Archive for the 'Edublogging' Category

January
2nd 2014
Colorado K-12 Policy and Trends: Eddie’s Eight Emerging Questions for 2014

Posted under Courts & Edublogging & Innovation and Reform & Just For Fun & learning & Online Schools & Parents & Preschool & Principals & School Board & School Choice & School Finance & State Legislature & Tax Credits & Teachers & Urban Schools

Unbelievably, another new year is already underway, and I’m left to ponder what kind of hopes it holds out for Colorado kids and families seeking the best educational opportunities and outcomes possible. While I recover from the blissful batch of toys, games, and goodies, it seems like a perfect time to ponder what might emerge out of the chaos in 2014: Continue Reading »

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June
19th 2013
NCTQ’s Report on Teacher Prep Programs Must Do More Than Rattle a Few Cages

Posted under Edublogging & education schools & Grades and Standards & Innovation and Reform & reading & Research & Teachers

Any large-scale effort at serious reform or innovation in K-12 education eventually leads to the vexing question of what to do about teacher preparation, ensuring there are enough effective instructors available. The consensus is fairly widespread that broadly speaking, today’s schools of education just aren’t getting the job done.

Released this week, the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Prep Review has been a long time in coming. The large-scale analysis of more than 1,100 teacher prep programs, in painting a bleak picture, has stirred up lots of debate and discussion. Here follow some of the highlights: Continue Reading »

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April
1st 2013
Change of Heart on Choice, Reform, Funding, and Unions: Time for Ed Is Playing!!

Posted under Courts & Edublogging & Innovation and Reform & Just For Fun & Parents & PPC & Principals & Private Schools & School Board & School Choice & School Finance & Teachers

It’s been several days since I’ve had a chance to write here. The end of my spring break provided a lot of time for reflection on some issues that really have been bothering me. Now that I’ve had time to re-evaluate my well-known positions on some key education issues, I feel it is my obligation to share with you the following:

  1. When it comes to education, I’ve come to agree with Diane Ravitch that parents don’t really know what is best for kids. They should leave it all up to the experts in the classroom and the school district administration building. (I would also like to apply this logic to the question of eating vegetables, an area in which I’m now considered an expert.)
  2. As a result, I now believe this whole idea of school choice is really overblown, and actually undermines the great work professional educators do on our behalf every day. Instead of celebrating the recent Indiana Supreme Court decision, we all should be sobbing our hearts out right along with the Hoosiers fans, whose team went down hard in the Sweet 16.
  3. I’ve also made a resolution to stop spending nearly so much time praising the innovative, transformational work going on in school districts like Douglas County and Falcon 49. In fact, I feel really bad for all the time and energy I’ve spent undermining the great traditions of public education unions and bureaucracy.
  4. Continue Reading »

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January
4th 2013
Can We Get a Truly Comparable Picture of State Graduation Rates?

Posted under Edublogging & Grades and Standards & High School & learning & PPC & Research

A Friday quickie for readers to chew on. Back in late November, the U.S. Department of Education released the first-ever data where we could truly compare the rates at which students in different states are graduating high school on time. Unfortunately, Colorado’s 74 percent graduation rate put us in the bottom third.

But now that we can finally look at all states based on a common measure of how well students are completing their secondary education (more than 43 years after we put a man on the moon), someone has to ask: Just how accurate is the comparison? In an insightful new EdFly blog post, Florida’s Mike Thomas reminds us that different graduation standards can seriously cloud the picture. After highlighting some different headlines that take to task certain states’ graduation output, he notes: Continue Reading »

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December
13th 2012
Eddie Picks Up Slack on Media Misses, Including Teacher Pension Costs

Posted under Edublogging & Grades and Standards & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Journalism & learning & Online Schools & PPC & Public Charter Schools & Research & School Choice & School Finance & Teachers

I love lists, I love education, and I love to tell people about things. So it should be no surprise that my attention was caught by yesterday’s news release from Stanford: “Hoover Institution Education Experts Identify News Media Hits and Misses in 2012 Education Coverage.” The Koret Task Force on Education named five stories that were well-covered and five that were neglected. First, the hits:

  1. Charter schools
  2. Teachers’ unions
  3. Special education
  4. Pre-Kindergarten education
  5. No Child Left Behind

Next, the misses: Continue Reading »

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December
7th 2012
Believe It! NPR Shows How K-12 Policy Can Lead to Sugary-Sweet Goodness

Posted under Edublogging & Just For Fun & Parents & PPC & Public Charter Schools & Urban Schools

Stop nagging me! Yes, it’s true I haven’t added much to the blog this week. Too much time making my Christmas list for Santa… up to 30 pages so far. Now it’s Friday and I’m tired. But I couldn’t retire into the weekend without at least a nod to something education-related here.

National Public Radio did a cool little feature interviewing kids my age about a new proposal that would give needy students in Cleveland, Ohio, the token of college-bound hope:

Every Cuyahoga County kindergartner would receive a $100 college savings account under a plan county Executive Ed FitzGerald says will create a “culture of college attendance” for children and their parents.

Continue Reading »

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October
22nd 2012
Antonucci Deconstructs Chicago Teachers Union President’s Post-Strike Answers

Posted under Edublogging & Education Politics & PPC & Teachers & Urban Schools

Call me lazy. Call me a copycat. Call me whatever you want (“sticks and stones,” and all that…). Just read this insightful piece by Mike Antonucci that unpacks the answers of Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis in a post-strike retrospective interview. His piece reminds us that democracy applies more broadly than to union actions, that not only the “experts” get a voice and a vote, and that the powerful trends of education reform persist even after this fall’s labor showdown in the Windy City.

The conclusion? Continue Reading »

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October
12th 2012
Dougco Moving Forward with Bold Innovations to Performance Pay, Evaluation

Posted under Edublogging & Innovation and Reform & Journalism & PPC & Suburban Schools & Teachers

A quick Friday hit, thanks to Ed News Colorado, as the local Douglas County paper highlights the reform-minded school board’s progress in implementing performance pay and related upgrades to teacher policies:

While pay for performance isn’t new in Douglas County, the program still under development pushes aside the traditional pay system based on years of experience and higher education coursework and degrees.

“We’ve pretty much replaced the old step-and-lane structure (of) experience on the left, education on top,” said the district’s chief human resources officer, Brian Cesare. “We’re saying now it’s going to be performance on the top and market value on the left.”

Continue Reading »

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October
3rd 2012
Want to Improve K-12 Productivity? Avoid Baumol’s Disease Like Plague

Posted under Edublogging & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & PPC & Research & School Finance

It’s not uncommon for me to tell you about the great need for public schools to spend dollars more productively. A recent brief, colorful paper written by my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow makes the point with some great local significance for school districts asking voters for tax increases this fall.

But, you may ask, why is this a problem in the first place? Why does the productivity of school spending tend to deteriorate over time? The answer, as Matt Ladner ably points out in a couple new posts, is Baumol’s disease.

Wait a minute, I see some of you ready to run and hide. No, it doesn’t mean you’re going to break out with red blotches on your skin, develop a high fever, or experience bouts of memory loss. It’s not that kind of disease! Ladner points to a lecture by the brilliant education policy scholars Paul Hill and Marguerite Roza to explain the phenomenon: “the tendency of labor-intensive organizations to become more expensive over time but not any more productive.” Continue Reading »

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October
1st 2012
NY High School Success Calls for Look at Old-Fashioned Writing Instruction

Posted under Edublogging & Grades and Standards & High School & Independence Institute & learning & PPC & Teachers & Urban Schools & writing

Some of you out there probably think I’m starting to get lazy. Just pick out an education-themed article and point you two it, then head along on my way. But this one I couldn’t resist. A new piece in The Atlantic magazine by Peg Tyre gets at the nitty-gritty of learning and knowledge through telling one school’s story at trying something that used to be common in American education and largely proved successful.

What is the secret for New Dorp High School in Staten Island, New York? An intense focus on actually teaching students how to write, rather than just hoping they’ll “catch” it by doing some creative assignments. Maybe it is a “revolution,” seeing as how everything old happens to become new again:

…Fifty years ago, elementary-school teachers taught the general rules of spelling and the structure of sentences. Later instruction focused on building solid paragraphs into full-blown essays. Some kids mastered it, but many did not. About 25 years ago, in an effort to enliven instruction and get more kids writing, schools of education began promoting a different approach. The popular thinking was that writing should be “caught, not taught,” explains Steven Graham, a professor of education instruction at Arizona State University. Roughly, it was supposed to work like this: Give students interesting creative-writing assignments; put that writing in a fun, social context in which kids share their work. Kids, the theory goes, will “catch” what they need in order to be successful writers. Formal lessons in grammar, sentence structure, and essay-writing took a back seat to creative expression.

Continue Reading »

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