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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.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

It's Hard Out Here For An AG!

It's not only CT's Attorney General with his hands full on education says the expendable indispensable Joe Williams. Update: Edwize weighs-in on the NY situation and inexplicably wants to circle the wagons? Sure, the NY Post editorial may have been off the mark since it seemed to anticipate what Spitzer will do rather than give him a chance since by all accounts he is investigating this and the Post reflexively attacked UFT head Randi Weingarten when she's apparently not involved. Still that doesn't change the bottom line, so to speak: The NYSUT has some explaining to do, that LA Times story was pretty shocking and their statement doesn't address the core issue in terms of the allegations.

Update II: It's not just the NY Post...NY Times, too.
Posted at 10:17 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Politics (And Substance) Of Inclusion At Aspen
Thursday AM, Aspen NCLB Commission Announces the line-up for its hearing in CT on May 9:

• Dr. Betty Sternberg, Commissioner, Connecticut State Department of Education
• Mr. James Peyser, Chairman, Massachusetts State Board of Education
• Mr. Joel Klein, Chancellor, New York City Department of Education
• Mr. William Taylor, Chair, Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights, and Counsel to the NAACP in CT vs. Spellings
• Ms. Aimee Guidera, Director, Data Quality Campaign, National Center for Education Accountability
• Dr. Stuart Kahl , President, Measured Progress

Thursday PM, Aspen NCLB Commission Announces the line-up for its hearing in CT on May 9:

• Honorable Richard Blumenthal , Connecticut State Attorney General (JUST ADDED)
• Dr. Betty Sternberg, Commissioner, Connecticut State Department of Education
• Mr. James Peyser, Chairman, Massachusetts State Board of Education
• Mr. Joel Klein, Chancellor, New York City Department of Education
• Mr. William Taylor, Chair, Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights, and Counsel to the NAACP in CT vs. Spellings
• Ms. Aimee Guidera, Director, Data Quality Campaign, National Center for Education Accountability
• Dr. Stuart Kahl, President, Measured Progress

Hmmm...who (and whose staff) spent Thursday midday going bonkers?

But, though I was/am somewhat skeptical of the commission, I'm warming up. This new report on LEP and special ed kids (pdf) is really important. That it's mostly special education kids and LEP kids causing schools to not make AYP is an insidious myth that NCLB's foes have been putting forward. It's just one of those things that "everyone knows."

Not to put too fine a point on it but it's basically like using special ed and LEP kids as human shields to obscure the lagging achievement of minority kids. But, though evidence refuting the notion that most of the schools not making "adequate yearly progress" is being caused by special ed and LEP kids exists in some states, nobody had systematically rolled it up. This report only examines five states, but it's pretty good evidence and even the data from CA isn't stunning. Good for the NCLB Commission for doing this. The report also has some information about the ongoing "whose N is larger/smaller" locker room chatter among state officials.
Posted at 10:15 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Excellence In Government...Burr In The Saddle...
Those pesky charter schools! Recall that a few years back Minnesota's charter school law, the nation's first, won the Harvard Innovations In American Government Award. Well this year Mayor Bart Peterson's charter school initiative is among the 18-finalists...

Also, Fordham Foundation reports that charter school authorizers are starting to really get it together. That's in no small part because of the hard work these guys have been quietly doing. Too often chartering is seen as a deregulatory strategy that lessens the burdens on public agencies. In fact, it's merely a policy strategy that changes the regulatory emphasis and doing it well requires a lot of attention and diligence.
Posted at 9:56 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Throw Jupp From The Train! Or...Let Jupp Speak!

In case you haven't been following the saga of the horrific squelching of teacher voice happening today in CA at the New Schools Summit, you can catch up below. Now AFTie One-L basically says that individual teachers can't really claim to have voice, only their elected leaders? Do they tell this to the membership in the recruiting pitch?

No one can claim to speak for all teachers nor can a teachers' union leader claim to speak for all teachers' union leaders (or if they do then the AFTies have some splain' to do) or even all their own members in many cases. But don't individuals, especially someone with Brad Jupp's background as a teachers' union person, have some standing? And would there be this much complaining if Jupp's presentation was about, for instance, how awful charter schools are? I think he'd probably have teacher voice then! Onward brother Jupp!

Besides, considering how often the teachers' unions hold up the views of individual teachers as being representative of the profession overall (and often as a trump card in policy debates), this new posture is truly absurd. Also, I don't get her apparent contention that foundations investing in public health let their grantees do whatever they want with the money...(we think leeching works...sure! Here's $500K) I'm sure the AFT doesn't give grants without some conditions...that's par for the course. But this is irrelevant to the larger issue here which is that suddenly the new standard is apparently that only teachers' union leaders can have genuine teacher voice...great news for America's teachers...

But, while you're at the AFTies place, check out this post where they bust the Bushies for being in bed with the Scientologists (not that there is anything wrong with it, I don't want to get sued! I'm all for photons or whatever it is they garner).
Posted at 12:20 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

The Talent Of Jon Schnur
He's busy, what with a wonderful little boy at home and running a successful non-profit training outstanding urban school principals that is on track to produce fill a quarter of the nation's urban principal vacancies by 2015...But social entrepreneur and former Al Gore aide Jon Schnur still finds time to pursue his hobbies. After last night he remains one of four finalists on American Idol. How does he find the time?
Posted at 7:10 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

More Kristof...Now He's In Trouble...Upset Edubloggers And Ed School Defenders Make The Sudanese Government Look Like Pussycats!
The Kristof column from last Sunday has kicked up a furor around the edublogs. The line is basically that Kristof says anyone can teach, how ridiculous. But was he really saying that? He explicitly said that it takes more than brilliance. Seems more that he was saying there is no evidence that traditional teacher training systematically adds value right now and it does keep some people out. Those are empirical points and the evidence (pdf) is on Kristof's side. Besides, when a bunch of TFA'ers fresh from college with just a few weeks of training (which I think is OK considering the problem in the communities TFA works but insufficient as an overall policy remedy) do as well or better than others, including veterans and traditionally certified teachers, that ought to get the ed school crowd out of their bunker and at work seriously changing things. Sooner or later policymakers are going to wake up to the enormous stranded costs in our teacher preparation system. Sure, the column was a little overheated, but so is much of the response.
Posted at 6:49 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Teacher Voice The Right Teacher Voice

Just in case you were wondering why teachers' unions are in so much trouble, UFT's Leo Casey helpfully provides an example today. Per the post below, first he criticized the NSVF panel about the future of unions for not including a teachers' union voice. Then when it was pointed out that Brad Jupp, a longtime teacher and teachers' union activist in Denver was on the panel, Casey refined his criteria much further so that Jupp didn't fit the bill. But Jupp was a teacher for quite a while, worked for the teachers' union, and the reform he created was voted on, and passed, by the teachers in Denver! I can't find a current bio for Jupp but scroll down and here is one from his last job for the teachers' union. He doesn't fit the bill?

In other words Casey demonstrates that the issue of "teacher voice"*is less about what teachers think and more about what some teachers think, the right ones. Or is Casey calling Jupp a traitor since he now works for the school district on the initiative he helped create? Either way, it shows the insular thinking that will be the undoing of a once important institution.

*Also, good a time as any to point out that "teacher voice" is a clever turn of phrase like "death tax." Who on earth wants to be against teacher voice? Not me! I'd be sleeping on the couch. But it's a clever construct because it means if you criticize the teachers' unions you want to squelch teacher voice, and that makes you a very bad person.

Update: From NYC, maybe this is teacher voice...but I hope not because I looked everywhere and didn't see the anything about children, students, kids, etc...It is stirring though, I'm ready to take on those tycoons myself! Seriously, what this resolution illustrates is that contra Leo’s assertion that the panel doesn’t represent the views of teachers’ unions adequately, the real problem is that that the attendees might hear too much happy talk and come away thinking everyone is reasonable and that there is no issue here…Be careful what you wish for Leo!

Update II: Eduwonk gets uppity so Casey responds again, turns out he’s a big Brad Jupp fan! Very complimentary even…But, alas, even so it turns out Jupp still doesn’t have the just the right voice...For some reason, despite his credentials, he’s not sufficiently a teacher unionist…this is truly an odd construct Leo has backed into, can anyone but a current leader of a teachers’ union purport to speak for teachers at all?
Posted at 3:21 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Spellings V. Paige...The Middle Rounds
Last week's WSJ editorial criticizing Ed Secretary Margaret Spellings caused a bit of chatter on and off the blogs (Russo modestly claims credit for calling attention to all this flexibility business Update: You thought I was kidding?) But isn't the more interesting, and underreported, story here the Spellings - Paige rift which is spilling into the open? For instance, Fordham Foundation crown prince Mike Petrilli, a former Bush education official under Paige, is cited in the editorial and has criticized Spellings elsewhere (for instance in low-profile outlets like the NYT) and there are strained relations between the Spellings camp, mostly still in government, and the Paige camp, increasingly housed at the Fordham Foundation and the Chartwell consulting group.

The Paige folks are pissed that their man held the line on No Child Left Behind, at Spellings' insistence from her perch as White House Domestic Policy Advisor, while she reaps credit for being reasonable as she turns the law into Swiss cheese. Moreover, the Paige faction thinks that watering down the law is bad policy to boot, so they're doubly pissed off. Here's a heretical thought, despite several serious blunders, is Paige perhaps destined to be remembered better in hindsight than right now, like the Harry Truman of Ed Secretaries? If so, who is his David McCullough?
Posted at 9:58 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

A New Academy For The Academy...And More From Those Damn TFAers
If you hang around with those horrid social entrepreneur/venture capital types, see below, you may have caught wind of the idea for a new national public service academy. TFA alum and all around dynamo Chris Myers Asch is leading the effort. WaPo writes it up today. Good stuff. It's almost like these TFA alums care about education or something...my ed school friends say that TFA is just about resume padding but I'm really starting to think that's not right...
Posted at 9:35 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Jupping The Shark
Over at Edwize Leo Casey is all hacked off that a panel at the New Schools Venture Fund annual meeting doesn't include a teachers' union person. But Brad Jupp (who you can read about in an Education Sector Interview here) is on the panel? If he doesn't count then these guys are really isolating themselves in the bunker...or does New Schools just look like a nail to Casey's hammer? Disc. I'm an (unpaid) advisor to NSVF but didn't have anything to do with this.
Posted at 7:34 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

One-L Sends Eduwonk Packing!
Over at the increasingly all-purpose AFT blog (bashing NCLB is so last year), AFTie One-L unpacks things she doesn't like about Eduwonk the blog.
Posted at 7:27 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Credentialing Madness: NBPTS Submarines And ABCTE Surfaces (But Will Their Torpedo Fire?)

The word in teacher quality circles is that value-added guru Bill Sanders* completed his big evaluation of National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certified teachers but that the National Board is sitting on the results...apparently they may not be to their liking...Sanders isn't talking...But though NBPTS is within their rights to not publish something, is it really the right thing to do since they held up the then-forthcoming Sanders work as a reason for reporters to dismiss the smaller Stone study criticizing NBPTS? It also makes life hard for people who (a) defended the board for its willingness to have an independent review by a range of experts and (b) stood up for the board after the Goldhaber research (pdf)...

Meanwhile, the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence is basically re-launching with its new board and staff (including new president David Saba and former Clintonite and CCSSO staffer Trish Brennan both good catches). Look for more from ABCTE in the next year. They're having a big event at the Press Club on May 11 to release a new study of ABCTE teachers and re-brand the organization. Problem is, there are not that many ABCTE teachers to study. That's not the fault of ABCTE but rather the inevitable outcome of all the political resistance they face. Nonetheless, the study is pretty small n stuff as a result and let's hope that ABCTE doesn't replicate the early mistake made by NBPTS of over-selling thin research. That's a ploy that comes back to haunt you...On the issue more generally, there is a strong case to be made for a rigorous and portable candidate-centered credential. ABCTE has worked hard to develop its tests**, which are quite good, and it's not as though the existing system of teacher preparation either systematically adds-value or screens out low-performers. In fact it's not an overstatement to say it's something of a disaster that screams for reform. In terms of a candidate centered approach, ABCTE is the best game in town for that but they should not claim to be holding aces if they're not.

*This originally said Ted Sanders not Bill Sanders. Ted is the former head of ECS, not the value-added guru. I'm sorry for any confusion this might have caused and particularly any pain to Ted’s family when they heard him described as a value-added guru.

**Disc--the Eduwife has consulted for them on test development.
Posted at 7:49 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Monday, May 01, 2006

Who Lost Kristoff? And, Why America's Teachers Are Doomed To Work For Low Pay...

In Sunday's Times Nicholas Kristoff basically says that Newoldschool teacher is right!

The idea behind teacher certification is that there are special skills that are picked up in teacher training courses — secret snake-charming skills to keep the little vipers calm. But there's no evidence this is so.

Also, and I'm not making this up, on a panel at an ECS forum on teacher quality last Friday in Delaware a guy from the NEA who works on teacher pay said that the reason teacher salaries are so low in this country is that the NEA spent the last thirty years focusing mostly on student achievement. Seriously, he said that.* If that is indeed true then America's teachers have little hope of ever seeing much better wages...

*To be fair, one union head there confided he was embarrassed...
Posted at 4:09 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Paul Peterson Stirs The Pot...
A lot of feedback about ES' profile of Paul Peterson's role as a mentor of up and coming political science types; within poly sci this is pretty widely acknowledged. In fact, in one of the journals there was a similar package years ago but since Peterson had not yet turned to education there was not an education component to it. From within education the feedback-- mostly by email -- basically boils down to, how could you possibly profile Peterson without [insert attack here]?

Couple of thoughts. First, the piece, by veteran education reporter Dale Mezzacappa does walk through the voucher debate but that is really not what it is about. Instead, like other products in the Connect the Dots product line the purpose is to unpack and explain networks that exist in education. In this case it's all the influential people Peterson has mentored (and the role he's played in making education an issue political scientists really pay attention to). Conversely, at This Week Russo complains that it's "bland" (though it's hard to take that seriously since Russo almost surely would have been jumping up and down screaming about bias and who was ES trying to please if the piece skewered or praised Peterson's work). More importantly, isn't it OK to have some bland pieces that just explain things? The point of view is that there is a lot in here that people don't know and I think few people within education understand Peterson's background and how it brought him to education in the first place. Plenty of ink has been spilled on the other issues, the value-add here is the background and context.
Posted at 12:57 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

High School Ranking Madness...And Video Hasn't Killed Sara Mead's Radio Star!
It's that time of year again, Newsweek's list of "America's 100 Best High Schools" is now out in the magazine. As Sara Mead and I tried to explain, it's not a great list but it's one that sells a lot of magazines. Sara explains more on Newsweek radio and Washington Post radio this week. Kudos to Jay Mathews for acknowledging that there is criticism in The Post and Newsweek and inviting Sara and I to participate in the discussion.
Posted at 12:50 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

...seen here in the NY Daily News pointing out the uncomfortable truth that though there is an emotional case to be made for mandatory class size reduction it's not really a very good public policy in most places.
Posted at 7:02 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post