September 18, 2017

Free College…But Wait, There’s More! ESSA Plans, Civic Ed, DeVos’ Visits, Choices, And Boat! Plus Jim Ryan Returning to C’ville. More!

Bonnie O’Keefe on teacher turnover and school improvement work.

Phillip Burgoyne-Allen on Constitution Day and civic ed.

Ashley Mitchel and Chad Aldeman on ESSA plans. (Plus other ESSA takes).

New documentary on the digital divide – premieres on Nat’l Geo on 9/26. Preview here.

There are a bunch of ways to support Americans in pursuing post-secondary education and training that are more efficient and effective than Berniecrat-style “free college.” But as Anne Kim points out, the free college proposal has the added drawback of being lousy politics as well.

Betsy DeVos can’t win. Here’s Politico:

THE DEVOS EFFECT: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is putting a tiny private school in Kansas City on the map – though maybe not in the way she hoped to do on her “Rethink School” tour this week. DeVos’ first stop today is at the Kansas City Academy, a sixth through 12th grade school of about 76 students with a “progressive” focus. Her stop has drawn plans to protest – from members of the community who the head of the school said likely didn’t know the school even existed before DeVos made plans to visit. “This is very strange for us,” said Kory Gallagher, who heads the school. “We tend to talk about our school as being the best-kept secret in Kansas City.”

– The school is something of an odd choice for a visit from the Trump administration. Gallagher said the Kansas City Academy educates a large number of LGBT students…

OK, it’s not just DeVos, none of us win when people simultaneously deride a public official for being indifferent to a set of concerns and then turn around and protest when that same official makes an effort. You’re going to have to find someone other than me to defend DeVos these days, but this seems unproductive. Or, maybe protest Jeff Sessions instead?

Also, Betsy DeVos waiting for the right time to make her big choice move. And DeVos’ boat is probably bigger than yours.

This tax policy debate in Washington could have a big impact on schools.

Colleges stepping up their rural focus.

Jim Ryan, the current dean at the Harvard GSE, will be the next president of the University of Virginia – he’s deeply invested in the education issue at the K-12 level and thoughtful on it. He’s also young. Huge potential for impact.

Lynx cats. Debating.

September 15, 2017

Friday Fish Porn – Alaska…

Here’s Jamie Scott of JKAF – the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, based in Boise, Idaho. The foundation does a variety of work, including supporting some of Bellwether’s rural education work. But more immediately, what a fish! She caught it a few weeks ago in Alaska. Also, great hat.

And you’ve seen her here before. This is one of my favorite pics we’ve ever had. And this pic here is just a ridiculous salmon.

Want to see more education types with fish? Hundreds for you right here.

September 14, 2017

Edujob: Chief Talent Officer @ STRIVE Prep

Here’s a great talent role at STRIVE Prep:

STRIVE Prep is a community of public charter schools that challenges every student to strive for college, and thrive throughout life, by helping them to discover and develop the skills and confidence necessary to succeed in college and beyond. Founded more than a decade ago on the belief that every child should have access to high-quality education right in their neighborhood, STRIVE Prep has grown to serve to more than 3,700 students, many of whom represent the city’s highest-need populations, in 11 schools.

The team at STRIVE Prep inspires its students to think critically, communicate clearly and collaborate openly, while fueling their curiosity and creativity. Whether students join the community in elementary, middle or high school, STRIVE elevates expectations, promotes a shared sense of responsibility and, above all, creates an environment that protects and promotes the academic, social, and emotional well-being of every child, every day.


STRIVE Prep is in an exciting period of growth and change, pivoting to meet the evolving needs of its students and communities, reaffirming its values, and focusing on the efficacy of its internal systems. In this context, leadership is especially focused on talent. Specifically, STRIVE Prep is committed to attracting, hiring and retaining the most talented, qualified, dedicated, and diverse teachers, school leaders, and staff to join its team and serve its students.

The CTO will inherit a strong and proud team, and have the opportunity to leverage its strengths while shaping the vision and building the systems for STRIVE Prep’s talent function.  S/he will enjoy the support and collaboration of STRIVE Prep founder Chris Gibbons, one of the field’s most inspiring leaders, and a leadership team that fosters a culture centered on grit, passion, purpose, and a shared commitment to every student.


The Chief Talent Officer will be responsible for leading STRIVE Prep’s talent management initiatives, and ultimately stewarding STRIVE Prep’s staff of approximately 500 educators, leaders, and professionals through the entire talent lifecycle.

Learn more and see the entire JD via this link.

Posted on Sep 14, 2017 @ 8:45am

September 13, 2017

Edujob! Vice President Of Data Strategy @ Achieve Atlanta

Here’s a great edujob in an interesting part of the country for school improvement work:

Achieve Atlanta is seeking an experienced analytical and strategic leader to guide the organization’s data collection and analytics, to further strengthen the organization’s data capabilities, and to provide actionable data insights to stakeholders across the city and state in service of the AA mission. With unprecedented access to data across the K-12 and post-secondary levels, fueled by data sharing agreements with 13 distinct, cross-system partners, the Vice President of Data Strategy will have the opportunity to build systems and structures that make possible the sophisticated analysis of a large volume of formless data, and drive an organizational shift from ad hoc consideration of, to an ongoing conversation with, data.

The Vice President of Data Strategy will set the overall vision for AA’s use and impact of data, and be responsible for its execution. Over time, the Vice President of Data Strategy will also work closely with AA’s program team to provide regular data on partner success and individual student performance.

Learn more and how to apply via this link.

Irma Putting A Lot Of Students Out Of School, Gender And Pensions, Intramural Policy Fights, Extramural Charter Fights, Cambridge Coming? More!

10 percent of U.S. school kids not in school yesterday because of Irma. Allison Davis on the trauma issues that will attend to a percentage of them.

Don’t miss Kirsten Schmitz on gender equity and pensions.

Caitlin Emma writes the obituary for the Trump tax credit scholarship idea (though advocates insist the obit is premature). What I find interesting here is that while policy debates like this are often framed in institutional terms – eg it’s Trump against the education establishment, or the Hill against the Administration, or Republicans against Democrats, on issues like this the intramural fights sometimes matter more. There isn’t unity within the administration on this and many at Treasury think it’s a lousy tax policy whatever its merits as an education policy might be. The focus on external fights can obscure that kind of thing – and that kind of thing matters to what happens.


There is a lot of school choice in Wisconsin, Alan Borsuk rolls it up.

Peter Cunningham says don’t get mad, get Eva. But charters really are losing the PR war despite the evidence.

Meanwhile in Newark it seems like all the dudes are getting along again.

Ed industry insider Rob Waldron with some advice for districts to avoid getting ripped off by vendors.

Michael Horn talks with John Danner about his new tutoring project.

Emily Yoffe on race and campus sexual assault. Third in an Atlantic series.

Keep an eye on Cambridge, starting to get traction in American high school sector.

Secret Service agent getting a lot of out of Malia’s European history course.

September 8, 2017

Teacher Shortages, Title IX Fight, Early Ed, DACA In The Classroom, Not Much Equity In NYC But Concerns About Too Much In VA? Plus Higher Ed, Teacher Salaries, Pensions And More!

Scroll down for jobs and fish pics. Including jobs and fish pics at Bellwether.

Also at BW: Here’s Ashley Mitchell with some reactions and takeaways from the new KIPP pre-k study. And here’s Sara Mead in USN on the 3-k gap.

Chad Aldeman and Kirsten Schmitz on the evolving teacher pension scene and changes to plan design.

Justin Trinidad has ideas on what teachers can do during the DACA uncertainty – and more generally.


Two things jump out from yesterday’s Marc Sternberg op-ed in The Times about the New York Absent Teacher Reserve pool. First, it’s really a horrendous policy and because these teachers won’t end up in schools with more affluent kids it shows just how grotesque the equity situation/conversation in education really is. Second, it’s 2017! It’s amazing we’re still talking about this and it’s not resolved. The best that New York Chancellor Farina could muster was to say of this pool of educators that, “some are actually okay.” That’s probably true, and some now how a scarlet letter on them, but the data Sternberg musters is stunning and, in any event, we can do better.

Speaking of equity – read this article and the analysis underlying it.

Mike Petrilli and Brandon Wright criticize Virginia’s ESSA plan – which is no great shakes. But they seem concerned Virginia will focus too much on helping underachieving students. That doesn’t seem like a big risk given educational outcomes in the Commonwealth and the persistent lack of attention to these students. Better safe than sorry, I guess?

Here’s another article about teacher shortages. Something we’ve talked about in the past is how these stories should come with a disclaimer about teacher credentialing today. Other than tossing warm bodies into the classroom – which you should not do – the rest of the credentialing strategies are more or less a wash in terms of impact on student learning. “Lowering the bar” rhetoric freaks out parents but the bar isn’t really meaningful now, so innovating with ways to get more teachers isn’t crazy against that backdrop.

Betsy DeVos is reopening Title IX campus sexual assault policy. Or more precisely opening it since she apparently intends to use the regulatory process rather than guidance letters to make policy about requirements for how schools handle this. It’s awkward, given that the President seems to be an admitted sexual abuser. DeVos is a lighting rod in general. And everyone is pretty edgy right now. Still, while almost everyone agrees campus sexual assault is a serious problem, the reactionary Trump context is obscuring some complicated questions about how the Obama policy is playing out. Emily Yoffe digs into that in Slate. And, as on several other high-profile social issues there are also court cases pending that may in the end have as much or more impact as anything the administration does.

Interesting interview with Lowell Milken and Vicki Phillips.

And an interesting teacher salary analysis from Brookings.

Paul Hill on David Osborne’s new book and some of the intellectual history around their ideas.

Complicated issues around teachers as product ambassadors and influencers. This is an old story but with clicks a new ed tech flavor to it.

People, teachers and others, tend to assume the legal protection provided by teachers unions for teachers is bulletproof. That’s not the case.

Here’s some food for thought about elite higher education and the rest of the country. And here’s more to chew over about land grant colleges and economic development.  Justin Fox says we’re getting too comfortable with America’s higher education reputation.

Buzzy Kalman says innovate less and execute better more in K-12 schools.

Here is your daily dose of adorable via Harlem Village Academies.

Have a wonderful weekend and if you’re in the southeast, stay safe.

Friday Fish Porn – Weeby’s Back!

Bellwether’s Jason Weeby spent time in Michigan this summer and got some fishing in. Like this:



And like this:


OK, it’s not Nick Adams but still great fun on the water.

We’ve seen Weeby, a Michigan native with a deep interest in education innovation, here before a few times. And if you want to see hundreds of pictures of education people with fish (and you know you do), then just click here.

September 1, 2017

Great Moments For School PIOs, State ESSA Reviews, Buried Voucher Ledes, Charter Funding, Success At Success, RCTs V. Credo, Screaming Armadillos! Much More…

It was great having Michael Goldstein and Celine Coggins here to guest blog, scroll down if you haven’t read their stuff – or subscribe to the daily newsletter via the link at the right and get Eduwonk in your email box each day. Blogging has been slow, start of fall. More soon. For now, also scroll down though for job postings (and fish pictures!).

From Bellwether:

Bonnie O’Keefe and I point out in The 74 that the data policymakers need is different than what parents do – we have to address both.

In USN I took a look at Trump’s greatness paradox. He talks about making America great but actually seems to have little interest in or understanding of American greatness.

An important analysis showing that today’s approach to pensions can increase the inequities we already see for minority students. Structural inequality is not only stuff conservatives support…More here.

Sara Mead notes that schools really can improve and make a difference.

Bellwether did advance reviews of the draft state ESSA plans California and New York are working on – those two states are important and large enough that we believed the extra step would be valuable. EdSource here and LAT here.

This is a huge problem for LAUSD. Tomorrow’s crisis today courtesy of Chad Aldeman.


Interactive tool for Washington, DC school performance.

New data on charter funding inequities. One aspect of this report that is worth noting is that it’s the top quartile or so of charters that get a lot of philanthropic support, most get none. That’s important and usually overlooked context when people talk about charters and their funding.

Jay Greene says that RCT’s are the gold standard for evaluation of charter performance, not the CREDO method of evaluating charter schools. Few would disagree, I think? But CREDO has a lot of value and I’d argue this debate misses the point. The debate here is not really between different rigorous and serious methods of evaluating charter performance. Rather, it’s between people who want to engage with the evidence and those who don’t. To put it in Game of Thrones terminology, it’s the living against the dead, not the living against others who are the living. As a policymaker or policy advisor you’re looking for any angle you can find to understand what’s going on and while the RCTs show a clear charter effect for schools that are oversubscribed and on lotteries, CREDO currently offers a lot more geographic coverage (something that matters given the different policy environments for chartering around the country) and some evidence around different types of schools. That’s all important to know, and I’m not sure why we need to choose when the larger problem is that chaos is a ladder and too many people in the education world see a clown show article by Valerie Strauss in The Washington Post and an RCT or CREDO analysis as all having equal weight.

Speaking of evaluations on charters, here’s one now on Success using the lottery natural experiment. It’s a good reminder that years ago when Eva Moskowitz was a city councilwoman in New York City the teachers union basically told her that if she thought she had things figured out then she should prove it. The current mayor of New York felt the same way. Well, Eva can be bombastic, she’s pals with Ivanka Trump, Dan Loeb said a stupid thing the other day, but none of that changes that on the substance Eva’s won the argument. That probably explains why her critics want to talk about all the other stuff instead.

The “teacher shortage” hustle is one of the all-time great policy scams, and it still works.

If you’re a school public relations official you make sure that honor roll names and sports scores get in the paper. You interact a bit with local media. It’s all good and not unimportant at all in many communities where schools are a focal point. And then one day one of your principals goes and announces that young women who are not size 0 or 2 shouldn’t wear leggings to school. And this happens. Also, related, don’t do this.

There is a Trump effect hurting charter support but voucher support moving the other way. Paul Peterson points out a nugget you might have missed in all the pro-PDK press releases…

It’s surprisingly rare that you read a story about a teacher who abused or behaved inappropriately with students and it’s a one-off thing. It’s almost always part of a pattern. Something to think about the next time someone tells you nothing can be done and these things just happen.

Chipolte’s education initiative is working (and growing).

Screaming Hairy Armadillos are not fiction.

Friday Fish Pics – The Fishing Kosars

Kevin Kosar lives the ‘take a kid fishing‘ lifestyle. He’s a frequent fish pic contributor around here, sometime guestblogger, and has locked horns, or rather antlers, with Ali Fuller about who runs the show.

In any event, here’s his daughter, Anna, who is something of an accomplished angler already at 7, with a catfish at Diamond Teague last month.



If you want more pictures of education types with fish (and really, who doesn’t?) you can find hundreds here.