The Podesta Strikes Back

EEP & Signatory News

  • John Podesta writes an opinion piece in the Washington Post defending President Obama’s education reforms despite criticism from writer Dana Millbank, in particular. “Many progressives — including Janet Murguía, president of the National Council of La Raza, and Michael Lomax, president of the United Negro College Fund — support a hard-nosed approach to reforming schools. So do many conservatives.”The fact of the matter is, [the president] is on the right track,” Republican Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, said last year. ‘I think he sincerely believes the system has let down an entire generation of students, particularly students of lower income, and he’s passionate about it and the policies reflect a way to improve them.’ …The administration’s reform initiatives are vital to closing the achievement gap between wealthy students and their less-advantaged peers. We must take serious steps to disrupt the education status quo so that all students can receive the kind of education they deserve.”
  • The Chancellor also pens an op-ed in the New York Post, which highlights shrinking achievement gaps and steady improvement of NYC students and defends his support for increasing the rigor of standardized tests. “Let me be clear: Raising standards for our kids is absolutely the right thing to do. Mayor Bloomberg and I have called for higher standards for years: We know that if our kids are going to succeed in life, we need standards that set them on a path to being college-ready… On the rigorous and respected National Assessment of Educational Performance exams, the city’s African-American and Hispanic students have been closing the gap with white students across the nation.”
  • WNYC (audio) interviews Joel Klein on his outlook for NYC schools in the new school year.  The Chancellor also responds to this year’s drop in student achievement, due to higher passing standards.
  • EEP Signatory and former Florida mayor Jeb Bush is visiting Utah to advocate for ed reform. Parents for Choice in Education (PCE), in partnership with the Foundation for Excellence in Education, has invited Governor Jeb Bush to Utah to share successes and lessons from the Florida Formula of Student Achievement on Tuesday, August 24, 2010.
  • As the summer (sadly) comes to a close, check out some National Journal summer reading recommendations from Bellwether Partners founding partner Andrew Rotherham, who offers some great non-edu reads (especially the placekicking book A Few Seconds of Panic), and ConnCAN’s CEO Alex Johnston’s quest for the Omnivore’s Dilemma of education reform books.


  • Paul Tough pens an op-ed in the New York Times, which calls for a larger investment in President Obama’s “Promise Neighborhoods Initiative,” modeled after (EEP signatory) Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children Zone, which was only awarded less than 10% of the requested $210 million in the 2011 budget.  Tough adds that too many communities – and kids – will continue to fall behind if new strategies aren’t tried in earnest.
  • GOOD magazine asks Is Finland, the top country in the world in terms of education (and according to this week’s Newsweek story on the world’s best countries), a good model for the United States?
  • An independent group named Common Core has released curriculum maps to accompany the common core state standards for math and language arts.  This a great site if you are interested in seeing how teachers might actually teach according to these new standards.
  • The LA Times reports that a national report released Thursday by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, says a quarter of public middle and high school students say both are present on their campuses, a vast difference from the scene at private and religious schools.
  • The Institute for a Competitive Workforce summarizes the applications of the 19 Race to the Top 2nd round finalists before the winners are announced in early September.

From the States
The Commercial Appeal reports that Mississippi will apply for $98 million in federal stimulus funds to help education, and Gov. Haley Barbour is urging local districts to save the money for a tough fiscal challenge next year.
New Jersey
E3 Director (and EEP signatory) Derrell Bradford argues in NJ Voices that high school diplomas and high graduation rates in New Jersey should be taken with a grain of salt, highlighting the Special Review Assessment, the test given to New Jersey high school students who fail the state exit exam, which was the subject of a recent state Department of Education report.
New York
The Daily News reports that a pilot anti-truancy program will pair 1,500 truant-prone students in 25 schools with volunteer mentors for the school year and feature an outreach campaign directed at students’ families.
New Mexico
EdWeek reports that the first New Mexico governor debate between Democrat Diane Denish and Republican Susana Martinez focused on education reform for the state last night.  The two candidates pledged Thursday to shield public schools from budget cuts but disagreed on what’s needed to improve student performance.

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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