EdNewsColorado is one of the most active sites in the nation when it comes to examining a state’s education legislation, events, people and goings-on. Really, they cover everything and they do it just about every day.
If you live in Colorado, that’s incredible. If you don’t, it’s still incredible. EdNewsColorado is a must-follow for anyone who wants to see ed news coverage in practice.
Yesterday, ENC’s Todd Engdahl wrote about the newly-introduced senate bill SB 11-126, which is essentially Colorado’s take on the DREAM Act:
The measure would apply to undocumented students who have attended a Colorado high school before graduating or earning a GED and who has been admitted to a state college or university within 12 months of graduating.
Such students would have to notify the college or university that they have applied for lawful status or intend to do so when eligible.
It’s going to be a long, difficult debate for both sides. Subscribe to their blog and e-mails to keep up.
Ed policy kingpin Rick Hess isn’t sure that all those reforms he hears about – and is involved in – are going to play out the way reformers intended. He’s preparing himself for a few pyrrhic victories:
Proponents of accountability, charter schooling, merit pay, value-added metrics, and the “reform” agenda are cheered by the strides they’ve made in recent years. Given President Obama’s support, the fuss raised by Waiting for Superman, the emergence of Democrats for Education Reform, and so on, would-be reformers have seemingly captured the high ground in the edu-debate–even winning the approval of zeitgeist queen Oprah Winfrey.
Yet, in a just-published Education Next forum piece entitled “Pyrrhic Victories?,” Harvard’s Marty West, Fordham’s Mike Petrilli, and I ask whether these victories might not ultimately yield bitter fruit. Marty, Mike, and I are ardent champions of accountability, charter schooling, merit pay, and the rest–but we are also well aware how easily groupthink, hubris, and wishful thinking can submarine good ideas.
I’m not sure that I’d use the phrase “Pyrrhic victory” to describe the situation – actually, I’m sure, and I wouldn’t – but Hess is saying something here to reformers that needs to be heard: Stop patting yourselves on the back, because things aren’t nearly as rosy as they seem. It’s not pessimistic, just realistic.
And speaking of Waiting for Superman, how’d it get snubbed at the Oscars? Here’s an explanation:
Why it happened: Guggenheim’s big backers may have actually irked independent-minded Academy members. Worse, his teacher’s union-bashing film was embraced by conservatives, one of whom said his Oscar snub is “the price a political apostate pays in Hollywood for straying off the liberal plantation.” Education expert Diane Ravitch trashed it as inaccurate. A more dispassionate expert says, “The first response to the movie was that it’s about poor black kids, and it’s from the Gore guy, so it must be liberal and good-hearted. And then Ravitch and others portrayed it as basically right-wing propaganda, which unsettled the liberal members of the Academy. I don’t think the movie is as reactionary as Ravitch portrayed it, but I also don’t think it’s very good.” An Oscar doc voter agrees. “It was a great deal of hype. I felt like I’d seen the story before.” “It also tanked at the box office, relative to what was spent on promoting it,” adds the education expert. “The true unforgivable sin in Hollywood!”
I find it a bit funny that the guy who made An Inconvenient Truth one year would be accused of engaging in “right-wing propaganda” the next, but such is the mind of Diane Ravitch and Waiting for Superman’s critics. Oscar or not, the film made noise.