Guest post by Philip Kovacs. Two months ago Anthony Cody graciously allowed me to publish the results of my investigations into Teach for America's "research." You can read those pieces here and here. I would like to offer some closure to my investigation by providing interested parties with a brief discussion of some material left off of TFA's "research page." I need to acknowledge here that I am not the first to point out this contradictory research. Prominent bloggers and researchers have been picking apart TFA for almost a decade. Their collective work undermines and negates TFA's claim that "A ...


Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody Guest post by Chuck Olynyk. Readers of this blog may recall Chuck Olynyk's guest posts here starting two years ago, when he gave us all front row seats to witness the dismantling of a "failed" high school in Los Angeles. Today, from his new classroom at Roosevelt High, he shares his thoughts about the latest scandal to hit the schools. This was originally posted at his Remember Fremont blog. A few days ago, I complained about Sandra Day O'Connor and her iCivics, grousing about "lesson plans in a box". Yet what do I finally ...


Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody The decision by Dennis Van Roekel to co-author a column with Teach For America director Wendy Kopp continues to generate negative reaction among educators, the latest being the decision by Nancy Carlsson-Paige and her son Matt Damon to reject the union's Friend of Education award. The response by the union has been defensive. Van Roekel's statement said, I believe NEA should talk to those who support public education, even if we don't agree on everything, and work together to serve students. Wendy Kopp and I agree that students will benefit from stronger recruiting and ...


Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody This year, the gloves came off, as teachers faced unprecedented attacks on our right to collective bargaining, as well as continued attempts to tie our pay and job security to test scores. Some of these attacks were blatant, as in Wisconsin, but most were veiled behind a cloak of rhetoric about education reform. Today I want to review some of the posts that attempted to bell the corporate education reform cat. I started the year taking on Eric Hanushek, the Hoover Institute economist whose theories inform Michele Rhee and Bill Gates. I wrote this, ...


Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody A couple of weeks ago I posted a look back at 2011, with a list of all 170 of my posts to this blog. I am afraid I have spent a great deal of energy taking issue with what I see as very bad ideas being promoted in the name of reform. But I also have spent some time trying to support GOOD reform ideas, and I want to share some highlights from this year. First, there is this report, TeamScience Tames Teacher Turnover, focused on the mentoring program I initiated four years ago. ...


Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody Alexander Russo has done an excellent job stirring the pot with his column yesterday asserting that "reform critics" like myself are "winning" the online debate. As I tried to point out yesterday, the online debate is rather meaningless if the real decisions about our schools continue to be made based on misinformation, bribery and political gamesmanship. I believe the online debate has been deliberately ignored by the corporate reform sector, as they see it as a battle they can well afford to lose, given the access to real power their funds buy them. We ...


Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody Alexander Russo posted a rather provocative item today, asserting that in the online world, critics of "education reform" like myself, Ken Bernstein, Nancy Flanagan, Leonie Haimson, Caroline Grannan and John Thompson, have become dominant. (See Nancy's response here, and Ken Bernstein's here.) First of all, we ought to qualify his assertion. The people he names are among the most visible critics of education reform, but there are many more than the short list he offers. But the real question is one I have been puzzling over for a while. Why is there so little ...


Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody I just don't get it. A few short weeks ago, the National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel released a "Three Point Plan for True Education Reform." The first point of this plan is "raising the bar for entry" into the teaching profession. THE FIRST STEP in transforming our profession is to strengthen and maintain strong and uniform standards for preparation and admission. More than 1.6 million new teachers are expected to enter the profession within the next decade, and we must ensure that they are effective practitioners before they are assigned as ...


Guest post by Tara Kini, Public Advocates Inc. Today marks the first anniversary of one of the most far-reaching legislative actions in education in recent memory. It was highly controversial and addressed a subject at the forefront of the ongoing debate about educational equity. But if you are like most Americans, you probably have no idea that it ever happened. And that is exactly what the measure's proponents wanted. Congress stealthily slipped into a temporary budget bill last year language that allows states to label teachers as "highly qualified" before they have finished or even begun training through alternative certification ...


In Huntsville, Alabama, the school board has decided to spend $1.7 million to bring Teach For America interns to district classrooms. This has prompted an assistant professor at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, to raise some critical questions. This is the third post in this series. Guest post by Philip Kovacs. On the web page where Teach For America shares research, they boldly state: "A large and growing body of independent research shows that Teach For America corps members make as much of an impact on student achievement as veteran teachers." I will show this is an absurd claim ...


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