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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
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Jay Mathews' Class Struggle
Phi Delta Kappan
New York Times Education
School Wise Press
Teacher Magazine

Policy and Political Blogs

The American Scene
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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
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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, May 14, 2005

More Huffie News...Now Piscal Has Gone Wild!

Where is Snoop? First it was Goldstein going wild and baring it all in Boston! Now, outstanding principal, good guy, savvy poker player, favorite football coach of Meryl Streep, Eduwonk friend, and current Huffie Mike Piscal has gone wild, too!

In his inaugural Huffie Post post he lays out some depressing numbers about South LA:

• 62,000 school children in grades K-12. If it were its own school district, it would be the 5th largest in the state of California.
• There are 3,950 students in the 9th Grade at the four major high schools: Crenshaw, Dorsey, Manual Arts, and Washington Preparatory.
• Only around 1,600 graduate from these four high schools.
• Over 2,300 drop out.

Most horrifying:

Each year, of the 1,600 graduates from the big 4 high schools in South Los Angeles only 900 go to college. Of the 900 who attend college, only 258 graduate from college...Half a billion a year and the end result is 258 college graduates a year!!!


He spreads around some blame and names names...

And remember, most importantly, no more charter schools in places like South LA...they might really screw things up!!!
Posted at 9:30 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Friday, May 13, 2005

Jenny D. V. The Huffies Or...Why Does Jenny D. Hate Old People? Updated!

Jenny D. attacks Huffie poster Sherry Lansing. But is the Huffie's idea so bad? With proper screening (pun intended!) and training it would be sort of Elderhostel meets Teach For America...and, seriously, a good national service opportunity to boot!

Update: Rodel's Carol Peck writes about one retiree in action!

Update II: A reader writes:

Sherry Lansing has been on Teach For America's national board for a long time and she actually has high school teaching experience in Los Angeles . While that doesn't make her immune to criticism, it is completely unfair to say that she shouldn't be taken seriously because she is simply a "Hollywood celebrity." The greater irony is that there was a time when she was fighting an uphill battle to be taken seriously as a woman executive in Hollywood because she was merely a "former teacher." She actually has talked for years about the need to open more paths for mid-careers and retirees to enter teaching, but now she has time to think more about it and figure outways to engage. I doubt seriously that she has an ideological bent ontraining and certification - just more of an honest assessment that there are people who could be great teachers but there are too many barriers and not enough opportunities. Anyway, she's not a lightweight- she actually has been thinking about education issues for years.
Posted at 9:00 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Dual Enrollment
In an outstanding new report (pdf) Jobs for the Future's Nancy Hoffman takes a look at dual enrollment programs and outlines state strategies to expand these opportunities.

And, for serious dual enrollment junkies your tax dollars are at work! Two new NCES studies provide some baseline data. Dual credit and exam-based credit course-taking and dual enrollment data.
Posted at 8:17 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

All Klein All The Time!
Last Sunday the NY Daily News ed board weighed-in on the NYC teachers' contract. It was the first of a series, Monday's editorial here, Tuesday's here, Wednesday's here. Less important on specifics (though the Daily News does challenge both the Bloomberg-Klein administration and the UFT to get it right, an important point because both sides sign any contract) which are debatable than as an example of how isolated the teachers' unions are becoming nationally on this issue.

Essentially, the current state of affairs persists because of political muscle rather than broad intellectual buy-in. Some folks inside the teachers' unions clearly get this, but that view is not widespread. Ominously, some in the private sector labor community are starting to make noise about this, too.

In her biography of Picasso, Gertrude Stein observes that, "It is an extraordinary thing but it is true, wars are only a means of publicizing the things already accomplished, a change, a complete change, has come about, people no longer think as they were thinking but no one knows it, no one recognizes it, no one really knows it except the creators...

...The sprit of everybody is changed, of a whole people is changed, but mostly nobody knows it and a war forces them to recognize it because during a war the appearance of everything changes very much quicker, but the entire change has been accomplished and the war is only something which forces everyone to recognize it."

She was writing about cubism, and war, but it seems applicable here. Seems like there is a big change coming on this issue and a generalized consensus about the nature of the problems -- though too few people are willing to go on the record.

So you decide! Joel Klein, Alan Bersin, Roy Romer, Arlene Ackerman, Steven Adamowski, and Eli Broad as the Lost Generation? Rod Paige as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Margaret Spellings as Zelda? With his upcoming book does Joe Williams secure his place as Stein? Who is Toklas?

Also, Wash. Post's Dobbs profiles Joel Klein and what's happening in NYC. In yesterday's WSJ Diane Ravitch took after Bloomberg and Klein. Odd politics, Klein, a Democrat, needs a Republican mayor to win so he can stay in his post and that Republican is under attack from conservatives. Never a dull moment!
Posted at 7:31 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Nathan Writes On Writing

MN's Joe Nathan writes-up some student essays about experiences in charter schools.
Posted at 5:43 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Eduwonk Scoops The Post! Earth Mother's Management Techniques Revealed!
Today's Washington Post profiles key Department of Education players on the Federal Page. Big deal...

But here's an Eduwonk Exclusive! Testifying before Congress, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has at last publicly demonstrated her primary technique for keeping former secretary Rod Paige in line from 2001-2004. Maybe that lobbyist was wise to be terrified?

Also in The Post, Marc Fisher channels I'm Rick Hess, Bi*ch and discusses principal hiring in D.C.

Posted at 8:44 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

H.S. In CA
CA's Legislative Analyst's Office takes a look at the high school issue there. Handy overview.
Posted at 7:40 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

New Carnival of Education blogs is up at EdWonk.
Posted at 7:39 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

New SFA Study

In the reading wars, this is like getting a few new divisions for Success For All or at least a tank.
Posted at 3:55 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Freedman On Badger PCVs
NYT's Freedman looks at the tradition of Peace Corps volunteerism at the University of Wisconsin.

Knee jerk criticism: This is no good though, they only serve two years!* Oh wait, never mind, that's the knee jerk (and not accurate) criticism of Teach For America...

*To be clear, this is a joke. The Eduwife is a returned PCV (Kyrgyzstan '97-99). It's an outstanding program (one former ambassador once told Eduwonk that he thought it was the most valuable thing the United States spends money on foreign policywise simply because of the local relationship building).
Posted at 3:11 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

You'd think he'd just be exempted from the class rather than thrown out...

Via Jacobs.
Posted at 11:05 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

A little bird tells Eduwonk that a shared block of tickets to Washington Nationals games has brought together the plaintiff and defense bars on some of these contentious special education cases like Schaffer v. Weast (pdf)...
Posted at 10:42 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Teacher Prep And Licensure
Overview and policy choices (pdf) from WestEd. Useful primer for the states.
Posted at 10:04 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

NCLB Special Ed Policy...Don't Blame The Disabled Kids...
Per this, the U.S. Department of Ed has proposed a policy. Ed Week here.

This likely will not cause a dramatic drop in schools not making Adequate Yearly Progress. Though disabled kids are being fingered as the reason for a lot of schools not making AYP, the fact is that with the achievement gaps that now exist in all kinds of communities they're being scapegoated. To be clear, there are some schools that are being identified because of special education only, but that's not the majority.

Update: By way of example, Boardbuzz touts this Chicago Sun-Times story noting that 142 Illinois schools did not make adequate yearly progress solely because of special education students. True enough, but the story gave no overall number for context. Looks like about 700 Illinois Title I schools are not making adequate yearly progress (that figure excludes non-Title I schools that are also not making AYP which makes the total number larger). Right now, to make AYP in Illinois a school must meet the following performance targets:

  • Schools must have 40% or more of the students' test scores in the "meets" or "exceeds" level: Subgroups must have a 37% in reading and math.
  • Schools must have a 95% participation rate on state assessments overall and by subgroup.
  • Elementary and middle schools must have an attendance rate of 89%. High schools must have a graduation rate of 66%.

So to make AYP it takes about four in ten students reading and doing math at what IL considers grade level along with the participation and attendance/graduation rate requirements. Unreasonable? You decide. But in any event, with achievement gaps like those that exist in IL (for instance, statewide in 2003 76 percent of white students were proficient in reading by 3rd grade, but only 35 percent of black students) a lot of schools won't meet these targets. Update II: New technology! The riddle of putting charts on blogger is now solved! The chart below shows 2002-03 3rd-grade reading proficiency numbers for IL.

Source: Standard and Poor's Schoolmatters.com

Bottom line, the IL gaps are not unique and the pressure to relax NCLB's requirements isn't going to ease even with these special ed "fixes." Although the special ed accountability issue is a real one (and a complicated one), it's not the special needs kids driving the numbers of schools not making AYP. Either we're going to bite the bullet on disaggregated accountability or not.

Posted at 9:33 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Two Charter Items
In MN, a public charter school that primarily serves deaf and hard of hearing students (yes, more skimming!) launched a service project to help local restaurants improve their interactions with hearing impaired patrons. The project ended up garnering national attention and TGI Fridays may utilize it nationwide.

Also, a new CSLC report (pdf) by Greg Vanourek looks at the state of public charter schooling today. A useful round-up.
Posted at 9:25 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Monday, May 09, 2005

Buried Lede...Does CT Expect Less From Black Kids?

In the middle of Wash. Post's Sunday look at CT and No Child Left Behind is this:

[State Schools Commissioner] Sternberg concedes that Connecticut's achievement gap "looks horrendous" but blames demographics. Black students, who predominantly live in big cities, are performing about the same as black students in other states, she said. White students, who tend to live in the suburbs, are faring significantly better than white students nationwide.

Is she saying they're doing about as well as they can?

Because actually, according to NAEP, achievement for African-American youngsters in CT is only about average -- and that's not an impressive average -- so the state's claim that they have everything in hand deserves a bit more scrutiny...

More to the point, if it's the position of CT that minority kids can't learn as much, or are doing about as well as can be expected, because of demographics they should be forthright about it with state taxpayers, especially minority ones. For a much better look at CT and minority achievement (and some actual scrutiny) there in particular, this NYT story from last weekend is must-reading. Finally, this is a very profound statement, why couldn't reporter Michael Dobbs be bothered to unpack it and provide some context rather than sinking it in the middle of a pretty pedestrian political piece? Plenty of folks with strong views on both sides, and some data even...it really cuts to the nub of the issue.
Posted at 10:33 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Montgomery County, Maryland: BYOL
Bring your own lawyer to Montgomery County, MD! The Supreme Court is going to hear the Schaffer v. Weast case (which originated there) about the burden of proof in special education cases hopefully settling an ongoing issue (and hopefully not throwing school districts into a hopeless legal morass). Now, another case worth watching concerning the county's controversial sex-ed program. A federal judge temporarily blocked the program on Friday.
Posted at 9:08 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Chicago Data Story
Interesting article about an effort to track college-going rates among Chicago students. Isn't an equally important question the one buried in the very last graf, how many finish college?
Posted at 9:05 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

It's not only the political left that worries about what genies are going to fly out of the charter/small school bottle...problem is, aren't all public schools inherently political? That's not to say this is necessarily bad, on the contrary actually. Specifics aside (which are dodgy in this case), this school illustrates that conundrum.
Posted at 8:59 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

If An Alien Landed…
When discussing irrational situations it's a cliché to say, "if an alien landed they'd…" But, apparently, no kidding, if an alien landed, they'd be concerned with salaries for math and science teachers.
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