Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Safely Landed � InterACT

Safely Landed � InterACT

Safely Landed

NOTE: This blog entry is cross-posted from a travel blog written by the 2010 California Teachers of the Year in their Journals From Japan. The five-teacher contingent includes InterACT blogger Kelly Kovacic and ACT member Valerie Ziegler. Please go to their blog to see pictures and read additional entries, and leave them some comments. (DC)
After a ten hour flight, we’ve arrived safely in Tokyo, Japan. The flight went smoothly with great service by JAL. Despite leaving late out of LAX, we arrived early. Our tour guide, Mitzi Katayama, met us at the airport and

Readout of the President’s Meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus | The White House

Readout of the President’s Meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus | The White House

Readout of the President’s Meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

Today, President Obama met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about the need to fix our nation’s broken immigration system. The President discussed his upcoming speech on comprehensive immigration reform with the members, and his desire to see a bipartisan process based on the proposal presented in the Senate and building on the Schumer-Graham framework. The President noted that the bipartisan approach in that proposal thoughtfully addresses the need to further secure our borders and demands accountability from both workers who are here illegally and unscrupulous employers who game the system. During the meeting the President also reiterated the unprecedented efforts his Administration has taken to secure our borders, including his request to Congress for $600 million in supplemental appropriations and the deployment of up-to an additional 1,200 National Guard forces to complement those efforts. The President pointed out that truly securing our border requires comprehensive immigration reform, and said that he wants to continue to work with the CHC and the Congress to act at the earliest possible opportunity. The President thanked the CHC members for their strong support over the past year and half, having helped pass a historic economic recovery bill, health care reform, education reform, and being on the cusp of passing Wall Street reform that ensures the irresponsibility of the past doesn’t lead us to another crisis. In addition, the President once again made clear his views on the recent law passed in Arizona and noted that the Department of Justice was reviewing it.
P062910PS-0782 by The White House.
President Barack Obama meets with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the State Dining Room of the White House, June 29, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Bill Gates touts charter schools, accountability

Bill Gates touts charter schools, accountability

Bill Gates touts charter schools, accountability

By CARYN ROUSSEAU
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
CHICAGO -- Billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates said Tuesday that charter schools can revolutionize education, but that the charter school movement also must hold itself accountable for low-performing schools.
"We need breakthroughs," Gates said at the National Charter Schools Conference in Chicago. "And your charters are showing that breakthroughs are possible."
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been a big player in the school reform movement, spending about $200 million a year on grants to elementary and secondary education. Gates said charter schools and their ability to innovate are a key part of the foundation's education strategy.
"I really think that charters have the potential to revolutionize the way students are educated," Gates said.
Charter schools receive taxpayer money but have more freedom than traditional public schools to map out how they'll meet federal education benchmarks.
Nelson Smith, president and chief executive of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, said 457 charter schools have opened in the last year for a total

Schools Matter: New Research Finds Over-Subscribed Charter Schools with More Negative than Positive Effects

Schools Matter: New Research Finds Over-Subscribed Charter Schools with More Negative than Positive Effects

New Research Finds Over-Subscribed Charter Schools with More Negative than Positive Effects

The "gold standard" for research that the corporate charter reformers like to point to involves comparisons of lottery winners and losers in charters that are over-subscribed, i.e., more student apply than are accepted. These are the high flyers of the corporate charters, and the new study by the Feds compared lottery winners with lottery losers who attend public schools. These new finding have just quashed any remaining delusion that these test prep chain gangs can serve as replacements for public education, for either high performers or low performers. It should be noted that the research team include some rabid supporters of charters, including Paul Hill.



The one positive note in terms of test score comparisons in the entire study comes with math scores for

The Answer Sheet - Why Jay Mathews is wrong about Rhee and standardized testing

The Answer Sheet - Why Jay Mathews is wrong about Rhee and standardized testing

Why Jay Mathews is wrong about Rhee and standardized testing

My colleague Jay Mathews, in this post on his Class Struggle blog, praises D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee for planning to subject children in the city’s public schools to more standardized testing. As our colleague Bill Turque wrote in this article, Rhee wants to test kids on, among other subjects, science and social science, particularly in middle and high school. Jay’s argument in support of Rhee is that neighboring school districts with fine reputations, namely Montgomery County in Maryland and Fairfax County in Virginia, have many more required tests in core subjects for high schoolers than D.C. schools do.

Gov. Christie says he will focus on higher education funding in future | NJ.com

Gov. Christie says he will focus on higher education funding in future | NJ.com

Gov. Christie says he will focus on higher education funding in future


TRENTON — When the state comes out of the fiscal doldrums, higher education will be the first place Gov. Chris Christie will look to restore funding, he said today.
Gov. Chris Christie signed his first state budget into law
More than any programs or property tax rebates, higher education has the greatest potential for reward, Christie said after he signed his first budget, which made major cuts in education and municipal funding without raising broad taxes.
“We have starved our higher education institutions in the state of New Jersey over the last decade, even in good times,” he said. “They can be an engine for increased economic development in the state of New Jersey, and that would certainly be one of the first places I would look if we’re able to restore funding anyplace in the upcoming budget.”

Governors often make mid-year budget changes, either adding money to programs or rebates if the economy is going well and the state collects more in taxes than it expects, or cutting during bad times. The last few years have seen major cuts in areas such as school and municipal funding, savings for employee pensions and fights over furloughs.
Christie warned the state should not expect increases soon.
Gov. Chris Christie speaks at a press conference after signing a $29.4 billion budget into law Tuesday.
“I want to caution everybody, we’re still in very difficult times,” he said. “While we see some good indications of some renewed employment growth, it’s still very tough times and very choppy waters, and so I can’t guarantee that we’re going to be in a position to add anything to anything.”
During his campaign, Christie criticized his opponent, then-Gov. Jon Corzine, for cutting back rebates, saying it would be the last thing he did as governor. In his lean budget, which takes effect Thursday, he slashed rebates $848 million, or more than 75

Andrew Breitbart's $100,000 Plot to Destroy the Left | The Atlantic Wire

Andrew Breitbart's $100,000 Plot to Destroy the Left | The Atlantic Wire

Andrew Breitbart's $100,000 Plot to Destroy the Left

Conservative media mogul Andrew Breitbart has always wanted to take down the "liberal media establishment." Now he sees his grand opportunity. On Tuesday, Breitbart offered to pay $100,000 for the full archives of Journolist, the off-the-record e-mail listserv whose members include liberal journalists, think tankers and academics:

I therefore offer the sum of $100,000 to the person who provides the full “JournoList” archive. We will protect that person’s privacy and identity forever. No one will ever know who became $100,000 richer – and did the right thing, morally and ethically — by shining the light of truth on this seamy underworld of the media.

$100,000 is not a lot to spend on the Holy Grail of media bias when there is a country to

The Mighty Journolist � The Quick and the Ed

The Mighty Journolist � The Quick and the Ed

The Mighty Journolist

Some guy who appears to be living his life as a decades-long piece of performance art titled “Bloated Jackass” is offering $100,000 for the complete archives of a private email listserv called “Journolist” that I used to belong to. I had assumed that Yglesias and Chait had put this issue to rest but apparently not. Fine. I, along with select other members of the liberal media / think tank / university / banking / Hollywood establishment secretly rule the world by sending emails to one another about stuff we think is interesting or annoying, like World Cup soccer. The best thing for you to do is check this site

QUICK Hits

Quick HitsQuick Hits is a short compilation of question-raising news stories, blog posts, and video clips that Education Sector team members are reading and viewing each day.
How could RttT inform ESEA reauthorization? (Education Week)
Is this year the annus horribilis for state budgets? And how will that affect the schools that educate our poorest children? (Washington Independent)
Can school districts require minimum grade for students regardless of their achievement on report cards, class assignments and homework? Not in Texas. (Dallas Morning News)
Can coherent state policy improve college attainment? (National Center for Public Policy, Southern Regional Education Board)

After a call from Rikers, a principal wonders how to stay in touch | GothamSchools

After a call from Rikers, a principal wonders how to stay in touch | GothamSchools

After a call from Rikers, a principal wonders how to stay in touch

Evangelista
Evangelista
As inspiring as success stories can be, all too often city students struggle and then fall through the cracks.
Harlem Link Charter School principal Steven Evangelista saw this reality up close recently when he heard from a student he had tried, and failed, to locate since 2001. The student, Tom, was calling from Rikers Island.
In the community section, Evangelista argues that making it easier for teachers to stay in touch with students like Tom could change the students’ lives. He writes:
Each year, through various public and private agencies, our educational and correctional systems have spent tens of thousands of public dollars on Tom’s education and rehabilitation. Talking with him on that phone call from jail, I learned that the pattern I first observed with him in 2001 — when well-meaning social workers, psychologists and teachers based both at his school and the Administration for Children’s Services disappeared from his life with the stroke of a pen and a

Remainders: Bill Gates heaps praise on charter school leaders

  • Here’s a round-up of education advocates’ response to Paterson’s budget veto. (Gotham Gazette)
  • One teacher says her “last goodbyes” to this year’s crop of students. (Miss Brave Teaches NYC)
  • While the teacher who goes by “Mildly Melancholy” is leaving the classroom forever. (Mildly Melancholy)
  • The rubber rooms: just like “The Breakfast Club” but with teachers and less group bonding? (Daily Intel)
  • A “charter-curious” district school teacher offers her take on “The Lottery.” (Charter Curious)
  • Listen to Bill Gates’ full, unedited speech at a national charter schools conference. (WBEZ)
  • Gates told charter leaders he thinks they are starting a “revolution.” (Seattle P-I)
  • Gates also wishes “the world had one [education] agenda…embraced by teachers.” (District Dossier)
  • If desirable school districts outside of D.C. test more, then maybe the city should too. (Class Struggle)

A musical experiment’s Regents results show promise

new-design-regents-use-thisLast week, I wrote about a test prep program at New Design High School that aimed to boost Regents exam scores through original hip-hop songs.
So did it work? According to the school’s unofficial results on the three exams the program prepared students to 

Pew Report: Options are growing, but parents want still more | Philadelphia Public School Notebook

Pew Report: Options are growing, but parents want still more | Philadelphia Public School Notebook

Pew Report: Options are growing, but parents want still more

Those of us who have been following the education world in Philadelphia for any length of time know that it has changed drastically just in the past decade. Catholic schools are on the wane. Charter schools are on the rise. And the public school system itself has undergone huge upheavals -- a state takeover, the advent of private

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Research only confuses them

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Research only confuses them

Research only confuses them

Taken together, latest studies conclude, small schools in N.Y. & Philly making a difference. Charters, not so much. But as far as Bill Gates and Cheerleaders Inc. is

The Educated Reporter: Salary databases: Lots of data, lots of interest ... except from me.

The Educated Reporter: Salary databases: Lots of data, lots of interest ... except from me.

Salary databases: Lots of data, lots of interest ... except from me.

Several times a year, a reporter contacts me and asks what to do with the database of teacher salaries they just acquired. When a journalist asks me whether or not to write about a piece of research that just arrived on his desk, if I don’t think there is a story there, I feel comfortable saying no. When the reporter has FOIA’d his tail off and massaged the ensuing data to the nth degree and then some, “I don’t think there is a story there” is not a very useful response.

Yet. I look at these Excel spreadsheets and too often say to myself, “So what?” Don’t get me wrong: I think

As principals prepare to submit budgets, excessing begins | GothamSchools

As principals prepare to submit budgets, excessing begins | GothamSchools

As principals prepare to submit budgets, excessing begins

Friday is the deadline for principals to decide how to spend their budgets next year, but many have already made one tough call: To cut teachers.
A high school teacher who is being excessed sent GothamSchools the letter her principal gave her, which advises her to seek positions at other schools by attending job fairs that took place in the past.
She’ll have the summer to try to land a job at another school before being added to the Absent Teacher Reserve,

More than 300 aim to be 'Promise Neighborhoods' - Boston.com

More than 300 aim to be 'Promise Neighborhoods' - Boston.com

More than 300 aim to be 'Promise Neighborhoods'


June 29, 2010
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WASHINGTON—More than 300 communities around the U.S. have submitted applications to the Department of Education to receive grants under a federal program designed to revitalize troubled neighborhoods.
The "Promise Neighborhoods" program will award grants to 20 organizations and institutions of higher education to plan for a range of academic, health and career programs in distressed neighborhoods.
The idea is modeled after the Harlem Children's Zone in New York City, where services to support children and their families have led to strong gains in



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