Flypaper

Liam Julian

We at Flypaper??like Alexander Russo. He's a shameless, quirky guy who writes for a blog of much the same temperament. One of his particular quirks, for example, is his insistence that he is an "education reporter" who "covers" news. (I may occasionally wear a red hat and carry bottled water, but this does not a fireman make me.)??And so??Russo takes umbrage today that we at Flypaper did not mention him when we ostensibly wrote "about something [he] covered." That "something"--the "something" that Russo "covered"--is??a recent New York Times Magazine piece about class-based integration.

Several things. First, Russo is not the only person who receives on Sundays the New York Times at his doorstep. This weekly ritual is in fact part of the lives of millions of Americans, and millions of Americans were no doubt aware that the Magazine had in it last week an article about class-based integration. (Russo, it should be noted, is also not the only person to be aware of The New Yorker or Senator Barack Obama. Nor can he call "dibs" on the Iraq War; people know about it.) Second, Russo...

Liam Julian

If any district is thinking about setting up a career and technical education program for aspiring bike messengers, it should think again. The internet is apparently killing that occupation. Books; bike messengers; youthful, inquiring minds.... What isn't the internet killing? Outdated public schools, for one. Or isn't it?

That's the impression I get from reading Karin Chenoweth's post about Fordham's high-achieving students study. First she spins our findings in as positive a light as possible (after all, No Child Left Behind was Ed Trust's baby, and this spin fits its preferred "narrative"):

While the highest performing students in the county are making steady gains, the lowest performing students are improving even faster in math and early reading. This, even though most teachers say that the amount of attention that high-performing students receive in school has stayed the same or increased.... Loveless's analysis indicates that we may have finally figured out some things about how to ensure that students who struggle master the basics of reading and math while pushing up the performance of those who easily master the basics. He provides some deeply disturbing findings about eighth-grade reading, which I'll get to in a minute, but fourth- and eighth-grade math and fourth-grade reading show gains at both the top and bottom of the achievement scale, with the bottom showing the most gains.

Then she gets snarky:

You would think these findings would be cause for major celebration and some well-deserved thanks to elementary

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Liam Julian

Does the??penchant of universities??for outsized emphasis??on production of new research create professors who shirk??one of their primary duties, namely??to teach undergraduates? I think so.

Here's what the economists think.

When I wrote in the Education Gadfly a few weeks ago that "in times of budget crunch, school boards are tempted to consider extra-curriculars as, well, extras, frills even," I wasn't making it up.

Liam Julian

Over here, over there, those "right-wing thinktank[s]" are always so spot on. How do they do it? From The Guardian:

High-flying graduates should be encouraged to dip into teaching rather than commit to the profession for life, a right-wing thinktank has argued.

The Policy Exchange says would-be teachers should be given more opportunities to train on-the-job only, rather than on lengthy teacher training courses.

It also recommends schools opt out of national pay rules in England and lure the best teachers by offering them more money.

The report (pdf) is here.

The New York Times "Education Life" supplement asks that question of America's colleges and charter schools. But why not ask it of education policy think tanks? No doubt, Fordham would win that contest by a mile.

httpv://youtube.com/watch?v=loZjzAwHDaQ

Liam Julian

You've waited all year....

Update: I cannot believe the University of Florida took the top party spot, with FSU??crossing the finish line??in??lowly tenth place. Who does Princeton Review have??running this harebrained outfit???Oh... and Stanford offers, like, the best classroom experience or something.

From the Associated Press's description, it's hard to believe that the "paragon of taxpayer-funded cradle-to-grave welfare" would have supported a school choice program 16 years ago, and have seen it be so successful. But believe it we must--and embarrassed we should be.

There are differences, of course, between the Swedish system and the American one, most notably that private or "independent" schools in Sweden really are free since all schools are state-funded, whether they are run by the state or a private company. And there are some problems, of course, such as the offer of laptops and iPods as incentives--a practice we have mixed feelings about. We know it's not a perfect solution. But that's not the point. The point is that even the L??rarf??rbundet teachers' union is on board, reports the BBC. The union.

Maybe our own unions can take a page out of Sweden's book. It's not a matter of politics anymore, it's a matter of good policy that works....

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