About Eduwonk & ES Media

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, April 27, 2006

BoardBuzz Breathes Easier

Vouchers for religious schools knocked down in ME...cue big celebration from BoardBuzz! Interesting case...but the SCOTUS doesn't seem too keen on taking free exercise cases, doesn't seem like there is much of one here anyway because/and the establishment claim is tough here since the state's rationale seems to align with rather than conflict with Zelman: Public funds to religious schools are constitutional but there is no affirmative obligation to provide them as part of a choice program.
Posted at 4:01 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

It's A Carnival...

At the Ed Wonks place...
Posted at 5:29 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Dollars...And Sense?
Here is an eduissue to keep an eye on: While the rest of the economy is shifting -- for better or worse -- from defined-benefit retirement plans to defined-contribution ones, education stays mostly wed to traditional pensions. It's not good for teachers because it lessens their mobility and financial control and as some forthcoming research will show, some cities have pension arrangements that are fiscally untenable over time.*

What's worse though is that just as retirement financing is shifting more toward individuals rather than taking the lead and empowering their members some teachers' unions are demonstrably ill-serving them! So reports The Los Angeles Times (via Intercepts) in a must-read story you won't be seeing in NEA Today anytime soon! Apparently, some of the nation's teachers' unions are doing little to protect their members from hucksters offering them shoddy investment advice and in fact even abetting the problem.

The shady dealings will obscure a larger issue. In education, shifting from defined-benefit to defined-contribution plans offers several benefits for teachers. First, it is more empowering for teachers because they have more control over their professional mobility. Traditional pension plans do create disincentives for older teachers to move, in effect reducing the leverage of good teachers if they're seeking to change jobs. There are workarounds here (portability, buy-ins, etc...) but it's not a straightforward matter if a teacher wants or must move out of state. And for younger teachers, particularly those who do not plan to make a 30 year career of teaching, traditional pensions offer them less financially than if they invested their money on their own in tax-deferred accounts. And, in some cases such arrangements would allow them more flexibility with things like IRAs as well than they have now. Finally, 401k style arrangements would also offer another way to offer incentives for teachers who took on special assignments, had scarce skills, or were otherwise exceptional or high performers.

However, today's teachers, especially older teachers, came into education with one understanding of what retirement would entail financially if they upheld their end of the bargain. Consequently, any shift toward more of a 401k approach rather than today's defined benefit plans would have to address substantial transitional issues to ensure that current teachers were treated fairly. And, in some states issues like Social Security eligibility would further complicate any transition. Nonetheless, those are issues that can be addressed equitably in public policy. In the end, a system that empowered teachers more would be for the good and it's a conversation worth having. In the meantime, don't take the salesman at face value!

*Politically, this could provoke a backlash at some point...seems better for the teachers to strike a good bargain now ensuring a fair transition and then move on to a more contemporaneous retirement arrangement. Public sympathy will wane when no one else has a guaranteed retirement with full health etc...
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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

More Fast Times...

OK, so you were out late partying with One-L and AFTie John (that's a high school yearbook photo of him in the front with his hand raised) and then overslept and missed the Ed Sector - NAS - NEKIA research to practice forum on high schools? It's cool, as they might say, you get a second chance: It's available to watch online (just click the links on the agenda).
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New Edublog...And, Why Is Matthew Pinzur In The Bloghouse?
I don't usually post insidery items on education journalism because it can only get you in trouble but I'll make an exception here: Miami Herald chief education correspondent Matthew Pinzur has obviously pissed off the powers that be at that paper. Why? Well, because they've made him into their resident edublogger by launching Miami Gradebook, a new education blog. What other possible explanation is there? Just give him a sandwich board and be done with it!

More seriously, it looks like a good blog. Pinzur, who is well worth reading in print, is going to focus on South Florida education but also the national angles, particularly the intersection with state and federal policy and there is plenty happening on both scores now.
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Monday, April 24, 2006


In the LA Times Magazine, Douglas McGray puts a human face on the educational component of the immigration debate (pdf).
Posted at 4:39 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Gifted Gift
The gifted folks are giving away their journal, you just have to email them. It's not a scam; they're the gifties not the grifties.
Posted at 4:30 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

AFTie Madness! What Is AFTie John Smoking?
Michele: I just got back from The Netherlands.
John: I'm stoned, hold me.

U.S. Customs should have been more careful with AFTie Michele's luggage. What other possible explanation is there for John's post ostensibly skewering John Stossel by essentially arguing that choice and privatization has nothing to do with education in The Netherlands? I don't carry any brief for Stossel or for privatization, but choice and what some would call "privatization" is pretty prevalent in The Netherlands. In fact, as Anne Bert Dijkstra, Jaap Dronkers, and Sjoerd Karsten report in Educating Citizens, "approximately 70 percent of Dutch parents send their children to schools that, although established by private associations and managed by private school boards, are nonetheless fully funded by the state government." Because of the Dutch constitution religious schools are entitled to equal funding with other schools. In other words, John Stossel might be on firmer ground than AFTie John thinks.

State support for religious schools is pretty common in Europe. Usually, however, it's for one particular religion, generally Catholicism or a Protestant denomination. Because of its history The Netherlands has a posture of neutrality reflected in the constitution and consequently different denominations run public schools including non-European religions such as Hinduism and Islam. That's more unique. There are national examinations though so there are some elements of homogeneity across the schools; it's not a free-for-all in the Friedman sense of things.

That said, the problem with many international comparisons commonly thrown around is that they're reverse engineered: People find a country that does better than the U.S. on some measure and then claim that whatever characteristic they happen to favor must be the cause. So sure, some countries with centralized curriculum do better, but some do worse, too. Likewise for public support for parochial schools, choice, etc…It's a basic correlation-causation issue. Not saying we can't learn from other countries, just that we should be careful of simplistic lessons. This is particularly true if you happen to think there are unique or exceptional things in the American experience that should be reflected in how we order our public schooling.

Update: A sober and straight AFTie John responds (and with an outstanding pop culture reference).
Posted at 2:32 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

More Clowning...But Not So Funny For D.C. Students...
Not content with just harranguing SEED, Washington DC's resident band of educlowns are now after schools superintendent Janey and KIPP reports Dion Haynes in Saturday's Washington Post. At Quick and the Ed Kevin Carey uses the wonders of technology to unpack some of the self-interest for you, but the role of "Save Our Schools" is again worth noting.

At issue is a novel plan where the District of Columbia Public Schools would partner with KIPP and share space in a neighborhood school so that students would move from the traditional public school into KIPP in the 5th-grade. The plan is in part the brainchild of DC Superintendent Janey who apparently understands that with more than 20 percent of DC students now in public charter schools, accommodating parental demand might be a good idea.

Yet along comes "Save Our Schools" again. In case you had any doubt this was all ideological, remember that not too long ago these clowns were attacking public charter schools because they allegedly "skimmed" students, were non-selective, and so forth. But now, say the clowns, the problem with this arrangement is that because KIPP schools, like other public charter schools, are open-admission, some of the students from this elementary school might not find space in KIPP! That's right, the problem isn't that charter admissions are unfair, it's that they're too fair! As Haynes' story points out this is less of a problem than it might appear and the obvious solution is another KIPP school if they're that much in demand by parents.

Of course, if the SOS'ers really gave a damn about open-admission as an issue or principle they'd be protesting DC's wildly popular and successful Banneker High School and Duke Ellington, both of which are public schools that are not open admissions. But this isn't really about that. It's about power and "the system" regardless of the impact on the kids. It's a tragedy that bound by the journalistic convention of "on the one hand" and "on the other hand" WaPo's Haynes can't just call BS when the SOSers say reactionary nonsense like this or just assert that public charter schools in Washington aren't public. And the DCPS school board, some of whom are now fighting this new partnership idea, are again on their way to showing an uncanny ability to shoot the public schools in the foot. That's not just clownish, it's sad.

Disc: I'm a trustee of a public charter school in the District.
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Great Column...A Pattern Emerges?
I've noticed something, unless I'm traveling I'm usually a few days late to read the Michael Winerip columns that don't hysterically and often misleadingly trash No Child Left Behind and ed reform in general. We can't get the Times delivered where I live so I read online and am not prompted to check out the column by a dozen emails from the anti-NCLB activists furiously emailing it around and hailing, cum canonizing, Winerip as the one reporter who "gets it" about NCLB.

Case in point: I just now got to this terrific column from last week about a child with gay parents and Catholic schools. Another example here. Sure wish the paranoids would email these around!
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