Friday, October 27, 2006Making Friends Fast...LA's New China Shop Bull!
LA's new sup't has not only antagonized the mayor, now he's pissing off the teachers' union...take the under.
BTW: Seems like the mayor's strategy is to go after some board members next year in the election to increase his leverage. For that to succeed the union needs to be either neutral or on his side, so not sure how attacking them helps the Admiral all that much if he wants to stick around long enough to get anything done…In fact, if he alienates the board soon, he'll have accomplished the trifecta in record time!
They're giving a $5K college scholarship for bloggers...
Apropos of all this, over at TNR, Bradford Plumer says beware of the single-sex option because: "the actual single-sex education proposals out there are being pushed by reactionaries who have no interest in advancing gender equality, and that's why people are concerned."
Really? So the single-gender public schools in New York City, like the one started by Dem financier Boykin Curry -- Girls Prep -- are reactionary? C'mon. This isn't a good issue to fight out by anecdote. The bottom line is that the research is mixed but there is no evidence these options are harmful to kids, some evidence they might help some kids, the whole thing is voluntary not mandatory, and considering the demand for mass customization from the public anyway, shouldn't the public sector be responding by offering parents more options? And, to Plumer's concern, this is the price of progress. The opening created for good ideas will surely allow some bad ones to flourish, too. But that's why we don't go down the Friedmanite road and instead use the leverage of public policy to try to maximize the good and minimize the bad.
Update: Wash Post weighs-in: "Studies of single-sex education are all over the map, with no one really knowing how effective it is. Still, the decision giving public schools greater freedom to offer all-boys and all-girls instruction is right because of one known certainty: Traditional schools just are not working for a large number of children."
New state case study on charters in Michigan by ES' Sara Mead. Lots being said about it, not always accurate, read it for yourself and decide. Previous ones include Florida here, and DC, CO, OH, TX, AZ, CA, Indy, and NYC here.
In the tight VA Senate race education is finally making a small appearance says the WaPo. It's really nothing and the race between incumbent George Allen (R) and challenger James Webb (D)* is turning on other issues. But, as Ed Truster Ross Wiener lays out in this Washington Post op-ed from June, if Allen wants to inject No Child Left Behind into this race, doesn't it give Webb a great opportunity to tie that issue to a larger theme in the campaign -- namely Allen's legislative commitment on issues effecting minorities? Webb's taking a reasonable position now and focusing on other issues, but there is an opportunity on the table.
Says Wiener: "Allen's [NCLB fix bill] bill would allow states simply to walk away from their responsibility to educate African American, Latino and low-income students."
Read it, Wiener's op-ed is practically ad copy...though, of course, all this would be easier for Dems all over the country to attack on if the NEA's No Child position were not much closer to Allen's than Wiener's...another victory for progressivism...that's a problem that is going to become more complicated in the next few years.
Update: A Dem-strategist who knows education, too, writes to say: This "lets Dems off way too easy. You can target African-Americans and/or Latinos and pound them with this message (via TV, radio, mail, events, etc.), all without ever using the toxic words "No Child Left Behind!" And really, one only needs a small pair of stones to take the same message to white liberal activists."
*Disc: I live in VA and am supporting Webb in this race.
Big legal win for charter schools in Ohio. Hopefully this will free charter school leaders there up to focus on more pressing issues.
Much more stuff like this and the good folks at EdWize will have an aneurysm. US News has come out with a list of "America's Best Leaders" and NYC's Klein and Bloomberg make the cut. TFA's Wendy Kopp is there, too, and Paul Vallas, Robert Moses, and City Year's founders also make the list. So it's ed heavy. Re Kopp, she's still considered a villain by many in the education establishment yet she keeps getting recognized like this and TFA keeps driving change. Could be everyone outside the education cognoscenti is just wrong and doesn't get it, or perhaps, just perhaps...
More Gender Bender...And Where's The Bias When You Need It?
While noting bipartisanship in passing, the NYT runs the final single-sex school rules as a Bush Administration idea. You'd think The Times, of all papers, would point out that among other Democrats Senator Clinton (NY) has long supported public single-sex options at the elementary and secondary level and worked on the issue. Not as though she's an obscure senator or has no local connection! Sure, the new regs are on the Bushies watch, but the tortured path of these regs predates this administration... Eduwonk flashbacks on this issue and Clinton backstory here and here. BTW: Wouldn't it help not hurt Clinton for The Times to point this out? Shows she's not the liberal caricature her critics make her out to be. Schemo, your party needs you!
Update: Over at TNR Conor Clarke offers a great walk-through of the issues.
I'm just back from a few days in California. I can't write everything I learned about the LA sup't search process and the new sup't but can sum it up by saying that the over-under on this guy is about 11 months…
New America's higher ed blog and The Times say there is some payola going on in the student loan industry, worth watching.
You are a private sector student loan provider and you've lost the Lexington Institute...
Higher Ed Throwdown
If you follow the issue, you don't want to miss this event on Weds. in Washington.
Let me get this straight: In states where standardized testing figures as a big issue in the gubernatorial races it turns out to be controversial and concern about it increases...while nationwide polls show the public remains generally supportive of standards-based reform. Wow! Such radical political stuff that I don't see how it is big A section news? The testing backlash story is a perennial favorite and the WaPo has been on it lately, Russo deconstructs their last effort here, but that doesn't mean (a) it is going to translate into much or (b) that all the anecdotes frequently tossed around are true. And, on Florida in particular, the focus of today's story, the needle there has moved for low-performing kids. I'm not a fan of every aspect of their program but the NAEP numbers are worth noting, some real gains there.
Turnaround: Public Impact produced a timely, useful, and interesting guide (pdf) to school restructuring under No Child Left Behind published by LPA*. Ignore the misleading cover photo, I've never seen people that excited about reconstituting a school...otherwise it's pretty spot-on. More materials from Public Impact on the issue here.
Philosopher King: A lot of people were buzzing about NYC school chief Joel Klein's presentation/discussion at the Broad Prize this year, courtesy of the Learning Matters, you can listen to it/read it here.
Frugal: This is an interesting idea, the Toledo Public Schools are a little short on cash so a local citizen has created a website to generate money-saving ideas. Some are sorta off, but some have some promise. Leave aside the specifics, what’s hard to miss here is how technology empowers people and makes them feel and act like stakeholders more than in the past. That’s got big implications for school systems going forward.
*I've consulted for them in the past.