Saturday, May 07, 2005
The More Things Change...
Who says charter schools are not like other public schools? Here's a pretty egregious case of a charter EMO trying to crack down on dissenting parents. Here's the offending website itself.
One of the big challenges facing the charter community is not to end up replicating many of the problematic norms that exist in many parts of the traditional public schools. Such behaviors don't occur by accident, it's a natural evolution of things that must be vigorously guarded against. Overall so far the track record is mostly good (the intolerance among top flight charter leaders for low-performing charters, for instance what's happening now in Texas, is a noteworthy and overlooked story). But episodes like this should cause concern.
After all, a little dissension is good for progress and quality programs can withstand both dissension and choice.
Governator In Brief
In CA for the past few days. Lots of talk about Schwarzenegger’s education efforts. Most spot-on and concise review via one seasoned political observer, “all he’s accomplished so far is a big dues increase for the California Teachers Association.” A lot riding on Alan Bersin.
Worth noting, big urban sup’ts pleased with the Bersin pick. Also worth noting, the dismay from many liberals about the Democratic party's education stance out here is intense as is the sympathy for the Governator on this issue. Did the Governator blow a big opportunity, or will he be back?
Amsterdam News takes a look at the teachers' contract in NYC...pretty pro-Klein story...perhaps because he's pretty much right on this issue? It's either that, or he checked all his progressive credentials upon becoming chancellor...amazingly, some fervently believe the latter.
Via School News Monitor.
School Board Attys
More than you ever wanted to know about what a school board attorney does. 22 pages of interview with one (pdf) and some interesting nuggets if you wade through.
In a new Fordham Foundation essay, Ed Truster and current pre-K advocate Amy Wilkins looks at FL's pre-K initiative (pdf). Worth reading, an interesting caution on universality.
Related: PPI's Sara Mead on why the feds should partner with the states to move this issue forward.
In the new Education Next Rick Hess and Andrew Kelly take a look at leadership preparation. There is a D.C. event on the same topic with several views on May 25.
Other articles worth reading, in particular a Ted Sizer - Mike Petrilli forum on charter schools and NCLB.
You Can Help Heap Praise On A Great Teacher
Know a great teacher? Nominate them for some recognition.
NYT's Winerip looks at some potential problems with the new writing portion of the SAT. Worth checking out.
Is up at Jenny D's site. Good stuff. Two highlights are this post about dissension in the ranks of the CTA and this interesting history lesson from Chris Correa. The latter gives the lie to the hysterical notion that all this NCLB resistance is unprecedented.
Here's an interesting and important story from NY Daily News' Williams. There is a dispute in New York about summer school hiring. The Klein Administration wants to hire based on perceived merit, the UFT wants summer school hiring done on seniority. Raises two big questions. First, program quality appears to be better under a non-seniority arrangement. Second, if Klein loses the case, which is currently under arbitration, big costs for the school system in back pay. Worth watching, particularly against the backdrop of bigger contract issues in Gotham.
More recriminations in the Sallie Mae v. Direct Loan fight.
Two unrelated and random articles worth reading:
High poverty-high performing schools in the Buffalo area.
And, good look at the ROTC debate from Nick Confessore in the NYT.
Good article in the Title I Monitor outlines some of the challenges facing states seeking to access the recently announced new No Child flexibility and some of the controversy. Some important inside baseball...worth reading.
Per this post, a reader writes:
…I think you underestimate Friedman's point. Public education will never get the attention (and funding) it needs until the business community gets sufficiently freaked out over the volume of useless and unemployable graduates and/or underemployed and cashless consumers. I worked in a neglected school that slowly became surroundedby high priced gated subdivisions. Over time the local Realtors realized they could not competitively sell these properties because the school zoned for these subdivisions was shabby and academically mediocre compared to other nearby alternatives. When realtors and developers had a prayer meeting with School Board things happened....Sorry, but show me the money, I lost my faith in moral outrage in 1972.
Department Of No-Win Situations
Well, it was a loaded burrito...
Seriously, episodes like this are no-win situations for schools.
Two developments worth noting.
First, Gray Lady waking up? Looks like at least a little glasnost at the news side of the NYT. Excellent article by Avi Salzman about the goings on in CT. Reporting with more nuance from the NYT is not good news for anti-NCLB jihadists.
Second, and also ominously, The Washington Times (with help from the aforementioned Antonucci) breaks the NEA memo that basically shows that this lawsuit is about public relations not legal issues. In short, the memo undercuts the legal foundation for the argument that Congress is imposing anything on the states. Isn't this an inappropriate use of the courts?
Again, seems as likely as not that the NEA will rue the day it decided to go down this road.
This Week's Alexander Russo reviews blogs in the edublogosphere (full disclosure, he offers kind words for Eduwonk). He credits the tireless Jimmy Kilpatrick for his helpful news summaries and outs Mike Antonucci as the must-read of everyone who follows the minor role teachers' unions play in education policy. You can disagree with Antonucci's politics, Eduwonk often does, but his stuff is always timely, always straight, impeccably sourced, and often quite funny.
This is really counterproductive, because universities have proven to be, overall, among the best charter school authorizers. If the teachers' unions were as interested in quality charter schools as they say, as opposed to just doing away with them, they'd be championing colleges and universities as authorizers while encouraging accountability for lower quality authorizers (for instance that school district that profited from that disastrous California Charter Academy).