Education: A Golden Age

“The education sector’s structure and policies will change more in the next 3 years than they changed in the last 2,500 years”

New Republic covering Obama and charter schools and vouchers and the new generation of teachers – but not the biggest picture


Our comment: but “even” this article fails to mention that teacher salaries – and teacher employment – from now on will be rapidly increasingly based on demand from students and their parents – again based on web-based rankings of thousand and thousands of teachers all over the world. What we are witnessing now are the final spasms of a 200-year education system era.


Reform School

The education (on education) of Barack Obama.

Josh Patashnik, The New Republic Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 Continue reading


2008/03/14 Posted by | Performance pay, Policy, Unions, US, Vouchers | Leave a comment

Washington D.C. area: performance pay for teachers


Pilot Plan for Incentive Pay Unveiled

By Nelson Hernandez
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 5, 2008; B05

Prince George’s County education and labor leaders unveiled a much-anticipated pilot program yesterday that will offer teachers and administrators at 12 schools incentive pay for good performance. Continue reading

2008/03/7 Posted by | Performance pay, Policy, Unions, US, Washington DC | Leave a comment

Debate about Milwaukee voucher program does not reflect 21st century use


2008/02/27 Posted by | Performance - teacher, Performance pay, Policy, Unions, US, Vouchers, Wisconsin | Leave a comment

New York City DOE steadfastly promoting accountability, despite UFT opposition


February 27, 2008 — The New York City teachers union is on the warpath.

And, no, the United Federation of Teachers isn’t demanding longer hours during which to teach students.

Or insisting that teachers be allowed to give more homework.

Instead, in prime-time TV ads that began airing this week, the union protests that poor, fragile young people are being tested too much.

Don’t believe it.

What really has the union so upset is that one element of the city Department of Education’s ongoing accountability drive entails tying teacher evaluations to student scores on standardized tests. Continue reading

2008/02/27 Posted by | New York, New York City, Performance - teacher, Performance pay, Policy, Unions, US, Vouchers | Leave a comment

On Obama’s campaign team and vouchers and straight talk


New York Sun Editorial
February 25, 2008

No sooner had we issued Elizabeth Green‘s dispatch under the headline “Obama Open to Private School Vouchers” than his campaign was scrambling to undo the potential damage with the Democratic primary electorate. On February 20, his campaign issued a statement headlined, “Response to Misleading Reports Concerning Senator Obama‘s Position on Vouchers” that said, “Senator Obama has always been a critic of vouchers.” The statement went on, “Throughout his career, he has voted against voucher proposals and voiced concern for siphoning off resources from our public schools.” It noted that Mr. Obama’s education agenda “does not include vouchers, in any shape or form.”

Clarifying statement aside, there is no taking away what Mr. Obama actually said in the interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentininal that was the subject of Ms. Green’s dispatch. “If there was any argument for vouchers, it was ‘Alright, let’s see if this experiment works,’ and if it does, then whatever my preconceptions, my attitude is you do what works for the kids,” the senator said. “I will not allow my predispositions to stand in the way of making sure that our kids can learn. We’re losing several generations of kids and something has to be done.” Continue reading

2008/02/25 Posted by | Charter schools, Performance - school, Performance - teacher, Performance pay, Policy, Unions, US, Vouchers | Leave a comment

Vouchers: Backtracking by Obama’s campaign a disservice to Obama and his pragmatism…



Our comment: Now is, with additional superdelegates switching to Obama every day and the nomination and the presidency essentially in the hand, not the time to let certain special interest groups and a handful of superdelegates dictate one’s public position on the country’s most important issue.


Vouchers are, in the 21st century, about profoundly strengthening local public schools’ role as centers for globally-benchmarked academic excellence in that they allow local public school-based students to flexibly get instruction, on a per-subject basis using the latest technology, from the best teachers locally, domestically and globally. They are not about driving students away from conventional local public schools to conventional local public or private schools, not about “siphoning of resources” from any school.


An aspect of this is that 21st century vouchers will now level the playing field between urban, suburban and rural schools in an unprecedented and wonderful way. Only in small pockets in the largest metropolitan areas may vouchers be less than critical for students’ education and competitiveness, for demographic and human resources forces and flows are such that “every school in America” will never be equally “filled with outstanding (on-site) educators”. As for attempts to improve the average performance level of teachers: the campaign mentions recruitment of new teachers but does not address the vast and very expensive professional development of current teachers – through programs that measure student performance before and after the teachers attend them – that is likely to be necessary and desirable even with extensive usage of the globalized teacher pool.


So vouchers today are about the student in rural Vermont being able to pay her math teacher in Boston or Eastern Europe and the student in Cleveland being able to pay his Chinese teacher in San Francisco or Asia.


The comment about the “Milwaukee voucher program not having been studied to see if it works” confuses performance and funding. Teacher performance, which varies much more than school performance, should of course always be measured, no matter how the instruction is paid for. With respect to performance measurement it is good to see the reference to Obama’s support for student-performance-based pay for teachers.


Not only is flexible access to excellent teachers wherever those teachers may be located “best for the kids”, it is for students a civil right. Continue reading

2008/02/22 Posted by | Charter schools, Performance - school, Performance - teacher, Performance pay, Policy, Unions, US, Vouchers | Leave a comment

Barack Obama: vouchers, charters, fostering competition


2008/02/19 Posted by | Charter schools, Performance - school, Performance - teacher, Performance pay, Policy, Unions, US, Vouchers | Leave a comment

Obama open to use of vouchers to attend private school


Our comment: In the 21st century the main use of vouchers is to allow public school facility-based students to receive instruction by teachers worldwide, and the private/public distinction won’t be along physical school lines. But it is nonetheless wonderful to experience Obama’s pragmatic, common sense perspective.

Obama Open to Private School Vouchers

Staff Reporter of the Sun
February 15, 2008 updated 2/16/08 10:21 am EST

Senator Obama said this week that he is open to supporting private school vouchers if research shows they work. Continue reading

2008/02/15 Posted by | Charter schools, Performance - school, Performance - teacher, Performance pay, Policy, Unions, US, Vouchers | Leave a comment

Obama: vouchers, student-performance-based teacher compensation, and charter schools


By: Mike Allen February 11, 2008 08:44 PM EST
Taking a position that could help him win a general election, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said in an interview that the federal government should experiment with charter schools even if some Democrats oppose the idea. In a joint interview with Politico WJLA/ABC 7, Obama was asked about issues on which he might oppose the mainstream of his party. “I’ve consistently said I think we need to support charter schools,” Obama said.
I think it’s important for us to experiment in terms of how teachers are compensated — working with teachers but looking at how we can reward excellence in classrooms.
Asked about the reaction of teachers’ unions, Obama acknowledged that they “haven’t been thrilled with me talking about this.”My sister’s a teacher, so I am a strong supporter of teachers,” he said. “But I’m not going to be bound by just a certain way of talking about things in order for us to move forward on behalf of our kids. And I think a lot of teachers want to talk about how we can continue improving performance measures. We’ve got to get beyond a lot of the traditional categories.Conservatives have singled out overtures on education as perhaps the most promising way that Obama could convince Republicans, intrigued by his personal style, to cross over and vote for him if he is the Democratic nominee next fall. “The Democratic Party is a big tent, and so there are a bunch of different positions that I might not agree with,” Obama said. On something like charter schools and experimenting with our school system to make it work, I think that we really have to pay attention.

2008/02/11 Posted by | Charter schools, Performance pay, Policy, Unions, US, Vouchers | Leave a comment

Teachers Divided: Older teachers support Clinton, while younger teachers vote for Obama.

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First, consider older teachers. Not only are they of Clinton’s generation, they also tend to dominate the teacher unions — the very unions that are at the base of her party-mainstream support. While the National Education Association hasn’t yet endorsed a candidate, its New Hampshire affiliate came out for Clinton (and Huckabee on the Republican side). (The Iowa union kept its powder dry.) When you hear about the “Democratic establishment,” think teacher unions; their members regularly constitute some 10 percent of all delegates at the Democratic National Convention, after all. As the “establishment” candidate, then, Clinton is and will likely remain the teacher unions’ favorite.Everybody knows that those unions’ leaders and most active members tend to be older. Why? Simply because senior teachers have the most at stake. After toiling in the classroom for decades for modest pay, they are finally nearing their big pay-off: a plush retirement with full family medical benefits. Protecting this retirement is teacher unions’ number one priority. They want a candidate who signals a steady course, promises job stability, and isn’t going to rock the boat. Clinton fits the bill.

The calculus is much different for younger teachers. Not surprisingly, they are much more open to change — Obama’s theme song. A few years ago, Public Agenda found that a majority of new teachers (55 percent) believed that districts should be able to use other indicators beyond years of experience and higher education to reward good teachers; yet only a third of veteran teachers felt the same way. And newbies were almost twice as likely to believe that merit pay would be effective in recruiting more of “the best and brightest” into teaching. So Obama’s (mild) flirtation with performance pay is much less threatening — and perhaps even exciting — for these younger teachers.

2008/01/11 Posted by | Charter schools, Performance - teacher, Performance pay, Policy, Unions, US, Vouchers | Leave a comment

Unions bitterly divided in Democratic race

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2008/01/11 Posted by | Charter schools, Performance - teacher, Performance pay, Policy, Unions, US, Vouchers | Leave a comment

Geoffrey Canada of Harlem Children’s Zone on Charlie Rose


2008/01/3 Posted by | Charter schools, Performance - school, Performance - teacher, Performance pay, Unions, US, Vouchers | Leave a comment

“Parents’ union”


How to talk about race in the year 2008
By Michael Meyers
NY Daily News, Sunday, December, 2007

The sad truth is this: Inner-city public schools are “broken” because many teachers — including minorities — don’t know their craft and aren’t being held to high standards. The mostly minority school boards in mostly minority districts don’t seem to care. Moreover, the inequality of these schools has next to nothing to do with “inadequate” funding and everything to do with the stranglehold teachers unions have on our public officials. A countervailing parents “union” is long overdue — but no national civil rights group dares to organize one for fear of the trade unions.

2007/12/2 Posted by | Charter schools, National standards, Performance - school, Performance - teacher, Performance pay, Policy, Unions, Vouchers | Leave a comment

Obama: student-performance-based teacher pay


Obama Navigates Merit Pay Issue

’08 Democrat Wins Plaudits for Challenging Democratic Orthodoxy

November 20, 2007

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., appears to have carefully threaded the needle on the contentious issue of merit pay: his proposal to reward teachers based on student performance, which he unveiled Tuesday in New Hampshire, was praised by education reform advocates while being cautiously welcomed by the head of an influential teachers’ union.
“Where they do succeed,” Obama said of teachers, “I think it’s time we rewarded them for it.”
“Cities like Denver have already proven that by working with teachers, this can work,” Obama continued. “That we can find new ways to increase pay that are developed with teachers, not imposed on them and not just based on an arbitrary test score.”
Obama’s willingness to boost teacher pay based on performance separates him from his Democratic rivals, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who supports school-based, rather than individual teacher-based, merit pay. The broader political significance of his unorthodox proposal is that it gives him an opportunity to buttress his argument that he is the Democrat best positioned to bring people together for purposes of challenging the status quo.

2007/11/20 Posted by | Charter schools, Performance - school, Policy, Unions, US, Vouchers | Leave a comment

Education in 2007- : Restoring parents’ right to choose after decades of ineffective, undifferentiated, unjust and wasteful state-run education


The profound analysis and prescience of Milton Friedman: Free to Choose, 1980.

2007/01/19 Posted by | Charter schools, Elementary school, Performance - school, Performance pay, Policy, Unions, US, Vouchers | Leave a comment