Recently in Urban Ed Category

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June 15, 2007

Do Charter School (And Magnet) Lotteries Really Work?

One of the most persistent -- and hotly disputed -- criticisms of charter schools is that they don't take all kids. This is old news. But one key issue that I've never seen addressed is the notion that the list of kids who win the lottery to get into a charter is substantially different from the l...

June 14, 2007

Getting Rid Of District Barriers in Omaha (And Elsewhere?)

Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader for sending me this story about how Omaha is potentially going from being the most racially divided school district in the nation to one of the most integrated -- largely by breaking down the barriers between city and suburban district boundaries (here). What if NCLB...

June 13, 2007

Hyping Michelle Rhee

Back in the 1990's, the big new thing was to have "nontraditional" folks -- generals, US attorneys, former governors -- come in and run big school systems. But they were most of them older, and male, and many of them white. Young, female, and a minority, Rhee is the next iteration of the same appe...

June 13, 2007

Breaking News: Well-Dressed Reformers Hired To Run School Districts Across The Nation

Inspired by DC Mayor Fenty's surprise appointment of school reformer Michelle Rhee to head the District school system on Tuesday, elected officials across the nation have scrambled to announce their own hires from outside of traditional education circles: In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg on Tuesda...

June 07, 2007

The Multiple Providers: The Sanjaya Of School Reform?

Agree with him or not, Edwize makes the case that the current fascinating with multiple (or mixed) providers in urban districts is especially troubling since it has failed so far in Philly and NOLA, and its main proponent, Paul Vallas, is the Sanjaya of school reform: mystifyingly popular despite h...

June 06, 2007

Extending The Day Without Breaking The Bank

Most folks already know that the length of the school day and the number of instructional days in the school year vary dramatically from city to city, and everyone's trying to do the whole "extended day" thing, but now there's an interesting story in Catalyst Magazine (Chicago) that lays out what th...

June 04, 2007

Teachers Threatened With Job Loss For Supporting Charter School

So much for good news, I guess. According to this LA Times story, 17 teachers took back their signatures in support of Green Dot charters at Locke HS in LA, blocking the proposed conversion for now at least (District blocks Locke High's departure)."In hurried, closed-door faculty meetings, district...

May 31, 2007

What People Mean When They Talk About Human Capital

There's a lot of talk about "human capital" these days, and that talk can get awfully dry. Out there in the real world, perhaps no one else besides Tomas Hanna epitomizes this trend.  A former career principal in Philadelphia, Hanna was brought into the central office to revamp tea...

May 24, 2007

I Find It, You Read It: The Failed Takeover Story In LA

OK, here's the deal: I find the articles, you read them. This time, it's a long look at Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's repeated failed efforts to win control over the district schools in a recent New Yorker (Fault Lines). Looks like a fascinating story of politics, ambition, and -- now ...

May 22, 2007

Finding The Hidden Gems In The System

In even the most troubled big-city school systems, I like to think that there are at least a few folks who have a combination of institutional knowledge, big-picture savvy, and organizational and interpersonal skills to get useful things done. Sometimes these gems are old hands who have been in t...

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