Friday, September 24, 2004
Small Gathering on Small Schools
AEI hosted a seminar on small schools recently, more here.
“There’s nothing I’d like better than if most people who gave me that [conservative or right-of-center] label didn’t mean asshole.”
Former Berkeley professor and current Manhattan Institute fellow John H. McWhorter in The Chronicle of Higher Education (September 24, 2004). Incidentally, he’s really not a conservative anyway.
Another "grassroots" website working against NCLB. Who needs Republicans anyway?
Pair of Wash. Post's
From Republicans we hear a lot about tax credits for education. Yet apparently plain old tax credits for low-income Americans, which presumably could be spent on education along with other things, are bad news?
Also, Washington Post editorial board weighs-in on the candidates and education. They let the President off too easy on No Child implementation but they obviously didn’t get pumped up and mobilized at a house party…
No lifeboats today, instead we have a new captain! Ted Rebarber currently head of Accountability Works will take over as the new CEO of the Education Leaders Council, current CEO Lisa Keegen stepping down at the end of next month. ELC and Accountability Works will merge. Rebarber is very sharp, and has management experience, but will this give funders and appropriators the shot of courage they need?
Ed Week's Richard has much more here...
Good luck Ted!
And Eduwonketeers...probably best to keep those personal flotation devices close by for a while longer...just in case!
Progress, but was Mark Twain right?
More Top-Drawer Management From The Bush Department of Education
This site used to be a good resource for information about charter schools...but no more. Charter supporters, with friends like these...
These guys cannot renew a website agreement on-time, you're going to trust them to run a war?
Eduwonk's just back from a house party. Feelin' good, feelin' mobilized! Yeah! Go team! Spend!
Las Vegas Review-Journal likes the new charter study of NYC and outs PPI as a bastion of serious lefty thought!
This is not a call to return to the lifeboats but here is more information on the ELC situation:
First, multiple confirmations from very informed sources that numerous resignations have taken place within the last week including chief of staff, office manager, and other senior types. Fiscal viability of the organization? Extremely uncertain according to multiple sources.
Second, multiple reporters (real reporters, with notebooks, tape recorders and everything!) working on stories about all this and not only trade press.
Third, this person cannot be pleased. Is all this just about beating the clock and keeping the heat off for 41 days? Nah, that would be too out of character for anything involving the Bush Administration right now...
Also, from an Ed Daily story:
[ELC Policy Director Gary] Huggins took issue with an item on Eduwonk, an education Web site, which wondered whether the cancellation signaled that the ELC “was going under,” but later posted an update, pointing to the December rescheduling. “I was extremely bothered by that,” said Huggins. “Maybe that’s the way Web blogs work, but it was just pure rumor.”
First, Eduwonk readers can rest easy, "pure rumors" are not published here if for no other reason than I'd have no time for anything else (a lot of you have a lot of axes to grind...). So fear not, you are not reading Ratherwonk. Our rumors are high-grade and checked-out. Second, time will tell...seems like big changes coming. Eduwonk calling Vegas books for odds now.
Stay tuned...and remember, no heavy drinking!
Also II: One emailer wants to know what, if any, useful things have come out of ELC to date. For Eduwonk's money two things: ABCTE, which is sorely needed, and NCTQ, which is as well. ELC helped launch both, and both encourage pluralism in education policy and diminish group-think, badly needed. Beyond that, it's unclear what Follow The Leaders has produced (despite $20-plus million in federal money) and although Eduwonk surely didn't agree with ELC on everything, he was glad to see another voice in the debate. Unclear they're filling that role now though...
The Baltimore Sun's Alec MacGillis takes an in-depth look at educational technology at NCLB. More money for low-income schools because of the law, hard questions about what it's being spent on.
Papers from the NCES summer conference on school finance available here. Timely topics.
Wash. Post's prolific Mathews looks at fledging efforts to measure collegiate value-added. And, he also looks at public boarding schools.
NYT's Winter has more on the student loan issue. Bob Shireman on the issue for PPI here. NYT's Freedman looks at budget issues at one high school in NY.
California Charter School Association head Caprice Young writes about charters in the San Diego Tribune.
LA Times on Broad Prize winner Garden Grove.
Jacobs on bullying. Jacobs on the Time article that has everyone chattering. And, Hip Teacher writes about her theatrical teaching. Good stuff. The Eduwife gets into full costume to make Macbeth come alive (thankfully at school only...). Da Blog! Education writer Alexander Russo now has a Chicago-based blog you should check out, link heavy.
Fast Break and Seeds of Change
Two new analyses of charter schooling out from PPI. In Fast Break In Indianapolis, analyst Bryan Hassel takes a look at the charter experience in Indianapolis where the mayor, Democrat Bart Peterson, is chartering schools. In Seeds of Change In The Big Apple, analyst Robin Lake takes a look at the charter experience in New York City. Both reports are preliminary but offer plenty of insights, cautions, and recommendations.
Previous analyses of state and urban charter experiences include CA (Catching the Wave), MN (Ripples of Innovation), and AZ (Rugged Frontier). Look for Ohio and Texas late this year.
Local press on Indy here, and AP on "Seeds" here.
Garden Grove Unified School District is the winner of the 2004 Broad Prize for Urban Education.
The other finalists were Aldine Independent School District in Houston, Texas; Boston Public Schools, Boston, Massachusetts; Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Charlotte, North Carolina; Norfolk Public Schools, Norfolk, Virginia. $500,000 goes to the winner and $125K to the other finalists for scholarships for the district's graduates.
Eli Broad endowed the prize in 2002.
Again, from Penn. Amy Guttman, formerly very sympathetic to unions, now less so as President of an institution that has to deal with them.
One student (cum future department chair...) rushes to her aid:
Simi Wilhelm, chairwoman of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly and a student in Penn's Graduate School of Education, said she believes GET-UP leaders misinterpreted Gutmann's academic works.
"What was talked about in [her writings on labor unions] and what [was] pursued at Penn are not the same thing," Wilhelm said.
She added that Gutmann's "support of a union in one context doesn't translate to another."
Of course not.
For background, Eduwonk flashback here.
Leaders To The Lifeboats Watch...
Stay tuned here.
Update: Consult Eduwonk for all your travel needs! Postponement email notice from ELC just out, new dates, first weekend of December. After the election, convenient! At least for now, abandon lifeboats, back to cabins?
Update II: Even if the conference does happen, it won't be so much fun because you'll have to drink in moderation…
SAT trouble at CUNY... NYT readers discuss legacy admissions. Wash. Times' Archibald writes up the Hoxby charter school study. And, more rearguard action in the Geezer War.
David Steiner and Dan Butin debated ideology, quality, and colleges of education at Progressive Policy Institute week before last. Ed Week's Viadero offers her take here, NCTQ's take here.
The Teaching Commission says hey, policymakers, look over here! They've got some good ideas.
PA NCLB legal challenged settled. Scroll to the bottom of this NSBA newsletter for more. Even better, subscribe to this top-drawer product and get it free yourself.
New report (pdf) from the Civil Rights Project about NCLB's views on teachers. A lot of what you'd expect (federally funded tutoring is a "sanction", don't tell that to the proponents of after-school programs...) although there are some interesting nuggets in here for close readers. However, it would be far more useful if there were more analytical overlay with other research and literature (pdf) about expectations in low-performing schools, and likewise more interesting if the conclusions were not so dreadfully predictable.
The John Locke Foundation says charter schools in NC are doing great. However, they ignore this study. Locke's probably not rolling in his grave though. The foundation emphasizes a lot of other things that charters are doing, and Locke himself would likely find a lot to criticize about today's emphasis on standards. He did, after all, have Some Thoughts Concerning Education (albeit elitist ones). Still, if you're concerned about student achievement, Ladd and Hoxby both offer a red-flag on NC.
Are high school exams rigorous enough? Ed Trust and Acheive say no. This writer says yes! Via educationnews.org.
One other study generating some buzz right now is the new "Teachabilty Index" (pdf) produced by Manhattan Institute's Greene and Forster. You can read a discussion about it from Wash. Post's Mathews here. Basically, Greene and Forster compiled an index of factors affecting learning and argue that conditions have improved and students are thus more "teachable." There is a lot more to it than that, read it.
It has of course sparked the usual debate but that back and forth seems a lesser issue than the larger question of whether it's valid to aggregate individual factors like this in an index and draw broad inferences from it. More importantly, though, is the study asking the wrong question or in the wrong way? Overall "teachablity" matters a lot less than disaggregated information about the hardest-to-teach students. After all, that's where the thrust of today's improvement efforts are aimed. The quality of life in this country has improved over the last 30-years (for an interesting look at that buy this book), but progress doesn't mean there are not still serious problems in many communities. But, there are enough public schools doing great work with disadvantaged students to give the lie to the idea that demographics are destiny. Political will is destiny. We don't need an index to tell us that.