Flypaper

A few weeks ago I introduced Barack Obama's scalpel to a list of what I referred to as "ineffective" Department of Education programs worthy of elimination. Almost immediately, Education Sector's Chad Aldeman criticized me for giving so much credence to the Bush Administration's "Program Assessment Rating Tool," (PART) which judges federal programs on their effectiveness or lack thereof. I wasn't too impressed by Aldeman's complaints, but Chad, when you join the Obama Administration, you can tweak the PART to your liking. I suspect a new and improved version will still determine that most ED programs don't work.

Where I did err was in conflating the programs the Administration has put on the chopping block with those that have been judged to be ineffective. Not so, writes Carol Rasco, the president and CEO of Reading is Fundamental, which found itself on the list:

I was very disappointed to see your September 29 posting that included Reading Is Fundamental as an "ineffective program" as no one in the Dept. of Education can show us where we have been so identified.?? The commentary in the budget document indicated:

Supports an annual award to Reading is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF) to

...

Readers are lighting up the comments section on this one regarding a comment made by "that one." (Note to John McCain: please try to remember your opponent's name next time.)

Even among well-informed Flypaper followers there is a great amount of disagreement regarding just how much teachers earn. So let me admit that it's a bit unfair to expect a presidential candidate to get these particular facts straight. In fact, Barack Obama is in the mainstream when he talks about a teacher making $30,000 to $35,000 a year. A recent Education Next article based on a national poll showed that most Americans think teachers average $33,000 per year, when the actual amount is $47,000.

Of course, as one colleague expressed to me, these figures don't include the generous pensions that teachers receive--pensions that are buffeted from the current turmoil in the market and which most private-sector employees no longer see.

I think we can all agree, however, that many teachers are underpaid. The key question is: which ones? It's going to be hard in the current fiscal climate (really, any fiscal climate) to dramatically raise salaries across the board. It would be smarter to...

Amy Fagan

Fordham staff received an email this afternoon from D.C. parent Jean Hoff and decided to post it (in part, and with her permission):

I am a very upset parent with children in the D.C. Public Schools.?? My daughters attend Shepherd Elementary School.?? I learned today that Michelle Rhee has just fired our principal, Dr. Galeet BenZion.?? Dr. BenZion was appointed in July of this year, and has from my perspective as a parent, made great inroads at Shepherd in a short time.?? One thing she has not been shy about is sticking up for our children when it comes to getting resources from downtown.?? Ms. Rhee has not yet released any justification for the firing, but is scheduling a meeting to discuss next week.[...]?? My immediate goal is to see Dr. BenZion reinstated.

We're awaiting Ms. Rhee's response...

With a title like that, we already know you RSVP'd (if you didn't, what are you waiting for?). More good news! The ten papers being presented at this stupendous conference are now posted online. Your weekend reading is all taken care of--you're welcome. A teaser:

From??Brown v. Board of Education??to "Bong Hits 4 Jesus," the past fifty years have seen a striking rise in judicial supervision of education. From race to speech, from religion to school funding, from discipline to special education, few realms of education policy have escaped the courtroom. Predictably, much controversy has ensued. Supporters of education litigation contend that the courts are essential to secure student (and civil) rights and needs, while critics insist that the courts distort policy and that the mere threat of litigation undermines the authority of teachers and administrators.

Alexander Russo reported earlier today that Institute for Education Sciences director Russ Whitehurst is heading to Brookings. That's true--I hear that he is replacing Tom Loveless as the director of the ??Brown Center on Education Policy. Loveless has been trying to find his successor for the better part of two years now; it looks like it's finally happened. (Loveless will remain a scholar at Brookings, too, I understand.)

Alexander Russo reported earlier today that Institute for Education Sciences director Russ Whitehurst is heading to Brookings. That's true--I hear that he is replacing Tom Loveless as the director of the ??Brown Center on Education Policy. Loveless has been trying to find his successor for the better part of two years now; it looks like it's finally happened. (Loveless will remain a scholar at Brookings, too, I understand.)

Alexander Russo reported earlier today that Institute for Education Sciences director Russ Whitehurst is heading to Brookings. That's true--I hear that he is replacing Tom Loveless as the director of the ??Brown Center on Education Policy. Loveless has been trying to find his successor for the better part of two years now; it looks like it's finally happened. (Loveless will remain a scholar at Brookings, too, I understand.)

Alexander Russo reported earlier today that Institute for Education Sciences director Russ Whitehurst is heading to Brookings. That's true--I hear that he is replacing Tom Loveless as the director of the ??Brown Center on Education Policy. Loveless has been trying to find his successor for the better part of two years now; it looks like it's finally happened. (Loveless will remain a scholar at Brookings, too, I understand.)

A friend pointed me to this New York Times column by Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, wherein he states:

In 1993, some of our children were in classrooms too crowded to learn in, and some districts were shutting preschool and after-school programs.?? Today, such inadequacies are endemic.??

My friend asks, "What evidence could he possibly have in mind?" Good question. There are anecdotes of districts trimming their extra-curricular activities and electives, but where are "classrooms too crowded to learn in"? Who is shutting preschool or after-school programs? Endemic? Really, Mr. Reich?

On this Yom Kippur, Checker Finn atones for his Nixonian associations by highlighting the dire straits of America's urban parochial schools. Read it here.

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