May 21, 2013
May 20, 2013
Whitney Metzger is a survivor of the D.C. ed policy scene. Now she’s living in Bozeman and has started an organization – Milk + Sugar – to help support youth entrepreneurship. They’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to expand – and you can participate.
Lost in much of the narrative about teachers’ unions – from their defenders and critics – is engagement with the basic political reality that teachers’ union leaders are elected. That means that like any politician they must be attuned to constituencies and the political winds within their union. And the winds do blow, there are many factions within teachers unions that agree or disagree on various issues, have different priorities, or have different political underpinnings.
One dynamic we see a lot is that if you’re trying to unseat the incumbent you attack them as insufficiently strident, not getting everything they could for members, not fighting hard enough and so forth. That tactic cost a lot of pro-reform union leaders their jobs during the aughts. But it can also lead to the absurd. Take the case of Chicago where Karen Lewis was just elected to a second term. Her opposition attacked her, as the Chicago Tribune reports:
“…Saunders-Wolffe said contract negotiations didn’t result in sufficient raises for teachers and that Lewis “didn’t deliver at the bargaining table” with issues surrounding teacher seniority and teacher evaluations.”
That line of attack is about someone, Lewis, who broke the teachers’ union losing streak with a strike that paralyzed Chicago, got sizable increases in compensation that may ultimately bankrupt the schools, reshaped the debate in Chicago and to a large extent nationally (AFT President Randi Weingarten had to go get herself arrested in Philly, for instance), forestalled evaluations in Chicago, and is fighting the proposed school closings tooth and nail. In the stridency department there is stuff like this.
The line of attack is also, of course, the same one that Lewis used to win the presidency from her predecessor. So the point is as obvious as it generally is intractable. Just as in our national politics, in an environment like that genuine sustained moderation and consensus will remain hard to come by.
May 17, 2013
Everyone seems to be asking, is Common Core going to make it? An important and consequential question, but probably the wrong one. There seems to be little chance that in a few years standards won’t be higher, in most states, than they were a few years ago. But it is an open question whether ongoing implementation efforts will genuinely realize the initial and avowed promise of the Common Core – common standards across different geographies and a common definition of what college and career ready education looks like so that the sector can better strategically orient itself. And, of course, better instruction and more learning coming out of that.
The barriers to getting there are substantial. Here are seven big ones I see right now:
- Will there be adequate curriculum and materials for teachers (not just in a few places and victory gardens but at scale around the country), or will the new standards collide with today’s inadequate marketplace for curriculum and lesson plans?
- Teaching to these new standards and expectations is a seismic shift, will we be able to train, recruit, and/or use technology in a way that instruction can actually match the expectations? The politically inconvenient truth is that the standards for the kids are about to become more ambitious than the standards for many of the adults. Not a lot of talk about how to square that circle.
- Can the Common Core assessment consortia pull it off and develop solid assessment instruments that appeal to state officials? And if not, can the existing testing industry and infrastructure pick up the slack in a way that makes the new standards meaningful?
- Can ambitious standards like the Common Core work when set against a school finance system that systematically disadvantages schools serving poor kids?
- Is there enough of an educational center to resist critics on the left and the right who don’t like the standards for political and/or pedagogical reasons?
- Can the public, and consequently the political system, stomach some hard truth about educational performance? Or will that cause an erosion?
- Will what we aren’t seeing matter? The list of challenges is daunting enough but there is/are also thing(s) we don’t see. Events or unforeseen circumstances almost always intervene – for good or ill – in human events like this. In other words, in addition to the challenges we see coming, don’t forget the ones we don’t.
The weather is warming up, and that means fishing. Tim Taylor of Colorado Succeeds and America Succeeds succeeds here with a Yellow Jack:
Education writer Richard Whitmire’s wife Robin – a badass runner/cyclist and competent angler as well as all around wonderful person, if you don’t know her – celebrated Mother’s Day catching this largemouth bass:
And James Willcox of Aspire Public Schools landed a big redfish in April in Alabama:
That fish is apparently related to Big Red, who appeared here previously. If you want to see many more pictures of all kinds of education people with fish then click here.
Finally, my first trip of the year was on Colorado’s Blue River late last month, and this was my first fish of the year, part of a banner day on that river (the fashion forward hat is indeed a fish magnet):
May 16, 2013
We keep hearing about how “parent trigger” is anti-teacher and about privatizing schools. Whatever you think of the trigger idea (my thoughts here) it’s hard to argue that’s happened anywhere so far where trigger legislation has been used, and especially not in the latest trigger campaign – where they’re trying to fire administrators to help the teachers.
May 15, 2013
Andy Smarick sent questionnaires to the two Common Core assessment consortia (SBAC and PARCC) and the Department of Education asking about various issues. Today is the final one with the Department of Ed, but read all three on Fordham’s Common Core blog to get a taste of where things stand from the perspective of these three, key, stakeholders.
What are the best education songs out there? There are obvious candidates like the Beach Boys’ classic “Be True To Your School” or Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher.” Or the political, like Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.” And then songs with a powerful education line, for example Springsteen’s “No Surrender.” But there is plenty of obscure stuff as well – James Brown recorded an anti-high school dropout song. And bands like The Kinks and Pearl Jam get at school themes, too. So in your view, you can comment below or via Twitter at #edsongs, what is/are the best education song(s) out there?
May 14, 2013
Your fake Canadian girlfriend no one ever got to meet? Well, now you can at least explain how her school is funded thanks to a new CAP paper by Juliana Herman.
America’s Progress Alliance is seeking a Chief Communications and Knowledge Officer. And a Director of Policy Development role at ACT.
And charter schools in Idaho leading the state charter association - where the lifestyle is awfully hard to beat.
New data from the Whiteboard Insider survey out today (pdf).
Highlights include a majority of Insiders saying that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will ultimately have to call for some sort of pause or moratorium on Common Core stakes in response to that movement.* Insiders think that some states will implement a Common Core moratorium but fewer than one in five see a federal moratorium as likely. More general concern about Common Core across a few dimensions, discussion of the Senator Grassley proposal and the RNC resolution, and for the second month in a row the “wrong track” numbers for the PARCC Common Core consortia are higher than for the SBAC one. Administration priorities face long odds. Plus other information.
Surprisingly, despite the promise of mark-ups of ESEA reauthorization legislation (No Child Left Behind) in both the House and Senate there was little movement in the percent of Insiders saying the law will be reauthorized prior to 2015.
*The data on that slide was inadvertently flipped, we regret the error.
May 13, 2013
Long article by Emmanuel Felton about a school closure in New York City. Worth reading and discussing. One thing that comes through in it is that often these closure debates are loud and contentious not about the specifics of any single school but more because of the larger debate about closures and reform. But, one aspect that I think doesn’t comes through is that I don’t know anyone in the sector, public official or otherwise, who is happy about school closures. The real debate turns on whether they’re necessary or not.
In April there was a dust-up in the finance and education worlds when the American Federation of Teachers called out Dan Loeb, founder and CEO of a hedge fund, for simultaneously investing teacher pension fund assets while serving on the board of StudentsFirst’s chapter in New York, which advocates for pension reform, and advocating reform of teacher pensions himself. The whole episode was part of an enemies list exercise (pdf) by the AFT to put money mangers on notice if they deviated from the union’s line on pension reform. And it was, of course, easy fodder for one dimensional takes.
But as is often the case the reality was more complicated. For starters, because of multiple issues including irresponsible decisions by state legislators and unsustainable benefit schemes demanded by public employee unions (yes there is plenty of blame to go around) there is an enormous problem with financing pensions (pdf). But, for the most part, so far reforms have come at the expense of teachers, generally new teachers, rather than comprehensive efforts to reform how we finance retirement for educators. We need a richer conversation about how to simultaneously address the fiscal problems and modernize teacher retirement for today’s more mobile labor market. The choice facing policymakers is less a binary one between defined benefit pensions (those that pay participants a pre-defined benefit) and defined contribution plans (401k-style plans that provide benefits based on contributions and investment choices/performance) than it is about a subset of choices about employer and employee contributions, risk allocation, vesting rules, and issues like portability for participants. In some states Social Security participation is also an issue.
A second wrinkle illustrates how motivations and views on what good public policy looks like are about more than raw self-interest. While you don’t want to overstate it because there are many sources of aggregated risk capital besides teacher pensions, for a hedge fund manager like Loeb to argue for a shift toward retirement systems where individuals control their retirement investments is to some extent arguing against their own self-interest as professional investors dependent on institutional funds for risk capital.
That’s because hedge funds and private equity are closely tied to large institutional investors like pensions. Pension funds are frequently limited partners on various deals and chase profit like any other investor – it’s why we episodically get embarrassing stories about how a teacher pension fund invested in for-profit school management or more recently gun manufacturers. ”Pension fund allocations have been major source of growth in assets to hedge funds and private equity over the last 10 years. Used to be primarily high net worth and endowments” one longtime investment manager told me. In other words, pension funds are a significant part of the fuel for private equity and hedge funds.
“Conceptually, at least, [investment managers who call for reform of teacher pensions] are putting their education reform agenda ahead of business interests. Teacher pension funds are a significant source of funding,” said an industry insider who advises private equity firms on deals. He, and others, however, were quick to point out that private equity and hedge funds will continue to make money even if pensions were to vanish tomorrow. And in practice there will be plenty of pension money for a long time even if if all states were to put all new teachers in defined contribution plans this year (meanwhile 401K plans could change rules about allowable investments to include illiquid investments like private equity or hedge funds).
But the bottom line remains: Pension funds are an available source of revenue and risk capital and a popular one for hedge funds and private equity. They’re joined at the hip. That’s why rather than a story of simple motivations it’s a good reminder that while education issues are usually presented in black and white and heroes and villains, they’re rarely that simple.
Update: One long time money manger writes to say, “I think the point that is the most interesting here, but has not been well articulated publicly is that the unions are pretending like this is their money to do with as they please to meet their social engineering when in fact it is taxpayer money, not theirs. If unions are willing to risk lower benefits to their members by accepting the harms of lower plan performance that could result from neglecting their fiduciary duty obligations, then fine they could do what they want. But when instead they are saying we want our pension benefits guaranteed, we want to use the pension capital to pursue our social/political goals, and then we want to raise taxes to make up for any shortfall there is something really wrong.”
May 7, 2013
Northeast Charter School Network President Bill Phillips on some specifics and some generalities about charter authorizing, closures, and quality. There is something of a consensus that charter school associations, like membership groups overall, can’t be trusted to police their members effectively. But this example and some others around the country show that the jury is still out on that question.
Surprised there hasn’t been more attention on the unfolding fraud scandal in Columbus, OH – the nation’s test market for everything. Cheating is only one part of the problem, there are serious allegations of contract-fixing and inappropriate data scrubbing, too. As a result what’s unfolding doesn’t fit cleanly into the narrative about tests with stakes for adults causing all this. But it’s worth keeping an eye on, could be a big story.
May 6, 2013
Now the National Education Association has released its new statement on digital learning and it includes a statement about the ownership issue seeking to create a new standard – and include this issue in collective bargaining:
…education employees should own the copyright to materials that they create in the course of their employment. There should be an appropriate “teacher’s exception” to the “works made for hire” doctrine, pursuant to which works created by education employees in the course of their employment are owned by the employee. This exception should reflect the unique practices and traditions of academia.
All issues relating to copyright ownership of materials created by education employees should be resolved through collective bargaining or other process of bilateral decision-making between the employer and the affiliate.
The ownership rights of education employees who create copyrightable materials should not prevent education employees from making appropriate use of such materials in providing educational services to their students.
Stay tuned. This was a dusty back alley of the eduworld with just the occasional copyright infringement suit from a publisher. But with real money increasingly at stake (the British Corporation TSL invested millions in its joint venture with the American Federation of Teachers, Better Lesson has attracted substantial investment, and some teachers on Teachers Pay Teachers are making six figures selling their material) look for more legal and policy action.
May 4, 2013
Something you hear a lot from charter school opponents is that they’d be OK with charters if the schools more consistently produced gains for students. Yet in places that have done a good job with charter quality the opposition from special interests remains. Some new polling data that will probably become public this coming week in Massachusetts casts a light on this issue.
The poll of 625 registered voters in Boston found that just 23 percent of respondents supported keeping current limits on charter schools while 64 percent are in favor of expanding charters. 66 percent think the city should lease vacant buildings to charters and 67 percent think charters should get state funding for construction and renovation. Perhaps most interesting, 73 of voters said they support allowing charter schools with a proven record of success to expand – essentially a “smart cap” idea (pdf).
As opposed to some jurisdictions the performance of Boston’s charters really isn’t in question. A number of studies, most recently a CREDO analysis earlier this year (pdf), have shown that overall (there are low-performing exceptions, of course) the city’s charter sector outperforms comparable schools.
In other words, the debate over expanding charters in Boston (and Massachusetts more generally) shows how this debate is less about an empirical concern about quality for kids than it is about politics. And short term politics based on pretty narrow economic interests at that. Over time a good way to help maintain or grow support for public education – in its birthplace no less – might be to give the people what they want instead of positioning public schools to be at odds with the wishes of a majority of voters.
May 1, 2013
Please, A Moratorium On Moratoriums. But, Don’t Dismiss What Weingarten Is Saying On Common Core Out Of Hand
The education world is abuzz today discussing the political significance of AFT President Randi Weingarten’s call for a moratorium on Common Core stakes yesterday. The idea of using Common Core as an accountability moratorium has kicked around for a while behind the scenes, now it’s out there. Three thoughts on all of that:
1) After more than a year of behind the scenes, and increasingly public, bad signals for Common Core supporters, Weingarten’s move should be the most worrisome yet. If Common Core were a stock yesterday would have been a good day to start shorting it. Weingarten is nothing if not completely political about positioning and this is what you might consider a serious market signal about Common Core prospects. If this doesn’t wake up the Green Zone, I’m not sure what will. And union support, from both national teachers unions, for Common Core has been key in a few ways including as an obvious rebuttal to the idea that teachers were not involved with or are not on board with the new standards.
2) For Weingarten it’s a no-lose tactic. It’s important to remember that in any debate with teachers unions and public officials is really a debate between two sets of elected officials — public officials and elected teachers’ union officials. Weingarten is paying attention to her base in the union with this play and by linking Common Core to issues like evaluation she can at once appease a membership angling for a harder line and also position the union to exit Common Core if necessary. One smart observer noted yesterday that the standards she is setting are akin to the ones conservatives set on border security and immigration reform: Impossible to quantify or discern and consequently cover for whatever position one wants to subsequently take.
3) While I’m not a fan of moratoriums and so forth, it’s a mistake to dismiss what Weingarten is saying and some of the issues she is raising out of hand. Common Core implementation is not nearly as robust as it should be and the lack of support for too many teachers threatens to turn would-be Common Core allies into opponents. At BW we looked at implementation activities around the country for a recent analysis and what’s out there is woefully under-matched to the scale of the challenge. But rather than crude approaches like moratoriums that make good headlines but lousy public policy, this should be an opportunity for policymakers to really think about smart implementation of all the various moving parts today – evaluation and Common Core – and, yes, selectively slowing down where necessary. The goal here should be to get it right, hold the line against predictable political pressure to back off on hard decisions and consequences, but not to just show who can be the most ‘gangsta’ on education reform. In other words, we should hope national leaders heed this as a wake-up call and a chance to really engage with what a significant shift in ambition Common Core represents, but not an opportunity to jump into the politically convenient but highly counterproductive moratorium slipstream.
Per today’s important and news-containing stage-setter for the New Schools meeting in The Times, each time I hear breathless advocates excited about the increase in venture capital activity in education and how transformation is at hand or an equally breathless critic upset that it’s heralds an era of “privatization,” I think of this.
Despite a big increase percentage-wise in investment activity over the last decade, it accounts for less than one percent of our annual spend on public schools, which is north of $600 billion annually. Philanthropy, also a very marginal expenditure in the overall public finance financial picture, is nonetheless a larger player.
In other words, the rhetoric from all sides in this little war misses and is wildly disproportionate to the bigger picture and day-to-day reality of our public schools.
What does get too often overlooked, however, is that private dollars have allowed some firms to develop promising ideas that would not have been otherwise possible given the current R & D structure in education and that would not have been able to raise that capital as a non-profit. Like all sectors, the real questions are around what a healthy ecosystem should look like, what regulations and signals on quality are needed, and what appropriate accountability looks like.
April 30, 2013
Washington Post takes a look at Common Core blowback. Here’s a disconcertingly over-confident view from the Green Zone:
Chad Colby, a spokesman for a consortium of 22 states developing Common Core assessments, dismissed the opposition as a small group of fringe activists.
“If you look at what’s actually going on, when teachers and business leaders stand up in states, they have won the argument,” Colby said. “The far right, this very small, vocal minority, is not winning these battles.”
April 29, 2013
…Behind the scenes at the Capitol, different factions from the business community are busy lobbying on this, with one saying the marketplace demands skilled laborers who don’t necessarily want or need four-year college degrees. Another camp, veterans of, the state’s sweeping education reforms in 1980s and other fights, is trying to hold the line on standards and accountability. The debates over money and tests are important, and voters were clear about those issues…
You have to think that when the history of the Common Core standards debate is written – however it turns out – the inclusion of support for Common Core (albeit not by specific name) in the 2012 Democratic Party Platform and the premature victory lap about standards adoption will be remembered as an unforced error. Among other things it created a target and empowered the Republican National Committee to go on record against the standards, which has legitimized the opposition in a powerful way these past few weeks.
Washington Post reporter Valerie Strauss has a predictably slanted take on the problems facing the Obama Administration in its second term. The issues she raises are real but – surprise – lack any context. But the Administration does have a big second term problem that insiders are talking and speculating about: Pretty much all of the administration’s major accomplishments and policy changes are based on administrative authority or one-time legislative authority. The 2009 recovery bill was a major windfall of dollars and authority that allowed the administration to set in motion a variety of initiatives including Race to the Top. Some of those – versions of Race to the Top for instance – have been sustained in various ways on appropriations bills but they lack permanent authorizations. Meanwhile, the No Child Left Behind waivers are entirely administrative.
In political terms it’s an eternity until 2016 and the next presidential election. Substantively, however, the administration doesn’t have a lot of time to cajole Congress into codifying their policies legislatively through a No Child Left Behind reauthorization or other vehicles. Otherwise the Obama education agenda is fragile and contingent upon the next President and Secretary of Education – something obviously unknowable right now.
That, not the predictable and inevitable implementation challenges that accompany all big policy changes, is the real second term problem facing the Obama Administration. And so far it’s unclear what their plan for addressing it is.
April 25, 2013
Last week’s Pearson testing screw-up in New York City achieved the seemingly impossible: It brought all of that city’s education factions together. But the company may have inadvertently done parents a favor – it highlighted how many policies for gifted students just aren’t that smart. I take a look at that in a new column at TIME:
When news broke late last week that behemoth education company Pearson had bungled the scoring of standardized tests used for admissions to gifted education programs in New York City, it united Gotham’s quarrelling education community — everyone was outraged. Parents, teachers, and city officials all had good reason to be, as the scoring errors would have denied admission to 2,700 students who qualified. But the incident also highlighted the arbitrary nature of how we decide which students are so superior academically that they are essentially funneled into an elite group of schools with a specialized, advanced curriculum.
Feeling smart? Then click here to read the entire column.
April 19, 2013
I heard one of education’s smartest, if most sardonic, leaders remark the other day that in this field when you are put out to pasture you become a moderator of panels. Let’s hope not, along with a bunch of folks I respect I get asked to moderate all the time these days! But to me it’s not a chore, in addition to being on a panel or giving a talk, moderating is something I like to do (who wouldn’t, you get to ask questions) and I aim for outcomes like this or like this. As a moderator my basic idea is that I don’t want to subject an audience to a panel I wouldn’t want to sit through myself – and everyone has sat through too many like that.
Talking with a colleague the other day about moderating he suggested writing a few things down. So for a Friday here are a few “rules” I’ve come up with to guide me:
- Being a moderator is like being a bartender. Any fool can pour something in a glass, but a good bartender creates a drink with cohesion and flavor. In other words, when you’re leading a panel anyone can let people each talk for 15 minutes and then call on people in the audience. That’s phoning it in and why get on an airplane to go do that? When you just go through the motions you’re not a moderator, you’re a trained monkey. Instead, lead a conversation among the panelists and then between them, the audience, and each other.
- But don’t dominate that conversation. You’re there to facilitate not to talk. If you’re asked to moderate on a topic that you have such strong views on that you’ll be unable to keep yourself from jumping in all the time or ask good questions of both sides, then ask to be panelist instead. It’s OK to inject information or context or even jump in from time to time, but remember your role.
- Presentations by panelists are necessary when introducing new information (for instance a new study or new data) or especially complicated information. But on the typical panel what people would talk about during a presentation are items they could discuss in a conversation as well – and even call on specific slides if necessary to make a point. So rather than giving everyone an allotted time to speak, ask them questions instead. A conversation like that is more engaging for the audience and generally surfaces more issues than a canned talk. In most cases getting talked at for 50 minutes or an hour is deadly for an audience – you can deliver the same content in a more engaging way. And by forcing people to engage rather than just delivering lines the audience can see who really has an A game and who just knows the talking points.
- Asking questions means you need to prepare some questions. Good ones set the stage and then elicit different views and nuance (and if there are not genuinely different views among panelists, as is too often the case in our sector, then when why are you doing a panel anyway? Just move to Cuba, the weather is better.). Do your homework beforehand, learn about the participants and their work, and think about a flow of questions to go from the broad to the specific. Skip the gotcha questions, the point isn’t to embarrass people, but do ask ones that reveal – one of my favorites is to ask people what the best counterarguments against their position is. What would a thoughtful critic say? You’d be amazed how often people struggle to present those they disagree with in terms that those people would recognize. And don’t be afraid to veer off script. If it’s a good conversation you probably won’t get to all of your questions, that’s OK.
- Let the panelists engage with each other to amplify or push back on various points. A good conversation means letting people ask questions and disagree – encourage panelists to do that beforehand. But as the moderator don’t hesitate to curtail responses that are needlessly long, are basically filibusters, or go too far onto tangents. Your job is to keep the conversation moving.
- Listen, listen, and listen. Follow up questions to clarify, amplify or dig deeper are key to a good conversation but you have to be an active listener to ask them. A skilled panelist will answer the question they want to answer, not necessarily the one you asked. It’s OK to push for an answer. If the question is good or the issue important then the audience will thank you for it.
- When they audience comes in, don’t check out. Q and A is great. The audience will have their own angles on things or questions you didn’t think of. But don’t go on autopilot at this point, keep listening and asking follow-up questions. And make sure to that questions are actually that, interrogative exercises. It’s disrespectful (and occasionally inhumane) to make an audience listen to speechifying, push for a question.
- Physical layout matters. I moderated a panel once where it turned out one participant was rolling their eyes at another. I couldn’t see that from where I was sitting at the far end of a long dais and didn’t learn about it until afterwards. The best layout is chairs in a semi-circle rather than the more traditional people in a row behind a table format. A riser helps so everyone can see but head table arrangements hinder conversation. Think Oprah: Relaxed, accessible and conversational.
So those are mine, what are yours?
April 18, 2013
This Senator Grassley news is going to make it very hard to get much done in Congress on education this session. Hard to move bills at all right now, especially so with riders like this in the wings. It also shows that the RNC resolution on Common Core this week is more than symbolic, it’s going to give legitimacy and cover to anti-Common Core efforts. Oh, and there is an election coming next year…
April 17, 2013
Surprised there has not been more attention on the data fraud story out of Columbus, Ohio (or the school lunch fraud in CA). Now the state legislature is getting in on the action.
Two former D.C. educators are getting traction with their LearnZillon company and just closed a $7m round of Series A financing for the venture, which aims to provide high-quality Common Core aligned digital materials. Free for parents and teachers, school districts buy in through a subscription model. ”We are working on a premium layer that will sit on top and will be a compelling option for states and school districts” co-foudner Eric Westendorf told me. The financing is noteworthy because it includes usual suspects and philanthropic interests and for the lead funder their first big ed tech play. It’s a crowded space with Better Lesson and the AFT-British Corporation TSL partnership among other players competing.
Pay attention to the evolution of parent trigger at 24th Street Elementary. One-off or harbinger?
April 16, 2013
The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, is not a stranger to tying up the courts with lawsuits that have stronger political than legal merits (for instance their unsuccessful pivot to states’ rights advocacy in an effort get No Child Left Behind struck down). But it’s a mistake to dismiss the new lawsuit in Florida over teacher evaluations out of hand based on that history (and other suits waiting in the wings). It could have political and legal consequence. As I noted in a 2010 TIME column litigation has always been a possibility here. And as we noted at Bellwether in “The Hangover“ this is a complicated area of policy with a lot of outstanding questions.
April 15, 2013
A politically astute education observer noted today that Common Core proponents should be thanking their lucky stars that immigration, guns, and now abortion are tying up the religious right.
Also, on Common Core, this story from Alabama about Common Core aligned tests outside of the two assessment consortia is what the literary standards might consider foreshadowing…
Eduirony Of The Day: John Merrow’s Ahab-like obsession with Michelle Rhee is easy to understand but why is the American Federation of Teachers so feverishly joining him in trying to make the case (for instance here, and here) that some of its members in Washington, D.C. cheated? Even accepting the absolutely broadest allegations in D.C. as fact would still mean that most (95%) of the teachers in the city didn’t cheat – let’s hear more about them. And don’t the ones who allegedly did deserve some due process here? From their union of all places?