Flypaper

That's the gist of this Washington Post column by Jay Mathews, and was also the gist of a Gadfly column I wrote last summer. Mathews cites a forthcoming paper by Craig Jerald (a friend of mine who is formerly of Ed in '08, Education Trust, and Ed Week 's Quality Counts):

He quotes a 2005 paper by economists Peter Kuhn and Catherine Weinberger for the Journal of Labor Economics: "Controlling for cognitive skills," they said, "men who occupied leadership positions in high school earn more as adults. The pure leadership-wage effect varies, depending on definitions and time period, from 4 percent to 33 percent." A Mathematica Policy Research study also shows that although math had the biggest impact of any skill on later earnings, playing sports and having a leadership role in high school also were significant factors.

Mathews using this point to beg school districts not to cut sports programs in this time of fiscal austerity. I agree, but I would use this point to beg schools not to cut history and literature and art and music from the curriculum in order to make...

Amy Fagan

.....is the main focus of these two recent write-ups.

First, Diane Ravitch suggests in a New York Daily News story that while Caroline Kennedy won't be serving in the U.S. Senate, she may very well have a vital role to play in saving New York City's Catholic schools, "which are in the throes of a fiscal meltdown." Ravitch writes that Kennedy attended a Catholic school herself, "cares deeply about children" and "is knowledgeable about education." Even more, Ravtich continues, Kennedy helped raise nearly $240 million for the city's public schools--an amount that, if applied to the Catholic schools, would mean none of them would be forced to close. The need is clear, Ravitch writes, as many desperate students, parents and teachers wait for parish school closings scheduled for June.

The second write-up is a DC Examiner piece that looks at recent national stats on Catholic schools. ??Specifically, it discusses a recent report by the White House Domestic Policy Council, which found that urban faith-based schooling options have declined some 20 percent in 20 years. And....it also quotes our own Mike Petrilli!...

Earlier we looked into Arne Duncan's eyes and got a sense of his soul. But what about his team? Who is likely to get jobs in the new administration? This Week in Education's Alexander Russo pondered that question yesterday. (Alexander's not so great at lots of things, like accuracy, or thoughtfulness, but he does know how to dish gossip.)

Let me fill in a couple of holes in Alexander's analysis with a bunch of unreliable, secondhand information. First, let's start at the top (or at least near the top). I've heard more information in recent days that makes me think that the Linda Darling-Hammond as Deputy Secretary rumor is true. Jon Schnur, I understand, has agreed to take a job; I'm not sure which one but Alexander is probably right to surmise chief of staff. (He was spotted "behind the glass doors" in the inner sanctum of the Secretary's office the other day, so maybe he's already playing that role.) Andy Rotherham, too, is almost certainly going to join the administration. Note to Alexander: it wouldn't take a very high profile job for Andy to "lord" it over me, as my official title at the Department...

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sat down for a series of one-on-ones with the national education press yesterday, and their stories are starting to paint a picture of the man, his policy leanings, and his priorities. What do we know about him?

1.???????????? First, he's definitely a liberal. That's not meant to be pejorative; I LIKE liberals! (Which is a good thing, considering where I live.) He's giddy about the federal largesse in the stimulus package ("It's a historic chance to make things dramatically better," he told the AP, and "We have a chance to make education in America dramatically better - and, for a whole host of reasons, it has never been more important that we do that," he told USA Today). And he has no problem with the government taking responsibility for the needs of poor children. "If they're hungry we need to feed them, if they don't have clothes you need to give them clothes," he told Education Week. And he's also willing to live his values; he and his wife are looking for a ??"great public school that's diverse."

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That's what House Appropriations Chairman David Obey has been saying, but I've been skeptical, arguing that these new spending levels (on education at least) will become the "new normal" and that interest groups will push hard to maintain them. Today came confirmation of this theory. Note this quote from Mary Kusler, a lobbyist for the American Association of School Administrators, that appears in this USA Today story:

Title I and IDEA "are areas where they cannot cut back three years from now."

"Cut back"? We're looking at $140 billion in new spending for education, and the establishment is already asking for more.

Amy Fagan

So, just a funny Friday-afternoon tidbit. Apparently last night, The Daily Show's Jonn Stewart did a little skit called "Senate Confirmation Hearings Roast," in which, among other nominees, he pokes fun at Arne Duncan for keeping his kids out of school that day (truancy), and having his son fetch him water during the hearing (child labor laws). It's kind of funny....

Amy Fagan

Well well. Look who's going head-to-head with the new education secretary. Our own Mike Petrilli! Check out this USA Today piece about the stimulus and its big payday for schools. Arne calls it "an extraordinary opportunity." Mike says it's "redefining the federal role" in education.

By the way, Mike is quoted in a USA Today stimulus article that ran earlier this week, too.

Education Week reports this week on efforts by reform-minded district leaders to recruit and retain better teachers by "front-loading" teacher compensation to pay new teachers significantly more than they'd make under a traditional salary schedule:

Economists who study teacher compensation say most salary schedules, combined with defined-benefit pension plans, tilt compensation strongly toward veteran teachers regardless of those teachers' effectiveness at raising student achievement.

Low starting pay, they argue, discourages talented individuals who might otherwise consider teaching from giving it a try. And lock-step salary increases can drive away young teachers who feel they aren't earning what they are worth.

The driving idea behind front-loaded pay systems is to bring the teacher-development and -compensation trajectories together, thus giving beginning teachers the opportunity to win high salaries sooner, and by extension, improving districts' ability to recruit and retain teachers.

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