DC Is On Simmer…Koch Is Coming…It’s Riley, Aristocrats, More!

Solid Janus preview here.

Nat Malkus on DC. RiShawn Biddle on DC. Behind the scenes a lot of people are asking some hard questions about D.C schools and how widespread the issues like those at Ballou are. It’s not just wonks, local educators and various people with ties to the system are starting to as well. Washington Post is digging in.

Robin Lake on charter growth.

The Koch Brothers are coming!

“The lowest hanging fruit for policy change in the United States today is K-12,” said Stacy Hock, a major Koch donor who has co-founded a group called Texans for Educational Opportunity. “I think this is the area that is most glaringly obvious.”

That’s arguably true in terms of the opportunity to do better. But the politics….it’s not an easy place to drive change in case you haven’t noticed…

In Massachusetts Jeff Riley gets the nod as the next commissioner.

We should be concerned about the pressure kids are under and the increasing amounts of anxiety they are experiencing – and the multiple causes of that. But as Doug Lemov has noted, the push toward getting rid of grades, test scores, and standards at elite schools is a trend worth resisting unless you’re high on the idea of aristocracy. For all their problems objective measures can help increase social mobility as Jennifer Braceras argues here. Soft measures are a social insurance for people already winning the race who want to insulate themselves.

The last graf here is gold.

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Mead On Cuomo, WSJ On Vouchers, Poll Positions, John White, Angelica Infante Green, Ed Navigator, Personalized Hype, Charter Laws Ranked, Education Tour! More!

Sara Mead says Governor Cuomo is on the right track on menstrual products and schools.

Education, we’re back baby! Only terrorism stands in our way…But, oh no, here’s another poll that’s more crowded.

Interesting WSJ analysis on vouchers:

“The schools that have 20% to 30% voucher kids and 70% to 80% fee-paying kids, they look more like the private schools that we sort of put on a pedestal—that have very ambitious programs,” says Patrick Wolf, a professor of education policy at the University of Arkansas who has studied private-school choice programs for about 19 years. “Ones that enroll a very high percent of voucher students tend to be low-resourced.”

Some school improvement news out of Louisiana. An interesting thing about our field is that John White has helped drive some great work in Louisiana, behind the scenes most people would agree with that assessment. And yet he’s under constant political pressure from the governor there and everyone is just like, ‘oh well, business as usual.’ Seems like a problem for a sector that wants to get better?

Commissioner endorsement in Massachusetts.

Tim Daly on how talented low income kids fall through the cracks.

Matt Barnum busts personalized learning advocates for some hyperbole. This one is tricky though because, yes, there is a lot of overheated rhetoric – and not just about personalized. On the other hand, we have to think bigger because even the “best” ideas today are not sufficient – despite all the bloodletting about them. We need pro-big ideas, but anti-hyperbole.

Higher ed is unbundling. K-12 still fighting tooth and nail against this kind of thing – which seems like an odd way to build and broaden support for public education. (And yes, I know that per the article linked some (though far from all) homeschoolers are really acidic in their rhetoric about public schools, but we’re talking about kids here, not the politics of their parents).

Here’s an interesting take on school choice in DC – more widespread than most realize, but also more complicated. And this look at charter schools in the west is worth reading. It’s interesting in terms of growth states and what’s happening there. And, a lot of charter proponents have not wanted to wrestle with a hard question of tradeoffs: Loose authorizing policies create a lot of problems, but also produce some great schools.

Charter school law rankings!

Why are wonks and teachers stocking up on beers and burritos and tuning up VW buses? Yes! The Knowledge Matters School Tour is coming.

Here’s a victory lap on Chicago school improvement. Discuss!

And here’s a look at effects of reformed discipline practices on student learning and discipline. Look for more studies trying to get a handle on this.

Check out Liz Longley. She’s on the road this spring. And pitchers and catchers (and this one) report soon!

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Durbin & Ward, Synder On Shootings, DI Pops Again, Pensions, And What Do Ho Chi Minh And The Next Massachusetts Education Commissioner Have In Common?

Bill Durbin and Tresha Francis Ward talk academic strategy work. Chad Aldeman on teacher pension plans: Expensive doesn’t mean generous. Hailly Korman on school discipline disparities.

Steve Synder on school shootings.

Do charter schools help other schools?

DI metanalysis.

Ho Chi Minh said that he worked in the kitchen at the Parker House hotel in Boston. Jack Kennedy had his bachelor party there. And on Friday aspirants to be the commonwealth’s next education commissioner will do public interviews there. Jonas reviews the bidding on the Massachusetts commissioner search. Three good choices. Related, Lawrence, Mass, is a legit success story but one that I still haven’t seen fully told in terms of the context and conditions underlying it, which is pretty key to the collaboration narrative.

Emphasis on bathroom bills lessening in states along with culture wars. Not surprising because voters punished politicians in both parties who focused on this stuff more than the economy. Looking forward: This is painful for kids today, but will be a non-issue before long. Why? Demographics. Younger voters just don’t care what bathroom someone chooses to use or how they identify in the first place.

College in 2018 – collaboration or competition?

SUPES Academy and undisclosed payments, sound familiar?

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (and former Eduwonk guestblogger) certainly has his hands full lately on the scandal front, but it’s hard to see exactly what the news or scandal is here with this Ken Zeff story. In other words, taping your mistress to workout equipment to get leverage on her with pictures is not the real scandal – no, it’s consorting with charter school supporters!

Norah Jones and Keith Richards.

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