In the Washington Post this weekend, Richard Whitmire worries that the race to embrace a style of school reform he calls “Michelle Light” — the kinds of teacher quality reforms identified with Michelle Rhee, but pursued in a gentle, cooperative way–may not be able to accomplish much. Rhee was profiled by June Kronholz in the Winter 2010 issue of Ed Next.
In the Wall Street Journal, Joel Klein argues that the structure of traditional pensions discourages talented young people from becoming teachers. The Winter 2010 issue of Ed Next included a study by Bob Costrell and Mike Podgursky that showed how teacher pensions concentrate benefits on teachers who spend their entire careers in a single state, penalizing younger teachers, who change jobs and move more often than did previous generations.
What will 2011 bring to the world of education reform? Vote now for the two developments you think are most and least likely
Detroit Public Schools will spend $49 million in federal stimulus funds to buy laptops for 40,000 students in grades 6-12. In the Fall 2004 issue of Ed Next, Rick Hess wrote about other attempts by states and districts to boost achievement by passing out laptops. ” The tendency,” he noted, “has been to sprinkle computers and Internet connections across classrooms in the pleasant hope that teachers will integrate them into their lessons.”
New Ed Next Readers Poll: Vote now on the best and worst events in 2010 for education.
At De La Salle Academy, a private school in New York City for high-performing low-income children profiled in today’s New York Times, rules are strict and expectations are high, but the school becomes like a family for students. An article by David Whitman that appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of Ed Next explored the phenomenon of paternalistic schools, “highly prescriptive institutions that teach students not just how to think, but also how to act according to what are commonly termed traditional, middle-class values.”
Barbara Martinez of the Wall Street Journal visits a Bronx elementary school where students spend two hours per day engaged in computer-directed instruction. In the Summer 2009 issue of Ed Next, Gerald Huff and Bror Saxberg imagined what computer-assisted learning might look like in 2025 and described some ways that technology is being used to customize learning today.
Ron Huberman, who was appointed Chicago Schools CEO by Mayor Richard Daley after Arne Duncan became Secretary of Education, has told Mayor Daley that he will leave his position before the mayor leaves office in May rather than serve under another mayor, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. In the Winter 2003 issue of Ed Next, Alexander Russo wrote about the early days of mayoral control of education in Chicago.
Fifth grade test scores are down at KIPP schools in Washington, DC, but KIPP leaders are not concerned, and the network is continuing to add schools and grade levels, reports Jay Mathews. In Spring 2009, Ed Next published an excerpt from Jay’s book about KIPP, Work Hard. Be Nice.
Winnie Hu writes in the New York Times about school districts adopting Singapore Math, which is thought to provide a better foundation for higher-order math skills by teaching fewer topics but in more depth. Barry Garelick investigated Singapore Math in the Fall 2006 issue of Ed Next.
Please vote for the top three books of the decade.
Behind the Headline: Hurricane Katrina swept away years of dysfunction in New Orleans public schools
Five years after Hurricane Katrina hit, Cindy Chang of the New Orleans Times Picayune describes the transformation that has taken place in the city’s school system. In the Fall 2006 issue of Ed Next, Kathryn Newmark and Veronique de Rugy wrote about the changes that were underway.
In New York, a judge has rejected a demand by the teachers union that the union be allowed to spend significantly more money on a Senate race than is permitted under the state’s current campaign finance law. In an article that appears in the Fall 2010 issue of Ed Next, Mike Antonucci took a close look at campaign spending by teachers unions.
In Ed Week, Stephen Sawchuk looks at how the NEA and the AFT are responding to the reforms being advanced by the Obama administration, and at what might explain the different responses from the two unions. In the Winter 2009 issue of Ed Next, Linda Seebach wrote about the two teachers unions, which had just chosen new presidents at their national conventions.
The Los Angeles Times has obtained seven years worth of test scores for individual students and used them to calculate “value added” scores for over 6,000 teachers. The teachers will be identified by name (and scores) in a series of articles and a database that will be made public. Kati Haycock and Eric Hanushek discussed the importance of identifying ineffective teachers in a forum that appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of Ed Next about strategies for increasing the number of effective teachers in high-poverty schools.
In Slate, Brian Palmer looks at the history of letter grades for an explanation of why schools assign grades of A,B,C,D, and F—but not E. A study by David Figlio and Maurice Lucas that was published in Ed Next in 2004 found that elementary school students learn more from teachers who are tough graders.
Behind the Headline: Venture Philanthropy gives $5.5 million for expansion of KIPP DC charter schools
A $5.5 million gift will allow KIPP to more than double the number of students enrolled in its schools in DC (to 3400 students) by 2015. In an article that appeared in Ed Next in 2008, Julie Bennett explored how KIPP has been able to expand while maintaining quality.
First Lady Michelle Obama urges Congress to pass the Child Nutrition Bill, which would bring healthier school lunches to more kids. In an article that appeared in Ed Next in 2005, Ron Haskins wrote about the forces behind the federal school lunch program.
School districts attempting to turn around low-performing schools using federal funds are overwhelming choosing the least disruptive interventions. An article by Andy Smarick that appeared in the Winter 2010 issue of Ed Next argued that turnaround efforts like these are unlikely to succeed.
Passing rates on state tests plummeted this year in New York after state education officials raised the cut score on the state’s reading and math tests. New York said that the tests had become significantly easier to pass. A study by Paul Peterson and Carlos Xabel Lastra-Anadón that will appear in the Fall 2010 issue of Ed Next finds that New York is not the only state that had been dumbing down its tests.
In Washington, schools chancellor Michelle Rhee is considering a plan that would offer vouchers to special ed students in need of full-time placements. Jay Greene and Stuart Buck explained how special ed vouchers work and dispelled myths about the vouchers in an article appearing in the Winter 2010 issue of Ed Next.
Summer learning loss is among the most pernicious — if least acknowledged — causes of achievement gaps in America’s schools, notes David von Drehle in this week’s Time Magazine, and lengthening the school year is the answer. In an article published in the Winter 2010 issue of Ed Next, Dave Marcotte and Ben Hansen reviewed the research on the impact of extending the school year on student achievement.
The Fordham Institute has released an analysis of the Common Core standards and the state academic standards in all 50 states which finds that the Common Core standards are better than those in three quarters of the states. In an article that appeared in Ed Next in 2009, Chester Finn and Deborah Meier debated the merits of a national curriculum.
A new Brookings study by Russ Whitehurst and Michelle Croft finds that students attending the charter school connected with the Harlem Children’s Zone do not outperform students at other New York City charter schools, but Jay Mathews warns that it is too soon to draw conclusions about the impact of the HCZ’s services. Cara Spitalewitz reviewed Paul Tough’s book about the Harlem Children’s Zone in the Summer 2009 issue of Ed Next.