About Eduwonk & ES Media

About Eduwonk
ES Blog Editorial Policy
Education Sector
The Education Sector Digest
The Quick and the Ed

News Feeds & More



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.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Unfolding AFTie Disastie...

Sorry, no "bold outright lies told to large audiences" but here is a quick update on The AFTie Disastie: The teacher blog Homeslice is all over it and wants some AFTie reax, too. Also, media is waking up to it -- calls are being made, and apparently some jobs lost over there over all this...stay tuned. Update: To clarify, AFTie insiders protest that no job changes as a result of the Mike Antonucci release of the report, sorry if that wasn't clear in the post above. Rather, larger changes apparently in the works because of the larger issues. Update II: Sherman Dorn wants context! And, he makes an interesting point about websites. Mike A. explains why no context -- he's protecting the innocent!
Posted at 3:23 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Ed Research...And More Public - Private
I'm not sure I get this latest inside baseball ed research flap. Ed Week delivers the news that National Center for Educational Statistics honcho Mark S. Schneider is now saying that the agency shouldn't be doing research like the recent public - private school report and everyone seems to agree. But why not? In the story AERA's Gerry Sroufe says it's because the agency could be seen to be pushing an agenda. But didn't the opposite happen here? The study more or less undercut rather than bolstered one policy initiative of the administration. Everyone always assumes an agenda, it's par for the course, just do good work and that will take care of itself.

Seems to me the most compelling case against the feds sponsoring this sort of work is the scarce resources argument: There are non-governmental folks wanting and able to do this sort of analysis, so let them do it on a non-governmental dime and focus scarce educational research dollars elsewhere. Fair enough. But, considering the dearth of high quality educational research out there, I'm all for the feds doing and sponsoring a lot more.

Also, while I was away, Harvard's Paul Peterson released a reanalysis of the NAEP data (pdf) using some different coding and finding different results. Interestingly, while the usual suspects attacked Peterson (mostly ad hominem), the researchers who conducted the NCES study say he has a point. But, they argue that Peterson's method also has flaws. The issue basically turns on how to count poor students since public and private schools (a) report differently and (b) participate differently in the Title I program namely because when poverty at a school hits a certain percentage of students the school can use Title I funds to offer services to all students in the building not just low-income ones. There is also debate about some of the variables. Stay tuned for more. Media round-up on this here.

Update: AFTie John weighs-in and starts licking his chops for an all too predictable charter school battle...
Posted at 9:37 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

This Is A Blog Without A Message! And, I Can't Count On The AFTies For Even Half-Staged Dialogue
So I go away for a week or so and Mike Antonucci -- of all people -- gets his hands on and releases an absolutely explosive internal report about the American Federation of Teachers, --basically the equivalent of the famed Kamber Report about the National Education Association but with more venom. What's more, his outing of the report is apparently causing some chaos at AFT HQ and the firm that did the report is threatening to sue him! So naturally, upon my return, I go to the AFTie blog to get the other side of the story and learn more about all the goings on...but what do I find? Zilch! Nada! Nothing! Ed Week, it falls to you, please tell me what I need to know! Turn loose the bulldog!

Anyway, for now, read Mike A.'s entire report. Here are a few tidbits:

* "People are surprised when they get a poll that comes out that says our members don't even know what union they belong to. Well, why should they?"
* "I think that the AFT could be facing a very troubled future."
* "I find it almost miraculous that we have as many members as we do."

* "I have to step away from looking at the opposing views."
* "I'm glad that a lot of the interviews I do with reporters are over the phone, because they can't see my eyes rolling at times."
* "I have heard bold, outright lies told to large audiences."

And, apparently, according to the report, the AFTie blog is "half-staged" and controlled! Wow, man, I'm reeling, that one is a shocker!

Plenty more...read it.

Big winner could be AFT head McElroy. He comes off pretty well in the report and this certainly frees his hand to make some internal changes. Big loser, ironically, while this isn't good for the AFT it's probably the NEA. In the report AFT staffers give voice to their less than warm feelings toward the larger of the two unions, basically call the NEA's position on No Child Left Behind irresponsible and "kneejerk" and also out the animosity toward the NEA that exists on the Hill today. And no, bipartisanship is not completely dead on the Hill, it's both parties. Some journos have been sniffing around on that story and perhaps this may be all the peg they need...
Posted at 8:01 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Dump: Carey On Higher Ed, Group Grope On Mayors, Fuller On Race And Choice, No EduPerp Walk...And, Make $1K A Month Blogging!

Big thanks to Newoldschool Teacher for her guestblogging of the past few weeks. I'm back now with only adorable pictures of the Eduspawn high in the Rockies to remind me what was...In no particular order, here are some things I'm digging through today as I try to restore some order to my inbox:

In the new Washington Monthly, three edu-related items: First, my colleague Kevin Carey pleads for more transparency in how we rate colleges. Second, Avi Zenilman explains why Teach For America is the new McKinsey. Finally, the issue contains the Monthly's college rankings.

A lot of attention to various housing incentive/assistance programs for teachers. Pessimistic Seattle Times here, optimistic Ed Week here.

Ohio has been behind the curve on some charter school issues but an increased emphasis on holding authorizers accountable and cracking down on "sponsor shopping" could put them ahead of the curve on that front.

Speaking of choice, Howard Fuller lays out his vision and view of the politics in an op-ed. This line should spark some conversation:

It's not hard to understand why many organizations and individuals in our community are either hostile or indifferent to charter schools and other forms of parental choice. Big-city school systems have historically employed large numbers of African-Americans, and for most of us the traditional public school has been our only hope for receiving an education. The traditional system has served many of us well. But that was then and this is now. Today's public school systems are still employing us, but too few are effectively educating our children.

Policy and law maven Christopher Walker says (pdf) that in a post Schaeffer - Weast world (and that's the one we live in folks!) the good 'ol Section 504 might be the better bet for special ed advocates going forward. Does that mean all the heat and light around the new special eg regs was for naught?!

Dep't of Ed releases final report on ELC's grant issues. Could have political resonance but no one is going to be doing a perp walk.

On Sunday night, Mathew Perry, of the inexplicably popular "Friends" fame, stars as educator Ron Clark in a new TNT movie. When they make the Eduwonk movie I'm still pulling for Emmanuel Lewis to play the role, or perhaps Nick Nolte.

Brian Timoney has used Google maps to create a visual representation of student test scores in Colorado. Interesting idea for tech savvy wonksters elsewhere.

In the new Harvard Ed Review a panel of experts discuss mayoral control.

If you're a pre-k teacher, Pre-K Now wants to pay you $1K a month to blog for them, only two posts a week! But, you have to get your employer's permission, so that will cut down on the fun stuff.
Posted at 3:43 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Well friends and neighbors, if I'm not mistaken, the Eduwonk is coming back tomorrow. Thank you for all your nice emails. Just as a sign off, I'm reading a great book called How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Makes a lot of sense. Anyway, bye everyone!

--Guest blogger Newoldschoolteacher
Posted at 5:48 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

cross your fingers

New Orleans is reopening its restructured school system, in which many public schools have been turned into charter schools and in which there is no districting. Any student can enroll in any school. For the kids' sake, let's hope it will be better.

--Guestblogger Newoldschoolteacher
Posted at 5:25 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

standardized tests cause arthritis?
Here's a link to a blog debate on edspresso about standardized testing going on between 2 education professors. Looks like it will be interesting. One side has already tied standardized tests to corporate corruption and drug company profits. Nice.

--Guestblogger Newoldschoolteacher
Posted at 5:16 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

A response to a common gripe
When searching for KIPP information for the last blog entry, I found this interesting blog article on SchoolsMatter entitled, "Why KIPP is Not a Model for Urban Education." It struck me because it includes a number of arguments and ideas that I heard a lot in grad school. Here are some of the arguments against KIPP and other similar systems contained within this article, and then my response to them:
  • "I'm concerned that KIPP, Edison, and other "back to basics" approaches operate under the implicit assumption that the best we can hope for (re: the achievement of black and Hispanic children) is to give them nothing but the basics." Untrue. The idea is that we have to give kids an excellent foundation in reading, writing, and math in order to get them beyond the basics. If a child cannot read at grade level, he/she will suffer in social studies, the arts, music, and life. The basics are the starting point, not the end, of a good education. If they already had a solid foundation of basics, schools like KIPP would skip it. But they have to meet kids where they are.
  • "Yes, KIPP might offer a trip to Central Park as a reward for good behavior, but middle-class white parents such as me cringe at the idea that our children would be taken on field trips only as a reward for good behavior."
KIPP and other schools teach their students that bad choices have bad consequences, and good choices have good consequences. I would argue that every school should function this way, no matter where it is or what its kids are like. Many prominent middle class whites in our society were obviously not taught this (Hmm...but I just can't think of any! White people just act so good all the time, especially the powerful ones with money and influence!). But the consequences of an urban kid's bad choices are much graver than the consequences for a middle class white child. Those kids at least have th safety net of their parents. Urban kids often do not. If they don't learn to make good behavioral choices for themselves, they could end up in very bad situations later on. If missing a field trip in 5th grade helps them to understand how the world works and teaches them how to make good choices when they are older, things have happened exactly as they should.
  • "As for interrogating and critiquing socio-historical systems that produce the status quo, I'd be willing to bet that the name "Malcolm X" is not uttered at KIPP schools. I'm sure there's not enough time to cover everything. But, then again, what do they cover in the time they have? Surely black children should know not just who Malcolm X is, but why he believed what he believed and how he conducted his activist work."
First of all, I know many, many KIPP teachers who talk about Malcolm X and other such historical figures. It is ridiculous to assume that just because the schools focus on reading and writing that they ignore the historical implications of race in American history. Also, wouldn't this person want students to know what the terms "status quo," "historical," "uttered," and "activist" actually mean? If so, they are going to need a heck of a lot of literacy training and vocabulary work. Or should we just do read-alouds forever? That way, even though they can't really read or write very well about it, at least they'll be sure to know how oppressed they are and have been through history. Think I'm going overboard here? Listen to the next quote:

KIPP schools contribute directly to the educational achievement gap between wealthy whites and poor blacks. Yes, it may appear that this gap has been closed by these same poor black children scoring higher on standardized tests. But I would seriously question these gains as anything other than illusory, especially when these gains are made at the expense of these children knowing about themselves and their oppression as well as at the expense of their intellectual potential.

This person is crazy. The "achievement gap" is defined by test scores! So you can't say that KIPP schools contribute to the achievement gap if they are helping black children to score higher on tests! Also, the tests TEST SKILLS. THERE IS NOTHING THAT TESTS HOW MUCH CHILDREN KNOW ABOUT THEIR OPPRESSION. And even if there was, would you rather they score high on that and low on tests of literacy and math? How does this benefit the child? This person, apparently, is not in favor of benefitting the child, but rather of furthering a particular type of political agenda. Observe.

Here's the troubling thing: KIPP schools appear to work. But what they work at remains in question. What does it mean for a school to "work"? Some would say that KIPP works because it produces high test scores and gets kids into elite prep schools and then on to college. But others would say that KIPP fails because it does not produce democratically-engaged, independently-minded critical thinkers. In its worst form, KIPP represents a failure of imagination and an abdication on the part of educators who are convinced, albeit with the best of intentions, that this is the best "these kids" can hope for.

I don't know about you, but I am in the "some" group that thinks getting underserved, low-income minority children into elite prep schools and then on to college is evidence that a school works. I have a feeling that the author is in the "others" category, a group that doesn't want college-bound kids, but ones who are "democratically-engaged, independently-minded critical thinkers," whatever that means. You know, he/she may be right. I've always thought that college makes kids really, really love monarchy. And I'm always saying, you know, those college kids wear too many buttons that say
I (heart) the status quo and My parents were right every time. We really should stop sending kids to college.

Left to choose its own priorities, surely the state (through the mechanism of KIPP) will choose stability over something else. The effect and impact of this choice can only be guessed at, but I'd venture an educated guess and say that stability means more phonics and less Malcolm X. Again, this is by no means a consciously-constructed plan to exert racial dominance. It is, in a word, efficient. And, according to the KIPP people, what these children need.

So now KIPP is part of the social dominance structure created to keep people down. Why doesn't anyone else see that phonics is important for empowering people??? Slaveowners kept slaves illiterate for a reason. That's right, friends and neighbors, because Knowledge is Power. Why is knowledge always being made evil? I just don't understand. It was this way at grad school, and it's this way in the education world at large. It makes me angry. Also, "these children" need the basics in fifth grade because NO ONE TAUGHT THEM WELL ENOUGH BEFORE! If the school system they were in beforehand hadn't been so screwed up and awful, they could start where they're supposed to, with fifth grade material! And maybe they wouldn't all have to go to school until 5! Here's a last bit I want to get in:

And, with KIPP, we say, "This is good enough for them" while we send our kids to private schools or the best suburban schools.

There are a number of excellent charter elementary schools in New York City now, some of them with the Achievement First system. KIPP has an elementary school in Houston now, as well as a high school. I long for the day that the students who start KIPP or other great schools so early start whipping private school and suburban kids in achievement. That will be a great day for them, and for our country. Maybe then we'll start taking education a little more seriously.

--Guestblogger Newoldschoolteacher
Posted at 4:30 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Monday, August 07, 2006

an all-important update on my life

HEY! Sorry for the extended pause in blogging. I was distracted by a trip to our nation's capital and its wonderful museums. The museum gift stores provided me with a wealth of new books and assorted fun stuff for my classroom (Flip book on the First Ladies, wassup!). Of course, before that I was kickin' it at the KIPP summit in New Orleans. There were 1100 people there! It was amazing to meet so many teachers and administrators willing to put in the hours and effort to help kids. Here are some of the results of that effort.

At the Summit we also heard from Don and Doris Fisher, the founders of the Gap clothing store (Don't worry, I told them that sometimes their jeans make us look fat. They are going to rectify the problem immediately.) They contributed a lot of money when KIPP was starting out to help the KIPP idea spread. With their help, KIPP established the Fisher Fellows program to train new KIPP leaders. If you know someone who is an excellent educator and who you think might be ready and interested to open a KIPP or KIPP-like school, send them to this site. It's a year-long program now based out of Stanford Business School, and I hear it's a great experience.

The best piece of advice from the Summit came from a businessman who is a significant donor to the KIPP Schools in Washington DC. He said something like, "Drag rich people into these schools. They will write you checks because this really works." I'm into dragging rich people around, so I'm going to try this one.

--Guestblogger Newoldschoolteacher
Posted at 10:07 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post