Friday, October 15, 2004
Ideology In San Diego...And, Terry Moe Is Right...And Correct, Too!
From San Diego, a 3-2 vote on whether it’s appropriate to compare your political opponents to Nazi sympathizers. Only 3-2, nice. Hey! Boardbuzz! You really ought to say something about this!
More Eduwonk profanity: Terry Moe calls bulls**t on the way states are implementing NCLB's teacher quality provisions. Though some will say because he's a voucher advocate he must be wrong about this issue and everything else, fact is (pdf) he's right about this.
Per this post, a loyal reader and educator from NYC writes that:
The problem is that for even the best principals and school leaders, the problems posed by this are almost impossible to figure out how to handle. It is one thing to have plans in place for how schools would deal with an attack on some other target in the city; that has been done, and the NYC schools really did magnificently on 9/11, without plans in place. But it is really close to impossible, I think, to figure out how a school could do anything meaningful to protect its students in the face of something like the takeover of the Russian school short of making it an armed camp. And if one school were attacked, I think that other schools would be overwhelmed by frantic parents determined to take their children home as quickly as possible. In NYC, we are talking about hundreds and hundreds of schools, so you can't even conceive of any sort of police presence which would be more than an early warning; you would have to move in National Guard troops by the thousands - and Bush has all of them committed to Iraq. This is something no one talks about, because no one really knows how to get a handle on this given the sheer numbers of schools, and the undertaking it would involve to provide any meaningful security for them.
Department of F**ked-Up Priorities
The GAO reports that the Bush Department of Education is botching No Child Left Behind implementation. They respond by focusing on this?
Oh wait, Arkansas! Gotta shore up the base!
Check out USA Today's package on outstanding teachers.
Also, Eduwonk just learned that the U.S. Department of Education has a Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs. Who knew? Does Rod Paige have a foreign policy? Maybe the job is to brief him on terrorist groups?
Another look (pdf) at the CA reading data.
PACE is actively working to distance itself from this "study" which was not an official PACE product.
Update: From their grassy knoll, Gadfly weighs-in.
The Washington Times may be more of a tip sheet for Republican operatives than a newspaper, but Bill Gertz's reporting is reliable. That's why this story is unsettling.
One Eduwonk reader with a lot of experience with foreign policy/spook work discounts this report but says that the plans schools have in the event of a terrorist attack are insufficient, nonetheless. He's skeptical of the plans to lockdown students and says they might even work in favor of the terrorists.
"My concern with the schools is that, in our area at least, in the event of any so-called "code blue" emergency--terrorist, biohazard, chemical release, severe weather, all the schools would go into "lock-down." and prevent any children from leaving school even if their parents come to claim them. There are not enough police to protect every school. Clever terrorists could create a code-blue diversion by releasing suspect smoke/gas, for instance, or by making a threat, solely in order to precipitate the lockdown. The terrorists would then have their choice, just in this [the Washington, D.C.] area of 300 unprotected schools, none of which were designed with safe havens or even the most basic security features. If they chose wisely they could find among their hostages the children and spouses of movers and shakers in the government."
Of course, it's not clear how an alternative to the lockdown strategy would work either.
Another Wednesday, Another Freedman Gem...And, A Fast PACE Of Disavowing!
You can just about set a clock by it. Today's column looks at the ESL test in NY. Could this be a case of interest group dissonance, hate tests but like as many kids as possible in bilingual education?
PACE is still frantically working to get out from under the shadow of the recent Fuller "study" on reading scores. More Jacobs here. Meanwhile, here is a new and solid ETS analysis (pdf) of 4th-grade achievement reading from a variety of angles.
Tonight is the last debate between President Bush and Senator John Kerry and it's the one that is supposed to shed some light on domestic policy. Though it's not a major issue in this campaign, let's hope that education at least makes a cameo. And, let's hope that the questions go beyond the scripted back and forth about funding for No Child Left Behind. Toward that end, here, from deep inside the Eduwonk Policy Vault are some suggestions:
For President Bush:
This week The New York Times editorialized that, "[The U.S. Department of Education] lacks the capacity, courage and leadership to do its job." Do you agree or disagree with that assessment? If you agree, what do you plan to do about it? And if you disagree, what specific evidence can you offer to the contrary?
Can you cite any specific mistakes that your administration has made implementing No Child Left Behind? Is there anything you would do differently?
Your private school voucher initiative in Washington, D.C. does not include provisions to ensure public accountability, data reporting, and transparency along the lines of what you insisted be included in the No Child Left Behind Act for public schools. Can you explain why this discrepancy exists?
White suburban Republicans are very leery of school vouchers, why do you think that is? Do you think their reticence has ramifications for other educational issues?
And of course, after almost four years in office, Mr. President is our children learning?
For Senator Kerry:
Aside from funding, what other specific problems do you see with how the Bush Administration has handled No Child Left Behind? What would you do differently?
What role should testing play in education policy? What role would data play in policymaking decisions in your administration?
Majorities of African-American and Hispanic voters support school vouchers, why do you think that is? What does this mean for education policy going forward?
You went to small schools yourself. In your view how does school size relate to school culture and what are the advantages and disadvantages of smaller schools?
For Both Candidates:
What role does funding play in education policymaking?
What role should parental choice play in education?
What choice initiatives would your/does your administration support and why?
Our nation has a teacher quality problem that disproportionately affects poor and minority students. What, specifically, will your administration do/is doing to address this?
What, in your view, is the cause our causes of the achievement gap in education? What can national policymakers do to address it?
Alternatively, if none of these devil your egg, Mr. Sun proposes a whole new debate structure with a lot of promise.
The Bush Administration is betting that they are...but apparently betting wrong.
And, Bush Administration has developed a point-system to rate education reporters. How handy! And how completely wasteful and inappropriate a use of taxpayer dollars...
Update: Roll Call has more.
More Education Politics! Hess On Giving, Another AFT Report...And, How Important Is NCLB?
A politically driven study, a politically driven response, and it doesn't even involve charter schools! This time it's reading scores. Jacobs has all your links here. This does sort of have the feel of a low-rent version of the late hit RAND flap in 2000. Ed Trust, over to you. Update: Expect an implicitly damning statement from PACE today disowning the study. Will Ed Week have second thoughts about giving it such prominence?
One thing you might not have known, and one thing you probably did: The latter, Alan Keyes is sort of nuts. The former, and more interesting, putative Illinois Senator Barak Obama is a big charter school supporter. More here.
In Philanthropy the remarkably prolific Rick Hess writes about K-12 giving. Don't be put off by the lede about Annenberg, there is a lot of new information and analysis in here, worth reading.
New, important, (and trustworthy) AFT report on graduate students. Despite the NLRB ruling earlier this year this remains an important issue. And a key target for liberal union busting...
NYT editorializes about No Child Left Behind and the candidates (on the editorial page). Writing that the "No Child Left Behind Act is potentially the most important education reform since the nation embraced mandatory schooling" they urge both candidates to get it right. It's important, but that characterization may overstate it a bit...
Also, NYT's Andrew Ross Sorkin reports that Ted Forstmann is calling it quits in 2006. Implications beyond the financial world. Republicans loved Forstmann for his Children's Scholarship Fund, which created privately funded voucher programs in many cities. Democrats loathed it (though some serve on the board...).
In the Wash Post BU's Peter H. Gibbon writes about teacher Rafe Esquith. It's a wonderful story, but the world is not entirely populated with Rafe Esquiths...
More adverse selection here, from Chris Correa. Via Jacobs.