A few other observations from the Dropout Nation:
- As you would expect, education reporting dean John Merrow’s piece this week discussing why he would no longer focus on the questions over alleged cheating at D.C. Public Schools during the tenure of Michelle Rhee has traditionalists up in arms. In fact, their criticism of Merrow’s editorial decision has verged off the deep end, with some complaining that Merrow made the judgment in order to secure funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for his new film on the school reform efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Given Merrow’s upstanding reputation, strong (if not always objective) reporting on the issues related to the allegations, and willingness to even spar with the likes of Rick Hess (who has never given Merrow a much-deserved apology for his nastiness) over his reporting, such aspersions are simply out of bounds. Merrow did his job and raised questions, especially about the role of leadership in keeping people honest, that still haven’t been answered in a meaningful way (or even considered by reformers in an honest manner). He’s decided to move on to other reporting efforts. That’s all. Traditionalists such as Ravitch, who are so much more interested in going after Rhee than actually building brighter futures for children, can start their own news outlets and do the investigative work themselves. But then, that would actually take some chops, which Merrow has and they don’t.
- Back in April, Dropout Nation criticized the Broader Bolder Approach’s report on urban school reform efforts in places such as New York City and Washington, D.C., for playing fast and loose with data and reaching conclusions that its shoddy research couldn’t support. Five months later, Broader Bolder comes out with an equally shoddy report, this time on the impact of the Obama Administration’s Race to the Top initiative. Having read through the claptrap, I can agree with Democrats for Education Reform policy czar Charles Barone that to call the report “junk science is an insult to junk.” Perhaps it is time to put Broader Bolder out of its misery.
- The quote of the week comes from Laura Waters of NJ Left Behind in her column analyzing why Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono (backed by the National Education Association’s bellicose Garden State affiliate) can’t rally anyone around her education agenda, much less gain traction in her campaign against incumbent Chris Christie: “It’s hard to be the agent of change when one is forced to be an agent of blarney.” Enough said.
- School leader (and traditionalist) J. Robinson offers a rather thoughtful piece on his site explaining why his colleagues should support the overhaul of high schools — including moving to the concept of small high schools touted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation a decade ago and proven to be effective at least in New York City. Reformers should read it too.
- One can imagine that American Federation of Teachers President Rhonda Weingarten was none too thrilled yesterday after she was barred from touring a Philadelphia school during the classroom day. But at least she won’t have a chance to be arrested for the cameras.
- You can appreciate This Week in Education contributor Paul Bruno trying to talk some sense to Jay P. Greene about the value of Twitter in fostering discussions about education policy and practice. But Greene has shown a while ago that he has outdated views about the value of any media outside of the traditional outlets and formats which he deems important. He’s also a social media Luddite who doesn’t really have any sense of what anyone is doing on Twitter in the first place. And if one looks closely at his various “Narcissus” lists, it is as much an enemies list as it is some half-baked attempt to measure social media activity.
- Speaking of Twitter: You should follow Capital Prep Magnet School Principal (and CNN Commentator) Dr. Steve Perry, former Black Alliance for Educational Options Chairman Kevin P. Chavous, Boston teacher Darren Burris (for his tweets about Common Core), Washington Examiner writer Sean Higgins, and Kelly Amis, the producer and director of the TEACHED series of films on school reform. Also, follow whoever DN is following by subscribing to the Twitter feed.
Photo courtesy of Eduwonk.