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About Eduwonk
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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.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Williams Case

Sac Bee's Nguyen sits down with Joe Williams to discuss his hot new book (and it is hot, it's in reprint already which is not the norm for an edubook). And speaking of hot, the story includes another glam shot of Williams for collectors...

Can't get enough Joe? Here's a USA Today interview.
Posted at 9:13 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

New Face At New America...But Frowns At This Week
This Week's Russo notes that since its inception the New America Foundation hasn't been much of a player on education policy. True enough, and it's in no small part because their "big idea" for schools was a ridiculous proposal to nationalize education funding and distribute it through universal vouchers -- a facile Frankenstein of Third Way thinking where two lousy ideas are melded together and called a grand compromise. It's been a frustration for many eduphiles because NAF has a stable of really interesting thinkers and a lot of good stuff on a lot of issues comes from there.

But as Russo notes they're bulking up their ed policy shop and as Eduwonk said back in June he's more confident that the addition of former Kennedy aide Michael Dannenberg portends good things than Russo apparently is. Already Dannenberg floated a provocative and interest-group enraging compromise idea on the whole Katrina voucher debate and now that he has his 1st Amendment rights fully operational Eduwonk expects good eduideas to start flowing out of NAF.
Posted at 8:43 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

The Most Interesting Edumag You're Probably Not Reading
A lot to read in the eduworld but an often overlooked gem is American Educator, the AFT's magazine. The current issue has an article on the late AFT head Sandra Feldman, an interesting romp through the world of spelling, and an important, albeit depressing, look at children involved in war -- as participants. Worth your time.
Posted at 7:25 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

You Can't Change The Weather

The Eduwife is something of a weather junkie to the point that she considers the Weather Channel a bit too processed and prefers to mainline her weather data straight from NOAA.

The same choice is now available in terms of education data for parents. Folks who want more distilled data about schools can go to a site like Greatschools.net, a great not-for-profit site with parental comments and information about schools that gets about 2 million unique visitors every month. For those who want more granular data and comparative analytics S & P's Schoolmatters.com is a treasure trove and by far the best thing going on that front. The Gates and Broad Foundations have made enormous grants to support the S & P project.

Either way, just like you can't fight the weather and you can't change the growing transparency and availability of educational information, the corresponding growing hunger for it, and some consequences that are going to flow from that, for instance a coming producers - consumers battle in education.

Low-Hanging Fruit: 2 million unique visitors a month, millions of dollars being spent to help inform parents and no reporter has written this up?
Posted at 8:12 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Homeschool Madness!
A lot of buzz about homeschooling. A widely read AP story over the weekend says more blacks are homeschooling but had no actual data to help make heads or tails of that claim though it seems plausible based on a lot of anecdotal evidence. Meanwhile, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Ed Hope College English prof. Bill Pannapacker discusses homeschooling from the higher education perspective and makes some interesting observations. Well worth reading.

Wild Generalization From Personal Anecdote: A few families up and down Eduwonk's road homeschool. Their reasons vary from religious to just wanting to spend more time with their kids while they're young. And some families homeschool some kids while sending others to the local public schools (which are quite good).

In other words, a quest for more educational customization in different forms seems like the story here. And, while homeschooling is still just a small percentage of the overall number of students in elementary and secondary education and seems unlikely to ever achieve a significant market share, public schools should still pay attention to the more secular reasons for it and try to respond.
Posted at 7:53 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Ginny Let Those Dogs Run!

Ed Week has a new blog that turns up some interesting finds but seems to be written by just a few folks there and is all repackaged news from elsewhere. Isn't this a huge missed opportunity? Ed Week has a talented staff that knows about all sorts of interesting things that never find their way into the paper. Why not turn them loose and make it into a group blog that functions as a rolling reporter's notebook?
Posted at 11:30 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Jenny D. On Growth: What Me Worry?
Over at her place Jenny D. asks what's to worry about with this growth model experiment that Earth Mother wants to conduct. Well, Eduwonk and others are frequently criticized for being Luddites for raising concerns about the rush to change policy in this area. That said, while some innovation here is good, here are four things worth worrying about:

1) While many NCLB critics grumble that its accountability system only measures "status", that is where a student is at a point in time, what they neglect to tell you is that that very few states have the ability to track individual students from year-to-year right now. So, while status is not ideal, a rolling average of how 4th-graders, for instance, do over three years does tell you something worth knowing in the meantime.*

2) In order to truly measure growth over time a state's measurement system needs to have vertical alignment, meaning able to have a scaled measurement system so that achievement can be compared across grades. Not only is this challenging, but again a lot of states are a long way from here in terms of their standards and assessments and also again their ability track and analyze data. (This is different than the issue of vertical alignment in policy which is about whether a state's pre-k to college systems are in alignment.)

3) Politically, any system predicated on measuring growth or relative progress begs the serious question of who gets to decide how much growth is enough and on what basis do they make those decisions? For all its problems NCLB's current approach mitigates this by creating a common benchmark for all kids regardless of race and income. Some argue that's unfair, but because it's going to be the high-poverty schools most likely to be using "growth" as a way out from under NCLB's current requirements, the potential for diminished expectations for such schools is very real. It's not by coincidence that the loudest cheering for this was from those representing the schools and the most concern from civil rights groups. If indeed minorities are well served by the current system then there is nothing to worry about here...

4) Obviously everyone involved should endeavor to get the measurement as precise and reliable as possible but it's certainly debatable whether the core problem here is measurement or politics. Assume for a moment that policymakers, statisticians, and psychometric experts had managed to agree on a system they all felt was valid and defensible and could accurately identify low-performing schools or schools needing improvement. Would it be any easier to intervene in those schools if it meant any real consequence for any adult? Would there really be much less pushback from all the organized groups? NCLB's critics are more than happy to kick the can down the street a while by calling for more and more sophisticated measurement systems but it sure seems like the moment for real accountability is always just over the horizon.

None of these issues are insurmountable (though several also bear on the other accountability flavor of the month, value-added though there are additional complications there, too) and it's possible to compromise on some issues and work through them. But, every compromise carries a consequence.

That said, trying this in a few carefully selected states is one thing -- and would probably generate some useful information for policymakers and researchers. Trying it in ten states doesn't make a lot of sense and raises the worrisome question of whether this provision will be the baseline for reauthorization of No Child whenever that happens because of the almost irresistible leveling-down that characterizes education policymaking decisions that involve any teeth.

*Shouldn't one discussion in advance of reauthorization be whether the timetables for school improvement in NCLB should be modified? The flip side of the coin about whether the measurement system is right is whether the consequences that flow from it make sense. Without reducing the pressure for urgent change in seriously low-performing schools, isn't there some play on that side of the policy? In other words, instead of worrying so much about the precision of measuring improvement, just give the schools that are not truly bad actors a little more time on the timetables within the law and add room for "growth" there. Alternatively states could triage schools to focus on the worst ones, perhaps more serious consequences but more of a time-lag between them, etc…it seems like something of a blue sky area that is being ignored in all the discussion about growth and value-added.

Update: Jenny D. has more plus a very smart comment.
Posted at 10:38 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Send Out The Mayors?
Over at This Week Russo uses the new urban NAEP data to take a pop at mayoral control of urban districts because Chicago did not do so well. Whether or not mayoral control is an effective strategy is an important debate because the results so far are mixed around the country. But isn't this particular critique spurious? Districts with varying governance arrangements were all over the place in the NAEP results. Austin did well on NAEP, is hiring former federal officials the ticket? (In fact, Austin may have done deceptively well because of exclusions from the test).

Russo is right that mayoral control is "mayoral control is hardly a guarantee of success" but these NAEP results don't tell us a lot about that.
Posted at 8:42 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post