1/11/2006

Where Are All the Good New Education Ideas? Not Coming from NAF, That's For Sure.

A commentary in this week's Education Week by New American Foundation staffer J.H. Snider (left) seems to confirm my recent post (NAF Tries to Find Its Way in the Education Debate).

NAF is going to have to work a lot harder to carve out any real space of its own on education issues -- that is, assuming it or its funders really wants a strong role in education. I'm not so sure they do.

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The EW commentary (The Superintendent as Scapegoat) covers little new ground on the high turnover/unrealistic expectations front and contains few new ideas (smaller districts and ... school choice).

According to his NAF bio, Snider is a telecommunications guy who used to be a school board member and very occasionally writes about education.

Of course, all this is just sour grapes coming from me, a failed NAF Fellowship applicant who would love nothing more than to get paid for coming up with new ideas.

Call me, Ted (right) -- I'm available. We met once at a party. Great hot tub at your old U Street place.

Sour grapes aside, I'm just a little bored by the ideas that are out there, all of which seem unproductive, unrealistic, or a long time coming.

Using something NAEP-like for AYP?
Unrealistic wishful thinking from Checker and Diane.

A Constitutional amendment guaranteeing an adequate education?
Amazing idea that will happen... a long time from now.

The 65 percent Solution?
That's just crazy talk from backwards state officials.

Tinkering with NCLB?
Yawn. I'm guessing it's '09 before it happens.

Small schools?
Even the Gates Foundation has gotten off that horse.

Charter Schools?
That's so 90's.

Vouchers for everyone?
Now that's a fast-moving idea.

Laptop initiatives?
Can you say MySpace.com, or Maine?

Medical 'residency' models for teachers and principals?
"Grey's Anatomy" and "Scrubs" taught me that too many smart residents and not enough strong attendings is bad, bad news.

Pay for performance and/or value-added?
Wake me up when there's the data to pull it off in more than a couple of places.

2 Comments:

Blogger Caroline said...

You mean you're debunking all of the right's favorite "it's a miracle!" education cures in one post? Next you'll be telling us that the fat-burning pill advertised in the National Enquirer doesn't work either.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Joe Nathan said...

Quick reaction to Mr. Russo's brief comment re charter public schools:

More than 1 million young people are attending charter public schools around the country this school year - that is up from less than 100 in 1992-93.

Here in Minnesota, the number of students attending these schools has doubled - to more than 20,000 - in just the last four years. These include growing numbers of suburban and rural, as well as urban young people.

For profiles of Mn charter public schools, please see our website at www.centerforschoolchange.org. Perhaps Mr. Russo thinks the charter idea is "so 1990's" - but an ever growing # of families are deciding that options provided by the charter public school sector make a great deal of sense for them.

Joe Nathan, Director
Center for School Change
Humphrey Institute
University of Minnesota

9:37 AM  

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