Monthly Archives: February 2017

Edujob: Program Associate At DFER In DC

Want to be in the mix in one of the most dynamic and interesting schooling environments in the country? Here’s a great edujob at DFER in Washington, D.C.

Democrats for Education Reform-DC (DFER-DC) seeks a Program Associate to provide critical, high-level support to the DC State Director, particularly in the areas of communications, external and donor relations, and government affairs. This role is ideal for someone who thrives in an entrepreneurial, flexible, and occasionally high-intensity environment.

Learn more and how to apply via this link.

SIG, Spending, And Lawrence MA! Your Future Wind Turbine Job Will Have Great Views! Ed Politics & Barricading DeVos. Cooney On Early STEM. Anyone Who Can Afford To Read This Blog Is Welcome Here! Plus More!

Scroll down for some edujobs including a new one at Fordham.

Max Marchitello on how employee benefit costs are creating some serious downward pressure on education spending. Important issue not getting the attention it should.

Via the great Susanna Loeb some context on SIG. The basic pattern on a lot of federal programs – favored by Democrats or Republicans at various points – is the large mandated evaluation of the program that is, in fact, an evaluation of a funding stream. Not surprisingly these evaluations rarely turn up much in the way of effects given how initiatives are implemented. Then, later, we get more micro-stuff that offers some lessons and learning but the caravan has already moved on.

I’m not arguing that SIG was a big success. That’s a hard case to make. I am arguing that we should think smarter about evaluation and interpreting the results of evaluations given how federal dollars work. (I’m also betting that’s not going to happen.)

Betsy DeVos tried to visit a D.C. public school today but the door was blocked by protesters. So she went around back. I’m all for protest, that’s what this place is about. But when you argue that the big problem with the incoming Secretary of Education is that she is unfamiliar with public schools and then block her efforts to visit one, well that’s cartoonish and why people roll their eyes at education debates.

Related, here’s a smart take on the shift in education politics. But, voters have an appetite for authenticity these days that should not be overlooked or minimized. And here’s a look at Betsy DeVos and Elizabeth Warren by Michael Jonas.

Speaking of the home of the Boston Red Sox (who are almost all in Florida already to tune up for the 2017 campaign but I digress) Lawrence, Massachusetts is a success story worthy of some attention and Jeff Riley and others leaders involved at the state level deserve a lot of credit for a good touch. But…in the telling the contextual factors tend to get overlooked, namely a powerful state takeover function that meant changes were coming for kids one way or another. Funny how people get in board in those circumstances and suddenly collaboration breaks out. Absent that context the warm milk narrative of how if everyone just sat down we could all get this done breaks out. It’s so appealing! But in education, as in life, things that sound too good to be true usually are. At least closer to the warm milk version? Take a look at what’s happening Springfield, MA.

Here’s some good news: We’re going to need a lot of wind turbine technicians in the next decade. One of of the fastest growing occupations. Plus it’s a cool job – just listen to this guy talk about it – pays OK, and the views are fantastic. 108 percent growth says the Department of Labor! Except, that growth is really less than 5,000 jobs. Why? Automation. Turbines basically run themselves once they’re up and going. You can play this scenario out across a range of fields and it highlights a major education and economic challenge that is on the horizon and is obscured by the debate about globalization and immigration as well as by percentage estimates on new jobs.

Cooney Center on starting early on STEM. 

From Fordham’s Ian Rowe here’s a lede you don’t read every day on an education essay:

When I was a Senior Vice President at MTV, my job was to lead the network’s efforts to use its “superpowers for good.”

Provocative piece, worth reading.

There are some problems with the way the construct of “white privilege” is weaponized and casually tossed around these days, but there are real issues at play as well in terms of the structure of American life. In any event, this is one of the most unintentionally ironic things I’ve read in a while:

Residents like Bari Reiner, 72, say the question is offensive because the town welcomes anybody who can afford to live here.

The question was about privilege in a tony Connecticut town. Because, you know, housing is equitable and there is no history there….and the school finance system is surely fair! Oh, never mind. Anyway, the article itself is worth reading, though, it’s about an essay contest for young people that stirred things up.

Lexington Institute on military students.

“You Can Have The Crown”

Edujob @ Fordham Institute

If you’re looking for roles in the education analysis and policy game then Fordham is not a bad place to be. And they’re hiring:

 Are you knowledgeable about education reform? Experienced with quantitative and qualitative research methods? Able to manage multiple projects and tasks simultaneously? Organized, detail oriented, and a stickler for meeting deadlines? If so, you might have a future as the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Research and Policy Associate or Senior Research and Policy Associate. (The job title will ultimately depend on the candidate’s experience.)

The Fordham Institute is an education policy think tank that promotes educational excellence for every child in America via quality research, analysis, and commentary, as well as advocacy and charter school authorizing in Ohio. We are an independent, non-profit organization with offices in Washington, DC, and Columbus and Dayton, Ohio. This position is located in downtown Washington, DC.

The Position

We are looking for an exceptional education researcher, project manager, and writer to join our small research team in Washington. We seek an inquisitive, bright, hard-working individual who is capable of excelling in an intellectually stimulating and often intense work environment. Reporting to the Senior Vice President for Research, the position will work collaboratively with Fordham’s research team to design, manage, and shepherd research projects from inception to publication.

You can learn more and apply via this link.

Head Start, DeVos In The Hot Seat And DeVos Debate, What’s Next For Labor? Petrilli V. Ladner…On Nannies! Charter School Enrollment Up, Texas Reform Down? Edsall On Integration, Scholastic On Reading, Friedrichs 2.0, First Amendment, School Finance In The Family, And More!

Shots! Don’t miss New York’s Tom Carroll on the battle lines in the DeVos debacle. Agree or not channels a lot of what you hear behind the scenes by way of recriminations. Plenty of people disagree as well, of course.

Important Marnie Kaplan / Sara Mead analysis from Bellwether on Head Start work policies.  Here’s Kaplan with more via The 74.  Bellwether’s Jen Meer on thinking about compensation practices and organizational diversity.

Bellwether’s Hailly Korman volunteered as an attorney (she’s actually an attorney, she volunteered to help) at Dulles during the immigration order implementation. The 74 talked with her about that experience.

First day of school for Betsy DeVos. 74 rounds it up. You have to give DeVos points for style and humor in a gracious welcome speech at ED yesterday. Winning the building will be key for her, good first step. The Washington Post says she has a steep curve coming. Greg Toppo on what she may or may not do.

Local media interview with her.

Ross Douthat on why we fight and the comforts of familiar war.  Lauren Maddox defends new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Critics totally unconvinced.

Within Trump world there seems to be a split over whether Democrats will just say to no everything no matter what on education or if they can get something done in a bipartisan way. The DeVos episode seems likely to strengthen the former view but wouldn’t the politically smart play by the Trump team be to put forward actually good policies that demand consideration (eg a thoughtful choice proposal) rather than just stuff that easily dismissed out of hand (eg Title I “portability” or a poorly designed tax credit scheme)? Of course, the President of the United States was attacking Nordstrom yesterday from his official White House social media account and this morning busily denying remarks that his own Supreme Court nominee apparently made to a senator…so who the hell knows.

Things actually happening: Charter school enrollment topping 3 million nationwide. The NAACP is conducting a listening tour in the wake of last year’s call for a charter moratorium. Here’s NACSA’s* recent testimony. Also, in all the back and forth around DeVos a good time to point out that charter school accountability is actually quite complicated and authorizers play a key role in that. Every time someone fulminates about whether this or that applies to charter schools make sure to ask what they think the authorizer’s role should be there.

Scholastic with new data on kids and reading.

Must-read Edsall on school integration in the Trump-era. Also, while we’re here, you can do a lot worse than re-read the book Edsall wrote with is wife Mary “Chain Reaction” given our current climate.

Stan Jones, longtime Hoosier reformer, has passed.

Sandy Kress sees more trouble ahead in Texas. Mike Petrilli goes all nanny state on charter authorizing! Anti-Nanny Matt Ladner pushes back.

More on Friedrichs 2.0. Also Missouri passed right-to-work legislation and the new governor there signed it earlier this month. And don’t miss this Rich Yelelson take on President Trump and labor politics. If you are viewing the teachers’ union posture post election through and educational lens you’re missing the game.

Young people and the First Amendment. Is it making a comeback? We’ll see.

De-stressing school. 

Close readers will note what an interesting event this finance discussion should be….

Child labor laws.  And vintage Bruce.

*I’m on their policy advisory board but not involved in this.

Is President Trump’s Education Agenda At Odds With His Rural Base? Plus Teacher Evals, DeVos Theater, Pondiscio, SCOTUS Prospects, John Kent Cooke. And More!

In USAT Max Marchitello sees a disconnect between President Trump’s rural political strength and his education policies. Chad Aldeman with some texture on teacher evaluations and the eval debate. 

Betsy DeVos situation in a nutshell via Dana Goldstein’s first NYT reporting outing:

“Poor Mrs. DeVos is a victim of her poor performance in her hearing,” [Russ  Whitehurst] said, “but also of broader political theater.”

Fight wrapping up today. Or just starting? Anyway, big day for the bear defense industry, or something. Not our sector’s finest hour.

The 74 takes a look at Neil Gorsuch’s record and possible education implications if he is confirmed for the Supreme Court.

Related: Friedrichs-like cases already in the courts but what might be the official Friedrichs 2.0 kicked off yesterday.

Cameo by Bellwether’s Hailly Korman in this Vox look at the SCOTUS landscape post-Garland.

Pondiscio on race, social justice and education reform.

Interesting John Kent Cooke profile.

Badass STEM projects. 

Friday Fish Porn – Well Not Really, At All.

It’s winter so the fishing has slowed down (hundreds of fish pics here though) but education people are still getting outside and we’re diversifying from just fish pics:

Tim Taylor of America Succeeds managed to work some duck hunting into an Arkansas trip.


And Ali Fuller of Bellwether took this ibex in Spain earlier this winter. Near Teruel. She shot it at 320 yards, that means she’s probably a better shot than you are (or I am). Kosar, over to you…

Photo Jan 27, 16 00 25

It’ll be warm and fishing weather soon, in the meantime keep the pics coming.

Posted on Feb 3, 2017 @ 8:30am

6 Inconvenient DeVos Truths

-So here we are. The nomination most in trouble in the Senate is not a climate denier to quarterback environmental policy or any of the rest of this craziness, it’s Betsy DeVos. That says something. And it’s not a flattering something for education because people suddenly care about education. The reverse actually. And the idea that she’s somehow less qualified than some of these other nominees is laughable – and sexist. (That’s not a pro-DeVos statement, just a more general statement about education and politics). A lot of this also misunderstands what cabinet officials actually do but that’s another story.

-For the education establishment a razor close DeVos win is probably a better outcome than defeating her given what we know about President Trump. Really the ideal outcome perhaps. If DeVos goes down he’s not going to appoint Linda Darling Hammond to make amends. He’ll either double down or otherwise penalize the agency won’t he? So for her foes a politically crippled DeVos is a better outcome in some ways than defeating her. Or, in other words, if she gets through it will look like a Trump win but might be the opposite in practice.

– So much for the idea that DeVos’ political donations will inevitably protect her. The teachers unions are getting a much better ROI right now.

– Anyone who just can’t believe that Eli Broad would oppose DeVos hasn’t followed education in Michigan very closely. This is a problem with the reformers versus everyone frame that too many people in the media have bought into. Obscures most of the nuance.

-As we’ve noted here a few times, how badly has this nomination been handled top to bottom? Partisanship aside, DeVos and her team made it hard even for people who generally think that President’s should get wide deference on personnel. It’s amazing how many people close to and in the Trump operation were caught off-guard on Senator Collins and Murkowski. Emblematic. If she gets through that has to change – without a very strong team she’s in deep trouble.

-With Pence possibly voting on the nomination, at least we get to see some history! Though it feels like we’re seeing a bit too much of that lately.

Posted on Feb 2, 2017 @ 11:47am

Edujob: Team Leader/Program Director, Character and K12 Education Program @ Kern Family Foundation

Here is an interesting and impactful edujob on an important and relevant issue:

The Kern Family Foundation invests in the rising generation of Americans, equipping them to become global leaders and innovators. The Foundation quietly, yet powerfully, executes its mission by promoting the value of work, developing the formation of good character, increasing educational achievement – particularly in areas of science, technology, engineering and math – and instilling an entrepreneurial mindset, especially in undergraduate engineering students.

The Character and K12 Education Team Leader/Program Director will lead the team on the creation, implementation, assessment, and evaluation of strategies for the Character and K12 program. The Team Leader/Program Director is responsible for articulating the Foundation’s vision both internally and externally, inspiring all stakeholders, and driving day-to-day grant making activities in keeping with the Foundation’s current policies and procedures. S/he will develop and maintain strong relationships with regional organizations and peer foundations, and win hearts and minds in the community by enthusiastically conveying Foundation goals, raising awareness of its mission-oriented programs.

The Team Leader/Program Director will be an innovative and collaborative leader who naturally and proactively challenges assumptions while understanding and embracing the concept and urgency of entrepreneurial philanthropy.

Sound like you or someone you know? Learn more and learn how to be considered here. 

Gorsuch On Education, Pennington On Evals, Pensions, Bellwether Analysis, KIPP Surveys, And More!

Kate Pennington on the recent NCTQ teacher evaluation report.  Here’s Pennington and Sara Mead on evals in their recent Bellwether analysis (pdf). 

Couple of resources to highlight from Bellwether. The Learning Landscape is an overall look at American K-12 education and how it works and what it’s doing. Great resource for anyone trying to get up to speed on some of the contours. Given the attention on Betsy DeVos and her record we prepared a deck looking at K-12 education in Michigan – and the charter questions in particular (pdf). And here is our overall look at the state of charter schooling in American, successes, problems, and some analysis on what’s next (pdf).

We can do deep dives on any of these for your state or city – public field facing ones like these or proprietary research and analysis. Just reach out to learn more.

Not surprisingly there is an education paper trail for President Trump’s SCOTUS nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Ed Week looks at all that. Gorsuch dissented in an interesting case involving discipline of a middle school student. And he cited Oliver Twist to make his point. His dissent is at the end here and is worth reading (pdf).

KIPP alumni survey (pdf). A lot of interesting data here.

Pension finance and pension politics.

Skills, higher education, and the workforce. More complicated than you may have heard.

Government Mule and Grace Potter. In fairness, everyone gets frustrated with cyclists from time to time.