As the nation acknowledges President George H.W. Bush’s extraordinary legacy of service from the battlefields of the Pacific to the Oval Office by way of a lifetime of service in various elected and appointed posts, we might pause to also reflect on his consequential role in education. In fact, while the ceremonies and funeral arrangements were unfolding in Washington, education types were streaming into the city for Jeb Bush’s Excel in Ed conference — more familiarly known as JebFest — a timely reminder that despite the pushback, acrimony and evolution of education policy, we’re fundamentally still operating in an education world his father was instrumental in creating.
It seems like ancient history now, especially in today’s frenetic news cycles where weeks feel like months, but it was not that long ago, in 1989, when Bush and then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton called the nation’s governors together to discuss education…
December 7, 2018
December 6, 2018
We’re hiring at Bellwether.
Bellwether’s Lynne Graziano on the kind of things that can change a career or life trajectory.
Ashley LiBetti with a new paper on early education teacher prep, what the research shows, and what it could show.
Here’s a volume on rural ed in part by Bellwether alum Andy Smarick and featuring Bellwether Senior Associate Partner Julie Squire.
Janus is causing a lot of focus on large unions but it’s the smaller states that may see the impact earliest.
Finn on Levy and Bush:
At a time of anger, division, self-absorption and small-mindedness in so many places, it’s both refreshing and inspiring to remind ourselves that it doesn’t have to be that way and to recall two great Americans who embodied that abiding truth.
“While I cannot comment on the specifics of pending litigation, I am supportive of efforts to secure more legal protections for student access to a quality education. Education rights are civil rights,” Rhode Island Commissioner Ken Wagner said in a statement.
New survey data on where the public is (and teachers are) on education.
Matt Frankel and Shavar Jeffries talk education at Bloomfield College.
Some data visualization of school and neighborhood segregation.
Late election returns:
Whiteboard’s David DeSchryver, Anna Edwards, and Alison Griffin on the impact of the election on edu. DFER’s Charlie Barone on what the returns do, and don’t, mean for education.
December 3, 2018
Two from Bellwether:
November 30, 2018
This Marc Tucker exit interview from his Ed Week blog is well worth your time.
A few Bellwarians, including some JHU alums, weigh in on the Bloomberg gift to Johns Hopkins.
Harold Levy has passed. Thoughtful presence on the education scene who will be missed.
We keep arguing that the problem is the tests, things are pretty good otherwise. And then the tests keep showing the same thing. Weird. Anyway, Ken Wagner takes no prisoners.
Hakeem Jeffries, who likes charter schools, is the new Democratic Caucus Chair in the U.S. House.
Charters on average get less money.
Two thoughts on this Lauren Morando Rhim – Checker Finn debate about specialized charter schools for students with IEPs. First, charters overall need to do a better job with special education students but some context matters. In particular, the idea that traditional public schools serve every student everywhere is nonsense. Public schools appropriately concentrate services to improve quality for students, use private placements in some cases, and otherwise ensure that students are served at system level rather than a school level. Lessons for the charter sector are obvious – authorizers must be thinking about this at a systems level, too. Second, Checker makes an important point on choice and it’s interesting how some parents are attracted to charters precisely because of how they choose to handle special education. This is a really complicated policy area.
Fun with percents – Matt Barnum unpacks some recent rhetoric about teacher diversity.
Bonds for teacher housing get a nod in annual Bond Buyer awards.
November 26, 2018
Thinking of growing your school network? This might be for you:
The Charter School Growth Fund (CSGF) is looking for the next generation of entrepreneurs from across the country to join the 31 talented leaders of color who have received support through the Emerging CMO Fund to date. Through the Emerging CMO Fund, CSGF will support the growth of the next cohort of high-performing, early-stage charter school networks led by entrepreneurs of color. This program is available to entrepreneurs of color who currently lead a single-site or an early-stage charter school network and want to grow one to two more great schools.
Predicting that Betsy DeVos is resigning is a pretty good parlor trick. It’s like calling for a stock market crash, keep it up and sooner or later you’ll be right. But with a lot of cabinet turnover looming including a complicated situation at Justice and other posts looking like they’ll come open it seems unlikely the President would send DeVos packing given the low-priority he puts on education and the effort it takes to replace any cabinet official. But, from a political standpoint if there were a reason to replace her this would be it: If you thought Democrats could use the Trump – DeVos stuff effectively in the minority, then just wait until they are controlling committees. And, DeVos has left the Dems plenty of low-hanging fruit – especially on for-profit colleges but also on other issues. Politically, her brand plus her policy preferences makes her impossible to lay off of. Even on issues where behind the scenes there is a fair amount of support (eg the Title IX regulations) no one is coming forward to defend her. That’s a political headache that is not going away.
We spend a lot of time complaining about how research doesn’t penetrate the education policy and practice space – and it’s a real problem (see for instance reading, charter schools, teacher effectiveness, etc…). But, the issue of race and teachers is an issue where research findings are evolving. Important caveats/complicated questions apply and the challenges are real, but it’s a pivot based on new research and an interesting/important one and the kind of thing we don’t see all the time.
California’s public employee pensions, including teacher pensions, which are of particular interest to key Democratic constituencies, are a ticking time bomb. Add that to the list of reasons Gavin Newsom ought to consider a 2020 presidential bid. Hard coalition splitting choices likely await before 2024.
Speaking of California, here’s an interesting Marketplace story about the tensions between protecting open space and having revenue for public services, including schools.
Dual enrollment pushing and shoving.
November 21, 2018
Two issues to watch:
In the 74, Ray Pierce of the Southern Education Foundation on the collateral damage some reform efforts can cause to traditional sources of African-American political power – especially in cities.
Meanwhile, in Florida, it appears the school choice program there may have played a role in the election of Trump-backed Republican Ron DeSantis, who drew an unusually high, and possibly decisive, degree of support from black women in Florida in his race for governor against Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.
November 20, 2018
A few years ago at Bellwether we took a look at the tensions between grade level anchored accountability structures and the emerging personalized learning sector. It’s a discussion and debate that’s ongoing mostly behind the scenes but there was an interesting session about it at this year’s New Schools Summit. It’s complicated because of equity considerations and policy design but seems like there is an issue here. Here’s another perspective from Shalinee Sharma of Zearn and Rebecca Kockler of LAUSD.
New Orleans’ Travis Hill school profile.
Here’s a debate on the “success sequence” via Johns Hopkins.
Hunting curriculum. Not hunting for curriculum…
ClassDojo doing more outside of school.
On the proposed Title IX guidance here, via 74, is a good look at the differences between how it would work in K-12 and higher ed.
November 19, 2018
Very sad to report that the education world lost Ted Preston over the weekend to cancer.
Ted’s been featured here on the blog and his work has as well. He was a genuinely good person and terrific colleague. With his background Ted could have done a variety of things, and he decided to turn his attention to ensuring that kids got better from their schools and had more opportunities in their lives. His time was too short but he packed a lot of life in and in addition to an important personal legacy he leaves behind a lot of lives he touched professionally.