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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
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School Wise Press
Teacher Magazine

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The Politico
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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
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Critical Mass
Dangerously Irrelevant
Daryl Cobranchi
Dave Shearon
Dave Saba (ABCTE)
DC Education Blog
Dems for Education Reform
The Deputy Head
Early Ed Watch
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Educated Nation
Educating One Mind
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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
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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
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Aspen Institute
Asia Society
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
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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
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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
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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, October 06, 2006

Oh Brother...

What is it with presidential brothers?
Posted at 2:25 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Teacher Quality
If you want more teacher quality debate check out this editorial in the Indy Star and the debate that it sparked. Certainly does seem like more attention, and finer grained attention, to this issue in the past few years. Whatever one thinks of NCLB's teacher quality provisions, gotta give them some credit for that.
Posted at 8:12 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Edujob -- Get In On The Ground Floor!
Here's a very fun one and you'd be working with great people and working on policy around an emerging issue -- charter school authorizing. Also, word is, that for the right person Chicago location is not a deal-breaker...
Posted at 8:10 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Department Of Everyone Reads The Same Polls

Disregarding the previous item, now that it's come to light that the GOP's idea of a growth model actually has nothing at all to do with school performance, President Bush has suddenly scheduled some education events around No Child Left Behind to shore up support with women. This morning he's visiting the Department of Education, a school, and doing a press event.

Update: It didn't work so well, hardly broke through even in the WaPo.* But, the speech the President gave is actually a pretty good primer on his views about education reform and it's hard to disagree with all of it. He's back, though, to pitching the Sadly Shrunken Teacher Incentive Fund but still with no explanation of why, if it's such a priority for him, he allowed Congress to fund it at only 20 percent of his request... Human capital in education is an enormous issue and he's throwing $100 million at it...

*Politically, for the Rs, isn't the real problem with this scandal the nature of it? Not just that it's appalling, but in particular a lot of parents are anxious about online chat rooms, IMing, and so forth. They feel a real loss of control and sense of risk there. This scandal is as squarely in that wheelhouse as possible: Creepy guy, emailing and IMing kids, without parents knowing. Going to take more than teacher pay to break through that.
Posted at 8:31 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

We Should Travel To Jupiter! Now! And, You've Got To Go To War Against The Law You Have...
Today's Washington Post op-ed calling for growth models ignored a pretty relevant part of NCLB's accountability requirements: The percentage of kids required to pass state tests rises over time so just focusing on kids likely to pass the test in any given year, as the author says teachers are*, is a time-limited strategy. So, "triage" might make sense for individual teachers but is not going to work school-or district-wide. You can argue that the rising floors are unrealistic, as many do, but they do address the central critique of the article. In fact, it's state accountability systems that often focused on fixed percentages of kids passing the tests not the federal system...

Also, the op-ed says: "When students improve on their previous performance but don't clear the passing threshold, schools still deserve credit." If we're trying to teach kids to standards, do they? And at what point is just improving performance not enough? Those are not abstract questions with growth models and the pretty tight parameters that the Department of Education put on their growth model pilot means they likely won't do everything people want them to do or address the core complaint in this op-ed because floors will still rise so just progress won't be enough. Besides, while there is an obvious dual client issue here, schools serve kids, are we ultimately concerned about schools or kids? Too often the former...

Finally, the author notes in passing at the end that, "the mechanics of a growth-based accountability system are tricky." Yes, they are! And few states can implement one, which is why the Dept. of Ed. pilot includes just two states right now. That's why calling for them as a universal cure right now is like calling for a manned mission to Jupiter this year or an immediate cessation in the use of gas-fueled cars. Instead, some sort of tiered system (pdf) is likely where we're headed for the near future and that raises some tricky policymaking questions.

*Worth noting, does one anecdote here really cut it? There is a fair amount of literature on this issue and it's not cut and dry at all.
Posted at 8:25 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

More ABCTE Leftism
I keep hearing that ABCTE is some wacko conservative hand maiden...but then stuff like this keeps happening. Today's installment: NAACP official joins the board. And, considering what we know about teacher preparation and quality, what's the argument against ABCTE as one option anyway?
Posted at 8:22 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Education's VICEX...And Is Rod Paige Mixed Up With Terrorism Again?
There is a mutual fund out there that a lot of investors love to hate or hate to love. VICEX is the opposite of a socially responsible mutual fund. It invests almost exclusively in defense contractors, alcohol, tobacco, and gambling interests (pdf). Not surprisingly, it also earns a not-too-shabby return.

But I'm starting to think that Florida's teacher pension fund may be education's VICEX...first they bought into Edison Schools and now they're funding Rod Paige's new venture through their NY investment arm!

Now, as it turns out, that investment arm, pace pp. 54 here, may not be a VICEX in the returns department (pdf), though by all accounts Chartwell is doing well. But, there is something more interesting here: Florida has passed a controversial law banning state funds from supporting travel to countries that the U.S. State Department says are bad news in the war on terror. Yet it looks like Chartwell is planning to spend some time working to improve education in the Mideast partnered with a firm that does business in some of those countries that State is down on...
Posted at 8:20 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Nativist, A Union Leader, And A Reverend Walk Into A Bar...

If you're wondering what Lou Dobbs, Randi Weingarten, Jesse Jackson, and Kevin Chavous have in common, and who isn't, the answer is that they're all going to be on the Montel Williams show on the 12th of October discussing American education.
Posted at 3:29 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

LA Story
This LA Times story on the narrowing LA sup't search is very worth reading if you're following it...
Posted at 9:58 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Mike Petrilli's Two Front Testing War (And His Guerrilla Campaign Over Reading First)
Mike Petrilli responds in NRO to this earlier piece laying down the conservative marker against national testing. Petrilli makes the case that choice needs standards and standards need choice. That's obviously a case I basically agree with. But seems that Petrilli's essay is as much a defense of standards and testing in general as a push for national testing. Doesn't that illustrate another problem here for the national testing boomlet? In today's political climate national testing supporters might soon find themselves fighting a two front war. Perhaps the best defense is a good offense, but while they're talking about nationalizing standards and testing, plenty of folks on the right and left are talking about walking today's policies back...In any event, Petrilli (nom de guerre "The Prince") has his hands full these days...
Posted at 8:21 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

12 Steps...And, The NEA Dumps Their Steady!

The NEA has released a new 12-point blueprint for reducing the nation's high school dropout problem. First, as a general issue, this is a departure for the NEA and one that should be welcomed, this is not just a memo from Dr. No. In fact, some very good stuff in it, especially the emphasis on catching kids who are post-high school age but could still complete. Leaving aside some yet unfleshed out details, my only quibbles are (a) they call for $10 billion for new dropout prevention initiatives over the next decade. I'm all for more resources targeted at this problem and that's a nice round number but I'd like to see the analysis on $1 billion annually. Seems you could argue that more or less is needed and (b) they call for essentially making 21 the compulsory schooling age. That's a really boneheaded idea that would be next to impossible to enforce and likely distract from the other items on their agenda.* But hey, 11 out of 12 isn't bad. Also, inside baseball, the NEAers embrace the Jay Greene grad rate numbers and diss the EPIers! That's like spending thousands on gifts for your wife and then taking off with the babysitter.

*I suspect some pollster told them that they had to have a tough love part of their agenda and that's the most they could swallow. I'd substitute something more substantial like a dramatic federal-state intervention in the serious dropout factories (pdf) if the goal is to (a) show voters you're not just about spending gobs of money and (b) actually address the problem.
Posted at 5:35 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Rookies...AFTie One-L Tries To Attack TFA Without Attacking TFA...
AFTie One-L rounds-up some bloggy discussion about teacher quality. She asks a good question about new (TFA) teachers but the assumption on which it is based seems more grounded in AFTie ideology than research and a heretical answer follows. First, while there have been several studies of the effectiveness of Teach For America (TFA) teachers, the only one that is really rigorous found that TFA teachers did as well or better than other teachers, including veterans and ones who came through various preparation routes. To be sure that's as much an indictment of teacher preparation as an endorsement of TFA, but those are the cards we're playing today and consequently, on average, hiring a TFA'er isn't a bad move. Second, as this TFA'er pointed out, TFA is not replacing outstanding veteran teachers, rather they are often going into schools where there would likely just be a warm body were it not for the TFA supply line. Third, and related to the first point, right now research shows that in terms of teacher effectiveness there is more variation within various preparation routes than between them (pdf). Finally, in discussions about TFA and novice teachers in general, "churn" is considered an inherently bad thing in education, but is it? In many cases excessive churn surely disadvantages kids. But you do want some churn. People leaving a profession they decide, or someone else decides, they're ill-suited for is not necessarily a bad thing -- on the contrary. And, though it's heretical to say, there are certainly some ways of organizing schools, perhaps with a small number of experienced senior teachers overseeing a cadre of novices with more energy than experience, that could be effective in some circumstances. Besides, though it's also heretical to say, considering the research on TFA, hiring them is a perfectly rational educational and fiscal decision for school districts even as it's a politically contentious one. Also worth noting that TFA contributes less to churn and more to education's human capital supply than people commonly assume.

The point here is not that TFA is a panacea, or that teacher experience doesn’t matter, I don't subscribe to either notion. Rather, it's that these issues are a lot more complicated than people generally let on.
Posted at 12:09 PM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Measure For Measure
For years Rod Paige and George Bush have said that when it comes to the nation's young people their party is the one that is serious about measurement. Guess it wasn't just rhetoric...
Posted at 9:38 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

I Teach To The Test
MA Teacher Matt Matera comes clean in a Pittsburgh Post op-ed that will make Margaret Spellings blush....

Looked at this way, testing seems dreadful, and as I began to teach I also decried the continual assessments that seemed bound to lead to such stultifying education conditions. Testing is one of those rare topics, however, on which I have had a full-fledged conversion experience. Over time, I realized that tests evaluating students' ability to do math and read and write intelligently aren't necessarily the worst things in the world.
Posted at 9:34 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Monday, October 02, 2006

More IG Action

It's not just about reading.
Posted at 11:55 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Another Victory For Good HR!
I'm all for solid induction activities that involve new teachers and engage the community but this might not be quite the way to do it...
Posted at 11:52 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

Modernizing Reforms
As Bruce Reed points out, Tony Blair's speech to Labour last week is an incredible political roadmap and a top-flight speech. Popular and successful education policies played a role in his success. Here's Blair:

The beliefs of the Labour Party of 2006 should be recognisable to the members of 1906. Full employment; strong public services; tackling poverty; international solidarity. The policies shouldn't. The trouble was for a long time they were.

You could say much the same thing about the education policy debate in the United States, no?
Posted at 11:41 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

More NTP V. AFT!
This New Teacher Project news seems to have ruined AFTie One-L's weekend and she's now back to arguing that the AFTie teacher transfer data (pdf) is definitive, a stance she'd previously seemed to back away from. So, if you're keeping score at home, the argument is that district-by-district case-studies, with data, are invalidated by national data that can't really account for a key variable here -- school district size. In other words, while the plural of anecdote is not data, NTP isn't peddling anecdotes. That said, while I don't think the AFTie data closes the case here, there is some interesting data in their report. Leave all that aside though, I understand why they're picking this fight, but I still think it's the wrong one to pick substantively and politically for them. Sorry AFTies...The bipartisan vote in CA didn't stem from ignorance.
Posted at 11:37 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post

DC Schools...And, Will Swings And Misses
For its education issue WaPo's Outlook section looked at the plight of Washington D.C.'s schools. ES's Toch and Mead here, advice from various quarters here. Toch and Mead go pretty Cuban in describing the mess that passes for schooling in the city. But they spend more time on current superintendent Janey than what I see as the key variable in the near term: Fenty. He's going to engage on this issue in a big way and could put together some interesting alliances. As Toch and Mead point out, DC's governance is screaming for reform, it's an amazing amalgam of the worst aspects of city and state educational governance and Fenty has some play there.

Also, while you're there, Michael Grunwald provides a handy example of the concern that this Reading First fiasco is going to undermine the consensus around reading instruction and set back that effort. And, George Will phones in a sort of ridiculous column about the "65 percent solution." The definitional issues are part of the problem with the 65 percent idea, but does Will seriously believe that (a) the states won't game the definitions as this comes to pass and (b) there is not some legitimate debate about what is and isn't an instructional expense? Update: Kevin Carey has much more here.
Posted at 11:34 AM | Comments: 0 | Link to this item | Email this post