Sunday, March 23, 2008

This Week in Education Notes

It will be a busy week coming up.

On Tuesday, at 8 AM Ed Notes will be heading over to the Princeton Club for a Manhattan Institute (the right wing think-tank) breakfast conference. At least when you go to MI events they feed you. (See a report of my visit to an MI luncheon in Feb. '07 for Christopher Cerf at the University Club here and a recent visit last month at the Harvard Club for Chester Finn here.)

The topic is "Can Mayoral Control Fix Urban School Districts?" Joel Klein will be the featured speaker followed by a panel discussion with Michelle Rhee (former Tweedle, Teacher for America hot shot and now the head of the Washington DC schools) and Paul Vallas, privatizer supreme of 3 urban school systems (Chicago, Philadepphia and now New Orleans). Don't these people have school systems to run. The fact that they are gathered here is proof of the political over educational agendas they are pushing.

Gee, bet I can guess the outcome of this panel.

But there may be a fly in the ointment – Diane Ravitch is also on the panel. We'll report back and maybe get some pics of the food fight.

I hope Eduwonkette shows up to ask this question she raised on her blog on Monday:

Really!?! Joel Klein

NYC's Panel for Education Policy voted tonight to require 8th graders to score above level 1 on reading and math tests and pass core courses in order to be promoted. Meanwhile, last week Joel Klein wanted to invest a hypothetical billionaire's bling in a research institute - "There are two things that I would do with this money. One, I would try to set up a national institute for educational policy that does serious research. This is an industry in which there are so many myths, and that’s because there are such large gaps in our knowledge right now."

Really, Joel Klein? That's surely true in some areas, but grade retention ain't one of them. Really. It's just that a recent paper by Brian Jacob and Lars Lefgren found that the 8th grade retention initiative in Chicago increased students odds of dropping out. That's on top of a boatload of other studies finding the same. Why waste that billionaire's money if you're not even going to read the research? And why are 18,000 8th graders projected to be retained if your 3rd, 5th, and 7th grade retention initiatives were so effective? Really.

AERA in NYC This Week
Wednesday through Friday I am checking out the American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference being held in NYC. Eduwonnkette says "Weighing in at ~500 pages, the AERA program is a good weapon, but a crappy guide to a professional meeting."
Eduwonkette and Skoolboy have some suggestions as does Rethinking Schools.

This one might be fun Russo and Rotherham (Eduwonk) on the same panel - another food fight?

Disseminating Education Research Through Electronic Media: Advice from E-Journalists

Scheduled Time: Thu, Mar 27 - 10:35am - 12:05pm Building/Room: Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers / Lenox Ballroom, 2nd Floor

Session Participants:

Chair: Paul Alan Baker (Wisconsin Center for Education Research)
Participant: Alexander Russo (This Week In Education/Scholastic Administrator)
Participant: Andrew J. Rotherham (, Education Sector)
Participant: Jennifer Medina (New York Times)
Participant: Richard L. Colvin (Columbia University)

And maybe this one later that afternoon at 4PM (after finding a good movie.)

Organizing Against Intolerance: Teacher Unions, Antiracist Education, and the Limits of Liberalism

Sponsor: SIG-Teachers' Work/Teacher Unions

Scheduled Time: Thu, Mar 27 - 4:05pm - 5:35pm Building/Room: New York Marriott Marquis Times Square / Majestic Complex, Palace Room, 6th Floor

Session Participants:

“Communism Is Jewish”: New York City Teachers Unions and Tolerance Education During World War II
*Zoe Burkholder (New York University)

What’s A Teacher Union for Anyway? Race, Community, and Organization in the Chicago Teachers Union, 1965–1973
*Kyle Westbrook (University of Illinois - Chicago)

Keeping the Peace: Social Justice Teacher Unionism in a Canadian Context
*Cindy Rottmann (OISE/University of Toronto)

A Critical Analysis of the BCTF Aboriginal Education Program: A View From Within
*Blanche Christine Stewart (British Columbia Teachers' Federation)

Discussant: Wayne J. Urban (The University of Alabama)
Chair: Lois Weiner (New Jersey City University)

By examining the tolerance education of New York City Teacher Unions during World War II, the adoption in 1971 and quiet disappearance in 1998 of an anti-racist program with the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, and the struggles within the Chicago Teachers Union over full inclusion of African-American educators during the late 1960s, this session will highlight the ways in which teachers’ unions have functioned as sites of struggle over race, power and privilege.

Labor Conference at UFT HQ
On Friday afternoon (4-8) and Saturday (8-2) there is a labor conference at the UFT building at 52 Broadway. Party Friday at 4.

Note: Lois Weiner will be on a panel on Saturday at 10. Lois has written extensively on the neo-liberal collaboration with business interests in the attack on the public schools. She will be the keynote speaker at our upcoming Teachers Unite forum om April 15.

See More This Week in Ed Notes coming up later today.

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