You Got Some Splainin’ To Do!

by Robert Pondiscio
February 8th, 2008

Mike Antonucci, blogging at Intercepts points to a January 31 story by UFT staff writer Michael Hirsch, detailing a phone call from Hillary Clinton to the Delegate Assembly of New York City’s United Federation of Teachers right after the New Hampshire primary. The eyebrow raising quote: “‘Education and children are the causes of my life,’ [Clinton] said and promised that ‘we’re going to get rid of No Child Left Behind,’ a promise that brought delegates to their feet roaring approval.”

Antonucci points out that “get rid of No Child Left Behind” doesn’t exactly square with her campaign’s stated position, which promises to “use the pending reauthorization to expand support early childhood education, improve teacher training, lower class size, enhance parental involvement, eliminate environmental hazards in schools, and protect the programs that work for all of New York’s children” among other things.

Giving Kozol His Due

by Robert Pondiscio
February 8th, 2008

Education SectorUnusually good, nuanced and ultimately fair dissection of Jonathan Kozol’s work by The Quick and the Ed’s Kevin Carey today. A stark contrast to what Carey rightly describes as the “standard conservative anti-Kozol piece, which has become a genre unto itself.”

Carey’s main point is a good one. “In in his righteous anger and dark pessimism, [Kozol] has become blind to all evidence of progress and possibility with our public schools.” Having read a lot of Kozol and worked for years in precisely the neighborhood he chronicles, I’m inclined to agree with Carey. That said, there is an undeniable tendency on the part of both teachers and reformers to congratulate themselves for their effort and incremental progress. The needle is moving, but barely. Anger is still the right reaction. There’s a hell of a lot more to be unhappy about than not.

Denver Announces Growth Model Accountability System

by Robert Pondiscio
February 8th, 2008

Rocky Mountain NewsThe city of Denver has announced a growth-model accountability system to measure school performance. The inititative is backed by $4.75 million raised from the Dell and Broad Foundations.

According to the Rocky Mountain News, the most innovative piece “compares Denver Public School students with students statewide who have similar performance histories on state exams. With the Colorado Department of Education, the district will track how DPS pupils do compared to those peers and judge their schools based on jumps or drops in performance.”

Non-academic factors such as “whether families are returning to the same schools from one year to the next” will be weighed. “DPS schools will receive an overall rating, based on up to 42 indicators, but [DPS Superintendent Michael] Bennet said those rating names have yet to be determined. It’s also unclear exactly when parents will see the new report cards, though it likely will be before the end of this school year,” the paper reports.

The paper also reports the system could go statewide, potentially great news for Core Knowledge advocates, since the state has more CK schools than any other.