Newbery, Caldecott Winners Announced

by Robert Pondiscio
January 26th, 2009

Neil Gaiman has won the 2009 Newbery Medal for The Graveyard Book.  The Caldecott Medal for illustrations was won by Beth Krommes for The House in the Night.  Both awards were announced this morning at the American Library Association’s conference in Denver.

Publishers Weekly has a rundown of honorees, including four Newbery Honor Books: The Underneath by Kathi Appelt; The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle; Savvy by Ingrid Law; and After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson.  Three Caldecott Honor Books were also cited: A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee; How I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz; and A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams, by Melissa Sweet and Jen Bryant.

Connect The Dots

by Robert Pondiscio
January 26th, 2009

The New York newspapers are all over Joe Torre’s “tell-all” book about the Yankees, in which the former manager describes as “insulting” the contract offer that led him to quit.  The offer would have given Torre a bonus for winning the World Series, but the manager “bristled at the insinuation that he needed financial motivation to win in the postseason.”

The Wall Street Journal has a piece looking at the practice, reviled by movie critics, of giving movies zero to four stars in newspaper reviews.  Oscar hopeful and a low-ambition horror movie are all measured by the same yardstick. “It all makes for an odd scale that, under the veneer of objective numerical measurement, is really just an apples-to-oranges mess,” the paper says.

GOP: Stimulus Money Hard To Take Back Later

by Robert Pondiscio
January 26th, 2009

Republican lawmakers are pushing back on the economic stimulus package and its billions in education spending.  The basic question is what happens when the economy improves and schools have grown used to the record-breaking federal outlay?

School spending accounts for about one-sixth of the $825 billion economic recovery package….The plan would spend about $20 billion quickly to build and fix up classrooms, from kindergarten through college, in an effort to spur job creation and growth. States would receive $39 billion to stave off cuts in schools.  But it would also pump an extra $26 billion into two long-term programs, No Child Left Behind and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The bill includes a $15 billion bonus fund to encourage reforms related to teaching and student tests.

“It’ll never go away,” Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn tells the AP.  “You’re talking about a permanent increase at a time when we are in the worst financial shape we’ve ever been in.”

A-Rus at This Week in Education has more.

Homework: A Cautionary Tale

by Robert Pondiscio
January 26th, 2009

I have my doubts about the authenticity of this drawing, but before you jump to the wrong conclusions, check out the backstory at NYC Educator.