Who’s Bigger?

by Robert Pondiscio
November 20th, 2008

Fordham’s Mike Petrilli is showing us no love. 

Mike has a piece about edublogs in the new Education Next.  It’s good; you should read it.  But in a table of the top education policy blogs, the Core Knowledge blog is conspicuously absent.  And it’s not like we wouldn’t have made the Top Ten, based on Mike’s methodology, Technorati’s “authority ranking” — the number of blogs linking to a particular blog in the past 180 days. 

Here’s how the edublogs in my bookmark list stack up based on Technorati’s authority rankings:

Joanne Jacobs  217
Eduwonkette  167
Eduwonk  146
Campaign K-12  125
The Education Wonks  119
Flypaper  95
Jay P. Greene  93
The Quick and the Ed  87
Matthew K. Tabor  85
Core Knowledge 84
This Week in Education  79
Edwize  74
Intercepts  69
Schools Matter  68
Bridging Differences 66
D-Ed Reckoning 56
Edspresso  46
NCLB Act II  40
Sherman Dorn 39
Eduflack 29
Swift and Change Able 27
Thoughts on Education Policy 25

Note, this list excludes pure teacher blogs, even though some of them do veer off (how could they not?) into policy from time to time.  Petrilli’s piece, meanwhile, heaps well-earned praise on Eduwonkette, who came out of nowhere in the past year to (by Mike’s Top Ten list) become the Top Wonk.

The story of Eduwonkette is particularly illuminating; she was recently revealed to be Jennifer Jennings, a graduate student in sociology at Columbia University. Rather than merely toiling away in the vineyards of the American Educational Research Association, writing papers for fellow academics, she recently overtook Eduwonk as the top education policy blogger, even though her competitor is a former Clinton White House aide and cofounder of a major Washington education think tank. It’s clichéd to say that the Internet evens the playing field and makes the traditional trappings of power and influence obsolete, but so it is.

Mike is also dead-on in noting the absence of an authoritative parenting blog.  “There’s no significant parent voice in the national online conversation,” he writes, “just as there’s no national parent advocacy group in Washington. That’s a real shame; someone should blog about it.”

8 Comments »

  1. Something else to consider: Technorati is notoriously unreliable. It stopped acknowledging blog postings from our site months and months ago, and our “authority” has declined precipitously as a result. (Feeling just a tad bitter about this….) Apparently, many other bloggers have had similar complaints, and Technorati can’t handle the volume of requests to fix the problem.

    Comment by Claus — November 20, 2008 @ 4:47 pm

  2. Claus von Zastrow has a good point. In putting together the list above, I tried unsuccessfully to find up-to-date Technorati rankings for his site, Public School Insights. I excluded it from the list above for exactly the reason he cites. I should have said so and regret the error.

    Here’s the url: http://www.publicschoolinsights.org/

    It’s very much on my required reading list.

    Comment by Robert Pondiscio — November 20, 2008 @ 5:03 pm

  3. God help us if there ever comes to be a “national parent advocacy group in Washington.” Isn’t that how the NEA got started?

    Comment by tm willemse — November 20, 2008 @ 6:27 pm

  4. Thanks for this posting. I learned early on not to follow Technorati with bated breath–when it did find links, the tallying process often occurred weeks after Google Alerts found them. I’ve been stuck at 76, and seem to have been left in the dust by Technorati as well, Claus.

    There is a certain rich irony in education bloggers comparing their numbers, believing that higher means better, eh? Technorati as Value Added Blog Arbitrator… Some of the most thoughtful and provocatively written education blogs have a smallish audience, and any blog assessor who divides sites into “practitioner” and “policy” captions is missing some good stuff from the front lines. Renee Moore’s TeachMoore blog, for example–

    Comment by Nancy Flanagan — November 20, 2008 @ 8:05 pm

  5. Nancy’s right. We need a broader, bolder approach to blogging.

    Comment by Robert Pondiscio — November 20, 2008 @ 9:53 pm

  6. Since I believe so strongly in being broader and bolder, I added Google Page Ranks for each of the blogs here: http://jaypgreene.com/2008/11/21/education-next-ranks-the-blogs/

    Comment by Jay P. Greene — November 21, 2008 @ 3:34 pm

  7. I agree – It can be a dangerous game to try and rank sites on anything other than actual content. After all, much of what’s wrong with education right now is the tendency to rank curricula, programs and schools on a host of factors that have nothing to do with content.
    The more voices we have – ranked or not – the better. Information is power. Open debate helps to keep any system healthy and strong.

    Laurie Rogers
    http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com/

    Comment by Laurie Rogers — November 23, 2008 @ 3:19 pm

  8. The reason there is no authoritative parenting blog is because parents are continually moving in and out of the system; no one stays long enough for their concerns to turn into action. They are interested in preschool issues when their children are in preschool, elementary school when they are in elementary school, and so on. This is the challenge for anyone trying to organize parents .. just as you convince them and get them on your side, they are gone and you have a whole other group of newbies to educate.

    The only parents who care long enough are those with 10 children, and they are homeschooling.

    Comment by Lori — November 26, 2008 @ 9:48 am

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