In The New York Times Samuel G. Freedman writes about college ROTC graduates and their post-collegiate life in a dangerous world, great piece worth checking out.
Tendentiousness Watch: Meanwhile, Michael Winerip writes on small classes and good teachers but still can’t bring himself to say anything positive about No Child Left Behind (hint: teacher quality matters even more than class size, which is why NCLB emphasizes it….) BTW–If the NYT is holding some sort of audition for Freedman for the education columnist slot, it seems to Eduwonk like a no-brainer even after only two weeks. He writes interesting stuff, is fun to read, and — at least thus far — has not revealed any ideological blindspot. If not Freedman, then someone please launch a bring back Rothstein drive!
More Class Size Ridiculousness: Also, while we’re on it, Winerip offers a new argument for small classes: It’s easier to spot and weed out incompetent teachers. Huh? So cap class size at 20, hire more teachers, and then weed out the incompetent ones? And he says that No Child Left Behind is illogical? Incidentally, in California, the apparent model for Winerip’s new, let’s call it “flush ’em out,” approach to teacher quality, poor kids and minority kids ended up with less qualified teachers because of mandatory class size reduction. Why? All the new teaching positions it created in affluent schools attracted talent without any offsetting incentives for high poverty schools. Perhaps this is at least better than Winerip’s old argument that California’s class size experiment was a great success. For more see “Size Matters” here. Make that draft Rothstein now!
The Palm Beach Post looks at more — in a seemingly endless string of — voucher shenanigans in Florida…accountability anyone? And, in Fairfax County the likely new superintendent is doing the rounds, says The Washington Post. Note the acid comment from the head of the local teachers association…trouble. On the Post Op-ed page Harold Meyerson points out that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is a lot more fiscal predator than kindergarten cop.
The Denver Post writes on the voucher lawsuit there but lays off the really interesting part of the story. Voucher supporter Ken Salazar, the enormously popular (and very talented) Democratic State Attorney General, is the odds-on favorite to be the Democratic Senate nominee this year. Every Senate seat counts this year, and the NEA is having no fun squaring that circle…
An excellent new study from RAND looks at the challenges that journalists, foundation program officers, and others face interpreting and understanding the reams of data that No Child Left Behing is producing. Well worth reading.