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....

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 ...

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....

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 ...

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 ...


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