News archive: 2010

December 30, 2010

December 29

December 28

December 27

December 26

December 24

December 23

December 22

December 21

December 20

December 19

December 18

December 17

  • LePage losing top Cabinet picks to pay limits, Mal Leary, Bangor Daily News
      ...LePage said his first choices for two key commissioner posts, DHHS and Education, turned down his offers.
  • Students put LePage to the test, Kelley Bouchard, Press Herald
      ...Maine has great teachers and great students, LePage said, but it pays top dollar for average test results. He pointed to Utah as a more thrifty state. Maine's annual per-pupil cost is $11,644, compared with $5,706 for Utah, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Maine's fourth- and eighth-graders outpaced Utah's and national average scores on the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress.
  • Charter schools suddenly 'relevant', Matthew Stone, Press Herald
      ...draft legislation calls for a system of schools run by organizations that apply for the charters to operate them. It would offer those schools more flexibility than traditional public schools. For example, charter school staffs wouldn't have to be unionized.
  • Inherent Contradictions: Governor-elect LePage interviewed by Eighth-graders, Brian Hubbell
      ...In the face of LePage’s expressed agenda of austerity and antipathy towards teachers’ unions which he holds to be obstacles to reform, the Governor-elect continues to voice his support for teachers and what he compactly refers to as “putting the savings in the classroom," a phrase that's tense with inherent contradictions.
  • Schwarzenegger's misleading account of 'parent trigger', Valerie Strauss, Answer Sheet
      ...didn't say that he had ordered the state attorney general to investigate alleged intimidation of the parents at McKinley. Intimidation by whom? It turns out that the Compton parent action was actually organized by a nonprofit group called Parent Revolution, which was founded by a group of charter school operators led by the Green Dot Public Schools. Its founder, Steve Barr, is chairman of Parent Revolution’s Board of Directors. And it was Parent Revolution that selected Celerity Educational Group as the operator to run McKinley when it was reconstituted into a charter.
  • How are our high schools doing?, Beth Schulz, Pine Tree Politics

December 16

December 15

December 14

  • ["Putting the savings into the classroom"]
    • Baldacci defends his record as sun sets on political career, Steve Mistler, Sun Journal
        ..."The only way [consolidation] was going to get done is the hard way," Baldacci said. "We didn’t put all that money (savings) in the state budget and hide it somewhere. We put all that money into the classroom."
    • Study sees reshaped Maine gov't to revive economy, Glenn Adams, AP
        ...Another theme that echoed through the gubernatorial campaign — allowing student-teacher ratios to increase closer to the national average — comes out in the report. It also calls for another round of school district consolidations and putting the savings into the classrooms, an effort started under a 2007 law pushed by Baldacci.
  • [Everything except a high school] Dedham school approves AOS deal (w/ Orrington), Nok-Noi Ricker, Bangor Daily News

December 13

  • Seven Take Aways from PISA Research, Pamela Moran, Space for learning
  • Getting Teacher Assessment Right, Patricia H. Hinchey, National Education Policy Center
      ...Notwithstanding the federal enthusiasm for test scores, many researchers have warned against using a single measurement of any kind as the primary basis for such important personnel decisions as teacher retention, dismissal or pay. While there are important questions about what achievement scores can—and cannot indicate about individual teachers, there is no question that placing excessive emphasis on test scores alone can have unintended and undesirable consequences that undermine the goal of developing an excellent teaching force.

December 12

  • The Unintended Consequences of Incentive Programs in Schools, Bill Ferriter, Tempered Radical
      ...Introducing market-based incentives erases the power of social norms and human relationships.
  • [The latest line in New Jersey] Maine law saved school districts money, Michael Daigle, Daily Record
      ...Statewide, the education department said the effort has reduced state annual formula aid by $36 million, and local school costs dropped $30 million annually.
  • [Not born yesterday] School consolidation loses steam in NJ, Christopher Schnaars, Courier Post
      ... county superintendents did not estimate how much money could be saved, but consolidation experts from other states say the only way to save money is to close schools and lay off teachers.

December 11

December 10

December 9

  • What can we learn from Finland?: A Q&A with Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, Hechinger Report
      ...[On value-added data to measure teacher performance] It’s very difficult to use this data to say anything about the effectiveness of teachers. If you tried to do this in my country, Finnish teachers would probably go on strike and wouldn’t return until this crazy idea went away. Finns don’t believe you can reliably measure the essence of learning. You know, one big difference in thinking about education and the whole discourse is that in the U.S. it’s based on a belief in competition. In my country, we are in education because we believe in cooperation and sharing. Cooperation is a core starting point for growth.
  • [View from down under] International Student Assessment Should Be a Wake-Up Call, Susan Hopgood, EdVoices
      ...PISA 2009 provides evidence of the growing inequality in education. The difference in average scores between students from low socioeconomic families and those from high SES families increased in reading, math and science between 2006 and 2009.
  • All Assessments Are Not Created Equal, Matt Amaral, Teach4Real
      ...8 of the questions were wrong. Either they were worded wrong, there was more than one answer, the answer given was wrong, there was a better answer ...on a test with less than 30 questions, how can we possibly assess anything if 8 of them are wrong?
  • [Standards-based casualty] RSU2 superintendentto step down in 2011, Matthew Stone, Kennebec Journal
  • [St. George, Rockland, Thomaston] Traveling the Rocky Road of Consolidation, Georgeanne Davis, Free Press
  • [Death of small towns] The trend that few want to mention, certainly no politicians, Gerald Weinand, DirigoBlue

December 8

  • The Test Chinese Schools Still Fail, Jiang Xueqin, Wall Street Journal
      ...Chinese schools are very good at preparing their students for standardized tests. For that reason, they fail to prepare them for higher education and the knowledge economy.
  • Response to MidCoast mom, John D'Anieri, InnovationMaine
      ... Sorry, tax-haters, but the countries that achieve BY FAR the best results for the most young people are those that tax heavily and invest that tax money wisely ...the clearest sign of the abject failure of our existing system is that many folks - including plenty who graduate from "good" schools like Greely and go on to elite colleges like Harvard - are so willfully ignorant of some fairly established cause and effect relationships.
  • [Dept of consolidated regrets] Starks continues fight to leave SAD 59, Erin Rhoda, Morning Sentinel
  • [Dept of sentimental journeys: summary and retrospective] School Administrative Reorganization, DoE

December 7

  • Hysteria over PISA misses the point, Valerie Strauss, Answer Sheet
      ...For nearly a decade, public schools have been test-obsessed, and charter schools have abounded. Those who hold test scores as important measures of progress should face the obvious: NCLB didn't work.
  • We Need Public Schools and Democratic Governance, Diane Ravitch, Bridging Differences
      ...public education is a fundamental institution in our democracy. Free public education—open to all, free to all, controlled by democratic means—is a central promise of our democratic society. Its purposes are civic, not just utilitarian; it exists to strengthen our democracy and our society. I believe it is wrong to privatize it. We must continue to have schools that are the center of their communities, where children are students, not products, and parents are citizens, not customers.
  • On Those 'Stunning' Shanghai Test Scores, James Fallows, The Atlantic
      ...pretty sure that the breathless interpretation given by US/Microsoft Secretary of Education Arne Duncan -- i.e. "the brutal truth" of the Chinese "out educating us" is quite overblown.
  • High Test Scores, Low Ability, Yong Zhao, New York Times
  • The Pros and Cons of Teacher Performance Pay, Derek Viger, Pine Tree Politics
  • Getting Teacher Assessment Right: What Policy Makers Can Learn from Research, Patricia H. Hinchey, Penn State University, National Education Policy Center
      ...there is no question that placing excessive emphasis on test scores alone can have unintended and undesirable consequences that undermine the goal of developing an excellent teaching force.

December 6

  • [Annals of standardized achievement] The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Test Scorer, Dan DiMaggio, Monthly Review
      ...Are we just trying to match the scores from last year, or are we part of an elaborate game of “juking the stats,” [altering] statistics to please superiors? For these companies, the ultimate goal is to present acceptable numbers to the state education departments as quickly as possible, beating their deadlines ...Proving their reliability so they will continue to get more contracts.
  • What I’ve Learned, Michelle Rhee, Newsweek
      ...We’ll ask people across the country to join StudentsFirst — we're hoping to sign up 1 million members and raise $1 billion in our first year. ...we’ll support and endorse school-board candidates and politicians—in city halls, statehouses, and the U.S. Congress—who want to enact policies around our legislative agenda. ...Right now, what we need to do is fight.

December 5

  • [Dept of Executive Impressions] Mr. LePage goes to Washington, Rebekah Metzler, Kennebec Journal
      ..."welcome news because that's what we feel, that in Maine, the education has been dumbed down quite a bit"

December 3

  • Ed Schools, Bruce Baker, School Finance 101
      ...If there has been a dramatic decline in teacher preparation, and in specialized training, it may be worth taking a look at those institutions that have emerged to dominate the production of education degrees and credentials in recent years. After all, Walden and Phoenix each produce 5 to 10 times the master’s degree credentials in education of major public universities. And, production of education master’s degrees is now nearly double the level of production of education bachelor’s degrees. And many of these entrepreneurial start-ups specifically frame their master’s programs as an option for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in “something else” to obtain a teaching credential. Is even more deregulation and entrepreneurial teacher preparation what we really need?

December 2

  • The Education Celebrity Tour: Legend of the Fall, Pt. II, Paul Thomas, Daily Censored
      ...The full truth, of course, is that corporate and political elites have been making the same exact charges heard from Rhee, Secretary Duncan, and Bill Gates, unwarranted and without much resistance, for at least half a century. Rhee’s misinformation is nothing new, but it is finding renewed traction because these messages are being reinforced through the cult of celebrity
  • Rhee tapped by Fla. Gov.-elect Scott, Nick Anderson, Washington Post
  • [Dept of learning-to-earning] Michelle Rhee Named to Florida Gov.-Elect's Transition Team, Sean Cavanagh, Ed Week
      ...Scott says his transition team will help him identify "innovative ideas from the private sector, success stories from other states, cost-saving opportunities and legislative priorities that will help reduce the size of government, improve the education system in Florida and meet the workforce needs necessary to create 700,000 jobs over the next seven years."

December 1

  • [Dept of alienation] Today's lesson: civic duty, Editorial, Republic Journal
      ...With so many challenges facing Maine schools these days, and with all of the excitement happening in local schools despite tighter finances, we are left wondering why the city of Belfast has had such difficulty finding people to serve on the RSU 20 Board of Directors.

November 30

November 29

November 28

November 24

  • [Dept of regrets] Kennebunk selectmen mull withdrawal from RSU, Laura Dolce, seacoastonline.com
      ...a motion to create a sub-committee of board members to look into the possibility of Kennebunk withdrawing from RSU 21 and forming a charter school.

November 23

February 27

February 26

February 25

February 24

February 23

February 22

February 21

  • Radio Address: Race to the Top, Governor Baldacci
      ...These (innovative) schools ...will have flexibility in instruction design, staff selection, school calendars and assessments of professional development.

February 20

February 19

February 18

February 17

February 16

  • [Dept of relentless flogging] Consolidation Consequences, Editorial, Bangor Daily News
      [On-line response]
         The logic of this editorial seems flawed.
         First, was the consolidation law good for the districts that reorganized or was it bad for them?
         If it was good for them -- if they now are enjoying the necessary relief and advertised benefits of the policy -- how are they harmed whether or not the districts which found no benefit from the law are penalized?
         And, if it was bad for them -- if, in fact, the penalties rather than educational and cost benefits were what forced them into bad policy decisions -- then why is the harm done to them compelling reason to apply the same harm more broadly?

         Further, the editorial concludes that, because 40% of the state budget goes to support schools, the state should get to set the rules.
         But there are non-compliant towns in which school spending represents over 90% of the local tax assessment.
         Following the editorial's reasoning, should this give these towns more than twice the authority of the state?

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February 1

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January 30

January 29

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January 20

January 19

January 18

January 17

  • [Dept of the magic 8-ball: Alna, Chelsea, Palermo, Somervile, Westport Island, Whitefield, Windsor, Wiscasset] RSU 12: So far so good, Betty Adams, Kennebec Journal

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January 5

January 4, 2010

January 3

January 2, 2010

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