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Reviews of Eduwonk.com

2007 Winner, Editor's Choice Best Education Blog
-- Performancing.com

2006 Winner, Best K-12 Administration Blog -- "Best of the Education Blog Awards"
-- eSchool News and Discovery Education

2006 Finalist, Best Education Blog
-- Weblog Awards

Least influential of education's most influential information sources.
-- Education Week Research Center

"unexpectedly entertaining"..."tackle[s] a potentially mindfogging subject with cutting clarity... they're reading those mushy, brain-numbing education stories so you don't have to!"
-- Slate's Mickey Kaus

"a very smart blog... [if] you're trying to separate the demagogic attacks on NCLB from the serious criticism, this is the site to read"
-- The New Republic's Ryan Lizza

"everyone who's anyone reads Eduwonk"
-- Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media's Richard Colvin

"full of very lively short items and is always on top of the news...He gets extra points for skewering my high school rating system"
-- Jay Mathews, The Washington Post

"a daily dose of information from the education policy world, blended with a shot of attitude and a dash of humor"
-- Education Week

"designed to cut through the fog and direct specialists and non-specialists alike to the center of the liveliest and most politically relevant debates on the future of our schools"
-- The New Dem Daily

"peppered with smart and witty comments on the education news of the day"
-- Education Gadfly

"don't hate Eduwonk cuz it's so good"
-- Alexander Russo, This Week In Education

"the morning's first stop for education bomb-throwers everywhere"
-- Mike Antonucci, Intercepts

"…the big dog on the ed policy blog-ck…"
-- Michele McLaughlin, AFT Blog

"I check Eduwonk several times a day, especially since I cut back on caffeine"
-- Joe Williams, fallen journalist, Executive Director, Democrats for Education Reform

"...one of the few bloggers who isn't completely nuts"
-- Mike Petrilli, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation

"I have just three 'go to' websites: The Texas Legislature, Texas Longhorn sports, and Eduwonk"
-- Sandy Kress, former education advisor to President Bush and former chairman, Dallas Board of Education

"penetrating analysis in a lively style on a wide range of issues"
-- Walt Gardner, champion letter-to-the-editor writer and retired teacher

-- Susan Ohanian

Education News and Analysis

American Educator
Chronicle of Higher Education
Education Next
Education Week
eSchool News
Inside Higher Ed
Jay Mathews' Class Struggle
Phi Delta Kappan
New York Times Education
School Wise Press
Teacher Magazine

Policy and Political Blogs

The American Scene
Andrew Sullivan.com
Booker Rising
The Corner
Daniel Drezner
Dangerous Thoughts
The Democratic Strategist
The Has Been
Huffington Post
Loose Cannon
Matthew Yglesias
The Plank (TNR)
Political Animal (Washington Monthly)
The Politico
Post Global
Real Clear Politics
Taking Note
Think Tank Town
Volokh Conspiracy
WSJ's Blog Federation
Washington Whispers


Collective Bargaining in Education: Negotiating Change in Today's Schools

Edited by Jane Hannaway and Andrew J. Rotherham

Why Newsweek's List of America's 100 Best High Schools Doesn't Make the Grade

By Andrew J. Rotherham
and Sara Mead

A Qualified Teacher
in Every Classroom

Edited by Frederick M. Hess, Andrew J. Rotherham,
and Kate Walsh

America's Teaching Crisis

By Jason Kamras and Andrew J. Rotherham

Rethinking Special Education For A New Century

Edited by Chester E. Finn, Jr., Andrew J. Rotherham
& Charles R. Hokanson, Jr.

Making The Cut: How States Set Passing Scores on Standardized Tests

By Andrew J. Rotherham

Education Blogs

A Constrained Vision
Andrew Pass
a schoolyard blog
Assorted Stuff
Mr. B-G's English Blog
Barnett Berry
Bill Jackson's Education Blog
Bridging Differences (Meier and Ravitch)
Bulletin Board (NASBE)
Campaign K-12 (Ed Week)
Chaos Theory
Charter Blog (NAPCS)
Charter School Policy Inst. Blog
Chez Dormont
Chris Correa
Class Context
The College Puzzle
College Ready Blog (Athens Learning Group)
The Common School
Conversation Starters
Core Knowledge Blog
Critical Mass
Dangerously Irrelevant
Daryl Cobranchi
Dave Shearon
Dave Saba (ABCTE)
DC Education Blog
Dems for Education Reform
The Deputy Head
Early Ed Watch
Early Stories
Educated Nation
Educating One Mind
The Education Network
The Education Wonks
Edwize (UFT)
Eponymous Educator
Essential Blog
Extra Credit
Flypaper (Fordham)
Fordham Fellows
From The Trenches
The Gadfly
Get On The Bus (Dayton Daily News)
Get Schooled (AJC)
The Gradebook (St. Pete Times)
Grumpy Professor
The Hall Monitor
Higher Ed Watch
Hip Teacher
I Thought A Think
In Other News (Ed Week)
Inside Pre-K
Jay Greene
Jenny D.
John Merrow
K-12 Hotlinks
Kindling Flames
Kitchen Table Math
Learning Now (PBS)
The Life That Chose Me
Mathew K. Tabor
Media Infusion
Ms. Frizzle
Moving At The Speed Of Creativity
NCLB Act II (Ed Week)
NSBA's BoardBuzz
NYC Educator
Paper Trail (USN)
ParaNews (NCP)
Paul Baker
The Portable Princess
The PrincipalsPage
Principal's Policy Blog (NASSP)
Quasi Dictum
Roy Romer
Running on Empty
School of Blog
School Zone (MJS)
Schools for Tomorrow
Science After School
SF Schools
Sherman Dorn
SITE Mentor
Small Talk
Special Education Law Blog
Starting Over (Ed Week)
Swift & Change Able
Teach and Learn
Teacher Voices
Teachers At Risk
Teachers' Lounge
Teaching in the 408
Teaching Rookie
Think Lab
This is how I Swim
This Week In Education
Tim Fredrick
Up The Down Staircase
Urban Angle
What up, Mz. Smlph?
Whitney Tilson
Why Boys Fail
Why Homeschool

Educational Resources and Organizations

AALE Charter School Accreditation
Alliance for Excellent Education
American Association of School Administrators
American Educational Research Association
American Federation of Teachers
American Institutes For Research
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Aspen Institute
Asia Society
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
The Broad Foundation
The Brookings Institution
Building Excellent Schools
Center for American Progress
Center for Education Reform
Center for School Change
Center on Education Policy
Center on Reinventing Public Education
Citizens Commission On Civil Rights
Coalition of Essential Schools
Community College Research Center
Community Training and Assistance Center
Council of Chief State School Officers
Council of Great City Schools
Core Knowledge Foundation
Data Quality Campaign
Democratic Leadership Council
eSchool News
Education Commission of the States
Education Evolving
Education Sector
The Education Trust
George Lucas Educational Foundation
Haberman Foundation
Hechinger Institute On Education and the Media
Joyce Foundation
Just for the Kids
Knowledge Alliance
Learning Point Associates
Local School Directory
Michael and Susan Dell Foundation
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning
The Mind Trust
National Academies Center for Education
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
National Association of Charter School Authorizers
National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Center for Postsecondary Research
National Center on Education and the Economy
National Charter School Research Project
National Council on Teacher Quality
National Education Association
National Education Writers Association
National Governors Association
National Institute for Excellence in Teaching
National School Boards Association
New Leaders for New Schools
New Schools Venture Fund
The New Teacher Project
New Vision
Pre-K Now
Harvard's Program On Education Policy and Governance
Progressive Policy Institute
PPI's 21st Century Schools Project
Public Agenda
Public Impact
Reading Reform Foundation
Rick Hess' World HQ
The Savvy Source for Parents
Scholastic Administrator
School Data Direct
Standard & Poor's School Evaluation Services
Standards Work
Teach for America
The Teaching Commission
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
Trust for Early Education
Uncommon Schools
United States Department of Education
The Urban Institute

Opinions on Eduwonk reflect the views of the author, Education Sector does not take institutional positions. Outgoing links do not constitute an endorsement.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Breaking News: Substantiated Rumor...Lifeboat Time For The Leaders?

Is Education Leaders Council going under? The organization's travails are no secret but here's a new development:

The Caribe Royale Resort and Convention Center, where their annual conference was supposed to be held in a few weeks, reports that all reservations and room blocks have been cancelled.

Anyone with more information, please email Eduwonk at: education AT dlcppi DOT org.

Stay tuned...

Update: Reports of layoffs/downsizing...And, one connected reader says, "I don't think they were expecting the hotel to blab." Don't blame the hotel, Eduwonk's tipster was just surprised to learn the conference was cancelled when he/she went to make a reservation...

Is it time to Follow The Leaders to the lifeboats? A lot of taxpayer dollars tied up here though, women, children, and non-competitive federal grants first?

Update II: Another connected reader says it's all weather related and that Eduwonk is all wet, so to speak...Eduwonk doesn't buy that excuse though because (a) no mass email letting the world know and (b) you can't predict a hurricane a few days out, the conference is still weeks away! If it's concern about damage, still weeks away, too, and the hotel says it's fine. Also, too many other emails going the other way, on a Friday evening no less...
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No Child Left Behind Improvement Bill…Road To Ruin or Needles and Pins?
Earlier this week Senators Kennedy and other Senate HELP Committee Democrats introduced a bill with some very modest changes to No Child Left Behind. This close to the election, Republicans are muttering that it’s politics. But that’s not right. Most of what is in the bill are the exact same issues these Democrats have been raising all year in communications with the Department of Education. In fact, it’s only becoming legislation because the Bush Administration has been so thoroughly non-responsive to some legitimate concerns.

The legislation covers several areas. The bottom line is that it’s not a departure from the core accountability requirements of NCLB. Notably it does not include changes to "adequate yearly progress."

What it would do is authorize new funding to help facilitate public school choice. But, it’s only a few-hundred million so if this is the opening bid in a new NCLB funding debate, the NEA can’t be very happy. It also reiterates long-standing concerns about the civil rights requirements that apply to supplemental services providers. It takes on the graduation rate issue and includes authorization for additional funding to help states develop special assessments for disabled students and English language learners and undertake data collection. It would also make NCLB regulatory changes retroactive to previous years, a common-sense policy that the Bush Administration has inexplicably decided to resist. And, it puts a mostly-useful shot across the administration’s bow about scientifically-based research and addresses some problems with multi-disciplinary certifications. So far, so good.

Less encouraging are proposals that would weaken the teacher quality requirements for veteran teachers and paraprofessionals. Who has juice in the teachers’ unions? Guess. Paras are, in fact, the only area where their membership is really growing. Adults versus kids…

So far the reaction from the liberal pro-NCLB Education Trust? Silence. Read into that what you want. Reaction from the NEA? Praise for an important "positive step." Give a moose a muffin…

Also, more on the teacher quality issue from PA.
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NYT on California Charter Academy…The Good, The Bad And The Ugly...But Not The Full Story!
Today’s New York Times takes the California Charter Academy to task. Bravo. That disaster was reprehensible and is a key argument for high quality charter school authorizing. Loads of students were inexcusably displaced at the start of the school year and the whole episode stinks.

Yet, you have to read to the 23rd graf to find some important contextual information: Most students are in other schools now. But, the article doesn’t note that under the leadership of the dynamo Caprice Young, the California Charter School Association did yeoman’s work to ensure that students found new schools. And, although it’s nowhere in the article, the association was supportive of the closure of the California Charter Academy in the first place. More from Gadfly here.

Moreover, the school superintendent who the NYT portrays as the victim here actually authorized this school in the first place and the district was making a lot of money off the fees for being an authorizer. One informed source tells Eduwonk that the district's budget doubled. Again, what California Charter Academy did is inexcusable, but how about some accountability for poor decision-making by the school district that elected to make a deal with these hucksters in the first place and allowed the situation to get out of hand, too? Not news fit to print apparently.

This debacle is a story worth telling, but worth telling in full because it’s about what went wrong, as well as what went right. The California Charter School Association was every bit as good as the California Charter Academy was not and the school district was not simply a sympathetic victim, really sort of an accomplice…. Again, one solution, better authorizing.
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Thursday, September 16, 2004


This has to be the most unusual way to find Eduwonk.
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DC Council Race Update...Plot Thickens
Per yesterday's item, Boardbuzz is still weaving their cocoon. Turns out though it's only a half-cocoon, or a cocoonette, if you will. They’ve found a quote in the Wash. Post from one activist about the D.C. City Council race. She was upset at Kevin Chavous’ support for vouchers. Fair enough, though it’s unclear one quote from a political activist in a story indicates a trend.

Nevertheless, to learn more, Eduwonk spoke with another source very familiar with Chavous’ race about this today. According to this person, vouchers did play some role but more as a proxy for the pervasive sense that incumbents were not paying attention to their particular wards rather than as an education issue per se. The defining issue of the race was perceived inattention to the wards, everything else was subsumed by and filtered through that. So, different accounts, and even with this latter one it's unclear what larger inferences can be drawn from it.

In any event, as close readers will note, the irony here is that Eduwonk isn’t even a voucher supporter! But, the relentless search for any shred of evidence to debunk the documented demand for them in some communities is counterproductive. Deny, deny, deny is a recipe for disaster in terms of building long-term support for public schools.

Also, from the department of insatiable appetites, MO argues that CO Senate candidate Ken Salazar's support for voucher pilot programs is insufficiently bold. Apparently it's universal vouchers or bust! Two blogs. One can’t reckon with vouchers, one can’t reckon without ‘em.
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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Two From BoardBuzz: False Hope And A Dilemma You've Probably Faced Yourself!

Boardbuzz takes note of the primary defeat of D.C. Councilman Kevin Chavous. They speculate, implicitly, that perhaps his support for vouchers had something to do with this. Sorry! According to plugged-in D.C. political types the race turned on economic development in neighborhoods that have not benefited from D.C.'s real estate boon. Voucher support was apparently considered something of a plus in the neighborhoods. As Kaus would say, that's how the cocoon gets woven...And, what will Boardbuzz say when Ken Salazar wins the Senate race in CO? Better start planning that spin now!

Boardbuzz also has a very interesting write-up about a case in Pennsylvania's Lower Merion School District where the community is debating whether the school district should sign a deal with Nike to market NBA star Kobe Bryant's high school jersey.

Boardbuzz wants feedback from school board members who have faced similar situations. Sure. NBA star, accused of rape, criminal case dismissed under weird circumstances, civil suit ongoing, player wants to merchandise high school jersey...this stuff happens all the time.

Update! Indefatigable Eduwonk correspondent MS writes to say, "...if they can't have vending machines in schools anymore, then they need to raise money somehow...maybe Michael Jackson has an old band uniform that could be sold."

Posted at 1:13 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Sword Mightier Than Pen?
In the past few weeks two longtime education journalists have decided to join the education fray rather than just report on it. Karin Chenoweth of The Washington Post and Fredreka Schouten of Gannett have swapped pen for sword.

The significance of this? They both landed at the liberal and staunchly pro-NCLB Education Trust... Guess you can only watch poor kids get screwed for so long before you want to do something about it! As one, still working, journalist recently remarked to Eduwonk, it gets awfully hard to do the "half one side and half the other side" on some of this stuff.
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Indy's Mayor, MN's Experiment, You Can Peer Review Topo and Nelson, NBPTS' Miscalculation...And, Radicalism!
Indy Mayor Bart Peterson is New Democrat of the Week.

Topo and AFT's Howard Nelson debate the charter school data on NPR. Trust Eduwonk, you don't want to miss this one... Also, word is that NYT has the Hoxby study but has sent it out for an expert review. Sensible policy, where did it break down last time?

Merit pay in MN.

Parents of college bound students, don't miss Freedman's NYT column today. Also, NYT's Arenson reports on a new study indicating the need for more college aid, except, as NYT's Winter reports, at Brown...

House Republicans have launched a website to fight back against "radical left-wing opposition" to No Child Left Behind. Don't forget the radical right-wing opposition!

New 21st Century Schools Project Bulletin here, sign up to get it free here.

Here is one example of why, unfortunately, education research is frequently derided and ignored: This Education Week article lauds a new study about National Board teachers that is so fundamentally flawed as to have no real validity. The participants in the study elected to participate, they were not really a "sample", and constituted only about half of the NBTPS teachers in Arizona, where the study was conducted. This problem with the research design was raised in the article, by NCTQ's Walsh, but presented as merely a criticism (and sort of an ideological one), not as a problem with the research design serious enough to render the findings pretty meaningless.

Maybe the National Board doesn't see it, but this sort of stuff is bad for them, too. Every study like this diminishes the impact of more sophisticated studies like Dan Goldhaber's (pdf), which give encouragement to the National Board.
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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Straight Talk On Student Loans

If you follow higher ed issues, don't miss this new paper by Bob Shireman about student loan financing.
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Greg Richmond: Charter Authorizer Extraordinaire, Sandy Kress: Poet, Schorr and Weintraub: Insightful...And, Crank Call Ryan Sager!
Chicago Sun Times takes a look at charter authorizer extraordinaire Greg Richmond.

New data on Historically Black Colleges and Universities from NCES. Lots of interesting and important stuff in here. One striking finding: In 2001, more than one-fifth (22 percent) of all bachelor's degrees awarded to African-Americans were from HBCUs. But, this is down from 35 percent in 1977.

Wanna crank call NY Post editorial writer and blogger Ryan Sager? Well, you're out of luck: This letter to the NYT's Public Editor Xs out his phone number. But, it's a pretty good look at some of the problems with the NYT's charter school reporting although he does not get into the chart. In Eduwonk's view that's probably the most misleading part of the whole sorry episode. He also trots out Topo's new study. This isn't quite fair in this context because it came after the Times story. They could, of course, revisit the issue.

Jonathan Schorr in the Wash. Post and Daniel Weintraub in the Sac. Bee discuss charter schools.

CMS looks at student expulsions. Good and important piece, one quibble. NCLB's provisions on this (which Eduwonk is no fan of anyway) are having no effect because they're basically being gamed. Look elsewhere for culprits.

Bush education advisor Sandy Kress (apparently channeling e.e. cummings) answers questions from Education Week readers here. The guy can sell...
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Monday, September 13, 2004

Charter BS Interrupted...Was Fun While It Lasted!

Harvard's Caroline Hoxby has produced a new analysis of charter school achievement (pdf). Rather than the NAEP sample data which has garnered so much attention, Hoxby was able to analyze almost the entire universe of 4th-graders attending charter schools and compare their achievement in reading and math on state assessments to students at the schools they most likely would have otherwise attended. Where 4th-grade data was not available she used 3rd-or 5th-grade data. It's a much more sophisticated study than the recent AFT report (pdf).

Her findings? In every case - except one - where there was a statistically significant difference (at .90 or .95) between public charter schools and the schools charter students would have otherwise attended the difference was positive in favor of public schools. The exception? You guessed it, North Carolina. Nationwide, average gains were small but positive. That'll be the headline; however, because the study is based on state tests this finding is less relevant than the state-by-state data.

Unfortunately, Hoxby's study, too, is limited to elementary schools. More data on charter high schools would be useful as well. And, because some states have fewer than 200 fourth-graders in charter schools they could not be analyzed. Hoxby notes that because the numbers of charter school students are relatively small overall, it's just too soon to jump to sweeping conclusions about whether the charter idea "works". Still, although it would be helpful if Hoxby also published the raw numbers her analysis produced, overall the study is transparent, accessible, and pretty useful. Surely you'll be reading all about it in the NYT any day now.

Cartography Afterthought: Hoxby previously used rivers to draw inferences about parental choice. This study uses longitude and latitude to locate schools. Was she a map maker or explorer in a previous life? Should her nickname be "Topo"?

Update: Welcome Drezner readers. And, Ed Week has more on Topo Hoxby's study. Duke's Helen Ladd raises a good point about the snapshot nature of the study but (a) that didn't stop boosters of the AFT study and (b) for a national study, Hoxby's efforts are pretty good. Not every state has an assessment and data system that allows for the kind of study that Ladd did in North Carolina.
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This item from last Thursday has occasioned emails from readers wondering what the big news is/was. Sorry! Other things came up and it slipped.

The news is this $300K Bill Gates contribution to the campaign in Washington State fighting to preserve that state's charter school law which the teachers' union there is trying to take down through a referendum this November. John Walton and Don Fisher have already made large contributions along with many smaller donors. The Gates contribution is noteworthy because it's personal money and not something he generally does.
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