Friday, December 15, 2006Old Skills
Sherman Dorn makes the good point that the radical new and forward looking skills report is being disseminated more or less only on paper.
If you care about pre-K, you want to check out this new blog. A pre-K teacher lets you play along at home.
This NYT story on yesterday's skills commission report is a museum quality classic of the education story genre: It's got the big set up, the breathless quote from Jack Jennings that confirms the general storyline (in this case, this is a really important report! It could change everything!), the dismissive brush-offs from the teachers' unions about how wrongheaded it all is, and the sober middle-of-the-road quote at the end. Why mess with perfection, I know...But how about some, you know, analysis on why the unions don't like it (it proposes to reallocate teacher compensation*), what its prospects are (it could change nothing), what happened with the last report from the same gang, or whether it's significant that this blue-ribbon panel essential embraced the contracting model for delivering public education? NYT, you'll never move past #4 with stuff like this!
Incidentally, CSM's Paulson steps-up and here is a really good story on the report that actually tells us something (and has a storyline confirming quote from Jennings as a freebie bonus!).**
*In fact, in this case the story is unfair to the unions because it makes them look more reactionary than they actually are (so that's an accomplishment worth noting). They have legitimate reasons to be concerned about that part of the report, but surely support some of the more milquetoast stuff around adult education and pre-k education.
**Here's that quote: "I think we've tried to do what we can to improve American schools within the current context," says Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, who says the commission has sparked an important debate. "Now we need to think much more daringly."
Not sure I agree. I think we need to think more daringly, yes, but I don't think we tried everything or nearly hard enough to improve American schools within the current context. But I think that is sort of irrelevant today because the context has changed so much and consequently more of the same amounts to trying to make the current system work to do things we don't want it to do anymore anyway.
Speaking of jobs, here's a great one at the Center for American Progress ed policy shop (pdf). You'd be working for Cindy Brown, one of the great people in town, civil rights-oriented education reformer, the sweet spot for Democrats. And the Center is doing some pretty leading edge work around teacher quality and other reform issues.
Update: Same frame, different jobs, CCCR is also hiring and seeking interns.
Here's Justin Stone, he's a former PPI education team member, finishing a doctorate at University of Virginia's Curry School, and looking to come to DC for an ed policy job. If he can land a bass like this, just think what he can do for your organization! Email him yourself. Like Howie Schaffer he's a Bassmaster though Justin also knows his way around a flyrod, too.
NY Charter Cap Action
Joe Williams is all over the latest happenings...including the new "study." All in all though I think he has the wrong animal...when I think of the politics up there around this issue, I suspect this is something of what it looked like right after that big meteor hit eons ago...
You’ll hear a lot about this New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce report in the next few days, it’s already got big media buzzing – they love a parade! It’s well worth reading and makes recommendations along multiple fronts from testing to school district structure to adult education. I don’t agree with it all (the testing regime seems a distraction from the path we're on now), though a lot hardly anyone will disagree with, but there are a few things many folks will especially school boards, school districts, and teachers’ unions. But, for my money, the most notable thing about it is its proposed financing rather than any of the recommendations themselves.
Usually these big-think reports come with a big-think price tag and a call for everyone to dig deep, value education in fiscal terms as much as we do in rhetorical ones, etc…This is the first really seminal one that I can think of that lays out the hard truth that a lot of this is going to have to be financed on resources already in the system. That’s a big signal shift and for a country that has more than doubled its education spending in a generation, it’s a sign of new seriousness about policymaking.
Some of the financing is supposed to come from increased efficiencies, and that’s a tough one. But the more concrete idea, and the one that the usual suspects will hate, is the idea of repurposing funds structurally from veteran teachers and toward newbies. Yet considering the research on teacher effectiveness, what we know about the education labor market, and how our human capital resources (salaries and benefits) are allocated in this field, fixing the misalignment is high priority. Now I’m not saying, and don’t think the commission is saying, that you can or should hose veteran teachers or create a “ten and out” system. But, there is plenty of room between those extremes and what we have now and policymakers have to go there.
The back channel chatter on this is also surfacing some resentments from folks who have worked on these various issues but feel they got short shrift in the report. Many of the ideas have been around for a while in different forms and championed by different people. The most notable instance is the contracting idea for schools, which Paul Hill has been a leader on for some time, though there are others as well on multiple issues. In some ways that is par for the course with these things, they’re compendiums and syntheses of the best ideas and thinking already out there. But, in a report that is confident in its tone and self-referencing, the authors would have done themselves a favor to make that much more clear.
Orszag At CBO
This is very good news.
I'm torn between two new mottos for the blog. Per the NCLB tip sheet, should I go with "where education and gambling meet," or per the new Ed Week study (pdf) of influentials in education should I go with "The least influential of the most influential news sources?" And, of course, there is always the old standby, "Your source for education pig f***ing action."
I'd ask you all to vote on it and decide, but turns out you're not very good at that. If even half the people who read this blog daily would vote for it in the Bloggies, we'd be winning, since you can vote every day...ingrates.
Anyway, check out the Ed Week report, the methods are a little flimsy, but it's interesting. Big winner is the Ed Trust, I'd say. And it's well deserved.
And while you're at Ed Week, Olson and Hoff turn in a must-read round-up on where things stand in the NCLB ideas primary.
Challenging The Challenge Index
Tomorrow (Weds) at noon Sara Mead and I explain why we're not drinking the Challenge Index Kool-Aid in a WaPo chat. Here's the longer version in the full paper.
Update: ‘Tis done, and there is a teaser in the answers…
Craig Jerald and Kevin Carey wrap up their outstanding Wire-blogging. Only thing I'd add is that I also found the No Child Left Behind storyline uncharacteristically shallow for what is overall a very textured show. Coach Carter approached the issue with more nuance and while there is a sophisticated critique of No Child from the perspective the show takes, it missed it.
It's bound to be the favorite stocking stuffer of the voucher crowd and surely serialized soon on Edspresso! But if you hurry to Amazon you can buy Clint Bolick's new novel "Nicki's Girl" before everyone is talking about it.
It sounds a little racy, so parents read it first, and the fawning review by "Diane Bolick from Phoenix, AZ" seems a little fishy...nonetheless other reviewers say it's a "page turner" and that it "haunts you - in a memorable and loves-lost sort of way."
Last month at the Dutko – Ed Week confab, the big question was, of course, so when will No Child Left Behind be reauthorized? The consensus, explicit from some, implicit from others, was that while the administration is working on reauthorization ideas, and incoming House and Senate education chairs George Miller and Edward Kennedy want to start work on the issue, the odds are long.
So like a day at the track, here’s an Eduwonk tip sheet to probable outcomes. We’ll update it as things progress. Of course, some of these scenarios are not mutually exclusive, but for the purposes of this exercise we’re treating each as independent. So here’s the post mid-term morning line:
Reauthorization prior to the 2008 election
If the Bush
Reauthorization prior to the election based on the Aspen No Child Left Behind Commission’s report, due out in early 2007
If there is a pre-election reauthorization, this is the likely scenario. The Aspen NCLB Commission isn’t just going to offer up vague principles but rather something of a blueprint. If the administration wants to show that they still can be bipartisan and Kennedy and Miller want to protect much of NCLB, a deal around the
No reauthorization until after 2008 election
You’ll never go broke betting on gridlock in
Competitiveness out- competes equity
Congress does like to do things on education and competitiveness concerns pave the way for a bipartisan education bill that avoids all the hard decisions on No Child and creates some feel-good initiatives focused on STEM careers. This could be the value play going into 2008.
National Education Association reasserts itself and rewrites the law to its liking
Sorry dues payers! As Ed Week bluntly titled a post-mortem on the 2001 NCLB enactment: “Unions' Positions Unheeded On ESEA.” A Democratic majority doesn’t hurt them but doesn’t help them all that much either because there are bad feelings on both sides of the aisles about how the unions, especially the NEA, have approached the law since its passage. George Miller shows that liberalism doesn’t have to equal water carrying for them. But, if things start to look scary for Dems in 2008, the unions stock goes up. Still, a long shot.
Conservatives rollback the federal role in elementary and secondary education
The Republican Study Group would love to see it happen and No Child has created a new group of states' rights liberals. But even though libertarian oriented Republicans are asserting themselves on the issue it's hard to see them getting much traction.
Beastiality In LA!
Steve Barr admits he has no solid evidence...but apparently none is needed!
Google likes those TFAers...