I've gone AWOL as I've been absorbed in a few different projects, but here are a few things I've noticed lately:
-The Economist randomly slipped a section on school discipline into this week's column on America, which reads in part: "In New York City, where more than 60 bureaucratic steps are required to suspend a pupil for more than five days, teachers are so frightened of violating pupils’ rights that they cannot keep order."
-In a travesty, the 2008 Weblog awards for Best Education Blog includes neither Eduwonkette nor Bridging Differences, which I consider to be the two best education blogs around (the former for its quick-hitting insights and the latter for its unsurpassed thoughtfulness).
-I was, however, sent a link to this ranking of education blogs (which I'm 50/50 on whether or not it was spam intended to get me to click on their ads) that includes both Eduwonkette and this blog.
-Social promotion is often villified -- and I find it hard to disagree with much of the criticism -- but I have yet to come across a single piece of research that finds benefits from holding back students (note: I have not conducted an exhaustive search, so this doesn't mean it's not out there). Has anybody else seen something?
-The absurdity of the rhetoric from some people who consider themselves part of the "no excuses" crowd seems to increase on a consistent basis and is really starting to irk me (which is part of the reason I've taken the last month two off from reading most of the education blogs). I might just insert this into every post from now on: if there's anything upon which education researchers agree it's that student achievement is influenced more by non-school factors than in-school factors -- and the evidence is overwhelming. Please don't call me a defeatist for saying that if you want me to take you seriously.
-I plan on rolling out a few new features this year and hoping to start the first one this weekend. Stay tuned.