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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, October 29, 2004

Please Help These Folks

Don't forget to see if you can help out with this project.
Posted at 9:37 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Job Application
The American Crisis was written by:

a) Thomas Jefferson
b) Thomas Paine
c) E.D. Hirsch
d) Alfie Kohn

Laissez-faire is French for:

a) Not expensive
b) Let people do as they chose
c) We hate George Bush

If you have bad news that you have to share with the press, the best time to do it is:

a) First thing Monday morning on a slow news week
b) Friday at 5:30 PM unless there is a major breaking news story earlier in the week

If you answered 'b' to all three questions, then you're likely qualified for this job at the Core Knowledge Foundation in Virginia's heaven-sent Albemarle County and might want to check it out.
Posted at 8:15 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Good Returns
Last month PPI analyst Sara Mead outlined a plan for universal access to high-quality pre-kindergarten education. This month EPI analyst Robert Lynch makes the case that investments in pre-k pays dividends down the road. There is widespread agreement that this is a glaring problem that should be addressed, it's just politics now.
Posted at 8:02 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Reading Between The Lines
Profile In Discourage: Not too hard to see what happened here in Buffalo...

More Buffalo here, the potential of charter schools.
Posted at 7:56 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Thursday, October 28, 2004

A Little Help From Friends

Eduwonk does not solicit funds or do any e-panhandling on the site because we're supported by some generous philanthropic grants. But we are going to ask you for some help here on behalf of another effort.

FIRST LEGO League is a project that engages middle and high school students in hands-on robotics and scientific research. They are given a challenge to meet through the construction and programming of robots using LEGO parts. Teams compete regionally, at the state level, at the national level, and internationally. It's a great program but, according to a Brandeis University study, few U.S. participants, less than 10 percent, are minorities and girls are underrepresented as well.

A couple of Los Angeles teachers are trying to get more students involved. This year they've created a team from Lynwood Middle School in LA. Lynwood has about 2/3 of students learning English and 3/4 living in poverty. Results from the 2004 California state assessments show that only 15% of seventh graders and 13% of eighth graders tested proficient or above in English Language Arts, and 8% of seventh graders and 0% of eighth graders tested proficient or above in Mathematics.

The 10 student team they've built is representative of the school's population: Almost all are English Language Learners; about half have participated in Special Education or Resource Specialist Programs. Some are currently enrolled in the school’s alternate placement for students extremely far below grade level and at high risk for school failure, and others are enrolled in Special Day Classes. One-third are female, and all are either Hispanic or African-American. In the competition, the team will compete against students from more affluent communities near LA.

UCLA, the Lynwood School District, and some generous individuals in Los Angeles are helping out but the team needs more help. If you have either technical expertise with science and robotics (or even LEGOs) and live in the LA area, or if you can make a monetary contribution to help the team (every little bit helps) please e-mail "education AT dlcppi.org" and we'll put you in touch with the two teachers helping to lead the project.

These teachers have stepped up: Please step up for them. For donations of $100 or more or 8 hours of time or more, Eduwonk will send you a personalized, signed copy of Wendy Kopp's book One Day All Children: The Unlikely Triumph of Teach for America and What I Learned Along the Way. Be sure to mention this when you e-mail us.
Posted at 11:12 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Tomorrow’s Prognostication Today
Why wait until Tuesday night? Get your post-election education analysis right now! First, Kerry should win by a sizeable margin, say Kerry 299 and Bush 239. Eduwonk is uncertain on the popular vote but thinks Kerry will win a reasonably handy margin in the Electoral College. Barring some last minute surprise event, Bush’s act seems to have run its course and around the country there seems to be a decidedly pro-Kerry tenor and we may be seeing the top end of Bush's support while Kerry still has some room to grow. Indicator to watch with education implications going forward: How well Senator Kerry performs with African-American voters, particularly in the cities.

What will a Kerry win mean for education? Well, most notably and somewhat ironically, it’s probably better for keeping the main thrust of the No Child Left Behind reforms in place. Kerry has put forward a pragmatic and sensible set of ideas for introducing more tools to make NCLB work. Had Bush won, the partisan climate in Washington would have gone from really bad to Sherman-like. Anything associated with Bush would be a target, regardless of its merit, and the conflation of politics and education policy around NCLB would continue in the states.

Kerry will oversee a reauthorization of NCLB that will see some foreseen and unforeseen changes to the law. But it will be a lot easier for him to work with NCLB supporters on the Hill and ensure that the baby is not thrown out with the bathwater than it would be for Bush who would be even more of a lightning rod than he is now.

Kerry offers better policies for higher ed, too, and should put enough priority on education that the backload of stalled reauthorizations gets addressed.

Update: Of course, you can't minimize the impact of GOTV efforts like this one. Via Andrew Sullivan.

Update II: In the event of October surprises like these, all bets are off.
Posted at 10:01 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

You've Gotta Believe
Part I, from the Boston Globe...

Part II, from Wonkette.
Posted at 9:45 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The NCLB Transfer Dilemma

From an urban teacher, identity withheld:

[My district] sent out letters to all parents that we are now in program improvement. Unfortunately, no one told the teachers. Oops. I had to answer parents today with, "What letter?"

With such disorganization, it's not really a mystery why we're in this situation.

Now I'm asked to write the bit about school choice for the letter from the school to be sent home to parents tomorrow (far too late, in my opinion). A moral dilemma for me... I know that we are improving and I know that many kids are successful at our school. I also believe that it weakens the school community when anyone decides to leave, especially to be bussed to a school where they may be overcrowding someone else's classroom or where the teacher may not be prepared to meet their unique needs.

But if I were a parent, I would jump on the opportunity and I don't know that I can discourage parents from doing something that may be a huge benefit for their kids. Even if the impact on the school as a whole may be negative.

Isn't this also a microcosm of part of the Democratic dilemma on vouchers?
Posted at 1:14 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

More PACE Handicapping
In case you missed it, Mike Kirst's letter in this week's Ed Week says it all about the recent Fuller study on reading scores. Ouch.
Posted at 11:50 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

How To Make An Eduwonk Swoon...
Eduwonk has been in Philly a lot this month. The sentiment there, among administrators, reformers in the schools, and community activists is that the district caved on the new teacher contract. Theories as to why abound and range from the weird and conspiratorial to pretty mundane and plausible.

Observers of urban reform say the same thing is likely to happen in New York, too. Remember, we're not talking about outrageous changes here but rather basic things like allowing principals control over who works in their school (in Philly they compromised, principals get 1/2 the picks, the other half are based on seniority, you don't need a PhD in organizational behavior to see the problem there...)

But on Tuesday in New York Eva Moskowitz, the maverick Democratic chairwoman of the city's education committee, went public with her concerns that this was about to happen. In a letter to Mayor Bloomberg she wrote that:

As Chair of the City Council Education Committee, I am very concerned by recent news reports indicating that you are being urged to sign a contract with the teachers’ union that will be lacking in fundamental reforms. If true, that would be a major setback for our children, our City, and the hopes of many that your administration would achieve your stated goal of lasting, fundamental reform of our school system. I therefore write to urge you to stick to your guns on educational reform...

The cumbersome labor contracts governing our schools, therefore, must be reformed. The historical reasons for them are understandable. When money was tight, instead of giving people proper raises, we adopted inefficient work rules. As a result, the contracts prescribe, sometimes in comical detail, how, when, and under what precise circumstances our human resources can be deployed – take, for example, the 10 foot rule in the custodians’ contract that dictates how high up custodians can paint.

Most people agree that the biggest and most immediate concern is the teachers’ contract. A good contract is important for all parties, but this one prevents managers from managing. It impedes principals from attracting talented and experienced teachers to challenging schools, and removing those who can’t do the job. As you said last fall: "The union contract...covers an enormous number of things, many of which really shouldn't be in a labor contract...management has no prerogatives to move resources around, set standards, pick the people that they think would do the best job." The contract also ties up principals in thousands of lengthy, repetitive grievance proceedings. And, it doesn’t serve teachers. Their legitimate complaints often go unaddressed while they inherit unprepared students, passed along by unmotivated or unqualified colleagues, and are blamed for the results.

No organization can be successful under such rules...

There are four major changes that must be made to the teachers’ contract. We must eliminate: 1) longevity as the sole criteria for teacher assignments, 2) inefficient work rules, 3) restrictions against paying teachers more in shortage areas and for talent and 4) obstacles to firing incompetent and mediocre teachers. It’s that simple.

Now is the time to hold firm against pilot programs and incremental changes. Those are merely window dressing and the illusion of progress, much like the prior administration's claim that it ended principals' tenure (it didn’t, which the public discovered only when it read the contract after the deal was done). We stand at the verge of obtaining desperately needed resources through the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. You have the power to wield those resources through Mayoral control. But, without changing the work rules, you will not be able to complete that task, and I fear that if you do not fix the teachers' contract, no Mayor in our lifetime will...

The response so far? Well, Bloomberg seems mighty pissed-off to be called out on this and accused Moskowitz of grandstanding (does any New York pol have standing to make that charge? We should ask AG Eliot Spitzer for a ruling, no wait, never mind). For their part the teachers' union is furious that Moskowitz took what is normally a backroom issue (for Eduwonk's money these contracts should be printed in the paper as a public service so the public can understand what they do and don't include) is being debated in public like this. New York Times here, NY Post here, NY Daily News here.

Good for Moskowitz. It's about time for movement on this issue and that's only going to happen if these issues are debated in the light of day. In the long run reforming these contracts is good for the teachers and in the short run, and more importantly, it's vital for the kids.

Update: A lot of buzz about a Klein - Bloomberg split over this issue. All sides denying publicly, but those in the know say this marriage has hit a rough patch, Eduwonk's not the only one swooning over Eva!
Posted at 9:04 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Steal This Book!

Wait, don’t! It’s free. Ted Kolderie’s new book about new schools is causing some buzz among reform-oriented Democratic state legislators and you can read it here (pdf) gratis.
Posted at 9:48 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Give some credit to bus drivers for the District of Columbia Public Schools, they don’t even insult us with the pretense that kids come first. Wash Post here, Wash Times here.

Update: Alert reader BC writes to say, "Give some credit to the bus drivers who DID show up, despite pressure from the union."

Good point.
Posted at 9:41 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Monday, October 25, 2004

You Make The Call

Letter to yesterday's Washington Post about No Child Left Behind and a Montgomery County elementary school. Does a good job showing that some of the NCLB requirements can be arbitrary (welcome to public policymaking). But is this school really a poster-child for that case or more evidence of upper-middle class yuppies maligning a law intended to help kids on the other end of the achievement gap?

Mind the gaps...

Update: Boardbuzz makes its call...ignore the gaps!
Posted at 3:00 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Sunshine State
From Florida: One in three kids proficient…good enough! Overall state performance here, worrying if you’re not affluent and white…
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Liberal Arts Industrial Complex?
The Chronicle of Higher Education ($) has a great package on lobbying by institutions of higher education.

The Chronicle reports that lobbying expenditures by colleges are now on par with spending by defense contractors. The incredible proliferation of earmarks (specific projects tucked into larger spending bills) is one cause.
Posted at 7:37 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

And Now For Something Different
It has not received much attention because what little light has been cast on education during the campaign has been directed at No Child Left Behind, but Senator Kerry has put forward a pretty robust set of proposals around higher education.

Most interesting, in Eduwonk’s view, are Kerry’s service for tuition swap and plans to simply the student aid application process.

More on national service here.

President Bush's plan? We're doing NCLB, you can't expect us to do higher ed, too!?!?

Actually, they have a very little bit here, scroll down.

Update: Here is some attention! US News writes up the candidates' ideas on higher ed here.
Posted at 7:33 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

NYT on Charters
Is this article what the rumor was about? If so, it's not so bad. But it's also not so good. Though some charter supporters will probably cry foul, it's really more of a missed opportunity than a hit piece. It looks at charter schools through the lens of the anti-charter referendum in Washington State.

While citing some bipartisan and diverse support for charters the story implies that support is weakening. In fact, the opposite is true as groups like, for instance, the National Council of La Raza, get involved. Likewise, the business and conservatives v. public schools issue alignment does not do the complexity of the issue justice. And, a little too much on the "private" issue. Charter schools are public schools.

Still, overall impact on the debate? Negligible.

Update: This Week In Education's Russo sucks up to The Times but in the process makes a good point about what's potentially ahead.
Posted at 7:32 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

More More In Sorrow Than Anger
The American Federation of Teachers likes to say that they're supportive of charter schools, even as many of their state affiliates attack them politically and in court. Well, turns out they've also given $55K to the anti-charter referendum in Washington State.

New theory on why some charter schools are struggling: Their supporters!
Posted at 7:17 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post