“You shall not deny the Blogger.”

November 8, 2013

Strongbad using technology

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

T.S. Eliot and I would like to welcome a new blog, launched by my colleagues at the Friedman Foundation. They’ve decided to start out with something relatively simple and uncontroversial: the foundation’s stance on Common Core. Robert “The Barbarian” Enlow lays it out:

School choice is a far more effective way to improve educational outcomes than centralized standards imposed from above. A main concern with Common Core is that it could restrict entrepreneurship in education, so that parents will have fewer and less diverse choices. By contrast, universal school choice can provide a more vibrant system of schooling so that parents will have numerous and more varied high-quality options.

Check the blog next Wednesday for Friedman’s new report on how private schools use standardized tests in response to parental demand: “More Than Scores: An Analysis of Why and How Parents Choose Private Schools.” As Robert comments:

Do we need to ensure our children are competitive in a global economy? Definitely. Do we need to test our children to help parents understand their proficiency and growth? Most parents think so, and that’s why virtually all private schools use privately developed, voluntary standardized tests.

And keep your eyes on the blog for regular updates on the latest data, developments and derring-do. Embarrassing childhood photos are a free bonus.

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The Narcissus Index

April 2, 2013

Twitter can be handy for announcing links to other material, following breaking news and unfolding events, or for humor.   But for policy discussion, Twitter has to be just about the dumbest thing on the planet.  Watching people attempt to have meaningful exchanges on Twitter is just ridiculous (and I should know because I have occasionally attempted it with miserable results).

Some education policy analysts, however, are undeterred by the stupidity of Twitter and are determined to attempt to change the world through thousands of 140 character messages.  Quite often they are communicating thousands of profound 140 character messages to a relatively small number of followers.  As is too typical in education policy debates, everyone is on the stage and almost no one is in the audience.

So, I’ve developed the Narcissus Index, which is the ratio of the number of Tweets people have issued to the number of their followers.  Essentially it is the ratio of how much we love hearing ourselves talk to how many people actually want to listen to us.  I identified 80 education policy analysts from Mike Petrilli’s ranking of the most influential education policy Tweeters as well as the list of Tweeters followed by the Fordham Institute.  I excluded the Twitter accounts of organizations, focusing only on individuals.  I also excluded office-holders and reporters who may Tweet or be followed by virtue of their position rather than as a means of influencing education policy.  I then recorded the number of Tweets and followers for each of these analysts as of today.

I’m sure that I’ve missed some people who I should have included and vice versa, but hey… this is a blog post, not a dissertation.  And it’s true that people have been on Twitter for different lengths of time, but more time should allow people to accumulate more followers as well as send more Tweets, so I think that mostly balances out.  Lastly, this list is also probably distorted by age, since younger people are more likely to Tweet about everything, including how delicious dinner was, in addition to their thoughts about education policy.

As you can see in the table below, 47 of the 80 education policy analysts I examined had more Tweets than followers.  That is, they had more things to say to the world than there were people who wanted to hear them.  Some people have quite a lot that they need to tell the world in 140 characters.  Teacher and blogger, Larry Ferlazzo has the most Tweets, with 55,215, followed by Diane Ravitch (41,798), and RiShawn Biddle (37,514).  Ravitch has even more followers than she has Tweets, for a ratio of .87 Tweets to followers, but Ferlazzo and Biddle don’t have the followers to match their prolific Tweeting, with ratios of 2.21 and 6.89, respectively.

USC professor, Morgan Polikoff, wins the prize for the highest ratio, with 15.19 times more Tweets than followers.  I think he is relatively new to Twitter, so perhaps his followers will catch up to his Tweeting.  The Frustrated Teacher, Dave Russell, may be frustrated by having 12.64 times more Tweets than followers.  Wisconsin professor, Sara Goldrick-Rab has 9.93 times more Tweets than followers.  And South Florida professor, Sherman Dorn, has 8.82 times as many Tweets as followers.

At the opposite end of the list we see some education policy analysts with very large numbers of followers relative to Tweets.  A lot of people want to hear the relatively few things they have to say.  Jeb Bush has 79,312 followers compared to only 582 Tweets for a Narcissus Index score of only .01.  When Michelle Rhee talks, people want to listen, giving her a a ratio of only .03.  Alfie Kohn has nearly 20 times more followers than his 1,243 Tweets.  And Linda Perlstein has nearly 10 times as many followers as Tweets.

Now while you guys search for your own names and argue about the results, I’ll just go ahead and Google myself to read more about me.  I clearly need to invest more in my Narcissism.

Name Handle Tweets Followers Ratio
Morgan Polikoff  @mpolikoff 6,576 433 15.19
The Frustrated Teacher @tfteacher 25,742 2,036 12.64
Sara Goldrick-Rab  @saragoldrickrab 32,516 3,276 9.93
Sherman Dorn   @shermandorn 9,558 1,084 8.82
RiShawn Biddle  @dropoutnation 37,514 5,442 6.89
Neal McCluskey  @NealMcCluskey 7,266 1,112 6.53
Ben Boychuk  @benboychuk 10,384 1,627 6.38
Nancy Flanagan @nancyflanagan 16,354 2,914 5.61
Matt Williams  @mattawilliams 2,572 464 5.54
Mike Klonsky @mikeklonsky 20,575 3,777 5.45
Ashley Inman  @ahsleyemilia 819 151 5.42
Allie Kimmel  @allie_kimmel 5,409 1,019 5.31
Rachel Young  @msrachelyoung 2,230 445 5.01
Laura Bornfreund  @laurabornfreund 2,819 565 4.99
Deborah M. McGriff  @dmmcgriff 2,660 548 4.85
John Bailey  @john_bailey 12,545 2,901 4.32
Jamie Davies O’Leary  @jamieoleary 870 236 3.69
Terry Stoops  @terrystoops 1,795 546 3.29
Eric Lerum  @ericlerum 1,614 491 3.29
Marc Porter Magee  @marcportermagee 4,284 1,414 3.03
Jenna Schuette Talbot  @jennastalbot 5,165 1,708 3.02
Kathleen Porter Magee  @kportermagee 2,997 1,229 2.44
Larry Ferlazzo  @larryferlazzo 55,215 25,016 2.21
Sam Chaltain @samchaltain 7,742 3,540 2.19
Erik Syring  @eriksyring 2,825 1,325 2.13
John Nash  @jnash 2,945 1,383 2.13
Matthew K. Tabor  @matthewktabor 10,081 4,811 2.10
David DeSchryver  @ddeschryver 1,546 747 2.07
Lindsey Burke  @lindseymburke 2,943 1,593 1.85
Mike McShane  @MQ_McShane 658 358 1.84
Matthew Ladner  @matthewladner 660 360 1.83
Alexander Russo @alexanderrusso 17,254 9,665 1.79
Bruce Baker  @schlFinance101 6,049 3,768 1.61
Joanne Jacobs  @joanneleejacobs 5,182 3,303 1.57
Howard Fuller  @howardlfuller 4,163 2,673 1.56
Robert Pondiscio  @rpondiscio 3,013 1,999 1.51
Adam Emerson  @adamjemerson 787 532 1.48
Chad Alderman  @chadalderman 1,984 1,458 1.36
Anthony Cody @anthonycody 5,759 4,289 1.34
Andrew P. Kelly  @andrewpkelly 693 532 1.30
Irvin Scott  @iscott4 1,565 1,221 1.28
Matt Chingos  @chingos 878 710 1.24
Neerav Kingsland  @neeravkingsland 956 824 1.16
Andy Smarick  @smarick 4,840 4,267 1.13
Doug Levin  @douglevin 4,671 4,286 1.09
Charles Barone  @charlesbarone 2,311 2,163 1.07
Kevin P. Chavous  @kevinpchavous 1,340 1,339 1.00
Michael Petrilli @michaelpetrilli 5,967 6,196 0.96
Gary Rubinstein  @garyrubinstein 1,219 1,344 0.91
Patrick Riccards @Eduflack 11,356 12,671 0.90
Diane Ravitch @DianeRavitch 41,798 47,956 0.87
Greg Richmond  @GregRichmond 366 455 0.80
Randi Weingarten @rweingarten 16,353 21,071 0.78
Paul Queary  @paulqueary 1,117 1,496 0.75
Heather Higgins  @TheHRH 383 530 0.72
Ulrich Boser  @ulrichboser 1,332 1,923 0.69
Vicki Davis  @coolcatteacher 34,109 50,600 0.67
Mickey Kaus  @kausmickey 8,813 14,362 0.61
Justin Cohen  @juscohen 895 1,470 0.61
Tom Vander Ark @tvanderark 8,044 13,805 0.58
Andrew Rotherham  @arotherham 5,396 9,425 0.57
Jeanne Allen  @jeanneallen 1,998 3,538 0.56
Roxanna Elden  @roxannaElden 644 1,159 0.56
Lisa Duty  @lisaduty1 1,801 3,359 0.54
Sara Mead   @saramead 2,268 4,597 0.49
Dana Goldstein @DanaGoldstein 5,826 12,820 0.45
Richard Lee Colvin  @R_Colvin 1,472 3,336 0.44
Not Diane Ravtich  @NOTDianeRavitch 270 616 0.44
Ben Wildavsky  @wildavsky 577 1,327 0.43
Brian Backstrom  @nyedreform 824 1,948 0.42
Kevin Carey  @kevincarey1 1,444 3,601 0.40
Jay P. Greene  @jaypgreene 454 1,416 0.32
Matt Kramer  @kramer_matt 204 978 0.21
Michael Barber  @michaelbarber9 935 4,719 0.20
Wendy Kopp  @wendykopp 906 6,015 0.15
Vicki Phillips  @drvickip 476 3,842 0.12
Linda Perlstein  @lindaperlstein 364 3,202 0.11
Alfie Kohn @alfiekohn 1,243 27,489 0.05
Michelle Rhee @m_rhee 1,353 48,945 0.03
Jeb Bush  @jebbush 582 79,312 0.01

Set Your Proton Packs to Ridicule: The First Four Years of Jayblog

April 9, 2012

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

I remember a few years ago Dan Lips asked me if I would ever consider blogging. My reaction was something along the lines of “Naaaah, why would I want to do that?”

Four years in now, it is hard to imagine doing policy work without blogging. Blogging is a great way to test-drive ideas, get feedback, and have fun doing it. Nothing else moves with the speed of the modern conversation.

The story of this blog can be told using images as guideposts. Some images are associated not with a single post but rather a series of posts, starting with this one:

Blogs of course are the media equivalent of a pea-shooter, but with a careful aim you can put out an eye here and there.

The finest hour of the JPGB, in my opinion, came when Senator Durbin accepted marching orders from the NEA and attempted to pillow smother the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. The strategy was to not reauthorize the law, and not to allow new students to enter the program, killing it by attrition. Similar to the British strategy to give arms to bloodthirsty loyalist hillbillies in the American South during the Revolutionary War, this strategy seemed shrewd at the time but backfired badly.

Once the dirty work was (temporarily) done, the Department of Education made a clumsy attempt to deep six the Congressionally mandated program evaluation by releasing it on a Friday with a spin doctored press release. That probably seemed like a great idea at the time as well.

One problem- the study itself was written in English and available online, and Jay reads English and blogs. Jay read the study and leapt into the fray, dubbing the incident “the Friday Night Massacre.” The Wall Street Journal and the Denver Post made inquiries regarding the handling of the study and let’s just say that the administration’s reaction subtracted from their already waning credibility on the matter.

From there, things just kind of got better and better. The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal editorial pages administered regular beat-downs from both the left and the right. NRO’s Jim Geraghty summed up the Obama’s new position on D.C. vouchers:

We know our stance is indefensible; please make this issue go away.”

Eventually President Obama made the issue go away by reauthorizing the program in a budget deal, the best strategic course after bumbling into a sideshow that is costing more than it was worth. Many people deserve credit for saving the program, and Jay is one of them.

In the end, the underdogs won the debate in resounding fashion, kind of like this:

The next image is this one:

Greg’s bet with Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews proved to be great fun. Mathews wrote a piece opining that private choice was simply too politically difficult so he was sticking to charter schools.

Greg bet Mathews dinner that ten legislative chambers would pass either expansions or new choice programs in 2011.

Being a good sport, Greg raised the bar for himself to 7 enactments rather than legislative chambers when he blasted past 10 chambers in 3.6 seconds or so.

Greg ran up the score like John Heisman in 2011. I’m not sure whether he tripled up on Mathews in the end or not. He probably narrowly missed doing so, but the momentum carried over to 2012. So far we have a new tax credit program in Virginia, a tax-credit expansion in Arizona, a tax-credit expansion in Florida, and a major new voucher program in Louisiana. Greg’s original 2011 bet has already been exceeded in 2012, and even his higher bar bet of 7 enactments isn’t inconceivable this year. I now think of Greg’s original bet as the over/under for a good/bad year for the parental choice movement.

No word yet on where Mathews took Greg for dinner nor how much effort it took not to gloat.

Big Think Pieces

I like Greg’s listing of favorite Big-Think pieces, and there are some common threads between them. Greg for instance did an outstanding job laying out why most education reform efforts tend to go nowhere under the current system.

My favorite Jay Big Thinker came when Goldstein-Gone-Wild asked Jay what he would do if he ran the Gates Foundation in the comments section. Jay replied: build new, don’t reform old. If someone appointed me King, I’d make that post required reading for philanthropists as my first official act.

My second official act would probably involve a redirected asteroid and College Station Texas. If they promised to stop the belly aching about the Longhorn Network, I could be persuaded to allow an evacuation.

The Big Thinkers I had the most fun writing both came early in the blog: The Way of the Future in American Schooling and Indiana Jones and the Teacher Quality Crusade. Reasoning by pop-culture analogy got to be a fun habit, which leads us to…

Parodies

A friend of mine once asked me if I had ever noticed that people tend to think of people just to the left of them as communists, and people just to the right of them as fascists. Only the self stands in exactly the correct spot of thoughtful perfection.

I’ve always kept this jest in mind as a pretty powerful argument in favor of being broad-minded and open to the possibility of needing to perform an occassional mental update.

Nevertheless, the opportunity to unleash a good parody now and then certainly can liven up an otherwise dry discussion.

For instance, the desirable degree of state oversight of a private school choice program is an important topic, but usually a bit on the dry side. Okay, more than a bit.

Despite the fact that I have more than a little sympathy for the point of view parodied, I never laughed so hard at a blog post as I did with with Greg’s AWWWW FREAKOUT!!!  post regarding attacks from the Cato Institute on the new Indiana voucher program.

No, I take it back-Greg’s post on the UFT Card Check, while not a parody itself (more like the documentary of the UFT performing an unintentional self-parody) was the inspiration of so many lampoons that it has to stand as the funniest post of the first four years. Jay’s Fordham Drinking is up there as well.

Of the lampoons I have written, Little Ramona’s Gone Hillbilly Nuts, AFT suggests LBO for Public Schools and JK Rowling: The Jeb Bush of NEPC’s Florida Fantasy were the most fun to write.

What’s Next?

Facing a cannon barrage from a gigantic Turkish army, Baron Munchausen declared to his bedraggled henchmen “They are inviting us to defeat them! We must oblige them!”

No one knows what will happen around the next bend, but my advice is to grab your pea-shooter and take aim. It’s been a blast for us so far, and it isn’t like the bad guys show any sign of slowing the rate of demonstrably false claims.


Favorites from Four Years in the Rearview

April 9, 2012

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

Jay P. Greene’s Blog turns four years old on April 19. To mark the occasion, Jay, Matt and I are each going to pick our favorites from one another’s posts. I’m glad Jay decided that where there are three major contributors to an accomplishment, all three should be honored – unlike some people I could mention.

It has been a real joy and a huge privilege to be part of all we’ve accomplished in the past four years. And it has been as fun as just about anything I’ve ever been part of.

Picking only these posts out of the dozens I wanted to include was tough. I’m still so, so close to reopening this and adding a couple more. But no – here are my picks.

Greg’s Favorite Jay Posts

Gates Foundation Follies, Part 1 and Part 2, July 25-26, 2011

The fight over national standards has consistently brought out the very best of Jay, both on the intellectual side and the humor side. To me, though, this two-parter is the keystone. More or less all the important issues are touched on here, and in a form that shows the broader applications of these insights for education reform generally. My favorite of my own “bigthink” posts (see below), which ended up bringing together the intellectual strands I had been strugling to integrate over numerous previous posts, was basically just my philosophical ruminations in response to Gates Foundation Follies.

The Dead End of Scientific Progressivism, January 18, 2011

Though occasioned by the fight over national standards (see above re “brought out the very best of Jay”) this post has much wider relevance. The nature of science and how it relates to policy is an issue of perennial importance for those in our line of work.

Al Copeland: Humanitarian of the Year, December 15, 2008

The post that started it all! One of the best things about JPGB has to be the annual Al Copeland award, and all of that got rolling because Jay did such a great job with this initial post. I can’t wait for the fall – I’m already working on my nominees for this year!

We Won!, September 29, 2010

When you get way down into the weeds, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. (Hey, that’s not even a mixed metaphor!) At a moment when many in the movement were starting to lose confidence, Jay saw the big picture. Subsequent events have only vindicated his predictions.

Build New Don’t Reform Old, August 2, 2011

A great statement of an important point. Smart policies and quality personnel are not all that matters – institutions themselves have their own importance. And they’re really, really, really hard to change. I predict this point is only going to become more relevant to the ed reform discussion in the years ahead.

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!, February 17, 2011

“It’s over for the little guy.”

Greg’s Favorite Matt Posts

The Way of the Future in American Schooling, May 12, 2008

Matt has given this blog almost all of its most powerful images: Meg Ryan and “I’ll have what Florida is having”; Jack Black and “Rock star pay for rock star teachers”; Kenneth Branagh and “The Democratic Party of story, myth, and song.” But no image has been more powerful than Leo DiCaprio’s Howard Hughes pointing us toward “the way of the future in American schooling.” The thing that has always come back to my mind, even four years later, is Matt’s edu-appropriation of Alan Alda’s sneering senator: “It’s not me, Howard. It’s the United States government. We just beat Germany and Japan. Who the hell are you?” He’s an entrepreneur. He makes this country. People like you just live in it.

AFT Suggests LBO for Public Schools, December 11, 2008

Matt has also given us some of our most powerful well-deserved mockeries. He dubbed Diane Ravitch “Little Ramona” and kicked off the notorious “Questions for Leo” and “Famous Steakholders” series. But no mockery has ever shamed its target more delightfully than Matt’s appointing of this blog’s first and only Sith apprentice, Darth Leo.

Checker Says RELAX!, July 29, 2010 and The Gates Foundation and the Rise of the Cool Kids, October 28, 2011

As great as Jay’s skewerings of Fordham have been, and as much as I’ve enjoyed my own forrays into that genre, Matt’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” themed post still sticks out in my mind as the leading entry. But Matt also brought some much-needed balance and perspective to the discussion of national standards in his wise reflections on the good work Gates has done and the deeper sources of our anxieties about their role. The final sentence of “Gates and the Rise” took guts and was very well said.

Al Copeland Humanitarian Nominee: Herbert Dow, October 8, 2010

Inspiring tale of a man who stuck his neck out to destroy an exploitative system and make the world a better place for everyone – except the leeches. Goosebumps!

Clousseau vs. Cato (Institute) and Cateaux!, April 22, 2011

Sometimes a pop culture reference fits so perfectly in every way that it’s hard to view it as anything but divinely ordained. “I rescind zee ordeur! CATEAUX?!?!?”

Greg’s Favorite Greg Posts

Command v. Choice, Part 1 and Part 2, July 26-27, 2011

When you get past all the details to look at the big picture, this is the best summary of what I want to say about education reform, nicely wrapped up in a two-part post. It feels good to finally get it off my chest! In my earlier four-part series on “Academics v. the Practical” I was struggling to integrate a lot of intellectual strands that had been developing over four years of writing for JPGB. Then I read Gates Foundation Follies (see above) and pieces began falling into place.


“No, I’m Not Going to Stand Somewhere Else,” October 14, 2010.

What Wim Nottroth did just blows me away. I’m honored to think that I’ve helped introduce more people to his story. And I still hold out hope that somewhere, Molly Norris (who left a comment on my “Nobody Draw Mohommad” post) read it and felt challenged by it. I’m also honored to have submitted a winning entry in the legendary Al Copeland competition! My most important contribution to “The Al” before that was another post I’m really proud of, but one that couldn’t have won because I was explaining why the inventor of the video game, William Higginbotham, was unworthy of the award.

City of the Dark Knight, Issue 0, Issue 1, Issue 2, Issue 3, Issue 4 and Issue 5, July 25-September 5, 2008

Of all the stuff I’ve done on JPGB, my favorites are heavily clustered in my pop culture coverage. Going all the way back to Speed Racer Is Better than Iron Man and including the James Bond posts, Ponyo, All Time Great Summer Movies, and Favorites of the Aughts. Good times! But the Dark Knight series remains my top pick of the lot.

The UFT’s “Cue Card Check,” April 15, 2009

The post that launched a thousand richly deserved mockeries. We’re still getting mileage out of it.

Vouchers: Evidence and Ideology, May 8, 2008

My first “bigthink” post, and emblematic of what would become a major theme here at JPGB – getting into protracted fights with purveyors of nonsense.

Here’s to the next four years of data, logic, deep thoughts, Al Copeland awards, pop culture apocalypses and general hilarity!

“Four more years! Four more years!”


The Return of Old Diane Ravitch

May 18, 2011

Good news.  After suspending Old Diane Ravitch‘s account, Twitter is allowing ODR to return as long as ODR changes names to @NOTDianeRavitch.  Of course, the new name is not really accurate.  ODR is tweeting things that Diane Ravitch actually said — just things that she used to say before whatever life-changing event caused her to make a 180.

ODR, or I should now say NDR, also sent me some interesting information about who complained to Twitter.  It is likely that it was our favorite thin-skinned and unreliable historian:

They sent me their guidelines for parody accounts (https://support.twitter.com/articles/106373), which contains a link to a page on their impersonation policy (https://support.twitter.com/articles/18366-impersonation-policy).
This page clearly states that “Twitter processes impersonation reports from the user being impersonated or someone legally authorized to act on behalf of the user/entity.” In other words, given that Twitter said they recieved a valid report that my account is engaged in non-parody impersonation and their policy that they only process reports from the user being impersonated (or their representative), it must be the case that the report came from Diane Ravitch (or someone she authorized to make the report).

In case Diane Ravitch or her legally authorized agent complain some more and get NDR removed from Twitter, I’ve reproduced all of ODR/NDR’s previous tweets below.

Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
But eventually, our society must face up to the challenge of educating all children.
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
Change is happening; it cannot be stopped, though, of course, it can be slowed, delayed, and compromised.
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
Many educators showed no interest in learning why American students seem to do worse as they get older. Instead, they attacked the test.
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
Hefty increases in inputs produced very little gain in student performance.
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
The schools are not meeting today’s challenge despite the fact that we have significantly increased the resources available for education.
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
But first a few closing thoughts from my article in @CityJournal:http://bit.ly/dvz8Pd
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
We all know how the story of @OldDianeRavitch ends. Tomorrow I trade in my Kool-Aid for a new flavor. Follow the new me: @DianeRavitch.
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
There is clearly a role for research, however, even if it is just producing ammunition for different sides. http://bit.ly/ezhO76
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
I believe that this is fundamentally a political struggle. It will be resolved in the political arena, and the data will become ammunition.
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
Some say it’s wrong to try a new strategy without a record of success, yet prevent new ideas from getting a fair trial.http://bit.ly/eROkHL
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
We must give poor kids a chance to escape the schools that are cruelly not educating them. http://bit.ly/gSTiwr
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
We must do whatever we can to end the awful cycle of wasted lives—which includes giving vouchers a chance.
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
The evidence on vouchers is scarce because of the largely successful campaign to block vouchers. http://bit.ly/gSTiwr
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
Some studies suggest that the school system in Milwaukee has responded positively to competition with non-public schools.
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
What rankles those who have no choice in the current system is that there are ample choices for those who have the resources to move.
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
Vouchers have now become a civil rights issue for a new generation of African American activists.
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
I supported NCLB because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Who would want to leave any child behind? http://bit.ly/b1RFNa00:08
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
I had some wonderful teachers, I had some terrible teachers.http://bit.ly/h9Tu5u 06:36
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
We have public schools that are absolutely spectacular and we have some that are awful schools. http://bit.ly/h9Tu5u 00:40
Old Diane Ravitch
OldDianeRavitch Old Diane Ravitch
If the public schools cannot do better than these alternatives, it should be up to the parents. http://bit.ly/ezhO76
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
If we found no difference in performance between charter, voucher, and regular public schools, it would not be a victory for the status quo.
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
We need value-added assessment so that we can be sure that kids are gaining from the instruction. http://bit.ly/ezhO76
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
We need to have absolute standards that hold for all students and that cannot be qualified by variables such as class or race.
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
I would be outraged if a social scientist told me my child was doing as well as could be expected for a child of his race, class, or gender.
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
I am a historian, and that means I do not have the social science background that many of the people in this room have.
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
We must not teach children to tolerate fanaticism, be it political or religious. http://bit.ly/l3bwre
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
We must not teach children to tolerate those who hijack commercial jetliners and kill innocent victims.
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Shanker warned that multiculturalism, as it is taught in the United States, is dangerous for a democratic, multiethnic society.
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Children in educationally bankrupt schools should be offered scholarships to use in any accredited school. http://nyti.ms/fvgSZf
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Despite the outpouring of media about a test backlash, it turns out that the public is not opposed to testing. http://bit.ly/hQzg0b
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
By adding an element of accountability, public charter schools actually strengthen the hand of local officials. http://bit.ly/eROkHL
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
In case you missed the YouTube video of my debate with @DianeRavitchhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Khn5q62o9LQ
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Many education reformers today are saying, “I hate privatization, but give me the money and don’t hold me accountable.”http://bit.ly/ezhO76
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Title I money should go to kids, not school districts, just the way higher education funding follows students. http://bit.ly/gXhIwj
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Poor kids in Title I schools do not perform better in school than poor kids who are not in Title I schools.
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
The federal government has poured more than $100 billion into Title I for poor kids, with little to show for it.
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Of course money matters and we should spend more money where more money is needed. No question about it. But there are other problems. 31:30
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Educators dumbed down curriculum because they thought most kids couldn’t do it; by having low expectations they reinforced mediocrity. 26:50
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Any school that’s a good school we should feel happy about; not just say rah-rah for public schools and boo to non-public schools. 20:25
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
People who went to Catholic schools and other kinds of schools are also good Americans. Our system of education is very pluralistic. 19:45
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Next four tweets are from my appearance on @NPR‘s Talk of the Nation (@totn): http://n.pr/lFd6wO (need RealPlayer to listen)
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
The quest for higher student performance is likely to be stymied by the large proportion of poorly prepared teachers. http://bit.ly/fGhGAL
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
What is the point of learning how to teach, if you don’t know what to teach? http://bit.ly/gi7b3O
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
An undergraduate major in education makes little sense.http://bit.ly/gi7b3O
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Instead of requiring irrelevant education courses, should examine prospective teachers for their academic knowledge.http://bit.ly/fOh3hY
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Debate with my formidable future self @DianeRavitch is now on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Khn5q62o9LQ
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Video of my debate with @DianeRavitchhttp://bit.ly/klL30I
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
It is hard to understand the hysteria stirred by the fear of choice with regard to the public schools. http://bit.ly/ezhO76
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Vouchers and charters will not destroy public education. This is an incredible and fantastic fear.
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Head Start has abandoned its focus on education in favor of an array of social services, nutrition and counseling. http://bit.ly/f13Rwg
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Social promotion pushes youngsters into high school even if they cannot read, and eventually causes them to drop out.http://nyti.ms/g509Zq
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Shanker: Schools need rigorous tests that have real consequences for students. http://bit.ly/gRxFE7
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Shanker: “Our current system is devastatingly bad for all our youngsters.”
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
First Teach Them English. http://nyti.ms/eTjr09
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch

@
@jaypgreene Sounds like you’re still sore from when I called out your misleading defense of bilingual education in the WSJ (7/10/98)
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
I object to the practice of assigning new teachers to troubled schools, often as a result of union seniority rules.http://nyti.ms/hakLGd
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Thanks for the follow @m_rhee — the next tweet’s for you!
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
@m_rhee The system we have serves adults, not children. Let’s reverse that formula. http://nyti.ms/fvgSZf
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
The public school system would be strengthened by the ability to shut down bad schools. http://bit.ly/eGNq4g
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
It is unjust there is no realistic way to force the closure of schools that students and parents would abandon if they could.
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
If the current system is successful for only half of students, then new approaches must be sought to help everyone elsehttp://bit.ly/eROkHL
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
The challenge to public education today is not to reinforce the correlation between achievement and social class, but to sever it.
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
There is a tendency to rationalize poor performance by implying that poverty equals destiny and so no one is to blame for failure.
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch

@
@DianeRavitch Without testing, there is no consistent way to measure success or failure. http://nyti.ms/hakLGd
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch

@
@DianeRavitch Future self, I can tell that you are going to be a formidable opponent.
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch

@
@DianeRavitch Many states are clamoring to reduce class size, but few are grappling with the most important questions.http://bit.ly/fOh3hY
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch

@
@DianeRavitch Public contracting is often referred to as “privatization,” but that label is misleading. http://bit.ly/eROkHL
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
It may be harder to graduate from high school than to become a certified teacher. http://bit.ly/fOh3hY
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch

@
@MichaelPetrilli I agree. Every school should have the power to select its own teachers, remove the incompetents.http://nyti.ms/gEEwOR
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Texas model has successfully improved the performance of black and Hispanic students, particularly in math and writinghttp://nyti.ms/dUlirj
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Congress should focus on the quality, not quantity, of the nation’s teaching corps. http://bit.ly/fOh3hY
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
NYC schools chancellor should have the power to close schools that consistently fail or engage in corrupt practices.http://nyti.ms/gEEwOR
NOT Diane Ravitch
NOTDianeRavitch NOT Diane Ravitch
Every classroom should have a well-educated, knowledgeable teacher. We are far from that goal today. http://bit.ly/fOh3hY

I’m Now a Two-Fisted Blogger!

March 4, 2011

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

Or something like that. First Things has anointed me to contribute to one of their blogs, First Thoughts. My debut post, responding to a new manifesto on the debt crisis by leaders of the evangelical left, is up.


Rankings Revised

January 6, 2011

Rick Hess along with Daniel Lautzenheiser have devised a ranking of the “public presence” of education academics.  They developed a 7 itemscoring rubric [that] reflects a given scholar’s body of academic work—encompassing books, articles, and the degree to which these are cited—as well as their footprint on the public discourse in 2010. ”

There is always something arbitrary and crappy about these rankings, but Rick is right when he argues, “For all their imperfections, I think these [ranking] systems convey real information—and do an effective job of sparking discussion (about questions that are variously trivial and substantial).”  Recognizing that these kinds of rankings are part recreation and part reality, I’ve made a slightly revised ranking presented below (with help from Misty Newcomb).

One of the problems with the ranking Daniel and Rick developed is that it combines some measures that accumulate over one’s career with other measures that only count accomplishments in the last year.  The career measures, Google Scholar and books published, will tend to be higher for people who have had longer careers.  Given that the ranking is meant to capture the current influence of education academics, these career items are biased in favor of senior scholars whose work may have been influential in the past, but less so in the present.

A more junior colleague pointed out this distortion to me, so I have tried to standardize the Google Scholar and book measures so that those with longer careers would have no particular advantage.  In particular, I calculated the sum of the two “career measures” — Google Scholar and books published.  Then I divided that sum by the years since the scholar received his or her terminal degree.  And to ensure that books and articles would still have the same weight in the overall score, I multiplied by the mean number of years since degrees were earned, about 23.2.

In making this adjustment I am assuming that every scholar would maintain the same rate of book and article productivity over his or her entire career.  So, the book and article “public presence” in the past year would be in proportion to the total book and article production per year over an entire career.

I make no changes to the 5 other measures in Daniel and Rick’s ranking: current Amazon sales as well as mentions in the education press, blogs, newspapers, and Congressional Record.  All of those measures reflect current “public presence.”  Adding the adjusted two career measures to these annual measures we get an adjusted total score.

Making the adjustment for length of career does not alter who is at the very top of the rankings.  As you can see below, Diane Ravitch and Linda Darling-Hammond still rule the roost.  But there are some significant changes below that, where more junior scholars jump in the rankings and more senior scholars drop.  For example, Martin West leaps to 10th place from his previous ranking of 69th, surpassing his mentor, Paul Peterson, who drops from 5th to 11th.  Roland Fryer moves up to 3rd from 11th.  Jacob Vigdor rises to 16th from 43rd.  Susanna Loeb goes to 18th from 49th.  Matthew Springer rises to 29th from 74th.  And Brian Jacob, Jonah Rockoff, and Sara Goldrick-Rab all jump almost 30 places.

On the other hand, some more senior scholars decline significantly in their public presence ranking once we make this adjustment.  Gene Glass sinks from 20th to 50th.  Henry Levin falls from 17th to 52nd.  David Berliner drops from 19th to 57th.  Kenneth Zeichner moves from 30th to 62nd .

These changes make sense and I think improve Rick and Daniel’s ranking.  Hotshot researchers like Roland Fryer, Jacob Vigdor, Susanna Loeb, Matthew Springer, Brian Jacob, Jonah Rockoff, and Sara Goldrick-Rab are having a large impact on current education policy discussions even though their careers have not been long enough to accumulate a longer list of books and articles.  The original ranking shortchanged these scholars in measuring their current “public presence.”

At the same time, more senior scholars, like Gene Glass, Hank Levin, David Berliner, and Kenneth Zeichner may have been given too much credit by the old ranking system for books and articles that were influential in the past but do not give them as much of a public presence in recent policy debates.

Of course, of greatest interest to me was what happened to my ranking.  I moved up to 21st from 39th.  This must be a better ranking.

Click on the images below to see the original and adjusted results for all 89 education academics that Rick and Daniel included in their “super-sized” ranking.  Have fun and, as David Letterman would say, please… no wagering.