Archive | March, 2013

The 03/27/13 Joy Jar

26 Mar

Moi is old school she likes to write with paper. She likes to send cards and write notes. Civilization began its advance with the invention of paper. Thoughts could be transfered and history could be recorded. Now, it just seems everyone’s attention span is shorter. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is paper.

Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.

Maya Angelou

I put a piece of paper under my pillow, and when I could not sleep I wrote in the dark.

Henry David Thoreau

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.

William Wordsworth

Only on paper has humanity yet achieved glory, beauty, truth, knowledge, virtue, and abiding love.

George Bernard Shaw

I have only got down on to paper, really, three types of people: the person I think I am, the people who irritate me, and the people I’d like to be.

E. M. Forster

My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.

Ernest Hemingway

The 03/26/13 Joy Jar

25 Mar

Moi read somewhere that per capita the folks in Seattle own more sunglasses than just about anywhere else in the country. It’s a sunny day and guess what? The sunglasses are out. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is a kick-ass pair of sunglasses.

Do not allow people to dim your shine because they are blinded. Tell them to put on some sunglasses, cuz we were born this way bitch!                                                                                                                   

Lady GaGa

Some movie stars wear their sunglasses even in church. They’re afraid God might recognize them and ask for autographs.

Fred Allen

Always have sunglasses with you. They’re great for when you can’t be bothered to put make-up on.”

Alison Goldfrapp

 Your future is so bright you gotta wear shades

Eric Payne

Case study: Expanded learning time worked in one California school

25 Mar

Nora Fleming reports in the Education Week article, Expanded Learning Time Linked to Higher Test Scores:

Improved student performance was just one of the gains found after Tumbleweed Elementary School implemented an expanded learning time model, according to a new case study from the National Center of Time & Learning. The new brief is the second in a series released by the center that looks at schools that have recently added more time to the school day or year and seen early, positive gains.

Tumbleweed Elementary, a school in the Palmdale district north of Los Angeles, had been chronically underperforming since the 1990s and had not made Adequate Yearly Progress markers (mandated by No Child Left Behind) since the law was adopted in 2001, according to the brief. To improve the school, the district applied for (and won) a three-year, $6 million federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) in 2009, and crafted a turnaround strategy that focused on how added time could improve student outcomes and school climate.

The challenges were significant, says brief authors, especially given that the school was diverse, overcrowded, (with average class sizes hovering around 30 students), and had high rates of poverty (94 percent of students qualify for free and reduced price lunch).

To implement the new model, 41 new teachers were placed at the school, along with a new principal. The school added an hour to the day to be used for more math instruction, professional development time for teachers, and academic supports for students who were falling behind in particular subjects.

After the first year of implementation in 2010-2011, the school saw a 14 point gain in student English language arts scores and a 23 point gain in math on the California state standardized tests, and met Adequate Yearly Progress markers (NCLB) for the first time. There were small performance gains the following year as well, and overall, student behavior was said to significantly improve when new behavior and academic expectations were set.

However, the brief makes clear that the added time was not the sole reform that has supported improved school performance during this time period. The school also focused on improving the use of data to track students and measure their progress, creating student incentives to improve behavior and school climate, and placing an emphasis on the need for teacher collaboration.

Fleming also reported on expanded learning’s limitations

In the Education Week article, Expanded Learning Time Not Always a Cure-All, Report Says, Fleming reported about the Educator Sector’s analysis of expanded learning time:

Interest has increased in adding more time to the school day, but many schools are ill equipped to put time to the most effective use for improving student and school outcomes, says a new report from Education Sector, a Washington-based think tank focused on education policy.

In the report, Education Sector looks at nationwide trends with schools implementing expanded learning models, in addition to focusing on schools that used ELT as a turnaround strategy to receive federal School Improvement Grants.

According to “What More Learning Time Can (and Can’t) Do for Turnarounds,” a few approaches to expand learning have been used nationwide: adding time to the formal school schedule, expanding learning outside the regular school schedule, and changing the way time is used doing the school day. Examples of some of the innovative ELT models that have been effective in improving outcomes, such as the TASC model in New York, the Citizen Schools model in Boston, and the Providence After School Alliance model in Providence, are also profiled in the report.

While adding time to the formal school schedule has gained more appeal, particularly for policymakers as a solution for improving schools, more schools are actually still expanding learning through after-school, summer, and other efforts not tied to the traditional classroom day.

But not all ELT efforts nationally compare with those mentioned above, says report author Elena Silva, who I spoke with for a story on ELT this past fall.

For expanded time to be most effective, she writes, schools should not focus on the time itself but on connecting added time to other reforms. More schools, especially those serving the neediest students, are looking to ELT as a quick fix for improvement, but do not put enough effort into the “comprehensive reform” of their schools that ELT must be a part of to be effective. This is often due to lack of know-how or lack of supports, staffing, funding, and so forth, the article says, but as more schools look to add time, they should err on the side of caution, particularly as federal policymakers push ELT as a solution to improving underperforming schools.

Here is the Education Sector summary: 

Off the Clock: What More Time Can (and Can’t) Do for School Turnarounds

Reports & Briefs |

Elena Silva

| March 29, 2012

Related Issue(s): Accountability and School Improvement, K-12 Education, Expanded Learning and School Time

If less time in the classroom is a cause of poor student performance, can adding more time be the cure? This strategy underlies a major effort to fix the nation’s worst public schools. Billions of federal stimulus dollars are being spent to expand learning time on behalf of disadvantaged children. And extended learning time (ELT) is being proposed as a core strategy for school turnaround.

But the hard truth is that there is far more research showing the ill effects of unequal time than research showing that ELT policies can make up the difference. What does the research really say about the impact of ELT on student learning, and how is it being implemented in our nation’s lowest-performing schools?

Off the Clock: What More Time Can (and Can’t) Do for School Turnarounds takes a look at the facts—and the myths—about school calendars and schedules. Extended learning time is one of the key elements of the federal government’s SIG program. More than 90 percent of the schools in the program have selected one of two options—”turnaround” and “transformation”—that mandate more time.

Education Sector reviewed data on how these schools are actually using “increased learning time” mandated by the federal government. The variations are wide—from adding minutes to the school day to providing after-school programs to shortening recess and lunch. Some approaches show clear potential, while others face considerable limits to implementation.

“New designs for extended time should be a part of the nation’s school improvement plans,” Silva concludes. “But policymakers and school leaders must recognize that successful schools use time not just to extend hours and days but to creatively improve how and by whom instruction is delivered. In the end, the ELT movement is more likely to leave a legacy of school and student success if it becomes less about time and more about quality teaching and learning.”

This report was funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Education Sector thanks the foundation for its support. The views expressed in the paper are those of the author alone.

Download Full Report


Expanded Learning Time in Action: Initiatives in High-Poverty and High-Minority Schools and Districts                                                                                      

In Good schools are relentless about basics: School day length, moi said:

Rosalind Rossi, education reporter for the Chicago Sun Times is reporting in the article, 2011 Illinois school report cards: Top schools have longer days.

The 10 highest-ranking suburban neighborhood elementary schools all have longer days for kids than the typical Chicago public school — but shorter ones than those advocated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city public school officials.

Chicago’s current typical 5-hour and 45-minute elementary school day — usually without a regular recess — looks paltry compared to a top-scoring 2011 suburban average of just under 6½ hours that includes daily recess, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis indicates.

However, Chicago’s proposed 7½-hour day would keep city elementary kids in school an hour more than their top-scoring suburban counterparts. Such a day is appealing even to some suburban parents.

The Mid Continent Research for Education and Learning (McRel) has great information posted at its site about school day length.

According to McRel in the article, Extended School Days and School Years:

Does more time in school matter?

Several scholars have argued that simply extending school time in and of itself will not produce the desired results. Larry Cuban, a Stanford University professor of education, has argued for example that what matters most is not the quantity but the quality of time students and teachers spend together in the classroom (2008).

In our 2000 meta-analysis of the impact of school, teacher, and student-level variables on achievement, McREL concluded that student achievement can be strongly affected if schools optimize their use of instructional time.

In 1998 WestEd researchers Aronson et al. examined the research on time and learning and arrived at three conclusions:

  • There is little or no relationship between student achievement and the total number of days or hours students are required to attend school.
  • There is some relationship between achievement and engaged time, that subset of instructional time when students are participating in learning activities.
  • The strongest relationship exists between academic learning time and achievement.

However, in recent years some notable extended time initiatives have produced gains in test scores, graduation rates, and college attendance, including the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), which increases the amount of time students spend in school by nearly 60%, and Massachusetts 2020. Conversely, a $100 million effort in Miami to extend school days by one hour and add 10 days to the calendar produced no significant benefits.

The key seems to be longer time spent in instructional activities.      

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There are too few counselors in schools

24 Mar

Many children arrive at school with mental health and social issues. In School psychologists are needed to treat troubled children:

Mark Phillips, professor emeritus of secondary education at San Francisco State University wrote the article, School psychologists: Shortage amid increased need which discusses the need for psychological support in schools.

The adolescent suicide rate continues to rise, with each suicide a dramatic reminder that the lives of a significant number of adolescents are filled with anxiety and stress. Most schools have more than a handful of kids wrestling with significant emotional problems, and schools at all levels face an ongoing challenge related to school violence and bullying, both physical and emotional.

Yet in many schools there is inadequate professional psychological support for students.

Although statistics indicate that there is a significant variation from state to state (between 2005- and 2011 the ratio of students per school psychologist in New Mexico increased by 180%, while in the same period the ratio decreased in Utah by 34%), the overall ratio is 457:1. That is almost twice that recommended by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

THE NASP noted a shortage of almost 9,000 school psychologists in 2010 and projected a cumulative shortage of close to 15,000 by 2020. Mental Health America estimates that only 1 in 5 children in need of mental health services actually receive the needed services. These gross statistics also omit the special need of under funded schools and the increased roles school psychologists are being asked to play….

Even with the psychological services that should be provided and often aren’t, schools can’t fully prevent suicides, acts of violence, bullying, or the daily stresses that weigh on kids shoulders. The malaise runs deeper and broader.

Still schools need more resources than they receive in order to provide more programs that actively identify and counsel those kids that need help. At the very least, they need to alleviate some of the stress these kids are experiencing and to help improve the quality of their daily lives.

It is important to deal with the psychological needs of children because untreated depression can lead to suicide. In addition to psychological programs, schools can offer other resources to help students succeed in school and in life.

Valerie Strauss writes in the Washington Post article, How big is the school counselor shortage? Big:

The American School Counselor Association recommends  a ratio of 250 students to each counselor. But in the latest statistics available from around the country (the 20010-2011 school year), the average ratio is one counselor for every 471 students. That means that for the 49,484,181 public school students, there were 105,079 counselors — a sharp rise from the year before, when there were 459 students to every counselor.

What’s more, some states have a far bigger divide:

*In California, it is 1,016 students for every counselor
*Arizona, 861-1
*Minnesota, 782-1
*Utah, 726-1
*Michigan, 706-1

The states with the lowest ratios:

*Wyoming: 200-1
*Vermont: 235-1
*New Hampshire: 236-1
*Hawaii: 284-1
*Montana: 310-1

In the greater Washington area:
*Washington D.C.: 274-1
*Virginia: 315-1
*Maryland: 357-1

A 2010 study,  which was the first nationally representative study of the provision, financing, and impact of school-site mental health services for young children, shows why this matters so much. It concludes that at least one in five young children in the United States has some mental disorder. But many states don’t require public elementary schools to hire mental health professionals, and, as we’ve seen, many states don’t even have enough counselors who might be able to flag problems with children….

It is important to deal with the psychological needs of children because untreated depression can lead to suicide.

Why Do Teens Attempt Suicide? 

The American Academy of Adolescent Psychiatry has some excellent suicide resources 

Suicides among young people continue to be a serious problem. Each year in the U.S., thousands of teenagers commit suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds, and the sixth leading cause of death for 5-to-14-year-olds.

Teenagers experience strong feelings of stress, confusion, self-doubt, pressure to succeed, financial uncertainty, and other fears while growing up. For some teenagers, divorce, the formation of a new family with step-parents and step-siblings, or moving to a new community can be very unsettling and can intensify self-doubts. For some teens, suicide may appear to be a solution to their problems and stress.  

Sometimes, people see suicide as an answer to their problems. All of us must stress that suicide is always the WRONG answer to what in all likelihood is a transitory situation.                                


Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children

School psychologists are needed to treat troubled children

Battling teen addiction: ‘Recovery high schools’


  1. About.Com’s Depression In Young Children
  2. Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children
  3. Psychiatric News’ Study Helps Pinpoint Children With Depression
  4. Family Doctor’s What Is Depression?
  5. WebMD’s Depression In Children
  6. Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed?
  7. Medicine.Net’s Depression In Children

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

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The 03/25/13 Joy Jar

24 Mar

Moi was on a walk and a butterfly floated by. This must be a hardy little creature, because even though the calendar says Spring, it has been cold. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ are butterflies.

“Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.”                                                                                           Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

“Butterflies are self propelled flowers. ”                 

R.H. Heinlein

“A power of Butterfly must be –

The Aptitude to fly

Meadows of Majesty concedes

And easy Sweeps of Sky -”

Emily Dickinson

“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.”                                                                                                      

Hans Christian Andersen

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.                                                                                                                                                        Unknown

Center for American Progress Report: Mayoral control of schools

24 Mar

As more and more question the effectiveness of the current school structure, some mayors have assumed control of their city schools. Frederick M. Hess writes in the American Enterprise Institute article, Assessing the Case for Mayoral Control of Urban Schools:

Are elected school boards equal to the challenges of twenty-first-century urban school governance? Eli Broad, founder of the Broad Prize for Urban Education, believes in “mayoral control of school boards or . . . no school board at all.”[1] Chester E. Finn Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, has called school boards “an aberration, an anachronism, an educational sinkhole,” urging, “put this dysfunctional arrangement out of its misery.”[2]

Aberration or not, the nation’s nearly fifteen thousand school boards are still charged with providing the leadership, policy direction, and oversight to drive school improvement. Nationally, 96 percent of districts have elected boards, including more than two-thirds of the twenty-five largest districts.[3] After decades of largely ineffectual reform, however, it is far from clear that school boards are equal to the challenge. The most popular alternative is replacing today’s boards with some form of mayoral control. Cities with a variation of this arrangement today include Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. The take-no-prisoners leadership styles of school chancellors in New York City and Washington, D.C., have drawn particular interest.

Where It All Began

The irony is that today’s school boards took their contemporary shape about a century ago, when Progressive Era reformers launched a concerted effort to expunge “politics” from schooling in the name of efficiency, equity, and accountability. As James Cibulka, president of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, has noted, K–12 governance was “designed by political Progressives early in the twentieth century to give professional educators authority and insulate them from political abuses.”[4] Consequently, even strong mayors had little influence over the local schools.

Early nineteenth-century school boards had been local and informal, justified by the presumption that they kept schools connected to their neighborhoods. By the dawn of the twentieth century, however, Progressives–in language that sounds more than a little familiar–thought it necessary to “clean out” boards plagued by patronage and politics. In 1885, Boston reformer John Philbrick asserted that “unscrupulous politicians” had seized “every opportunity to sacrifice the interests of the schools to the purposes of the political machine.”[5]

As the twentieth century dawned, Progressives worked to streamline boards and render them more professional and accountable. University of Chicago political scientist William Howell explains: “The order of the day put rational control and expertise in the service of objectivity and efficiency; the result was the birth of the civil service, the exaltation of meritocracy and modernity, and the rise of Taylorism, the scientific management of industries and businesses.”[6] Seeking to insulate board politics from rough-and-tumble state and national elections, Progressives moved board elections “off-cycle” and made them nonpartisan.

Efforts to separate education from politics gave rise to concerns that school systems were not apolitical but rather consumed by undisciplined, petty, and ineffectual politics. Assessing Progressive Era reforms more than thirty years ago, historian Charles Beard observed, “Cities change from one [approach] to the other in the hope–usually vain–of taking the school affairs out of the spoils system.”[7]

Today, reformers worry that excising politics from school governance has also removed coherence and accountability. One popular solution: put the politics back in education by handing control of the schools to the mayor or empowering mayors to appoint local school boards. This is primarily debated in the nation’s large, urban school systems–those cities where educational challenges are more daunting, politics are especially complex, and the need for coherence is particularly pressing. Is it a promising idea? What does the research suggest?                             

The Center for American Progress has completed the report, Mayoral Governance and Student Achievement: How Mayor-Led Districts Are Improving School and Student Performance by Kenneth K. Wong and Francis X. Shen

Here is a summary of the Center for American Progress Report about mayoral control:

Top 5 Things to Know About Mayoral Control of Schools

By Juliana Herman | March 22, 2013

In many cities across America, it’s not just schools that are failing—it’s the entire school district as well. Huge numbers—if not the majority—of students throughout these districts are not reading at grade level and lack basic math skills.

This is a problem greater than any one school. In response, some cities have shaken up the way their school districts are run, giving greater control to their mayors and implementing what is called “mayoral control” of schools. School districts are traditionally controlled by a locally elected school board, which makes decisions about how schools are run, including hiring and firing the school superintendent. Mayoral control, however, is a shift in the power structure wherein mayors are given a greater degree of authority over schools. Often, though not always, mayors are given the power to appoint members who will replace some or all members of the elected school board.

The move to mayoral control is one element in the larger discussion about who should run our schools, but it is also a significant and potentially impactful alternative to the traditional structure—and it comes at a time when schools and students are desperate for alternatives.

The Center for American Progress recently released a new report analyzing the impact of mayoral control. The report, titled “Mayoral Governance and Student Achievement: How Mayor-led Districts Are Improving School and Student Performance” by Kenneth K. Wong and Francis X. Shen, looks at the impact of mayoral control on resource management and student achievement in 11 different school districts across the country.

Based on CAP’s new report, here are the top five things to know about mayoral control of schools:

It’s been done all across the country in cities of all sizes

Some variation of mayoral control has been implemented in a geographically diverse range of urban cities, from New York City to Indianapolis to Los Angeles and many places in between. These cities have different student populations, structures, and histories, but empowering the mayor to make at least some of the decisions about schools has been tried in all of them….

Mayoral control comes in many shapes and sizes

Despite what the name might imply, there is no “one and only” type of mayoral control. Different cities have taken different approaches, and new formats are still being invented. There is a lot of room for variation depending on local priorities, decisions, cultures, and any number of other factors. The term “mayoral control” simply signifies that the mayor has more power now than he or she did before. What that means in practice is up to the city or state in question.

There are, however, a few common forms or degrees of control. Some cities have given their mayor the power to appoint the entire school board and the CEO, or superintendent, of the school district. Examples of where this has happened include Washington, D.C., and Chicago. In New York City the mayor appoints the CEO and the majority—though not the entirety—of the board. Together, these three cities have “very high” degrees of mayoral control. Cities that empower the mayor to appoint at least the majority of the school board, but give the boards the authority to appoint the CEOs, fall into the high degree of control classification. This category—also the most common—includes Boston, Massachusetts; Cleveland, Ohio; Hartford, Connecticut; New Haven, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; Trenton, New Jersey; and Yonkers, New York. Even within this category, there is variation: The mayors of Boston, Cleveland, and Providence must choose their board appointees from a list of nominees….

Mayor-led districts may use resources more strategically

There is evidence that districts operating under mayoral control may spend their money differently, more strategically, and with a greater focus on the classroom than districts governed by elected boards. For starters, mayoral-led districts have more resources per student overall than similar city districts, though the cause of this is hard to identify definitively. On average, districts under mayoral control also focus on teachers: A greater percentage of their total staff is teachers, producing lower student-to-teacher ratios. Relative to the largest city districts, mayor-led districts have less central office staff and administrators as a percent of their total staff. This prioritization on teaching and learning might be an important factor in contributing to higher student achievement…,

Mayor-controlled districts have seen increases in student achievement

Although other factors are important, the ultimate measure of any change in our education system is whether it improves student learning and achievement. In Boston, Chicago, New York City, Washington, D.C., and other cities, mayoral control is associated with just that. Students saw improvements—in some cases significant improvements—on both state assessments and on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a test administered nationally to fourth and eighth graders. Looking at the National Assessment of Educational Progress scores, for example, the percentage of Bostonian fourth graders proficient in math went from 12 percent to 33 percent—an increase of 21 percentage points—under mayoral control. Similarly, the percentage of fourth graders in Washington, D.C. that were proficient in reading went from 10 percent to 20 percent—an increase of 10 percentage points—after the city moved to mayoral control….

It doesn’t work everywhere, but it can be a catalyst for reform

Mayoral control was less successful in cities such as Cleveland, Ohio, and Yonkers, New York. In Cleveland student achievement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress improved just slightly, if at all, and the gap between the average among large cities and the district’s achievement widened—not narrowed—for almost every grade, subject, and student population. This is exactly the opposite of closing the achievement gap. To be clear, it’s impossible to know why achievement stagnated in these cities, and certainly numerous factors other than mayoral control are involved. But it is important to recognize that mayoral control may not be the right solution for all districts….


Mayoral control of schools can be effective. Mayor-controlled districts have seen improved student achievement across all subjects and student groups. Moving to a mayor-led district can also help spur innovation and advancement. In cities with lagging student achievement, getting more engagement from mayors or increasing their authority over schools could be part of the solution. But voters and policymakers should be sure to design a variation of mayoral control that works for their city and consider the possibility that a different “shake up” strategy might be a better fit.

Juliana Herman is an Education Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress. 

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, and health care)
202.741.6285 or

Syracuse 2020 offers the concise pros and cons of mayoral school control:



  • Promote gains in accountability and efficiency through increased testing and control of personnel operations
  • Clear goals and accountability resting with the mayor as opposed to boards with differing positions.
  • Better coordination with other agencies in terms of child welfare, safety, public health, recreation, job training, economic development and overall community development strategies
  • Ability to hire chief executive officers from outside of educational systems
  • Increased fiscal stability
  • More political participation because of broader voter participation in elections
  • Promotes the  idea of a progressive community
  • Potential for gaining political capital


  • Business approach does not recognize differences in public personnel and public service systems
  • Mayor’s power is diluted through necessary delegation of authority,
  • Schools are intense people centered organizations quite unlike treating sewage and collecting garbage.
  • Too reliant on idiosyncrasies of individual mayor
  • Better public oversight due to open board meetings
  • Results of mayoral control are unimpressive when matched to NAEP tests
  • Results of outside CEO’s uneven…/MAYORAL%20CONTROL%20OF%20SC

Moi wrote about school superintendents in Life expectancy of a superintendent: A lot of bullets and little glory:

Just about anyone in education has a tough job these days, from the building staff to the superintendent. There is pressure to perform in an environment of declining resources. Lately, the job of superintendent of large urban school districts has been characterized by turnover. Thomas E. Glass in The History of the Urban Superintendent writes:

The twenty-first century finds one-third of America’s public school children attending one of ten large urban (large-city) school districts. By 2020 approximately one-half of public school enrollment will be clustered in twenty districts. The educational stewardship of a majority of the nations youth rests uncomfortably on the shoulders of a very few large-city school superintendents. Their success and the success of their districts may very well determine the future of American democracy.

Urban districts are typically considered to be those located in the inner core of metropolitan areas having enrollments of more than 25,000 students. The research and literature about large-city school districts portray conditions of poverty, chronic academic underachievement, dropouts, crime, unstable school boards, reform policy churn, and high superintendent turnover.

The typical tenure of a superintendent in the largest large-city districts is two to three years. This brief tenure makes it unlikely a superintendent can develop and implement reform programs that can result in higher academic achievement–let alone re-build crumbling schools buildings, secure private sector assistance, and build a working relationship with the city’s political structure.

The large-city superintendency is a position defined by high expectations, intense stress, inadequate resources, and often a highly unstable politicized board of education.
Read more: Superintendent of Large-City School Systems – History of the Urban Superintendent, The Profession, School Boards,

Characteristics of the Large-City Superintendent

See, District Administration’s article, Superintendent Staying Power

There is no one-size-fits all in education, there should be a variety of options.


Ravitch: Mayoral control means zero accountability                              

Resist Mayoral Control                                                                                           

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Important case about copyright: Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons

23 Mar

Jennifer Howard reports in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, In Win for Libraries Over Publishers, Supreme Court Upholds Reselling of Foreign Books:

If you’re the legal owner of a copy of a book or other work copyrighted under U.S. law, the Supreme Court says you have the right to resell or give it away, even if it was made overseas.

The Scotus Blog has a brief of the case:

Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
11-697 2d Cir. Oct 29, 2012
Mar 19, 2013 6-3 Breyer OT 2012

Holding: The “first sale” doctrine, which allows the owner of a copyrighted work to sell or otherwise dispose of that copy as he wishes, applies to copies of a copyrighted work lawfully made abroad.

Judgment: Reversed and remaned, 6-3, in an opinion by Justice Breyer on March 19, 2013. Justice Kagan filed a concurring opinion in which Justice Alito joined. Justice Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion in which Justice Kennedy joined, and in which Justice Scalia joined except as to Parts III and V–B–1.

SCOTUSblog Coverage

Here is the defense of the Association of American Publishers, Understanding Kirtsaeng v. Wiley

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The 03/24/13 Joy Jar

23 Mar

Like many, moi has been watching the NCAA road to the ‘Final Four.’ Basketball at its purest is a graceful sport. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is the joy one receives from watching a great game of basketball.


If I weren’t earning $3 million a year to dunk a basketball, most people on the street would run in the other direction if they saw me coming.

 Charles Barkley quotes 


A basketball team is like the five fingers on your hand. If you can get them all together, you have a fist. That’s how I want you to play.
Mike Krzyzewski

There is no such thing as a perfect basketball player, and I don’t believe there is only one greatest player either.

Michael Jordan


I tell kids to pursue their basketball dreams, but I tell them to not let that be their only dream.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

We can have no progress without change, whether it be basketball or anything else.

John Wooden

I’m not comfortable being preachy, but more people need to start spending as much time in the library as they do on the basketball court.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The 03/23/13 Joy Jar

22 Mar

The calendar says Spring, but tell that to Mother Nature. There was a convergence zone in Seattle and believe it or not it many parts of the Puget Sound region there was slushy snow. Moi had to do errands all over the region, so she put on her fleece lined boots and headed out. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is moi’s  warm boots.

A lie travels round the world, while Truth is putting on her boots”                                                                   Charles H. Spurgeon quotes (English preacher of 19th century 1834-1892) 

None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody – a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns – bent down and helped us pick up our boots.

Thurgood Marshall

 There’s man all over for you, blaming on his boots the fault of his feet.

Samuel Beckett

 “You can do anything that you wanna do, but uh-uh, don’t step on my cowboy boots.”

Hank Williams Jr.

  “One must always have one’s boots on and be ready to go.”

Michel de Montaigne

“If you want to leave your footprints in the sands of time, make sure you are wearing work boots”             


The 03/22/13 Joy Jar

21 Mar

Today’s breakfast was sublime – a cheese filled croissant with chocolate chips. Lots of chocolate chips.  Is there a better way to start the day than with anything sprinkled with chocolate chips?  Thought so. Today’s deposit in the ‘Joy Jar’ is breakfast with chocolate chips.

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

Charles M. Schulz

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”

Linda Grayson

“Your hand and your mouth agreed many years ago that, as far as chocolate is concerned, there is no need to involve your brain.”

Dave Barry

“What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.”

Katharine Hepburn

“The greatest tragedies were written by the Greeks and Shakespeare…neither knew chocolate.”

Sandra Boynton

“Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate.”

Jo Brand