Great Schools Getting Greater? (Urban Education)

The Council of Great City Schools report came out this week, saying -- as it almost always does -- that urban school systems are doing pretty well, all things considering:

Students' Math , Reading Gains Hailed in Report Phila Inquirer
Beating the Odds CGCS

Charters Everywhere:

Charters don’t outscore other schools Phila Inquirer
Assessing the KIPP Schools -- a New Perspective Washington Post
Charter Schools Alter Map of Public Education in Dayton NYT
The Real Reason for Ohio's Charter School Cap EIA
Charter schools face new criticism Los Angeles Daily News
'Alternative' Label Popular with Charters" Dallas Morning News
Del. Charter Schools Get Solid Report Card EW

Dropouts, Everywhere:

Schools' Dropout Remedy: Get Small LAT
'Dropouts' come back in LAUSD Los Angeles Daily News
Scandal Surrounds Houston's Dropout Rate (part 2) NPR

Best of the Rest:

Detroit schools CEO says he will step down Detroit Free Press
Bullying among sixth graders a daily occurrence Medical News
Fewer kids find smoking appealing, survey says Seattle Times
Incredible journey La Vida Robot (Wired) via JJ
Unions' Own Survey Shows Professionals Don't Want Them EIA
John Fullinwider: The School Uniform Myth Dallas MN
Transferred county students get school system Business Gazette
Grades may go at school Flint Journal

Starlet Science, Teacher Beliefs (Teaching and Leading)

Can't get your kids to pay attention to all that boring biology stuff? Give starlet Cameron Diaz a chance: Eco-Lessons Taught in Surfer-Girl Patois (NYT). Education Week charts increased interest in science caused more by NCLB than MTV: As Test Date Looms, Educators Renewing Emphasis on Science.

What Teachers Believe Makes a Difference

Teachers' attitudes and beliefs about poor minority children are a key part of whether those children are going to succeed in school:

Drew vs. Damarcus Joanne Jacobs
The Effect of Teacher Pedagogical Beliefs on Math Instruction ASCD
Black parents tackle a gap Boston Globe
Positive Culture in Urban Schools Educational Leadership

Some of the tough questions being asked in these articles and elsewhere include: do teachers really believe that ALL poor minority children can succeed, or just a few? (Do their parents?) Do you think it can happen today, now -- or, a la Richard Rothstein, will it take more money, better teachers, and all the rest?

Best of the Rest

States Scrutinize Teacher Working Conditions EW
Evergreen Freedom Foundation
NBCT's And Equity EWonk
Credit Where It’s Due EW
Court rules district wrong to offer certain teachers bonuses
Kansas City Star via EIA
Teacher Panel Says No to Pact Los Angeles Times
Valued-Added Assessment of Teacher Quality
Educators Consumers Clearinghouse

J-Schools Like Ed Schools? (Media Coverage)

Columbia Journalism School Discovers Reporters Should Know What They're Writing About EIA

“Journalism education suffers from the same mindset as teacher education -- that somehow it's enough to be able to deliver your message effectively, without any corresponding requirement to know what you're talking about."

Journalists, Do Your Homework Teach and Learn

I wouldn't want to be that reporter if her editor sees what Mike Lach has to say.

Over in the blogosphere, The Education Wonks have put together yet another issue of the Education Carnival, featuring some of the week's most interesting postings from around the education blogs.

The Carnival of Education Week Eight The Education Wonks.

Text Messaging in the Big Apple (New York City)

Gambling for School Funds (Chicago IL)

Gov: Increase slot machines to pay for schools Chicago Sun-Times
Teachers, labor groups line up behind school funding effort Sun Times
Principals struggle to find $10 mil. in cuts Sun Times
Budget Crisis T&L
Aldermen protest hold on cash for school construction Chicago Sun-Times
School building put on hold Chicago Tribune
Schools push for tax hike Chicago Daily Southtown

School News

Uplift WBEZ audio
Premier city school has it all, except many students Tribune

Best of the Rest

Obama's 1st bill: raising Pell Grants Sun TImes
A teacher's ZIP code doesn't matter Tribune
14 Chicagoans among winners of Achievement scholarships Sun Times
Knowing all your students Tribune
Sex offenders in school Tribune
Teacher charged with soliciting girl Tribune
FCC botched Internet in schools Chicago Tribune
Digital divide Tribune

Textbook Resurgence (Business of Education)

Let Them Wear Sunscreen (School Life)


Budget Blues, Ed Schools Respond (National News)

A hinky start for education funding in the Congressional budget process:

Ed. Funding Boost Defeated in Senate EW
Senate Budget Shows Signs of G.O.P. Strain With Bush NYT
Schools brace for possible federal cuts Seattle Post-Intelligencer

More on the Levine report:

Re-Educating The Educators Hartford Courant via EIA
The Politics of Principal Preparation Reform AEI
Ed School Bottom Dwellers NCTQ
For the AACTE response, go to www.aacte.org

Best of the Rest:

Census: Nation's schools amass more debt AP
Schools Neglecting Computers Washington Post - 14 hours ago
Report: Public schools not using technology Baltimore Biz Journal
Do your children speak English? Town Hall
What would Jesus teach? New Yorker via PEN
Oversight of Local Head Start Programs Flawed, GAO Says
Faculty Panel at Cal Faults Way to Pick Merit Scholars NYT
D.C. Special-Ed Official's Trying Tenure Washington Post

Softer Spellings, Minnesota Misgivings, and Different Takes on Year 3 (NCLB News)

At the USDE, things seem to be softening -- and the WTimes over-simplifies by giving the Governator sole credit for the change:

Spellings Hints at More Flexibility on NCLB EW
ED Expected to Raise Alternate Assessment Cap to 3 Percent
Arnold wields clout on education rules Washington Times

Spellings hasn't gone entirely soft, however, as shown in this piece where she takes on Connecticut's assertions that testing costs too much and that things were better before NCLB:

Testing Serves Students The Hartford Courant (Spellings op-ed)

On Capitol Hill, one of the law's Democratic sponsors reiterates his support for NCLB compared to weak state standards here: Big George Speaks (Eduwonk). At the same time, Nebraska Cong. Lee Terry (R-NE) introduces what the NEA calls "the first Republican-initiated bill to amend the No Child Left Behind Act." (H.R. 1177)

Meanwhile, there are lots of different views on this week's CEP report:

Report Says Law Provokes Schools to Help Needy Students WaPo
States Worry About Meeting Requirements of Education Law NYT
Progress report on NCLB shows hits, misses EW
Gains being seen in schools; white-minority gap narrows SDUT
No Child Left Behind review offers positive signs, warning signs MST
Link to Report

Out in the states, Minneapolis joins the list of states considering pulling out of NCLB, and Utah ponders its options, while Florida moves foward with its standards-lowering effort:

Bill could pull state out of 'No Child' law Minneapolis Star Tribune
Florida Eyes Change No Child Standards Miami Herald
If talks fail, Utah education reform should ...Salt Lake Tribune
Discussions Continue in Utah NCTQ
Texas defies Feds on special ed testing in NCLB National School Boards Association
No Child Left Behind Act conference slated for early April Tulsa Native American Times
Federal Data Show Gains On Language EW
Subgroup Reporting and School Segregation EW

With such big dollars involved, it's no surprise that tutoring remains a big issue:

States Wrestle With How to Evaluate Tutoring EW
Chicago Officials Gloat over Bad Tutoring NCTQ
Turnout for free tutoring Honolulu Star-Bulletin, HI
Teachers' Union Is Approved for U.S. Tutoring Program
Prince George's Leads State In Transfers Among Schools

Best of the Rest:

Greatness in the classroom USAT
Ed. Trust Defends Stance On Utah’s NCLB Plan EW
Civil Rights Panel Member Resigns, Citing ‘Partisanship’ EW
Sitting on school funds Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
ESEA’s 40th Anniversary Begins to Draw Reflection EW
Scrutiny Increases At Ailing SchoolsWashington Post
Law could drive some out of special education Kansas City Star


Missing Kids, First Things First, Charters Break Through (Urban Education)

Vibrant Cities Find One Thing Missing: Children NYT
Where Do We Go From Here? TX Public Policy Foundation
Charter school review sought Akron Beacon Journal
Nearly half of Blacks, Latinos Drop Out LAT
DARE-ing to go it alone Boston Globe
Schools gear up for tests St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Schools Neglecting Computers Washington Post
Creating themed high schools in Boston Boston Globe
District considers giving charters another try CPD
School innovator attracts attention Philadelphia Inq.
Schools learn to cope with Latino boom Salt Lake Tribune
L.A. considers charging nonprofits SDUT
The Struggle to Flee LAUSD Los Angeles Times
Learning to Stand Out Among the Standouts WaPo
College Bound Blueprint Magazine
'Kids get lost in the train wreck' Providence Journal
Toward a Unified Theory of Black America New York Times
Vallas: Focus on middle grades Philadelphia Inquirer
Schools under assault from parents Philadelphia Inquirer
Blair's academies fare poorly on league tables The Guardian
NY Library offers online access to its imagery holdings
Digital Gallery. The Christian Science Monitor
Maryland districts resist charters The Washington Post
Anne Arundel Reverses Charter School Denial WP
Minneapolis needs to tighten control over schools
Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul)
First Things First focuses on relationships The Philadelphia Inquirer
A New Attack on Standardized Tests Inside Higher Ed
Minnesota charter enrollment sees dramatic increase Hometownsource

Killing Aliens, Too Many Rap Sheets, Angry Principals, Crack Candy (Chicago IL)

Lawmakers illustrate idiocy of Blago bill on video violence:

Does that mean games that merely blast space creatures are OK? asked Rep. Robert Molaro (D-Chicago).

"Killing an alien wouldn't fall under the bill," said Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora), the sponsor.

Would that apply to all aliens or only those who "just look like humans?" Molaro then asked.

"If it's an alien that looks like a human, which is an alien, yes," Chapa LaVia responded.

Later, she refined her interpretation this way: "If it was an alien that pretended to be a human, I guess then it's human. Then it would fall under this bill because it's human against human. ... How would we know he was an alien?"

Bill Banning Sale Of Violent Video Games To Minors Passes In Illinois House

Lots on the dire effects of 911 calls on minority youth:

Dta show wide range of suspension rates Catalyst
Schools faulted for calling cops on students CST

Dave Eggars comes to Chicago with an education idea:

826 Chicago via GapersBlock (also in Time Out Chicago)

Principals, teachers, and the people that represent them:

School chiefs see 2% raise as insult Trib
Principal drawn by a calling ST
Race and class in CPS Teach and Learn
Unions in Springfield Teach and Learn
Teacher Residency and Certification Bill before State House Trib

Best of the Rest:

Russian student at an American school Vladivostok News via JJ
Ad Alleges Maine South HS Drug Traffic Chicagoist
Selling services to schools takes a hit Teach and Learn
Virtual PreK Shout-Out Teach and Learn
SIU offers cash to get students out in 4 yrs. CST
Students, staff rejoice as St. Edmund won't close CST
Boy changes his crack story Trib
Schools revise soft-drink plan Trib
6 bullets found in Aurora school Trib
Janitor pleads not guilty to school gun charges Trib
2 grade schools get new principals Trib
Naperville Catholics are adding a school Trib
Good math skills add up to lifelong career Trib
Developer, teachers fund join in venture
First-grader hands out crack cocaine
Elmhurst offers schools cash help

Chicago, the national capitol of community schools:

Proponents of Community Schools Argue for Wider View of Education

Improvement, Choices, and Reprieves (New York City)

Looking at Improvement, Not Miracles NYT
NYU Tops Harvard as `Dream College' Bloomberg
Three Schools Given Reprieves NYT
More Students Admitted to High School of Choice NYT
New York school allows kirpan Times of India
Picketing by Yonkers Teachers NYT
Teacher Is Accused of Using a Stand-In NYT
Algebra, Then Therapy, Under the Same Roof NYT
Another Catholic Grade School Is Added to Closings NYT
Timely Budget Trumps Schools NYT
One in 3 City 4th Graders May Not Advance to 5th NYT
New Lottery To Determine Admission Columbia Daily Spectator
Candidates Take Jabs at Bloomberg's Spending NYT
Above AverageNew York Sun
Legislator Says State Lottery Is Shortchanging City SchoolsNYT
Legislator Says State Lottery Is Shortchanging City Schools NYT
Really, Randi? NYPost via CER

Getting the best teachers where they’re needed most (Teaching and Leading)

The willy-nilly distribution of our most effective classroom teachers -- who almost inevitably end up part of disproportionately expensive All-Star faculties at a small set of successful schools -- is perhaps the most ignored issue in state, federal, and local school improvement efforts today:

Certainly, the people pushing high school and small school reform aren’t talking about it. It’s largely off the screen of most standards and accountability advocates. Researchers and ideologues get lost figuring out how to measure good teaching ("Certified" Teachers Aren't Always the Most Qualified CER). Merit pay, weighted-student budgeting, and value-added assessment evangelists are still nibbling at the margins in most places, for political, logistical, and other reasons. As Education Week highlighted earlier this year in its “Taking Root” package, there may be no part of NCLB that has received less attention and effort than the “equitable distribution” requirement.

Oh sure, lots of effort has gone into getting more teachers qualified, largely because of NCLB. And better recruitment has been the focus of some big-city systems for the past few years. Mentoring and induction programs for new hires are also increasingly common, though the quality is still questionable. And a few people have focused on researching high teacher turnover rates and growing more teachers from within the communities that need the most help.

But focused attention on getting the best teachers where they’re needed most is still surprisingly hard to come by. The past few weeks of clips have included a brave band of district leaders who are trying desperate and controversial things like transfer limits to make sure that their lowest schools don’t have their least able teachers. This week’s Center on Education Policy report on year three of NCLB mentions a few district-led efforts, including one incentive program in Florida that pays certain teachers extra to work in low-performing schools.

The most amazing example of this hesitancy and inaction surrounds nationally certified teachers, who in theory should be ready and willing to help the cause. They're supposed to be the best of the best. Most already get financial recognition for their abilities -- one of the only forms of salary differentiation that we have (outside of credentials and experience).

However, as this week’s EW article (Conferees Mull Best Uses of NBPTS Teachers) shows, even when we think we know who the best teachers are, and are willing to pay them extra for their skills, we’re not sure we want to put them in the inferno of a low-performing school. (Teach and Learn’s take on the same conference can be read here.) Just a few states and districts have created incentives for nationally certified teachers to teach in high-need schools.

As I write in today’s column in the Chicago Journal, it seems to me that, with NBCT incentive programs and more generally, the needs of the school system must finally be brought into the current teacher hiring process, which is currently dominated by teachers’ and principal’s interests. There are a bunch of ways to get there, and no one’s suggesting that teachers and principals shouldn’t have a big say in who teaches where, but Struggling schools deserve good teachers, too (Chicago Journal). It's time.

Best of the Rest
Superintendents Gain AdviceFrom Network EW

Lawmaker Wants Teachers Weighed For Obesity via EIA

Donations sought to pay teachers via EIA

Bush offers tough proposal to teachers via EIA
Teachers Can’t Teach WSJ via NCTQ
All children are gifted The Instructivist
Boys or Girls -- Pick Your Victim LAT
Young author turns school clash into bully pulpit St Louis Post-Dispatch
America's first students get a second look CSM
Who's Afraid of Intelligent Design? Washington Post
Teacher brings science to students with yo-yo Detroit News
Math Emerges As Big Hurdle For Teenagers EW
5-year-old cuffed, arrested in Florida Boston Globe
Really, Randi? NYPost via CER
Teachers Union's Battle Plan Los Angeles Times
Schools CEO's future in question CPD
What a dunce! New York Daily News
National Board Critics Charge Back NCTQ
District, Union Settle Contract Dispute Los Angeles Times
Inside the Black Box: School District Spending on Professional Development in Education The Finance Project/Journal of Education Finance, March 2005 via NCTQ

Tribune's Stolen Lunch, Award-O-Rama (Media Coverage)

What is a reporter to do if her editor walks up and hands her an article and says, essentially, "write something just like this."? Well, she writes it, of course (I guess, never having been a real reporter). And never mentions the publication that broke the story.

That seems to be what's happened this week in the case of the Christian Science Monitor, which published a story titled Hard-charging High Schools Urge Students to Do Less (also printed in USA Today) that is at very least a spinoff of story that the Chicago Tribune's Jodi Cohen first broke on March 3rd with a much better headline (Lunch -- Or Harvard?) and followed up on this week with New Trier supports balance, lunch.

There's some additional reporting about Palo Alto High to serve as a fig leaf in the CSM piece, but nary a mention of the Tribune. Is that right?

Now, this site you're reading now is largely made up of links that were initially gathered through the efforts of others (including other blogs, emails, and the good folks at Google News). So it's not like riffing off of others' work is always bad. But the original creators of the content are always credited, and something that only one person has found (or found first, if I can tell or remember) is usually credited with a "via so-and-so" -- the exception being Jimmy Kilpatrick's EducationNews.org whose abundant finds I have yet to figure out how to credit without embarrassing myself.

Or maybe I've got it all wrong -- feel free to instruct me.


It's not quite the same as an Education Writers Association award, but here are the education-related 2005 National Magazine Awards (and finalists). Kudos to all and sorry about the lack of links they didn't provide:
  • Teacher Magazine: Virginia B. Edwards, editor, for August/September, October, November/December issues. (100,000 to 250,000 circulation).
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education: Philip W. Semas, editor-in-chief, for Degrees of Suspicion: Inside the Multimillion-Dollar World of Diploma Mills, by Thomas Bartlett and Scott Smallwood, June 25 (excellence in reporting).
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education: Philip W. Semas, editor-in-chief, for its special report on plagiarism by Thomas Bartlett, Scott Smallwood, David Glenn and Scott McLemee, December 17 (excellence in reporting).
  • The Atlantic Monthly: Cullen Murphy, managing editor, for How Serfdom Saved the Women’s Movement, by Caitlin Flanagan, March (essays).
  • National Geographic: William L. Allen, editor-in-chief, for Was Darwin Wrong?, by David Quammen, November (essays).

Congratulations as well to all my friends and betters who are Lisagor Finalists:

  • Chicago Reporter and Chicago Parent: "The State of the Child: Asthma and Lead Poisoning" (media collaboration)
  • Chicago Sun-Times, "Robin's Story: A Lesson in Survival"; Chicago Tribune, "Brown v. Board of Education: 50 Years Later," "No Child Left Behind." (in-depth reporting)
  • Chicago Sun-Times, public corruption; Chicago Tribune, education reform (editorial)
  • Catalyst Chicago: "Rocky Start for Renaissance" (in-depth reporting/trade)


Real Estate, iPods, & High Fives (School Life)

After a week's worth of seriousness, articles about the lighter side of education are are a good reminder that it's not all about illiterate kids and dysfunctional bureaucracies:

We've all hear or read about how important school report card information is to people buying and selling their homes, but has anyone else noticed the Century 21 Real Estate ad that's been running on network TV these days in which a pregnant woman trying to find out if the neighborhood schools are any good before she buys a home interrogates a busful of children on their way to school about class sizes, school budgets, and the like. They all look at her blankly - they're little kids, after all -- and the bus roars off.

The free blurb from this adweek story says that the ads are about how desperate people get: Century 21 Effort Gets Real (Estate).

It is delicious that the ad brings mainstream attention to parents' ongoing desire for more information about their children's schools. It's wonderful that the ad sends its message with some humor. And it's interesting -- though perhaps not significant -- that she doesn't ask them whether the teachers are nice, or let them play all day. She asks about nuts and bolts.

Almost as good: A review of a new TV show called Life on a Stick (Hollywood Reporter ) includes the following line: "Put another way, the "No Child Left Behind" folks might have made an exception for Fred."

Banned: iPods and High Fives:

Next, one school does what others should: IPods banned in Sydney school (Engadget). They're addictive, completely antisocial, and never-ending in a way that a Walkman ever was. Not all banning is good, however: Ban on post-match high fives (SF Gate).

So far, it's only colleges that seem to be having to deal with full-on wireless Internet access in class: Wireless in the classroom (via Instapundit). But it won't be long before it's an issue in K12 classrooms (as infrared gaming and text messaging already are).

Best of the Rest:

Finding a perfect dress for free: priceless BaltSun
The devil wore J. Crew Salon
It's a stretch, but kids love yoga class Minn Star Tribune
Yucky to yummy St. Louis Star Tribune
DGrassi Is tha Best Teen TV N da WRLD! NY Times
Making the Grade NY Times
The 'whatever' culture Salon
Animal dorm Wired


Head Start, Accountability in Higher Education, and More (National News)

Head Start and PreK Accountability

Compared to high schools, no one but me wants to talk about early childhood education, it seems, but the news -- good and bad -- keeps coming. First there's Head Start, around which nobody seems to have any good ideas:

Federal audit finds waste in Head Start program for poor children Tucson Citizen
Government Is Criticized on Oversight of Head Start - New York Times
GAO Report Based on Flawed HHS Data, Presents Incorrect ... NHSA
Strengthen, don’t undermine, Head Start George Miller

Then there are all sorts of quality and accountability issues surrounding universal preschool and full-day K:

Testing Goes to Preschool Harvard Education Letter
Achieving a High-Quality Preschool Teacher corps NCLR
Mandatory preschool Los Angeles Daily News
Reviewers Taking a Studied Look at County Preschools LAT
School Readiness: Closing Racial and Ethnic Gaps Brookings Institute
Closing Achievement Gaps Brookings Institute
Kindergarten set plugs into more than ABCs Sun Times
Head Start not enrolling number of kids it's paid to CPD

Budget Blahs

Nobody but the Education Secretary likes the Administration’s budget proposal – except the Heritage Foundation: Spellings Defends President’s Spending Plan for Education (EW), Tech schools fear loss of money (Boston Globe), Small Steps Toward Smarter Education Spending (Heritage).

Best of the Rest:

Commission Backs Call for More Accountability in Higher Education EW
Read the report here PDF SHEEO
Full Senate, House Panel OK Perkins Reauthorization EW
Youthquakes shake up gray-haired states Stateline.org
Schools ease up on zero-tolerance discipline Stateline.org

Florida, Teachers vs. Testing, Parents' Rights, and More (NCLB News)

Florida Follows Suit

What passes for big NCLB news this week is that FLA, long trapped for obvious political reasons into following NCLB closely, may now finally do what many other states are doing -- change things around so that its AYP calculations and results aren't so stringent:

Florida might loosen requirements AP
State eyes standards change Miami Herald
All the cool kids are doing it… Gadfly

Mop-up stories from Utah and California:

Utah Leading Resistance Against 'No Child Left Behind' KSL-TV

California, U.S. Department of Education Strike Deal on NCLB Rules

Utah GOP Caucus Writes Bush on Law EW

Huntsman voices Utah's concerns over No Child regulations

There's also some new guidance news: NCLB Guidance EW

For a wrapup of which state is doing what, go to, see: States weigh in on ed reform (ASCD). For some interesting thoughts on states' claims that NCLB is an unfunded mandate, check out: Those unfunded mandates (Washington Post via Eduwonk).

Teachers vs. Testing:

The war between teachers and testing -- an ongoing and troubling trend -- is described and discussed in a pair of timely articles from Teacher Magazine: Beyond Good and Evil (TM), Is the standards movement good for teachers? (TM).

Tutoring > Choice (Except Maybe in Chicago)

NCLB Choice Option Going Untapped, But Tutoring Picking Up EW (great chart)

GHSA passes eligibility rule to thwart NCLB Macon Telegraph

Private Tutoring Firm Ousted From 7 Chicago Schools

PEN Report -- and a Rebuttal from the Achievement Alliance

In terms of new reports and studies, this week’s biggest news is the release of a report from the Public Education Fund based on hearings from around the country that is notably open-minded on whether NCLB is working or ot. In Hearings, Poll, PEN Finds Support for Goals of NCLB (EW), Open to the Public (PEN). Ove all, the report seems to find that parents among others strongly support the goals of the law, but are unsure of what the law requires (including its parent involvement provisions) and feel left out of the school improvement process.

A same-day rebuttal from the Achievement Alliance states: “We strongly agree with PEN’s conclusion that federal and state governments must better enforce parents’ rights under NCLB. But ...the PEN report perpetuates the misconception that NCLB punishes students...No Child Left Behind represents the best chance this nation has of ensuring that all children learn to high standards..."

Other reports of interest:

Inside the Black Box of High-Performing, High-Poverty Schools Pritchard Committee for Academic Excellence via Gadfly
A Report on Middle and High School Improvement Programs PDF
Characteristics of High-Performing, High-Poverty Schools ResearchBrief
Failing Schools and the Role of Educational Service Agencies PDF

Best of the Rest:

Failures of system leave successful student behind Baltimore Sun

Social Studies Losing Out to Reading, Math EW

No Child Left Behind tests worry teachers Kansas City Star
Another round of required tests under NCLB worries ... San Diego Daily Transcript
Individual instruction key to improving test scores Ascension Citizen
NCLB just another `crisis' ruse Sun-Sentinel.com
No Child Left Behind: Kids who need help don't get it Star Tribune
NCLB: A Satire

Boys, Computers, Out of School Time (New and Notable)

Get Those Degrees While You Can, and More(Teaching and Leading)

Look out -- teacher training programs are next:

Arthur Levine Calls for Abolition of Ed.D. Degree CHE
Levine vs. the ed schools Gadfly
Study Blasts Leadership Preparation EW
Study Finds Poor Performance by Nation's Education Schools NYT
Colleges do bad job of training principals, study says Sun-Times
The Education Schools Project

You can do it/you are doing it:

Star Teachers 2005
Working Laterally:
How Innovation Networks Make an Education Epidemic PDF
No Choice But Success ASCD
In Their Own Words ASCD

Changing standards:

Raise standards, lower barriers for Md. teachers Baltimore Sun
Bill would drop test to attract teachers The (Raleigh, N.C.)
NCLB could worsen NC teacher shortage The Charlotte Observer (N.C.)

Unions, reform and otherwise:

Chart: Gauging Views on Teachers EW
Elections Give No Easy Fix on Union Course
Schwarzenegger criticizes state unions
CTA proposes $54M fund to fight Gov EIA
Union Employees Protest Schwarzenegger New York Times
Gov. Faces Widening Network of Opposition Los Angeles Times
Governor endorses measures Proposals for budget, teachers pay ... SF Chronicle
The local AEA stands against real progress
AFT Extends Its Reach Into Early-Childhood Teaching Corps EW

Best of the Rest:

Entrepreneur launches pilot program to mint urban teachers DC Examiner
New Recruiting Efforts by Teach for America Yield Record Applicants EW
Urban Reviews Take Close Look at Instruction EW
Seven Surprises for School Leaders EW
School in a Box Teacher Magazine
Needed in class: a few good men Christian Science Monitor
Greener Pastures TM

Surviving Chicago (Chicago IL)


5 lessons for school survival Trib
Do themed schools really work? Teach and Learn
Charter school dreams in Little Italy Chicago Journal
Parents object to loss of S. Side magnet school ST
Parents object to Skinner plan CJ
No room for recess CJ


Student health a low priority Catalyst
Kindergarten set plugs into more than ABCs ST
State makes preschool a priority Chicago Tribune
Success is not enough The Instructivist
Single-sex classes have grades up, discipline down St. Louis Today


Illinois cuts testing on 1 of 3 R's Trib
Network access fees Teach and Learn
Daley calls for more money for education KWQC-TV
Illinois ranks 17th for school spending St. Louis Business Journal
Teachers Union Renews Lease at Merchandise Mart GlobeSt. com
A bold plan to change how Illinois finances schools The Southern
Federal funds may aid summer school Chicago Daily Herald

The Rest

Teacher's aides find themselves in pupils' shoes Chicago Tribune
Man who mailed threats to schools gets 10-year term Trib
City Colleges bosses retaliate after strike wins Guerrilla News Network
Boost teacher training Trib
City College tutors Trib
Grand slam for T.F. North poets Trib

Amistad Charter Model Coming to Town (NYC)

Between Pencil Purchases and Privatization (The Business of Education)

There's lots going on in between the mundane purchases of pencils and high-altitude arguments about privatizating public education -- but it seems like most of us don't track it, are sorta scared of it, and maybe don't get it.

A cursory look around suggests that the business of education includes services and partnerships that go far beyond the familiar territory of testing and textbook companies, Edison knockoffs, NCLB tutoring (see above), and the many variations on private involvement going on in Philadelphia (see below).

Whatever it is, it's already here:

Ten contracts to know about Philadelphia Notebook
Building a better high school Salon.com
Education companies playing ‘Let’s make a deal’ EW
SAT marketplace Washington Times
Bookgate Accusations Rhino Times
NEA: Privatization in Education NEA
Testing Companies Mine for Gold Rethinking Schools
Ethics Issues Snare School Leaders EW

From the Past:

The Education Sector BusinessWeek 2000
Is the Private Sector Qualified To Reform Schools? EW 2002
The Education of Business EW 1990
Making Schools Their Business EW 1990


Going Private In Philadelphia (Urban Education)

Salon.com's take on the Microsoft-funded "School of the Future" points out that the effort has nothing to do with the Gates Foundation and chronicles a range of similar privatization-related efforts going on under schools CEO Paul Vallas: Building a better high school.

In at least a few ways, the piece riffs off of my good friend Bret Schaeffer's earlier article in AlterNet: My Own Private School District.

Some of the plans sound pretty scary, and the piece is predictibly skeptical about private involvement in public education, but it acknowledges realistically that public-private partnerships are here to stay. In fact, the next stop for Microsoft's School of the Future may be Chicago.

For more on the increase in private companies servicing public education, see the "Business of Education" (a new section).

In the meantime, there was also some sketchy announcement about how Philadelphia was going to use federal Smaller Learning Communities funds to .... buy PLATO software. Can someone explain?

Best of the Rest:

More African-Americans turn to home schooling Cincinnati Enquirer
Charter school may get reprieve BaltSun
Milwaukee opens school for bullied, harassed Lexington Herald Leader
US Official Calls for More Charter Schools Washington Post
Detroit schools pay ex-con for PR drive Detroit Free Press
Making educational waves Denver Post
Denver teachers clear path for strike Rocky Mtn News
Rankings spotlight classroom struggle SF Gate
Board orders all schools evaluated for closure list Seattle Post Intelligencer
8 charters extended, 3 with problems Phila Inquirer
New School Rankings Released LA Times
Parents, kids scramble as education ... Detroit Free Press

More on CJR, Embarassed in Minneapolis, and Daring to Enter the Blogosphere (Media Coverage)

Lots of comments about the CJR article on education news from last week. There are about 10 comments from education writers around the country -- and a rebuttal of sorts from the CJR author herself -- all located here. If you want to know how real education writers think about how to report on education, this is a great place to look. Eduwonk takes the CJR piece to task for wildly over-emphasizing the privatization angle in NCLB: CJR comes out against NCLB. Over on the Alternative Reform Network listserve, Substance's George Schmidt uses the CJR article as a jumping off point to castigate the Chicago Tribune's coverage of education news, which Schmidt views as even worse than the Houston Chronicle's during the 1990s. Another series of comments on the Atlanta Journal Constitution site can be found here.

What Passes for Education Journalism...

This week's award for the most daffy piece of education journalism goes to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, whose piece -- Kids who need help don't get it under No Child Left Behind law -- is so misleading, inaccurate, and addle-brained that I might hate it even if it was praising NCLB. (I promise to take on a pro-NCLB article soon.)

In essence, the piece argues that NCLB isn't doing its job because there are so many low-performing kids out there who aren't being "helped" under the law. And, true enough, NCLB rates and sanctions districts and schools, not individual kids, and so there are lots of kids whose needs aren't identified and targeted under the law.

It sounds horrifying to me, but I guess there's an argument to be made that NCLB should focus on kids, not schools. But no one --not even the reporter -- makes that argument or even explains how that would work. Even worse, the piece goes on to blame the fact that many schools in Minnesota aren't caught up in NCLB's net on the law, rather than the state, which, like many others, found a bunch of ways to keep schools making AYP. Last and least, the pro forma quote from the state superintendent tacked on at the end as a fig leaf to journalistic balance doesn't make sense.

Where was the editor on this piece, and who wrote the headline? Is this a real paper? Yikes. Any scholarships left for the next EWA conference? I know some folks who need to attend.

The Education Blogs -- Do You Dare to Go There?

Last but not least, there are as usual some interesting thoughts and links floating in the education blogosphere -- if you dare go there. For example, JoanneJacobs.com traces the twisted story of whether there are enough female columnists out there: Mad Women. OQE lists some of the most ridiculous terms used in education circles (though I forgot to see if "scaffolding" is in there: Edubabble: a glossary (via The Instructivist). The Spectator's blog says to parents "don't buy that toy:" A plague of toys The American Spectator (via Number 2 Pencil). The Education Wonks have gathered this and that from nearly everywhere, it seems: Carnival of Education, Week 6.

$10K Haircut, Online Easter Eggs, Parent Coaches, and More (School Life)

Besides being a nearly universal experience, schools are also a fascinating reflection on contemporary society.

This week, for example, we learn that recess has become rare in many places -- When is it time for recess? (Miami Herald) -- and that someone paid $10k for a haircut: School pays $10,000 for boy's haircut (Boston.com). Really? I want to see that haircut.

Parental anxieties remain high despite the "slacker mom" movement, and so it makes sense that stressed parents who aren't lucky enough to get on the TV show SuperNanny go out and hire a coach: With Mayhem at Home, They Call a Parent Coach (NYT).

Or, in some homes and classrooms, they get out the belt: To paddle or not to paddle? It's still not clear in US schools (CSM), Board approves revised corporal punishment ban (Wilkes Barre Times-Leader).

Why so stressed? They have to be perfect: Parents' perfect attendance required (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) Maybe their children have a disorder: The Gift Of ADHD? (MSNBC).

Concerns about teenage drinking are everywhere: Drinking Game Can Be a Deadly Rite of Passage (NYT), A Feverish Reaction to Teenage Drinking (Washington Post). Meanwhile, MIT admission costs defy gravity, top $41G (Boston Herald).

Technology helps, and holds us back: High-tech Easter eggs (NYT), Next Up: $100 Laptops (eSchool News), High school girl arm wrestles a robot--and wins hands-down (LAT)
Where a Puff of Marijuana Is the Ultimate Power-Up (New York Times).

The Best of the Rest:

Off court, schools lacking color Indianapolis Star
S.D. Unified considers artificial turf subsidies for 9 high schools SDUT
Spelling bees: the most popular competition in school CNN.com
Debate: Is retention better than social promotion? NEA


Reporters and Civilians Talk Back About Education News (Media Coverage)

Comments continue to pour in on my crititique of the Columbia Journalism Review article on the state of education reporting in America. (See "Recent Posts.")

There are about 10 comments from education writers around the country -- and a rebuttal of sorts from the CJR author herself -- all located here. If you want to know how real education writers think about how to report on education, this is a great place to look.

Eduwonk takes the CJR piece to task for wildly over-emphasizing the privatization angle in NCLB.

Over on the Alternative Reform Network listserve, Substance's George Schmidt uses the CJR article as a jumping off point to castigate the Chicago Tribune's coverage of education news, which Schmidt views as even worse than the Houston Chronicle's during the 1990s.

Another series of comments on the Atlanta Journal Constitution site can be found here.


Moving Chairs Around at USDE, Rolling Out the First Lady, Analyzing the 'New' SAT, and Looking Into High School Reform (National News)

Even though the Senate passed its version of the Perkins reauthorization on Thursday, there was not that much else going on in DC this week:

The new Education Secretary did what most of them do -- she reorganized everything to some important but difficult-to-ascertain end and little ultimate result: Spellings Sets New Structure for Ed. Dept. (EW), and Department of Ed Shake-Up (Eduwonk).

Down the street, the White House rolled out the First Lady's anti-delinquency initiative, whatever that is: Bush hands first lady reins for youth project (Washington Times), First Lady's Initiative Aimed At Providing Stability for Youths (WPost ), Mrs. Bush, Husband in Tow, Discusses Problems of Youth (NYT).

Of course, everyone had something to say about this weekend's "new" SAT test -- and some of it's interesting: Topic: Essays Are Useful. Discuss. (NYT), An altered rite of passage for US teens (CSM ), More students take both ACT, SAT (New York Times), Building a better SAT? Yale prof. thinks he's done it (SD Union-Tribune), New SAT undergoes major overhaul (U.S. News & World Report), and SAT requirement for 2-year schools under review (AJC).

Best of all, coverage and analysis of high school reform got a little more interesting: Is High School as Bad as All That? (Washington Post), Budget Panel Receives Spellings With Skepticism (EW), High schools are designed to fail (Baltimore Sun), Bill Gates is not the issue (ARN), Critics say Microsoft not doing its share (Seattle Times), and Summit Underscores Gates Foundation’s Emergence as Player (EW).

After weeks of vague generalities, there are even some specific programs discussed: Restructuring Model Shows Promise in K.C. (EW), The Early-College Experiment (Chronicle of Higher Education), 'You Can't Make Me Earn the Diploma' (Washington Post), and Smaller, Better (Baltimore Sun).

Who Blinked In Utah, Here Comes Michigan, and Chicago Banishes Tutoring Company (NCLB News)

There seems to be some disagreement about whether Utah legislators or the USDE "blinked," but clearly someone did:

Federal Officials Say N.D., Utah Teachers ‘Qualified’ After All
Education Law Finds Few Fans in Utah New York Times
Utah bows to Bush on education drive
NCLB editorial Provo Daily Herald
Utah Legislators Delay Action on NCLB Bill EW
State senators fire off missive to Bush on NCLB Salt Lake Tribune
State seeks commitment on No Child Provo Daily Herald

All sorts of stuff about the deal worked out in CA and what it means for districts:

Feds Reevaulate 'No Child Left Behind' KGO
Educators see grim humor in order to flunk districts Sacto Bee
Feders announce deal ... San Jose Mercury News
New Criteria Cut Ranks of Targetede Los Angeles Times
California "No Child" standards addressed The Desert Sun
State, feds near accord on 'NCLB' San Francisco Chronicle
School districts face 'deficient' label SJ Mercury News
New criteria cut ranks of targeted systems LA Times
Schools in limbo over 'fail' grade The Desert Sun
Improvement plan angers schools Santa Cruz Sentinel
Foundering schools to get charter expert's aid Sacramento Bee
State probes charter school group The Sacramento Bee

Up Next: Michigan:

Michigan working to have NCLB WNDU-TV
Michigan asks for changes MLive
State soon will ask for flexibility Detroit Free Press

Don't forget Texas:

Review lacks answers for low performing schools Houston Chronicle
Texas school chief risks funds in feud with feds Houston Chronicle
Texas Stands Behind Own Testing Rule

A little bit on choice:

Ind. Faulted on Ensuring Districts Convey Choice Options
Supply and Demand in a Public School Choice Program NCSPE
Ending the Evolutionary War
Why we support school choice via Eduwonk

A smidgen of good news:

Spotlight shines on six area schools State Journal Register
Two U46 schools named to state list Suburban Chicago News

Interesting news on the SES front:

Tutoring firm expelled from 7 of city's schools Chicago Tribune
Platform Learning Responds ... PR Newswire
Spellings to Catholic Schools: Expand Tutoring EW

Best of the Rest:

No Child Left Behind Act leading to rancor Troy Record
District fights state warning Morris News Bee
Several states putting up fight against NCLB Fort Worth Star Telegram
State puts 4 school districts on alert Philadelphia Inquirer
State labels weaker schools NJ Ledger
'Unsatisfactory' schools told how to improve... Orangeburg Times
New Jersey places districts on watch list Philadelphia Inquirer
30 of NJ's 593 school districts fail to meet federal standards Newsday
'No child' law/Earth to feds: Fix the flaws Minneapolis Star Tribune
No Child Left Behind election issue Chicago Daily Herald
At-risk students struggle to meet state standards Pioneer Press
Racial Test Gap Persists, State Figures Show New York Times