Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Icahn Quietly Emerges as Force For Improved Education in City

Whatever one may think about Carl Icahn the investor, he deserves big kudos for his efforts to deliver a good education to hundreds of underprivileged kids and to help reform the broken public school system.

The billionaire investor and famed corporate raider Carl Icahn, best known recently for his attempt to shake up Time Warner, has quietly opened one of the most successful charter schools in the city and plans to open several more.

Nestled into a quiet street in the South Bronx, the Carl C. Icahn Charter School serves 252 children in kindergarten through sixth grade...

Last year, a remarkable 86% of fourth-graders passed the state reading test. That's much higher than the city's average pass rate, which was 56%. Every fourth-grader in the school passed the state math exam.


Icahn Quietly Emerges as Force For Improved Education in City

BY DEBORAH KOLBEN - Staff Reporter of the Sun
May 30, 2006
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/33494

The billionaire investor and famed corporate raider Carl Icahn, best known recently for his attempt to shake up Time Warner, has quietly opened one of the most successful charter schools in the city and plans to open several more.

Nestled into a quiet street in the South Bronx, the Carl C. Icahn Charter School serves 252 children in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Inside, the building is peppered with inspirational signs reminding students that college is a requirement, not an option, and that students are expected to attend a top city high school.

"Success doesn't just happen, it happens one day at a time. Read every night," a sign posted in the school hallway reminds students.

The one-story red brick building sits a block away from a large housing project and just across the street from a homeless shelter for battered women that is also supported by Mr. Icahn. Rising from an empty lot, the prefabricated school arrived on flatbed trucks in 22 pieces from a factory in New Jersey in the summer of 2001...

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Why American College Students Hate Science

This is great to see:

The higher education establishment is generally startled to learn that more than half of the high-flying Meyerhoff students are black. This surprise stems from the unstated but nonetheless well-established belief that high-performing science students don't actually exist in the black community.

U.M.B.C.'s president, Freeman Hrabowski III, knows better. He has spent years expanding his school's access to high-performing minority students and has taken great pains to reassure black families that their children will be well looked after on his campus.

It has long been known that teachers' low expectations, particularly those related to race and racism, can depress student performance. At U.M.B.C., sustained success by minority students seems to have alleviated this poisonous problem. Faculty members who once looked askance when asked to take on minority students in their laboratories now clamor for them.

May 25, 2006
Editorial Observer

Why American College Students Hate Science

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, opened for business in a former cow pasture not far from downtown just 40 years ago. Still in its infancy as universities go, U.M.B.C. is less well known than Maryland's venerable flagship campus at College Park or the blue-blooded giant Johns Hopkins. But the upstart campus in the pasture is rocking the house when it comes to the increasingly critical mission of turning American college students into scientists.

A study of the university's science program published in the March 31 issue of the journal Science sets forth an eye-opening recipe for remaking science education in America generally — and in particular, for increasing minority participation, which lags even after decades of federally supported initiatives.

But following U.M.B.C.'s blueprint won't be easy. Among other things, it will require the scientific establishment to rethink its approach to teaching from the ground up...

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The Principals Vanish

The key question, which nobody appears to be answering (maybe because no-one knows), is whether NYC is losing its best, most experienced principals, or pushing out (overtly or subtlely) the worst, burned out old-timers who should have been pushed out long ago?  As I noted in an email a couple of days ago, if the reform of the NYPD under Bratton is any guide, the latter is the case, in which case we should be celebrating this trend.
May 27, 2006

The Principals Vanish

The education reforms that are under way across the United States fall mainly on the shoulders of school principals, whose jobs are growing more difficult — and more crucial — every day. They must train and inspire new teachers, manage budgets, schedule classes, interact with often troubled families, and keep clean, orderly buildings — all while raising standards and improving student performance, as is now required by federal law. This walk-on-water job requires sound training and a good support system. But it also requires experience, especially in challenging school systems like New York City's, which is on the verge of giving principals even more responsibility...

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Friday, May 26, 2006

How Low Can We Go?

Hear, hear!

People complain that the SAT is biased and that the bias explains why students don't do well. That's true -- it is biased. It's biased against people who aren't well educated. The test isn't causing people to have bad educations, it's merely reflecting the reality. And if you don't like your reflection that doesn't mean that you should smash the mirror.

That the new SAT tests more reading comprehension than the old test did is a good thing. Colleges complain that their incoming students don't have sufficient skills to read and analyze the kind of material that their professors will assign them. I hope that the new SAT's emphasis will make students realize that you can't get much of an education if you can't read.

Maybe the decline in SAT scores will force people to notice that their children are not getting good educations. If your children don't read or do math, why would you think that they would do well on the SAT? I would love to get into a time machine and go back to 1960 and give this new SAT to high-school students back then. I suspect that they would do much better than today's students. If we want people to get good scores on the SAT, I have a suggestion. Stop complaining about how unfair the test is and do your homework.


How Low Can We Go?

May 26, 2006; Page W11, WSJ

Colleges across the country are reporting a drop in SAT scores this year. I've been tutoring students in New York City for the SAT since 1989, and I have watched the numbers rise and fall. This year, though, the scores of my best students dropped about 50 points total in the math and verbal portions of the test (each on a scale of 200-800). Colleges and parents are wondering: Is there something wrong with the new test? Or are our children not being taught what they should know?

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Reggie's World

This is a very interesting article about the New Haven, CT public schools and its long-time superintendent, Reggie Mayo, who appears to be the worst (and all too common) kind of superintendent -- not the uncaring, corrupt or incompetent type (that would be fortunate because then you might be able to get rid of him), but the MEDIOCRE type.  Unwilling to acknowledge the awful state of the school system he's in charge of and therefore unwilling to contemplate the radical change that's necessary, he shuts his eyes and covers his ears, year in and year out, as generation after generation of children are condemned to educational oblivion. 
Everything you need to know about Mayo is captured in his comments about one of the most innovative, successful schools in the country, Amistad, which is in HIS OWN CITY (see the end of this excerpt):
But some urban schools are excelling despite the odds--including one in New Haven's backyard.

The first surprise at Amistad Academy comes when a young boy, perhaps a sixth-grader, holds the front door open as I try to escape May's eternal downpour. The second surprise comes the moment I step inside and hear a muffled rumbling down the hallway.

The sound is coming from the gym, where some 100 fifth- and sixth-graders in navy blue polos and khaki slacks are swarming in every direction, pushing chairs and tables to the fringes. In the center, a calm amid the chaos, sit four boys banging on African drums--alongside a grown man in a tie and sweater. That's Matt Taylor, the principal.

The drums stop and the students form a circle on the perimeter. Taylor shouts, "Who are we proud to be?"

"Amistad Academy," the students--nearly all of them, enthusiastically--yell back.

"And why are we here?"

"To push ourselves, to learn, to achieve our very best."

So begins a typical day at Amistad, a charter middle school where 98 percent of students are black or Hispanic and 84 percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. New Haven's neighborhood and magnet schools with a similar makeup, like Hill Central and King-Robinson, tend to be among the lowest-performing in the city, but Amistadwhich is not controlled by Mayo's bureaucracyis famous for taking students who are grades behind and graduating them at or above grade level.

While the school's sixth-grade CMT scores are well below the state average, its eighth-grade results surpass the state average in every subject. Nearly 87 percent of last year's eighth-graders met the state goal on the writing CMT, compared to 60.7 percent statewide--numbers that are better than you'll find in wealthy Greenwich.

In fact, several Greenwich educators were among a group visiting Amistad last week, hoping to pick up a thing or two.

Amistad founder Dacia Toll told them, "We don't know how to do this in a 6 hour and 15 minute day." That's why the school day begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. --the final 75 minutes are dedicated to an arts and athletics program--and kids often stay even later. Other key elements: frequent student assessments; year-by-year employee contracts; the principal's authority to hire and fire; performance-based salaries; aggressive teacher recruitment and parent involvement; and an emphasis on student discipline.

Many people feel New Haven officials have not embraced Amistad's success, and tried to learn from it, as eagerly as they should have. In fact, these officials sometimes talk as if Amistad didn't exist.

"If it's that consistent that urban kids, poor kids, aren't doing as well as their counterparts, we have to ask why that is," says Ed Linehan, NHPS' magnet schools supervisor. "When there isn't an urban school district that's head and shoulders above its counterparts, I think it's a systemic problem."

But there is an urban school that's head and shoulders above its counterparts, which should be a wake-up call to the district, says Johnston.

"If I can show you a school where kids, regardless of their background, regardless of their parental involvement, are performing on par with kids in Greenwich, we have to change the conversation," he says.

Amistad Academy's success in Mayo's backyard should be an occasion for rejoicing. There's the possibility for collaboration, for bringing Amistad educators and other public school teachers together to learn from one another. And yet, according to a non-profit official who wished to remain anonymous, Amistad has "encountered resistance in their efforts to provide more opportunity for New Haven's kids."

T hese days, Amistad and Mayo are, at least publicly, on good terms. Toll mentions how grateful she is that Mayo provided buildings to start Amistad and, now, an Amistad elementary school. Mayo, meanwhile, points to Amistad's mentorship of the struggling Clemente Leadership Academy.

Still, Mayo sounds skeptical, rather than enthusiastic, when asked about the Amistad model.

"It's certainly a little easier to do it with 200 kids than to do it with 21,000," says Mayo. He also argues that Amistad's teachers, because they're generally younger and not unionized, are more affordable and work longer hours. "I had to fight to get 20 [extra] minutes from my union this year, on top of six hours," he says. "I've got custodial unions, I've got teachers' unions, administrators' unions. I've got everybody fighting for what they call equal opportunities, equal justice, blah blah blah blah blah--you name it."


Reggie's World
The superintendent of schools tries to shine the bruised apple that is the New Haven Public Schools system

- May 25, 2006

The New Haven Advocate


Reggie Mayo
Hill Central Music Academy is hurting . Metal rings dangle from the gymnasium lights, threatening to drop on unsuspecting basketball players. Pipes peek down from missing ceiling panels. The temperature shifts between freezing and sweltering, and the hallways smell like a locker room. Built in 1972, when "open classrooms" were in vogue, Hill Central doesn't even have doors for every classroom, and the clatter of schoolkids, of pencils dropping and chairs shifting and desks slamming shut, reverberates through the dim hallways.

"We do need a new building, trust me," says principal Roy Araujo. He'll get one: in 2010. Until then, he'll have to make do.

Iline Tracey has no such problem. As principal of King-Robinson Magnet School, she presides over a $36 million architectural spectacle completed two years ago. An immaculate, award-winning building, its main attraction is a three-story wall of glass that bathes the expansive central corridor in natural light. It's also well-equipped: Computers, a TV and a DVD/VCR player come standard in all classrooms.

One's decrepit; the other is state of the art. But these two K-8 schools do have something in common: Their kids are among the lowest performing in the district. Last year, President Bush's education-reform initiative, No Child Left Behind, required Hill Central and Jackie Robinson (which has since merged with the Martin Luther King School) to restructure from the top down for failing to make adequate progress for six years straight.

These schools aren't anomalies: Test scores district-wide are among the worst in the state. As the city marches on with its $1.5 billion school reconstruction program, questions are mounting about the quality of education even within the more impressive buildings.

Uncomfortable questions like: Why do so few public schools in New Haven excel academically? Why, at nearly all schools, do white students vastly outperform their black and Latino counterparts?

The New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) administration says it has made significant strides in recent years, but if the district is to grow, as its billboards say, from good to great, then more drastic measures are needed.

In some cities, "drastic measures" means replacing the top dog. Hartford is looking for its 10th superintendent since 1991, and Bridgeport's had four in this decade alone (including acting superintendents). New York City, meanwhile, cycled through five chancellors in 12 years before hiring Joel Klein in 2002.

No such turnover in New Haven. Dr. Reginald Mayo, 61, who began working for NHPS nearly 40 years ago as a teacher, has presided over the district since 1992--an unusually long tenure, especially in a struggling district. As the highest-ranking black official in the city, he's also a tremendous political asset for his boss, Mayor John DeStefano, who says Mayo has "done a terrific job."

Has he? Mayo's been a rock, no question, but is he the innovator the district needs--someone who keeps abreast of the latest school reform efforts and brings challenging new ideas to the table?

This much is known: Whatever's been done since 1992 to improve student performance hasn't worked. Change is long overdue.

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Bridging Differences

I don't agree with either Deborah Meier or Diane Ravitch, but I'm more in the latter's camp...

Education Week
May 24, 2006
Bridging Differences
A Dialogue Between Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch
By Deborah Meier & Diane Ravitch

In the course of the last 30 years, the two of us have been at odds on any number of issues-on our judgments about progressive education, on the relative importance of curriculum content (what students are taught) vs. habits of mind (how students come to know what they are taught), and most recently in our views of the risks involved in nationalizing aspects of education policy.
Meeting recently to prepare for a debate on the federal No Child Left Behind Act, however, we found ourselves agreeing about the mess that has been generated by local and state testing. Both of us agreed that the public needs far better information about both inputs and outcomes, without which the public is woefully uninformed and too easily manipulated. As we discussed what the next policy steps should be, Diane preferred a national response, and Deborah preferred a local one.
As we talked further, we were surprised to discover that we shared a similar reaction to many of the things that are happening in education today, especially in our nation's urban school districts. Recent trends and events seem to be confirming our mutual fears and jeopardizing our common hopes about what schooling might accomplish for the nation's children. We might, we agreed, be getting the worst of both our perspectives.
Unlike Deborah, Diane has long supported an explicit, prescribed curriculum, one that would consume about half the school day, on which national examinations would be based. Diane believes in the value of a common, knowledge-based curriculum, such as the Core Knowledge curriculum, that ensures that all children study history, literature, mathematics, science, art, music, and foreign language; such a curriculum, she thinks, would support rather than undermine teachers' work. Deborah, while strongly agreeing on the need for a broad liberal arts curriculum, doubts that anyone can ensure what children will really understand and usefully make sense of, even through the best imposed curriculum, especially if it is designed by people who are far from the actual school communities and classrooms.
Yet both of us are appalled by the relentless "test prep" activities that have displaced good instruction in far too many urban classrooms, and that narrow the curriculum to nothing but math and reading. We are furthermore distressed by unwarranted claims from many cities and states about "historic gains" that are based on dumbed-down tests, even occasionally on downright dishonest scoring by purposeful exclusion of low-scoring students.
Deborah is a pioneer of the small-schools movement. Diane, while not an opponent of that movement, has questioned whether such schools have the capacity to offer a reasonable curriculum, including advanced classes. Yet here, too, we both fear that a good idea has too often been subverted by the mass production of large numbers of small schools, without adequate planning or qualified leadership and with insufficient thought given to how they might promote class and racial integration, rather than contribute to further segregation.

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Munger on the decline of schools

I just came across something Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett's right-hand-man at Berkshire Hathaway; a true genius) said a few years ago: "You could argue that the decline of public schools is one of the major disasters in our lifetime.  We took one of the greatest successes in the history of the earth and turned it into one of the greatest disasters in the history of the earth."  Wise -- and sad -- words indeed.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006


Despite the nonsense published on the NYT editorial page, charter schools are kicking butt in NY state, as this awesome Op Ed in the Post by Joel Klein points out:
On last year's state and city English and math tests, 83 percent of charter schools outperformed other schools in their districts and 78 percent outperformed citywide averages. In grades 3-8, 65.7 percent of charter students met or exceeded math standards, compared to 52.9 percent of students citywide, and 60.3 percent of charter students met or exceeded English standards, compared to 51.8 percent of students citywide.
New York Post




May 23, 2006 -- OUR state legislators head home to campaign for re-election in just over four weeks. This time is critical for the children of New York City.

Senators and Assembly members have the power to lift the cap on charter schools, providing hope to tens of thousands of parents across the state in search of high-quality schools for their children. Or they can leave the cap in place, denying some of our most at-risk students the educational opportunities they need and deserve.

Eight years ago, many of the same lawmakers now debating the future of charters decided to authorize a total of 100 of these schools statewide. Schools that were granted charters had five years to prove themselves before they were held accountable for their results. Now we're bumping up against the ceiling that Albany built. Our communities are demanding charter schools and educators are lined up to create new schools - but we've run out of charters.

Back in 1998, the state was taking a bet on charter schools. Today, the evidence shows that authorizing charter schools is a sound investment in our future.

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Hang It Up

I don't buy this: "And saying students can store their phones in the locker is a joke. If they have cellphones, they're going to bring them into class."  I can imagine that if I lived in a dangerous neighborhood, I'd want my children to have a phone for emergencies -- and regardless of where we lived, I want to be able to call them and tell them to come home and do their homework!  My daughters' school has a very simple policy that makes a lot of sense to me: starting in 5th grade:
Cell phones may not be used on school premises until after dismissal.  Phones should never ring at school and therefore should be turned off.  Students who violate this policy will have their cell phones confiscated until the end of the following school day.  For a second offense, parents will be asked to come and pick up the cell phone from the division office.
May 23, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor

Hang It Up

YOU'RE a teacher in the New York City public school system. It's September, and you're lecturing the class on the structure of an essay. Your students need to know this information to pass your class and the Regents exam, and you, of course, hope that one day your talented students will dazzle and amaze English professors all over the country.

You turn your back to write the definition of "thesis" on the chalk board. It takes about 15 seconds. You turn around to the class expecting to see 25 students scribbling the concept in their notebook. Instead, you see a group of students who have sprung appendages of technology.

Jose has grown an earphone. Maria's thumbs have sprouted a two-way. Man Keung, recently arrived from China, is texting away on a cellphone connected to his wrist. And Christina appears to be playing Mine Sweeper on a Pocket PC on her lap.

Come the end of the term, a handful will fail the class. A number will never pass the Regents. As we all know, far too many will drop out of school. And I can tell you with no hint of pride that it isn't the teacher's fault. As much as any other problem plaguing our schools, the onus for failure should be placed on distractions in the classroom, specifically the cellphone...

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In Search of Standouts Who May Not Stand Out Enough

I'm not familiar with this program, but applaud it based on what I've read in this article:

Last fall, Mr. London was one of 6,300 students in five cities who competed for a Posse scholarship. The students who were picked received full scholarships to one of 23 colleges and universities working with the foundation; other participating institutions are Pomona College, Bryn Mawr College and Brandeis University.

For the participating colleges and universities, the Posse program offers a way to bring in students — especially minority students — to diversity their campuses. While Posse Foundation executives said the program did not search exclusively for minority students, it does recruit from urban schools, which tend to have far more nonwhite students.


In Search of Standouts Who May Not Stand Out Enough

Published: May 24, 2006

Every Tuesday after classes this year, Mosi London has been riding the subway downtown from his high school on East Houston Street and then walking to Wall Street. There, in an office suite, he and 11 other New York high school students have spent two hours a week on academic exercises, ranging from team-building games to writing assignments to public speaking. They have been training for college.

In the fall, Mr. London, who is 17 and grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, will attend Lafayette College in Pennsylvania on a full scholarship. He was identified by the nonprofit Posse Foundation, whose executives looked beyond standardized test scores to select him and 304 other students nationwide as likely to excel at a selective college — but also as likely to be overlooked by admissions officials. Mr. London is not a star athlete or musician and does not have stellar SAT scores; he is simply a New York City student with good grades, pride and potential.

"We are expected to be leaders," Mr. London said one recent afternoon after a Posse training session.

Last fall, Mr. London was one of 6,300 students in five cities who competed for a Posse scholarship. The students who were picked received full scholarships to one of 23 colleges and universities working with the foundation; other participating institutions are Pomona College, Bryn Mawr College and Brandeis University...

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Empowering Principals

What a great idea!

The program allows individual principals to request greater autonomy from the department. Participating principals gain more freedom over curriculum and more choices to procure some services from outside contractors instead of internal department providers. But they must set stricter performance targets with the department and face consequences if they don't meet the targets, such as more stringent reviews from watchful administrators.

A small pilot of the program has been a smashing success. The chancellor is now hoping to expand the program, and many principals seemed eager to participate. Some 270 schools had at least started to fill out the online application ahead of this week's deadline.


Empowering Principals

New York Sun Editorial
May 24, 2006


Chancellor Klein's effort to launch a principal-empowerment program illustrates that it can often be difficult to see the forest for the trees. Witness the letter, published on this page yesterday, from the president of the principals' union, Jill Levy. She takes issue with a comment from an education department spokesman reported in the Sun. Speaking of the union's reaction to the chancellor's proposal, the spokesman, David Cantor, had said, "the last group we expected to oppose us was the principals union." Ms. Levy calls that characterization of her group's position "beyond credulity."...

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Heavy Turnover in New York's Principal Ranks

Lots of turnover and fresh blood – sounds good to me!  It reminds me of what happened to the NYC police department under Bratton: within three years, 2/3 of the precinct commanders were new – and the result was one of the most remarkable declines in crime in history.  For example, the murder rate in NYC is down more that EIGHTY PERCENT…  (PS--Two TFA alums, Roshone Ault and Mark Sternberg, are featured in this article.)
Heavy Turnover in New York's Principal Ranks
Published: May 22, 2006

More than half the principals in the New York City public school system have left their jobs over the past five years, opening the way for a remarkable influx of often younger newcomers, some in their 20's and 30's with impressive credentials but little teaching experience.

In October 2000, there were slightly more principals over age 60 than under 41, according to the Department of Education, and not a single principal under 31. In fall 2005, there were 274 principals under 41, more than four times as many as those over 60. Two dozen principals had not yet turned 31.

The bulk of the city's 1,451 principals, about 1,100, are between the ages of 41 and 60. But the faces have changed. Since the start of the 2001-2 school year, according to the department, 730 principals have left their jobs. This year, more than half have been in the job for less than three years.

The transformation is occurring at the very moment when Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein is seeking to give principals more authority over everything from how they spend money to how their students should learn. It also comes after a decade of upheaval through two city administrations over the role of principals.

Mr. Klein said the school system was simply catching up to the private sector in making room for talent of all ages, and noted Bill Gates's youth when he started Microsoft.

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A Bleeding City, Seeking More Than a Band-Aid

The current state of Newark is both a blessing and a curse to Cory Booker: the former because there must be so much low-hanging fruit and even the tiniest bit of competence and honesty will be a HUGE improvement, but also the latter because the depravity is so deeply ingrained and entrenched.
A Bleeding City, Seeking More Than a Band-Aid
Published: May 21, 2006

NEWARK, May 18 — Kelvin Kelley, who was 16, was laid to rest on Monday, the gunshot wounds to his torso concealed by the crisp beige suit he had recently worn to a high school speech team competition at Harvard University. The following day, mourners said goodbye to his best friend, Hassan Ferguson, 16, who was killed alongside Kelvin in a Central Ward parking lot on May 9.

It was the same day that Newark elected Cory Booker as the city's first new mayor in two decades.

These two killings and another shooting on Wednesday brought the number of murders in 2006 to 40, 11 more than during the same period last year. Nearly half of those killed were under 21.

Hopes for a safer, saner city are squarely focused on Mr. Booker, a suburban-raised Rhodes scholar and former Newark council member who has promised to bring law and order to a city awash in illegal guns, gang violence and fear. A big part of his plan hinges on overhauling the city's troubled Police Department.

"Everything falls on my shoulders now," he said after attending Kelvin's funeral. "The challenge is to switch from talking about solutions to implementing solutions."

Public safety, most everyone here agrees, is the issue that could make or break the mayoralty of Mr. Booker, a 37-year-old Democrat who is often mentioned as a national up-and-comer. He is to take office on July 1.

In Mr. Booker's own polls taken during the campaign, more than 80 percent of residents cited crime as the No. 1 issue, far outstripping concerns over the city's beleaguered school system, a lack of decent jobs and a poverty rate that keeps Newark mired in the bottom tier of America's most battered municipalities.

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Proposal on Class Sizes Ruled Off Ballot

Thank goodness this got shot down.  These smaller class size initiatives are so misguided!  They cost a LOT of money, require rapid hiring of tons of new teachers (gee, I wonder what the quality of those teachers would be?) and there's ZERO evidence that it improves student achievement.  (For more discussion of this, see the chapter on "The Class Size Myth" in Jay Greene's book, Education Myths.)

Proposal on Class Sizes Ruled Off Ballot


May 22, 2006

The size of classes in the city's public schools should not be an issue put on the ballot in November, a judge ruled on Friday in State Supreme Court. In upholding a decision by the city's corporation counsel, Justice Lewis Bart Stone found that the city's voters lacked the power under state law to force Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to allocate money to reducing the size of classes. A group known as New Yorkers for Smaller Classes had challenged the city's decision and started a campaign to build public support for smaller class sizes. The group said it would appeal the latest ruling. The mayor has supported reducing class sizes, but he said last July, "You can't run the schools through ballot initiatives."

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Model Students

Kristof with an interesting discussion of why so many Asian students do so well in school.  I didn't know this about Koreans in Japan -- VERY interesting:

One theory percolating among some geneticists is that in societies that were among the first with occupations that depended on brains, genetic selection may have raised I.Q.'s slightly — a theory suggesting that maybe Asians are just smarter. But I'm skeptical, partly because so much depends on context.

In the U.S., for example, ethnic Koreans are academic stars. But in Japan, ethnic Koreans languish in an underclass, often doing poorly in schools and becoming involved in the yakuza mafia. One lesson may be that if you discriminate against a minority and repeatedly shove its members off the social escalator, then you create pathologies of self-doubt that can become self-sustaining.

So then why do Asian-Americans really succeed in school? Aside from immigrant optimism, I see two and a half reasons:

May 14, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

The Model Students

Trang came to the United States in 1994 as an 11-year-old Vietnamese girl who spoke no English. Her parents, neither having more than a high school education, settled in Nebraska and found jobs as manual laborers.

The youngest of eight children, Trang learned English well enough that when she graduated from high school, she was valedictorian. Now she is a senior at Nebraska Wesleyan with a 3.99 average, a member of the USA Today All-USA College Academic Team and a new Rhodes Scholar.

Increasingly in America, stellar academic achievement has an Asian face. In 2005, Asian-Americans averaged a combined math-verbal SAT of 1091, compared with 1068 for whites, 982 for American Indians, 922 for Hispanics and 864 for blacks. Forty-four percent of Asian-American students take calculus in high school, compared with 28 percent of all students.

Among whites, 2 percent score 750 or better in either the math or verbal SAT. Among Asian-Americans, 3 percent beat 750 in verbal, and 8 percent in math. Frankly, you sometimes feel at an intellectual disadvantage if your great-grandparents weren't peasants in an Asian village.

So I asked Trang why Asian-Americans do so well in school.

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A Wandering Lamb of Sudan Finds a New York Sheepskin

What an incredible story!  (And one that makes you angry at those who take for granted the freedoms -- and educational opportunities -- that we have here.)

Then war. His finger moved along the page, reflecting the circuitous path of boys moving eastward toward Ethiopia, where safe haven proved fleeting. They were forced back to Sudan in a flight that included crossing the Gilo River, where some drowned or were dragged under by crocodiles. Two relatives helped carry young Joseph across.

"I rotated around," he said, his finger stopping on places he had been: Bor, Mallek, Mongalla, Torit, others. Military attacks took their toll, as did starvation and thirst. Joseph saw boys stop walking, heard them say, "I can't go." He heard the muffled cries of boys set upon by lions and hyenas. He saw boys die; friends.

"Wandering, walking all over, not knowing where to go," he said. "But keep going. Don't give up."

Finally, Joseph's band of boys reached Lokichokio, in northern Kenya. "From here, we didn't walk anymore," he said.

Joseph spent nine years in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, where he learned to read, write and speak English. At some point an official rechristened him Joseph Malual Thuc. When he began to argue that Thuc was not his last name, the official told him to shut up or he'd never leave Africa. Like all the other boys, he was given a birth date of Jan. 1.

Through a special program established by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, thousands of Lost Boys came to the United States. Joseph arrived in Philadelphia in December 2000, shivering in a white T-shirt and a white baseball cap. He had never seen snow before.

A Wandering Lamb of Sudan Finds a New York Sheepskin
Published: May 20, 2006

HIS long forefinger traced the journey of his lost childhood, across a map of East Africa that detailed the rivers and mountains, but not the lions and hyenas, the gunfire and death. "My home is supposed to be here," the young man said, allowing his fingertip to linger on a spot where the Sudanese village of Wangulei would be.

Mary DiBiase Blaich for The New York Times

Malual Manyok Duot, who survived hyenas, crocodiles and warlords as a Lost Boy in Sudan, graduated Friday at Wagner College on Staten Island.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Saving Souls at School

I wasn't aware of this until I read this story on the front page of today's WSJ.  I have no problem with giving religious groups the same rights as any other group to use school facilities after hours, but to allow TEACHERS at the school to lead religious classes filled with their OWN STUDENTS?!  This is obviously correct:
"It's unrealistic to think that elementary-age children can distinguish when their teacher during the school day all of a sudden becomes a private citizen after the school day," she says. "I'm fully aware this is the law now, but it doesn't reflect a whole lot of common sense to me or knowledge of children. De facto, you're having your school employees promoting one type of religion or another."
What an unbelieable ruling by this court:

In 2002 the school board in Sioux Falls, S.D., barred third-grade teacher Barbara Wigg from leading a Good News club at her school. Represented by Liberty Counsel, a Florida nonprofit, she sued the board. In September 2004, the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis sided with Mrs. Wigg, ruling that the district was unnecessarily restricting "the ability of its employees to engage in private religious speech on their own time."

The school board decided not to ask the Supreme Court to hear the case, but the issue could end up in federal courts elsewhere. "It's a bizarre holding," says Marc Stern, general counsel of the American Jewish Congress, who informally advised the Sioux Falls school board. The principle that a teacher on school property remains a teacher after school, he believes, is "so simple only a federal judge could miss it."


Saving Souls at School

Thanks to court rulings, some teachers are leading Bible clubs in their own classrooms after the bell.
May 20, 2006; Page A1


DURHAM, N.C. -- Brittany Garnett, a fourth grader at Little River Elementary here, studies math and reading under classroom teacher Andy Crutchfield and learns to play the recorder from music teacher Jenny Hobgood.

But every Tuesday, in their classrooms after school, Mr. Crutchfield and Mrs. Hobgood instruct Brittany in something else -- the Bible. At least a dozen teachers and staff members at the public school run the "Good News" Christian club. Attendance in the group, which started in January, has swelled to more than a fifth of Little River's enrollment.

To maintain separation of church and state, public school teachers may not promote religion during school hours. But some teachers are doing so right after their school day ends, thanks to two court rulings. In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of religious groups to spread their message to children in elementary schools after hours. Three years later, a federal appeals court ruled that it is legal for teachers to participate in such clubs.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Skills for Work, College Readiness Are Found Comparable

These are precisely the results I would have expected -- and further underscore how badly our schools are failing.

The reading and math skills needed for success in the workplace are comparable to those needed for success in the first year of college, a study set for release this week shows.

Conducted by ACT Inc., the study provides some of the first empirical evidence for those contending that the skills needed for work and postsecondary education are converging because of changes in an increasingly global, high-tech economy.

It's not that our schools have gotten worse, overall, over the past 35 years or so -- in fact, student achievement has been roughly flat -- but we're spending TWICE as much money (inflation adjusted) for ZERO increase in performance, PLUS, relative to other countries and the demands of our changing economy, we're falling further and further behind...

Education Week

May 10, 2006

Skills for Work, College Readiness Are Found Comparable http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2006/05/10/36act.h25.html?levelId=1000

By Lynn Olson

The reading and math skills needed for success in the workplace are comparable to those needed for success in the first year of college, a study set for release this week shows.

Conducted by ACT Inc., the study provides some of the first empirical evidence for those contending that the skills needed for work and postsecondary education are converging because of changes in an increasingly global, high-tech economy.

It comes as policymakers and business leaders are pushing the nation's schools to step up their graduates' preparation for employment and further study. ("Economic Trends Fuel Push to Retool Schooling," March 22, 2006.)

For More Info

"Ready for College and Ready for Work: Same or Different?" is available from ACT.

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National Board Teachers No Better Than Other Educators

It's long been known that teachers with ed school degrees perform no better than those without degrees -- a searing indictment of a system that appears to SUBTRACT value overall (e.g., the students of certified teachers don't learn more, yet certified teachers cost more and have to spend 1-2 years getting certified) -- but I would have expected at least slightly positive outcomes for teachers certified by the NBPTS.  Sad that they tried to hide the results -- and kudos the Andy Rotherham for outing them!

Students of teachers who hold certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards achieve, on average, no greater academic progress than students of teachers without the special status, a long-awaited study using North Carolina data concludes.

The study, conducted by William L. Sanders, the statistician who pioneered the concept of "value-added" analysis of teaching effectiveness, found that there was basically no difference in the achievement levels of students whose teachers earned the prestigious NBPTS credential, those who tried but failed to earn it, those who never tried to get the certification, or those who earned it after the student test-score data was collected.


National Board Teachers No Better Than Other Educators, Long-Awaited Study Finds

May 9, 2006 By Bess Keller www.eduweek.org

Students of teachers who hold certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards achieve, on average, no greater academic progress than students of teachers without the special status, a long-awaited study using North Carolina data concludes.

The study, conducted by William L. Sanders, the statistician who pioneered the concept of "value-added" analysis of teaching effectiveness, found that there was basically no difference in the achievement levels of students whose teachers earned the prestigious NBPTS credential, those who tried but failed to earn it, those who never tried to get the certification, or those who earned it after the student test-score data was collected.

"The amount of variability among teachers with the same NBPTS certification status is considerably greater than the differences between teachers of different status," says the report. The study examined more than 35,000 student records and more than 800 teachers in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Wake County districts in North Carolina.

Mr. Sanders, who manages the value-added assessment and research center at the private SAS Institute in Cary, N.C., said one way to think about the implications of the study would be to envision two teachers with identical experience and education applying for the same job, one holding national board certification and one not. To choose the board-certified teacher over the teacher without the credential would be "only trivially better than a coin flip," the researcher said.

The Arlington, Va.-based national board offers teachers special certification if they go through a lengthy evaluation process. Many states and districts, in turn, offer financial benefits to teachers who earn the certification.

Sitting on the Results?

The results of the study came to light last week after Andrew Rotherham, co-founder and director of Washington-based Education Sector, a nonprofit think, used a posting on his Eduwonk blog to note that the privately organized national board had apparently been "sitting on" the results because they were not favorable.

The board, which has the support of most of the nation's most powerful education groups, commissioned the research as part of a broad effort, starting in 2002, to examine the worth of its credential. His research findings were completed by late 2004 or early 2005, according to Mr. Sanders.

The board, which has been granting the advanced teaching credential for more than 10 years, posted an "overview" of the research on its Web site last week, though officials there denied the posting was prompted by Mr. Rotherham's blog entry. They said they did not intend to provide a link to the full study.

The overview is largely critical of the study, citing methodological problems. For instance, the overview said the study lacked a sufficient number of teachers.

"I wouldn't look at the results as damaging in any way," said Mary E. Dillworth, the vice president for higher education initiatives and research at NBPTS. "We hope to use this report as well as others for a better certification system."

Mr. Sanders refuted the NBPTS criticisms in an interview this week.

Despite the findings of his study, he said he believed in the concept of the national board and had been urging officials there to modify the certification process so that it would better reflect the research findings on student test-score gains.

But Mr. Rotherham said in an interview that the board's failure to be more open about this research was likely to hurt it in the long run. "They have needlessly aroused suspicion about what they've done and needlessly handed their critics ammunition," he charged. "It's all so political."

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If Gordon Gekko Had a Good Heart...

This is great to see!

The vast wealth generated recently by Wall Street firms and "private money" -- hedge funds, venture-capital firms and buyout shops -- is now having a noticeable impact on philanthropy. Retired bankers like Mr. Harris, as well as still-working financial whizzes like Art Samberg, founder and chief executive of hedge fund Pequot Asset Management, and Mark Nunnelly, a managing director at private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC, are becoming more active in their charitable giving. Unlike some previous U.S. philanthropists, who waited until their 60s or 70s to start giving away their fortunes, many of the new donors say they want to be involved in philanthropy during their working lives.

The result: Many of the donors -- accustomed to the fast-paced world of building, selling and restructuring companies -- are now using their Wall Street skills to help promising nonprofit groups raise donations more efficiently and plan for long-term growth.


If Gordon Gekko Had a Good Heart, This Is How He Might Have Done It

May 16, 2006; Page C1

When J.B. Schramm founded a charity called College Summit in 1993 to help low-income kids go to college, the group had trouble staying afloat. Mr. Schramm and his board often scrounged for cash and struggled to balance the interests of well-meaning donors who sometimes attached strings to their money.

Last year, College Summit hit upon a solution: Get funding the Wall Street way. With help from retired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment banker Chuck Harris, College Summit fashioned a sophisticated growth plan and a "term sheet" to show potential donors. The lingo was familiar to the target philanthropists, most of whom are big shots at investment banks, hedge funds and private-equity firms.

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A New Day in Newark

A fair NYT editorial on the opportunities -- and challenges -- Cory Booker faces after his landslide victory last week.

Often, after winning an election, a newly christened mayor, governor or president notes that the hard part is yet to come. Campaigning is like playing tennis without a net. Governing is like playing football without a helmet.

In Cory Booker's case, however, it seems unfair to diminish the obstacles he faced to win Newark's mayoralty last Tuesday. After all that Mr. Booker has been through since he tried and failed to unseat Sharpe James four years ago, governing Newark may actually seem easy.

For about a day.

May 14, 2006

A New Day in Newark

Often, after winning an election, a newly christened mayor, governor or president notes that the hard part is yet to come. Campaigning is like playing tennis without a net. Governing is like playing football without a helmet.

In Cory Booker's case, however, it seems unfair to diminish the obstacles he faced to win Newark's mayoralty last Tuesday. After all that Mr. Booker has been through since he tried and failed to unseat Sharpe James four years ago, governing Newark may actually seem easy.

For about a day.

Mr. Booker inherits a city that remains too poor, too badly governed, too underserved, too dangerous and, at times, too hopeless. Municipal cheerleaders like to assert that Newark is in the middle of a renaissance. Yes, there has been some improvement in parts of the city. But the renaissance imagery rings true mainly because Newark's political culture resembles that of the Borgias.

Mr. Booker will enter office with an impressive mandate from the city and with the good will of many New Jerseyans, especially those of the Newark diaspora scattered throughout the state. Like characters in a Philip Roth novel, former Newark residents now living in Morris County or down the Shore have never let go of their Newark memories. They could not vote in last week's election. But they certainly followed the results.

Among Mr. Booker's first priorities will be public safety. While overall crime in Newark dipped during the last years of the Sharpe James era, it remains stubbornly unacceptable. The new mayor has promised to redeploy hundreds of officers in an effort to make the city's beleaguered citizens safer, and its visitors — expatriates included — more at ease. So much of Newark's unrealized potential can be attributed to a single issue: public safety. As New York and other cities demonstrated in the 1990's, private investment can follow public safety.

As Mr. Booker tries to reinvigorate Newark, he needn't look very far to find a model. That model is New Brunswick, a mere 40 minutes down the New Jersey Turnpike.

Thirty years ago, as Newark was caught in a spiral of flight and disinvestment after the riots of 1967, New Brunswick was teetering on the edge. Crime was high, moving vans were traveling in only one direction, and downtown was boarded up. John Lynch, who is now counted among New Jersey's most influential political bosses, was elected mayor in 1979 on the strength of the same hopes Mr. Booker inspires today.

Working closely with Johnson & Johnson, Rutgers and the city's health care industry, Mr. Lynch laid the groundwork for the New Brunswick of today, where the shops and restaurants of George Street and its environs bustle by day and by night. The comparison with James-era Newark is instructive: New Brunswick rebuilt itself storefront by storefront, not by hitching its fate to large capital projects, like, for example, a downtown hockey arena.

There is little Mr. Booker can do to reverse course on Broad Street, where Newark's new arena is beginning to rise, though he can surely reverse the city's reputation as a bad place to do business. His connections to New York financiers will not hurt, but business leaders and real estate developers ultimately will judge him by the caliber of people he brings to City Hall.

Newark has suffered for more than a generation, unjustly so. The city and its 280,000 residents do not lack for assets. It has easy access to public transportation, neighborhoods like the Ironbound are as vital and as interesting as any in New York, tens of thousands of college students study in the city, and institutions like the Newark Museum and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center offer first-class exhibits and shows.

Newark deserves a fresh start. With luck, it has begun.

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Correct voucher policy?

The hypocrisy of the intelligentsia in Florida is truly appalling, as exemplified by this Palm Beach Post editorial, which tries to rationalize a distinction between the three voucher programs:

In its January voucher ruling, the Florida Supreme Court hinted that vouchers might be constitutional if they provide necessary services that regular public schools can't offer. Properly monitored, McKay vouchers could fit that niche.

The reality is that the programs are all pretty similar and that they should all pass or fail the same constitutional test.  So why the support for the McKay vouchers and not the others?  Pure politics -- there are already 16,000 children receiving McKay vouchers and -- here's the key -- these aren't just low-income, minority children, but a lot of children from wealthy white families.  Politicians (and newspapers and the ACLU) know better than to mess with these parents...

So, here's the brutal truth: if you're the wealthy parents of a kid with a learning disability, you can have a voucher so that you can choose the school that you think is best for your child, but if you're poor and minority, screw you!  You're forced to continue sending your kid to the local public school, no matter how dangerous or persistently failing it is. 

What an outrage!


Correct voucher policy? Stick to McKay vouchers

Palm Beach Post Editorial

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Gov. Bush and other school voucher advocates could have made more progress if they had focused exclusively on the only voucher idea that makes sense.

McKay Scholarships, one of Florida's three voucher programs, are named for former Senate President John McKay, who sponsored legislation that created them. Since 2000, students with disabilities have used McKay scholarships to attend private schools. This year, about 16,000 students are getting them.

But the state never required sufficient financial and academic oversight for schools taking McKay vouchers. Post reporters have found home-schoolers misusing McKay vouchers for which they didn't qualify. Non-existent oversight and resulting scandals also have been a problem for schools taking vouchers paid for by corporate donations, for which the donors received a dollar-for-dollar tax break. About 14,000 low-income students are getting corporate vouchers this year.

Lax standards pose a fundamental legal problem for the voucher programs. The state Supreme Court this year ruled that the third voucher program - the governor's so-called "Opportunity Scholarships" used by about 700 students whose schools repeatedly scored an F on the state's FCAT-based grading system - is unconstitutional. The justices based their finding, in part, on the Legislature's failure to hold private voucher schools to the same standards as public schools.

A weak accountability law the Legislature just passed won't protect McKay and corporate vouchers from the same flaw. There are some common-sense protections against financial fraud, and employees have to undergo background checks. But the supposed academic accountability is laughable.

Schools taking corporate vouchers must give a standardized test - but not the FCAT. And the state won't grade voucher schools. Schools taking McKay vouchers have to give standardized tests only to students whose parents request them. There are no requirements that teachers in voucher schools have proper credentials.

The legislation is so weak and unacceptable because Gov. Bush and GOP legislators are most interested not in vouchers for disabled students but in vouchers students can use at religious schools. The legislation also offered a way to slip students in the banned voucher program into the corporate program that hasn't been declared unconstitutional, at least not yet. The new setup begs for a legal challenge.

In its January voucher ruling, the Florida Supreme Court hinted that vouchers might be constitutional if they provide necessary services that regular public schools can't offer. Properly monitored, McKay vouchers could fit that niche. Legislators would focus on that if they were as committed to helping disabled students as they are to defending voucher ideology.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children's Zone was on 60 Minutes last night

I missed the 60 Minutes segment last night on Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children's Zone, but fortunately nearly all of the segment was on the CBS website at: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/05/11/60minutes/main1611936.shtml
Below is the text and be sure on the website to click on both links: "The Harlem Children's Zone" and "Bradley's Reporter's Notebook". 
(For more on Canada and the HCZ, see this lengthy NYT Magazine article from June 2004: http://www.ccebos.org/nytimes.geoffreycanada.6.20.04.html)
Both Canada and Ed Bradley make a powerful case for needing more good schools -- too bad Bradley didn't come right out and say, "But there will be no more such schools in all of NY State unless the State Legislature gets an ounce of courage and lifts the cap on the number of charter schools.  Until then, there will continue to be these cruel lotteries, in which parents' hopes for a good education and future for their children are crushed."
Canada understands this very deeply -- in fact, he started crying when he said this to Bradley:
"After my first lottery, I said, we're gonna have to open more schools. You sit there and watch those parents, it's the saddest thing I’ve seen. It really is," Canada tells Bradley.
Gotta love Canada's courage in speaking the truth here:
the Promise Academy, where the school day is longer, summer vacation lasts only three weeks, and many kids go to school on Saturdays. Canada is able to run the school his way, free from the restrictions of the public education system that he says has been failing Harlem’s children for so long.
"We could not run a school under the current rules and regulations with the unions. It’s impossible. It’s just impossible. You can't fire teachers. Look, we fired three teachers last year. Ed, I will guarantee you we fired more teachers than the whole island of Manhattan in all the public schools," says Canada. "Now that's crazy. You come in, you teach. The kids all fail. You get to go home at three, and you get summers off. Now what kinda job is that?" he asks.


The Harlem Children's Zone

How One Man's Vision To Revitalize Harlem Starts With Children

(Page 1 of 3)
NEW YORK, May 14, 2006


Previous ImageNext Image


"I’m prepared to do anything to keep these kids on the right track."

Geoffrey Canada

(CBS) Harlem has long been the spiritual capital of black America. In its heyday during the Harlem renaissance, it was a wellspring of politics, music and art. But over the years, the neighborhood suffered a steady decline and came to symbolize the worst of urban poverty and decay. Today, there’s a new renaissance under way in Harlem, with the construction of new buildings, businesses and schools.

One of the people leading the charge is Geoffrey Canada. As correspondent Ed Bradley reports, his vision, quite simply, is to save children, and he has amassed a staggering amount of private money — more than $100,000,000 — to realize his goal. His testing ground is a 60-block area in central Harlem that he calls "The Harlem Children's Zone."

The Harlem Children’s Zone is an area that covers less than one square mile and is home to some 10,000 children. On the ground, the neighborhood is slowly coming back to life, with newly renovated townhouses standing side by side with buildings that have fallen victim to violence and despair, local businesses next to national chains. But despite all the renewal, nearly all the children live in poverty — and two-thirds of them score below grade level on standardized tests. That’s why Canada, a graduate of Bowdoin College and the Harvard School of Education, has claimed this territory as his own and is trying to save it, block by block, child by child.

He has made a bold promise to the parents who live in the zone.

"If your child comes to this school, we will guarantee that we will get your child into college. We will be with you with your child from the moment they enter our school till the moment they graduate from college," Canada vowed during a speech.

Canada’s ambitious experiment aims to prove that poor kids from the inner city can learn just as well as affluent kids from the other side of America. He has flooded the zone with social, medical and educational services that are available for free to all the children who live here...

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Adrian Fenty fundraiser

My friend James Stovall, co-President of Victory Schools, is hosting a fundraiser in NYC next Friday, 5/12 for Washington DC mayoral candidate Adrian Fenty.  I don't know him, but James says that "Adrian was an early champion of charter schools and recently he sponsored the city's landmark School Modernization Financing Act which authorizes $1 billion towards the building or renovation of new school facilities in the District."  I'm out of town on the 12th, but I encourage you to contact James and attend -- see details below.

I am writing to invite you to join me for a small group breakfast with Washington D.C. Councilmember Adrian M. Fenty, (9:00am - 10:00am, Friday, May 12 at the offices of New Mountain Capital, 787 7th Avenue, 49th Floor).

Adrian is currently the leading candidate for Mayor of Washington, D.C. He should be able to give some interesting off-the record remarks on the upcoming election, the state of education reform in our nation's capital, the return of major league baseball to Washington and other issues.

At age 35, Adrian is the youngest member on the DC City Council. He won his seat in 2000 in a landmark victory over a twenty-one year incumbent. During his two terms in office Adrian has earned a reputation for demanding accountability from governmental agencies, supporting lower taxes and remaining responsive to constituent issues. Adrian was an early champion of charter schools and recently he sponsored the city's landmark School Modernization Financing Act which authorizes $1 billion towards the building or renovation of new school facilities in the District. (Oprah and CNN recently reported on the sad state of school facilities in D.C.)

Although this breakfast is a fundraiser, contributions are not necessary to attend. I do think, though, that anyone who is interested in school reform, politics in our nation's capital or public policy will enjoy seeing Adrian and hearing what he has to say.

Please advise me if you'd like to join me at 9AM on May 12 at New Mountain Capital's office (787 Seventh Avenue, 49th floor btw 51st and 52nd Aves).   Some additional info on the breakfast and Adrian is attached.

All good wishes,

James Stovall


James K. Stovall

111 West 57th Street, Suite 525

New York, New York 10019

phone: 212-786-7922

fax: 212-265-1742

email: jstovall@victoryschools.com

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