4/29/2005

The Best Education Blogs (Media Coverage)

Here are my highly biased reviews of a few of what I consider to be the best education blogs out there, in no particular order or system. (To see the criteria I used, sort of, check last week’s postings). More will come, and I'm hoping others will post their own critiques of what I say here or about other sites.

For whatever it's worth, these are some of my favorites -- the ones I get the most/most interesting links from, the ones that seem the most knowledgeable, the ones who say or suggest something I haven't heard of or thought about before.

As many will note, from this first groups there are not most of them that are actually, technically, blogs, in that some don't provide commentary and others represent institutions not individuals. Hmm. Maybe that says something about the state of education blogging, or at least about what I think of it. A good blog can help enormously just by filtering and finding information. Two cents is not always required, or desired. I much prefer blogging that focuses on a single issue or aspect and digs deep. My usual thought is that if you don't have something REALLY NEW to say about it, just give us the link and let us read.

And, having run out of useful things to say, here they are:

Education News: Every morning well before the Texas dawn, Jimmy Kilpatrick gets up and scours the papers for education stories so we don’t have to. Working out of the back of his antique shop, and with only occasional asides getting in the way, Jimmy gives us an amazing set of links to work off of each day. The essays and commentary at the end are sometimes too wild for me to slog through, there’s no XML that I can find to make for easy reading, and who knows what the DeToqueville Institute is really up to – world domination, I’m sure. I wish Jimmy linked to my commentaries once in a while. I wish Jimmy organized his links by topic rather than by publication, but then what would I have left to do each Friday morning?

Eduwonk: By far the fanciest quasi-blog out there, Andrew Rotherham’s prolific and savvy alter ego Eduwonk (easily confused with the real person) has high-end blurbs from columnists and DC insider publications in the margins. But that’s not all. The site also features some of the best political commentary in the edusphere, a fair number of finds that no one else has, and – this is key – a wicked sometimes even shocking sense of humor. There are some flaws, of course. The linking style is annoying to read because it makes you click the link or at least hover over it before you know where you’re going. Sometimes Eduwonk tries to be everywhere and always on. Like most blogs, it's predictable on some issues (charters, NCLB). And the overlap with the Bulletin is getting annoying (time to dump the Bulletin). Don't hate Eduwonk cuz it's so good.

Education Intelligence Agency: Mike Antonucci’s stuff offers some of the best – only? – consistent reporting on teachers unions that’s out there, with insightful if not necessarily sympathetic analysis and a good dose of humor. How he gets his stuff, I have no idea. He must be on every union president’s “do not let this man enter” list in the country. Great stuff, about an important and under-covered part of the education system. He knows what he's talking about, he doesn't try and cover everything that's going on in education. We learn from the depth of his work, but it's not inaccessible stuff. What an education blog should be.

PEN NewsBlast: Well before blogs were all the rage, PEN communications guru Howie Schaffer built this newsletter/website into one of the most widely-distributed things out there. Sometimes the story recaps are too vanilla (and too long for my ADD tastes), and, given its home at the Public Education Network, the NewsBlast isn’t going to include much that doesn’t promote public education. But there are usually some thoughtful entries each week. I am a big admirer and frequent thief of the Blast.

This Week In Education: Parasitic, predictable, self-promoting, and utterly humorless, TWIE is nonetheless an easy-to-read, well-organized, and at times even insightful blog, with special sections on Chicago public schools and regular criticism about coverage of education by the MSM and the edusphere. Original reporting? Not so much. Original ideas? Here and there. The week’s best links and commentary? Almost always.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogs are supposed to be all about the commentary, and not so much about the links. That's the point. I can get newslinks anywhere. Ditto for policy talk. Where are the teacher-written blogs, and the ones written by women and parents? You can't really call these the best education blogs at all.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Chris C. said...

Yes, Alex has a particular view of what blogs should be and I imagine most people who come across this list won't agree with it.
Honestly, if we just want links to education news stories, most people go to educationews.org or stateline's rss feed. However, those are not really blogs - they are information aggregators.

I could be wrong, but I think more people would agree that the real value in education-blogging is the representation from the many types of people who care about schooling: teachers, administrators, media people, policy makers, researchers, and parents.

Blogs allow all these different voices to be heard without discrimination.
What can we learn from each other?

10:34 AM  
Blogger Jenny D. said...

Chris, I agree. But look at Alex's title of the post, and note the words "Media Coverage."

I'm hoping he put out another list of bloggers whose perspective is influenced by their positions inside the educational world.

I'm surprised that Joanne Jacobs isn't on this list.
www.joannejacobs.com

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the 'original' blogs actually WERE annotated lists of links shared among early internet users. So, it seems to me that the list here actually goes back to the origins of blogs!

I appreciate getting the list, although I think I'd classify PEN's Newsblast as an e-newsletter.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Chris C. said...

The second anonymous commenter is right about the origins of blogs - early blogs were frequently updated annotated links. However, some of the sites listed above don't really annotate most of their links - that's why i refer to them as information aggregators.

Jenny, perhaps I should have paid more attention to the title, but I got distracted by the fact that the actual listing doesn't focus on 'media coverage' that much.
For example, 'Education Intelligence Agency' is a good resource but doesn't really focus on 'media coverage' in education any more than most blogs do. And if the criteria is that loose, why isn't Joanne's included? Or yours? Or anything by, say, a teacher?

The list appears arbitrary in many ways. For example, last week he said 'bad' blogs "don’t offer RSS syndication," yet most of the sites in this list don't rovide rss feeds.

Alex is certainly entitled to his opinion and is doing a great service by sharing these links with others. However, I don't think the list is particularly well thought-out. Just my opinion.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

I like Alexander's list. It is just too short. But I'm sure with input from all of us, it will get longer.
Suzanne

6:13 PM  
Anonymous John Norton said...

When it comes to teacher voices, our blog at the Teacher Leaders Network offers a variety of points of view from our members, who are accomplished teachers from around the U.S.

http://tln.typepad.com/tln_voices/

8:59 AM  

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