Trick or Treat (Election 2004)

Schools rethink Nov. 2 classes Cleveland Plain Dealer
Taking Kids Into Voting Booths Christian Science Monitor
Bush sweeps Weekly Reader mock election Associated Press
2004 Election Results and the NCLB Act Grantmakers in Education PDF
The Issue Left Behind The Nation
The Bush Vs. Kerry Briefs: Education MTV.com
Education and the 2004 Presidential Contest Politics of Education Bulletin
School Law an Issue in U.S. House Race Education Week
Education Committees Could See Changes Education Week
Three races to watch The Gadfly
Voter drive using kids draws fire Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Voters in 11 States Set To Pick Governors Stateline.org
Education: A major test for both campaigns Star Tribune
Bush, Kerry on Issue of Education Guardian
Major shifts not expected in a Bush 2nd term Dallas Morning News

Lawsuits, Challenges, and Investigations (NCLB News)

Schools challenging state's ratings The Dallas Morning News
Pace of School Gains Slows Down Los Angeles Times
Oregon Teachers' Grades Show Improvement The Oregonian
Lawsuit Charges N.Y.C. Schools With Denying Transfers Education Week
Prince George’s Scraps Tutoring, Test Scores Disqualify County Washington Post
No Child Left Behind Transfers KXAN-TV, TX
200 parents seek Austin school transfers Austin American-Statesman
The NCLB Transfer Dilemma Eduwonk.com
Few Metro children switch to better schools The Tennessean
Group of 640 Starts Transferring From Failing Schools New York Times
States Get Guidance on Title I Aid to Districts Education Week
Let public schools tutor Palm Beach Post
3 Area Districts Added to Md.'s Watch List Washington Post
State Says 281 Schools Failing To Meet Goals KIROtv.com, WA
Schools await NCLB report card Stamford Advocate
Big dip for St. Louis schools St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Arizona test a huge hurdle for special ed students The Arizona Republic (Phoenix)
California Failing Schools Center for Research on Education Outcomes
'Failing' Hardly Means it's Bad Honolulu Advertiser
37 Percent of Nevada Schools Miss Standards LV Sun
La. schools improving as planned Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
Rural Teachers and No Child Left Behind USDE

Everyone's Entitled (NCLB Opinions and Research)

Realism Needed in ‘No Child’ Act Rocky Mountain News (Denver) Editorial
Bush’s Education Chief Defends NCLB Chicago Sun Times
Good Intentions, Bad Results in Education Week
Flunking an unfair test Washington Post Letter to the Editor
Groups Offer Changes for School Law Education Week
Rule changes aided school progress Philadelphia Inquirer
Rule Changes Could Help More Schools Meet Test Score Targets for NCLB Center on Education Policy

Success Story in Sacto. (New and Notable)

More Charters, Less Money (Urban Education)

Early Screening, Senn Cynics (Chicago Illinois)

Youngest pupils get literacy screening Chicago Tribune
Duncan: Military school 'not about militarization' Chicago Sun Times
Foes of school say it steers kids to military Chicago Sun-Times
Big coalition unites against Daley school plan Chicago Sun Times
Daley's "Renaissance 2010" reform proposal light on ...The Illinois Leader
Kids stand up for principals Chicago Tribune
A lesson from politicians, police Chicago Daily Southtown
Chicago Schools Set to Tighten Rules on Teacher Residency Chicago Tribune
Are Chicago Public School Teachers Property? EducationNews.org
State passing the buck on school funding Chicago Sun Times
A plan for school funding that would benefit both students and ...The Illinois Leader
Illinois districts amassed huge deficit in 2003 Chicago Tribune
Illinois sends $10 million to booming school districts Chicago Tribune
City schools to lose their fizz Chicago Tribune
New Trier students forced to fold up poker games Chicago Sun-Times

A Candy-Filled, High-Tech World (School Life)


Cristo Rey on 60 Minutes Wednesday Night -- Bridging the gap between public and private schools (Urban Schools)

Sixty Minutes 2 will apparently profile Chicago's Cristo Rey school on its Wednesday night broadcast, according to today's edition of EducationNews.org: Cristo Rey, the "School That Works".

While Sixty Minutes probably won't address it, Cristo Rey is more than just a feel-good story about students succeeding in a tough neighborhood. Sure, Cristo Rey features an innovative and somewhat controversial work-study format that allows the school to charge less than half of a typical parochial school. The students, many of them first-generation Spanish speakers, appear to be thriving. And the Chicago school is now part of a small but growing network of Cristo Rey model schools that have sprouted up in urban areas around the country. (In January, 2003, my article in City Limits magazine chronicled the effort to start a Cristo Rey school in New York City: The School That Works.)

What makes the Cristo Rey model interesting is how, by virtue of its design and low tuition, it bridges some of the gap between public and private schooling. Last year, the Gates Foundation announced a $19 million grant to build the network of Cristo Rey schools -- by all accounts the only major education philanthropy to fund a parochial school initiative in the nation. And, at just over $2,000, a Cristo Rey tuition is not only within reach for more parents, it's also not that far from the amount of federal funds spent on children under NCLB. To see how this might play out, see my commentary from last year in the Gadfly: A new investment in school choice?


But wait… It gets worse (Charter Schools)

This Monday’s charter school overview in the New York Times is a timely and insightful look at the current predicament facing the charter school movement, rightly calling it one of the most contentious issues in education. In the article, NAACP president Kweisi Mfume is quoted comparing the intensity of the fight over charter schools to the fight over reproductive rights.

That’s hyperbole right now, but it may not be for long. More and more urban districts are looking to create large numbers of charterized small schools as part of their core school improvement plans. Nationwide, NCLB will soon start requiring “forced” conversions of failing neighborhood schools into charter schools – a much larger change on the part of schools and districts than anything that NCLB has thrown at them thus far. If it's ugly now, it's going to get much more ugly soon. Voters to decide on charter schools (New York Times).

FRIDAY UPDATE: Over at Eduwonk.com, Andy Rotherham rather mystifyingly objects to the idea that support for charters might have been weakened recently: "the story implies that support is weakening. In fact, the opposite is true..." He cites the involvement of La Raza to bolster his case, which tells you just how strong support for charters is right now. A more realistic assessment of the situation might help move things in a positive direction.

Over at the Gadfly -- Times to charters: know your place -- Checker Finn argues that charters are now more controversial “because they now are numerous enough, and successful enough, to threaten the system's interests,” which seems not so unlike Don Rumsfeld’s argument that more insurgency in Iraq means the US is winning the war there.


Rod Paige's Lesbian Daughter's Iraqi-Made Flu Shot (Campaign 2004)

It is no easy feat these days to figure out a conceivable situation in which education becomes a viable campaign issue. I mean, NCLB being the top education issue in the campaign -- 'No Child Left Behind' top education issue (Associated Press) -- is like Social Security being the top senior issue. So what? Nobody's talking about either. Education is lost in election's shuffle of issues (Kansas City Star), Education Seeps Into Presidential Debates (Education Week).

In addition, as I've said before, I'm not so sure education being a top campaign issue would necessarily be such a good thing. Imagine one version of what it could look like:

Bush on NCLB: It was the right thing to do. NCLB was clearly connected to the growing number of uninsured Americans in our country, and if we weren't implementing NCLB so ferociously the uninsurance rate would certain have gone even higher. Oh, yeah, and NCLB is a jobs program.

Kerry: Being stubborn is not the same as being right. The White House is out of touch on education issues. But I'm not against NCLB or the teachers and administrators who served honorably implementing it. Remember, I voted for it. Let's consult other countries and see what they think we should do about our education system.

Then the Kerry campaign runs the opening minutes from Farenheit 911 where George W. listens to a scripted reading lesson while the Twin Towers burn.

In a rapid-response response, the Bush campaign runs an ad in which Bush stands in front of a school wearing graduation a cap and gown with a sign behind him: "Mission Accomplished."

The Best of the Rest (Campaign 2004):
Kerry Competes to Claim Issue of Reform Washington Post
Education Proposals Washington Post
New Campaign Issue: Hiding Bush's Civil Rights Record San Francisco Chronicle
Bush Gets 'F' in Civil Rights truthout.org
Charter schools hot topic on ballot Seattle Times
What Teachers Want Most from Washington National Education Association
U.S. education secretary quizzed Seattle Times

Who Moved My Cheese? (NCLB)

NCLB in the News: In a relatively lackluster week (so far), the only real NCLB highlight is a cluster of recent Washington Post columns by the esteemed Jay Mathews and the fiesty Marc Fisher that do a remarkably good job in just a short space of detailing the latest arguments, realities, and misperceptions surrounding the two year-old federal education law. In How No Child Left Behind Helps Principals, Mathews debunks several NCLB myths in two recent Fisher columns, including Law Leaves Better Schools In Worse Spot and Falls Church School Won't Teach to the Test. For his part, Fisher details the concerns and complaints of even the most reasonable educators.

The only thing that makes Mathews/Fisher a fair fight is that so many more people seem to believe Fisher's take on things. Now, I haven't conducted my own $700,000 study on coverage of NCLB like the USDE recently did: Study for U.S. Rated Coverage of Schools Law (NYT), or see the whole shebang at Archive of Ketchum Research for the USDE (People for the American Way). And by all accounts the USDE-funded study was inept and incomplete. So I don't know whether it's objectively true that NCLB coverage is overwhelmingly on the skeptical "what are they doing?" side of things.

But it certainly feels that way. And my completely unverified take on why news coverage of NCLB may be skewed is that --

(a) too many of us reporter types get our basic understanding of things from listening (sometimes gullibly) to readily-available teachers and administrators and talking heads rather than to the elusive few parents and researchers who lack an obvious axe to grind;

(b) as Jimmy Traub and others have noted, NCLB is much better suited (and designed) for the most troubled, low-performing urban school systems rather than relatively better-performing (but not as good as they think they are) suburban school systems; and

(c) NCLB's flaws, real and trumped-up, tend to make everyone forget the longstanding problems that existed in many education systems long before NCLB came along.

In any case, you could read a lot more about NCLB this week -- more and more whole districts (and possibly fewer individual schools) are getting into trouble with NCLB -- but you don’t really have to.

The Best of the Rest (NCLB):
Schools Struggle to Meet Federal Education Mandate NPR
Schools Are Breaking Law on Transfers, Suit Charges New York Times
Colorado's Biggest Districts Flunk Federal Test Rocky Mountain News
School tutoring enrollment way up Chicago Sun-Times
63,000 enlist in tutoring program Chicago Tribune
A failing teacher will fail as tutor, says Education Dept. Chicago Sun-Times
Failing schools may lose tutor OK Chicago Tribune
Thousands of students missing out on free tutoring NEPA News
Pupils miss free tutoring; Parents say they didn't know Pittsburg Post-Gazzette
Time near for city school district plan Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
US officials visit, laud Bush's policies Philadelphia Inquirer
State revises list of failing schools Philadelphia Enquirer
Law hurts better schools Cincinnati Post
OUR FAILING SCHOOLS in the San Francisco Chronicle
Juggling boosts schools' results Wichita Eagle
MEAP Scores Rise But Thousands Left Behind Detroit News
More schools face federal penalties Star-Ledger
CATS scores miss a heck of a lot Lexington Herald-Leader
Fuller's Work Touches Off Controversy Education Week
No Child Left Behind penalizes larger schools El Defensor Chieftain
Vt. Students' Scores Better; Gaps Remain Rutland Herald
Arizona schools show improvement Arizona Republic (Phoenix)
School choice not much of one Nashville City Paper
Hall schools OK tutoring for 119 students Gainesville Times
Ratings upend school transfer eligibilities Lexington Herald-Leader

The Power of One Percent (Urban Districts)

A good friend wrote me about last week’s New Yorker article on Pacific Rim charter school in Boston to say that he thought Kate Boo, the author, was particularly good at putting a human face on complex social issues. And it’s true. But that’s precisely my objection. Other than a scant mention of the backlash against charters that is raging in Massachusetts and elswehere, and an equally cursory reference to No Child Left Behind, there is remarkably little here that could help a reader come to any deeper understanding of the policy issues surrounding charter schools in particular or urban education in general. And that may be all it’s supposed to do.

To be sure, The Factory (New Yorker) puts a human face on the teachers and students at this school, and humanizes what might otherwise be an overwhelmingly complex or depressing situation. And, as Checker Finn puts it in this week’s Gadfly, “What makes this profile especially memorable, though, is the honest portrayal of the students who buy into the school's promise of success, but somehow fall short of their goals.”

Still, as with charter schools themselves, that is not enough for me.

The Best of the Rest:
San Diego Review American Enterprise Institute
More scrutiny and staff boost safety at New York's worst schools New York Times
Charters score below public schools Dallas Morning News
Schools Lay Tender Trap for Truants - Christian Science Monitor
Denver focuses on raising Hispanic achievement Denver Rocky Mountain News
St. Louis opts to buy Open Court reading program St. Louis Post-Dispatch
LAUSD Selects Magnolia Science Academy as Case Study Charter School
Pioneering charter school remains model for success San Jose Mercury News
In state takeover, student scores lag Detroit Free Press
Detroit districts abandon single letter grades on elementary report cards Detroit News
Philadelphia teachers overwhelmingly accept new contract Philadelphia Inquirer
Trial begins in ‘ghost teachers’ case philly.com
Legislators seek ways to cut dropouts Houston Chronicle
Number of Single-Sex Schools Growing Education Week
Edwatch by Julia Steiny: Progress in Oakland Beach Providence Journal
School's Out Too Early for 420 Kids on 2 Charter Campuses LA Times
The Lesson In Those Scores New York Post

Great Links - October 22 Edition

Parents, Grading, Math and Science (New and Notable):
Number of Single-Sex Schools Growing Education Week
Mexico's answer to tight school budgets: teaching by TV Christian Science Monitor
A prize-winning author tackles science Christian Science Monitor
Reading, Writing and Corporate Sponsorships New York Times
What About Parental Involvement in Parenting? Education Week
Not all parents are fools The Gadfly
The Class Multiplies, but the Math Divides New York Times
Virginia finds exit exams have little impact on graduation, dropout rates Washington Post
Noble prizes shine on California schools CNN.com
Tenn. Considers Use of Uniform School Grading

Writing Tests, Obesity, City College (Chicago):
Chicago Group Tackles Childhood Obesity NYT
30 on ACT? Let's see if you can write Chicago Sun-Times
Writing on deadline for college exams 'freaking people out' Chicago Sun-Times
Dads spend a day with the kids -- at school Chicago Sun-Times
Expelled student going back to class Chicago Tribune
Get the Military Out of Our Schools Dissident Voice
Schools widen hiring process Chicago Tribune
Students join profs on picket line Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago City College professors strike Washington Times
Chicago Public Schools: Types and Autonomies BPI (PDF)

Hopscotch, Low-Rise Jeans, and College Rankings (School Life):
Teachers relearning how to play hopscotch National Post
Summary: Flu Schools Tips Seattle Post Intelligencer
France expels more students over hijab Al-Jazeera
Italian school asks students to ditch the low-rise jeans Chicago Sun-Times
It's College Application Season CaliforniaAuthors.com
Just What Colleges Want: Rapier-Sharp Wits NYT
Amid Policy Confusion, Senior Is Allowed to Apply to Harvard NYT
Economists develop new way to rank colleges CNN.com
City Students Found Less Likely to Indulge in Risky Behaviors


The New Yorker's Take on Charter Schooling (Urban Schools)

One quick Monday morning note to recommend last week's New Yorker article about Pacific Rim charter school in Boston, which someone kindly scanned and Jimmy Kilpatrick helpfully found.

The piece is not just the typical human interest-oriented school profile of an apparently successful and innovative charter school, though it's interesting to hear about a school inspired by a Chinese-American dentist that requires mandatory Tai Chi and Mandarin Chinese classes and where students -- most of them poor black kids -- clean the lunchroom every day. We've all read this type of story before.

At times, the piece gives a pretty good look at some of the main issues that charter schools and charter schooling have to deal with these days: the intensive, kid-by-kid nature of the enterprise, the fragile nature of charter schools both at their start and even as they grow, the fact that many charter schools don't end up serving the kids they thought they were going to get, and the political pressures created by the charter schools backlash in MA and elsewhere.

To be sure, most of the writer's skill goes towards describing the school and its characters, rather than the tough policy issues facing charter schools right now (how to maintain quality while they grow, and how to have a stronger impact on the rest of public education). Still, it's not that often that a magazine like the New Yorker focuses on education. Take a look. The Factory, by Kate Boo.


Dirty Tricks Made Easier By Lax Journalists (Campaign 2004):

It turns out that the USDE produced and distributed rose-colored news segments about NCLB and the federal student loan program that were aired in more than 20 cities as real news, in apparent violation of the law as well as laws of good taste. See: Bush education ads eyed (Associated Press), US agency confirms it produced 'news' report (Atlanta Journal Constitution). The Department also rated news coverage of NCLB and individual reporters, but alas only real ones with journalism degrees and staff jobs: Coverage of No Child Left Behind mostly neutral, study finds (Fort Worth Star Telegram). See below for more Campaign 2004.

NCLB Now a "Jobs" Program (NCLB News):

Who knew? The No Child Left Behind Act has been called many things over the past three years, but not until Wednesday night had anyone but President Bush thought to say that it was “really a jobs act when you think about it.” (Debate.org). A jobs program for psychometricians and progressive complaints, maybe. But it was Kerry who got the facts wrong on Pell grants and after-school funding, says Factcheck.org (New And Recycled Distortions At Final Presidential Debate). Meanwhile, the study that reportedly justified the President's never-implemented after-school cuts (to pay for the $89 billion in tax breaks for the rich instead?) has a follow-up that also calls after school programs to question. Study Rekindles Debate on Value of After-School Programs (Education Week). See below for more NCLB News.

This American School Goes Bad (School Life):

There's nothing more exasperating and humbling than the fact that Ira Glass (of NPR’s “This American Life”) was once an education reporter and occasionally returns to his old beat. Tonight's show has Glass profiling a Chicago teacher whose school (Washington Irving Elementary) has gone from good to bad over the past decade since Glass first reported on the school. Two Steps Back (This American Life). See below for more School Life.

Good Scores, Bad Scores (New and Notable):

Dueling reports came out this week, one from Bruce Fuller claiming that there had been little progress in American schools over the past few years: Are test scores really rising? (in Education Week). The other from the Education Trust pointing to important progress: Study lauds math, reading scores (Sacramento Bee), Study Finds Progress in Reading, Math, but Results Fall Short of Standards (Seattle Times), Schools won't meet goals set for 2014, group reports (Contra Costa Times). Perhaps recalling a week’s worth of bad news over the summer surrounding the AFT-provided analysis of charter school performance, the USDE wasted no time in overreacting. And in The Gadfly (Silly season in academe), Checker Finn recalls the hullaballoo surrounding the 2000 RAND study supposedly undercutting the Texas ‘miracle,’ points out that it didn't take the Kerry campaign long to use the Fuller study against the President in the debate, and then spins an election-season conspiracy theory involving the press, foundations, and academics. Too bad he doesn't take a moment to mention the Ed Trust report showing positive trends, which got much more press, or another moment to berate the USDE for its fake news reports. Meanwhile: Study of College Readiness Finds No Progress in Decade (New York Times). See below for more New and Notable.

Small Schools Go Big (Urban Schools):

By all accounts, starting even one good small school is ridiculously hard work, even with Gates money behind you. Making it successful and long-lived requires a miracle of good planning and better luck. So this can't be good, everyone jumping on the small schools bandwagon: L.A. to Break All Secondary Schools Into Smaller Units (Education Week), Can small schools make a big difference? (CNN.com), Small is beautiful (New York Times/Associated Press), Seeking Big Results in Smaller Schools (Ledger), Small high schools en vogue (Washington Times). See below for more Urban Schools.

Insurgents Fend off Navy at Senn High School (Chicago Illinois)

At a raucous school meeting last week, a vocal group of parents and teachers and students at Senn High School apparently staved off an attemp by the Board to add a new 500-student Navy JROTC program to the school -- for now.

It's happened before, and it'll happen again. What's most interesting is that it was the usually unseen David Pickens, Deputy CEO to Arne Duncan, rather than usual frontman Greg Richmond, who was sent out from Clark Street to do the talking for the Board. Do they horsengoggle each time to see who is going, or is Richmond's star already fading?

Also worth noting is that no one at CPS brainquarters appreciated the obvious and growing wartime politics of proposing a new Navy program while kids are dying in Iraq. (The Reader highlights the fact that initially CPS was thinking of putting the new Navy program at Arai -- where Pickens was once an AP -- but was scared off by 46th ward Alderman Helen Shiller, who apparently didn't want "a military school" in her ward.) Even the often-prescient Teach and Learn deemed the proposed Navy invasion "winnable" for CPS. Maybe six months ago it was.

Last but not least, while the Reader's Ben Jarovsky calls the Board's effort to push the Navy program into Senn "one of the goofiest top-down decisions to come out of the central office in years," I'm guessing that the folks who faced down the Mid-South plan (at least temporarily) or who have been protesting Renaissance 2010 would say different. Indeed, the Board seems increasingly chock full of goofy top-down decisions these days, and seems in some danger of losing its formerly deft touch at just the wrong moment.

Military academy opposed at Senn (Chicago Tribune), Protesters fear military invasion (CBS2), Get the military out of our schools (Socialist Worker), School for Sale (Chicago Reader), not available online, Chicago high school students boot the navy out (Infoshop.org).

Links to the Week's Best

Campaign 2004:
Bush and Kerry Both Wrong on Education eTakingHead
Presidential candidates support high standards, accountability in schools Education Week
No candidate left behind USA Today
Study of Bush and Civil Rights Draws Fire NYT
Kerry backs tougher laws on education San Francisco Chronicle
An education agenda for the next President School Administrator

NCLB News:
How to Rescue Education Reform New York Times
An answer to standardized tests USA Today
States' Roles Prove Tough on Big Scale Education Week
Excellence in Failure or Education for All? AlterNet
'No Child Left Behind' law's substantial problems Portland Press Herald
Every child left behind? INTHEFRAY Magazine
The Limits of Money American Enterprise Institute
Preliminary No Child Left Behind results trip up some state ...Louisville Courier Journal
Double Dose of Bad News for Schools in California SF Chronicle
1,200 Schools in State Could Face Federal Penalties LA Times
Thousands of California schools could face federal sanctions San Jose Mercury News
Fewer City Students Seek Transfers to Better Schools NYT
City Nixes Transfers for Kids Stuck in Failing Schools New York Post
Transfer trouble: 31,053 eligible but few can go Louisville Courier Journal
9 students swap schools under NCLB Pioneer Press Online
Bush school choice policy shelved in Marlin Waco Tribune-Herald
Supe says NCLB dooms schools NapaNet Daily News

Urban Schools:
Minnesota seeks to further empower principals Minnesota Public Radio
State board lifts limit on charter schools Baltimore Sun
Charters to get millions back Los Angeles Daily News
San Francisco supe's future linked to upcoming board elections San Francisco Chronicle
Seattle Superintendent Gets Three-year Extension Seattle Times
New Orleans Schools Chief Will Fire Janitorial Firm The Times-Picayune
'Bad Fit' Cause for Exit of DeKalb Cty Supt Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Chicago Illinois:
Military academy opposed at Senn Chicago Tribune
Get the military out of our schools Socialist Worker
Record number of teachers apply for public school jobs

New and Notable:
The new education philanthropy (The Gadfly)
Re-tooling K-12 giving (Philanthropy)
Public Schools Get Savvy about Fundraising St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Minnesota Governor Unveils School Improvement Plan Minneapolis Star Tribune
Rural Schools Turn to E-learning US News & World Report
Charter-school contributions climb
What about schools? Cleveland Plain Dealer
Team Teaching in Education Week
Meeting the Highly Qualified Teacher Challenge
Too Many Cooks Running Our Schools Educationnews.org
Panel Supports Easing Washington State's Assessment Test Seattle Times
New Hampshire to use tougher exam Boston Globe

School Life:
Blueberry burgers? USDA looks for lighter lunches Chicago Sun Times
'Hamlet' too hard? Try a comic book Christian Science Monitor
When you find your child with the wrong teacher San Jose Mercury News
Defibrillators placed in all Coffee schools Tullahoma.net
Now, for tonight's assignment. . . . The Atlantic
Honors Colleges Raise Concerns Over Priorities of Public Education CNN.com
LA's famed Ambassador Hotel will be reconstructed into schools USA Today
Assurances aside, some feel a draft Christian Science Monitor


October 8 2004 Edition

"Misled" on NCLB, Dismal VP Debate, and Jittery Funders (Picks of the Week):

Dismal VP Debate (Debate.org): Let's hope (despite all realistic expectation) that Bush and Kerry do a little better tonight talking about education than Cheney and Edwards did earlier this week. In the VP debate, Cheney predictably called Kerry/Edwards out for their flip-flop on NCLB and highlighted recent progress reducing the achievement gap, but then made the ridiculous claim that NCLB had "helped" 33 million schoolchildren. Edwards irresponsibly claimed that NCLB was the reason for teacher layoffs in Cleveland, talked about unfunded mandates and high dropout rates, and then resorted to bringing up Cheney's opposition to the US Department of Education. It wasn't exactly the most insightful or compelling moment. Check out the transcript here, or take a look at the recent Education Trust report on achievement gap trends: Recent Progress in Public Education.

Misled on NCLB (Rep. George Miller): It's not exactly a "Mission Accomplished" carrier deck flight suit moment, but, according to a press release this week from ranking education committee member Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the new GAO report on state implementation of NCLB suggests that the White House misled the public when President Bush declared in the summer of 2003 that every state had complied with NCLB. In fact, according to Miler, only 11 state plans were approved at that point, and the USDE has still not approved 24 plans as of this year. "It appears from this report that the President has misled the public about the progress of education reform and that his Administration has dragged its feet to get this important job done." Read the GAO report summary here or read more about it here: ''No Child' Act is a numbers game for states, school districts (GovExec.com).

Don't Leave School Law Behind (Chronicle of Philanthropy via the Pen Newsblast): In this provocative article, Linda Singer points out that many foundations have -- understandably, unfortunately, and perhaps predictably -- shied away from funding initiatives related to NCLB even though there are many areas of the law including parent engagement and school improvement that could be funded without controversy. There are of course a number of brave funder exceptions, but Singer's observations are a timely reminder of the need for even those opposed to or uncertain about NCLB to stay in the game. Thanks to Howie for scanning and posting this.

NCLB Coverage Ad Nauseam (Campaign 2004):
Maybe there's some fascinating new insight in here somewhere, but in general it seems like there's not much more to say. Educators and progressives generally seem to dislike NCLB, though I always wonder about which educators get interviewed: When chief of NEA says no child left behind -- he means it (Chicago Daily Southtown), Burt Cohen: America should leave No Child Left Behind behind (The Union Leader), School Officials, In Survey, Fault Education Law (Hartford Courant), Teachers say No Child Left Behind should study bigger picture (Providence Journal), Flunking Out (Commonwealth Magazine). Democrats want more federal money for education and Republicans point out that there's been a big increase: The Limits of Money (National Review Online), Opinion: Tough Talk, But Put the Money Where Your Mouth Is (Washington Post). Bush can't brag about NCLB because everyone seems to hate it so much (and because, thanks to Fahrenheit 911, he forever associates reading to little children with terrorism and his own panic), and Kerry can't say that much about NCLB has to worry about that flip-flop thing or looking like he's pandering to the teachers unions. Education Reforms Test the Candidates (Chicago Tribune), Kerry battles Bush on education reform (Detroit News), Education's role in the presidential campaign (Minnesota Public Radio News), and Mixed impact of Bush school plan (BBC News).

Testing, Teachers, Transfers, and Tutoring (NCLB Implementation):
The newest NCLB bogeyman is the annual testing requirement that's coming down the pike: Problems Seen for Expansion of Testing (New York Times). Meanwhile, tutoring continues to be a popular, though somewhat problematic, feature of the law: "North Carolina schools feel impact of tutoring requirement" (News & Observer), "Number of students seeking free tutoring soars in Colorado" (Denver Rocky Mountain News), and Religious Groups in Florida Balk at No-Child Tutoring (Palm Beach Post). School choice? Not so much. No Way Out: The Illusion of School Choice (Reason Foundation). NCLB school ratings results continue to shock and amaze: "Schools shaken by new Texas ratings" (Dallas Morning News), Ratings change at Houston schools (Houston Chronicle), and My School Didn't Make AYP -- So What Does That Mean? (Center on Education Policy). And then there are the giant holes in the "highly qualified teacher" requirement: Nearly All Of City School Staff Now Meet Federal Requirements (Greeneville Sun) , The qualified teacher charade (San Jose Mercury News)

Funding Gaps, Long Days, Small Schools, Appointed Boards, and Church Partnerships (Urban Education):
Wider Gap Found Between Wealthy and Poor Schools New York Times
Long days at Dream Schools SF Gate
11 charter schools proposed in Philadelphia Philadelphia Inquirer
L.A. District Approves Five-Year Plan for Smaller Schools Los Angeles Times
Philadelphia's Schools Chief Seeks School-church Partnerships Philadelphia Inquirer
Philly Schools Criticized For Religious Ties
New York students post math gains New York Times
Poorer Students Gaining On Tests Rocky Mountain News
Detroit voters face critical choice about district leadership Detroit News
PROPOSAL E Control at stake Detroit Free Press

Homegrown Teachers, Focus on Science, and Translation (New and Notable):
Broward Battles Teacher Loss By Recruiting Local High School Students Chicago Tribune
The Lessons Go Beyond Learning Spanish From Christian Science Monitor
Class and The Classroom American School Board Journal
The Echo Boomers CBS News
States Claim Federal Funds for Education - Seattle Post Intelligencer
Senators Take Issue with Delayed Internet Aid CNN.com
Maryland Schools Refocus on Science - The Baltimore Sun
District schools chief predicts long road to recovery Washington Post
Translation Efforts a Growing Effort Education Week
New York City Councilwoman critiques school report card system New York Times
New York City neglecting English learners, critics say NewYork Times

Chicago Illinois:
Education jobs go to loyalists, insiders Chicago Tribune
1st-Year Teachers Are Left Adrift In Chicago Schools Chicago Tribune
Renaissance 2010 TAC Tours LQE
Ren10 RFP Workshops CPS
Save Senn via Teach and Learn
Technology Ahead of the Curve Chicago Tribune
Cornell Notes are the new Word Wall Teach and Learn

Stun Guns, Hired Advocates, and Purple Pens (School Life):
Birmingham's City Police May Wield Stun Guns in Schools Birmingham News
For-Hire Advocates Help Parents Traverse the System Washington Post
Teachers starting to shun red pens San Diego Union-Tribune
New Generation Takes Up Art of Cursive Writing National Public Radio
Booklet That Upset Mrs. Cheney Is History LA Times
Online computer grading service offers relief to Kentucky teachers Cincinnati Enquirer
The Ten Toughest Schools to Get Into MSNBC
The Multiple Choices of Prepping for the SAT New York Times
Big Program on Campus BusinessWeek
Many schools find class rankings problematic Richmond Times-Dispatch (Va.)
Tackling childhood obesity in the schools US News and World Report
French schools' new bete noire: vending machines Christian Science Monitor
Political T-shirts Pit Teenagers Against School Administrators Newsweek/MSNBC.com


October 1 2004 Edition

Iraq= NCLB (Campaign 2004): Last night's debate was a vivid reminder that Senator Kerry's current quandary on foreign policy is not all different from his predicament on education. Think about it: Kerry voted for going to war with Iraq, and for authorizing NCLB. Since then, he's criticized the implementation of both but fully renounced neither. His own alternative ideas are moderately interesting but none of them wildly compelling or strikingly distinct. If, in some other imaginary world, the Presidential election turned on education issues alone, would John Kerry's political situation be much different than it is now?

No Child' Law Remains at Top Of Bush Record (Education Week), Kerry on education: teeth and funding (Seattle Times), Soundbites vs. sound answers (USA Today), Both presidential candidates fall short on accountability (Washington Post), Bush's No Child Left Behind Education Plan Gets Failing Grades (Bloomberg), Bush Touts Spending He Never Proposed (Education Week), No Child Left Behind may be 'battlefield' topic (Chicago Daily Herald), Bush & Kerry: A Big Divide (The New York Review of Books).

Suspicious School Ratings (NCLB): Meanwhile, problematically late and suspiciously low(er) results from last spring's testing continue to come in, thanks at least in part to increased cell sizes and other forms of creative calculation:
Sanctioned Schools List Improves (Newark Star-Ledger), 199 Texas schools fail to perform (Dallas Morning News), More SC schools hit federal targets, meet No Child ... (Orangeburg Times Democrat), Rule changes boost results, spark debate (Charleston Post Courier), 74 percent of NJ schools pass No Child Left Behind test (Asbury Park Press), Fed goals met by 73% of Maine schools (Bangor Daily News), Schools failing federal standards 27% not making adequate progress (Portland Maine Press Herald). My those folks learn fast -- the bureaucrats, I mean.

Transfers in a Teapot/ Tutoring Tizzy (NCLB): Two years ago, nearly everyone was all worked up about the school choice option in NCLB, but it's the tutoring provision that's turning out to be the big shot in the end -- sort of like on the WB's "Jack and Bobby." One set of issues surrounds whether the kids are getting the tutoring their supposed to:
Students missing out on subsidized tutoring (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). Another more recent set of issues surround the issue of whether the tutoring is any good: Report: Impact of tutors isn't tracked (Philadelphia Inquirer). The entire report can be found here: Accountability Left Behind PDF (ACORN).

Somewhere in between the two is the practical and financially important question of whether the same schools and teachers who have been teaching students during the regular school day should also be providing the tutoring, as they are in some places*:
Schools Expect Law to Require Private Tutors at City Sites (New York Times), City Teachers May Lose Tutor Roles (Hartford Courant).

Meanwhile, the choice provision, which was always notoriously weak, continues to fizzle and frustrate: Few Parents Use 'No Child' Law's Clout (Seattle Times), Providence parents call school choice a 'sham' (Providence Journal), Suburban Students Choose To Stay Put (Chicago Tribune).

More NCLB Pro and Con:
Paige: 'No Child Left Behind' Debate Over CNN.com
New Organization Formed to Defend NCLB (Achievement Alliance)
Schools are awash in federal money Cincinnati Enquirer
District wants inequities in NCLB law changed Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Schools chief sees trouble in federal law Chicago Sun Times
Rating Schools on More Than Scores Washington Post
Educational Accountability in Minnesota: No Child Left Behind and Beyond (PDF)
Summary of Hess/Finn in Public Interest
Getting to Average New York Times

Charters, Outside Management, Privatization -- Everybody's Doing It:
Novel Fix in Works for Ailing Schools San Diego Union Tribune
Board to seek bids to reform schools San Diego Union Tribune
In Maryland, a "go slow" approach to charters
The Baltimore Sun
30 NYC. Schools Gain Autonomy From Rules by Promising Results Education Week
Bid for charter school moratorium dropped Buffalo News
High Test Scores Validate Charter Schools The Oregonian
New Charter School Plan Assailed As Underfunded Chicago Tribune
New charter school plan assailed Chicago Tribune
Schools Explore New Funding For Charters Chicago Sun Times
We won't say we told you so, but. . The Gadfly
Rocky Start for Renaissance Catalyst Chicago

Big City News:
Software Companies Claim Educational Gains NPR
Vallas Brings Sense of Hope to Beleaguered City Schools Philadelphia Inquirer
Minnesota's achievement gap stymies schools
Minnesota Public Radio
Mayor's Promotion Standards are Approved for Fifth Grade New York Times
Schools should allow flexible pacing through the curriculum
New York Times
A third way on social promotion Gadfly
National studies rate initiatives, atmosphere under superintendent SD Union-Tribune
Jewish leaders want apology for trustee's Nazi analogy
Success, Strife At S.D. Schools San Diego Union-Tribune
Overcrowding is said to be worse at large public high schools in the city NYT
Cleveland schools administrators get the bad news in the mail now Clev. Plain Dealer
Philadelphia's church-school experiment CSM

New and Notable:
A reporter looks back at 33 years on the education beat
The Baltimore Sun
Politics aside, a school's real success NYT Where everyone can overachieve Forbes Magazine
The mad, mad world of textbook adoption Gadfly
Virginia considers lowering Praxis I cut score
Richmond Times-Dispatch
State to 'coach' lagging schools Bangor Daily News

Chicago Illinois:
Three schools to open at DuSable next year
Study: Small school pioneers plagued with problems
Chicago Tribune
News mall schools rated safer, more cooperative Chicago Sun Times
New small schools feel pains of change Chicago Tribune
Chicago approves school reform policy CNN.com
Record number of city schools on probation Sun Times
130 more schools put on probation Tribune
Half of public schools have errors in test data Chicago Sun Times
State Report Cards Full Of Errors For 3rd Year Tribune

School Life:
Students Grade Teachers Online, And Some Are Riled USA Today
Naptime is Over in Kindergarten The Baltimore Sun
Study: Overweight Students Sapping School Finances CNN.com
Schools Relax Cellphone Bans, Nodding to Trend- The New York Times
Some students slow to bite on schools' healthier menus
Student Athletes Adrift Christian Science Monitor
Japanese schools test use of RFID tags to track students
The Discipline of Wonder Education Week
Resignations rock education council Washington Times
Online learning: A smart way to nurture gifted kids USA Today

*Education Week's story this week on districts providing NCLB tutoring is here:
District-Run Tutoring Classes In Jeopardy. My story in last month's Catalyst is here: CPS corners tutoring market but runs risk of losing it all. As it should be, the EW story is better written and less Chicago-centric than mine -- it's also written almost a month later. Now I never went to J-school, so what do I know? Maybe this happens all the time, or I'm supposed to take it as a compliment. And, after all, I've made enormous and sometimes underacknowledged use of information from Education Week stories over the years, usually as background reading. I resolve to do much better on this count. But it's still irksome and not quite the same thing that they couldn't bring themselves to credit me (or the good folks at Catalyst who ran the story) for the forethought and hard work that went into reporting and writing it.