November 2007 Archives

Rumor has it that non-employee edweek.org blogger Alexander Russo, in search of fame and fortune, has moved kit and kaboodle over to scholastic. com. It's been great fun working with Alexander (I'm gonna miss those 3 a.m. calls! and the demands for only blue M&Ms in his dressing room!). If you've followed Alexander for any length of time, you know that he is a prolific blogger, providing a never-ending stream of news, commentary, and reports on the comings and goings in the edusphere that often inspired heated reactions. (Who could forget, for instance, "Our Hottie Is So ...


After nine mostly blissful months blogging at EdWeek.org, I'm off to try out a new home at Scholastic. Yes, Scholastic. Me and Harry Potter. I know. As of Monday, I'll start as a contributing editor and blogger for Scholastic Administrator. You can find my new stuff here, though the kind folks here have offered to leave this up for a little while so no one gets lost. Here are my new coordinates: New URL: here New RSS feed: here Master URL: here (if you ever can't find the site) Contact: [email protected] Thanks, and so long....


Best Of The Week Funders "Heart" TFA A Pack Of Dogs, A Fire Hydrant, And A Powerful Lobby Urban Education Unionized Charter Schools Headed EastA "National" Test For Urban DistrictsHow Cash Incentives Really WorkSetbacks For NYC "Incentives" Guru Roland FryerPLUS:  New York City Department Of Education Responds Bush Administration No Crony Left Behind  Spellings Press Event Tomorrow May Be Faked  Like Imus, Edison Schools Is Coming Back Campaign 2008Obama Gets Tough On NCLB Tensions Within The Universal Preschool Crowd Teachers & Teaching Follow The Bouncing Ball Wisconsin NCLB Protest Teacher Gets Reprimand Letter  Research, Politics, and -- Yes ...


Lots of takes from the blogs on the NEA letter from yesterday, which, ironically, is signed by none other than Diane Shust, the NEA lobbyist who used to work for Miller. Joe Williams of DFER who broke the news notes tongue in cheek "Whatever happened to support for multiple measures? Isn't it cruel/unfair to hold a Legislator accountable for the results of a single test?" I love it. PreaPrez, one of the most bilious people in the edusphere (at least towards me), says the NEA is just doing what it's supposed to do. Indeed, that's true. That doesn't make ...


If disgraced shock jock Don Imus can make a comeback, why not somewhat disgraced school management company Edison? That's exactly the plan, according to the SF Schools Blog, which has come across a "secret" document about the comeback plan: A whole new Edison Schools. After you're done there, check out this May 2007 letter from Edision CEO Terry Stecz which was deleted from the Edison site but recovered thanks to Google Cache. Says Stecz: "We are on the cusp of releasing E2, our new school design, engineered to drive better outcomes, and, in so doing, we are preparing students for ...


Over at the Huffington Post, comedian Bill Maher rips on President Bush for always making sure that his policy ideas benefit his friends and allies financially: "In the next fifteen months, President Bush has to perform at least one act that doesn't make money for someone he knows. Take "No Child Left Behind." At first it just looked like gentle empty bullshit, a way to neutralize the Democrats edge with voters on education issues...It made Lady Bird Johnson's wild-flowers-by-the-highways project look like the fucking Marshall Plan. Except, like all Bush ideas, there was more to it." (No Crony Left ...


The newsiest of recent blog posts is Joe Williams' revelation that the NEA wants politicos to sign a pledge against NCLB (NEA to Congress: Comply or Perish). Nice. Overwhelmed with all the Shanker coverage, EIA Mike wonders whether Rick Kahlenberg is channeling the dead union leader (Shanker Seance). Creepy. Out in the real world, Wake County is threatening to take money back from schools because of an error calculating bonuses (Taking money away from teachers). Doh! Speaking of errors and bonuses, Andywonk covers the Ravitch Vs. NYC back and forth with relish but little reflection (Ravitch Responds!). At the very ...


The folks at Encyclopedia Brittanic are taking a shot at a blog that includes several names you may already know: Karin Chenowith (of "It's Being Done"), Joanne Jacobs, etc. As with the Hufington Post, the idea seems to be to invite a variety of voices in one place to give different perspectives. Check it out here....


Prospects Fade for NCLB Bill in 2007 EdWeek Efforts to revise the law are mired in backroom negotiations in both the House and the Senate and show no signs of gaining the momentum necessary to ensure completion of the reauthorization in 2008. Knives, Not Guns, Have Been Weapon of Choice, Study Finds WPost More than 3 percent of 17 million crimes reported from 2000 through 2004 occurred at schools, colleges and universities, with knives being the most commonly used weapon, according to an FBI study released yesterday. Teachers unions battle school choice for parents and students Detroit News In today's ...


Google Images says that this might be Madison middle school teacher David Wasserman, who refused to administer a test to his students in protest against NCLB and sat in the teachers lounge. No word on whether Jonathan Kozol was the inspiration. News accounts today say he's going to get a letter in his file....


"It's not fair to put complaints about the non-school-related elements of NYC’s multi-pronged anti-poverty program, OpportunityNYC, on Roland Fryer. The New York Mag story you link to is mostly about parts of the plan Roland has zero to do with. He is connected only with cash incentives around tests.Also, for the record, the ban on cell phones in NYC dates to 1988 (focused on pagers then)."...


God I love this stuff: "I was walking to my math class when I noticed a bunch of little pieces of paper strewn across the hallway. I stole my math teacher's tape, lost my participation points in class and slowly taped it all together, discovering the secret lives of Erin and Tiffany." FOUND by Laura Warman in Washington [79 comments]...


Has anyone noticed I just can't stop blogging lately? Over at the Education Election blog, Cathy Grimes notes a part of the recent Democratic debate that included TIMSS, of all things (TIMSS makes the debate "lightning round"). I must have been sleeping by then. The NSBA blog pushes back on the notion of "dropout factories" that was popularized in a recent AP story. Meanwhile, the NCLB blog compares conservative views on vouchers and the SCHIP (SCHIP's Rationale vs. Vouchers'). Joanne J digs out some standardized misdeeds in Washington State (Sham standards). And The Hoff shares tutoring news (Demand Doesn't Keep ...


First, New York magazine revealed that the controversial new program to "incentivize" low-income families with financial rewards may not have dramatic effects because it didn't seek out those families most in need and instead relied on a sample of families who signed up for the program. Doh! Academic superstar Rolan Fryer (pictured) joined the school system to design and run the effort. Now, the idea of using cell phones and cell phone talk time as an incentive for student academics has run into a predictable political buzz-saw. Why? Well, last year, the NYC schools system banned cell phones from schools, ...


Worried about cupcakes in schools? Dr. Rob Riggle finds out that cupcakes are the "number one killer" of our children: From The Daily Show....


Much as I love the New York Times' weekly Sam Freedman column on education, or the Post's Jay Mathews, what I'm really liking right now is Will Okun's weekly posts about teaching high school on Chicago's rough West Side. Published on Nick Kristoff's New York Times blogsite, Okun's posts (and their accompanying pictures) are at their best like little scenes from "The Wire" -- vivid, unsentimental, and complex. Last week's profile of a smart, independent student has generated 200 comments so far and the creation of a scholarship fund (Nicholas, pictured). This week's post is about a different student who ...


Another seemingly overlooked article comes from the most recent NYT Sunday Magazine, in which Ann Hulbert charts the growing tide of interest and action towards universal preschool (Universal Prekindergarten). We all know that, of course. But Hulbert points out a couple of worthwhile reminders. First, that increasing access creates quality problems (spending per pupil is going down, see chart). Second, that the kind of preschool that advocates would design for low- and middle-income children is not the "free play" preschool that progressives (and wealthier families) seem to want for their own children. Advocates are pushing UPK in "notably wonky, rather ...


Bush administration turnover plays like Survivor: Texas Houston Chronicle With Karen Hughes' resignation announcement Wednesday, nearly every prominent Texan who came to Washington with President Bush has left the administration. Wis. teacher protests NCLB law by sitting out testing; discipline threatened AP A middle school teacher is protesting the federal No Child Left Behind law by refusing to administer a standardized test to his eighth-grade students. Md. keeps tests as graduation requirement but allows alternative AP High school students who fail one or more of Maryland's exit exams will have the option to earn their diplomas by completing projects in ...


The Daily Show's Demetri Martin shows the latest "advances" in standardized test prep (Princeton Review podcast tutorials, Kaplan MySpace pages, comic books with words like "alacrity" in them, bad pop songs with the same): "I know this test seems like a big deal that will determine your entire future. And it is. Because it will."...


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