August 7, 2020

Friday Fish Pics!

2020 is no picnic, but there are a lot of worse ways to wade through it than by taking a kid fishing.

Here’s education consultant Cami Anderson doing exactly that with her fantastic son on the Truckee in Northern California. It’s not risk free, the child of a mutual friend of mine and Cami’s once walked into my backcast in Colorado and got a – thankfully barbless – hook in the back. Every time things don’t work out just right for that kid I blame myself.

But, overall very little can go wrong and a lot can go right. Get outside

Photo credit her husband Jared Robinson – who is a very solid angler and a great person to spend time on the water with.

Wait, Friday fish what? Friday Fish Porn is a longtime but episodic feature around here but it’s quite straightforward: It’s education people with fish. Hundreds since 2006. (Unless specifically requested we go with Friday Fish Pics when it’s kids.) Send me yours!


August 6, 2020

First Look: Chesterfield County Educators Talk With Bush Center Team On School Reopening

As you may have heard, a lot of attention on school reopening, Bellwether is co-hosting a webinar on that later today that you can join or watch later. I’ll have more on that soon, too.

Today, here’s a first look at conversation from the George W. Bush Presidential Center with some Virginia educators about the challenges of delivering education in today’s Covid-19 environment.

Chesterfield County Public Schools’ Chief Academic Officer Sharon Pope and Chief of Schools Lisa High talk with the Bush Center’s  Mikel Royal, Ann Clark, district advisors for the George W. Bush Institute’s School Leadership District Cohort, and Anne Wicks who directs education reform activities at the center. You can read a transcript or watch below.


July 24, 2020

Friday Fish Porn

I’m spending some time today with students in a professional learning community in Colorado. Ordinarily, a Colorado summer trip would be a fantastic opportunity to slip some fishing in. But here we are. In 2020 it’s a Zoom meeting.

Parker Baxter is in Colorado so he’s getting out more. Here he is on the Blue River which, in my experience was a river that was tough to crack but really good fishing once you did figure it out. It’s a tributary of the mighty Colorado River. And beautiful settings.

Parker, a longtime CRPE hand, former NACSA staffer, among other edu roles, is now at the University of Colorado Denver.

It’s not his first time here.


Friday fish what? Friday Fish Porn is a feature that started in 2006 when Jim Griffin played hooky from work and sent me pictures of all the fish they were catching (on a flip phone….). Now, hundreds of pictures later, here we are. And we also have lots more Fish Pics if you want to send me your kids under a different header. Education and education connected people with fish, simple as that.


July 23, 2020

Bellwether Webinar w/ Jeb Bush, John King, Carissa Moffat Miller, Plus Chris Stewart Show!

This morning I did Chris Stewart’s show, we talked about education politics and the evolution of intra-Dem politics since the 1990s. But it’s 2020 so we talked about a lot of other things including the Pod Wars, reopening schools, and what we’re teaching our kids at home right now. Watch here.

On Monday at Bellwether we hosted Jeb Bush, John King, and Carissa Moffat Miller to talk about accountability. You can watch or read that below:

And here’s Alex Spurrier with some takeaways.


July 21, 2020

Recessions And Teacher Hiring, Plus Webinars And Reopening Chaos!

Here’s a new look at that with possibly timely implications.

Seems like on school reopening if there is any discernible trend it’s a trend away from live instruction toward remote, so districts pulling back.

Update: For example….

Also, we’ll be releasing video from this webinar asap:


July 20, 2020

Testing…Testing…And Teach Your Children Well. Well What?

Interesting grafs in The Times’ deep dive on DEI training:

Ron Ferguson, a Black economist, faculty member at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and director of Harvard’s Achievement Gap Initiative, is a political liberal who gets impatient with such thinking about conventional standards and qualifications. “The cost,” he told me in January, “is underemphasizing excellence and performance and the need to develop competitive prowess.” With a soft, rueful laugh, he said I wouldn’t find many economists sincerely taking part in the kind of workshops I was writing about. “When the same group of people keeps winning over and over again,” he added, summarizing the logic of the trainers, “it’s like the game must be rigged.” He didn’t reject a degree of rigging, but said, “I tend to go more quickly to the question of how can we get prepared better to just play the game.”

When we talked again in June, the interracial protests had infused Ferguson with some optimism. “I have this mental image of plants that have been growing in the shade,” he said of the impediments Black people too often have to take for granted in our society, “and all of a sudden the shade starts to be removed, and these plants start to thrive in ways they never imagined they could. I think there’s a possibility of a blossoming if the society starts to see us as fully human, removing the cloud of white-supremacist assumptions.”

But, he suggested, “in this moment we’re at risk of giving short shrift to dealing with qualifications. You can try to be competitive by equipping yourself to run the race that’s already scheduled, or you can try to change the race. There may be some things about the race I’d like to change, but my priority is to get people prepared to run the race that’s already scheduled.”

This is a question we don’t talk about enough. Do you prepare students for the world they’re going into or the world you wish they were going into and hope to create? The answer, and obviously well-intentioned people have different ones, is not as straightforward as it seems.

Relates to the renewed fight over testing. We still talk about testing in blunt terms, should we get rid of testing? The real questions are what tests and for what purposes. There are key differences between say a 3rd-grade ELA test, the SAT, and an employment test. And differences between tests for individuals and tests that are aggregated for transparency, accountability, or policy. And most people have views that key off those various questions and are more varied than the test or don’t test debate allows.

This sector is certainly hunting for answers, but maybe even more really in need of questions.

Posted on Jul 20, 2020 @ 9:34am

July 17, 2020

Friday Fish Pics

Laura LoGerfo was in southern Illinois recently and did the only responsible thing a parent can do in a situation like that – she took her kids fishing!

The trip report, in her words,

“Moments after they threw in their lines, the girls were catching fish.  They absolutely loved it.”

Smiles confirm.

By day, when she’s not guiding fishing trips, LoGerfo work for NAGB.

Friday fish what? Friday Fish Porn is a longtime but episodic feature around here but it’s quite straightforward: It’s education people with fish. Hundreds since 2006, which is ridiculous. (We go with Friday Fish Pics when it’s kids.) Send me yours!


July 14, 2020

Making Next Year Count: Equity in School Accountability

A global pandemic has interrupted standards-based accountability systems, which were originally built as a path to higher and more equitable outcomes for students. Join Jeb Bush, John B. King, Jr., Carissa Moffat Miller, and Bellwether’s Andy Rotherham for a conversation about how we should measure the impact of education systems on students, particular students of color and low-income students, even as circumstances change on the ground.

Join us for a webinar with Jeb Bush, John King, and Carissa Moffat Miller next Monday.


July 13, 2020


July 10, 2020

Friday Fish Pic! Weeby’s Designs On A Largemouth!

It’s Friday. Here’s Jason Weeby, formerly of Bellwether and currently at NSVF, out with his son fishing. Something you can do socially distanced? Something that almost guarantees a smile? Take a kid fishing! 

Quite timely to have Jason this week because he’s a long time advocate for design thinking in education and just this week Kayne West came out as an adherent.

New here? Friday Fish Porn is a longtime but episodic feature – it’s just education people with fish. Hundreds since Jim Griffin was the first one in 2006. (We go with Friday Fish Pics when little ones are involved.)

Send me yours – all welcome.

Posted on Jul 10, 2020 @ 8:30am