Friday, April 15, 2005Winner! And, It's All Cool Graphics All Day Today At Eduwonk...
The other day we sponsored a little contest to find out the difference between a "hatchet-job" and an "over-interpretation" of data to score PR points. Winner wins a CD. We got some very funny responses, a few really snarky (and also funny) ones, and lots of clever stuff. But, the winner, hands down, is one J.F. McCullers who is Director of Grants and Program Development for the School District of Lee County, Florida. He has come up with a handy, all-purpose guide for sorting through these issues that you should print and tape to your monitor. It's below, his CD is on the way, and thanks to all who played.
Eduwonk exclusive! Here's Michelle Stockwell, former Lieberman aide and one of the architects of No Child Left Behind, taking a break from tormenting the nation's schoolchildren. Sadly, this day, most of the trout on this stream made adequate progress past her nymph...
Good look at where the Governator has swung, and missed, by David DeSchryver.
Another NYT Ed Research Special!
Ordinarily, when an organization releases a study with the caveat that its sample is "not nationally representative" a national news organization wouldn't then run a big story on it as somehow indicative of a national trend. But not The New York Times when it's education and chance to pop No Child Left Behind in the nose.
This new study, while actually very interesting, is not as negative as the NYT story or headline indicate, and is not nationally representative because about 75 percent of the sample is from just four states. In addition, urban districts are underrepresented as are African-American students (substantially). Also, in 7 of the 23 states that make up the sample, only one or two school districts even participate.
The bottom line is that the law is basically three years old, less in the case of many provisions, so it's just too soon to know if "it's working", which is too broad a question anyway.
But while you're reading The Times, do read this outstanding Freedman column about what Rudy Crew is up to in Miami.
Now CT is demanding an apology from Secretary Spellings for allegedly labeling them "un-American" over their resistance to NCLB. You can argue it either way, it looks like Spellings was responding more to the example of CT put forward by the interviewer than CT itself. Though you can argue it the other way, too. Regardless, this looks more like a publicity stunt from CT officials than anything else.
Ordinarily, in a debate like this you'd give the clear edge to Spellings. However, in light of the Department's press operation, today's line is even money.
Transcript is here. Decide for yourself.
Also, bottom of the article, the beginning of the answer to this question.
From LBJ to NCLB, Ed Week's Robelen wraps it up for you in this article.
Per this, Jay Mathews and Patrick Welsh square off in The Washington Post about AP courses.
Fairfax County teachers I've talked to say you have single-handedly destroyed their traditional college prep honors programs and are responsible for watering down their AP courses. "Kids now are being pushed out of honors into AP courses because of Mathews's index," one told me. "All principals care about are head counts -- how many kids take, not pass, AP tests. Teachers are furious that administrators have caved in" to the challenge index.
Show me some data that support your point. As for watering down AP in Fairfax, here are some real numbers: The percentage of students getting scores of 3 or above on the AP tests decreased from 75 to 61 percent when the program was opened to all in 1998. Fairfax teachers went to work, and despite giving more AP tests than ever this year, that passing rate is up to 70 percent -- above the national average -- and getting higher. The AP teachers I speak to say average students are better off in their classes, struggling to reach a college standard rather than sitting in a regular class being given good grades for much less challenging work.
Plenty more, worth reading.
The Achievement Alliance takes on CT and unpacks growth models for NCLB in its new newsletter (doc).
Both sides of a difficult situation, a lot in this story.
Ongoing series on charters and charters in San Diego, worth reading, shows the evolution of the policy.
As this AP story points out, CT is going to put itself on the hot seat with its NCLB lawsuit. One question that might get asked, and that they better have a good answer for, is what exactly did all the money they got from the feds to develop new assessments get spent on anyway? If the feds decide to play hardball, they might ask that, too...
This is going to be quite a debate in LA. Romer wants to do the right thing but it's not going to be easy.
Rick Hess' recent article in Philanthropy has stirred up quite hornet's nest and some interesting discussion. You can read responses from several key foundations here.
Writing in the Baltimore Sun, Andy Smarick urges Maryland to stay away from the CT-UT parade.
Clayton Wilcox, the superintendent of schools in Pinellas, FL now has a blog. It's good stuff, particularly for local citizens, and it allows comments (and there have been many so people are paying attention). Naturally, the very first comment attacked the superintendent and called the blog a waste of money (right, communicating with the public, must stop that!) but there is thoughtful stuff there as well. A lot on choice and high schools.
Via Dave Shearon.