Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody In my summary of the year 2010 I wrote: This was the year of the billionaire in education. And teachers, parents and students are wondering what we need to do to make 2011 turn out a bit differently. We figured it out alright. 2011 was the year of the great awakening. The year began with Wisconsin educators rallying to protect their rights, under attack from Governor Scott Walker. Jesse Turner had called it out even before 2010 was over - and along with a bunch of us from around the country, helped create the ...


Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody Dear Jon Stewart, Your show Wednesday night with White House domestic affairs chief Melody Barnes was remarkable, in that you showed a far greater depth of understanding of education issues than did your guest. When you asked Ms. Barnes what work she felt proudest of, she said "...the work we have done around education has been a game-changer." What a word. Where have I heard that before? Oh yes. That was George W. Bush' Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings' favorite way of describing NCLB -- see here, here, and here. Unfortunately the White House ...


As No Child Left Behind becomes an ever bigger disaster, Secretary Duncan faces a major dilemma. How can he continue to enforce this law he has declared a train wreck? Last spring, in an attempt to goad Congress into accepting his formula for revising No Child Left Behind, Education Secretary Arne Duncan made some dire predictions. In his testimony, he said: ...we did an analysis which shows that -- next year -- the number of schools not meeting their goals under NCLB could double to over 80 percent -- even if we assume that all schools will gain as much ...


Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody Numbering more than four million, teachers represent better than one percent of the population of the United States. Given the fact that only about half the people in our nation actually vote, teachers are potentially even more than one percent of the electorate. And national elections are sometimes decided by margins smaller than this. Beyond our votes, teachers are connectors, influential among friends, family and community members. We have been bulwarks of the nation's middle class, but as with the rest of the 99 percent, things have been tough the past three decades. As ...


Several weeks ago I posted a firsthand report from University of Alabama, Huntsville assistant professor Philip Kovacs, regarding his efforts to get the Hunstville school board to re-examine its decision to spend $1.7 million on bringing Teach For America interns to the public schools there. Huntsville, he pointed out, has laid off 300 teachers over the past two years. Today, Dr. Kovacs takes us on an exploration of the research that TFA offers to justify its aggressive expansion. Guest post by Philip Kovacs. Recently I have been exchanging emails with a TFA employee in my city. On my last ...


Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody Three days ago, Valerie Strauss' Answer Sheet blog in the Washington Post published the hardest-hitting critique of testing of the year. Before discussing that, I want to take a moment to recognize her work. Ms. Strauss is the ONLY blogger in the mainstream media to consistently address education issues from a perspective that is critical of the test-crazy status quo. Every day she brings us insightful perspectives, research and reports from the field. Her column includes her own excellent work as well as that of others (including occasionally myself.) Monday's post, When an adult ...


This week my guest blogger, John Thompson, is exploring the stance taken by The Center for American Progress on the issue of teacher evaluation. Guest post by John Thompson. The Center For American Progress (CAP), a liberal think tank, has largely bought the educational agenda of "the billionaires' boys club." It seeks a balance, with just enough union-baiting to appease corporate powers. The CAP does its share of teacher-bashing, apparently in order to parrot the word "accountability" over and over, but it does not want to spark a stampede of teaching talent from inner city schools. Two new reports, "Designing ...


Guest post by John Thompson. Part One of Two. The Center For American Progress (CAP) is a progressive think tank founded by former Clinton staffer John Podesta. The CAP believes, "progressives are idealistic enough to believe change is possible and practical enough to make it happen." It thus collaborates with funders ranging from the liberal George Soros to Walmart to push the Obama Administration's agenda. The Center For American Progress has published another report justifying the firing of teachers today, based on statistical models that may some day become valid. "Designing High Quality Evaluation Systems for High School Teachers," by ...


When something keeps on appearing as a byproduct of an activity, eventually you might begin to wonder if perhaps the byproduct is actually the objective. The one result that education reform efforts seem to have in common is turmoil in our schools, especially those where there is high poverty. Let's take a look at the strategies being employed, and what they are yielding: Charter schools: From Chicago comes fresh news that once again, poverty usually trumps a longer school day and the capacity to hire and fire teachers at will. Charters with the highest numbers of students from low-income families ...


California, with more public school students than any other state, has surprised many by declining to apply for waivers to No Child Left Behind. The implications of this decision are far-reaching, and so in the coming weeks I am going to be asking a variety of educational leaders for their thoughts. Today, I am sharing the thoughts of education historian Diane Ravitch. What do you think of the decision by elected leaders in California to forgo the opportunity to apply for waivers to NCLB? I was very pleased when California decided to turn down the waivers for California. I think ...


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