Saturday, September 10, 2005
Department Of Walking And Chewing Gum...And Department of Charters...
In NYC Klein announces an ambitious new charter school initiative reports the NYT's Herseznhorn. Interesting (lame?) comment from the UFT in the last graf, can't Klein deal with the test issue and open new schools? Hopefully, just an editing glitch, there must be more context than that, no? Wait! These guys don't think so...Anyway key quote on the larger issue:
"This is exactly the type of stuff that needs to be done if we are serious about trying to have more schools," said David Levin, the superintendent and co-founder of KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, a nonprofit foundation that operates 45 schools in 15 states and Washington, including four charter schools in New York City.
"This is what we have ultimately felt was holding back schools around the country," Mr. Levin said. "When people ask us what the major impediments are to starting more schools like KIPP, it's the three F's - funding, facilities and freedom - and facilities are kind of the most prohibitive."
Very interesting MJS article about open-enrollment there. Yes, you have to go through their annoying website sign-up to get it but it's worth it.
Education's Hysterics And Hucksters To The Rescue!
Per this item Intercepts has more, including the famous second letter...by happy coincidence for the most part the NEA's regular agenda is just the right agenda for post-Katrina recovery, it's like a first-aid kit you can take anywhere…And, turns out what the kids on the Gulf Coast need is not a virtual school...it's vouchers! Who knew USS George Allen was so handy in a pinch? (via Brink). If these guys had their way the Coast Guard would have been dropping Basal Readers to kids stranded on rooftops...you don't need fresh water and food or a place to live, what you need is an education tax credit!
How about just rebuilding the public schools there? And in the case of New Orleans rebuilding the system much better than it was as Bob Herbert notes in The Times today.
Also, hire this woman to teach math for you!
Update: Still looking for a way to help? TFA'ers in N.O. could use some help.
Update II: Per the above, Slate's Mickey Kaus: "Any thoughts that maybe the teachers' union wasn't using Katrina to try to get out from under the accountability provisions of No Child Left Behind turn out to have been excessively charitable."
Mary Beth Tinker, namesake of the landmark Tinker v. Des Moines School District free speech case turns in (with a colleague) an interesting Ed Week commentary piece. Courtesy of Senator Robert Byrd schools now must formally observe Constitution Day (it's a week from tomorrow) in some regard. Though well intentioned the provision may open a can of worms about what other things schools can be told to teach from Washington by legislative fiat.
In any event, Tinker says teach about free speech. Good idea, she's got a good story that has contemporary resonance today and cases like Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier tend to interest kids and high schoolers love Bethel School Dist. No. 403 v. Fraser...the latter shows that Conn. Law doesn't have to be boring or bland...
Ed Week writes-up the education angle of the Roberts nomination which is actually pretty pedestrian -- there are bigger fish to fry in terms of his legal views and potential impact on the court than his edupolicy thinking.
But, there is a buried lede: Just a few years ago NSBA supported his nomination (pdf) to the federal bench, now they're not taking a position but still have a "favorable" view of him:
Others who have sifted through materials on Judge Roberts argue that one should be wary of drawing strong conclusions about his personal legal views.
“I would take these things with a grain of salt,” Tom Hutton, a lawyer for the National School Boards Association, in Alexandria, Va., said in reference to the nominee’s paper trail.
The NSBA often submits friend-of-the-court briefs on education-related cases before the Supreme Court, and it endorsed Mr. Roberts in 2003 when he was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in Washington. The NSBA is not taking a formal position this time, but Mr. Hutton said it stands by its favorable opinion of the nominee.
Why not take a position now? This is a pretty important nomination, even more so with the death of Rehnquist and NSBA with their respected legal department is arguably the best qualified education advocacy group to send a signal about the nominee from at least that perspective. Obvious answer is because the above position would enrage PFAW, NEA, et. al. and NSBA is taking a dive ('cause surely Roberts didn’t do anything "unfavorable" or of particular import on education in the last two years)....but perhaps there is another reason Eduwonk's overlooking....Boardbuzz, enlighten us?
Update: NSBA the tease? A reader sends along this and this (which is wildly off-message -- "Socrates wrote that a judge should have four characteristics—'to hear courteously, to answer wisely, to consider soberly, and to decide impartially.' We are confident that Mr. Roberts possesses all of these attributes." )...Good grief, NSBA really likes this guy but won't commit? The conservatives aren't this easy...
Update II: Boardbuzz responds but this response pretty much says it all...so much for the other reason theory....And, wrapping themselves in Katrina is pretty tacky...
Long Short Goodbye
Per this, it's over in S.F. The teachers' unions there wanted Bersin, Romer, and Ackerman gone along with some lesser known sup'ts there...as for the big game, two out of three ain't bad...but look where Bersin ended up he's laughing last...will Ackerman pull a rabbit from the hat, too?
Need a math teacher? An experienced one, teaching since '67, most recently chair of the math department at Isidore Newman in New Orleans is looking for a place to settle as a result of Katrina. She will relocate. Email her here to get in touch.
NYT and NY Daily News report on U.S. Representative Charlie Rangel's proposal for differential pay in the city. Big significance both in the UFT reaction -- favorable -- and because it's further evidence about how far that debate has moved. From NYT:
Nearly two years ago, Councilwoman Eva S. Moskowitz, the chairwoman of the City Council Education Committee, was accused of interfering with contract talks when she held hearings on the city's contracts with teachers, principals and custodians.
Yesterday, Mr. Rangel rejected such a charge. "This is our business," he said. "Nobody has a right to go and have closed-door negotiations."
Ms. Moskowitz said she was thrilled by the congressman's remarks. "The contracts are public documents signed by public officials and there has got to be transparency," she said. "I am delighted that voices much more powerful than mine are saying that."
Governing's Greenblatt examines Paul Vallas' tenure in Philly. Great article, punchline for skimmers:
...those who watch the Philadelphia schools seem to agree that Vallas has shifted the question from whether they can ever hope to get better to how long real progress might take. "It would be hard to argue that things haven't improved in Philadelphia," says Kent McGuire, dean of education at Temple University. "That's simply not the case." Vallas' moves have won praise virtually across the board, from Republican state legislators pushing hard for school privatization to city activists who can't stand that part of his program.
Opportunism knocks. Leave it to education's hysterics and hucksters...There is a real crisis in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast and the early response to it at all levels of gov't was pretty disgraceful leaving a lot of Americans hurting more than they should have been. But now, along come the anti-NCLB hysterics to create a three-ring anti-NCLB circus around the relief efforts.
There are straightforward steps the government can take (and provisions in the law) to ensure that there are not perverse incentives in NCLB's accountability requirements for schools accepting displaced students short of just suspending the law (though it will be ironic if Earth Mother decides to draw some arbitrary line here after her last few weeks of waivering on various provisions...). Regardless though there are a lot more immediate things to do for the kids there than worry about this -- it's gotta be like #344 on the list...
Along those lines, not sure a national virtual school makes a lot of sense here either. Perhaps the government should think about using non-profits like New Teacher Project and Teach For America to ensure that there are teachers for displaced students, even those in temporary housing, while this gets sorted out.
Worrisome though that all of education's hucksters seem to be descending on the region...Also, per the final graf in the story above, worth nothing that Dillon doesn't fall fall into the same trap as Usually Reliable...
Update: Kaus notes that if the NEA succeeds in some sort of blanket waiver for kids from the region then they're going to be very hot commodities...Earth Mother also released a sensible letter about this.
Star Tribune's Walsh takes a look at choice in MN and more generally. Worth reading though it ignores one important angle on this: Will offering more choices in the public system broaden support for public education? Charter parents tend to be very satisfied but people generally are say they are satisfied with a choice they've made. The question is, will this satisfaction translate into political support or mobilization?
It's a new format...The Science Goddess offers-up a jammin' Carnival of Edublogs with plenty of riffs from all over.
U.S. News' McGrath offers her take on the issue and NCLB's provisions.
Lynn Hoover's (for the uninitiated she's the best realtor in Northern VA) talented son Eric rounds-up all the new education books in Sunday's Washington Post. Of particular interest Joe Williams's new book and also this one.
Per this slowly (can reporters really be this lazy?) unfolding scandal, helpful reader CC labored over Labor Day and sends a boatload of links for you:
Background here, here, here, here, here (pdf), here, loony paranoia here and here (pdf), publishers v. Paige (pdf), Paige v. publishers (pdf), a very useful clue (pdf), and the RR complaint (pdf).
Concise take on the NCLB debate: In PA, one state rep says "NCLB sucks" but "Despite his criticisms, Daley said he has no other solution in mind to better education." But there are new ideas in Indy says the new sup't there.