras in NYC (Today, She Has A Union). Does that make UPK more or less costly, ...


Teacher Suspended For Graphic Book Recommendation

Teachers can get in trouble for pretty much anything these days. This time it's a book by Cormac McCarthy that was deemed a little too graphic for high schoolers: Town in uproar after teacher put on leave over book. Like high school kids haven't been exposed to tales of murder sprees and decomposing bodies before....


Best Of The Education Blogs, Early Edition

Media watchdog Jim Romenesko reports about what happens when satire seems too real in high school (Principal confiscates papers). He also points to a recent headline saying that 25 percent of South Carolina teachers are sexual predators (Paper apologizes for hed on AP's bad teachers story). Oops! EIA Mike says that the California teachers union has its own problems (Labor Challenge). On a related note, The Hoff says they're going viral on NCLB (CTA Goes Multimedia). USA Today's Richard Whitmire makes the case that preschool is the new NCLB for presidential candidates (Preschool vs. NCLB). I'm not buying it, but ...


Back On The Hill, Talking About Teacher Retention

It was great to be back on the Hill yesterday moderating a New Teacher Center event in Dirksen. Some of the faces have changed, but not much else (the abundance of Diet Coke, the abundance of cheap suits, the hidden bathrooms, etc.). Miller Title II guru Alice Cain and I reminisced about being newbies on the Senate side all those years ago when she was with Simon and I was with Feinstein. (Then she doused me with coffee -- a welcome back blessing, I like to think.) I also met some newer folks I knew by name or email -- ...


Big Stories Of The Day

Ed. Dept. Requires Changes in Race, Ethnicity Reporting EdWeek Schools must update as needed their method of student-data reporting to the Education Department no later than the 2010-11 school year—one year later than was announced when the guidelines were proposed last year. A Chance to Dream NYT (opinion) The Senate has a chance today to pluck a small gem from the ashes of the immigration debate by voting for the passage of the Dream Act. Expulsions show racial disparity Post and Courier (South Carolina) National and state statistics, as well as data from other local school districts, show that ...


School Of Shock

No news yet of any schools that water-board kids, but I'm sure that's not far off. In the meantime, here's a story from Mother Jones about a school that takes in kids from several states and uses electric shocks as part of its discipline system: School of Shock. The pictures of the kids are to prevent them from shocking the wrong person....


Big Stories Of The Day

Band Teacher’s Abuse Scars Family, Splits Community EdWeek Immediately after news of one teachers arrest hit in January 2005, people began questioning the girls' motives: Why didn't they come forward sooner? Were they really telling the truth? Noose Sent to Black Principal at Brooklyn School NYT The hate crimes unit of the Police Department is investigating the delivery of a noose along with a racially charged letter to the principal of Canarsie High School. Schools Put Tastes to the Test in Bid to Provide Healthier Lunches PBS Many U.S. schools are pouring new resources into efforts to provide ...


On The HotSeat: Scott Reeder On Teacher Misconduct

Every couple of years, Springfield Illinois reporter Scott Reeder (pictured) puts out a big package of news stories that includes lots of new data and some surprising findings. This year, it's about teachers who stray off the path and should -- theoretically -- not be allowed to teach any more. In reality, Reeder finds, they just find a job somewhere else. In the email interview below, Reeder describes what he found, how he found it, how Illinois compares to other states, and why his little paper can pull off this kind of investigative report when others stick to day-by-day reporting ...


A Quick Spin Around The Blogs

Because you have better things to do than read them all: It's not just teachers who get staph infections, says EdWeek's web watch (States Report Teacher Staph Infections). Good to know. Fighting against the inevitable Clinton win, says Scott Elliott, Obama stands and delivers in LA (Obama's "in your face" move). Meanwhile, Mary Ann Zehr has the ELL provisions of the new Kennedy draft (Senate Draft of Title III of NCLB). And the AFTies note that acceptance of gay teachers is on the rise (Good News for Dumbledore). EIA Mike makes fun of the notion that performance pay is sweeping ...


Russo In DC On Tuesday

It's big news, I know. The New Teacher Center (NTC) at the University of California, Santa Cruz is releasing a new cost-benefit report on teacher retention at a Senate policy lunch tomorrow, October 23rd. Senator Jack Reed (Rhode Island) will attend. The briefing will take place in G-11 Dirksen from 11:45 am to 1 PM and lunch will be provided. Space is limited. To RSVP, contact AliciaL@ucsc.edu or 831-459-1305 or Dara Barlin at 646-391-1984 ( dbarlin@ucsc.edu). Yours truly is moderating -- no one else must have been available! No, that's not me in the picture, but ...


Alternative College Rankings Make Colbert Report

In case you missed it, check out Washington Monthly editor Paul Glastris on the Colbert Report from last week, talking about the magazine's alternative ranking of colleges: Click here to read the entire package....


"Honk If You Have An EdWeek Blog"

The ever-amusing folks over at the AFT blog have a little fun at EdWeek's expense, pointing out the seeming proliferation of blogs that have sprouted up on the site:AFT NCLBlog. It's true, there are an awful lot of blogs around here these days, creating a fair amount of overlap (as well as some helpful new coverage). But it's EdWeek's site, so they get to add as many separate blogs as they want. Whether it's NCLB news, politics, or media criticism, you can still find pretty much everything you need here....


Teachers Behaving Badly, States Ignoring The Problem

Between last week's report from the Small Newspaper Group (see chart) and today's AP story, we've got a glut of information about teachers behaving badly. According to last week's story, only Virginia revokes or suspends fewer teaching certificates than Illinois.States such as California, Georgia or Utah are 25 times more like to remove a teacher from the profession than Illinois....


Big Stories Of The Day

Sex Abuse a Shadow Over U.S. Schools AP An investigation by the Associated Press has found more than 2,500 cases over five years in which educators were punished for actions that ranged from bizarre to sadistic. Oprah's school in scandal News24 South Africa Henley-On-Klip - A matron at Oprah Winfrey's posh school for girls near Vereeniging apparently "fondled" one of the pupils, and assaulted another. Bush, Democrats Face Education Spending Showdown EdWeek President Bush and Democratic leaders in Congress are facing off over spending on federal education programs, and the renewal of the No Child Left Behind Act ...


Best Of The Week

NCLB News Stale NCLB Coverage In The NYT Veto Threat Over NCLB Reauthorization Dentists Good, Dentists Bad On The Hill Investing In High-Quality Teacher Retention Taking On The Higher Ed Lobby Campaign 2008 Two Million Minutes Of High School UPK: Just Don't Call It Childcare Urban Education Former City Police Chief Takes Over NOLA School Security No "Marshall Law" For DC Public Schools, Says Millot A Gay Union Leader For New York City Teachers Teachers & Teaching "Grow Your Own" Teachers -- And Recruits? Making Teaching A Career, Not A Drive-By Charity Stop Video: "Nice White Lady" Media Watch Tracking Teachers' ...


Hidden Teacher Violations...In Illinois & Nationwide

Speaking of teachers, there's a new slew of stories from the folks at the Small Newspaper Group in Springfield Illinois that may blow your socks off: Illinois does poor job of dealing with teacher misconduct "Small Newspaper Group filed open records requests with 50 state education departments and built a national database of revocations and suspensions of teacher licenses during its "Hidden Violations" investigation. Among the 50 states, only Virginia revokes or suspends fewer teaching certificates than Illinois. Even if a hearing officer upholds the firing of teacher, they are free to seek employment in another school district." These are ...


Tracking Teachers' Disciplinary Records In Ohio

The folks at the Columbus Dispatch have been running a great education series all week, and even created a database for parents to see which educators if any at their school have been disciplined. Check it outL The Columbus Dispatch...


Big Stories Of The Day

Maine Middle School to Issue Birth Control Pills NPR School officials in Portland, Maine make birth control pills available to students at one of the city's middle schools. The move follows a spate of pregnancies among middle school girls. Calif. Approves Teacher Test Teacher Magazine California’s rigorous performance test for new teachers has the potential to set national standards, officials say. FCC cites commentator Williams for payola Reuters After investigating for more than 2-1/2 years, the Federal Communications Commission concluded that Williams and his firm violated agency rules by promoting President George W. Bush's "No Child Left Behind" ...


Best Of The Blogs

Over at EIA, Mike is not jumping on the PFP bandwagon (Sorry, I Can't Join the Party). Meanwhile, Joanne Jacobs tells us about how some districts are gaming the AYP ratings system by transferring students (The ‘alternative’ dodge). About the flawed NCLB story in the NYT, Eduwonk makes many of the same points Charlie Barone and I made a day before (Hustle And Flow...). The carnival is up at the Education Wonks (The Carnival Of Education: Week 141). AFT Michele slams me for wanting folks to link back to me when I link to them all the time (Blog Minutiae). ...


UPK: Just Don't Call It Childcare

You might think that Gail Collins' column about controversy over child care has nothing to do with school reform, but you'd be wrong. As Collins points out, we've got a substantial child care problem in the US, and little political appetite for discussing it. But universal preschool does an end-around on this, by providing an additional year of government subsidized care for children that parents otherwise would have to be covering out of pocket. Check it out: None Dare Call It Child Care. If there's any relief for working parents on the horizon, this is probably it....


Debating Education At The Economist

The Economist has been holding an online education debate, and I've missed it entirely. Well, the questions posed to us didn't seem all that compelling. Was it (is it) any good? Let us know: Economist.com...


Pay Bloggers, Or Send Us To Rehab?

Blogging is fun. Too much fun. As this Time.com article points out (here), it's crack for journalists, whose best ideas otherwise get killed or blocked by ogre editors, and who are usually straightjacketed by the requirements of objective journalism (blandness, rigid even-handedness). It's also good business, since it doesn't take much time to find and slam someone else's hard work. (Doing that to to Diana Jean Schemo's NYT piece a couple days ago took about a half hour at most.) But I don't know if publishers are all of them really that business-oriented, or that online advertising brings in ...


Fictional Baltimore Mayor Declares Victory On Education

Just like in real life. As you may recall, last year's season of The Wire, HBO's gritty convoluted tale about cops and criminals and kids in Baltimore, focused in part on the opportunistic decision by the mayor to focus on school reform. Well, the good news in this lengthy New Yorker article about the show is that SCORES ARE UP! Of course they are. And of course this mayor has moved on already to another issue without really solving the underlying problems....


Big Stories Of The Day

Romney likes NCLB MSNBC “I like the fact that in No Child Left Behind we test our kids,” Romney said. “We can see which schools are succeeding and which are failing. That alone is a huge advance…I like No Child Left Behind.” Easy test leaves Maryland behind Baltimore Sun "We think our cut scores are reasonable for what people are being asked to do by 2014, especially given that it's for all subgroups - students who don't speak English or students with special needs." Teachers Agree to Bonus Pay Tied to Scores NYT Bonuses for New York City teachers ...


Early Childhood Reading Gap Statistic Pretty Questionable, Says Freakonomics

There was much controversy when Freakonomics said that reading at home doesn't help test scores. Now the Freakonomics blog points out that the much-cited stat about kids and exposure to words before school is, well, sketchy (A Data Pool of One). The number comes from a 1990 book whose author used her child as the sole point of comparison between rich and poor kids being read to. (There were only 24 low-income children in the study pool all together.) If a stat seems too good to be true, it probably is. Not that the UPK mafia won't keep using it....


No "Marshall Law" For DC Public Schools, Says Millot

Conventional wisdom is that Michelle Rhee in DC needs, well, whatever she wants, in order to get the DC schools turned around. Power to fire folks? Sure. Shifting district staff to state (?) offices? Why not. But Marc Dean Millot (pictured), now an EdWeek blogger, says that some of this just isn't necessary: "There's no "state of emergency," no need for dictatorial authority, and no relationship between the real predicament and the requested powers." I'm not sure the comparisons to the war in Iraq work, but he makes a good point: just cuz Rhee says she wants it doesn't mean she ...


Dear School: Don't Be Lonely, We'll Be Back Tomorrow

I'm really into FOUND magazine right now, where folks send in things that they find and explain where they found them. This is a note written by a child and found in a school one day. Do schools get lonely when the kids leave for the day? I'm sure they do. Just like teachers....


Mad Crushes, Hypocritical Teachers, Carey Vs. Rothstein, & More

The Post's Jay Mathews is crushing madly on the Edwards education plan, and making mean fun of Richardson's. Charlie Barone points out that, that despite all the complaints about too much testing, teachers in at least one California school still aren't using results to inform instruction. He also agrees that the NYT story was off. Next up, Kevin Carey, who riffs off of an American Prospect article to say that those like Richard Rothstein who think economic reforms are more important than school reforms, over all, still shouldn't attack school reform efforts. Or at least I think that's what he's ...


Making Teaching A Career, Not A Drive-By Charity Stop

Over at Teacher In A Strange Land, teacher Nancy Flanagan riffs off of my Teach For America essay from last week. "TFA has done nothing to re-conceptualize the work of teaching as both socially valuable and complex professional practice. In fact, TFA and similar “fellowship” programs have spawned a rash of research projects bent on proving that teacher education isn’t particularly useful—that any smart person can teach." But, like me, Flanagan agrees that the potential is there: "When Wendy Kopp comes up with an idea to keep TFA folks in teaching or reposition teaching as a flexible, entrepreneurial ...


Former City Police Chief Takes Over School Security

Remember the New Orleans police chief during and after Katrina? Well that guy is now running security for the NOLA recovery district, trying to improve a security system that was reported to be heavy-handed and ineffective last year, according to this Ed Week Q & A: Q & A With New Orleans’ Security Chief. He's trying to reallocate security officers and provide continuity, and professionalize the appearance of the officers....


Big Stories Of The Day

Miami ‘Zone’ Gives Schools Intensive Help EdWeek Some of the lowest-performing schools in the Miami-Dade County, Fla., district could soon be weaned from three years of strategic support. PLUS: L.A. Chief Weighs New District for Lowest-Performing Schools High schools using breathalyzers to fight teen drinking USA Today High schools are rushing to test students for alcohol at extracurricular events like dances and football games. Richardson: U.S. education 'broken' Des Moines Register New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said today the nation's education system is "broken from top to bottom....


Two Million Minutes Of High School

There are apparently two million minutes of instruction during high school, and -- no surprise -- we're not using ours very wisely. Here's the trailer for a new, as yet unreleased documentary about the problem: Conceived and exec produced by venture capitalist Bob Compton, and directed by two TFA alums, the doc follows six students in three countries. Check it out....


"Super Sexy, Super Sassy, And Education Savvy" That's Me.

Vote for your favorite education blog, especially if it's this one. My favorite nomination so far is the one that calls me "super sexy, super sassy, and education savvy."...


Stale NCLB Coverage In The NYT

I remain supremely frustrated by articles on NCLB like Diana Jean Schemo's piece in the New York Times today, much as I appreciate the coverage. Here's why: (1) There's this insistence on making a bogeyman of NCLB even though it's admitted later on that the law is pretty toothless. (2) There's the repeated throwing around of big-sounding numbers (schools in need of restructuring, etc.), without percentages for context. (3) There's the implicit blame on the supposed severity of the law, not on reluctant or slow-moving state and district authorities, or a weak law with lots of loopholes. (4) There's an ...


Saving Money By Investing In High-Quality Teacher Retention

I'm moderating an event in Dirksen next Tuesday on the savings that come from investing in high-quality teacher retention programs. The New Teacher Center is releasing a cost-benefit study, and Senator Reed and other luminaries are going to be there. Retention programs (aka mentoring and coaching) are a dime a dozen these days, but NTC has found that you get what you pay for. Intensive induction -- full release coaches, lower staffing ratios, etc. -- makes a difference both on the retention side and on the effectiveness side. I don't know how much of this is already written into Miller ...


Veto Threat Over NCLB Reauthorization

It seemed like it was coming, what with Spellings hinting at it last month and all the fun that's been had over the SCHIP veto. And this President has never lacked for confidence, warranted or not. So, yesterday, the President said he'd veto any effort to reauthorize NCLB without maintaining its main provisions (President Bush Discusses The Budget): "We're teaching a child to read so they can pass a reading test....I believe in local control of schools. That's up to you to chart the path to excellence. But it's up to us to make sure your money is spent ...


A Quick Spin Around The Blogs

Conspiracy theorists are ignoring NCLB's lefty origins and labor union funding sources, says EIA. Eduwonk is still selling Spellings for governor. I'm not buying, but what do I know. Press coverage keeps suggesting that NCLB won't get reauthorized anytime soon, observes the AFT blog. That means it will [not] happen soon.Meantime, Slate blogger Mickey Kaus doesn't think much about district efforts to reorganize low performing schools as LA is planning (and NYC and Miami have done). This is what happens when smart but not necessarily knowledgeable folks play education pundit. Via AFT. Meanwhile, Sherman Dorn says that the Bush ...


Pay For Performance... In The Blogosphere

Pay for performance is everywhere, these days. Once compensated purely based on how many posts they wrote, some bloggers are now being paid according to how many viewers and comments their posts generate, according to this in-depth New York Magazine article (Everybody Sucks). How's that for pay for performance? Meanwhile, the Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights released a new report on PFP last week, focusing on a handful of districts doing it collaboratively. It's not so bad, they say. Check it out....


"I Don't Want To Blow You Up!"

Talk about misguided efforts at teaching tolerance. This artist has created a storybook-coloring book to help children understand Muslims -- a noble effort, but perhaps a little too shocking in its approach (Teach Tolerance Through Coloring). From New York Magazine....


EdWeek Runs Scientologist Ad, Says NASBE

I hardly ever read the paper version of EdWeek, so I never see the ads. But over at the NASBE blog (yes, everyone has a blog now), the question is whether EdWeek should have run an ad that's apparently paid for by a group affiliated with Scientologists (No Apparent Ad Policy at Ed Week): "What kind of advertising and editorial policies does Education Week have that ads like this have a place in their publication?"...


Big Stories Of The Day

Failing Schools Strain to Meet U.S. Standard NYT "They’re so busy fighting No Child Left Behind,” said Mary Johnson, president of Parent U-Turn, a civic group. “If they would use some of that energy to implement the law, we would go farther.” The ABC's of Betrayal Columbus Dispatch The newspaper’s 10-month investigation found that a state and local discipline system allows educators in the classroom despite misconduct that includes theft, assault and abuse of children. Teachers' rights are often put first, districts don't always communicate with the state, and the Department of Education shields records of wrongdoing. ...


Dentists Good, Dentists Bad

In its letters to the editors section, the New York Times recently printed the overly familiar story about how NCLB's rating system is unfair like punishing dentists based on their patients' health. Luckily, a couple of days before, the paper had reminded us what money-grubbing louses many dentists are, refusing access to poor kids and families more than ever before. So much for sympathizing with the dentists, I say....


Taking On The Higher Ed Lobby

I thought the Washington Monthly's Paul Glastris did pretty well on The Colbert Show last night talking about his magazine's unorthodox annual rankings (the anti-US News list). Check out the package of stories, which includes an interesting look at community colleges done by Kevin Carey, and a Ben Adler piece on the higher ed lobby's pretty amazing resistance to reform. The Adler piece reminds me a lot of the largely-overlooked James Traub piece from a few weeks back. If you think K12 is reform-resistant, you haven't dealt with the folks at Dupont Circle. And I'm not talking about the lefties ...


Foundation Bringing $ Bling $ To Education Beat

The Spencer Foundation, which focuses largely on funding academic research, is funding a new $75,000 fellowship for education reporters (and other interested parties) who want to spend a year at Columbia University's J-School and produce a "long-form reporting project [book, magazine article, newspaper series] to advance the understanding of the American education system." The deadline is January 31, 2008. Three lucky fellows will be named by March 1, 2008. This isn't Spencer's first try at boosting the quality of education coverage. Its 2000 annual report lists similar, though much smaller, grants given to UMichigan and Harvard for education journalism ...


Links From Other Blogs

Last week, pretty much the only blog that linked to me was the union critic Mike Antonucci (aka EIA). This week so far, it's the pro-union Dr. Homselisce (Teach For America). Pathetic, I know. But readers keep finding me even without the links, and I'll take a link whether it agrees with me or not. This one, perhaps not surprisingly given TFA as a subject, does....


More Monday News

Clinton focuses on education in radio ad in South Carolina AP Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton launched her second radio ad Monday in early voting South Carolina, focusing on her plan to make college more affordable and preschool available to all children. Abstinence approach gets unlikely ally Los Angeles Times Though Democrats have taken control of Congress, abstinence-only programs are surviving attempts to shut them down. And they could even get an increase with the aid of an unlikely ally: House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey, one of the old liberal lions. Blurring Lines Among Both Students and ...


A Gay Union Leader For New York City Teachers

According to this NY Daily News article, Randi Weingarten, head of the NYC teachers union and potential successor to AFT president Ed McElroy, came out at a recent event as a lesbian. This is probably not such a big deal in New York City, but in the rest of the country, who knows....


Once Around The Blogosphere

Newbie blogger Charles Barone annotates (eviscerates?) a Mike Smith-Bruce Fuller op-ed (Smith & Fuller Automatic Revolver). Joanne Jacobs passes us a secret note that there's a girl's version of The Dangerous Book For Boys out (The girly book for girls). I'm not sure she's a fan of either. TeacherKen says that Barack Obama's education plan is ok (Decent, not spectacular), which is probably as much as Obama can ask for. Make Mike Goldstein happy and watch this ABC News segment on his charter school in Boston (via Eduwonk). From the picture, it looks like they make the teachers work in the ...


"Grow Your Own" Teachers -- And Recruits?

Chicago has a newish "grow your own" teachers initiative, as well as the nation's largest set of military-themed schools: Grow Your Own Teachers US News & World Report Tired of seeing first-year teachers flee to suburban schools, Illinois is spending $7.5 million to help people become teachers in underperforming schools in neighborhoods like their own. Reading, writing, recruiting? Tribune Chicago Public Schools, which already has the largest junior military reserve program in the nation, on Monday will commission the country's first public high school run by the U.S. Marines, much to the chagrin of activists who have fought to ...


"Nice White Lady"

A little Monday-morning humor, this video spoofs all the movies like "Freedom Writers" where a committed teacher -- always a white woman -- helps urban youth reach their dreams: Via Whitney Tilson....


Long Response, No Full Credit


Big Stories Of The Day

Why 'No Child' Was Needed Washington Post Long before No Child Left Behind, far too many classrooms were boring, dull places where children were forced to do endless worksheets, discouraged from independent thinking and subjected to teachers providing confusing and sometimes demonstrably false information. Bush, Others Want Law to Go Beyond Basics EdWeek Mr. Bush and other policymakers are considering a variety of changes to the NCLB law to encourage schools to go beyond the teaching of basic skills. Core readers for cities: 4-year-olds USA Today Mayors who want to be on the same page as their constituents — even ones ...


Best Of The Week

Featured Posts The Genius Behind Teach For America On The HotSeat: Former Committee Insider Charles Barone Why Teach Chinese? NCLB News House Republicans Blame Miller For Slow NCLB Progress Lots Of Coverage, Not Much Action Kennedy Playing Tough On NCLB Urban Ed Evil Geniuses At Top Universities Want Your Schools Hijinks & Disappointments For Prizewinning School District Campaign 2008 A Teacher In The Cabinet: Another Richardson Gimmick Presidential Candidates Don't Use Education Scholars Bush Administration Free National Journal Interview With Spellings Bush's No-Name Cabinet Teachers & Teaching The School Is Flat The Lives Of Former Students School Life Sleep Deprivation Slows Learning ...


Reader Contest: A Day In The Life Of Your School

Inspired by a vivid reader comment on my Chicago blog from last week (A Day At Crane High School), I'm having a contest of sorts for the next few days in which readers are invited to describe the school (or administrative office, or reform office) where they work, or where their children attend, or where they pass by every day, or where they tutor. So brush off your writing skills and tell us what it's like where you are -- what it looks like, what it sounds like, what things you notice from being there all the time, or how ...


The Genius Behind Teach For America

Today's big awards news is Al Gore getting the Nobel Prize for his efforts on global warming, but last month it was the announcement of this year's MacArthur Foundation's "genius" grants. As you may recall, one of the genius grants went to an educator. Just not the one you would have thought would get it. Click below to get a sneak peek at what should soon be up on the Huffington Post....


A Teacher In The Cabinet: Another Richardson Gimmick

USA Today's political blog notes via Greg Toppo that, in another shameless ploy to appeal to as many folks as possible without saying very much, Bill Richardson on Thursday pledged that his EdSec would be.... a teacher (here). Historians will note that EdSec Riley put a teacher nominally in charge of teaching-related issues during his two terms. I'm not sure it made much difference, though it probably made lots of folks feel warm inside....


Bush's No-Name Cabinet

Slate magazine recently ran this piece about how unknown most of Bush's cabinet are, even compared to other unknown cabinets (A Bush Cabinet quiz). Much of it is due to the fact that, so late into a second term, only the most desperate opportunists are clamoring to join the Administration. The other, according to the article, is that so much of Bush's domestic agenda (such as it is) came from Karl Rove, not the DPC (currently headed by Karl Zinsmeister) or the departments themselves....


The School Is Flat

Working on an upcoming article for Edutopia I've learned some of the latest going on in the world of e-learning (aka distance education). For example, there's a great international project called The Flat Classroom Project, which takes the ideas of Thomas Friedman's World Is Flat -- appropriately enough -- asks teams of students from around the world to investigate them. As for the technology itself, podcasts and wikis are pretty much old hat for this crew. They're on to things likenings, FlashMeeting, and iEARN....


The Lives Of Former Students

Over at Nick Kristof's NYT blog, Chicago teacher Will Okun describes attending the wedding of some former students, with beautiful pictures. "Last Saturday, I attended and photographed the Chicago wedding of Keith and Tarita Thomas. While all former students are remarkable and unique in their own individual ways, Keith is the once-in-a-career student who holds a special place in every teacher’s life. Keith is also one of the very few students I have taught in nine years who was raised in a two-parent household." It's nice stuff, and pretty amazing that they're giving him so much space. Plus 86 ...


Big Stories Of The Day

Clinton, Richardson, Edwards offer plans AP Clinton, Richardson, Edwards offer plans to make college more affordable, help rural schools. Student charged on 17 counts in school bomb threat AP Student charged on 17 counts in school bomb threat. Brewer has yet to make his imprint LA Times Several months into his job as superintendent of the Los Angeles school system, David L. Brewer held court before students at Millikan Middle School in Sherman Oaks. Small schools under microscope Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Do you need a license to teach the specific subjects you are teaching to be a quality teacher? How ...


Blog Roundup

Forget about Obama not wearing that lapel pin -- now he's gone completely crazy, according to Scott Elliott (Obama: Let illegals get aid for college). The AFTies, too, apparently. They poke at the President for claiming to have invented NAEP (Pres. Bush Invented NAEP) but seem to forget that taking the test was voluntary for states before NCLB. Now, we do have NAEP scores for every state. Meanwhile, Joanne Jacobs is calling for votes (The 2007 Weblog Awards). Vote for her blog, then vote for mine. That is, if I'm even nominated. Over at WakEd, they combine 'cafeteria' and 'auditorium' ...


Dental Programs Needed For Poor Kids

Poor and working class kids have less access to dental care than ever before, and it's showing, according to this NYT article (Boom Times for Dentists, but Not for Teeth).  Sometimes the delays and lack of care are serious.  Strange that I've seen vision programs at schools but never dental ones....


Evil Geniuses At Top Universities Want Your Schools

There's a big article in this week's EdWeek about universities' increasing efforts at school reform, focusing on the University of Chicago which currently runs several charter schools on Chicago's South Side. I know, I know.  They're evil academic geniuses out to ruin a shining example of urban education and gut teacher job protections.  I get it.  Still, there are some tidbits you might want to check out.  In addition to Chicago, Stanford University, the University of California, San Diego, and the University of New Orleans are also running schools.  And many other universities in other places are authorizing...


House Republicans Blame Miller For Slow NCLB Progress

The folks from Cong. Boehner's office were kind enough to send me a copy of this Roll Call article ($) suggesting that little if anything is happening on the NCLB front, despite all efforts on their part. Boehner's specific objections include the loosened accountability provisions in the Miller-McKeon draft, and the creation of 28 new programs.Republicans are claiming that Miller is being inflexible, and won't meet with them. He says he hasn't been able to get a meeting. Fun!...


Big Stories Of The Day

Student opens fire at Cleveland school, shoots 4, kills self AP Student opens fire at Cleveland school, shoots 4, kills self. Report Recounts Horrors of Youth Boot Camps NYT Reports of abuse of troubled young people in privately run boot camps and other residential treatment centers are ... Special Ed Tuition Case Ends in Tie Decision Title I Monitor An equally divided U.S. Supreme Court left standing on Oct. 10 an appeals court decision requiring New York City public schools to reimburse for private school tuition the parents of a child with... Noose on Door at Columbia Prompts Campus Protest ...


Presidential Candidates Don't Use Education Scholars

Wondering why education's great academic minds -- Ravitch, Fuller, Hoxby, Hanushek, Murnane, whomever -- aren't in the fray advising the major presidential contenders like their counterparts in other fields? Me, too. The Education Election blog points to this free article in the Chronicle about campaign advisors who come from academia (Scholars Who Counsel Candidates Wield Power). But there is no mention of education. This means (a) education isn't important enough to have any scholars on board, (b) there aren't any education scholars worth having, (c) the education think tanks have pushed the academics out of the way, or (d) the ...


The Best Of The Carnival

This week's Carnival of Education is up ("with no further adieu"). Some of the most eye-catching contributions include The Red Pencil on blogs that Carnival Goers read regularly, John from the Teacher Leaders Network tackles the difference between "best practices" and "what works in schools," Great College Advice on why increased accountability won't work at the college level but is perfectly fine for K-12 education, Friends of Dave posts about how badly education news is reported by the press, Scheiss Weekly on the joys of living in the neighborhood where you teach. And many, many more....


Hijinks & Disappointments For Prizewinning School District

One particularly waggish friend asked me earlier today whether Eli Broad had toured New York City's infamous "rubber rooms" before giving the city its prize for urban school reform. I'm guessing not. Samuel Freedman updates on these holding tanks for teachers in today's Times (Where Teachers Sit, Awaiting Their Fates). I think the Voice broke this story before (here). Meanwhile, the school that was originally installed in the main administrative building for the NYC school system has been quietly moved elsewhere, and now disbanded, writes Jennifer Medina (Academy That Symbolized Innovation in Schools Is Closed). Talk about gimmicks -- and ...


Free National Journal Interview With Spellings

Thanks to the folks at National Journal for letting everyone get a free look at Lisa Caruso's fascinating interview with EdSec Spellings (Insider Interview: Improving on '99.9 Percent Pure' (10/09/2007)). As I wrote earlier this morning, there's lots of good stuff in there....


Around The Blogs

I blog about them, even though they never blog about me...EIA notes that public education employees now number 10.3 million (3rd behind health care and service industries), including 2.4 million state education employees. And they say SEAs are understaffed. Over at Early Learning, Richard Lee Colvin says "This blogging business is harder than it looks." Amen to that. Then Colvin goes on to say -- no surprise given his sponsor -- that UPK is going strong. Kevin Carey joins a small but merry band of folks who didn't like Linda Perlstein's new book, Tested. Any pub is ...


Sleep Deprivation Slows Learning By A Year

Yesterday, I ranted about the dangers of students multitasking while trying to learn. Today's rant is about sleep deprivation. Thanks to a post from former US News reporter Stacey Schultz on her blog, Fussbucket, we learn about a new NY magazine story showing that sleep deprivation has concrete effects on how much students learn, and that districts (and parents) who have addressed the issue have seen achievement go up....


Journalists Should Be Focused On Fact-Finding, Not Access

Powerful people have been trading access for friendly coverage since journalism began, but the recent example of GQ magazine killing an investigative story on Hillary Clinton's campaign in order not to endanger their ability to do a cover story on Bill Clinton's trip to Africa has brought the practice into the light. This happens in education, too, though is not widely publicized. Reporters who don't provide favorable coverage aren't invited to pre-briefings, or given materials ahead of time, or don't have their interview or information requests handled quickly, or at all. But as this article from Slate suggests, "access" may ...


Lots Of Coverage, Not Much Action

Bush: Leaving no child, and no agenda, behind Baltimore Sun Bush delivered his remarks in the Rose Garden, following a meeting with advocates of his signature educational reform, the No Child Left Behind Act, a first-year legislative triumph for which he is seeking reaffirmation during his final years in office. Bush Prodding Congress to Reauthorize His Education Law NYT President Bush tried Tuesday to prod Congress into reauthorizing his biggest domestic achievement, the 2001 No Child Left Behind education law. Bush Declares His Openness To Revising Education Law Washington Post Under pressure from the right and the left, President Bush ...


Spellings Spills To National Journal

There's not much that's really new or interesting in too many education stories these days, but not so in National Journal's Q and A with Secretary Spellings from Friday (Improving on '99.9% Pure' $$). In an interview with reporter Lisa Caruso (pictured), Spellings mocks multiple measures as do-it-yourself school reform, says that more money for NCLB will only come with a new iteration of the law, walks back from earlier statements about preferring current law to the Miller proposal, declines to apologize for the infamous Ivory Soap remark, and explains the origin of her Bush nickname. That's good stuff. The ...


Kennedy Playing Tough On NCLB

Wondering when Ted Kennedy (pictured, file photo) was going to get a word in on this whole NCLB mess? Well, today was the day -- but it wasn't warm and fuzzy like the White House or the NCLB supporters wanted. Said Kennedy (via a press release): “It’s regrettable that the Bush Administration has made the renewal of the No Child Left Behind school reform law far more difficult by its failure to fully fund and implement it. The President is right that we must continue to hold schools accountable for results. But over the past five years of working ...


Best Of The Blogs

Over at the DFER Blog, Joe Williams writes about a recent article following high school graduates out into the world. Foolish teachers are getting fired for their racy MySpace pages, notes Joanne Jacobs here. On a more serious note, Kevin at D-Ed Reckoning has some pointed things to say about educators complaining about NCLB. The Intelligencer points out that SEIU didn't endorse Edwards despite all his pandering. Over at Education Election, Jeff Solocheck highlights a new site that is checking Clinton and Edwards' claims about education....


Is Multi-Tasking Holding Our Kids Back?

Most pundits say that kids multi-tasking -- doing homework with the TV on, for example -- is just the way things are now, and indeed they may be right. But in the new Atlantic author Walter Kirn says that students' and teachers' and indeed human beings' brains were not made for such things. According to Kirn, our brains lose their ability to retain information if asked to do too many things at once. The implications for schooling are clear: "The next generation, presumably, is the hardest-hit...A recent study from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 53 percent of students ...


President Announces New NCLB Strategery

From the White House NCLB event going on right about now: "Secretary Spellings and I are so pleased to welcome you all to the Roosevelt Room. With us today are a group of concerned citizens from a variety of groups, here to discuss the No Child Left Behind Act. People around this table care deeply about making sure every child gets a good education. We're deeply concerned about school systems that don't focus on each individual. Some school systems are just moving kids through, and as a result, our education system is letting too many children down, too many families ...


White House, Civil Rights Group Pump Up The NCLB Volume

Thanks to a friend for passing along the attendees list for the White House NCLB list, which features pro-NCLB civil rights groups (Wade Henderson, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights President, Janet Murguía, National Council of La Raza President, Marc Morial, National Urban League President, William L.Taylor, Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights Chairman). Not all civil rights groups support NCLB, but these guys do. And they're obviously trying to keep the pressure on to move forward with NCLB reauthorization. This is all fast-moving stuff, though, since the event wasn't even on the EdSec's calendar for this week when they sent ...


Why Teach Chinese?

Chinese foreign language classes are all the rage in some districts -- Chicago, Palo alto to name a couple. But, according to this video, the Chinese are learning English faster and in greater numbers than we could ever match up. I'm all for rigorous courses, and loved taking Chinese in college, but should setting up Chinese language programs really be a priority?...


Are They Water-Boarding Teenagers Yet?

Are they water-boarding teenagers yet? Probably not. But the House Dems are going to look into so-called "boot camps" for wayward teens tomorrow, and it's the closest thing to Abu Ghraib that we have going on in education these days. "The House Education and Labor Committee will hold a full committee investigative hearing to examine allegations of child abuse and neglect, including cases resulting in death, at residential treatment facilities (often called boot camps or wilderness programs)." Tasteless, I know....


On The HotSeat: Former Committee Insider Charles Barone

The last few weeks have been somewhat of a triumphant return for longtime Hill staffer Charles Barone (pictured), who started posting knowledgeable comments on various blogs in September and then wrote a fascinating backgrounder on NCLB last week. There'll be a parade next, I'm almost sure. In the meantime, check out the HotSeat interview below, which touches on key topics like why there wasn't differentiated rating in the old NCLB and the history of Miller-CTA dustups. Whether you know him from back in the day (I first met him back in the Hart Senate Office Building when we were both ...


White House NCLB Event Later Today

I don't know who the attendees are yet, but the President and the EdSec are doing a White House event on NCLB today in the Roosevelt Room, followed by a Rose Garden statement by the Prez. Stay tuned. Could be fun. Feel free to email snarky comments or fashion tidbits if you're there. That's what BlackBerrys are for. (thisweekineducation at gmail dot com, or 312-286-9242)...


Big Stories Of The Day

Provision on Tutoring Raises Renewal Issues EdWeek Lawmakers are proposing that only those schools failing to make AYP in several subgroups for three consecutive years would be required to offer tutoring. For Schools, Lottery Payoffs Fall Short of Promises NYT Most of the billions of dollars raised by state lotteries is used simply to sustain the games, an examination by The Times has found. Teacher sues over gun ban MSNBC Oregon high school English teacher Shirley Katz is challenging her school's gun ban as unlawful, since Oregon is among states that allow people with a permit to carry concealed weapons ...


Columbus Day

I'm taking the day off for Columbus Day, but feel free to comment or email or send links if you'd like. See you tomorrow!...


Not Wanting To Like HBO's Little Rock Documentary

I didn't want to like the HBO documentary on the Little Rock Nine that's been playing over and over, and had been avoiding it (and most of the rest of the 50th anniversary coverage) thinking that I'd seen the footage before, knew that things hadn't changed that much, etc. But the documentary (see segment above) spends most of its time following current students, and there's power in seeing the nearly complete (though not particularly hostile) segregation and disparate academic experiences that are still there. Here's a NYT review of the show. Check it out....


George W. Bush Was "Mainstreamed," Says Conservative Columnist

Everyone hates conservative columnist Ann Coulter right now (she recently joked that perhaps women shouldn't get to vote). But she did write something a little funnier in her new book: "“President George W. Bush is evidently the first mentally retarded person to get a Harvard M.B.A., graduate from the U.S. Air Force Flight School, be elected governor of Texas and then be elected President of the United States twice. I Guess that's what they call 'mainstreaming.'” Yikes....


Big Stories Of The Day

Colorado has been keeping two sets of books, says the Denver Post -- one for the feds, the other for its own state ranking system (State's "No Child" rank challenged). Meanwhile, the Washington Post shows how DC-area schools are making (or not) AYP in all sorts of ways (Required 'Yearly Progress' Difficult to Determine). Clearly, NCLB should be made more complicated. Meanwhile out in the Midwest, the St. Louis Tribune highlights the weak effects of vouchers on the rest of the Milwaukee school system (Voucher-Supported Private Schools Do Not Improve Public Counterparts). There's competition for you. The most interesting of ...


Measure TFA By What It Does (Meh), Or What Its Alums Do (More)?

Finishing out what's been an informal TFA Week, TAPPED's Dana Goldstein puts it pretty well: "It feels heartless to criticize a program that's, well, so good-hearted...But while it appears that TFA is very effective at connecting business leaders and young professionals with the public school reform movement and imbuing them with a sense of commitment toward public education, it's unlikely TFA is impacting student achievement in any broadly-defined way." Meanwhile, in The Economist: "It will be hard for even a corps of 10,000 teachers to have a large impact in a country that has 3m teachers in public ...


Democratic Hill Staffers Spill The NCLB Beans

Check out David Hoff's post on what Hill staffers like Jill Morningstar (House Dems, pictured, I think) have to say about the latest NCLB doings. No Kennedy bill yet, however, and no real timeframe....


ASCD SmartBlogs

Thanks to the folks at ASCD's SmartBrief for including me on their list of SmartBlogs, and welcome to all of you SmartBrief readers. Bookmark the SmartBlog page or click on the right to get a daily or weekly email summary....


What Makes TFA So Special? It's Not What You Think

I have my fingers crossed that there's going to be another even more interesting piece on TFA coming out in the very near future. Stay tuned. In the meantime, there's a fascinating and somewhat frightening discussion about the Times Magazine article going on in Chicago -- with some commenters pointing out that TFA is better than nothing and others calling it a "glorified substitute pool" for struggling schools. A kind reader also sent me this new (to me) report from Stanford (PDF here): "Conventional wisdom says that scaling social innovation starts with strengthening internal management capabilities. This study of 12 ...


Denial Over Disparities: Cutting Down The Oak Tree In Jena

The New Yorker takes on the Jena 6 case in large part to make the point that despite our tendencies towards denial what's happening down there is not old school, it's present-day -- and not just in the South, either. "Discrimination in the American justice system is not only a Deep South thing; it is a national embarrassment...America's predominant response to racism, of course, has long been denial. In Jena, the town fathers effected a vivid evasion. Their problem, they concluded, was not themselves but their tree: they cut down the offending oak and hauled it away." (Disparities). Meanwhile, ...


Will Universal Preschool Get "S-CHIPed"?

Universal preschool is going to be education campaign issue Number One, says Richard Whitmire (Preschool) based on all the proposals out there. Many would agree with him. But the recent Presidential veto of the S-CHIP shows that it might not be so easy to get something done. President Bush vetoed the S-CHIP on the grounds that it doesn't focus on the poorest kids who already have preschool and creates a major new "entitlement" program. Of course, politics play a part and Bush will not be there in the future, but the struggle shows just how difficult it is to get ...


SuperTutors, School Closings, Less NOLA, USDE Blog

Edwards' education plan is a good one, says the Ed Sector's Kevin Carey, except for just one crazy idea (Super Tutors). Denver can learn some lessons about closing schools from what other cities have done, says Schools For Tomorrow's Van Schoales (Closure lessons from other districts). TFA is a great place to start a career, says BusinessWeek via EdWize (Teacher News of the Day). Exactly. Refomers should stop making such a big deal out of New Orleans, says Eduwonk (A Little Less New Orleans?). Jenny D says that it won't be long before there's a US Department Of Education "blog" (Been...


Forget NCLB -- It's All About Spending

Forget those puny authorizing committees -- it's all about budget and appropriations. That's where the money (and an awful lot of policymaking) happens. That's why New America is holding an event today on the latest FY 2008 spending developments, featuring the House budget committee's Barbara Chow and New America's Heather Rieman (right)....


Big Stories Of The Day

The Washington Post features the new Fordham Foundation study showing low expectations and disparities among 26 states standards especially at the younger ages (Varying Standards May Hurt 'No Child' ). Ditto for AP, albeit with a slightly different focus (State Reading Tests Deemed Easier). USA Today goes with the Sputnik anniversary (Sputnik heralded space race, focus on learning). Over on PBS, the NewsHour focuses on New Orleans' new superintendent, Paul Vallas (New Orleans School Chief Tackles Rebuilding Shattered System). Last but not least, MSNBC goes with the Ohio lawmaker whose lesson on the legislative process inadvertently included a slide showing a ...


Chicago Teachers Go With Obama, Not Clinton

The same day that the national teachers union AFT announced that it was supporting Hillary Clinton for president, the Chicago local announced that it was going with the local guy: Barack Obama. Here's the announcement -- what do you think? "United States Senator and Presidential Candidate Barack Obama picked up a major labor union endorsement today as members of the Chicago Teachers Union’s House of Delegates voted to endorse him for President in the upcoming primary. “Senator Obama is Illinois’ favorite son and a good friend of teachers, paraprofessionals and labor. We want to show him our appreciation and ...


Giving Shanker Credit For What He Wanted To Do

I wish Slate had taken my piece about Al Shanker (How Al Shanker Blew Up No Child Left Behind) instead of Sara Mosle's recent review, but I'm happy to report that Mosle and I make some of the same points. For example, that Shanker's work unionizing teachers affects nearly every classroom teacher to this day. ("Today, there isn't a teacher in America whose life hasn't been touched by Shanker's own.") But we disagree about his legacy, in that Mosle (The Man Who Transformed American Education) gives more credit to Shanker for his ideas and "prescience" than I do. Journalists and ...


Women's Soccer Player Of The Year (Marta) Loves The Carnival

This week's Carnival of Education is up, including promising posts such as Bellringers' comparison of NCLB and "My Rather Large Behind," Right On The Left Coast on teachers and free speech, What It's Like on the pros and cons of teaching to the test, and Scheiss Weekly on the food stash for kids who forget their lunch....


Racial Slur Turns Up In Crossword Puzzle Assignment

Joanne Jacobs links to a much-discussed story a crossword puzzle that includes one question in which the N-word is the answer. Says Jacobs:"A parent complained that this is one word students don’t need to be taught, the teacher apologized and it appears that life will go on at Sequatchie County Middle School."...


Breaking News: AFT Endorses Clinton, Not Richardson

I guess all that pandering and NCLB-bashing worked. The AFT just announced that it's endorsing HRC for President. It's not much of a surprise, except maybe to Bill Richardson (pictured) who has so many good education ideas, or to Edwards folks who were hoping his proposal (see below) would give him some pull....


Wednesday Blog Roundup

I read them... so you don't have to: About the Ravitch op-ed (see below), Eduwonk asks "didn't we try this already?" (States Right?). The AFT blog is concerned about the NYT piece on New Orleans from a couple of weeks ago (Predictable Sign Of The Times) -- namely whether the focus should be on poverty or school reform. School closings are getting too much coverage, says Sari Levy at Schools For Tomorrow (School closures bring out the drama queens). Educators and researchers don't usually get along, writes Eduwonkette -- except in one case (Cool people you should know). EdWize lets ...


TV Show Profiles District Of Columbia Marching Band

Thanks to JM for passing along this link from DCist about the upcoming taping of the Ellen Degeneres Show at Ballou High School. Check out this video snippet from a new documentary that's coming out on the school and it's band: Or if your'e in the area go see the taping tonight at 9:30 live....


Ravitch Proposes Impractical & Unlikely Pullback On NCLB

Education historian Diane Ravitch proposes a radical overhaul of NCLB in today's New York Times (Get Congress Out of the Classroom). She points out all the usual flaws in the law, and, as in the past, she proposes that the feds collect and report out data (including the results of national testing), and the states and districts take back the whole school reform thing. However, Ravitch overstates NCLB's reach into the process by quite a bit. Districts and schools aren't actually doing what the current NCLB tells them to do with struggling schools, finding loopholes and complying nominally without making ...


Washington Post Reporter Hypnotizes Local Superintendents Into Endorsing National Standards

Earlier in the week, the Washington Post's Jay Mathews used what must have been hypnosis to get three DC-area school superintendents to say that they supported national standards -- an idea that, as Mathews himself notes, has traditionally only been advocated by wonks and pundits (Superintendents Suggest Fixes For 'No Child'). What kind of hell do you think those three superintendents are going to get when the Mathews spell wears off and their colleagues read what they've said? Note also that one of the superintendents represents Fairfax, VA -- the folks who didn't want to test their ELL kids in ...


Group Hugging Ban Captures International Attention

One Oak Park Illinois school's "hugging ban" has captured the media spotlight, for however briefly. Maybe this is a new part of Ed In '08's strategy to win more attention for education issues. And it's working. (You know they convinced Kozol to do that partial fast thing.) Or maybe it's just a slow news week and schools are easy targets. Check here to see 200-something stories published on the topic. Not known for accuracy, many of the media stories miss the fact that the hugs being banned are big group hugs not the usual greeting kind....


Big Stories Of The Day

Get Congress Out of the Classroom NYT (Diane Ravitch) Unless we set realistic goals for our schools and adopt realistic means of achieving them, we run the risk of seriously damaging public education. Schools Embrace Ways to Help Environment AP Jacob Chapman hopes to plant a rooftop garden at Olathe South High School, encourages classmates to recycle plastic bottles and paper, and wants them to reduce their use of disposables in the school cafeteria. Superintendents Content in Jobs, But Stressed, Too EdWeek Today’s school district leaders overwhelmingly have positive relationships with their school boards, tend to be satisfied in ...


Vote Edwards, Dodd, Says New America Education Wonk

Education issues are nowheresville, writes New America's Sara Mead (here). And that is unlikely to change. But at least Edwards' plan doesn't eviscerate NCLB, says Mead. And at least he has one. Most of the others -- except Dodd -- don't have any real K-12 education proposal (beyond bashing the current law). And they probably won't show up with one anytime soon, despite past promises. Why get into that mess when college costs and universal preschool are so much more fun -- and only 1 percent of Americans rank education as their top priority?...


Our Schools Columnists Must Do Better

Everybody seems to like the Bob Herbert column on school reform, but not me. I mean, I get that it's cool when a New York Times columnist writes about education, and even gets it pretty right (we need to do more than fiddle at the margins here). But the solutions -- charters, measuring teacher effectiveness -- seem pretty run of the mill among a certain set. And, as usual, there's nothing there about how to accomplish such things. (Kevin Carey here. Eduwonk here. American Reality here. Whitney Tilson here....


Best Of The Blogs -- Tuesday Edition

Three Raleigh schools have won the national Blue Ribbon School Award, but none are from the school system. (Winning the Blue Ribbon award WakEd) Last week was exhausting -- I didn't feel good about any of my classes. (Discipline part II School Of Blog) If you’re shopping around for lesson plans, look no further than FactCheckEd.org. (Teaching the Art of Persuasion Learning Now PBS) Sure, Miller and Spellings don't always agree, but he's hardly out to gut NCLB... he's taking a lot of heat for defending it! (Mixed Message Eduwonk) As proof that leftovers can be delicious, here's ...


DC Schools Superintendent So Appalled She Wanted To Throw Up

My favorite part of this PBS NewsHour segment on DC schools superintendent Michelle Rhee is where she talks about how seeing all the unused books and supplies in the central warehouse made her want to throw up. Thanks to Whitney Tilson for uploading this. See part 2 here....


How Schools Are Like Sweatshops

The rhetoric surrounding "children first" is powerful and needed stuff, I'd argue, but not to the point of disregarding the needs of classroom teachers whose needs are often not being met by schools, either. Sherman Dorn makes this point eloquently in a recent post: "Elementary and secondary schools are environments that are about the least adult-friendly you can imagine, outside sweatshops," writes Dorn (The adults v. children meme). "Where else can adults be vulnerable to being hit by children, be told when they can go to the bathroom, and be told that their own intellectual development does not serve the ...


New Documentary: "The Perfect Life"

"In 1992, filmmaker Sam Lee moved from England to teach second grade at a unique school in Harlem aimed at helping disadvantaged youth. Ten years later, she decided to revisit her former students, now seniors in high school, and find out what had become of their dreams, their families, and their lives." (Choices: The Perfect Life)....


Morning Commentary

Our Schools Must Do Better NYT (Bob Herbert) The U.S. has not yet faced up to the fact that it needs a school system capable of fulfilling the educational needs of children growing up in an era that will be at least as different from the 20th century as the 20th was from the 19th. The cost of killing education reform Long Beach Press-Telegram This could be the end of the line for No Child Left Behind. And some educators couldn't be happier...Public schools have, for generations, crafted an environment that caters to the needs and wants of ...


SecState Rice Visits Harlem School

"The secretary and the veteran Democratic congressman made a bit of an odd couple in the school, also known as the Harriet Tubman School, which is in his district, just steps from his local office...But to hear her explain it, the success of schools is as much a part of national security as, say, negotiations with the Iraqi government." (From Capitol to Halls of the Nation’s Future NYT)...


Big Stories Of The Day

National companies cash in with charters where the kids learn at home Las Vegas Sun Gathered by the pool at a Las Vegas community center, the parents and students swapped horror stories. Via EdNews. Rethinking e-monitoring after progress report LA Times A looming C on a midsemester assessment makes one mother take another look at computerized school programs that allow parents to track what's going on in the classroom. PLUS: Computer Glitch Affects L.A. Teacher Pay NPR. Girls Are Often Neglected Victims of Concussions NYT Girls playing high school sports are more susceptible to concussions than boys in the ...


Young, Inexperienced, and In Charge

Be sure to check out the PBS NewsHour tonight, which will include a segment on Michelle Rhee that attempts to balance the hopes and expectations for her success with the realities of the situation in DC and her relative inexperience at the job....


Don't Dump Disaggregation, Says Former Dem Hill Staffer

"Disaggregation is the key to comparability," writes former Miller staffer Charlie Barone in a new analysis of NCLB then and now. "Comparability is the key to assessing equal opportunity. Equal opportunity is the key to closing achievement gaps."...


Best Of The Blogs

I read them (so you don't have to): Local control sucks! Schools For Tomorrow There, I said it. The kids love Obama Education Election Obama and John Edwards said in last week's New Hampshire debate that they would be comfortable reading the book "King and King," which has same-sex relationships as a theme, to their young children and would support its use as part of a school curriculum. Evolution of Complexity AFT Blog It seems that NCLB 2.0 is adhering to the principles of evolution--it's getting more complex, but I'm not sure it's a higher level organism. Teachers vs. ...


"Hanging Photo" Roils Grambling Campus

"A recent incident at the elementary school on the Grambling State University campus that resulted in a noose hanging around a small child's neck has left university officials scrambling for answers. Grambling State University President Horace Judson was driving to Dallas on Friday afternoon for the Saturday football game between GSU and Prairie View when his secretary called him, describing certain pictures that had been posted online by the student newspaper, The Gramblinite."...


Where's Spellings?

In China, of course -- not in time to help the women's World Cup team (they lost on Friday to Brazil) but rather to help out with that whole Special Olympics thing....


Winners & Losers For September 2007

September's big education stories are sliced and diced by stalwart journalists Greg Toppo, Stephanie Banchero, and Jay Mathews in the first "Month In Review" of the 2007-2008 school year. It's nearly 30 minutes of banter and insight (featuring super lo-fi sound quality and even more amateurish than ever hosting by me): Download audio0907.mp3.mp3...


Performance Pay Not "Mandatory" In MIller Proposal, Group Says

For the last three weeks the NEA and most of the news coverage (for example here) have been referring to the merit pay provisions in George Miller's NCLB plan as "mandatory," but on Friday the Center on American Progress think tank put out a fact sheet claiming that the requirements are voluntary (and that Miller is not against collective bargaining). Who's right? It's hard to say. After all, NCLB itself could be described as voluntary -- states don't have to take the money and implement its rules -- but in reality it's not that way (states need the money). Still, ...


Big Stories Of The Day

School struggles under rising federal standards San Deigo Union Tribune Two years ago, NCLB forced Principal Sylvia Gonzalez to replace 70 percent of her teachers at Balboa Elementary School in southern San Diego. Missouri Cited for Accountability Breakdown Title I Monitor The state of Missouri was forced to put more than 150 school districts in improvement — with dozens of schools undergoing further sanctions — after a U.S. Department of Education... LAUSD mulls fees for youth groups LA Times The money would help ease the budget, officials say. Parents -- who might have to pay extra -- could choose not to ...


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