I had the chance to peek at the first installments of the year-long series on DC's Michelle Rhee and NOLA's Paul Vallas the other day. What you get from seeing them in action as they start the school year is this visceral mix of expectations and hesitancy that surrounds their arrivals. What will be even more interesting to watch is how they look later this fall when we'll catch up with them again and see whether they're making progress. Produced by Learning Matters (ie, John Merrow), they are airing tomorrow and Friday nights on the PBS NewsHour, which is going ...

Wondering who's been covering education stories for the Washington Post along with Valerie Strauss and Jay Mathews ever since Amit Paley left? For now, at least, Michael Alison Chandler (pictured) seems to be filling in. She's been at the paper since 2005, covering Loudoun County schools for the most part. But lately -- see recent stories about NAEP, performance pay, and NCLB -- she seems to be doing more national work. Click here to read up on Chandler's most recent stories. I'll try and find out if it's a permanent or temporary thing. UPDATE: The permanent replacement for Paley was ...

Over at the Education Writers blog, USA Today's Richard Whitmire reminds us that universal preschool might end up being just as "big" an education issue as NCLB (Will preschool outpull NCLB?). It's not that UPK is being ignored by the candidates -- HRC and Edwards both have preschool plans -- but, as Whitmire points out, the press still hasn't caught on. In part, I'd argue, because preschool issues include a whole set of other players and dynamics that most K-12 folks (reporters included) don't know much about....

Lost in the hubbub surrounding the release and interpretation of this year's NAEP scores (yawn) is a fascinating and powerful story in the Chicago Tribune about what happens when researchers analyze another kind of performance -- suspension rates -- by race and poverty groups. The fact that black kids --especially boys -- are disproportionately affected is vivid but not surprising. (Even though the suspension rates are double and even triple what they should be.) The fact that black middle class kids are suspended at higher rates, too, is a little more eye-opening. (Black students are no more likely to misbehave ...

'Nation's Report Card' Shows Improvement Wash Post The nation's fourth- and eighth-graders continue to improve steadily in mathematics, and fourth-grade reading achievement is on the rise, according to test scores released yesterday. NAEP Reading and Math Scores Rise EdWeek The gains continued an overall upward trend in math scores that dates to the early 1990s, while reading scores have been more stagnant. US students score sweeping gains on tests CSM Elementary and middle-school students are making significant improvements in math skills, while their gains in reading are more modest, according to national test results. Schoolkids Post Modest Gains Wall Street ...


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