Snowed in and looking for something good to read? Check out Jay Mathews' uplifting profile of what sounds like an amazing teacher in LA (America's Best Classroom Teacher). The teacher, Rafe Esquith, has a new book out, Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire, and has been profiled by NPR in the past (Inner-City Teacher Takes No Shortcuts to Success). Mathews points out that most big-name teachers have left the classroom (though not Jason Kamras, I'd point out -- he went back, last I heard). He also says that Esquith disagrees with KIPP folks like Mike Feinberg (who was interviewed here ...

If you have any doubts about where the Huffington Post (a group blog run by Arianna Huffington) sits on the political spectrum, the recent arrival of Gerry Bracey on the scene should give you a good sense of things. Bracey writes the annual Rotten Apples report on the worst people in education (bio here). He tells me that he got the gig via another smart leftie, Jeannie Oakes, who did some work with Huffington during her political days. Click here for his posts from December and early January. Click here for the Rotten Apples report....

Several folks have pointed out that the scrutiny and criticism surrounding Oprah's school has been exaggerrated, sexist, and perhaps even racist. This article from (What Oprah can't forget) takes that argument one step further and tries to figure out where the hypocrisy surrounding wealth and philanthropy comes from -- and why Oprah created such a lavish school. Previous posts here and here. You have to watch a short ad to read the entire article....

The Eduwonks point to a school where the Feds have required cheerleading for girls' sports as well as boys' (Federally-mandated Cheerleading). Jeff Jarvis discusses new ideas about spreading technology access (Two laptops per child ). Joe Williams at The Chalkboard says a top NYC education official is jumping ship (Michele Cahill To Carnegie). Richard Lee Colvin points to an LA Times story about an elementary school story that's turning things around (Leadership Helps Compton School Soar). Eduwonk spanks Kansas for being crazy (What Is The Matter With Kansas?). Joanne Jacobs digs up an NPR correspondent's views on black achievement (Can do). ...

National standards under review as lawmakers prepare to take up No Child Left Behind AP The No Child Left Behind law was supposed to level the playing field, promising students an equal education no matter where they live or their background. However, each state sets its own standards for subjects such as reading and math, then tests to see whether students meet those benchmarks. For Teachers, being 'Highly Qualified' Is a Subjective Matter WaPo Some education experts say that meeting the standards of quality is more about shuffling paper than achieving two vital goals: ensuring that teachers are prepared to ...


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