Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Who? Who? Who? Contest

...Well, don't be an owl. Let us know who you think will win the Presidential election by how many electoral votes. And while you are at it, let us know what you think the new president will mean for K-12 education. Just click on "comments" and let us know. Deadline is midnight November 3. Closest prediction wins a stuffed owl.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Other Options

NCLB’s “other” option --- Check out this guest blog entry by Cheryl Sattler former Knowledge Alliance Policy Action Group participant extraordinaire who makes a big pitch for education management companies in turning around low performing schools. To our way of thinking, like with any intervention, it is the of the quality “experts” and the effectiveness of using research based knowledge that makes the biggest difference.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Costumes in DC

Courtesy of Ericka Miller's (of Ed Trust)twin 10 year old nephews. Which one do you prefer?

Lame Ducked

Lame Ducked! – As we reported last week, it now is almost certain that the Congress will be back after the elections to deal with a new economic stimulus package. So we will be watching a lame duck Congress tackle some urgent issues in mid November right at the start of the transition process for the new Administration. Interesting times ahead around the time of our board meeting and special forum November 12-13.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Divisions with Obama’s ed camp? You alert readers might recall that two weeks ago we attended a campaign debate between two campaign ed advisors that was memorialized in this David Hoff blog entry. Well, last week Mike Petrilli of the Fordham Foundation gave further evidence in Gadfly about the apparent divisions that seem to have emerged in the Obama camp. This beckons back to last June’s controversies surrounding two Democrat-leaning reform initiatives that David Brooks highlighted his opinion piece in the New York Times. Hmmm…confusing, yes? In chatting with an Obama education advisor last night, we heard a familiar refrain: Senator Obama is the final word and his education plan is very clear about where he stands.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

NCLB's Fannie Mae?

NCLB’s Fannie Mae? -- See this important article on NCLB and the number of schools already deemed in need of improvement or headed for that status, and the strain on educators. Our message is right on the mark in calling for the effective use of research-based knowledge in school improvement as a leading edge of innovation and improvement in K-12 education and a central organizing concept for federal education policy.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Winna...!

And the winna is… Brownsville School District... for the annual Broad Prize for Urban Education, that is. A rose of a pick! Read about it here and here and here. BTW what famous 60’s rock star (now deceased) was from Brownsville and who had a very rough time in school there oh so many years ago?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The E word during the final POTUS debate? Yes!

The E word during the final POTUS debate? Yes! --- We have waded and waited through over 20 debates during the primary season and now four debates in the general before a significant (five minutes!) discussion about education. Read the transcript here and a fine blog analysis here . But even with this extra attention the exchange was less than fulfilling for us … In five minutes you really can’t get any deeper than three or four talking points or delve into the more complex issues of accountability and innovation that actually deserve much more attention.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

...Barely a Key Issue

Our friends at the Campaign k-12 blog write about the discouraging lack of focus on education in the campaign. We think that while education is not a pivotal issue in this election it will generate a lot of attention in the first 100 days of the new administration. There will be big time political pressure to address funding issues when the FY 2010 appropriations kicks off in March of 2009...and you can bet that the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will be a major focus in Congress right away.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

And the next Sec of Ed is…

See about whom the Congressional Quarterly speculates here. Regardless of who is elected, we are placing bets on a governor in the mold of Dick Riley during the Clinton years because of the political need to deal effectively with states in federal education policy. What do you think?

A socialist revolutionary agenda?

Whoa! Check out this online article that made it to the top posting on’s daily report last week. If you follow the article’s logic, American Education Research Association must be palling with al Qaeda. Ahhh...election year politics!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dear Mr Future POTUS

Dear Senators McCain and Obama
Here are three suggestions for enhancing your education platforms. Steal these ideas if you dare!

Fix NCLB by delivering solutions not just sanctions Accountability is an essential but not sufficient step in improving schools. The on-going effort to make federal accountability systems more workable and fairer needs to continue by testing alternative approaches to determining adequate yearly progress. But most importantly more time, attention, and resources need to be aimed at developing and delivering solutions to schools identified by the accountability to be in need of the greatest help. Specifically the next reauthorization of ESEA should call for a coherent and comprehensive delivery system involving applied research, development, knowledge management, technical assistance, professional development, and evaluation. Priority attention should be aimed at turning around chronically low performing schools and addressing the unique needs of underserved and underachieving populations.

Unleash American ingenuity in solving the most persistent and significant education problems In many sectors such as medicine, agriculture, energy, and defense, research and development (R&D) has served as the catalyst for innovation and change. New products, services and techniques are constantly developed, tested and refined to address current and future problems and challenges. Education R&D should be reinvented as an incubator of breakthrough innovations and focused on translating research into action. The federal R& D budget in education should be increased to 5% (about $3billion) of the federal education budget with a significant portion dedicated to an innovation fund for research-based school improvement. This innovation initiative should stimulate a knowledge market and mobilize dynamic and robust relationships among researchers, developers, knowledge brokers, practitioners and policy makers..

Build the capacity for change and innovation
States and localities do not currently have the capacity in terms of time and expertise to undertake many of the transformative changes needed in our schools to meet 21st Century needs. The federal government should provide the needed additional support at the state and local level to develop human capital, build a useable knowledge base, and foster innovation. Specifically, the federal investment in the school improvement fund should be doubled to $1 billion and refined to include programs for sharing promising practices, testing innovative interventions, and creating data and knowledge management systems.

All the best,
The Knowledge-able Sourcerer

And the new Secretary of Education is...

See about whom the Congressional Quarterly speculates here. Regardless who is elected, we are placing bets on a governor in the mold of Dick Riley during the Clinton years because of the political need to deal effectively with states in federal education policy.