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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
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Daniel Drezner
Dangerous Thoughts
The Democratic Strategist
The Has Been
Huffington Post
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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, May 20, 2005

When The LAT Attacks!

Really tough editorial...

Why does the phrase "overplayed hand" keep coming to mind?
Posted at 9:33 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

More NY Reading Score Politics...And, Visit A Parallel Universe!
Each day ASCD puts out a small collection of the news stories of the day with a little commentary. Not infrequently it's more the news as they wish it read, than as it actually does, but yesterday's takes the cake for sheer detachment from political reality. Pegged to the NYT analysis about the reading scores ASCD informs us that:

The number of New York City's fourth-graders scoring at grade level on the state's English Language Arts exam this year rose 9.9 percentage points, while the percentage of the city's eighth-graders meeting state standards dropped 2.8 percentage points. The mixed results complicate the re-election picture for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who has urged voters to judge him on his school reform efforts.

Right! Complicates it like a 400 point jump in the Dow might "complicate" your portfolio…

The NYT's own analysis (with good analysis from TC's Jeff Henig) concluded this is a big pro-Bloomberg moment. And, per one connected Eduwonk political observer:

Every political consultant in the city (both Dem and Repub) at least privately agrees that this is entirely good news for Bloomberg, not a mixed bag, because the mayor effectively spun the 8th grade scores as victims of a bad early education. One key political operative said his advice to [UFT head Randi Wiengarten] would have been to just say nothing unless she was going to limit her comments to congratulating teachers – which even Bloomberg did. This operative thinks from a political perspective it is silly to argue the nuance of the scores, perhaps even counter-productive, because this will be viewed as a clear win for Bloomberg by swing-voters. The die-hards on each side have already made up their minds on Bloomberg’s handling of the schools.

Politically, isn't it almost never a good idea to bet on bad news (or be seen as sort of hoping for it), particularly when the opposite good news will be welcomed by most of the public?
Posted at 8:34 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Odds and Ends
St. Michael's Donna Frietas writes a lively essay in the WSJ about Senior Week, sex, and religion.

This is all over the news. It shows an interesting split. An informal Eduwonk poll shows that those inside the profession see the logic and get what the teachers are doing, those outside really do not. Something to think about...

And, U.S. kids lead the world in Star Wars knowledge!
Posted at 7:57 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Dear Eduwonk:

The significant interest and response from your readers to
“Chef Finn-gate” has me thinking. This little episode has brought into focus the demo you’re serving: highly literate, cultured, introverted, homebodies. Hmmm...if you could somehow weave together NAEP scores and references to Cat Fancy, I bet your ratings would go through the roof.

Just a thought,
A Helpful Fan

Update: Per the above, another reader responds:

This whole thing could explain why no one has ever formed an education policy softball team or garage band.
Posted at 3:05 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Say Anything!
Making some fast lemonade...UFT head Randi Weingarten says that the new reading scores show that there is no problem with the contract. OK, assume that's true. Does it mean in all the places where scores are flat (about everywhere according to No Child Left Behind foes) that the contracts are a problem? At the PPI - UI conference on collective bargaining Chuck Kerchner called for incorporating performance measures into contracts...

Also, the UFT honored noted educational historian Diane Ravitch with its John Dewey award earlier this week. It was compared to the Southern Poverty Law Center giving David Duke an award. That's offensive, way overstates it, and is a sad commentary on the state of today's debate. However, while Ravitch is an outstanding historian, the award is a little ironic in light of this book (though Dewey himself would probably shudder at some of what is done educationally in his name).

Nonetheless, as you can see from Ravitch's speech accepting the award, she and the UFT have a common foe in Bloomberg - Klein.
Posted at 2:03 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

All Big Apple All Day
The NYT weighs-in on the good news NYC reading scores. Also, NYT's Healy takes a good look at the politics of all this. But don't worry perpetually grumpy New Yorkers, still plenty to grumble about. For instance, despite their little spurt of late, the Yankees still basically suck.
Posted at 11:12 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

NYC Docs
NYC Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz has put together a handy guide (pdf) to the NYC schools budget.

And, to the UFT's credit, they post the teacher's contract there online. Here it is. PPI and the Urban Institute hosted a conference this Monday and Tuesday on teacher collective bargaining, more on that later.
Posted at 10:18 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Per Chef Finn, updated cooking action below.
Posted at 8:56 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

An IDEA due process hearing involving a school district in Illinois dragged on for 42 days. Reports are that it cost the district almost $800,000 and the parents about $500K in legal costs. It's the longest hearing in IL history.

But is it a national record? Any information about that appreciated at this email address.
Posted at 8:52 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Some interesting jobs open.

Public Impact, a NC-based public policy consulting firm that does a lot of ed policy work is looking for a consultant/project manager for education management and policy work. Email Bryan Hassel for more info.

The Boston-based Project for School Innovation is looking for a new executive director. More information and resumes at this email address.

If you want to be part of this, then Roxbury Prep is seeking 6th – 8th grade math, science, English, history, reading, and physical education teachers who:

· Are dedicated to and effective with urban middle school students of color.
· Have subject matter expertise and use a variety of teaching methods to engage students.
· Are committed to improving curriculum and instruction through collaboration.
· Communicate effectively with students, parents, colleagues, and community members.

Fax resumes and cover letters to: (617) 566-2373.
Posted at 8:05 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

NYC Reading Scores

Look for some back and forth about this. A lot of folks have a lot invested in attacking Joel Klein and despite some caveats about participation, these results make it somewhat harder to do that.
Posted at 11:57 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Actual Dissent...
From this article in Chronicle of Higher Ed: More than 100 professors at Calvin College, in Michigan, have signed a letter criticizing the policies of President Bush, who is scheduled to speak at the evangelical Christian institution's spring commencement on Saturday.
Posted at 11:41 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Mailbag! Special Meterosexual Edition!
From an anonymous reader, and yes, it is true...Eduwonk ran down a copy and sure enough in this month's Real Simple magazine there is a recipe for Chicken Stroganoff from one Chester Finn heretofore better known for policy than polenta…

Dear Eduwonk:

Many of us have long thought that the similarities between Chester Finn and Julia Child are downright eerie. Now it turns out that they also share a penchant for fancy cooking! Please see the latest issue of Real Simple magazine.

So, Finn’s a published policy wonk and a published gastronome. My fiancée has taken note, and now she thinks I’m a slacker. All I hear all day is “I bet Finn’s reading Dewey right now, not watching reruns of Friends,” and “Finn would’ve made me a real dinner, not canned stew,” and “Finn would be nicer to my mother,” and on and on...

Eduwonk, he’s throwing off the curve for the rest of us! What can I do?

Please help,
A chagrined ed reformer

PS: Please don’t share my identity with your many readers. My enormous street cred would be comprised if it were revealed that I read Real Simple magazine.

Update I: Chef Finn himself writes to Eduwonk that:

There are innumerable similarities between analyzing education policy and making chicken stroganoff. To mention only the most obvious:

* deconstruction is involved, in the one case of concepts and interests, in the other case of fowls and vegetables.
* tears are entailed, in the one case for children left behind, in the other case a result of slicing onions.
* one must cook with heat and vigor, in the one case at a stove, in the other at a word processor, conference or committee room.
* spice is essential, in the one case to provide flavor, in the other to attract interest.

I could go on but will forebear. I must, however, observe that your tipster seems worrisomely insecure about his fiancée. Perhaps he should take cooking lessons. Alternatively, he could seek to become the Escoffier of education policy.

Update II: It's not only Finn with the Real Simple connection. Apparently, pace several Eduwonk tipsters, Brenda Welburn, the CEO of NASBE, has a daughter who will be part of Real Simple's television show.

Update III: A reader writes:

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Measure this exactly. I don't want to hear any nonsense about how I should "trust" the cook; use a standard measuring spoon. Add the diced unions, um onions, and the mushrooms, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, like the progressives, about 8 minutes. Leave no mushroom behind. Don't worry about their "self-esteem." Instead, with a wooden spoon, loosen all the bits stuck to the pan and let cook with the rest of the sauce. The liquid should thicken slightly, not to the point of Reg Weaver, but more to Andy Rotherham level.
Posted at 10:38 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

$1 At A Time!

Another great example of how to build support for public education...this time from NH.
Posted at 3:16 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

More Grad Rates
Jacobs has hunted down a few more stories.
Posted at 2:52 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

It Can Be Done! (But It's Not Easy...)
Debunkers to arms! Wash. Post's Dobbs takes a favorable look at Amistad Academy. Here's another example of a school that is outpacing others, Roxbury Preparatory Charter in Boston. It's not only outpacing nearby schools, but schools statewide. Note how the high minority Roxbury Prep stacks up against white students statewide in MA. (Ed Note: Now that Eduwonk has learned how to upload charts to blogger, look for plenty more!). The chart below shows Roxbury Prep's students and statewide scores by subgroup.

Source: Roxbury Preparatory Charter. More data here from www.schoolmatters.com

However, per the Dobbs piece, isn't it less "No Excuses" than "whatever it takes"? There is a difference. There are legitimate explanations for the achievement gap that go beyond schools (though schools often compound these issues), it's just that these schools just don't use them as a crutch or constraint. No excuses seems to overly simplify this work and imply that it's only an issue of effort whereas what really makes these schools different is the entrepreneurial energy of the teachers and staff in terms of doing whatever it takes, including a variety of outside activities, to make the program work for kids. Sort of effort plus.

Posted at 1:40 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Monday, May 16, 2005


Per this, a principal writes:

As an aside, I thought I'd mention that I shared your coverage of the Linda Darling-Hammond hatchet job of TFA with some of the teachers in the charter school where I work. Our school was founded by and is staffed almost completely by TFA alums. Every single one of them will admit to you that in their first years, they were lousy. That's how it is for everyone when they start teaching. But they will also all tell you that the alternate route certification programs or master's degrees they were required to pursue were, for the most part, useless distractions, and in some cases here in XX, actually detrimental to their development as teachers. And these teachers,rated as some of the most effective around by authoritative sources [results provided but redacted to preserve anonymity] are legitimate authorities on the question of professional development.
Posted at 6:58 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Catch A Rising Star...
Up and comer Elliot Haspel (currently a UVA undergrad doing all manner of interesting work at the university and dipping his toes in the DC policy water) offers his thoughts on Jay Mathews' recent Newsweek high schools package on his blog.
Posted at 6:34 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Charter EMO V. Parent Website...Update
Per this post, see also this update.
Posted at 6:24 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post