Yesterday I shared some reactions to a video making the rounds, in which Jonah Edelman describes the way his non-profit organization, Stand For Children, maneuvered to get legislation enacted in the state of Illinois. This seems to represent the sort of money-fueled policy that education historian Diane Ravitch has been warning us about, so I asked her for her thoughts. What do you think that Jonah Edelman's remarks reveal about how education policy is being shaped in states across the country? I attended the Aspen Ideas Festival but did not go to Edelman's session, which was titled "If It Can ...


When people like Diane Ravitch talk about the billionaires taking over education policy, they are sometimes dismissed as being alarmist, or even of promoting conspiracy theories. But a recent video details exactly how this has been happening, in the state of Illinois. The video released last week of Jonah Edelman describing how he and his group, Stand For Children, managed to maneuver education "reform" legislation is still reverberating through the education blog world. It was reported by Substance News, who several months ago reported on how Stand For Children gathered more than $3.5 million in funding in a few ...


Guest post by Stephen Krashen The federal government plans to establish detailed standards and assessments to see if children of poverty are ready for kindergarten and are healthy (The "Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge," termed the "Race to the Top for Tots," by the New Brunswick Patch.) The standards and tests include "all (sic!!) of the Essential Domains of School Readiness" (Selection Criteria, section B (3)). This means setting detailed standards and testing children in mathematics and literacy, and as well "a progression of standards for ensuring children's health and safety, ensuring that health and behavioral screening and ...


A week ago New York Times columnist David Brooks launched a broadside against Diane Ravitch. This was rather reminiscent of the recent attack by Jonathan Alter. These pieces generally lack substance, but seem designed to reassure those inside the policymaking circle that their assumptions are safe, in spite of the relentless waves of evidence that have emerged, and the sharp critique offered by the nation's leading education historian. This week, the New York Times ran a short rebuttal from Dr. Ravitch, and has invited readers to contribute to he dialogue. Letters should be no more than 150 words in length, ...


The White House is holding the first ever Twitter Town Hall. Let's make sure he gets plenty of questions from the teachers of America! At 2pm EDT, Wednesday, July 6th, President Obama will participate in the first Twitter town hall at the White House to discuss the economy and jobs with Americans across the country. The entire event will be streamed live at WhiteHouse.gov/live. Detailed instructions on how to participate can be found here. Here are some of the questions I am tweeting today (follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody): 1. When will you advocate low-stakes tests for ...


Pedro Noguera has been a leader in education reform for decades. I came to know him during the battle to end apartheid in the 1980s, when we were both students at UC Berkeley. As a parent, he became very involved in the local schools, served on the Berkeley Board of Education, and went on to center his research on finding solutions that work for all children. He will be joining us at the Save Our Schools March this month, so I asked him to share some thoughts with us. You have expressed some frustrations with Department of Education's policies. Where ...


Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has issued a warning to state-level school leaders telling them: I am writing to urge you to do everything you can to ensure the integrity of the data used to measure student achievement and ensure meaningful educational accountability in your State. As I'm sure you know, even the hint of testing irregularities and misconduct in the test administration process could call into question school reform efforts and undermine the State accountability systems that you have painstakingly built over the past decade. He goes on to say, The successful implementation of Title I and other key ...


Guest post by John Thompson This is the second of two connected posts. Read the first here. Richard Elmore and Elizabeth City have described three possible futures for public education. I see two of them as nightmares, but Elmore's and City's most hopeful scenario is one of schools that foster "controlled engagement," or the "frog gets a GPS." Under their model, "schools set the learning destinations and map out the best pathways to those destinations," and adults and students, together, create a broader learning environment. Nancy Flanagan, a former Michigan Teacher of the Year and blogger, and Jal Mehta of ...


Guest post by John Thompson In an earlier contribution to the Harvard Futures of School Reform, Richard Elmore described "the dismal, glacial, adult-centered, congenially authoritarian, mindless soup in which our children spend the bulk of their days." I assume he was mostly describing failing schools, that tend to be high-poverty. I wish he had also acknowledged the excellent teaching that occurs in many inner city and lower-poverty classrooms. Elmore was clearly accurate, however, in recounting "how little the monolithic beast of American secondary education has been affected by the bright, high-minded optimism of professional reformers." In a concluding essay for ...


We are just over a month from the Save Our Schools March on Washington, DC, and I have been asked how we got to this place, where we are motivated to protest. So here, with links to relevant posts from this blog, is the story, from my perspective as one frustrated teacher. In September of 2008, I posted blogs about the education platforms of candidates McCain and Obama. I did not endorse Obama publicly on my blog, but I organized a fundraiser of educators, and knocked on doors in my neighborhood with campaign literature. A year after the election, in ...


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