Tsunamis, Snowstorms, and Year-End Roundups

Year-end roundups are, like tsunamis and snowstorms, forces of nature that cannot be stopped. Fortunately, they're harmless.

For starters, there's Greg Toppo's brief but very good piece in USA Today -- Plenty to debate and litigate (USA Today) -- which among other things happens to include a somewhat mixed-metaphor observation of mine about why so few schools pulled out of NCLB:

"After much saber-rattling, very few districts and absolutely no states ended up seceding [from NCLB]," says Alexander Russo, who runs the Web log thisweekineducation.com. "There's too much money involved, too many questions that would flow to states that pulled out and, in the end, too many easier ways to dilute or bypass many of the law's requirements."

Equally as good is the list of top education stories of 2004 from the ASCD SmartBrief:

"Multiple intelligences" theory comes under fire (9/7)
Researchers find direct reading program less effective (1/28)
Study: Intensive reading programs can trigger brain changes (4/27)
Paige to announce NCLB changes (3/29)
NYC to eliminate most middle schools beginning this fall (3/3)
Kindergarten a more serious, less playful time (8/24)
Researcher: Children who memorize times tables multiply faster and more accurately (9/8)
Educators split over how best to teach reading (2/25)
Study: Exercise program yields dramatic improvement for dyslexics (5/21)
America's Choice a top choice in comprehensive school reform (4/21)

Note: old links may or may not still work or be available for free.

The folks at the Progressive Policy Institute also put together an amusing and insightful best and worst:

Most Amusing Spin of 2004: AFT release on charter schools and NAEP
Least Amusing Spin of 2004: Responses to the NAEP data
Quote of the Year: George Miller (D-CA) on NCLB
Must Read Article of the Year: Politics Aside, a School's Real Success NYT
Must Read Book of the Year: The Picky Parent Guide
Innovator of the Year: Brad Jupp Denver Public Schools

Last but not least, there's Gerry Bracey's "rotten apples" round-up on EducationNews.org.
It gets strident after a while, and is not even trying to be fair and balanced, but there's some good stuff in there and it's always useful to know how people think: THE ROTTEN APPLES IN EDUCATION AWARDS OF 2004 (EducationNews.org).


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