News archive: 2011

December 19

December 17

December 16

  • Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP Announces Investigation of K12, Inc., Business Wire
      ... investigation focuses on whether the Company and its executives violated federal securities laws by failing to disclose that: (1) according to various academic benchmarks, K12 students were chronically underperforming their peers at traditional schools; (2) K12 has aggressively recruited students to their schools, regardless of how well-suited they might be for the Company's curriculum; (3) as a result of K12's haphazard recruiting process, the Company experiences student retention problems resulting in high rates of withdrawal; (4) K12 schools often have far larger student-to-teacher ratios than the Company advertises; and (5) K12 teachers have been pressured to allow students to pass regardless of academic performance, in order to receive federal funds.
  • Maine Education Officials Disappointed by 'Race to the Top' Rejection, Jay Field, MPBN

December 15

December 14

December 13

December 12

  • [A proposal for real data-driven "accountability"] A superintendent calls school reformers’ bluff, John Kuhn, Answer Sheet
      ...Let the 50 states disaggregate equality-related data by ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status, and let us rank the states and reward them for closing all the societal inequalities that are truly at the heart of our achievement gap. There should be an incentive for voters to elect lawmakers who will craft policies that minimize inequalities.
  • [ goes North Carolina] School calendar law bigger legislative error, Editorial, Charlotte Observer

December 11

December 9

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December 4

  • [Who's your daddy?] $376,635 grant to American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Gates Foundation
      Purpose: to educate and engage its membership on more efficient state budget approaches to drive greater student outcomes, as well as educate them on beneficial ways to recruit, retain, evaluate and compensate effective teaching based upon merit and achievement
  • Legislature should fix charter school law, Editorial, Sunday Telegram
      [Comment]: At the same time, it's important to recognize that the "financing" that will be supporting any charters that begin operations this fall will be funded by real public school budgets - all of which will be built by school boards for approval by voters during the next few months.
      Therefore, if the rule is amended as the editorial suggests, it's the public schools (and their taxpayers) that will have to bear the uncertainty of what programs and staff they will need to cut in the upcoming year to support the whims of the charter school operators and parents.
  • Why School Choice Fails, Natalie Hopkinson, New York Times
      ... inequities are the perverse result of a “reform” process intended to bring choice and accountability to the school system. Instead, it has destroyed community-based education for working-class families, even as it has funneled resources toward a few better-off, exclusive, institutions.
  • Gates Foundation Grants ALEC A Hefty Sum For 'Education Reform', karoli, Crooks and Liars

December 3

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December 1

November 30

  • Bangor to offer 'high school on steroids' with groundbreaking new program, Andrew Neff, Bangor Daily News
      ...Bangor, which currently has 179 tuition students, could be at the head of the class if the Maine Legislature enacts school choice, a school voucher program, or proceeds with innovative school legislation.
  • Education entrepreneurs: Virtual schools seek national presence, Lyndsey Layton and Emma Brown, Washington Post
      ...K12 has hired lobbyists and backed political candidates who support school choice in general and virtual education in particular. From 2004 to 2010, K12 gave about $500,000 in direct contributions to state politicians across the country, with three-quarters going to Republicans... "We understand the politics of education pretty well,"

November 18

November 17

  • Side by Side: On Britain's School Wars, Stefan Collini, The Nation
      ...Do we think people develop and flourish best when educated with a cross section of their community, or do we think they are better served by being educated with those who are like them in terms of gender, ability, belief or social background? Do we want a common level of education to be available to all in a given society, regardless of region, religion or parental income, or do we think parents ought to be able to choose a school type from a diverse menu? Who do we think should decide what is taught in schools—teachers, parents, governments (local or national), philanthropists, commercial sponsors?

November 14

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October 31

October 11

  • What Can We Learn From Finland?, Diane Ravitch, Bridging Differences
      ... the secret of Finnish success is trust. Parents trust teachers because they are professionals. Teachers trust one another and collaborate to solve mutual problems because they are professionals.

October 10

October 7

October 6

  • School Chief blasts ‘No Child’ ratings, Dick Broom, Mount Desert Islander
  • Better engagement, better preparation, Commissioner Bowen, Maine DoE Newsroom
      ...The prospect of abandoning an accountability system that stresses a narrow, test-driven curriculum and arbitrary targets for test performance is exciting. We need to replace it with an accountability system that stresses continuous improvement and constructive feedback for our educators, and genuine learning for our students through a system that emphasizes critical thinking and higher-order skills over rote memorization and test preparation.
  • Portland mom opts children out of standardized testing, Seth Koenig, Bangor Daily News
  • Education builds a culture of innovation, enterprise, Editorial, Herald Gazette
      ...Supporting education goes beyond ironing out charter schools versus school choice, about teacher benefits and administrative salaries; it is about teaching new generations of Mainers, and Americans, to use their minds, to develop critical thinking habits, and to instill a high regard for problem-solving, innovation and the challenge of becoming entrepreneurs.
  • Local Teacher Frustrated, Insulted and Dispirited by Education Forum, Kathy Dunne, Free Press
      ...Governor Le Page also mentioned during the forum that "the best education systems put their teachers in high status, such as doctors and engineers." Yet here in Maine, teachers are not even invited to participate in a forum on education.
  • Charter school establishment moves ahead in Maine, AP, Bangor Daily News
  • Members sought for State Charter School Commission, press release, Maine DoE Newsroom
      ...seeking nominees with diverse professional experiences in education, social services, youth training, business startup and administration, accounting and finance, strategic planning, and non-profit governance.

October 4

  • Character Education, Matthew Di Carlo, Shanker Blog
      ...accusing [reformers] of being motivated solely by personal financial gain, or even implying as much, could well be unfair, but, more importantly, it contributes nothing of substance to the debate. On the flip side of that coin, however, is the endlessly-repeated “we care about children, not adults” narrative. This little nugget is a common message from the market-based reform crowd.
  • [Rockland forum] Report on Maine's Education System Indicates Progress, Jay Field, MPBN
  • [Rockland forum] Public education: Turn on its head, or refine it?, Andrew Benore, Herald Gazette
  • The Trouble With the Parent Trigger, Diane Ravitch, Bridging Differences
      ... a public school is a public trust. It doesn't belong to the students who are currently enrolled in it or their parents or to the teachers who currently teach in it. All of them are part of the school community, and that community needs to collaborate to make the school better for everyone.
  • Fewer Maine schools meeting targets, Susan McMillan, Press Herald
      ...The department is still in the early stages of writing its waiver application. Last week, state officials answered questions from 96 superintendents and other administrators on a conference call. Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen probably will set up a small group inside the department and solicit feedback from around the state, Connerty-Marin said.

October 3

September 30

  • Too Many Ways to Fail, Editorial, Bangor Daily News
      ...This more cooperative approach holds promise. Guiding schools to avenues of success — rather than highlighting their shortcomings — must remain the focus.

September 29

  • Regular Teachers, Regular Schools, Nancy Flanagan, Teacher in a strange land
      ... Education Nation is not a program for regular teachers or about regular schools, let alone regular parents and school leaders. "Seeing and being seen" isn't on regular teachers' agendas-- they don't get to attend summits. These days, regular teachers don't even get the opportunity to attend conferences or get good professional development. They're lucky to have a job. ...Other people--"experts"--gather in national forums, to talk about teachers' work, declaring it measurably inadequate, uninspiring, lousy enough to develop a petition shutting down public schools. They compare "regular" teaching to jazzed-up video teaching, and "regular" schools to franchise schools with advertising budgets. And they make judgments, based on glittering media showcases of What Could Be.
  • NCLB changes could mean more local control, Bethel Citizen

September 28

September 27

September 26

  • [The Revolution Will NOT Be Televised (or keynoted by Rupert Murdoch)] 2011 Agenda, Education Everywhere: National Summit on Education Reform 2011
  • The Education Reporter’s Dilemma, Matt Di Carlo, Shanker Blog
    • ...When you interpret testing data properly, you don’t have much of a story.

September 24

  • You… You… Status Quo…er!, Bruce Baker, School Finance 101
      ...bad data analyses and bombastic conclusions about our supposed education apocalypse do little or nothing to start a genuine conversation about either the true current conditions of our schools or whether we should be considering systemic changes.

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September 1

  • Charter schools: what they mean for us, Jessica Brophy, Penobscot Bay Press
      "... charter schools create a parallel system that competes against the existing structure. ...If the charter school movement is meant to remove regulations [for its schools], why not remove those regulations for everyone?”

August 31

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August 19

  • [Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?: Dept of Private-Public Partnerships] Founding a Charter School in Maine, Maine Association of Charter Schools
      ...we facilitated a session on the authorizing process at the State Board's annual retreat. ...We are also busy applying for grants both to fund MACS' new, different, and increasing workload and to fund training for the new State Charter School Commission.

August 18

August 17

  • School reform comes to Maine, Deirdre Fulton, Portland Phoenix
  • Do Exclusive Public Schools Teach Better?, Matthew Yglesias, ThinkProgress
      ... when it comes to education, good outcomes are not the same as great teaching. The most reliable way to amass impressive alumni is to screen for impressive freshman. But at the policy level it’s more important to identify institutions that are unusually good at helping people learn, not institutions that are unusually good at screening.

August 16

August 15

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August 12

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August 10

  • On Data, Part Six: Data-Driven Disruption, James Boutin, An Urban Teacher's Education
      ...Eschewing what should be long-term educational values (e.g. civic engagement, critical thinking, effective communication, a sense of shared responsibility), districts - and the politicians held responsible for them - see more incentive to maximize short-term testing gains in the interest of avoiding the punishments promised by NCLB for "failing" schools. ...Public education finds itself focusing on short-term gains because it's sold its stock (i.e. the right to make its decisions) not to the public, but to those who'd have you believe that standardized tests are appropriately used as the sole indicators of school quality.
  • Can Teachers Alone Overcome Poverty? Steven Brill Thinks So, Dana Goldstein, The Nation

August 9

August 8

August 7

  • Who would really want to spend more than that? (Ed Next & Spending Preferences), Bruce Baker, School Finance 101
      ...Put very simply, a per pupil spending figure out of context is meaningless. $17,000 I say! $17,000… an abomination I say. It’s a huge number! Why would we ever consider spending more than that per pupil in New York City? Well, what if it just happened to turn out that in the same year, that $17,000 per pupil was lower, on average, than most of the surrounding districts with much less needy student populations? What if that $17,000 was only approximately 50% of what was being spent in private independent schools operating within the city? It doesn’t sound so big any more does it? How would survey respondents in New York City change their answer if this information was provided?

August 6

August 5

August 4

  • [Milton Friedman was wrong] Private schools: Who benefits?, PISA in Focus, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
      ...Countries with a larger share of private schools do not perform better in PISA.

August 3

  • How to Mold Public Opinion Against Public Schools, Walt Gardner, Reality Check
      ...Two of the most effective tools of propagandists are to tell a big lie so often that it is accepted as undeniable truth, and to create a scapegoat for the anger and frustration that the public feels. An op-ed by Ted Nugent published on Jul. 29 in the Washington Times is a page torn from the textbook used in Propaganda 101
  • Religion Takes Center Stage in Fight Over County's Voucher Pilot, Nancy Mitchell, Ed Week
      ...plaintiffs are arguing that state officials, including Hammond, helped create the voucher pilot by advising Douglas County officials on the best way to get around potential violations of state law.

August 2

August 1

  • The mess we are in, Linda Darling-Hammond, Answer Sheet
      ...while many politicians talk of international test score comparisons, they rarely talk about what high-performing countries like Finland, Singapore, and Canada actually do: They ensure that all children have housing, health care, and food security. They fund their schools equitably. They invest in the highest-quality preparation, mentoring and professional development for teachers and school leaders
  • [Dept of Truth to Power] Inexcusable Inequalities! This is NOT the post funding equity era!, Bruce Baker, School Finance 101
      ...Until we take these disparities seriously and stop counting on miracles and superman to give us a free ride, we’re not likely to make real progress on the “Scarsdale-Harlem” achievement gap. ...Treating teachers like crap, cutting state funding, basing teacher salaries on student test scores will do nothing to correct these disparities, and will likely only make them worse.
  • The myth of the extraordinary teacher, Ellie Herman, LA Times
      ...nobody talks that way about the children of the wealthy, who can pay for individual attention in tutoring or private schools with small classes. I understand that we need to get rid of bad teachers, who will be just as bad in small classes, but we can't demand that teachers be excellent in conditions that preclude excellence.
  • Researchers Warn of School 'Accountability Shock', AP
      ..."The evidence is pretty clear that teachers tend to move toward schools that have higher achievement, fewer kids in poverty, fewer discipline problems,"
  • We need more accountability and trust, Elizabeth Jalbert Pecoraro, Bangor Daily News
  • The Elite Illusion: Achievement Effects at Boston and New York Exam Schools, Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Joshua D. Angrist, Parag A. Pathak, National Bureau of Economic Research
      ...intense competition for exam school seats does not appear to be justified by improved learning for a broad set of students.
  • Debt Ceiling Deal: Big Questions for K-12, Michele McNeil, Politics K-12

July 31

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July 24

  • [Dept of Synergy] Ex-Schools Chief Emerges as Unlikely Murdoch Ally
      ...Murdoch began to put his own money behind Mr. Klein’s efforts. At one point, he quietly donated $1 million to an advocacy group, Education Reform Now, run by Mr. Klein, bankrolling a continuing campaign to overturn a state law protecting older teachers

July 22

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July 19

July 18

  • Studies Show Cyber Schools Not Making Grade, Terrie Morgan-Besecker, Times Leader
  • How Finland became an education leader, David Sirota, Salon
      ...Examining the nation with one of the most comparatively successful education systems on the planet, the film contradicts the test-obsessed, teacher-demonizing orthodoxy of education "reform" that now dominates America's political debate.
  • Confronting the Inequality Juggernaut: A Q&A With Jonathan Kozol, Anthony Cody, Living in Dialogue, Ed Week
      ...The "niche" effect of charter schools guarantees a swift and vicious deepening of class and racial separation.
  • Peer Effects And Attrition In High-Profile Charter Schools, Matthew Di Carlo, Shanker Blog
      ...for many charters the end result is that each cohort of incoming students is gradually whittled down, eventually losing many of the students with the most difficult academic and/or behavioral problems. Since they’re often not replaced, who’s left behind? ...The students who remain tend to be the students who fit in well with the school’s culture, meeting its expectations, and not disrupting class. These remaining students interact with each other socially and academically, feeding off each other’s successes and abilities.
  • New York City Abandons Teacher Bonus Program, Sharon Otterman
      ...Teachers also reported that improving as teachers and seeing their students learn were bigger motivators than a bonus
  • ALEC Exposed: Starving Public Schools, Julie Underwood, The Nation
      ...a deeper crisis emerges when we privatize education. As Benjamin Barber has argued, “public schools are not merely schools for the public, but schools of publicness: institutions where we learn what it means to be a public and start down the road toward common national and civic identity.” What happens to our democracy when we return to an educational system whose access is defined by corporate interests and divided by class, language, ability, race and religion?
  • ALEC model education legislation paired with bills in Maine's 125th Legislature, Brian Hubbell, DirigoBlue

July 17

Wendy Kopp and Diane Ravitch at the Aspen Ideas Festival

July 16

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July 3

  • [So goes New Hampshire] Lawmakers pushing creationism in schools is a bad idea, David Brooks, Nashua Telegraph
  • The Real Education Nation, Nancy Flanagan, Teacher in a Strange Land
  • The Firing Line: The Grand Coalition Against Teachers, Joanne Barkan, Dissent
      ...For most ed reformers, better a train wreck than no reform. They want as much change as possible as fast as possible in order to take advantage of momentum and the favorable political climate. ...With the zealots’ mix of certainty and fervor, ed reformers have made this a wretched time to be a public school teacher. Meanwhile, parents worry that obsessive testing is hollowing out the substance of learning;
  • [ goes Texas] Stop labeling teachers, label the lawmakers, John Kuhn,
      ...where is the label for the lawmaker whose policies fail to clean up the poorest neighborhoods? Why do we not demand that our leaders make “Adequate Yearly Progress”? We have data about poverty, health care, crime, and drug abuse in every legislative district. We know that those factors directly impact our ability to teach kids. Why have we not established annual targets for our legislators to meet? Why do they not join us beneath these vinyl banners that read “exemplary” in the suburbs and “unacceptable” in the slums?
  • Good Will-Hinckley director considers charter school status, Beth Staples, Morning Sentinel

July 1

June 30

June 29

June 28

June 27

  • How standardized testing is being expanded, Lisa Guisbond, Answer Sheet
      ... states have all marched to the RTTT beat, quickly passing laws that, among other things, insist that teacher evaluations must be linked to student outcomes. ...Now we are seeing all the devilish details emerge

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June 12

  • [ goes Pennsylvania] Tea Party gears up for 2012 in contentious school voucher fight, Jon Ward, Huffington Post
      ...a policy analyst at the conservative Commonwealth Foundation who sat on the panel, tried to describe how -- after an initial bump in costs -- the voucher program would save money in the long run. Students who took the $5,000 voucher payments toward a school of their choice would end up costing taxpayers less than the $14,000 a year the state currently spends on each of its students

June 11

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June 3

  • [K12 Inc. lobbied for virtual charter schools in Maine's charter school bill] Education According to Mike Milken, John Hechinger, Business Week
      ...After Milken agreed to back K12, Packard looked for a partner with education credentials to run K12 with him. He sought out former U.S. Education Secretary William J. Bennett, who had served in the Reagan Administration and had the conservative bona fides to appeal to the initial target market: homeschoolers, many of whom are conservative Christians.
  • Are we creating dual school systems with charters, vouchers?, Bill McDiarmid, Answer Sheet
      ...The early advocates of public education in this country — Benjamin Rush, Thomas Jefferson, the Working Men’s Associations in Philadelphia, Boston and New York, as well as African-American and reformer-dominated legislatures in Southern states after the Civil War — all recognized that for democracy to work, students needed to be educated in environments with children from a range of socio-economic backgrounds. ...If we’re going to encourage and fund private and semi-private schools, populated by children who have adults deeply involved in their lives, what happens to the other children?
  • Hearing on state of charter schools exemplifies divisiveness of issue, Mikhail Zinshteyn, Washington Independent
      ...cautioned against regarding charter schools as laboratories of experimentation: “Involvement of local persons or groups in starting charter schools is shrinking, replaced instead by outsiders, particularly private education management organizations (EMOs), which steer these schools from distant corporate headquarters. Claims that EMOs can make charter schools more effective have not been substantiated by research.”
  • School consolidation penalties eliminated effective 2012-13, Rich Hewitt, Bangor Daily News

June 2

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May 29

May 26

  • The international divide, John Merrow, Taking Note
    • Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: An American Agenda for Education Reform, Marc S. Tucker, National Center on Education and the Economy
        ...It turns out that neither the researchers whose work is reported on in this paper nor the analysts of the OECD PISA data have found any evidence that any country that leads the world’s education performance league tables has gotten there by implementing any of the major agenda items that dominate the education reform agenda in the United States. We include in this list the use of market mechanisms such as charter schools and vouchers, the identification and support of education entrepreneurs to disrupt the system, and the use of student performance data on standardized tests to identify teachers and principals who are then rewarded on that basis for the value they add to a student’s education or who are punished because they fail to do so.

May 25

May 24

  • The trouble with “innovation” in schools, Gregory Michie, Answer Sheet
      ... the word, like so many others in education, has been hijacked. The “new reformers” have appropriated it as a descriptor for policy proposals and practices they advocate, and as an antonym for almost anything else. Charter schools? Innovative. Regular public schools? Definitely not. Competing for education funding? Innovative. Assuring that adequate monies go to schools that most need them? Passé. Evaluating teachers based on test scores? Innovative. Collective bargaining? Old school. Corporate reformers have come to own the word so completely that they’re able to promote even the most wrongheaded ideas and still be portrayed by many media outlets as innovators.
  • Amemdments proposed for Committee Majority Report on LD 1553
  • Charter school law allows nothing that can't be done already, Mark Schwartz, Press Herald
      ...Why not have an innovative commissioner, innovative local school boards, innovative students, teachers and parents rally around the current public schools rather than create the illusion that significant change will emerge from public charter schools?
  • [New Jersey Legislature's] Education Committee approves bill requiring charter schools to win voter approval, Jeanette Rundquist, Newark Star-Ledger

May 23

  • Maine's Charter School Bill: an open letter to Senator Langley, Gail Marshall
  • What Parents Aren't Asked in School Surveys -- and Why, Alfie Kohn, Huffington Post
      ...anticipate the pride with which administrators will soon report that an overwhelming majority of our parents believe we're doing a damn fine job! Eighty-seven percent agree or strongly agree that we cram the facts into their children that the middle schools expect them to have been taught! Ninety-one percent report that their children can recite the prohibitions and punishments we've unilaterally devised and imposed on them! Is this a great school, or what?

May 22

  • Behind Grass-Roots School Advocacy, Bill Gates, Sam Dillon, New York Times
      ...Given the scale and scope of the largess, some worry that the foundation’s assertive philanthropy is squelching independent thought, while others express concerns about transparency. Few policy makers, reporters or members of the public who encounter advocates like Teach Plus or pundits like Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute realize they are underwritten by the foundation. “...It’s Orwellian in the sense that through this vast funding they start to control even how we tacitly think about the problems facing public education,”
  • [As goes Wisconsin] How to destroy a school system, Ruth Conniff, Isthmus
  • [Cui bono?] K12 Inc. who lobbied for provision in charter school bill allowing "virtual charter schools" to be diverted from local school funds without local approval or oversight
  • Charter schools boosted by strong support on Education Committee, Christopher Cousins, Bangor daily News

May 20

May 18

May 17

  • What Works Best: Help or Punishment?, Diane Ravitch, Briudging Differences
      ...we are dealing with two very different mind-sets. One sees the school as a community, a place of learning where there is an ethical obligation to support both staff and students, helping both to succeed. The other sees schools as one part of a free-market economy, where quality may be judged by data; if the results aren't good enough, then fire part or all of the people and close the store, I mean, the school and pick a new location. The former looks to teamwork and mutual support as guiding principles; the other prizes competition, leading either to rewards or punishments.
  • "If I Ran the Circus" (The businessman's chorus)

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April 30

  • ‘Failing schools’ fallacy:Low test scores aren’t signs of nation's economic decline, Diane Ravitch, The Daily
      ...Instead of promoting innovation, creativity and imagination, the current obsession with raising test scores discourages these things. Students are learning to pick the right answer and being penalized for thinking differently.

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April 22

  • Defense Vouchers: A Modest Proposal, Brian Hubbell,
      ...“It’s not fair to make these people pay out twice, once for hardware and then again in government taxes. In today’s uncertain world, the defense dollar should follow the citizen.
  • Good Will-Hinckley school on cusp of major change, Christopher Cousins, Bangor daily News
      ...A key component of the plan is for public school dollars to follow students to the magnet school. Bowen said a bill under consideration that would allow charter schools in Maine would accomplish that ...If the charter school bill fails, said Cummings, who opposed charter schools as a legislator, the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences would negotiate with superintendents from sending schools for the students’ tuition dollars.
  • Patriotic twist made to private school voucher bill, Mark Peterson, WNDU
      ..."If the school is going to take a voucher, they need to be pro American,"

April 21

April 20

  • [...So goes Pennsylvania] Rural lawmakers should oppose school voucher bill, Editorial, Nashua Telegraph
      ...Not only can't we afford it, but it would only hurt our rural public school system while funneling our tax dollars to schools over which we have no control. Our legislators owe it to the taxpayers to be responsible stewards of our money and oppose this voucher movement.
  • Public education needs public discussion, Diana Senechal, Answer Sheet
      ...We need forums where the information is laid bare and where arguments rest on their merits. ...We should be as faithful as elephants, meaning what we say, saying what we mean, remembering what we said before, and knowing what we’re talking about to begin with.
  • [Dept of 21st century skills in contra-vocational training] Young adults see room for improvement at America's high schools, Connie Cass, AP
      ...could have used a class in "what happens if you can't get a job, and the unemployment rate rises and nobody can find a job."
  • [...So goes Pennsylvania] Voucher Advocate Betsy DeVos, Right-Wing Think Tanks Behind Koch-Style Attack on PA Public Schools, Rachel Tabachnick, Talk to Action
      ...At stake is about $600 billion spent annually on K-12 education. Privatization in this case and in many others is code for using public money to finance risk free private investment that ensures private profit and excludes public profit while externalizes risk and passing off any loss to government. I don't know what one calls such a system, but it most definitely is not "free market capitalism".

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April 12

  • Education chief takes 'listening tour' to York County, Kelley Bouchard, Press Herald
  • Vouchers Make a Comeback, But Why?, Diane Ravitch, Bridging Differences
      ...The latest state test scores for Wisconsin revealed that students in Milwaukee public schools got higher scores than those in the voucher schools. Among low-income students, those in voucher schools scored the same as low-income students in the Milwaukee Public Schools. ...voucher schools do not have as many high-needs students as the public schools in Milwaukee. According to state data, only 1.5 percent of voucher students are in special education, while in the public schools, the figure is about 19 percent.
  • The Education of Lord Bloomberg, Diane Ravitch, New York Review of Books
      ... lessons of this fiasco are clear: being a successful business executive is no guarantee that one can become a successful school leader.
  • Did Envision Maine's report "cook" the schools numbers?: Alan Caron / Brian Hubbell facebook smackdown, PrepareMaine

April 11

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  • [Caribou] Educators ask for more support, funding from DOE, Jen Lynds, Bangor Daily News
  • Putting a Theory to Rest, Richard D. Kahlenberg, Room for a debate, New York Times may be time to set aside two prevailing biases in the education reform community: that noneducators with strong management skills should be brought in to fix the “mess” that educators have made; and that the rigor of private sector experience will inevitably trump the skills of those toiling in the public sector.
  • Cathie Black and the privatisation of education, Daniel Denvir, Guardian
      ... Her departure is a rare setback for a corporate-funded education reform movement that lauds standardised tests, non-union teachers and private management as the solution to the problems of public education. ...The school privatisation movement is one of unparalleled genius. It proposes free-market solutions to a problem created by the free market: wealthy taxpayers refusing to adequately fund poor people's schools and a deindustrialised service economy that has eliminated good jobs for the working class.
  • Tennessee House Passes Bill That Lets Teachers Question Evolution In Science Class, Jillian Rayfield, Talking Points Memo

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  • 5 myths about teachers that are distracting policymakers, Barnett Berry, Answer Sheet
    • Teacher preparation matters little for student achievement
    • Teaching experience matters little for student achievement
    • Removing incompetent teachers will fix our schools
    • Teacher tenure rules make it impossible to get rid of poor teachers
    • Merit pay will motivate teachers to teach more effectively
  • Arundel company among stops on governor’s tour, Gillian Graham, Kennebunk Post
      ...“Being demonized in the press, welcome to the party,” LePage said. “I feel bad for teachers and state employees. You’ve been sold a bill of goods. ...If you buy a newspaper in Maine, it is like paying someone to lie to you"
  • Ellsworth area schools renew search for superintendent, Rich Hewitt, Bangor Daily News
      ...The RSU received less than 10 applications for the position, he said, a reflection of what appears to be a high number of superintendents who have left and may be leaving posts this year. Ashmore said there are estimates that as many as 30 superintendent positions could come open this year.

March 23

March 22

  • [Dept of weak links] End to teacher tenure essential to school reform, Ron Bancroft, Press Herald
      ...Mediocre teachers are much less effective. ...Obviously, removing tenure would make it easier to remove ineffective teachers. Who knows how many of these there are in any school system, but at least 5 percent to 10 percent is a reasonable figure. ...In fact, in the best charter school groups, where principals can remove teachers more easily, few teachers actually are asked to leave.

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March 6

  • [Annals of performance pay] Teacher Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from New York City Public Schools, Roland G. Fryer, National Bureau of Economic Research
      ...Financial incentives for teachers to increase student performance is an increasingly popular education policy around the world. This paper describes a school-based randomized trial in over two-hundred New York City public schools designed to better understand the impact of teacher incentives on student achievement. I find no evidence that teacher incentives increase student performance, attendance, or graduation, nor do I find any evidence that the incentives change student or teacher behavior. If anything, teacher incentives may decrease student achievement, especially in larger schools.
  • [Charter performance in Minnesota] Mitch or your lyin' eyes?, Rob Levine, Cucking Stool
  • Same Kids, Same Building, Same Lies, Gary Rubinstein, Teach for US
  • Charter schools no panacea for public schools' problems, Gary Langlois, Sunday Telegram
  • Room for a debate: Why Blame the Teachers?, New York Times
  • Obama is Right: Education is a Bi-Partisan Issue, Anthony Cody, Living in Dialogue
      ..."We need to convince people that if they invest their career in working with these challenging students, then we will reward them and appreciate them. We will not subject them to arbitrary humiliation in the newspaper. We will not require they be evaluated and paid based on test scores that often fluctuate greatly beyond the teacher's control."
  • [Monday satire] Nothing Can Stop Us Now!, "Chris Galgay", Sardine Report

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March 1

February 28

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February 14

  • Education section of Governor's budget address (Transcript)
  • From the Dept. of faith-based conversions: Turning less into more
    • Merger law should be improved, not gutted, Editorial, Press Herald (2/06/2011)
        ...Maine has too many school districts, which spend too much on administrative costs. ...Lawmakers should look for ways to make districts more efficient.
    • State should stop resisting charter schools, Editorial, Press Herald (2/14/2011)
        ...Critics say that charter schools will draw students and resources away from traditional schools, while providing a lesser quality education. What they ignore is that families want to have choices, and competition for students could motivate all schools to improve.
  • In Cornville, charter school group wants local control, Doug Harlow, Morning Sentinel

February 13

February 12

  • Paul LePage, Maine's Education Governor?, Brian Hubbell,
  • Details emerge on restructuring of Maine's budget, Susan M. Cover, Press Herald
      ...$730,000 each year has been directed to a new program at Good Will-Hinckley in Pittsfield to create a charter school for at-risk youth. In addition to passing the budget, the Legislature will need to enact a law to allow charter schools in Maine for the program to move forward, Bowen said.

February 11

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February 3

  • [Dept of Fatuous Claims to Cause and Effect] Bunkum Awards 2010, National Educational Policy Center

February 2

  • [NECAP] Student scores remain stable, Matthew Stone, Kennebec Journal
  • Powerful “Parent” Trigger operators target vulnerable school; attack misfires, Caroline Grannan, Perimeter Primate
  • Consolidation of Schools and Districts: What the Research Says and What It Means, Craig Howley, Jerry Johnson, and Jennifer PetrieNational Education Policy Center, Boulder
      ... a century of consolidation has already produced most of the efficiencies obtainable. Indeed, in the largest jurisdictions, efficiencies have likely been exceeded—that is, some consolidation has produced diseconomies of scale that reduce efficiency. In such cases, deconsolidation is more likely to yield benefits than consolidation. Moreover, contemporary research does not support claims about the widespread benefits of consolidation. The assumptions behind such claims are most often dangerous oversimplifications
  • [Dept of snowday satire] Without LePage, Marden’s Going to Hell, Sardine Report
      ...At the Department of Education, wages have been reduced to $8.50 an hour, and all employees are required to wear red aprons and vacant stares. “It was pretty much the same under Baldacci, except for the pay,” said one DOE staffer.

January 31

January 30

January 28

January 27

  • Rewriting No Child Left Behind: What to expect, Matthew Stone, Report Card
      ..."Public school choice might make sense in an urban community," Duncan said, "but if there's not another school for 30 miles, it doesn't make as much sense."

January 26

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January 20

  • Building Little Republics in a Collapsing Empire, Sam SMith, CounterPunch
      ...Give these people the chance and they will seize whatever remains of American democracy, of which I was reminded when the closet reactionary Brookings Institution came up with a proposal for my state of Maine that emphasized the consolidation of everything from towns to schools. Did they know so little about the place that they didn't understand that Maine's historic localism has been one of its major virtues and survival techniques?
  • Teacher Evaluations, Nancy Hudak, EduMaine
  • Evaluations That Help Teachers Learn, Charlotte Danielson, Educational Leadership

January 19

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January 9

  • Schools need confidence, Gordon Donaldson, Bangor Daily News
      ...Gone are the days when “the experts” rose to the top of the hierarchy. In the information age — and particularly in education, social service and health care — the experts are at the point of delivery: the classroom, the home visit, the examination room. Solutions to difficult problems require, as they always have, creative, energetic and committed Mainers working hard in their communities and schools.
  • Rethinking Advanced Placement, Christopher Drew, New York Times
      ...goal is to clear students’ minds to focus on bigger concepts and stimulate more analytic thinking.

January 7

January 6

January 5

January 4

January 3

January 1, 2011

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