Archive for the 'Just For Fun' Category
Parent educational power has made some great strides in a number of states in recent years, prompting not only 2011′s aptly-named “Year of School Choice” but also the rapidly-growing National School Choice Week phenomenon.
That doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels nor expect opponents to sit back and do nothing. We’ve seen the anti-school choice Empire Strike Back before. This time, as the result of a political power change, certain legislators undertook an effort to repeal the state’s scholarship tax credit program enacted just last year.
No school choice program has been shut down legislatively after being adopted. If New Hampshire lawmakers could revoke the Corporate Education Tax Credit, it would represent a blow not only to the choice movement but also to the opportunities of many Granite State students. The House passed the repeal, but that only got the measure halfway across the legislative finish line. Last week then brought good news out of Concord: Continue Reading »
It’s a busy Friday at the end of a sad and difficult week. So I’m happy just to follow Mike Antonucci’s witty lead. Today on his Intercepts blog he pointed out some true “Hedge Fund Hilarity” in a Wall St. Journal column about national teachers union president Randi Weingarten “trying to strong-arm pension trustees not to invest in hedge funds or private-equity funds that support education reform.”
(That’s the same Randi Weingarten who has stepped forward as the face of the opposition to Douglas County’s bold agenda of innovating and re-imagining public education.)
To which Antonucci cuttingly replied:
Am I the only one who sees the irony in the American Federation of Teachers bellyaching about people using teachers’ money for causes they might not support?
At the risk of sticking my neck out there by responding to a rhetorical question, even this naive young edublogger has to answer, No, you’re not alone. Sigh. Is it the weekend yet?
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:
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
It’s fun to be part of something big that promotes a great cause. And this year that something has grown bigger than ever before: National School Choice Week! This year I’m excited to see the national celebration spotlighted by a national cross-country Whistle Stop Tour. It kicks off today in Los Angeles, California, and ends up in New York City a week later. Oh, how little Eddie would love to hitch a ride on the rails!
While the Whistle Stop Tour has no plans to visit my neck of the woods, it does at least cut through the southeastern part of Colorado. And if you can’t catch the train at any of its stops across the Fruited Plain, there’s still plenty of other things to do. More than 1,000 events are planned from coast to coast.
Let’s start with some of what’s going on right here in Denver. My Education Policy Center friends are sponsoring a community showing of Waiting for Superman… in Spanish! This will be a great chance for me to learn some words en espanol besides gracias or adios. Rumor has it some food and prizes might be involved. Details for the Thursday evening, January 31, event at Centro San Juan Diego can be found on this handy flier. Continue Reading »
Really quick for a Friday, the good news for the education reform movement this week is that “Indiana’s loss turned out to be Florida’s gain.” What am I talking about? The sad news that the Hoosier State’s commissioner of education Tony Bennett lost his re-election bid is quelled by the fact he agreed to take over the same position in the only state with a longer, more comprehensive history of reform: Florida.
Bennett sat down with national education guru Rick Hess for an interview to explain how it all came together, and what sort of challenges and opportunities face him in the Sunshine State. Anyone who hoped that Bennett might have become commissioner here in Colorado can be consoled by Hess’ reminder comparing Florida’s education reform acquisition with our state’s football acquisition:
After all, it’s been a tough year for Indiana; they keep shipping homegrown stars elsewhere. This spring, the Indianapolis Colts cut ties with all-world quarterback Peyton Manning, with the Denver Broncos outbidding several other franchises for his services….
In a perfect world, I’d take both Manning and Bennett. Winning Super Bowl XLVII would be exciting enough. Winning the Super Bowl of education reform — providing more choice, opportunity, accountability, and excellent learning opportunities — would be even better! But good luck to Florida as they seek to continue their successful track record.
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.
About a month ago, I pointed out to you the somewhat disturbing views about parents held by certain figures within the education establishment. Well, here’s going way out on a limb to guess the same crowd won’t be lining up in excitement to watch the new movie Won’t Back Down:
The feature-length film starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis and Holly Hunter is a story about parents who take charge of transforming their children’s failing inner-city school. In other words, it’s a real Hollywood movie with a powerful education reform message that should resonate with American families facing challenging educational circumstances. Maybe it can pick up where Waiting for Superman left off. Continue Reading »
One of the themes my Education Policy Center friends and I like to harp on is how poorly most of our K-12 system does in distinguishing high-quality educators from their low-performing counterparts. And the problem is especially pronounced in low-income urban communities, where tremendous need exists for great instruction to compensate for the challenges more students bring to school.
Do we provide the top-tier teachers real opportunities for more pay, career advancement, specialization, and expanded student reach? How about this one: Do schools work to keep the highest-performing instructors at a significantly greater rate than their peers who provide 5 to 6 months less of learning per year?
Education Week guest bloggers Sydney Morris and Evan Stone (co-founders of Educators for Excellence) say teachers are not surprised to hear the answer. Whether or not you are shocked, the findings of the latest report from The New Teacher Project (TNTP) should be disturbing: Continue Reading »
While I was gone fishing, the National Education Association had its annual representative assembly. Apparently, nothing took place there like in 2009, when the outgoing NEA general counsel proclaimed the union’s true priorities. Actually, it’s more along the spirit of last year, though, when NEA delegates took both sides in the debate over using value-added measures for evaluations.