Wednesday, September 1, 2010

N.J. Governor 'Defamed' Me, Ex-Commissioner Says - State EdWatch - Education Week

N.J. Governor 'Defamed' Me, Ex-Commissioner Says - State EdWatch - Education Week

N.J. Governor 'Defamed' Me, Ex-Commissioner Says

Former New Jersey education commissioner Bret Schundler says Gov. Chris Christie "defamed" him in criticizing his role in the state's Race to the Top application.

Christie fired Schundler last week after he said the former schools chief misled him about the state's application in the federal competition. That application included a critical error that cost the state 5 points—and potentially, a $400 million award.

The governor originally said that Schundler had provided federal reviewers with the correct information during an


Education Funding Bills Passed - Year 2010 (CA Dept of Education)

Education Funding Bills Passed - Year 2010 (CA Dept of Education)

State Schools Chief Jack O'Connell Urges
Governor to Quickly Sign Two Education Funding Bills

SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell today thanked the state Legislature for passing Senate Bill (SB) 847, coauthored by Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez; Assembly Bill (AB) 185, authored by Assembly member Joan Buchanan, and urged Governor Schwarzenegger to quickly sign both measures so urgently needed federal stimulus funds can be disbursed to California schools.

"I want to thank the state Legislature for taking action to approve measures that will allow the California Department of Education to send these federal funds to local school districts," said O'Connell. "I urge the Governor to quickly sign these measures into law. Once enacted, the Department will disburse these urgently needed funds to our schools as quickly as possible."

Both measures would take effect immediately once signed by the Governor.

"I also want to thank President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Congress for acting promptly to send these funds to states that are deeply impacted by the national economic crisis," added O'Connell.

AB 185 provides the California Department of Education (CDE) with the authority to distribute nearly $904 million from two federal programs:

  • $416 million is provided for districts that have schools participating in the School Improvement Grant program. The participating schools must implement one of four specified school intervention models to turn around the achievement of their students.
  • $488 million is for Phase II of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund program. About $271 million will be distributed to K–12 schools, with the remaining funds going to institutions for higher education. The K–12 funds will be distributed based on cuts to district revenue limit (general purpose) funding.

SB 847 provides the CDE with the authority to allocate $1.2 billion from the federal Education Jobs Fund to school districts to save 16,500 teaching positions in California. These funds will be distributed based on the state's revenue limit formulas.

For information on the School Improvement Grant, please visit School Improvement Grant (SIG) - Improving Academic Achievement. For information on the federal Education Jobs Fund, please visit Federal Education Jobs Bill Signed Into Law - Year 2010.

Unleashing the Dogs of Data - Living in Dialogue - Education Week Teacher

Unleashing the Dogs of Data - Living in Dialogue - Education Week Teacher

Unleashing the Dogs of Data

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Our educational system is waltzing with a crowd of reformers who have the hubris to think they know a cure to every ill - and the cure always has something to do with test scores. The latest fix focuses on teacher quality, and proposes to improve evaluation by "unleashing the power of data," as Secretary Duncan put it. But a new report was released last week that suggests this data may be unreliable for the jobs it is being asked to do.

Some of the nation's leading education researchers, including Diane Ravitch, Linda Darling-Hammond, Eva Baker and Richard Rothstein, co-authored this report, entitled "Problems with the Use of Student Test Scores to Evaluate

Whitewashing � At the Chalk Face

Whitewashing � At the Chalk Face

Whitewashing

by Chalk Face on August 27, 2010

I read an interesting cover story in the Washington City Paper yesterday aboutdiversity and DCPS. Apparently, DC schools Chancellor Rhee is “marketing” schools to, shall we say, “whiter” families to increase, shall we say again, the attractiveness of DC public schools. Many middle class folks, especially those precocious young professionals, can’t afford to live in the District AND send their kids to private school, so there’s an emerging faith in neighborhood schools, especially in areas that are newly gentrified.

I had a couple of curious thoughts when reading this piece. First, why do they always show Rhee staring ominously into the camera? Check it, it looks like she wants to kick your ass or something.

I always get the impression that they’re playing off her Korean or Asian heritage, that

$50k from Ravenel Curry (Sr.) � DFER Watch

$50k from Ravenel Curry (Sr.) � DFER Watch

$50k from Ravenel Curry (Sr.)

The Ravenel and Elizabeth Curry Foundation made a $50,000 donation to Education Reform Now in 2007. Do keep in mind that Ravenel Curry and Ravenel Boykin Curry are two different people: Ravenel Curry (III) is married to Elizabeth Curry, and Ravenel Boykin Curry (IV) is married to Celerie Curry. The younger half of the father-son [...]

QUICK Hits � The Quick and the Ed

QUICK Hits � The Quick and the Ed

Mississippi universities cut jobs, trim programs - Boston.com

Mississippi universities cut jobs, trim programs - Boston.com

Mississippi universities cut jobs, trim programs

By Shelia Byrd
Associated Press Writer / September 1, 2010
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OXFORD, Miss.—Job cuts, retirements and scaled-back programs are some of the steps Mississippi's eight public universities are taking to deal with tight finances this school year and the next.

It's unclear how such measures might affect what's being offered to students in the classroom.

Mattie Tomes, a 19-year-old from Pascagoula, worries the budget situation could impact the dietetics and nutrition program in which she's enrolled at the University of Mississippi.

"We have to have food labs. In order to do that, we have to buy food. I hope no cuts will affect that," Tomes said between classes Wednesday on the Oxford

Survey finds limited familiarity, success with turnarounds — IDEA

Survey finds limited familiarity, success with turnarounds — IDEA

Survey finds limited familiarity, success with turnarounds

  • 09-01-2010
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Blog by Dakarai Aarons/Education Week

A new survey released today finds that few school districts are familiar with the four federal models for turning around low-performing schools and even fewer have implemented them. More than a third of school districts reported they had no familiarity with the models that are part of the federal School Improvement Grants heading to school districts this fall in a bid by the Obama administration to change the fortunes of the bottom five percent of America's schools, according to the report from the Washington-based Center on Education Policy. And fewer than 12 percent had implemented any of the models in their schools. "This really is a grand experiment to take the 5,000 lowest-performing schools in the country, tell them they have to follow four specific models of reform and putting a lot of money behind the reform," said Jack Jennings, CEP's president, in an interview. (more…)

Small Rural Schools and Teachers Personalize Education – ED.gov Blog

Small Rural Schools and Teachers Personalize Education – ED.gov Blog

Small Rural Schools and Teachers Personalize Education

On Tuesday, Aug. 31, the second day of school at Nute Middle School in rural Milton, NH, first-year teacher Kelley Settelen was exactly where she wanted to be—teaching math in a small school where she could get to know each of her students and their families. Milton School District was able to hire the New Jersey native and offer the small, personalized teaching environment that Settelen was looking for using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Feeling that anonymity is the enemy of student achievement, veteran teacher Sabrina Kirwan moved from a larger urban school to Nute Middle, enrollment less than 200 across grades 6, 7, and 8, for the same opportunity to connect more closely and make a difference in the lives of rural students.

On the final day of the “Courage in the Classroom” bus tour to honor America’s teachers, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his staff visited urban, suburban, and rural schools in the northeast.

The unique strengths of rural school districts were on display at the small three-building campus in Milton, NH that housed the Nute Middle and High Schools, and the community’s public library. The close-knit nature of the community was evident as Dennis Lauze, Nute High School class of 1969, was proudly admiring the new cement steps that students used outside the school. Lauze and other “Friends of Nute High School” replaced the crumbling staircase on the original structure, which dates back to 1890. The community has helped with furniture, books, and other classroom improvements as well.

Milton superintendent Gail Kusher anticipates using federal School Improvement Grant funds to add computers and educational software to math and other classrooms to support student achievement and school turnaround efforts. Nute High School also has outfitted a small room with four computers to connect students with high-quality instruction and coursework online in subjects that would not otherwise be available.

Rural schools often struggle to recruit and retain teachers in communities challenged by poverty and the loss of major industries, such as paper mills in the northeast. However, rural schools have many strengths. They tend to have lower student-to-teacher ratios, making it easier to deliver personalized instruction, and frequently serve as the centers of community life.

John White
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach
U.S. Department of Education

Ex-N.J. education chief Bret Schundler says Gov. Christie 'defamed' him | NJ.com

Ex-N.J. education chief Bret Schundler says Gov. Christie 'defamed' him | NJ.com

Ex-N.J. education chief Bret Schundler says Gov. Christie 'defamed' him

Published: Wednesday, September 01, 2010, 3:09 PM Updated: Wednesday, September 01, 2010, 3:09 PM
schundler.jpgFormer education chief Bret Schundler at his home in Jersey City Friday, Aug. 27, 2010 .

TRENTON — New Jersey's former education commissioner, still stinging from his firing last week, says Gov. Chris Christie has "defamed" him.

Christie fired Bret Schundler last week after the discovery of a mistake on an application that may have cost the state a $400 million federal education grant.

Schundler says he did make the mistake and can accept being fired for that.

But Christie says Schundler was dismissed for not telling the governor the truth about what happened.

In a letter sent to reporters today, Schundler says it was the governor who misled the public.

He writes: "I will not accept being defamed by the governor for something he knows I did not do."

Schundler: Christie Calling Me A Liar Is 'The Last Straw' | TPMMuckraker

Schundler: Christie Calling Me A Liar Is 'The Last Straw' | TPMMuckraker

Schundler: Christie Calling Me A Liar Is 'The Last Straw'

In an e-mail and statement provided to reporters this afternoon, former New Jersey Education Commission Bret Schundler (R) defended himself against charges by Gov. Chris Christie (R) that Schundler deliberately misled the governor over the events leading up to the state's loss of a $400 million grant. Although he would have been able to accept being fired over the error that cost the state money, Schundler said he was unwilling to accept any further character assassination.

"I will not accept being defamed by the Governor for something he knows I did not do," he wrote. "The Governor called me a liar this week. That was the last straw."

In the statement, along with copies of emails provided to TPMmuckraker last night, Schundler says that shortly after New Jersey officials learned they lost out on $400 million in federal education funding last Tuesday, Star-Ledgerreporter Lisa Fleisher e-mailed Gov. Chris Christie's director of communications, Maria Comella. Fleisher wanted to know if New Jersey officials had tried to supply the federal reviewers with information that was missing from their

Courage in the Classroom 2010 - Portland ME

Effects of 'Mutual Consent' on Teacher Turnover, Distribution Probed - Teacher Beat - Education Week

Effects of 'Mutual Consent' on Teacher Turnover, Distribution Probed - Teacher Beat - Education Week

Effects of 'Mutual Consent' on Teacher Turnover, Distribution Probed

Over the long haul, mutual-consent teacher policies don't appear to improve the distribution of inexperienced teachers—or the levels of turnover in high-minority schools.

That's the conclusion of a recent analysis by researchers at the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington.

If you're new to this wonky area of school hiring, mutual consent is a policy in which both the teacher seeking a placement and the receiving school's principal (and sometimes other staff) must agree to the placement. It differs from voluntary transfers or forced placements that are based on seniority.

D.C., Rhode Island; Colorado; Austin, Texas; Chicago; and Milwaukee are some of the places that have either partly or totally done away with forced placements.

One of the perceived benefits of mutual-consent policies, as the New Teacher Project has shown in several

Education Research Report: Middle schools do a worse job than K- 8 schools

Education Research Report: Middle schools do a worse job than K- 8 schools

Middle schools do a worse job than K- 8 schools

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The disparity stems from the toll that changing to a new school takes on adolescents and differences in the sizes of grades

New York City's standalone middle schools do a worse job educating students than schools that offer kindergarten through eighth grade under one roof, according to a new study to be released Wednesday by

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