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Around-the-web Wednesdays: The race to the top, or the race to nowhere?

by Elena on Dec 16th, 2009

duncan_blogSecretary of Education Arne Duncan made two significant appearances this week: one on PBS NewsHour -which has recently updated its format to include more internet-based features, like this conversation between Duncan and correspondent Hari Sreenivasan about the Department’s financial literacy initiative and, of course, Race to the Top- the other a town hall meeting on “elevating the teaching profession” Duncan held with teachers from the D.C. area. The webcast is long, but full of honest and thoughtful comments from teachers on the need for better certification programs, the need for scholarships and grants related to ESL students, and more.

The L.A. Times published an op-ed piece this week by Ben Miller, director of a Los Angeles non-profit that works to empower parents in the reform of public schools. Without participation from parents, Miller argues, how does California expect to attract Race to the Top dollars–which the financially unstable state desperately needs? In an even more incensed op-ed, Diane Ravitch, writes in her blog on the Ed Week website that New York’s efforts to prepare for Race to the Top–which she calls “the express train to privatization”–have come at public school students’ expense.

Finally, in higher education news, the Washington Post has a good piece on the civil rights investigation around gender distribution in American colleges. Women apply to and attend colleges and universities in greater numbers than do men; do admissions offices have the right to discriminate based on sex, if they want to keep things 50-50?

Secretary Duncan: Finish Line Nears for ‘Race to the Top’ [PBS NewsHour, The Rundown News Blog, 12/15/09]

Elevating the Teaching Profession: A National Town Hall Meeting with Arne Duncan [, Education News Parents Can Use, 12/15/09]

Put power over California’s schools in hands of parents [LA Times, 12/16/09]

The Race to Nowhere [Bridging Differences, Ed Week, 12/15/09]

Sex bias probe in colleges’ selections [Washington Post, 12/14/09]

categories: Arne Duncan, Ed Beat, wednesday


Around the web Wednesdays: More money, more charters

by Elena on Dec 9th, 2009

hedgefund060213_1_560Our interest was especially piqued this week by a story on the hedge fund managers and other wealthy businessmen and women who invest in charter schools, in Sunday’s New York Times. According to Joe Williams, director of an organization that lobbies for charter schools, “These are the kind of guys who a decade ago would have been spending their time angling to get on the junior board of the Met, the ballet.” What does it mean that charter schools are the new face of stylish philanthropy?

This week at Learning Matters, correspondent John Tulenko brings us two new interviews: one, with Dr. Kay McClenney, focuses on a new report about American community colleges; the other, with the Ford Foundation’s Joan Dassin, deals with higher education on a global scale. John Merrow fleshed out the domestic side of the issue: his interview with Pat Callan of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education appears on his weekly blog, Taking Note.

And, if you live in New York, tonight’s event celebrating Gotham Schools (one of our favorite education blogs) will feature words from Diane Ravitch and Joel Klein.

Scholarly Investments [New York Times, 12/4/09]

Podcast - Brain Drain [LMtv, 12/7/09]

Podcast - The State of Community Colleges [LMtv, 12/7/09]

The Future of Higher Ed: An Interview with Pat Callan [Taking Note, LMtv, 12/8/09]

The GothamSchools party is tomorrow and you’re invited [Gotham Schools, 12/8/09]

categories: Ed Beat, wednesday


Around-the-web Wednesdays: Duncan on Colbert, and more

by Amanda on Oct 7th, 2009

Here are some stories worth sharing this week:

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Arne Duncan
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Michael Moore

Will it take Comedy Central’s coverage for the US to take education reform seriously? Or is everyone just infatuated with the idea of playing basketball with President Obama? If you missed it, click above to watch Arne Duncan on Colbert Nation. [Colbert Report, 10/5/09]

Race to the Top was formally announced this week and Secretary Duncan put the call out for applicants to “show us their best evidence that their programs will boost student learning.” With $650 million to spend, the administration is literally banking on innovation. [NY Times, 10/6/09]

Secretary Duncan’s attention was temporarily diverted back to his old hometown, Chicago, where he and Attorney General Eric Holder appeared in solidarity with a community outraged by the recent death of a high school student by a group of youths outside a community center. [NPR, 10/7/09]

In higher ed news, the Senate is holding hearings on a measure to increase the maximum Pell grant amount - currently $5,350. The House recently passed the measure. [Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/6/09]

In Washington, D.C., recent layoffs of over 220 teachers — including one ‘exceptional’ teacher from Anacostia, a high school we’ve been covering for the past two years– has the community up in arms and Chancellor Michelle Rhee defending her tough choices. [Washington Post, 10/6/09]

Rhee and the D.C. teachers union have yet to sign a contract after two years of negotiations - a fascinating dance you can listen to here. [LMTV, 9/21/09]

A new U.S. Census Bureau shows how Latina moms are changing the perception of the nation’s stay-at-home mothers. [NPR, 10/6/09]

And in commentary this week, John Merrow asks: How does geography determine one’s digital destiny? Should schools be doing more? [Taking Note, 10/6/09]


Around the Web Wednesdays: It’s making us hungry!

by Amanda on Sep 30th, 2009

[Above: Joachim de Posada on marshmallows. Can you wait until the end of the post to learn more?]

We’ve been following the school food movement and mobilization to increase the federal contribution to school lunches on EdBeat for awhile now. School nutrition got some front-burner coverage today, with the Washington Post’s inside look at a KIPP school budgeting for healthier food and the NY Timesprofile of an inventive school chef armed with garam masala, cooking food that “makes [students] feel comforted and cared for” in a less than ideal Brooklyn school kitchen.

For a glimpse at some other ambitious professionals, NPR looks at career changers and alternative certification for teachers and also asks what exactly should go into a teaching degree. Online we’re following an interesting (if snarky) discussion about home-schooling (which does not require a teaching degree, for the record) and its effect on socialization. [Salon, Jezebel]

Speaking of social skills, in the School Issue of the NY Times Magazine last weekend, Paul Tough wrote a great article on ‘Tools of the Mind,’ a program that aims to teach pre-schoolers about self-control through make-believe, which got us thinking about Joachim de Posada’s short and sweet TED talk (video above!) about delayed gratification–in this case the gratification that comes from eating a marshmallow–a skill that can be a surprisingly good predictor of the future success of students. [TED, 5/09]

Mmmmm… marshmallows…


Around the Web Wednesdays…

by Amanda on Sep 23rd, 2009

Autumn arrived this week, and the schoolyear is in full swing. Here are some stories that we’ve been following:

artsedweekPhoto credit: Charles Rex/ AP

Art schools suffer during recession
[Ed Week]
Harlem Children’s Zone to go national [This Week In Education]
Some evidence in favor of charter schools? Closing the ‘Harlem-Scarsdale’ gap[New York Times]
Arne Duncan to discuss education reform with the Dalai Lama [Mind and Life Institute]
Even though Michelle Rhee and the DC Teachers Union is still without a contract, we’ve got an inside look at the negotiations. Listen in on 2 years of conversations right here. [LMTV]
Extra Credit: Take a look at John Merrow’s reading list. What are you reading?

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