Low-Performing Schools: What Works (Change the students?)

How to turn around a low-performing school, from What Works Clearinghouse:

Looks like most interventions don't work very well. Maybe we should focus on the underlying factors of low performance? Let's start with poverty, eh?

Saturday Cartoon Fun: The Next Domino Edition

Saturday Cartoon Fun: Brief But Stinging Edition


Friday Cartoon Fun: Not Funny Edition

Republicans Are Like Other Misguided Video Ranters

Richard Clarke Responds to GOP Guantanamo Attacks

Posted by The Editors

Today, Richard Clarke, former head of counterterrorism at the National Security Council under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, reacted to recent Republican attacks on President Obama's decision to close Guantanamo as well as the release of a GOP video which uses graphic imagery from September 11:
"This video and the recent Republican attacks on Guantanamo are more desperate attempts from a demoralized party to politicize national security and the safety of the American people. But what is more disturbing is their brazen use of imagery and the memory of 9/11 to score political points. Thousands of Americans tragically died that day, and for the GOP to think it can win elections by denigrating their memory is disgraceful.

"The difference between these Republican videos and the very terrorist propaganda that seeks to damage our society is negligible. Each attempt to stoke the embers of fear in order to disrupt American life. Just as al Qaeda videos should be viewed as misguided rants from a small group of marginalized radicals, so too should these Republican videos be equally dismissed. As opposed to what the GOP thinks, the American people are not that naïve."

Michelle Rhee: How To Ruin A School District

When we first met Michelle Rhee in the summer of 2007, the first-time superintendent was unknown to most outside of education circles — certainly to parents and teachers in Washington, DC, where she was charged with reforming the city’s struggling public schools.

Not so today. In just under two years, Rhee’s ‘take-no-prisoners’ approach to school reform and her candid discussion of ineffective teaching have attracted tremendous attention from the national press, including The NewsHour. Coverage has appeared on the CBS Evening News and Charlie Rose, and in the pages of Time, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Atlantic.

But to turn around Washington’s failing schools, Rhee doesn’t need national press. She needs local support — and her growing prominence may not be helping.

In this episode, we examine how Rhee’s media presence has affected her pursuit of a revolutionary new teachers’ contract.

(Originally aired May 5, 2009)

Friday Cartoon Fun: Big Putz Edition


Last Chance To Show Love...

Vote for all 3! Or not!

My site was nominated for Hottest Daddy Blogger!

Show Some More Love...

My site was nominated for Best Political Blog!

Show The Love...

Vote for me.
My site was nominated for Best Education Blog!

Pelosi Knew Too

Intelligence Report: Pelosi Briefed on Use of Interrogation Tactics in Sept. ’02

May 07, 2009 6:02 PM

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was briefed on the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah in September 2002, according to a report prepared by the Director of National Intelligence’s office and obtained by ABC News.

The report, submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee and other Capitol Hill officials Wednesday, appears to contradict Pelosi’s statement last month that she was never told about the use of waterboarding or other special interrogation tactics. Instead, she has said, she was told only that the Bush administration had legal opinions that would have supported the use of such techniques.

The report details a Sept. 4, 2002 meeting between intelligence officials and Pelosi, then-House intelligence committee chairman Porter Goss, and two aides. At the time, Pelosi was the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee.

The meeting is described as a “Briefing on EITs including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background on authorities, and a description of particular EITs that had been employed.”

EITs stand for “enhanced interrogation techniques,” a classification of special interrogation tactics that includes waterboarding.

Pelosi, D-Calif., sharply disputed suggestions last month that she had been told about waterboarding having taken place.

“In that or any other briefing . . . we were not, and I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation techniques were used," Pelosi said at a news conference in April. "What they did tell us is that they had some legislative counsel . . . opinions that they could be used, but not that they would."

Brendan Daly, a Pelosi spokesman, said Pelosi’s recollection of the meeting is different than the way it is described in the report from the DNI’s office.
Go read the article. They're all rotten!

Thursday Cartoon Fun: Bernanke Edition

Torture? Feh! Murder!

I didn't realize we were torturing and killing detainees. I thought we were just torturing them. But we also killed some of them. Prosecute war crimes!
Bring the Bush-Cheney War Criminal Gang to Justice

Is there anybody in the Obama Administration who can read this and then advocate for letting these arrogant war criminals off the hook for their betrayal of the concept of humanity and their shredding of the Constitution? If so, they will have become one and the same.

From Raw Story:
United States interrogators killed nearly four dozen detainees during or after their interrogations, according a report published by a human rights researcher based on a Human Rights First report and followup investigations.

In all, 98 detainees have died while in US hands. Thirty-four homicides have been identified, with at least eight detainees — and as many as 12 — having been tortured to death, according to a 2006 Human Rights First report that underwrites the researcher’s posting. The causes of 48 more deaths remain uncertain.

The researcher, John Sifton, worked for five years for Human Rights Watch. In a posting Tuesday, he documents myriad cases of detainees who died at the hands of their US interrogators. Some of the instances he cites are graphic.

Most of those taken captive were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. They include at least one Afghani soldier, Jamal Naseer, who was mistakenly arrested in 2004. “Those arrested with Naseer later said that during interrogations U.S. personnel punched and kicked them, hung them upside down, and hit them with sticks or cables,” Sifton writes. “Some said they were doused with cold water and forced to lie in the snow. Nasser collapsed about two weeks after the arrest, complaining of stomach pain, probably an internal hemorrhage.”

Another Afghan killing occurred in 2002. Mohammad Sayari was killed by four U.S. servicemembers after being detained for allegedly “following their movements.” A Pentagon document obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2005 said that the Defense Department found a captain and three sergeants had “murdered” Sayari, but the section dealing with the department’s probe was redacted.

Perhaps the most macabre case occurred in Iraq, which was documented in a Human Rights First report in 2006.

“Nagem Sadoon Hatab… a 52-year-old Iraqi, was killed while in U.S. custody at a holding camp close to Nasiriyah,” the group wrote. “Although a U.S. Army medical examiner found that Hatab had died of strangulation, the evidence that would have been required to secure accountability for his death – Hatab’s body – was rendered unusable in court. Hatab’s internal organs were left exposed on an airport tarmac for hours; in the blistering Baghdad heat, the organs were destroyed; the throat bone that would have supported the Army medical examiner’s findings of strangulation was never found.”

In another graphic instance, a former Iraqi general was beaten by US forces and suffocated to death. The military officer charged in the death was given just 60 days house arrest.

“Abed Hamed Mowhoush [was] a former Iraqi general beaten over days by U.S. Army, CIA and other non-military forces, stuffed into a sleeping bag, wrapped with electrical cord, and suffocated to death,” Human Rights First writes. “In the recently concluded trial of a low-level military officer charged in Mowhoush’s death, the officer received a written reprimand, a fine, and 60 days with his movements limited to his work, home, and church.”

Another Iraqi man was killed in a US detention facility on Mosul in 2003.

“U.S. military personnel who examined Kenami when he first arrived at the facility determined that he had no preexisting medical conditions,” the rights group writes. “Once in custody, as a disciplinary measure for talking, Kenami was forced to perform extreme amounts of exercise—a technique used across Afghanistan and Iraq. Then his hands were bound behind his back with plastic handcuffs, he was hooded, and forced to lie in an overcrowded cell. Kenami was found dead the morning after his arrest, still bound and hooded. No autopsy was conducted; no official cause of death was determined. After the Abu Ghraib scandal, a review of Kenami’s death was launched, and Army reviewers criticized the initial criminal investigation for failing to conduct an autopsy; interview interrogators, medics, or detainees present at the scene of the death; and collect physical evidence. To date, however, the Army has taken no known action in the case.”

Death from interrogation is hard to separate from simple detainee death while in US custody. But one particular case stands out that seems to have fallen by the wayside — the murder of CIA “ghost” detainee named Manadel al-Jamadi, who was tortured to death by a CIA team at Abu Ghraib in 2003.

“Pictures of Abu Ghraib guards Charles Graner and Sabrina Harman posing with al-Jamadi’s dead body, the so-called Ice Man, were among the most notorious of the Abu Ghraib photographs published in April 2004,” Sifton notes. “A CIA officer named Mark Swanner and an interpreter led the team that interrogated al-Jamadi. Nine Navy personnel were also implicated. An autopsy conducted by the U.S. military five days after al-Jamadi’s death found that the cause: “blunt force injuries complicated by compromised respiration.”

“Reporting by The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer and NPR’s John McChesney revealed that al-Jamadi was strung up from handcuffs behind his back, a torture tactic sometimes called a ‘Palestinian hanging,’” he adds. “After an investigation, the CIA referred the case to the Department of Justice for possible criminal prosecution of the CIA personnel involved, but no charges were ever brought. Prosecutors accused 10 Navy personnel of the crime; nine were given nonjudicial punishments, such as rank reductions and letters of reprimand, and a 10th was acquitted.”

Additionally, Sifton notes the CIA may have had some close calls with detainees nearly dying during interrogations: the May 10, 2005, Bush Administration torture memo by Stephen Bradbury notes that doctors were nearby to perform a tracheotomy if during waterboarding the suspect is approaching death.

“Most seriously, for reasons of physical fatigue of psychological resignation, the subject may simply give up, allowing excessive filling of the airways and loss of consciousness,” Bradbury wrote. “An unresponsive subject should be righted immediately, and the integrator should deliver a sub-xyphoid thrust to expel the water. If this fails to restore normal breathing, aggressive medical intervention is required….’”

The memo says CIA doctors were on hand with necessary equipment to perform a tracheotomy if necessary during waterboarding sessions: “[W]e are informed that the necessary emergency medical equipment is always present—although not visible to the detainee—during any application of the waterboard.”
h/t Schools Matter


It's A Basketcabal

The Perimeter Primate lays it out, as usual. Go to her blog for the remaining links (I didn't copy them all...).
Linda Darling-Hammond Didn’t Play Basketball

The latest to come out is an article in The New Yorker about Green Dot Public Schools and its founder and chairman, Steve Barr. The piece was written by Douglas McGray of the New America Foundation, a D.C. based policy institute which includes education reform as one of its key issues. Green Dot was founded in 1999. In 2006, billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad gave Green Dot $10.5 million to open up 20 more schools. It currently operates 18 high schools, mostly in L.A.

Years ago, Barr became friends with Reed Hastings, the founder of Netflix. Hastings funded Green Dot’s launch. Hastings also helped to start the New Schools Venture Fund, an organization which additionally received $22 million from the Gates Foundation in 2003 to “create systems of charter schools through nonprofit charter management organizations.”

Hastings and Don Shalvey are the co-authors of the California Charter School Initiative introduced to the legislature by Assemblyman Ted Lempert and signed into law in 1998. This repealed the 100-school limit of California’s 1992 charter school legislation. With the cap raised for the number of charter schools in California, Hastings and Shalvey then co-founded Aspire Public Schools and started engaging in even more pro-charter activities.

Steve Barr calls Shalvey one of his “Most Influential People,” along with former California Governor Pat Brown. Incidentally, Barr named one of his dogs “Jerry Brown.” Other connections are that Broad and Hastings donated generously to State Superintendent Jack O’Connell’s campaign, and that Jerry Brown set up two charter schools in Oakland early during his tenure as mayor, Oakland School for the Arts and the Oakland Military Institute. He continues to aggressively advocate for these two schools and keeps them pumped up with extras. I’ve heard enough at Brown's public appearances to know that he despises the form of Oakland's traditional public schools.

According to the McGray article, this past March,
… Barr got a call from the new Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. He [Barr] flew to Washington, D.C., at the end of March, for what he expected to be a social visit. At the meeting, Duncan revealed that he was interested in committing several billion dollars of the education stimulus package to a Locke-style takeover and transformation of the lowest-performing one per cent of schools across the country, at least four thousand of them, in the next several years. The Department of Education would favor districts that agreed to partner with an outside group, like Green Dot. "You seem to have cracked the code," Duncan told Barr.
And according to the New Yorker’s abstract
This month, Barr expects to meet with Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers (A.F.T.), and her staff and outline plans for a Green Dot America, a national school-turnaround partnership between Green Dot and the A.F.T. Their first city would most likely be Washington, D.C.
But now let’s turn to basketball.

Luckily for him, Steve Barr played basketball in high school and playing hoops is still one of his main hobbies. He’s read The Last Season, a book by Laker Coach Phil Jackson, at least twice. Barr says, "Basketball is the perfect metaphor for anything.” This history and outlook sets him up nicely for being accepted by Arne Duncan and President Obama.

Secretary of Education, Call-Me-Arne,” Duncan (see photo caption) is a former private-school attending Chicago native who graduated from Harvard in 1987 with a B.A. in Sociology. He was on the college’s basketball team, and after graduating, played professional basketball in Australia for four years.

After his oversees basketball adventure, Duncan returned to Chicago and was immediately given a job by John Rogers, a longtime friend and former Hyde Park basketball buddy who had also attended the Chicago Lab School. At that point, Rogers had become the CEO of the largest US minority-run mutual fund firm, Ariel Capital Management. Rogers is the son of the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Chicago Law School who then became a prominent Republican lawyer. It was she who nominated Richard Nixon.

So in 1991, Rogers placed Duncan in charge of running the Ariel Education Initiative, a non-profit set up by Rogers' firm to advance "...educational opportunities in economically disadvantaged areas.” It seemed like a good fit for Duncan, after all, he had tutored a lot at his mother’s inner-city after school program when he was a kid, he had an unused bachelor's degree in sociology, and he was Rogers' friend and a basketball player.

The rest is history. In 1998, after running Rogers’ local non-profit for several years, Duncan went to work for Chicago Public Schools, becoming Deputy Chief of Staff for former CEO Paul Vallas. In 2001, he was appointed CEO of Chicago Public Schools by Mayor Daley. At the press conference when Obama announced his appointment of Duncan as U.S. Secretary of Education, Rogers was right there to praise him. Duncan was sure to thank Rogers, his "mentor" and close friend of 35 years.

Basketball happens to be a HUGE part of Rogers’ life. For years he has played in three-on-three tournaments basketball where Arne Duncan has been a regular member of his team. Rogers also recently attended a Michael Jordan basketball fantasy camp where his playing caused quite a stir; he is interviewed here. By the way, an upcoming three day camp in Las Vegas with Jordan is priced at $17,500.

Another of Rogers' regular basketball teammates for many years is Craig Robinson, Michelle Obama’s older brother. Both men attended Princeton and played on the school's basketball team. After graduating from college, Robinson became a wealthy businessman but gave up that work in 1999 to become a college basketball coach.

Knowing Rogers via her brother, Michelle introduced Obama to him when she started dating Obama seriously, around 1990. This would have been about the time Arne Duncan returned to Chicago and was starting to work for Rogers' non-profit, as well as playing basketball with him again. Connections made on the court, rather than on the green.

So now the relationship between Rogers, Robinson, Duncan, and Obama is explained. By the way, Rogers' ex-wife, Desirée Glapion Rogers, is the new White House social secretary. Read more about Obama's basketball life here.

This is a world where basketball means a lot, and where it is believed that important qualifications for a person are borne out on the courts. From The Audacity of Hoops:
But before matters between Barack and Michelle could advance too far, she had a test to administer. Having grown up listening to her father and her brother, a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year at Princeton, insist that a man’s character gets laid bare on the court, she hatched a plan. Craig Robinson rounded up a quorum of friends of varied abilities. “I didn’t want the game to be too intimidating,” he says, because it would’ve been painful to tell Michelle the prospect with the odd name hadn’t made the grade. He needn’t have worried. Obama found that sweet spot between not shooting every time and not always passing to Craig. In campaign appearances Robinson would retell the story with a kicker: “If I could trust him with my sister, you can trust him with your vote.”
It's a cute story, but after figuring things out, it's a little scary to think that this type of thinking may have been a factor in why Arne Duncan was ultimately selected.
So let's not be surprised to imagine that Barr has also passed some sort of basketball-character test. I'd bet 20 bucks that, as of late, he's been heading for the courts to get himself back into shape a bit more.

Teacher Appreciation Day

I guess it's staff appreciation day here in my district because 2 women I have never seen before came into my room unannounced. They were wearing passes, so I figured they were safe, and I didn't stop them.

They stood staring at me for a minute while I finished up a conference with a student. When I finished I asked them what they needed, and they asked me to get my kids silent for 15 seconds. I complied. They then told the kids that I am a valued teacher, and to show that fact they barged into my room to tell me to do something so they could give me a sticker and cheap-ass pen.

If they think a sticker and pen are going to make teachers feel appreciated, they are very wrong. We see it as condescending and belittling. These are the people from where the new ideas are supposed to come from? And they give us stickers and pens? And unannounced to boot!

Pay us more, assholes! And stay out of my room!

Tuesday Cartoon Fun: Happy Gay Children Edition

Then Get Off Your Ass And Do Something About It!

Jim Horn pulls no punches. Here he gently responds to a parent who is concerned (rightly) about her child's KIPP-like school experience.
Dear Anonymous Parents

I received this letter from a parent who wishes to remain anonymous. Below [it] is my response.

On Tue, May 5, 2009 at 9:33 PM, __________ wrote:

Dr. Horn,
Have you seen the study commissioned by our school CEO? Try here. Some of our existing school inventory is being "given" to charter school operators (not clear on the terms, if they rent,etc.) Our newspaper, what's left of it (Baltimore Sun) doesn't seem to care, and the edu-blogger at The Sun is clearly biased toward charters (like Jay Matthews). I enrolled my son at one of the most prominent charters in town (run by a team of hucksters, in my opinion) and rue the day I did. I am opposed now on philosophical grounds, but there doesn't seem to be much organized opposition to the "charter school movement" as they call themselves.

I also recently saw C-Span's Book TV panel featuring the Jay Matthew's book about KIPP with the KIPP CEO in which they constantly talked about how many schools they had and that they were basically unstoppable. I saw your review of that book and am encouraged a few people must be seeing things clearly.

My family's experience with a charter (a KIPP wannabee) was more in line with your interpretation. My son was enrolled at that charter for two years. The CEO wrote letters to the parents asking them to be "faithful". We were lied to, manipulated, even pressured to write supportive letters about the school to get their contract renewed (I declined). These people are professional school jockeys, intent on taking over the Baltimore City Public Schools (I heard the CEO of the charter say just that) How do citizens stand up to that kind of onslaught, especially in a city like Baltimore?

Please don't publish my name on your blog, this is a small town, I have school-age kids and the shadow of the charters is growing! I do have the sense that much of what they do is smoke and mirrors, but I've seen families pushed out of them (I guess mine was...) and it was very upsetting. Maybe that's part of the problem - the people who care have kids that could be hurt by the chaos caused by charters, and people who don't have kids don't have an opinion.


Dear Anonymous Parent,

Thank you for your letter and sharing of the charter news from Baltimore. You are right, of course, that public education is under attack from an anti-democratic band of corporate welfare capitalists comprised of big spending vulture philanthropists and testing corporations, the professional parasites running the social capital investment funds and foundations, corrupt politicians looking to build their own political capital, and, finally, parents like you whose unfortunate cowardice makes you complicit and victim at the same time. Most of all, you are victim of your own excuses about trying to protect your children as a legitimate reason for not getting involved in the battle to make your child's education better.

When I hear the fear expressed in letters like yours, I always think back to the black parents in the the 1950s and 1960s who wanted to protect their children, too. They wanted to protect them from a second-rate education, second-class citizenship, third-rate jobs, and first-rate patronizing bigotry. In order to protect those children's futures, however, they had to make the conscious choice to send them through the throngs of ugly, screaming white racists carry clubs and guns, only to be turned away from white schoolhouse doors.

In case you've forgotten or have never been taught (history has never been on the Test), President Eisenhower called out the 101st Airborne Division in defiance of Gov. Faubus of Arkansas, who had activated the National Guard to make sure the black children of Little Rock would not be allowed to go to school with whites. Still, parents sent their children, tip-toeing through broken glass and absorbing the insults of wild-eyed haters. And for the first year after integration of Little Rock High, the black children who had the courage and whose parents had the courage to demand better, absorbed the hatred of peers as individual children had their own individual 101st Airborne guard to go with them to classes. These were parents interested in their own children's futures, and the children of the generations to come.

So please don't tell me about your fear for your child. You are simply caught up in the pandemic of cowardice that has made sheeple of the American electorate, sheeple who refuse to stand out from the crowd or to move off the path of least resistance. And in supporting the pillaging of public schools by the corporate goons, you have turned your back on those who made the sacrifice 40 and 50 years ago, just as you have turned your back on your own children's future that you would, otherwise, protect.

Get off your ass and get involved if you really care about your children. When parents (voters) like you band together and demand something better than the cheap, segregated charter chain gangs and KIPP knockoffs, the conversation in Washington and in Baltimore will change very quickly. But not until then.

You and other parents have the power to change schools. Your children are their only customers.

Jim Horn


The NAEP Mystifies Spellings

Another failed Spellings test: People love to misstate about public schools. Consider Margaret Spellings’ op-ed column in this morning’s Post.

Spellings, Bush’s education secretary, was waxing about her own genius again. This is a miserable passage:
SPELLINGS (5/4/09): It's no accident that the United States has had nine straight years of increasing scores for elementary school students. In the decades before No Child Left Behind was signed into law in 2002 and the state reforms that led to it, taxpayers spent hundreds of billions of dollars on education and hoped for the best. Since No Child Left Behind, we have expected results. The law required that every student in grades three through eight be assessed annually in reading and math, that those results be disaggregated and that the information be provided to educators and parents. And that is exactly the age group for which we are seeing results. Consider: In the 10 years since 1999, reading scores for 9-year-olds have risen eight points; in the nearly three decades before that, scores rose only four points. In the past 10 years, math scores have increased 11 points, while in the nearly three decades prior, scores rose only 13 points.
For the record, it’s clear that Spellings is referring, in all particulars, to scores from “long-term trend” assessment conducted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (the NAEP). For the reading scores in question, click here, then click ahead to page 9. For the math scores in question, click down to page 29.

Those are the score to which Spellings refers. But good God. The passage above is just awful.

For starters, Spellings claims “nine straight years of increasing scores for elementary school students.” Scores have gone up in the period in question, but uh-oh! The NAEP doesn’t test every year! In its long-term trend assessment, the NAEP tested 9-year-olds (and 13-year-olds; and 17-year-olds) in 1999, 2004 and 2008. There is thus no way to know if scores increased for “nine straight years.” In six of the nine years in question, no scores existed.

Spellings’ ineptitude spirals from there. Minor point: Few people will know what she means when she says that No Child Left Behind requires that test results “be disaggregated.” (Does the Post have editors?) But consider the problem with the way she describes the past decade’s score gains:

She starts by saying that we have expected results like this “since No Child Left Behind.” Immediately, she starts citing test results which predate the famous program! No Child Left Behind was signed into law in January 2002. It thus had no effect on the school year ending in June 2002, or on those which preceded it; its requirements were implemented somewhat gradually over the next year or two. Despite these obvious facts, Spellings seems to give the law credit for changes in test scores dating back to the 1998-1999 school year. Among 9-year-olds, scores bumped way up in the period between 1999 and 2004, substantially more than in the period from 2004 to 2008. Presumably, No Child Left Behind would have had relatively little effect on scores in that first five-year period. But Spellings attributes all the gains in the period since 1999 to the effects of No Child Left Behind. And of course, her Post editor lets her. (We’ll guess about motive tomorrow.)

But then, Spellings has always been good at one main thing: Inflating the greatness of her own program. Her technical skills almost always seem weak. Let’s consider another problem with her analysis of these data: Unless we’re mistaken, Spellings is actually understating the progress made by 9-years-olds from 1999 to 2008. As we’ve noted, a change in procedures created a bit of statistical complexity during this period. (This involves the inclusion of more kids who have disabilities or who are “English language learners.”) We’ll defer to those who may understand this program’s reporting regime better than we do. But if we’re not mistaken, Spellings understates when she says that 9-year-olds bumped up eight points in reading during this period. If we’re right, the greatness she grants herself in one way she takes away here, in another.

These NAEP data are very important. Spellings’ account of the data is clownish. Clearly, significant progress was recorded by 9-year-olds from 1999 to 2008—but this progress almost surely started before No Child Left Behind took effect. Indeed, it looks to us like the progress may have been a bit more pronounced before Spellings’ law took effect. But testing doesn’t occur every year. For that reason, it’s very hard to nail down claims like this using these limited data.

Spellings plays a lot of games in this piece, making things look very bright. But then, Obama played puzzling games last month, painting the opposite picture (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/11/09). People love to misstate about public schools. Question: Does anyone think this topic deserves to be reported with care?
h/t The Daily Howler

Monday Cartoon Fun: What He Meant Was... Edition


British Teachers Boycott Testing

94 Percent of British Teachers Vote to Boycott Testing Next Year

It's official and not close. Thank God for the moral courage of these teachers to act on their convictions. The boycott is happening unless British officials agree to entirely new assessments.

Will the NEA and AFT suits notice, or are their swollen heads too far up their arses to have any hope of extraction? From The Telegraph:
Head teachers have voted overwhelmingly to back a boycott of national tests for seven and 11 year olds, rounding off one of Labour's worst weeks in office.

The move is a personal blow to Ed Balls, the children's secretary, whose speech to the National Association of Head Teachers annual conference just before the vote failed to placate school heads who want to see "an end to the tyranny of annual testing".

A joint boycott by heads and classroom teachers could spell the end of Sats, taken by about 1.2 million primary schoolchildren every year.

Despite warnings from the Government that the action would be "unlawful" and urging from Mr Balls to "act responsibly", 94 per cent of delegates at the conference in Brighton voted to support a ballot of members for the disruption of next year's tests.

Heads believe the papers in English, maths and science have narrowed the curriculum and damaged teaching and learning.

Sue Sayles, a past president of the Association, said: "It is our moral duty to show Ed that we have balls."

Steve Iredale, a primary head teacher from Barnsley, who proposed the motion condemned the ritual of annual testing and the use of flawed data to judge schools and heads.

"It is a mechanistic education system which reduces children's learning to numerical nonsense," he said. . .

Professional Development And Me

"To be agreeable in society, you must consent to be taught many things which you already know." — Talleyrand

The Origins Of Pooh

En route to a training camp in Quebec during World War I, Canadian army lieutenant Harry Colebourn bought a bear cub for $20 from a hunter in White River, Ontario.

He named her Winnipeg, after his hometown, and smuggled her to England, where "Winnie" became the mascot of his militia regiment.

Eventually he donated her to the London Zoo, where she became a great favorite of Christopher Robin Milne, the son of a local playwright.

You know the rest.
h/t Futility Closet

Sunday Cartoon Bonus Fun: Wouldn't It Be Nice Edition

Sunday Cartoon Fun: Smooth Move, Morons Edition

Total Pageviews