The School Administrator


June 2008 Number 6, Vol. 65Contrarians RevisitedPublic education's chief defenders and a salute to Paul Houston


  • Scenes From Out-of-Balance Schooling

    by David C. Berliner

    The author, a professor at Arizona State University, recounts sundry scenarios from school settings nation-wide that illustrate the colorful concept of koyaanisqatsi, which the Hopi tribe uses to define crazy situations.

    Similar Reading: A new network, Public Schools for Tomorrow

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  • The Corruption of School Accountability

    by Richard Rothstein

    The wrong-headed use of student test scores as the sole indicator of education quality. Rather, the Economic Policy Institute fellow suggests acting on what other sectors of public life have learned about quantitative measures.

    Similar Reading: Michael McGill: Finding my answers in oppositional moments

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  • Cut Scores, NAEP Achievement Levels and Their Discontents

    by Gerald W. Bracey

    Political bodies are trying to bludgeon public schools by setting arbitrary passage rates with the mischief making especially apparent on national assessments of student performance.

    Similar Reading: Thomas Sobol: A contrarian's lyrical lament

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  • This Is Jeopardy!

    by Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

    Test your luck in the author’s reality show version of “Jeopardy” in which America’s public schools have been forced to participate. She offers a potpourri of answers to the unfair assaults on K-12 education and educators.

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  • Scapegoating Public Schools

    by Paul S. Shaker and Elizabeth E. Heilman

    The pitting of political advocacy versus professional authority has drowned out the crucial voices of educators. The reform movement has been hijacked by self-interested parties intent on blaming schools for unruliness and inefficiency.

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  • Contrarian at the Helm

    by Jay Mathews

    As his 14-year tenure leading AASA draws to a close, Paul Houston has promoted the interests of public schools like few others. His sharp views, sometimes differing from others in Washington, and his colorful writing have resonated deeply with school leaders.

    Similar Reading: The best of Paul Houston's commentaries and A parting prescription to fix what ails NCLB

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  • Are Demographics the Nation's Destiny?

    by Gene V. Glass

    An expert on empirical evaluation of education believes the major debates over vouchers, charter schools, bilingual education and other issues are not really about preparing the next generation to compete with China or India. They are about cutting costs and turning some public schools into “quasi-private” places for a privileged few.

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    A High Watermark in Public Leadership by Jay P. Goldman

    Doris Voitier has set a high watermark for her stellar performance as superintendent in St. Bernard Parish Public Schools in Chalmette, La.

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    Punchback: Answering the Critics

    The Overselling of Growth Modeling by Kevin G. Welner

    The advocates of growth models for measuring student performance are rarely forthright about limitations, which can result in policies that make inappropriate demands of this approach. The director of the Education and the Public Interest Center spells out five downsides.

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    Guest Columns

    Two Worlds Collide in School: Staffing and High Stakes by James H. VanSciver

    The ramifications of a classroom hiring decision gone awry, in the eyes of a central-office administrator.

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    Rethinking Student Discipline by David C. Bloomfield

    I am a superintendent’s worst nightmare. I am an education lawyer. I am a parent activist and the complainant in a civil rights action against a school district.

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    Professional movements in the AASA membership ranks — promotions, retirements and a death.

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    Tech Leadership

    Getting Correct Answers About Data the First Time by Jim Hirsch

    Enterprise resource planning brings all of an organization’s needs for information and data into a single set of software applications running against a single database. These systems are new to school organizations.

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    President's Corner

    Those Pesky Gender Issues by Sarah D. Jerome

    AASA's president reflects on gender issues in her final column.

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    Executive Perspective

    Will's Way by Paul D. Houston

    Life is hard, but it’s good, concludes AASA’s executive director in his parting message to association members.

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    Federal Dateline

    Revamping While Reauthorizing ESEA by Bruce Hunter

    NCLB is going the way of the passenger pigeon and the American bison. It will not exist after the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is reauthorized.

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