This fall, Denver Public Schools will introduce the Mile High Parent Campaign, which encourages moms and dads to devote 5,280 minutes a year to their children's educations. Cities situated at lower elevations are advised not to emulate the plan.

In other news from my hometown, ProComp, widely touted as the nation's model merit pay plan, is provoking some nasty skirmishes between district and union leaders.

Critics of NYC schools chancellor Joel Klein (of which there is at least one important one in this office) and/or Al Sharpton (ditto) may not like reports that the duo is taking its Education Equality Project on the road. Ed reform's new odd couple recently met with Obama staffers in Chicago, and word is that McCain may officially sign onto the project today when he talks education at the NAACP convention in Cincinnati.

John McCain is supposed to take the stage in 40 minutes at the NAACP convention in Cincinnati. Not only is he going to talk about education as Liam and Coby have mentioned, but he's going to follow Clint Bolick's advice and speak strongly in support of school choice. The Associated Press reports,

In excerpts released ahead of his speech, McCain says that the worst educational problems in the country are often found in schools in black communities and that he will provide greater school choices and scholarships for such students.

Details to follow.

"We Need Someone Like Michelle Rhee" proclaims an editorial headline in the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo . Apparently, the D.C. Chancellor of Schools is playing an inspirational role in the upcoming election for Seoul's superintendent of education. Particularly noteworthy: her innovative merit pay scheme, her consolidation of schools, her shake up of school leaders, and, of course, rising test scores.

While the editorial does not support one candidate in particular, it does take the time to speak out against the candidate on the "leftwing" (their word, not mine) Korean Teachers and Education Workers' Union ticket. Specifically, this candidate argues against school choice and publishing academic achievement levels. The editors explain:

But in order to save our schools from being carried away by efforts to make all schools uniform and face lowered education standards in the process, we must let students and parents choose which high schools they want to attend and promote competition among teachers by letting everyone know which schools excel and which lag behind.


Chosun Ilbo covered Rhee's reforms in more depth yesterday ....

A??new "quick review" out of the What Works Clearinghouse finds that Teach for America teachers

improved student performance on standardized end-of-course tests in math and science-by about one-tenth of a standard deviation. This is equivalent to moving a student from the 50th to the 54th percentile.??

Simply put, more good news for the program. Find the WWC caveats and the review, based on a 2007 CALDER study, here.

Liam Julian

He's supposed to get into the details when he speaks to the NAACP tomorrow, but John McCain didn't leave education out of his speech to the National Council of La Raza yesterday. From the Los Angeles Times :

Calling education "the civil rights issue of our time," McCain noted that half of Latinos entering high school did not graduate, and praised La Raza for its work in helping establish 100 charter schools. "In the global economy," he said, "what you learn is what you earn."

Clint Bolick writes in the Wall Street Journal that McCain should make his, McCain's,??support of educational choice more of an issue.

Gadfly Studios

Just days after Fordham Institute president Checker Finn wrote in the Education Gadfly that "nobody I know under 30 much bothers either with newspapers or radio/TV news," evidence of intelligent, newsprint-scouring life under 30 has been documented (below) in his own offices. In an amazing coincidence, the young blonde woman in the video, whose cherubic features leave no doubt as to her post-disco birth date, is believed to be an employee of Dr. Finn's organization.

The Washington Post reports that Maryland has shown huge gains in test scores, particularly among disadvantaged students, though the usual doubts about dumbing-down abound. Fordham's own study of state test cut-scores suggests such skepticism is warranted.

According to the Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama has announced a revolution in higher education: It's going to make sure that fake for-profit institutions of higher ed are no longer skipping town with students' tuition money. Apparently, an overwhelmed Department of Postsecondary Education has been unable to adequately regulate private colleges in the state, allowing phony schools to set up shop in the great state of the Southern Longleaf Pine and sell degrees willy-nilly. The new safeguards are overwhelmingly brilliant:

Proving that they're not diploma mills will mean doing things they've never had to do before such as producing audited financial statements, federal and state tax returns, requiring owners to have good reputations and adopting a definition of academic fraud.

However did they think of all these great ideas? To Alabama's credit, the Associated Press gives a slightly clearer (and less guffaw-inducing) take on the situation. And perhaps we should give the poor Department of Postsecondary Education a break since, according to the Montgomery Advertiser, it has only a "two and a half-person staff."

...What is a half-person?...

Liam Julian

On steamy summer days such as this one, when the education news is reduced to a trickle, one must seek other sources by which to slake his eduthirst. The Harvard Educational Review arrived last week in the mail, and today I decided to read it.

My first selection was "The New Outspoken Atheism and Education" by Nel Noddings, who Wikipedia tells me "is an American feminist, educationalist, and philosopher best known for her work in philosophy of education, educational theory, and ethics of care." Undaunted by this description, I forge ahead, letting the beneficence of doubt be my guide, and run smack into this first sentence: "We live in an age of great contradictions."

That is true, insofar as it has been true of every "age" in which humankind has lived. But why the compulsion to note such a self-evident thing at the start of an essay that ostensibly hopes to address the topics of atheism and education?

I further forge and encounter, beyond the dubious introductory line, what is meant to be evidence bolstering it. "On the one hand," Noddings tells us (and you can bet there's an other hand where that one came from), "religion...