Flypaper

That's what Mona Charen argues in this National Review Online piece,* using No Child Left Behind as Exhibit A. Much to his dismay, they don't seem to love him back.

* Shameless plug alert: She mentions Fordham's recent high-achieving students study, too.

The slugfest between Checker, Diane Ravitch, and Randi Weingarten that ran in yesterday's Gadfly is the subject of an item in today's New York Sun.

Virtual classes may be morphing into entire virtual schools. What is lost and what is gained? How will virtual education change how we define the school experience? The debate rages today in the pages of the Washington Post and Teacher Magazine.

Liam Julian

Dumbed-down and becoming more so?

Liam Julian

Some are pushing for the government to apply Title IX to science education. John Tierney wrote on Tuesday an article about this; he??offers more on his blog.

You'll find sweeping assertions of discrimination in academia against female scientists if you read the executive summary of the National Academy of Sciences' 2006 report, which was issued by a committee led by Donna Shalala. But if you look in the report for evidence of bias, you find studies showing that female graduate students in general (and those without children in particular) are as likely as men to finish their studies, and that they're as likely to have mentors and assistantship support.

Liam Julian

The American Scholar notes, "Our best universities have forgotten that the reason they exist is to make minds, not careers."

Liam Julian

Wow! What a Gadfly!

Diane Ravitch takes issue with Checker's criticisms of the "Broader, Bolder" stuff; Checker responds; AFT President Randi Weingarten writes about why Checker is wrong to believe that schools cannot offer social services and top-flight academics; and Checker, once again, responds. You won't want to miss this!

This front-page Wall Street Journal article reports on the financial woes of the states, which are in the midst of a budget crunch due to the ailing economy and falling tax revenue. No doubt that means budget cuts ahead for public schools, at least in some states and some districts.

If recent history is any guide, though, this pain will be short-lived. When good times are here again, school spending will see a healthy rise, outpacing inflation by a significant measure. But will recent history be a guide?

As I mentioned in last week's Gadfly editorial , over the long-term at least, it seems unlikely that school spending can continue its fast clip forever. Everyone knows that the Baby Boomers are about to retire en masse, putting a huge strain on public resources. Meanwhile, the percentage of households with school-age children is dropping precipitously, down to about one in four today. That means that advocates for increased school spending will have to convince people with no direct stake in the schools to keep opening their wallets, even while they're getting hit with the social security and health care bills of the...

Liam Julian

The Washington Teachers' Union president tells it like it is (on The NewsHour):

JOHN MERROW: Rhee is hoping to tie teacher pay to student achievement. Because teacher union membership is declining, Rhee may have an edge in negotiations.

GEORGE PARKER: The charter school enrollment is increasing. Public school enrollment is decreasing. We are now a competitive school district where student achievement may very well determine our existence.

JOHN MERROW: More than a quarter of D.C.'s school-age children now attend public charter schools, where teachers do not have to belong to the union.

GEORGE PARKER: Normally, unions have not had to contend with any sense of accountability or responsibility for student achievement, and our existence and survival has not depended upon that.

JOHN MERROW: Why hasn't student achievement been a bread-and-butter issue for teacher unions all along?

GEORGE PARKER: I think that there has been a union paradigm of union and management of, "This is your turf. This is our turf."

...

Leaving aside the other problems he has with this week's Gadfly, commenter John Rim is exasperated by Checker's use of the word "kids" to describe America's school-going population:

You are in an elite group, together with Checker cabs and Chubby Checker.

You are also in another elite, those who prefer the word "kids" to students, pupils and the like. I counted four mentions of kids. Two in the same sentence.

Students ? No mention. Pupils ? No mention.

Do kids happen when goats mate?

"Kids" is more apt to be used when writing about poverty, disabilities--even tobacco smoking. ( Tobacco Kids )

Condescension, loud and clear.

Ignorant as I was of the symbolic significance of Checker cabs and Chubby Checker, perhaps my views on diction shouldn't be trusted, but I myself never hesitate to write "kids," especially when I've used up all the available synonyms, a point one arrives at frequently when writing about education policy. Nor, a quick scan reveals, do reporters for major newspapers:

When high concentrations of poor kids went to school together, Coleman reported,

...

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