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Annotating the News 11/1/13

Posted on | November 2, 2013 | Comments Off on Annotating the News 11/1/13

I’ve been away, so education periodicals have been stacking up on my desk, and on a balmy Friday night I am multitasking as I watch the USC-Oregon State game (Holy Cow! They won.  Fight ON!)

K12 Inc. saw its stock price tank from a high of $37.85 to $17.60 after criticism by hedge fund manager Whitney R. Tilson, Education Week reported.  By Nov. 1, it had rebounded to $18.47.  After talking to K12 leaders, Tilson said he was convinced the company was “not evil,” not targeting students that were sure to fail, but that the program worked less well with challenging students than with those who had a college-educated parent at home tending to the home schooler’s lessons.

In our case study of CAVA, the California K12 charter management company, we came to similar conclusions.  Virtual learning depended on a real parent or other supervising adult.  The California schools suffered from a disconnect between its marketing arm and those delivering education.  Despite some interesting innovations, it’s not an educational silver bullet.


Inequality.  Robert Reich’s new film Inequality for All deserves attention.  I don’t know whether it will raise the social conscience about poverty the way An Inconvenient Truth did for global warming.  But the toll of inequality on American families is immense, as is the strong tendency on the political right to blame the victims and indulge in chatter about government rewarding the lazy and undeserving.

So, is no wonder that schools are filling up with poor children.  Child poverty has risen in every state.  In 17 states, including California, students in poverty are a majority of students statewide, according to an analysis by the Southern Education Foundation.

Even the Economist has weighed in on the declining share of productivity gains accruing to labor (or in their case labour).

The political surprise is that declining incomes has created a war on the poor rather than a war on poverty.

(For a dramatic lesson, see Suzan-Lori Parks’ in the Blood, a retelling of the Scarlet Letter in which Hester is a welfare mother, who is systematically victimized by those who are supposed to be helping her.  Claremont colleges students did an impressive job with difficult material in a Pomona College theater department production over the weekend.


Education journalist John Merrow declared that he was finished writing about Michelle Rhee, this after he had trouble placing articles critical of her reign in Washington, D.C.  But as I suspected, that didn’t last long.  This week he weighed in on a report by Stanford University professors James Wyckoff and Thomas Dee found that the D.C. teacher evaluation system known as IMPACT was raising teacher quality.

Problem is, says Merrow, that no one correlated the evaluation system’s rankings with student performance.  Chances are that a highly ranked teacher would be in an upper income area and lower ranked teachers would be teaching poverty students.  Merrow doesn’t think the evaluation system is measuring teacher quality as much as it measures student poverty.  “If you want to be a highly effective teacher in Washington, choose your students carefully! On the other hand, if you want to increase the chances of losing your job, teach poor kids,” he writes.


Teacher Merit Pay.  Texas has discarded its much-heralded teacher merit pay plan.  The bottom line of the story was the bottom line of the state’s budget.  Nearly half of Texas teachers boosted the achievement scores of their students enough to qualify for merit payments, and the state paid out $392-million in 2010-11.  Too expensive said the state even though the schools with merit pay saw greater test score gains than those without.

One would have thought those market warriors in Texas would have applauded and doubled the incentives.  But no.

The abandonment of merit pay is typical of the fate of merit pay plans.  Historically, studies of these plans show that they are abandoned when the payout gets too large.

Teachers may not like merit pay plans for other reasons, but they should certainly be wary of their transitory nature.



Chicago’s Summer of Learning a good tryout of Learning 2.0 or Connected Learning

Posted on | October 3, 2013 | Comments Off on Chicago’s Summer of Learning a good tryout of Learning 2.0 or Connected Learning


Chicago SOL

For many months I have been tussling with how to bring the kinds of learning made possible by the Internet revolution to reality.  As I have written in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago has provided a demonstration project in which students earned 100,000 digital badges making, building, and experiencing learning with more than 100 organizations.

I like the Summer of Learning partly for nostalgia: Chicago’s institutions—the Field Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Brookfield Zoo—provided me some memorable growing up experiences.  And in terms of education policy, this summer’s experiment provided a working example of what the MacArthur Foundation calls Connected Learning.

While using different descriptors, Connected Learning is quite similar to what I have been calling Learning 2.0Read more

Teacher-Run Schooling to Gain Attention

Posted on | September 3, 2013 | Comments Off on Teacher-Run Schooling to Gain Attention

Teacher run schools are due to get attention this year.  Expect a concerted effort to bring them to public and policy attention.  Work should start on what has been called a “text,” although it probably won’t be in book form at the outset.  Teachers need to believe that running their own schools is possible, that they have someplace to take their nascent interest in self management, and that they have company in the journey.  See this at EdSource.

Content is King; Hire Reporters as if your millions depend on it. They do.

Posted on | August 9, 2013 | Comments Off on Content is King; Hire Reporters as if your millions depend on it. They do.

Memo to Jeff Bezos:


I’ll get back to thinking about education tomorrow.  Today, I’ve been following the news about my first occupational love, newspapering.

Jeff Bezos’ purchase of the Washington Post for $250 million this week has set the world of newspaper watchers a twittering.  While there is much, largely vacuous, conjecture about the future of the paper’s editorial policies and its longevity in paper form—dead tree news—one thing is clear.  Bezos will bring change.  “I’m excited and optimistic about the opportunity for invention,” he wrote.  Or as Michael Hiltzik commented in the L. A. Times, “He’s looking forward to turning the Post into a laboratory.”

Much of the chatter this week has come from web developers who see Bezos as transforming the paper from a mass medium to a scalable, personally tailored communication device, opening up new channels for connecting with readers.  Others commented on his conflict of interest, including the $600-million contract with the CIA, as if most publishers don’t have complex financial arrangements that give them less-than-disinterested motives.  But in all the talk of delivery, content was largely undiscussed, other than assurances that the editorial management of the paper would remain untouched, which is probably the least believable statement of the week.

Bezos knows, or will learn, content is king regardless of how news is delivered.  The most essential investment Bezos can make is not web networks: it’s reporters and editors. Bezos is known for his long game—a willingness to invest in the future as he has at Amazon with very slim profit margins.  The future needs content.

The turn from print to Internet underscores this essential truth.  Where the content of a printed paper is constrained by the decline in display and classified advertising that has shrunk all newspapers, digital packaging and delivery is highly expandable.  Revenue still needs to flow, but the marginal cost of producing and distributing more news is relatively low.

The largely unsung heroes of the newspaper world are beat reporters, who get to know segments of the community or the political world very well.  Great city hall reporters have more institutional knowledge of the town than the mayor.  The best education reporters know enough about how schools run and students learn not to be bamboozled by the superintendent’s sound bites.  It has been the ranks of these reporters who have been thinned by the decline in metropolitan dailies.

Media stars get attention, and the the lore of WAPO is full of them.  (See  veteran critic and editor Henry Allen’s recollection of The Post that was.) But the underling craft of cultivating sources and of patiently developing stories is what creates loyal readers who become habitual customers, regardless of whether the instrument is a handheld device or a broadsheet.

So, while others are assured by Bezos’ pledge to keep hands off the newsroom, I am alarmed.  Great editor-publishers see building reportorial capacity as their central hands-on job.  And this is doubly the case when the nature of news itself is changing along with the medium of expression.




In “Austerity” Mark Blyth Traces the History and Politics of a Dangerous Idea

Posted on | July 12, 2013 | Comments Off on In “Austerity” Mark Blyth Traces the History and Politics of a Dangerous Idea

Published by Oxford

Mark Blyth took a career detour to be a co-editor of The Transformation of Great American School Districts. So it was with great anticipation that I read his new book, Austerity. I recommend it to educators as a valuable corrective to the belief that boosting educational standards will increase the life chances of American students and create a rocketship economy.  For teachers, school superintendents, and education policy wonks, this book is more about you than you may think it is.

Blyth considers austerity—the economic policy of the United States and Europe since 2003—a dangerous idea, and through tracing its history and effect he provides powerful evidence for that assertion.  It slows, not grows the economy.  But for poor and working class children the news is worse: they will pay for the economists’ fairy tales with high unemployment and reduced social mobility.

For Blyth this gets personal.  Born and raised in relative poverty in Scotland, a welfare kid and proud of the fact, he is now a professor of political economy at Brown University, an extreme example of intergenerational mobility.   “What made it possible for me to become the man I am today is the very thing now blamed for creating the crisis itself: the state, more specifically, the so-called runaway, bloated, paternalistic, out-of-control, welfare state.  This claim doesn’t pass the sniff test.”

So, in addition to a keen mind and knowledge that ideas drive institutions, Blyth tackled the economics of voluntary deflation as a way of fulfilling the academic’s calling to be what Blyth calls “the Bul*l*hit police.”  So, reader beware, heading into the history of austerity as public policy propels one into a *hit storm.

Austerity is supposed to inspire business confidence because government won’t be sucking up available capital to issue debt or adding to the payments to service existing debt.  Voting for austerity is a vote for productive investment instead of waste, and government stimulus only gets in the way, according to the dominant economic thinking.  To which Blyth replies, “There is just one slight problem with this rendition of events: it is completely and utterly wrong, and the policy of austerity is more often than not exactly the wrong thing to do precisely because it produces the very outcomes you are trying to avoid.”

Despite the intuitive attractiveness of the idea that you cannot cure debt with more debt, it is also true that we cannot grow when we are all trying to be austere at the same time.  When that happens, as it is, individuals respond by taking a pay cut to keep their jobs, just as hundreds of thousands of teachers have in the United States.  The first thing they do, of course, is cut consumption.  They may also cut their personal debt by paying down credit card balances.  That shrinks the economy again.

Blyth takes his readers through the American and European “too big to fail” banking crisis that converted private debts and massive business failures into government debt.  In the case of Europe these became large enough that they continue to threaten both national economies and the continued existence of the Euro.  “The greatest bait and switch in history,” Blyth calls it as he traces its history as an economic idea and how it has worked in practice.  Not well.

What does this have to do with education policy?   In two respects, a great deal.  First, a slow national economy hammers state budgets for schools and colleges.  In a very real way, it has been teachers and kids who have bailed out the bankers.   For teachers, it’s furloughs and wage give backs.  For college students it’s higher tuition and student debt.

Second, austerity kills the “education dream story,” the idea that if parents can get their children to work hard in school and persist through college social mobility will result.  While it is still true that college graduation markedly increases the chances for employment and economic self-sufficiency, it’s also true that the prospects for this generation of college students is not as great as it was for their parents.  College is a riskier investment than it used to be.

When the faith in education falters, youth find other ways forward.  In Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, unemployment rates among college educated young adults fuels political instability.  Could something larger and more potent than the Occupy movement take place in America?  A glance at countries as diverse as Brazil, Egypt, and Sweden suggests that it could.  Austerity could crash the very institutions it was intended to perpetuate.

* * *

Mayor’s pledge to boost summer jobs illustrates the possibility of city government and its limits. New Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has pledged to boost summer jobs for youth.  It’s the right move.  The city was able to provide fewer than 4,000 jobs last summer.  But it also shows how limited this or any mayor is in wrenching the economy.  City governments, unlike the national government, have to balance their books, and during hard or show economic times have no choice but to be austere.

* * *

See a review of Austerity by Paul Krugman in the New York Review of Books, by Lawrence Summers in the Financial Times, and links to other reviews from the Watson Institute at Brown.

In the Orchard of Education Technology

Posted on | June 7, 2013 | Comments Off on In the Orchard of Education Technology

Amending a PACE Policy Brief:

I got in trouble at a meeting recently for repeating the opening assertion of the policy brief I wrote for Policy Analysis for California Education. [View or download brief] As the brief says, “education technology has always over-promised and under-delivered.”  The assertion, which is reasonably backed up by history and research, drew critical comment from tech-enthusiastic teachers.  That, they said, must have been some other universe, or at least some other classroom!

But, indeed, the tendency of technology policy to concentrate on buying devices or bandwidth is a problem.  It substitutes the easy job of filling out purchase orders for the hard thinking and action involved in changing the learning system, and that is the potential we are offered by Internet-fueled technology.

After the brief went to press, I began to think about technology policy as an orchard.

First, pick the low overhanging fruit by investing in applications that help the most expensive and difficult parts of schooling, including Special Education, English Language Learners, and remediation.

Second—and this is the hard part—we should graft some new branches onto the existing tree of learning.  Technology can provide a new learning infrastructure.  Information, teaching, testing: all available direct to students, who are the real workers in the education system.

Third, we should trim back the intertwined roots of the institution.  Many writers on technology see regulation as the singular solution to the advance of new learning modalities.  I disagree.  But there are some important changes that should be made.

We should gradually move away from “seat time” funding and toward paying schools on the basis of achievement.  In my mind, this change is not so much an “accountability” requirement—“you don’t get paid till students can demonstrate they learned something”—as it is a productivity incentive, making it possible for students to move faster if they can without stigmatizing those whose progress is slower.

For a lot of students, high school and college could take seven years, not the eight or nine now required.

We should also move away from geographic exclusiveness.  Existing school districts and teachers should be able to offer virtual learning, which I see as much more the distribution of courses and lessons than whole on-line schools, statewide, not just in the confines of their school district or in contiguous counties.

I hope you’ll read and comment on the brief itself, which is available free from PACE in pdf form.   Technology policy is hard, and it will benefit from the thoughts of many contributors.

To Make Students Learn, Make Schools Smart First

Posted on | May 30, 2013 | Comments Off on To Make Students Learn, Make Schools Smart First

I learned a thing or three on last Friday, and it’s taken me a week to digest it all.  For reasons unknown, I was invited to meet with some very bright teachers who are advisors to the California Council of Science and Technology, the state analogue to the prestigious National Science Academy.

The CCST has been wrestling with what to do about digital education, and the invited group of teachers, tech developers, and onlookers spent Friday exploring the efficacy of new modes of learning.

Although I was invited to talk (mostly I introduced a policy paper on technology just released by Policy Analysis for California Education), for most of the day I listened intently to the participants as they described how they used technology in their work and what those experiences were teaching them.

And here’s what I learned: Teachers and tech developers learn the most when there is rapid, reliable feedback about the efficacy of teaching and learning.  This observation crosses platform and technology: new tech, old tech, or no tech.  When the learning system builds in feedback, learners are better able to correct their mistakes and teachers are more effective in managing the learning process. Read more

4-26-13: Annotating the News

Posted on | April 26, 2013 | Comments Off on 4-26-13: Annotating the News

Capacity building as a precursor to testing

The L.A. Times has seen the elephant in the room.  In a switch from its past obsession with test score accountability, the paper editorialized on Monday that we ought to be paying more attention to what students are supposed to be learning and particularly to the roll-out of the Common Core of standards, which is supposed to take place in 2014.

The promise of the Common Core to provide deeper learning and better testing will work only if a matching curriculum and testing system is in place and if teachers are trained.  “[A]t the rate California is going, it won’t be ready,” the Times said, echoing my fears and an EdSource commentary by Arun Ramanathan

We need to build capacity before we rush to implement the Common Core and point fingers at those who, given the current preparedness, will surely stumble over its complexities.  The Times said as much:

Experts are divided over the value of the new curriculum standards, which might or might not lead students to the deeper reading, reasoning and writing skills that were intended. But on this much they agree: The curriculum will fail if it isn’t carefully implemented with meaningful tests that are aligned with what the students are supposed to learn.  Legislators and education leaders should be putting more emphasis on helping teachers get ready for common core and giving them a significant voice in how it is implemented.  And if the state can’t get the right elements in place to do that by 2014, it would be better off delaying the new curriculum a couple of years and doing it right, rather than allowing common core to become yet another educational flash in the pan that never lives up to its promise.

There oughta be an immigration law!

A decade ago Samuel Huntington declared that the “Hispanic challenge” would threaten our historic values.  Latinos, he asserted, were just too different to assimilate into the U.S.  [A small aside: family historians found that our forebearers worshiped in German for at least the first 50 years after coming to America.] This week, a pair of dispatches suggested just how wrong he was about Latinos and immigrants in general.

In the New York Times, David Leonhardt reported on the remarkable progress of Latino immigrants, comparing first and second generations:  College graduation up from 11% to 21% compared to 36% for the population at large; less than high school education down from 47% to 17%; median income up from $34.6 thousand to $48.4 thousand.  James P. Smith at RAND calls Latinos “the new Italians,” like the immigrants from a century ago that arrived poor and undereducated.  And like Italians, Latinos are rapidly intermarrying with other Americans: up from 7% in the first generation to 26% in the second.

Meanwhile, the Economist underscores the extent to which highly educated immigrants have pushed our economy.  Forty percent of the high tech companies in California were started by immigrants, most famously, Google, whose co-founder Sergey Brin moved to the U.S. from Russia as a child.

Both stories underscore the necessity of an immigration law, not to be “nice” to immigrants, but to benefit the nation.  As Leonhardt writes, illegal status “brings enormous disadvantages that inhibit climbing the economic ladder.”  At the same time, current law allows only 250,000 foreign nationals with special skills into the country, less than one-tenth of a percent of the workforce, into the country annually.  “America’s job-generating machine cannot run at full throttle for long if it is starved of fuel,” the Economist argues.

Of MOOCs and mentors

It’s hard to go through a day’s emails without seeing reference to Massive Open Online Courses.  More than 5-million students have registered online for free or inexpensive courses run by Coursea, Udacity, or edX.  But as A. J. Jacobs writes in the New York Times, you can forget about the Socratic method.

One may get the wisdom of first-rate professors, but you don’t get the professors.  Jacobs signed up for 11 courses, and graded the whole experience with as a B, but personal interaction only got a D, writing: “Coursera and its competitors will have to figure out how to make teachers and teaching assistants more reachable.  More like local pastors, less like deities on high.”

And that’s an important point.  Teaching, both K-12 and college, has always been a bundled experience of instruction, assessment, and guidance.  MOOCs, which are essentially a sophisticated broadcast media, may present very good lectures and ancillary material much more cheaply than conventional schools and colleges, but they’re not the medium to change young lives.

Although the two stories don’t reference one another, the same section of the N.Y. Times, carries a moving eulogy by writer Philip Roth for his high school teacher.  Bob Lowenstein became a mentor and friend, a reader of Roth’s drafts and a writer of poetry.  He also became a (slightly disguised) character in Roth’s book “I Married a Communist,” the subject of which, “is at bottom, education, tutelage, mentorship, in particular the education of an eager, earnest and impressionable adolescent in how to be come—as how well not to become—a bold and honorable and effective man.”

One may get great lectures, even great simulations from a MOOC, but they won’t grow you up.  Nor will you go speak at a MOOC’s funeral.

Higher Education Faces an “Avalanche”

Posted on | April 24, 2013 | Comments Off on Higher Education Faces an “Avalanche”

A new report by Sir Michael Barber and his colleagues at Pearson, Katelyn Donnelly and Saad Rizvi, should be on the reading list of everyone thinking about the future of higher education.

An Avalanche is Coming describes—somewhat breathlessly—the forces that are about to reshape colleges and universities worldwide.  Globalization and technology are game changers, they argue.  Barber, Donnelly, and Rivzi channel both Tom Friedman’s flat world and Clayton Christensen’s ideas about disruptive innovation.

But to a greater extent, they are channeling their own experience.  Few people on the planet have the experience and access to the highest levels of power and discussion about education policy as these three.  They have strapped themselves into a lot of airplane seats.

Barber has practiced education policy at the highest levels for three decades.  His Education in the Capital became a keystone for the Blair government in the United Kingdom, in which he served.  Then he headed the global education practice unit at the consulting firm McKinsey before moving to Pearson, where he heads their worldwide program of research into educational policy.  Most recently, he has taken on one of the toughest jobs in the world, designing an education system in Pakistan.

Donnelly leads the Affordable Learning Fund that invests in early-stage companies that are developing low cost solutions for the developing world.  Rizvi leads Pearson’s efforts at efficient delivery of educational outcomes.  Thus, what’s notable about Avalanche, is the worldview of the authors and their position as both thought leaders and movers and shakers in education.

So, what does this transformative snow slide look like?  Mostly, it looks like a fortress with the walls breached and the marauders, well, marauding.  Territory that colleges and universities claimed as their own, sometimes in ringing Biblical city-on-a-hill language is becoming contested as:

  • Universities and colleges compete with one another across state and national borders.
  • Traditional higher education institutions compete with corporations, think tanks, and employers to offer both basic occupational training and high-level specialties.
  • Non-degree learning becomes valued equally with degrees offered by traditional institutions of higher education.

It is not just easy information access that is new, although I still marvel at my ability to “go to the library” at 2 am or have more computing power in my phone than did the university computer into which I fed punched cards a half-century ago.  Just as Barber, Donnelly, and Rizvi look at the Internet and declare content to be ubiquitous, so did John Dewey in School and Society more than a century ago when he wrote:

A high‐priesthood of learning, which guarded the treasury of truth and which doled it out to the masses under severe restrictions, was the inevitable expression of these (historic) conditions.  But as a direct result of the industrial revolution of which we have been speaking, this has been changed.  Printing was invented; it was made commercial.  Books, magazines, papers were multiplied and cheapened.  As a result of the locomotive and telegraph, frequent, rapid and cheap intercommunications by mails and electricity was called into being.  Travel has been rendered easy; freedom of movement, with its accompanying exchange of ideas, indefinitely facilitated. The result has been an intellectual revolution (1900, p. 23).

That earlier democratization of knowledge ushered in the largest expansion of universities and colleges in history.  But it also profoundly reshaped both their utilitarian and social missions.  Universities became gatekeepers for occupations, the pathway to social and occupational status, and the engine that drove economies.

To me, the power of the coming avalanche lies in the unbundling of the university’s historic functions of teaching, research, and societal service.  This model of university, what the University of California president Clark Kerr was to call a multiversity, is possible because of enormous cross-subsidization.  Tuition supports much more than direct instruction.  Undergraduate teaching supports graduate students doing research.  Research grants support students and faculty supplying resources for teaching.  Research also draws star faculty, enhances reputation, and draws more research funds, which are highly concentrated in elite institutions.  The presence of colleges and universities changes communities, including the desirability of neighborhoods and the price of real estate.

And in many ways, universities become basic industries, driving the economies of regions, states, and, sometimes, whole nations.  Barber, Donnelly, and Rizvi cite Stanford at the grain of sand that started Silicon Valley, but there are scores of other examples including the decidedly non-elite community colleges that have had a profound effect on their surrounding communities.

Unbundling the three historic functions, puts the institution at risk, and that is the point of Avalanche.

It’s a good read, and it lifts the veil a bit about the future of higher education from three people who are busy bringing it about.

D.C. School Cheating Issue Calls Test-Driven Incentives into Question

Posted on | April 22, 2013 | Comments Off on D.C. School Cheating Issue Calls Test-Driven Incentives into Question

This post can also be found at EdSource

The smoke surrounding allegations of test score cheating in the Washington, D.C public schools burst into flame last week.  In a 4,300-word blog post, titled Michelle Rhee’s Reign of Error, the veteran educational journalist John Merrow linked the former schools chancellor with documents that suggest that she knew about widespread cheating on standardized tests and looked the other way.

Merrow drew parallels between Washington and Atlanta, where former superintendent Beverly Hall and 34 others have been indicted.  But the underlying question is whether school reform can successfully be driven by rewards and punishments tied to standardized tests.

First, the Watergate question: what did Rhee know and when did she know it?  As U.S.A. Today reported, District of Columbia Public Schools officials have long maintained that a 2011 test-cheating scandal that generated two government probes was limited to one elementary school.  Merrow, however, reported that a long-buried memo from an outside data consultant warned as far back as January 2009 that educator cheating on 2008 standardized tests could have been widespread, with 191 teachers in 70 schools “implicated in possible testing infractions.”

Consultant Fay G. Sanford noted substantial numbers of erasures on test forms where corrections were made from wrong answers to correct ones.  (Erasers leave smudge marks that the machines doing the grading recognize along with the answers.)  “It is common knowledge in the high-stakes testing community that one of the easiest ways for teachers to artificially inflate student test scores is to erase student wrong responses to multiple choice questions and recode them as correct,” Sanford wrote.

When asked, Rhee said that she didn’t recall getting a memo from Sanford an assertion she repeated last week to the Los Angeles Times editorial board.

A day after the Merrow report was issued, another investigation was released citing “critical” violations of test security in 18 classrooms located in 7 district schools and 4 charters.  The test was given in more than 2,600 classrooms, and current D.C. schools chancellor Kaya Henderson said in a statement, “We are pleased that this is yet another investigation that confirms that there is no widespread cheating at DCPS.”

But Henderson is not quelling demands for a district-wide investigation.  Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, has called for an independent investigation as did Washington Post writer Valerie Strauss, who said, “The memo does not offer conclusive evidence that cheating occurred, but it literally begs for a thorough probe to be conducted — this time by investigators with subpoena powers.”

Meanwhile, an in-depth evaluation of D.C. schools by a National Research Council panel continues.  The study is chaired by two Californians: Carl Cohn, a professor at Claremont Graduate University and member of the state school board, and Lorraine McDonnell, a professor of political science at U.C. Santa Barbara.  Their work is not confined to test tampering, but considers the overall effect of governance and management changes. Read more

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Charles Taylor Kerchner is an Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Fellow at Claremont Graduate University. My daily musings appear in the blog. The archives of my EdWeek blog are available via link under the 'On California' head. Some of my photography can be seen by clicking on 'Gallery.' And numerous links to academic work and other research and commentary can be found by clicking on 'Projects.'


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