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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.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Paige's Exit

Plenty to read around the web, but save time and just read this Washington Post account. It's the best around, basically has it all, and you don't even need to read between the lines too much to see what's going on (note to investors, should Bill Bennett's comments be interpreted as a call to sell?). Odds are now on Spellings as the replacement...she's talented, competent, and pragmatic but it's unclear what she can do on the unity front...On the other hand, she's not a voucher zealot and doesn't drink that or other conservative Kool-Aid so 'wingers likely to be disappointed....
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Friday, November 12, 2004

More NCLB Fizzle, New NCTQ Report...And, More Scopes!

A helpful reader sent a link to this NPR item about a school in Chicago. Interesting story...

In Virginia, the anti-No Child Left Behind revolt fizzles. Across the country -- for a variety of reasons -- this is a story of a dog that didn't bark, some enterprising reporter will write that up sooner or later...Virginia's SOL program is excellent yet NCLB critics in Virginia would have more credibility if they'd at least acknowledge and highlight the approximately 20 point gaps between black and white students in reading and math and the smaller, though still significant gaps between white and Hispanic students. Though positive in many ways, one thing that Virginia's SOLs did not do is explicitly hold schools accountable for gap closing.

Also re NCLB, This Week in Education writes up a new NCLB memo from the NEA that's floating around. The nut? About 10,000 schools in school improvement because of No Child. Sounds high until you consider that there were about 8,000 under the previous 1994 version of the law (though a Department of Ed analysis in the late 1990s found that only half got any assistance at all, fewer still meaningful help). Neither the memo nor This Week points the historical context out. The difference now, of course, is that being in school improvement actually means something.

Very provocative piece on ideology in higher education from The Chronicle of Higher Ed.

The National Council on Teacher Quality has released a handy primer (pdf) about policies that can help or hinder efforts to improve teaching.

More Scopes!
Posted at 8:54 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

More Scopes!
Andy Anderson runs a cool blog about school law, in loco parentis. Per this post he also points up this Volkh post about the whole Scopes business.

Also, if school law issues float your boat, check out this WSJ column about the potential splitting of the 9th Circuit. Lots of implications, education decisions among them.
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Thursday, November 11, 2004

ELC Conference -- Whole Language or Decoding?

If you're dropping in because of the bizarre promotional email sent by the Education Leaders Council's flacks, be sure to read the entire item, not just the selective bits in the email...the minor correction will make more sense, too.
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Remember Veterans' Day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Posted at 9:31 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Civic Engagement!

Who says young people are not passionate about politics?

From MN:

Three zoo school students face charges for using a bat to beat another student who taunted them about being John Kerry supporters days after the contentious election...

"It's a good thing to see young people interested and excited about politics," said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. "It's obviously very disturbing to see this kind of violence over it."
Posted at 10:19 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Education Around The States
Here's a great and pretty comprehensive roundup of state education action from election day via Ed Week's Hoff and Trotter.
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Teacher Quality In Chicago, Small Schools in NYC...And, P.S. Choice
In Business Week William Symonds discusses the trend of public universities seeking to operate like private ones.

Catalyst Chicago points out that the new requirements for teacher quality don't do much to actually improve teacher quality...key graf:

[CPS Official] Botana says the revamped requirements won’t necessarily dilute teacher quality. But, he concedes, “If you equate having a degree in the content area with being higher quality, then the new requirements probably don’t help the quality pool.”

In other words, unless you think that knowing something about the content you're teaching matters, this is no biggie…

From NYC Samuel Freedman looks at small schools and growing pains related to that initiative. The Gothamist says, forget the big picture, the even the bathrooms are a dump. One solution here, used by some schools, is have the adults and the kids all use the same bathrooms. Empowers and respects the kids and you can bet the toilet paper and soap get refilled...

The Washington Post reports on high-achieving students using transfer provisions under No Child Left Behind that were ostensibly designed to help struggling students. This is a tough dilemma; the obvious answer is to restrict transfers to students who are below grade level or in subgroups that are not making Adequate Yearly Progress. However, NCLB's architects (unfortunately they don't make the story) were concerned that limiting the transfer rights to such students would lead to a "push-out" problem as schools sought to send struggling students elsewhere rather than focus on them. On a more basic level, wouldn't allowing parents to chose from among various public schools as a matter of course make more sense and increase buy-in anyway? When you stop and think about it, it seems amazing that we're still having a huge debate about whether all parents should be able to choose among public providers of a public service. Not a way to ensure constituency loyalty over time, that's for sure...

Update: D.C. Education Blog offers a take on this, more blunt, but he probably speaks for a lot of parents...
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Righting the Ship
Like others, Eduwonk was skeptical about whether ELC was going to be able to pull out of its tailspin. Yet they seem to be doing just that (and caught a big break with the election, Eduwonk assumes the early exit polls caused an anxious afternoon at ELC world headquarters!). Here's the agenda (pdf) for their annual conference (December 3-4), rescheduled from October. It's a little light on the bipartisanship (isn't unity the order of the day now???) but some interesting folks nonetheless.

If you go, don't miss the dynamite panel on standards and assessments with Achieve's Matt Gandal, Princeton Review's John Katzman, NWA's Allan Olson, and ELC's Ted Rebarber. Similarly, the charming and brilliant Denzel McGuire, a key Republican education aide in the Senate, speaks about special education and IDEA No Child [sorry, fingers moving faster than mind]. Not-to-be-missed for tea leaf watchers.

Eduwonk won't be there (he's well over his Orlando quota for the year) but any feedback via email much appreciated...
Posted at 8:03 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Postcard From The Edge

A Mid-Atlantic urban administrator writes Eduwonk about No Child Left Behind, he/she's a fan, here is why:

...the public has no idea just how powerful NCLB is....and that the [Bush] administration has actually failed to effectively convey what it's truly all about and what it's truly accomplishing...

...for the first time in years, in the poorest performing of this city's schools, the discussion and focus is all about kids doing grade level work. Not about eking out gains, moving kids closer to grade level, but actually about moving them to grade level...

...for the first time, administrators and teachers are looking at the data constantly...and that in many of the lowest performing schools, it's transforming the way in which educators talk about kids...schools are starting to understand that this is all about kids. That improving from having 5% of a middle school's graduating 8th graders to 15%...which is what AYP's [adequate yearly progress] "Safe Harbor" requirements is all about...actually comes down to committing to having thirty 8th-graders leave on grade level, versus just ten, in an average-sized urban middle school...

...I'm seeing that happen in many schools…the criticism that this can be easily manipulated or leads to 'test prep city' is totally misguided. We've done test prep every year for years....and our lowest performing schools haven't moved. At all. [NCLB] is forcing us to look at grade level standards, and figure out what it's going to take to move kids to them. And, in our schools that are now moving, the challenge is now tomove from 15% of the graduating 8th graders to 25%....and so, in a middle school that just two years ago had 10 students head off to high school being able to do grade level work....they are now aiming (and on track!) to send 50 students on to high school fully able to compete, graduate and go on to higher ed if they want.

This is a totally misunderstood law…[NCLB] is a wonderful tool and leverage point for district leaders...if they choose to buy in....those that don't, are missing out on a great opportunity.
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Edison In Philly, Dropouts in Houston, And History Repeating Itself
Wash. Post's Jay Mathews takes an interesting and fair look at the experience of Edison Schools in Philadelphia.

Robert Kimball is still beating the dropout drum in Houston, but this will likely have less traction now that the election is over.

Karl Rove wants to think we are relieving the Mark Hanna days, and he might be right. But do we have to go through the Scopes trial again, too? There is a lot of this going around in several states. Link via Teach and Learn.
Posted at 10:04 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Monday, November 08, 2004

Punkin' Chunkin'

This weekend was the 19th Annual World Championship Punkin' Chunkin' in Sussex County, Delaware. Competitors from around the country matched wits and machines to see who could hurl an 8lb frozen pumpkin the furthest. The winner, Old Glory, hurled their second pumpkin an impressive 4,224', shy of the world record but good enough to win the day.

An increasing number of school groups, like this one below, are entering. It's a great way for students to learn about physics, engineering, sportsmanship, and c'mon, it's a whole lot of fun... Eduwonk thinks that in addition to their obvious sagaciousness; this school won the youth trebuchet division!

Photo Credit: The Eduwife
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Watching Charters, WA, NC, and IDEA
NY Daily News' Williams takes a look at an interesting argument put forward by NYC's Klein in the school finance case (but possibly too late in the game...).

Here's a case of poor charter school authorizing from MN. They're experimenting out there with allowing a variety of community entities to sponsor public charter schools. But, for the authorizers, as Spiderman learned, with great power comes great responsibility. Looks like it was not exercised here. For the school's part, a lot of poor planning and apparently, according to folks on the ground, an aversion to taking advantage of various supports that were in place to help new schools get off the ground.

Here are some interesting thoughts on charter schools, rural communities, and the WA state referendum. Via Jacobs.

Wonder why some teachers are understandably skeptical of pay-for-performance schemes? Here's an indication.

Keep an eye on IDEA during the lame duck session. These folks will! Via Educationnews.org
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Debating Charters, Part Whatever...
In Jay Mathews' Washington Post column Harvard's Marty West and the American Federation of Teachers Howard Nelson debate the recent AFT charter report.

It's a worthwhile read if you're interested in the issue but will likely do nothing to clear the air around the basic issues here. That's in no small part because West can only wait three paragraphs to accuse the AFT of being hypocrites when it comes to using test score data to make inferences about school quality. He, and several coauthors, unfortunately employed the same argument in a Wall Street Journal column immediately after the AFT report was released and missed a golden opportunity to set the record straight.

It's a line of argument that is counterproductive for two reasons. For starters, except apparently at the New York Times, there is little doubt among major education journalists about the AFT's reliability as an objective source of information on these issues. Second, raising these issues obscures the real problems with how the AFT presented the NAEP data (and of course how the NYT reported it) in a cloud of ideological back and forth. People assume that this is just another iteration of the left-right education debate. Unpacking the charter data for lay readers would be a lot more productive than pushing a point that has a lot more to do with the voucher debate than charters. To be fair, West makes a lot of good points about the AFT study, but probably after many readers have stopped reading.

Nelson offers thin gruel. He continues to accuse the Bush Administration of suppressing this and other information about charter schools (Yoohoo! The election is over…we lost. Enough is enough…). Careful readers will see that Nelson is skating on thin empirical ice and frequently seeks to change the topic.

The debate also gets into the recent Hoxby study and is well worth reading. Still, one wishes that the insightful Jay Mathews, who knows how to aggressively moderate a debate and get at the facts, had done more of that here.

West clearly wins on points but it could have been a knockout.
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