About Eduwonk & ES Media

About Eduwonk
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The Education Sector Digest
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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.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Bushies Bungle The Most Popular Part of NCLB! Is It Time To Beat The [Expletive Deleted] Out Of Them?

Like everyone else I'm reading this new Inspector General Report on Reading First (pdf)...wow. It goes downhill from the excerpt below. And don't miss the emails, they don't learn! For instance:

Beat the [expletive deleted] out of them in a way that will stand up to any level of legal and [whole language] apologist scrutiny. Hit them over and over with definitive evidence that they are not SBRR, never have been and never will be. They are trying to crash our party and we need to beat the [expletive deleted] out of them in front of all the other would-be party crashers who are standing on the front lawn waiting to see how we welcome these dirtbags.

Title I Monitor is all over it here. Quick reax: First, this is going to walk on the message the Secretary was hoping to get out next week in her big speech. Second, harder to argue that Jack Jennings is in the tank for Democrats now, here is his recent evaluation praising Reading First! Finally, politically, this could set the issue of good reading instruction back a good bit, and that's seriously a real shame.

From the IG Report:

Specifically, we found that the Department:

• Developed an application package that obscured the requirements of the statute;• Took action with respect to the expert review panel process that was contrary to thebalanced panel composition envisioned by Congress;• Intervened to release an assessment review document without the permission of the entity that contracted for its development;• Intervened to influence a State’s selection of reading programs; and• Intervened to influence reading programs being used by local educational agencies(LEAs) after the application process was completed.

These actions demonstrate that the program officials failed to maintain a control environment that exemplifies management integrity and accountability

Fall guy: Chris Doherty.

From: Simon, Ray
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2006 10:56 AM
To: All Exchange Users
Subject: ODS Personnel Announcement

After almost 5 years with the department, Chris Doherty intends to return to the private sector, effective October 1. Chris has been a valuable asset to my team and to the department during his tenure here. The children of America are fortunate to have had such a tireless champion. His intelligence, counsel, wit and friendship will be immeasurably missed.

Wendy Tada has agreed to serve as the new Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary. Wendy will join ODS from OVAE where she is currently serving as Chief of Staff. Previously, she worked in OSERS and was instrumental in developing the IDEA regulations. Her distinguished career in the education field also includes positions as school physical therapist, assistant professor, and education research analyst.

Please join me in congratulating Chris on his new opportunity and welcoming Wendy to the ODS team.

Raymond Simon Deputy Secretary U.S. Department of Education
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What If You Throw A School District And Noboby Comes?
If they're not careful, Detroit Public Schools are going to run out of kids before too long...
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Carey V. US News Smackdown! Is Freedom On The March?
Kevin Carey has a new report out on higher ed rankings. Chron. of Higher Ed here ($).

"The biggest obstacle to liberating higher education from the tyranny of the flawed U.S. News system is higher education itself," says Carey.
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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Bennett Bets Big On National Standards...But Is It Just More Think Tank Noise?

Remember when I said you should start taking the think tanky excitement over national standards seriously when a prominent national politician championed the idea? Well, Bill Bennett and Rod Paige don’t fit the bill, sorry! But they did jump on the national standards train in this morning’s WaPo. Four thoughts:

First, shouldn’t Paige have at least signaled to readers that when it comes to citing Fordham Foundation work, he’s not just an observer/consumer, he’s a playa’! He’s on the board. Don’t think Bennett has any formal affiliation there though.

Second, every time someone lobs one of these National Assessment of Educational Progress v. state standards comparisons you get a rehash of the old debate about whether NAEP’s standards are meaningful or too rigorous. Fair enough, it’s a legitimate debate. Nonetheless, there is some utility to NAEP at least at the extremes. In other words, while I wouldn’t use NAEP to impugn a state where say 55 percent of the kids are “proficient” on the state test but only 45 percent were on NAEP, when you have really enormous spreads, for instance Tennessee’s 87 to 27 as Paige-Bennett cite, that does tell you something.

Third, Bennett and Paige say that a reason for bottom-up standards is so that Washington doesn’t mess it up. That’s really just a throwaway Republican line. There is no guarantee that the states won’t screw it up either. After all, they did produce much of the current mess. Instead, why I think that if you want to see national standards bottom-up is the only way to go is because it’s the only way to get genuine buy-in at the state and local level. Remember, No Child Left Behind doesn’t impose federal standards; it just forces the states to get serious about enforcing their own. And, at least so far, they’re not too keen to do that. Don’t expect them to enthusiastically embrace someone else’s standards. That’s because a big part of this problem is political, not technical or substantive. The politics of dealing with low-performing schools are knotty and even with some sort of Platonic standards and measurement system, those politics still remain.

Finally, bottom-up standards will take a while so they’re not an immediately actionable solution for the next iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind. That means that regardless of what provisions Congress puts in the law to encourage the creation of national standards, thorny questions about accountability between now and then remain. That, for my money, remains a more interesting debate.

See also Jal Mehta's dissent from the zeitgeist here. And ignore AFTie One-Ls hysterics about privatization*, she gives good info on where this issue stands on the Hill.

*Why ignore? Because the NCLB problem isn't that states are privatizing schools, or being forced to, it's that they're doing next to nothing!
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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sup't Gambling

It's appalling someone didn't think of this sooner! SchoolMe offers odds on various possibles for the LA Sup't job. Some are worth checking out. Eduwonk thinks that like Kentucky Derby Futures they also need a betting line on all others. In all seriousness, there are some names in the mix that are not on this list, but I can't tell you them...and in all seriousness, the dig on Clinton is ridiculous, ESEA '94, standards, charter schools, public school choice etc...
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Levine's Latest
A lot of readers want to know why I haven't blogged about former Teachers College president Arthur Levine's latest report on the quality of education schools (pdf). Well, first reason is that I'm buried, hence the light posting lately. Second, it's a fine report but it's hardly earth shattering, most people in and out of the field knew the punchline: There are a lot of problems with the ed schools and many are downright lousy! Not a shocker...

But hey, regulatory capture is a powerful thing so they're not going anywhere anytime soon and besides there is not a great model just sitting out there to replace them. In our book on the issue Rick Hess, Kate Walsh, and I basically concluded that there are four models and that policymakers have some decisions to make to clear up today's muddle.

For my money the most interesting part of the report is sort of inside baseball, it has a pretty scathing attack on NCATE. That's a ball worth watching...Jenny D. has a lot more on the report here. Ed Week here.

Also, related and too often overlooked issue: Teachers earn more salary for completing additional degrees and coursework at these ed schools. No evidence linking any of this to effectiveness. So, just how much money could be used to raise teacher pay in a more efficacious way but is instead currently sunk in this system?
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Multiway Achievement Gap Action
Nomadic blogger Matt Yglesias weighs-in on this ongoing achievement gap debate between Kevin Carey and the AFTies (if you're inclined links to walk back here). Matt makes an interesting point about the dynamic nature of the achievement gap, namely that affluent parents are always going to seek out advantages for their kids. That's true and in a liberal society hard, and I'd argue unwise, to curtail. But that's not what No Child Left Behind is about. In the NCLB gap closing context gap closing means eliminating racial and economic gaps in the percentages of students scoring "proficient" on their state tests. Considering the nature of these tests, which should be floors rather than ceilings, this can be done regardless of what affluent parents do.

Also worth noting that while there are many out-of-school factors that bear on the gaps we see on tests, outcomes, etc...it's important not to forget that the way schools are organized, financed, and so forth today means that once students enter the public system they encounter an environment that compounds those gaps rather than addressing them. A quick spin around the Ed Trust website will give you plenty of examples about that in terms of teacher quality, curriculum, and money.

Update: Matt responds, and there isn't a huge disagreement here and again the prospect of a robust center-left/left/center-right coalition to really address social and educational reform rears its head. But in terms of No Child the semantics do matter because understanding what the policy of NCLB is intended to do is key to a reasonable decision about the law's merits. And all kinds of things are being ascribed to it that it's not intended to do.
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Free Digital Camera
Spunky HomeSchool is giving one away in a contest at her site. But what you really want is that gun...
Posted at 10:31 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Milwaukee Vouchers
If you follow school choice issues, I don't have to tell you the importance of this must-read by Alan Borsuk in the MJS.
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Wanna work with foundations? Come work at ES, fun job, good team, well groomed employees. Also, Edison Schools is hiring teachers. You gotta be certified.
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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It's Boston

Boston wins the 2006 Broad Prize. They've been waiting for this one...nice swan song for Payzant.
Posted at 11:25 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Sweet Science

Do not mess with the science guys...I've heard that Bill Nye once killed a man...
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Old Verbiage, New Problems
Sam Freedman turns in an interesting column about Joel Klein's reform efforts in New York. He argues that the new schools Klein is creating are less than public. Not at all sure that's right, they may a different kind of public.

This is complicated though. First, what Klein is trying to do is create disruptive innovation within the system, that’s hard as hell to do. Worth noting that one of the theoretical underpinnings of vouchers is that you have to do that from outside the system so voucher foes should be cheering not jeering Klein's efforts to show that the public system can reform itself. In other words the irony here is that this “not so public” may hold the key to reinvigorating urban public schools.

In addition, the stark delineations between "public" and "privatization" really don't work. There are a lot of gradations between the traditional public system and what I think you could reasonably consider a private one. So, while I obviously think it's vital to maintain strong linkages between wellsprings of democratic input into schooling and schooling itself, that can take a lot of forms besides the traditional district arrangements.

Finally, in the case of New York, Bloomberg, in concert with Klein, staked his reelection on education and voters apparently strongly approved. So, there is (a) some accountability there and (b) a signal on where a lot of people are on this.

Not saying this is all perfect, just that it's more complicated than the "public" - "private" debate lets on.
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Whistling Past...
If I was a Ford worker in Michigan and was watching all this unfold, I might be really pissed off...Anyway, worth pointing out that it's hard not to see that a lot of urban school districts are in a Ford-like situation or will be over time with out some real improvement.
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Quote Of The Day
ES' Kevin Carey on low-grad rates at some colleges:

“When you have a system where virtually everyone fails, how is that different from designing a system in which the point is for people to fail?” Mr. Carey added. “No one can look at that and say this is the best we can do.”
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