Long-time antagonists????Eva Moskowitz????(former NYC education committee chair and founder of Harlem Success Academy charter schools) and Randi Weingarten (AFT and UFT president) debated on NYC television. ????It's gripping in parts.

The Education Gadfly

National Standards in Other Nations from Education Gadfly on Vimeo .

This panel discussion on national education standards across the world was sponsored by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute at our "International Lessons About National Standards" even on Tuesday, May 5, 2009.


William Schmidt, University Distinguished Professor and Co-Director of the Education Policy Center, Michigan State University

Sigrid Bl??meke, Full Professor, Humboldt University of Berlin and National Research Coordinator, TEDS-M and MT21

John Hayton, Counsellor (Education) and Director, Australian Education International-North America, Embassy of Australia, Washington, DC (Australia)

Doo-Jung Kim, Professor of Education, Chungnam National University (Korea) and past President, Korean Society for Curriculum Studies

Moderated by: Ben Wildavsky, Senior Fellow, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation...

Yesterday I reported on the New Yorker profile of Green Dot founder Steve Barr, and speculated that it might inspire a movie version. That led one intrepid Flypaper reader to ask the obvious question: Who would play him? Here are the leading contenders; Rock the Vote below. And if you want to suggest another (or provide a rationale), leave a comment.

Let the casting begin!

The administration released its 2010 budget proposal yesterday.????Check out the specifics here.

Just a few highlights???????

First, it has slightly higher discretionary spending than the 2009 budget (but remember that the ARRA is pumping nearly $100 billion through ED on top of 2009 and 2010 funds).

Second, in non-K-12 news, it includes a small increase in the maximum Pell grant award and adds lots of new money for early childhood programs.

Third, there is a relatively small $10 million for the ???????Promise Neighborhoods??????? initiative.???? This is the administration's attempt to replicate the Harlem Children's Zone.???? This money will support planning grants for cities that want to create their own versions.????I'm VERY skeptical of this initiative because HCZ is extraordinarily expensive, its early results were very questionable (it took lots of rethinking and reworking to get it right), and such extensive wrap-around services are neither necessary nor sufficient to bring about improved student achievement.????I would prefer the feds stay out of this business.

Fourth, there's a big increase for the Teacher Incentive Fund (up to $517 million from under $100 million in 2009), which incentives states and districts to experiment with performance/merit pay.????This...

The debate over progress in NYC is a microcosm of a much bigger discussion in ed reform circles: For all of the money and effort expended, have America's schools really gotten any better?

At a recent conference, two veteran reformers suggested that, no, we've made very little progress since A Nation At Risk in 1983. Then there's news out today that Newt Gingrich said largely the same thing to the press after meeting with the President on education issues.

I wonder if this is just alarmist talk to get folks more motivated to take on change, because from where I sit, things are immeasurably better than they were 10, 20, or 30 years ago, especially for our most disadvantaged kids. We have a national consensus that the achievement gap matters, we have educational entrepreneurs starting invaluable projects, we have more and more high-performing high-poverty schools thanks to chartering, and on and on and on. ????Yes, there are still challenges and groups standing in the way of reform, but as a wise man once said, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress."

Here's an optimistic take on this issue that I...

New state????test scores from NY show gains for kids in the Big Apple!

Or do they? ????Read to the bottom of the article and you'll see that Mike P, among others, is skeptical.

Fordham trustee Diane Ravitch has continuously argued against claims of significant improvement in NYC. See her recent NYT op-ed here. Klein's team responded with this memo. ????A big part of the debate is about which test scores to use--the state's or NAEP. ????(Check out????for yourself????what????NAEP TUDA has to say about NYC????here????and here.)

Although Ravitch raises fair points about the lack of progress on NAEP, I side with the pro-Klein camp, both because the state data is rather convincing and because the systemic changes he's implemented are the best I've seen in any US city.

But if Klein's gains are real, they should be reflected in better scores on the 2009 TUDA, the results of which are due this year....

Nice editorial from the Post about the funding troubles faced by DC charters.

BTW, what's with some DC-based politicians' hostility toward education programs that are working? ????The evidence shows that both DC charters????and vouchers are succeeding. ????Why cut funding for the first and stop new enrollment for the second?

Hollywood loves to glamorize the heroic inner-city teacher, and occasionally celebrates the heroic inner-city principal . But it can't be too long until it gives Big Screen treatment to the heroic inner-city charter school network leader. Jay Mathews surely hopes the KIPP guys will inspire such a movie (he successfully sold the rights to "Stand and Deliver ," and is no doubt trying to do the same for "Work Hard, Be Nice "). But put your hands on Douglas McGray's New Yorker profile of Green Dot 's Steve Barr , and tell me it doesn't read like an inspirational, action-packed script with a likeable maverick as the lead.

For wonks, the story of Barr's takeover of LA's Locke High School won't be new. But the colorful details (especially about Barr) are priceless. There's Ted Mitchell, quoting Barr (slightly incorrectly, it turns out) calling the LA teachers union president a "pig f&#ker." There's the story of him taking a group of Latino and black kids surfing, only to discover that half of them can't swim. And there's this:

[Barr] drives a decommissioned police car, a


Late last week, the Coalition for Student Achievement released Smart Options: Investing the Recovery Funds for Student Success. This document, developed following a convening of more than 30 K-12 national education leaders, including state and district superintendents, was sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. The document provides states with five "big ideas" for investing one-time federal recovery funds that can lay "the groundwork for real student improvement for decades to come."

Using the Smart Options recommendations as benchmarks, the chart below compares the five recommendations from Smart Options to policies proposed in the pending Ohio budget bill, which was passed late last month by the state House of Representatives and incorporates billions in federal stimulus dollars:

< means Smart Options and Ohio's budget are closely aligned

> means Smart Options and Ohio's budget are partially aligned

= means Smart Options and Ohio's budget are far apart


Smart Options Recommendation

Ohio's Budget Bill


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