Thursday, September 01, 2005
Instapundit has a handy list of Katrina relief sites if you want to give. The Red Cross site is difficult to access, probably overloaded. In any event, you can send a check to the Red Cross at this address: American Red Cross, PO Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
And, if you send a check rather than use your credit card online you save the charity the percentage fee, as much as 5 percent, that the card companies take off the top. Might be a nice gesture if they suspended that in emergencies, no?
Solid local coverage of the catastrophe unfolding in N.O. from the Times - Picayune here.
Interesting article from the Chicago Trib about offering a different kind of bene for teachers: Child care.
There is this:
Gail Purkey, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Federation of Teachers, sees day care as a way to attract and retain teachers."
If you see the companies that are the best to work for in the corporate world, it's those that provide child care," she said. "Sometimes a day care sets one company apart from the pack. It can do the same for a school."
Staci Maiers, a spokeswoman for the National Education Association, sees it a little differently. On-site day care, housing subsidies and signing bonuses are among the ways school districts across the country are trying to make up for lags in salary, she said.
"We're seeing a trend," Maiers said. "Teachers are looking at the benefits. But the bottom line is, good salaries attract good teachers. If you are going to recruit teachers for the long haul, we have to give them what they are worth."
Isn't the NEA always saying that differential pay or performance pay are bad ideas because teachers don't respond to money?
on the oil spot strategy in Ed Next...
This NY Post op-ed is bouncing around and sparking some discussion on Edwize.
The teacher makes some good points about the challenging conditions, but these grafs:
Maybe if the city worried less about test scores and more about improving all aspects of the school system, conditions would improve. Maybe teachers aren't writing on that Web site about how to improve schools or help children because we have tried everything we can think of and nothing has worked.
We are decent, educated, hardworking people who simply are frustrated and exhausted by what we have to put up with day after day in order to educate the minority of students in this city who want to learn and succeed.
Have we really tried everything? On the contrary, the change-averse nature of education, Cuban's "grammar of schooling" speaks to that. And a lot of what we do try is superficial not deep changes.
And, only a minority of students want to succeed? How about some expectations...seems pretty self-fulfilling.
The Long, Or Not So Long, Goodbye
Looking at this another way, one could argue that anyone fully compatible with this school board is not going to be all that helpful for the students in San Fran...
Regardless, more evidence that it's a good time (always a good time???) to be in the urban sup'ts search business...
NYT's Freedman offers an interesting profile of George Lucas' education efforts.
Over at the EdWonk blog.
Kudos to Ed Week's Karla Scoon Reid for catching the story that has thus far eluded her allegedly more savvy national colleagues at the big media outlets: there is not unanimity among various Civil Rights groups on No Child Left Behind:
[CCCR head Bill Taylor], a veteran desegregation lawyer and longtime activist, characterized the split within the civil rights community as harmful to achieving the law’s goals.
“It’s a war on the whole idea of reform. [Harvard Civil Rights Project's] Gary [Orfield] wasn’t opposed to sanctions when it came to dealing with segregated schools,” he said. “When public officials are not carrying out their duties, you sanction them.”
Note the tone from the NEA...polling shows this is not great PR for them and they're trying to "re-frame" the issue, as they say...and behind the scenes...there is a wedge already...
Very rich vein for follow-up on this might be following the money...not going to jump to any claims of causation but there sure is a uncanny correlation...also, big political implications, too, going forward...
Also in Ed Week Fordham Chieftain-in-waiting Mike Petrilli discusses No Child's teacher quality provisions, provides some inside dope, channels Commodore Roza, and offers some ideas for policy reforms.
Update: Several readers write to point out that NYT's Staples also wrote on this issue. Fair enough, but Reid's take is more granular and this is still very under-reported regardless considering the stakes.
Bill Taylor, Iconoclast
From today's WSJ ($):
"The fact of the matter is that a couple Democrats, in particular [Senator] Ted Kennedy and [Representative] George Miller, helped twist the arm of this administration and brought about a really large increase in appropriations for No Child Left Behind," said Mr. Taylor, dismissing Connecticut's plea for more money. "I also think the National Education Association," which agitated for the suit, "is really doing damage to the interests of kids and to the interests of its own members. We've got to figure out a way to get really good teachers into central schools, and this law pushes for that."
From today's Washington Times she writes:
There is good reason to believe [District of Columbia Public Schools'] brightest days lie ahead.
Let's hope so...
Eduwonk Flashback: Advice For Dr. Janey.
New U.S. News rankings include information on Pell Grant usage. Won't assuage the critics, but it's progress. It's not, however, encouraging in terms of economic diversity in higher education, pretty depressing really. You have to dig a little to find this info but it's on the U.S. News site.
Meanwhile, in an interesting twist, Washington Monthly ranks colleges and universities based on student propensity for public service. Well worth reading.
The NYC edublog wars, begun they have...
ICE, the dissenting caucus in the UFT has set up their own blog to challenge EdWize! Here's a taste. Will Lukewarm Joe Williams write about this one, too?
Meanwhile, though the blogs have plenty to say, NYT's Herszenhorn says the Democratic candidates for mayor up there don't.
The NY Post was not as amused as Eduwonk by Fordham's change of tune on the funding issue.
Andrew Sullivan says go with the oil spot strategy on education policy --and on gay marriage, too. Mickey Kaus, however, sees a quagmire:
I'm not sure the oil spot strategy works that well when you are confronting geographically pervasive, deeply entrenched bureaucratic interests, as opposed to mere armed insurgents.
Mickey cites Milwaukee's voucher program, Saturn, and welfare reform as three examples of oil spots that failed to spread. Not sure we've had a real oil spot in education yet, seems like more droplets. While Milwaukee's program shows how one foundation, in that case Bradley, can change the policy landscape it’s not a great example of a real oil spot strategy because it was one marginal reform (and has produced mixed results). In the Krepinevich example, Milwaukee would be like going to Fallujah and just fixing the water or power while ignoring all the other issues.
(It's also worth noting that since Milwaukee there has been a landmark SCOTUS ruling on vouchers and programs legislated in 5 other cities and states. Considering the political opposition that seems noteworthy. Eduwonk thinks that regardless of the problems Milwaukee was a pretty big win for the voucher crowd).
In education, a real oil spot effort would have to be comprehensive, involving governance, delivery, and human capacity. Fortunately, in the social entrepreneurial sector there is plenty of talent that could be brought to bear. As a rule of thumb, anything touched by New Schools Venture Fund is a pretty good bet though there are plenty of others like KIPP. And, there are plenty of folks in the traditional system who would jump at the chance to do something aggressive and bold.
Mickey makes a great point about welfare reform but more people are touched by education than welfare so (hopefully) the political incentives are different. What's similar is that with welfare it took a consensus that different was needed and better was really possible to force action. In education there is still a substantial industry focused on all the reasons schools can't be expected to succeed. The media abets this because they generally do such a poor job of publicizing emerging education oil spots where they do exist -- it's just easier to write about the tiresome debate about NCLB or NEA and Soros funded "grassroots" groups. For instance Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson (D) is wildly popular in no small part because he's opening good public schools in the city over the objections of the usual suspects there. Yet you'd be hard pressed to find a dozen top national reporters who know about it. Oil spots won't spread all by themselves will they?
In Sunday's NYT David Brooks describes the thinking of counterinsurgency expert Andrew Krepinevich on how to win in Iraq:
Krepinevich calls the approach the oil-spot strategy. The core insight is that you can't win a war like this by going off on search and destroy missions trying to kill insurgents. There are always more enemy fighters waiting. You end up going back to the same towns again and again, because the insurgents just pop up after you've left and kill anybody who helped you. You alienate civilians, who are the key to success, with your heavy-handed raids.
Instead of trying to kill insurgents, Krepinevich argues, it's more important to protect civilians. You set up safe havens where you can establish good security. Because you don't have enough manpower to do this everywhere at once, you select a few key cities and take control. Then you slowly expand the size of your safe havens, like an oil spot spreading across the pavement.
Once you've secured a town or city, you throw in all the economic and political resources you have to make that place grow. The locals see the benefits of working with you. Your own troops and the folks back home watching on TV can see concrete signs of progress in these newly regenerated neighborhoods. You mix your troops in with indigenous security forces, and through intimate contact with the locals you begin to even out the intelligence advantage that otherwise goes to the insurgents.
Isn't this basically the same strategy that education reformers should pursue in the cities? Instead of just supporting often isolated politicians who are constantly under attack or fighting hopeless guerilla warfare inside bureaucracies, establishing some oil spots in big cities, winning victories, and establishing some proof points (and in the process expanding opportunities for disadvantaged kids) seems like a more promising strategy. Opening new schools would certainly be part of such an effort but also leveraging successful initiatives like Teach For America, The New Teacher Project, New Leaders for New Schools, the Broad Residents, etc...to drive broader change and win hearts and minds.