Friday, July 02, 2004
Friday's News...Special Extra Patriotic Edition
New teacher recruitment initiative in Virginia. Teach for Virginia will help steer aspiring teachers to high-need schools. The New Teacher Project has their able hand in this.
Cosby back in the news, AP here, local coverage here.
Come All Within: More teachers' union back and forth in Chicago. More Chicago here and here. Chi Trib ed board weighs in, too. They're shocked...shocked...You know you should be following this...
Come All Without: Quasi-anonymous groups attacking the teachers' union in Colorado.
In Gadfly Senator Lamar Alexander pitches the incredible shrinking GI Bill for Kids... and OH school board member Jim Fedako has a must-read essay about tests and accountability.
In Wisconsin, a state task force is calling for major changes including an overhaul of the finance system, new teacher compensation, and new ideas like a SEED school. Republicans are attacking the finance idea, ignoring the rest.
Todd Ziebarth and Alex Medler are at it again! This time they've produced an interesting ECS report (PDF) on the early implementation of the voucher program in Colorado. Of course, the program is now on hold, but it's still well worth reading as a study of change.
K-12 diversity news from KY.
Rod Paige praises a Voyager program...Educationnews.org smells a sweetheart deal...
A look ahead at new Labor Party education initiatives in England.
More on the principals in NYC, yesterday they were just annoyed with Klein. Today, well, they're pissed!
NY Post readers respond on behalf of small schools. Also in the NY Post, Jay Greene and Marcus Winters say the schools have plenty of money already.
In a Supreme Court wrap-up AP says that this term was a tough one for conservatives, education included.
Do you like to write? Know something about charter schools or educational issues that impact charter schools? Then you should be writing for this journal.
Finally, better late than never. Interesting House Education and Workforce Committee hearing on No Child Left Behind, testimony here. Worth reading. And, new proposed rule on LEP students here.
Dept. of Ed Sexual Misconduct Study, More Smoke Than Fire (Even They Say So!)
The much-awaited congressionally mandated study about sexual misconduct by educators is out. It's ready made for sensational headlines like this, less so for serious analysis. That's because it's not really a study but rather an elaborate literature review of existing studies, each with its own -- in some cases substantial -- methodological limitations. And, the primary finding is based on a conflation of all manner of misconduct, not just physical abuse that most people think of when they hear "sexual misconduct."
A good hint that this study is over-the-top? Even the Department of Education, lately not an organization spending a lot of effort on good PR for the public schools, is tamping it down.
That said, sexual misconduct by educators (and other adults) is a real problem, and when it happens to even one child that's too many. Unfortunately, a study of studies based largely on self-reported data and interest group driven (read agenda driven) research isn't likely to shed too much empirical light on the real extent of the problem (for a useful caution read this Atlantic article). Moreover, while incidence reporting obviously matters, it likely overstates the actual number of educators who commit these acts because, as with other forms of child abuse, it's unlikely individual perpetrators are not striking repeated times.
The report does have some interesting recommendations although many are already practiced in school districts around the country. It mentions, essentially in passing, that it's hard to get strong reporting and registry laws passed because state and local teachers' unions often fight them but, curiously, doesn't dwell on that issue. Apparently you can lead Ed School professors to water but...
Read it for yourself and decide if it's a parent's worst nightmare as AP says or perhaps a social scientist's worst nightmare...
Advocacy Afterthought: How long before this "data" shows up in pro-voucher arguments? All things considered could be a tough sell though...
Kaus gives voice (and summons Ron Brownstein) to the increasingly high-decibel rumor floating around about the Kennedy NCLB corrections bill that George Miller wants no part of. The retroactivity bill is a good idea, but -- policy merits aside -- this next step seems very ill-considered because (a) The Republicans will never let it see the light of day legislatively so it's going nowhere this year (b) The press seems at least as likely to play it as an effort to gut NCLB than as some sort of grand improvement and (c) It's going to put Kerry into the accountability box that he's successfully stayed out of so far (conspiracy theorists can ruminate on that last one...)
Note to Democrats: If the NEA really had the party's best interests at heart why would they be pushing people to walk this plank during a very close election? Politically this is like the NRA asking Bush to brandish a bazooka at a gun show. Oh, wait, that's right, they have more pressing priorities...
New census data on high school completion, likely a little inflated, take with a grain of salt.
Yesterday's news roundup noted that the Department of Education was trying to score a few points on NCLB funding by highlighting unspent federal funds in state accounts. The AP story included some warm quotes from Council of Chief State School Officers staff to the effect that this was no big deal, everything is cool, and this was a courteous heads-up from the feds...Good enough except there is a stark contrast between those warm love-in vibes and quotes from the same CCSSO official in the trade paper Education Daily starting with,
"We are troubled that they are reviving this issue, because it’s one we thought we explained to the Congress and [ED],” said Patricia Sullivan, deputy executive director of
the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). "It's beginning to wear on my members, because their integrity is being questioned, and that’s very troubling."
[The Department of Education] "can’t report obligated and unobligated funds, because they don’t know," Sullivan said. "This level of obligation takes place at the district
level, so for the states to [keep track] is hard enough; for the feds, it's impossible."
Hmmm...that's a little different...and it's a little more like it seeing as Department of Ed is playing crooked pool here.
Another interesting story about District of Columbia schools. There is a raging debate (that keeps a handful of conservative analysts busy and otherwise out of trouble) about how much DCPS spends per-pupil yet it's hard to know what the right denominator is...more immediate implication is federal dollars.
NYT's Schemo looks at the ongoing Head Start controversy, if you're scoring at home the Bush Administration has completely lost the high ground here...Here's more (via Educationnews.org) from the Head Start advocacy group, they're understandably piling on.
Also in NYT, more on No Show-Gate. And, what looked like a routine fraud case may have a political angle.
Wash Post reports that Discovery Communications sees a rich vein in schools.
In California, possible movement on the equity suit there. Key quote: Kevin Gordon executive director of the California Association of School Business Officials and general CA ed policy maven, "we don't want a state rodent monitor..." Via School Wise Press.
More on Florida vouchers from the bulldog Palm Beach Post. Right! Still no voucher problems in Florida...
They're going to re-run the teachers' union election in Chicago. This is a must read, a lot of important implications.
NY Daily News likes Klein's new principal policy. The principals are less enthusiastic.
Boston Herald says do what is necessary to protect charters in MA.
Social Security technical glitches. Don't blame the teachers (as Heritage Foundation predictably does), modernize the system and offer teachers benefits more in line with the flexibility the private sector affords.
The DC Public Charter School Board is hiring for two positions involving NCLB and Washington charter schools. Please contact them, not Eduwonk, about these.
Finally, not exactly an education issue but there is a lot of concern among anglers and non-anglers alike about the snakehead fish that is infesting the Potomac River. So, as a public service, if you want to learn more about this fish click here.
SEEDs of Change
Don't miss this Washington Post look at the SEED Public Charter School in DC, the only public boarding school in the nation. Critics will still grumble though... FYI -- SEED is planning to replicate to get at the question of what to do about helping more kids.
Update: More love for SEED, this time from CBS.
The DC Education Blog, a sharp blog covering education in Washington, DC, landed an exclusive interview with Carl Cohn after he turned down the DC superintendent post. There is an essay by Cohn about his decision, too! It's all interesting; in particular how obvious it is that the governance issues are a deterrent to good candidates for the job. And, just how much Cohn clearly likes Eli Broad! By the way, if for no other reason read it because how often do you hear the words "long-term commitment" and "urban superintendent" used together? He assumes he would've lasted a year!
Jay Mathews takes a look at homeschooling and asks for more info.
No show jobs! Get your no show job right here! But, in fairness, at least the NYC Department of Ed takes a firm line on this stuff: "People who are on the Department of Education payroll should not be cheating and stealing taxpayer money...It doesn't matter how close shopping areas are to the regional offices or to schools." Whoa...hardliners. Daily News has more including shopping details and this not-to-be-missed quote from one of the culprits:
Levantrosser, who allegedly dropped into Lord & Taylor during work hours, scoffed at the charge she was shopping at high-end department stores.
"Yeah, right, because we have the money for Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue," she said.
Wow! Talk about always being on message!
No show students in Florida. Right, no problems with the voucher program there...
No NYT education column today, but two belated letters on class size to tide readers over.
Sac Bee editorial board likes direct lending and says don't mess with student loans.
Ding! Next round of U.S. Department of Education versus almost everyone else over NCLB funding. Oh wait, not politics, it's just a friendly reminder...
You feed them, help raise them, create small schools for them, teach them to think for themselves, and how do they thank you? By saying something interesting! Then they get the mayor and the public on their side and win. And then they overplay their hand a few days later... By the way, the teacher quality issue rears its head again...the kids get it, but not the adults. Update: Klein draws the line...
At this school the teachers are the dissidents.
Some voucher debate from England. Via educationnews.org
NYT reports on Senator Kerry's speech proposing to expand college aid and access. And the Salt Lake Trib reports on a flurry of new ideas -- including the dreaded differential pay -- from the Democratic candidate for Governor in Utah, Scott Matheson Jr. NJ's governor is expanding access too.
New AYP results in MD. Punchline: Sky not falling.
But in New York Rupert Murdoch thinks it is...
Not so much brotherly love for Edison Schools in Philly...could this ultimately turn into a quagmire, lots of attrition, no clear exit strategy, hostile local population? Yup! Send in the foreign correspondents...
This Washington Post story is very Fairfax County-centric but it's useful reading if you think teachers' unions are a monolith.
Another case of charter school skimming! This one almost exclusively serves low-income children who are struggling. 92 percent of the first year's graduating class off to college...
In the Wash Times, Hoover's Zelnick writes on affirmative action and the critical mass mess citing O'Connor as the culprit.
This will make one hell of a Fed-Ex commercial...
The Republican Wing of the Democratic Party?
Attention Republican Climbers! You too can run for office even when there is a logjam of more senior Republicans in front of you. How? Easy, become a charter school opponent!
For instance, back when Democratic NYC Councilwoman and longtime public education supporter Eva Moskowitz was first running for office, the teachers' union in NYC endorsed her opponent, a Republican, former Gulliani fundraiser, and voucher supporter who jettisoned vouchers and opposed charter schools to get the endorsement. Moskowitz was and is a charter supporter. She won anyway and in the process caught national attention from papers like the Wall Street Journal because of the shenanigans.
Now, in Washington State, which is turning out to be a real charter battleground, the state teachers' union, the Washington Education Association (WEA), is endorsing a former Republican recently turned anti-charter Democrat over a Democratic 33 year public educator who happens to be a charter supporter...
According to The Columbian, the "new" Democrat, "seemed to have a better understanding of what our issues are, what our goals are," Lynn Davidson, a Battle Ground teacher and member of the WEA's political action committee, said Wednesday. Indeed!
Incidentally, real Democrats support public charter schools because real Democrats put kids before adults. And, if doing the right thing doesn't sway you, smart Democrats also head off obvious wedge issues rather than aid and abet their political adversaries...
One-stop shopping on Colorado Vouchers. Denver Post story here, the actual ruling here. Plenty of over-the-top dueling press releases but you'll have to find them yourself.
USA Today strongly endorses Teach For America in the wake of the Mathematica study and also says experiment with other reforms. In response NEA's Weaver ignores TFA but seems to come out against differential pay.
In this list of steps the Jacksonville NAACP wants taken to address low-performing schools and achievement gaps there, you will find differential pay.
LA Times' Anderson looks at NCLB as a campaign issue. He misses, however, the real CA angle and important national angle on the recent Hechinger Institute confab about NCLB: George Miller's passionate defense of the law which one attendee said "sounded exactly like [former Bush education aide Sandy] Kress and [House Education and the Workforce Chairman John] Boehner"...A good question is how the Bush Administration has managed to alienate strong NCLB supporters like Miller...so much for uniting and not dividing...[Brian Friel of National Journal tried to answer that question in a very good article a few weeks back but it's not free online.]
USA Today's Cauchon marshals new evidence to show what a lot of people have been saying for a while, college tuition isn't as unaffordable for the middle class as the CW leads one to think (for low-income Americans it's a different story...).
Denver Post's Sherry profiles the talented head of the Denver teachers' union, must read for the cognoscenti...
The Columbus Dispatch comes out strongly for allowing single-sex public education options.
Useful new product (PDF) from the Center for School Change about how charter schools can work with the media, though it's more broadly applicable than that.
Important new study (PDF) by Robert Balfanz and Nettie Legters about "promoting power" at high schools around the country. Don't let the term throw you, it's an important look at the dropout problem that isolates the challenge by region and school characteristics. It's at once more acute but more manageable from a public policy perspective.
And, speaking of charter schools, the Lodi News Sentinel ran a three-part series looking at charter schools and pretty much, deservedly, beatifying Aspire Public Schools founder Don Shalvey. You can read about the debate over charters here, Shalvey here, and another CA charter here. If you don't like charters, save time and just click here.
Joanne Jacobs notes a new kind of grade inflation in Iraq.
Columbia TC's Belfied takes a short but sweet look at drivers of home schooling.
New NCES report looks at language minorities, trends, and relevant labor market indicators.
If you: (a) are into education, (b) are not going to the Democratic Convention in Boston, and (c) aren't put off by a lot of lawyers, then there is a lot to recommend this conference in Portland, Maine, July 26-30.
Finally, a bunch of helpful comments and suggestions about state NCLB requests, but alert and well connected reader CC is now the proud owner of a brand new, genuine, U.S. Department of Education Collector's Quality Man Purse. Thanks also to reader JE for additional info that was useful.
CO Vouchers Unconstitutional
This AM the Colorado Supreme Court struck down the school voucher program there 4-3 because it violates local control provisions of the state constitution. Early implications: (a) the issue will be put before the legislature again because the decision seems to indicate that a redesigned program could pass muster, (b) it could be an issue in the CO Senate race because Colorado AG Ken Salazar who supported the program is running for the open U.S. Senate seat there, and (c) hyperbolic cheering and jeering from voucher friends and foes.
ETS says the mystery poll will be posted by July 2...you'll find more fireworks elsewhere...for example in this new op-ed by ETS president Kurt Landgraf saying that the organization is going to start arguing for lessening the reliance on the property tax to fund schools...
The Chicago Trib looks at all sides of the debate over the mayor's proposed new school initiative.
Carl Cohn, the candidate the Washington, DC, schools were wooing for the superintendent slot, has said no. Back to the drawing board...
At last, the dog that didn't bark. AP's Feller revisits the NEA's threatened lawsuit against NCLB and finds, well, nothing...there is irony buried in there too...find it yourself...
Controversy over military recruitment at a high school in WI; Joanne Jacobs has more.
Wash Post's Connolly and Weisman look at the role domestic issues, including education, will play in the election.
NY Post's Sager takes some shots at New York's small schools but is still well worth reading if you're following the issue...
The NYT revisits the ongoing saga of the Belmont Learning Complex in Los Angeles. Also, NYT readers respond to last week's "Top Colleges Take More Blacks, but Which Ones?" story, and more pledge letters.
A new analysis (PDF) from Mathematica about children's health insurance for gap kids. Worth reading. It can be done.
Keep an eye out for a new Jay P. Greene, Marcus A. Winters, and Greg Forster study on high stakes testing forthcoming in Teachers College Record. No link yet, sure to stir some controversy.