Looking for a Friday afternoon read? We're here to please. This week's Gadfly features an editorial by Fordham Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Andy Smarick. When and which personal experiences matter, he asks, when it comes to elected officials? The Obama Administration has made much of Sotomayor's, but will she rely on them, specifically her many years at Cardinal Spellman (Catholic) High School in the Bronx, when faced with voucher- and faith-based-schools-related decisions on the bench? Find out why she should here. Next up is a semestral of Recommended Readings on everything from the possible inflation of NYC's math scores and the burgeoning number of portfolio-tested students in VA to the good ideas of Tony Bennett (no, not THAT Tony Bennett, state supt. of Indiana--though he's no less dashing!) and the NY Post's over-active analytical trigger finger on NYC's student-pay plan. You'll also find a trifecta of Short Reviews. Learn more about Carnegie's latest report on math and science, EdWeek's Diploma Counts 2009, and the rotten side of Bloomberg and Klein's Big Apple. Finally, don't miss the podcast, featuring guest co-host Andy...

Alex Klein


" teacher has been implicated in this mess. It's all the principal and assistant principal. Cheating? Yes, and that is an understatement. It's the students who were cheated by the administrators."??--Robert Moseley, DeKalb County, GA, chief deputy superintendent

DeKalb principal at school in CRCT probe resigns


20% :??The percent of time the younger of two teachers spent focusing on one of the 27 children in the class. The older teacher never focused on a single student more than 9% of the time.

Study: Time Changes How Teachesr See Students--Literally

We've shared a bit about our work as a charter school authorizer and education policy and advocacy organization in the Buckeye State.???? Fordham is also active in the Dayton community, supporting projects aimed at improving education in our hometown, something the Fordham Foundation has being doing for decades.???? One such effort is Project KNOTtT, a multi-state transition-to-teaching grant program that recruits high-quality professionals with bachelor's degrees to become teachers in hard-to-staff schools and subjects.???? In Dayton, Project KNOTtT focuses on getting teachers into the city's charter schools (and the need is great: nearly one-third of public school students in Dayton attend a charter school).???? Fordham helps recruit professionals to the program and serves as a liaison between the program staff and the schools (both those we authorize and those we do not).

The program is administered by a terrific team at Ohio State University.???? Following is an excerpt from an OSU newsletter about one of the many success stories to come from the program:

Robert Chenault of Centerville, Ohio, spent the majority of his career in pharmaceutical sales and sales


David Whitman, all-around smart and nice guy and author of Sweating the Small Stuff, a stellar tale of great urban schools (published by Fordham), is joining the US Dept of Education in the communications office. Good to know that a reformer will be helping ED develop and sell the reform message.

Along similar lines, I spent some time this week with one recent ED appointee and another about to come onboard (sorry, can't spill the beans yet). I'm encouraged by this second wave of appointments.

Guest Blogger

Guest post by Fordham Ohio Policy and Research Intern, Rachel Roseberry.

Ohio's Supreme Court ruled yesterday that municipal employees cannot be required to live in the municipality in which they are employed.?? This upholds a 2006 state law that eradicated many residency requirements in cities across the Buckeye State. Yet Ohio forces the vast majority of its children into schools based solely on their ZIP codes by making it tough for new charter schools to open and capping the state's voucher program.?? The state legislature continues to battle over the pending biennial budget, with the House pushing for changes that would further hamper school choice here.?? It is worth reminding lawmakers and the state's powerful teacher unions (whose fire and police counterparts are lauding the court ruling) that Ohio's students, especially the neediest among them, deserve the right to attend the school that best meets their educational needs every bit as much as the state's adults deserve the right to live in the locale of their choosing....

I finally watched??Charlie Wilson's War last night (we have a toddler at home; we're not in the movie-theater stage of our life!). Toward the end, the Philip Seymour Hoffman spook character tells Tom Hanks's Charlie Wilson, "Charlie, you're a hard man not to like." And I have to say, that's how I feel about Arne Duncan too. There he is, day after day, saying the right things, earnestly trying to do good, enthusiastic about the "transformative" possibilities of the federal stimulus package.

Granted,??I'm actually quite skeptical that any of this is going to make our schools better, but that's no reason to root against Duncan. And he surely deserves praise for a couple of provocative statements he made this week.

First, in??a press call that was like manna from heaven for charter school advocates, he said flatly that "States that do not have public charter laws or put artificial caps on the growth of charter schools will jeopardize their applications under the Race to the Top Fund," referring to his $5 billion carrot-qua-kitty. (That??wasn't enough to put a Maine charter school bill...

Amy Fagan

Just in case you weren't aware ??? the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation actually acts as authorizer for six charter schools in Ohio! New Media Manager Laura Pohl and I took a trip out to Ohio last month to meet some of the kids and staff and see the schools. We had a terrific time! Below you'll find photos and a video from our trip, and here's a story written by our Ohio team about one of the schools ??? Columbus Collegiate Academy. Enjoy!

Dayton View Academy students in P.E. class wave to a visitor.

Working on reading skills at Dayton View Academy.

An inspirational wall at KIPP Journey Academy in Columbus.

Math class at Columbus Collegiate Academy.

Columbus Collegiate Academy

Dayton Academy

Dayton Academy


Today's Ohio Gadfly is a must-read. In Capital Matters, Checker, Terry, and I offer Fordham's recommendations for the state's pending biennial budget. Terry ponders, amidst Democrats and education interest groups clamoring for more money, if we haven't in fact seen the "golden age" of school funding in the Buckeye State.???? Mike highlights the ups and downs endured by Columbus Collegiate Academy in the start-up charter school's first year of operation, Matt and Rachel recommend some good reads, and more!

Duncan on measuring teacher performance and the need to lift charter caps (but ME balks).

Ed Week's Diplomas Count is out.

Apparently, the ARRA is a boon for school cafeteria equipment.

Looks like New Haven is getting serious about reform...a decade after Amistad.

Make sure to read????Mike's take on WI....

Bees really dislike having their hive disturbed and that's obviously true of universal-pre-school advocates, too. The Pew-backed advocacy squad has picked Steve Barnett of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) as their designated hit-man to go after me and my new book. At a Fordham-hosted event last week, he didn't actually hit me (or even bare his teeth) but he made clear that he and his team don't like the book one bit, and now he has posted an amplified version of his grievances on the NIEER website [PDF]. I especially love his accusing me of joining "the radical left" because I urge a targeted (means-tested) rather than universal approach to pre-schooling. This is no place to respond to his Wilsonian fourteen points--the book itself deals in one way or another with nearly all of them--but??let me make three observations:

  1. Barnett apparently??can't make up his mind whether universal means everybody or not. At one point, he faults me for making cost estimates based on ALL four year olds, implying that participation would be far smaller; at another point he says that a decent program will in fact
  2. ...