Friday, September 3, 2010

Schools Matter: Yong Zhao on Arne

Schools Matter: Yong Zhao on Arne

Yong Zhao on Arne

From Zhao's blog:
Master of Myth: What Arne Duncan Says and Does
3 SEPTEMBER 2010

The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.

—John F. Kennedy


U.S. Secretary of Education has been called the most powerful education secretary in history.

Evergreen district kindergarten classes go all day, every day | OregonLive.com

Evergreen district kindergarten classes go all day, every day | OregonLive.com

Evergreen district kindergarten classes go all day, every day

Published: Friday, September 03, 2010, 3:00 PM
kindergartners.JPGBrenda Parker welcomes her kindergarten students to their first day of school at Orchards Elementary School in Vancouver and begins teaching her students how to raise their hand when they have something to say. Kindergarten students will be in class from 9:15 a.m. to 3:35 p.m. like the other students.
Lois Hinkley started teaching kindergarten so she could work half days, giving her more time to spend with her daughter.

Two years later, she found herself working full days again -- still teaching kindergarten, but in one of the first classes in a state-funded, full-time kindergarten program.

The difference, Hinkley said, was marked. While she might have expected children in half-day classes to write two or three sentences on a given subject, the full-time students could write a page or more.

"You really notice it right away," she said. "When you see them in October, you think, 'Wow, this is where they usually are in January.'"

The experience at Orchards Elementary School in northeast Vancouver, where Hinkley taught, and two others in Evergreen Public Schools persuaded the district to switch from half-time kindergarten to all-day, every-day classes this fall at all of its 21 elementary schools.

Kindergartners' first day of school Wednesday was Evergreen's first for full-time across the

City schools to act as pilot sites for new national standard tests | GothamSchools

City schools to act as pilot sites for new national standard tests | GothamSchools

City schools to act as pilot sites for new national standard tests

Students at 100 New York City schools will be among the first to take early versions of the new standardized tests being built with federal dollars.

The schools will test early versions of new 3-11 grade exams that a consortium of 26 states — New York included — is creating. The same schools will get extra funding this year to pilot the new common core standards in their classrooms.

Because New York is a “governing state” in the consortium, its education officials have already agreed to begin using the new tests by the 2014 school year. It also means that New York officials, including city Deputy

Nebraska Gov. Attacks Health Care Reform in the Name of Education - State EdWatch - Education Week

Nebraska Gov. Attacks Health Care Reform in the Name of Education - State EdWatch - Education Week

Nebraska Gov. Attacks Health Care Reform in the Name of Education

You might wonder what this year's federal health care overhaul has to do with schools in the state of Nebraska.

The state's governor, Dave Heineman, sees a connection.

Last week, the Republican governor took the unusual step of writing a pair of letters to education leaders in the state arguing that additional Medicaid costs coming to Nebraska as a result of the federal health care law would likely lead to reductions in the amount of money the state spends on schools. He urged them to support a repeal of the new federal health care law.

"If you sit silently by, I am going to assume that your lack of action is tacit support for increased Medicaid

VETERANS CALL ON OBAMA TO FIRE ALAN SIMPSON FOR DEFAMING THOSE WHO SERVED AMERICA VoteVets.org | News

VoteVets.org | News

VETERANS CALL ON OBAMA TO FIRE ALAN SIMPSON
FOR DEFAMING THOSE WHO SERVED AMERICA

Washington DC - The nation's largest progressive veterans organization, VoteVets.org, is calling on President Obama to relieve former Senator Alan Simpson from his chairmanship of a deficit reduction commission for defamatory comments about veterans.

In a letter to the President, Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran and Chairman of VoteVets.org, wrote, "On Tuesday, Senator Simpson actually put veteran's benefits on the chopping block... blaming disabled veterans for the country's fiscal situation. And for us, that is the final straw." The full text of the letter is below.

On Tuesday, in regards to the cost of treatment of veterans exposed to Agent Orange, and now suffering ill-health effects, Simpson said, "The irony (is) that the veterans who saved this country are now, in a way, not helping us to save the country in this fiscal mess."

His comments came on the heels of outrageous comments about seniors and others on Social Security, as well as women. The veterans pointed to those comments as well, but wrote that Simpson's attacks on ill veterans compelled them to write. They said firing Simpson was a matter of honoring our veterans.

"President Obama, this week you called for all Americans to honor and thank our troops," Soltz wrote. "I know you agree that honoring our troops can't just be lip service. And the best way to honor those who serve our country is to make sure that we take care of them once they return home."

"We ask that you remove [Simpson] from his current position so that the commission can continue its work in a way that will give the military community--and all Americans--confidence in the conclusions it reaches," the letter concludes.

VoteVets.org is a pro-military organization of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, dedicated to the destruction of terror networks around the world, with force when necessary. It primarily focuses on education and advocacy on issues of importance to the troops and veterans, and holding politicians accountable for their actions on these issues.

DFER Endorsements in NY � DFER Watch

DFER Endorsements in NY � DFER Watch

DFER Endorsements in NY

Via the NY Daily News: Democrats for Education Reform endorsed Senator Daniel Squadron for the 25th Senate District; Basil Smikle, Jr. for the 30th Senate District; Mark Levine for the 31st Senate District; Senator Ruben Diaz for the 32nd Senate District; and Senator William Stachowski for the 58th Senate District. For the New York State … Read more

From the comments: excessed teachers respond to city criticism | GothamSchools

From the comments: excessed teachers respond to city criticism | GothamSchools

From the comments: excessed teachers respond to city criticism

With the school year about to begin, Department of Education officials are highlighting the fact that many of the city’s out-of-work teachers haven’t tried to find new jobs.

The common response from excessed teachers is that they have made an effort, but it hasn’t paid off — they aren’t finding work. Some report that the city’s website makes it difficult to apply for open positions.

Two readers, both in the pool of teachers who’ve been excessed and haven’t found new work, commented saying that they can’t see job vacancies because the department’s website doesn’t recognize them as excessed

$830 million for Texas schools caught in political stalemate | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News

$830 million for Texas schools caught in political stalemate | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News

$830 million for Texas schools caught in political stalemate

03:21 PM CDT on Friday, September 3, 2010

By KAREL HOLLOWAY / The Dallas Morning News
kholloway@dallasnews.com

Texas schools are unlikely to receive an extra $830 million in federal funding this year because of a political stalemate between Rick Perryand a Democratic congressman who wants the governor to limit what the money can be used for.

In a letter to school administrators Thursday, Perry said the state will apply for the money. If the application is turned down, as expected, the governor said he would ask the Obama administration to set the money aside so the Legislature can consider making the necessary assurances when it convenes in January.

The application deadline is Sept. 9.

The Ohio Education Association and Its Goose | Intercepts

The Ohio Education Association and Its Goose | Intercepts

The Ohio Education Association and Its Goose

The executives of the Ohio Education Association sent a memo informing local presidents that if the union gave in to striking staffers’ demands, it would require an $80 to $90 dues increase per member. Such an increase would raise roughly $10 million. That sounded familiar to me, so I checked the archives and found this, in theMay 8, 2000 EIA Communiqué:

Ohio Education Association in Severe Financial Straits. The last time the Ohio Education Association negotiated a staff contract, in September 1997, it resulted in a two-week strike, restraining orders against picketers, and a lot of bad publicity. That contract expires this year and it’s bad financial news all around for OEA, its members, and the staff. OEA recently informed its

Labor Day 2010 TV Spot

Houston Charter Sends 100 Percent of Grads to Four-Year Colleges - US News and World Report

Houston Charter Sends 100 Percent of Grads to Four-Year Colleges - US News and World Report

Houston Charter Sends 100 Percent of Grads to Four-Year Colleges

Posted September 3, 2010

When Hurricane Ike struck Houston in September 2008, it dropped another hurdle in Samantha Marquez's path to college. Her mother lost her job at a storm-shuttered business, forcing Marquez to get a part-time job at Chuck E. Cheese's to help the family's finances. "We had to use the money we had been saving for college for just starting over," she says.

BRANDON THIBODEAUX--MJR FOR USN&WR
Hard times didn't stop YES Prep grad Samantha Marquez.

The late hours at the pizza parlor ate away at her time to study for the three Advanced Placement courses she was taking at YES Prep, an innovative Houston free public charter school that requires students to attend longer school days (7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), take some Saturday classes, and do community service. Marquez could have gone to a less demanding school, but YES Prep's track record made it worth the sweat. In the past 10 years, 100 percent of its graduates have been accepted to four-year colleges. Marquez was not about to break that track record. "I'm going to college," says the freshman at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. "A lot of my other friends can't say that."

[Read about top high schools with vast minority populations.]

The success rate would be remarkable for any public high school, but the composition of YES's student

'The system has failed them:' Portland schools fail to catch, help struggling readers | OregonLive.com

'The system has failed them:' Portland schools fail to catch, help struggling readers | OregonLive.com

'The system has failed them:' Portland schools fail to catch, help struggling readers

Published: Friday, September 03, 2010, 10:36 AM Updated: Friday, September 03, 2010, 11:26 AM
charlene.jpgView full sizeRoosevelt High Principal Charlene Williams, greeting students, parents and faculty members at registration this week, is upbeat that her school's new system for tracking and improving reading skills, unique among Portland high schools, will pay off this year.
This week's progress report on the class of 2012, tracking how close students are to passing the state's first high school graduation test, revealed that one-third of Portland high school students can't read well enough.

For Portland Public Schools, accustomed to matching or beating state averages, the report was a black eye: Portland high schools trail the state in reading by a wide margin.

Worse yet: Most of the metro-area high schools with the worst passing rates are in Portland, includingBenson, Madison and Jefferson. Roosevelt High was dead last in the state.

testpie.jpgView full size
The ugly results helped expose a problem that district officials say they were already trying to fix: Portland Public Schools has no systematic way to pinpoint students' reading problems, let alone a comprehensive approach to fix them.

"Right now, we aren't very good at detecting which kids need help and

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