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The Education Gadfly

(Left to right): Fordham staffers in costume: Alice takes a peek through the Looking Glass, Sleeping Beauty catches some Zs, Snow White hums to the birds, Concert Goer #1 chills and a Wake Forest track star stretches.

Following the national trend set by 10-year-olds, some women of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute are opting for modest and traditional Disney princess costumes this year and staying away from -- what shall we call them? -- decidedly more revealing outfits. An expected $5.8 million is to be spent on Halloween this year, up a half-billion dollars from 2007, and this money is being spent on more fabric and less-revealing costumes. As Erica Noonan of The Boston Globe points out, ???An era when Halloween costume shopping for girls could be confused with exploring a Victoria's secret lingerie trunk may be fading??? as more consumers opt for ???bumblebees, ladybugs and superheroes.??? We are all disappointed that Mike did not dress up as the Gadfly.

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Guest Blogger

Fall Intern Molly Kennedy offers up this reading:

With 25,000 students enrolled in charter schools and an additional 21,000 on waiting lists, charter schools in Boston are putting the burn on public schools .?? As a result, public school officials are seeking a change in funding practices, arguing that the cost of sending their pupils to charter schools is a burden. Some say the districts should learn a lesson about competitiveness; others wonder why the public should be supporting students outside the regular public school system. School superintendents are supporting bills to be filed in January that are designed "to change the charter school funding formula and make it rely less heavily on regular school districts."?? Read more here .

The Education Gadfly

The National Education Association headquarters in Washington, D.C.

So says Jay Mathews in his Washington Post column today--at least when it comes to education policy.

If you like the education policies (JUST the education policies) of the current president, you will like the education policies of his successor, no matter which man is chosen. If you don't, you won't.

How can that be? Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) seem to be very different people, with contrasting views of President Bush. But if you examine carefully what they say they want to do about schools, it is just more of the same.

Mathews rightly points out that surrogates to the candidates chat about a lot of the same ideas, from charter schools to non-traditional routes to the classroom to accountability. And both candidates have been careful to avoid talk of ???scrapping??? No Child Left Behind. And he's not the first to notice that there's a ???Washington Consensus??? in education that's long-standing and hard...

Guest Blogger

Fall Intern Molly Kennedy offers up this reading:

In New York City the programs for gifted children have been in the middle of a tug-of-war between multiple parties, with critics labeling them ???bastions of white privilege??? but proponents seeing them as a reason to stay in the city's public school system. This year, the number of children entering these programs has dropped by half -- despite Mayor Bloomber's 2005 State of the City promise to ???maintain all of the city's existing gifted programs while creating more in ???historically underserved districts.'" Read more here. ...

Ted Mitchell and Jonathan Schorr of the NewSchools Venture Fund take to the pages of Education Week to praise Sara Mead's and Andy Rotherham's new blueprint for promoting education innovation via the federal government. Now, I could lambaste Ted and Jon* for holding the same utopian views as Sara and Andy when it comes to Uncle Sam's ability to do right in education. But I'm just not in the mood today. Instead, let us celebrate the fact that Democrats are debating how to improve U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement , not how to eliminate it. Because when we created our little office six years ago, we worried a lot about whether another Administration would eventually try to kill it. If Team Obama wants to make it better, I'm ready to declare victory!

* But I can't help but make the ???Petrilli argument ??? one more time, with respect to the ???political futility??? of trying to harpoon the Historic Whaling Program . Don't get me wrong, this initiative is a boondoggle, through and through. (???Whales: The...

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