Eye on NCLB. Cuts to Reading First funding.


Jack Polidori, Director of Legislation & Political Organizing for the Delaware State Education Association sends out this information regarding NCLB reauthorization:

>Representative Raoul Grijalva, a member of the House Education
>Committee, held a briefing on NCLB in Tucson yesterday.
>The most important thing he reported is that NCLB reauthorization will
>be on the front burner when Congress reconvenes in September. They
>purpose to have a draft of the revised NCLB in mid-September and send it
>to the House in early October. He promised to post the reauthorization
>bill on his website for comment and response as soon as it is available.
>He spoke of three F’s the committee is considering in revising NCLB:
>Fairness, flexibility and and finances. He indicated that he is part of
>a group of 4-5 Democrats on the committee pushing for serious changes in
>NCLB. He’s particularly concerned about bilingual and minority students.
>He mentioned that the appropriations committee has recommended diverting
>60% of Reading First money until the mess over mandated materials is
>cleared up. He’s also concerned about the impact of NCLB on special ed
>programs and said that IDEA should always supercede NCLB.
>What this means is that the next six weeks will be crucial . It looksd
>like the committee wants to make some basic changes particularly around
>testing, punitive aspects of NCLB and flexibility for language learners
>and special education. The possibility still exists that they might just
>pass a continuing resolution which could continue NCLB as is and push
>the whole thing off until after the Nov 2008 election. That would be a
>disaster for two more classes of school entrants .

Contract news, with apologies to Dr. Homeslice.

I don’t mean to take over the job that Dr. Homeslice does so well. But here’s some local Illinois contract news:

Hamilton teachers agreed to a 10% increase over three years. Hamilton is in Western Illinois on the Mississippi River.

Hamilton teachers ratified a three-year contract Wednesday. The school board also approved it after a closed session Wednesday.

The Hamilton Education Association settled after the first mediation session,” said Superintendent Dr. Jim Jackson. “Teachers will receive a 10 percent salary increase over the three years, starting with the 2007-2008 school year.”

A tentative agreement was reached with teachers in Jamaica and Oakwood, east of Champaign.

Negotiators for the Oakwood school district and the teacher’s union reached a tentative three-year deal on Tuesday evening, Superintendent Keven Forney said. Earlier in the day, he said the two sides were looking forward to settling so that “we can get our focus on the business of education.”

West of Champaign teachers in Mahomet-Seymour have a tentative agreement.

It took 12 hours and 15 minutes of all-night bargaining, but the Mahomet-Seymour school district and its education association have reached a tentative contract settlement.

The sides bargained until 5:45 a.m. today, and a federal mediator was present. The association’s previous contract expired at midnight Tuesday.

Progressive charters and unions talk collaboration. Joe can’t sleep.


Joe can’t sleep thinking about charter and unions collaborating?

With Andy Rotherham on vacation, I’ve been kind of bored. No anti-union Democratic Party centrist to mock. And now Joe Williams says he’s going on vacation. But he left a little somethin’ behind.

Williams, the union-hating blogger at Democrats for Education Reform, sounds like he woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

Is there anything to be gained, politically, by some sort of grand bargain with organized labor?

Why would Williams suddenly be so worried? Is it because there is movement in exactly the direction these Democratic, triangulating, teacher union-bashing think-tankers most fear? You bet.

Great debates to be had on this topic, methinks, especially if we get more people into the mix.

“Methinks?” Who talks like this?

But, Joe. The conversation has started. Where have you been?

I’m concerned because he blogs that he’s in a canoe with his wife and kids, and all this worry might ruin his vacation.



“By the way, I have a pet theory about Alberto Gonzales: I’ve always believed that the reason the President called Gonzales Fredo was that when they first met, Bush incorrectly believed that Gonzales’ first name was Alfredo, and Gonzales was too much of a toady to correct him. I meant to download that theory before it was too late, and the good news is, where this administration is concerned, it’s never going to be too late. It will live forever.”

-Nora Ephron

Once again the issue of retention.


Once again we revisit the issue of teacher retention. The NY Times has a story by education writer Sam Dillon.

While some school critics who blog continue to put their heads in the sand, among other places, arguing over whether thirty percent  or fifty percent of teachers are leaving the profession, the Times suggests that there is a flood of teachers leaving.

Dillon pins the problem to two things: Baby Boomer teachers hitting retirement age (Oh! That would be me!) and what Dillon calls “the stress of working in low performing schools.”

Talk about your euphemisms.

Would I be taking a risk in suggesting that the “stress of working in low performing schools,” is spelled N-C-L-B?

PS: Leo at Edwize makes a similar point.



“Yes the Democrats in Congress took advantage of a deeply unpopular lame duck president by caving into his every whim and agreeing to allow the attorney general to spy on Americans without a warrant.”

-Bill Maher

Blago’s line-item veto hits schools hard.


Blago takes his hatchet to school funding.

While the budget that came out of the legislature was terrible over all, the early hope was that at least schools came out with something.

The IEA said that they were glad there was more money going to education, although their campaign for a sustainable funding source and equity in funding failed to win the support of the hacks that sit in the house and senate chambers.

But it’s really worse than that now that Blago has wielded his axe.

Check out how the governor’s line-item veto goes after schools here. And the IEA’s analysis can be found here.

Three over coffee.


  • Dr. Homeslice isn’t from Illinois. But I won’t hold that against him. He’s starting up his strike watch and he’s added Rockford to the list, which is just up the road from Chicago. They’ve taken a strike authorization vote.
  • The NY Times is reporting on the controversy over a Hebrew-English charter school in Florida.

“Charter schools have greater autonomy than a school being run by the Board of Education,” said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “Let’s give it a shot, but let’s watch it very, very carefully.”

I have an idea. Since anti-Arab groups forced out Debbie Almontaser as principal of the Arab-English New Visions school in New York, replaced  by an orthodox Jewish principal with no experience in Arab culture or language, why not hire Debbie as the principal at Ben Gamla in Hollywood, Florida? Let’s give it a shot.

  • IEA explains what now since Blago signed the budget.