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The [Wednesday] Papers

I've been saving up some education stories - most of them culled from the work of Alexander Russo's This Week In Education - and with Arne Duncan in town, now is as good a time as any to unleash them. Then we'll get to today's news and the 411 on this Friday's party at the Beachwood.


"During a visit home Tuesday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan warned his home state of Illinois is at risk of losing its shot at a new pot of federal money if it fails to show the political will to fundamentally shake up the way schools are funded and operated," the Tribune reports.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but I wonder if the same story is appearing in every state Duncan travels to. To wit:

"Nevada At Risk Of Losing Stimulus Funds."

Every state is at risk of losing stimulus funds if they don't play by the rules the Obama administration has set up. And again, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

But . . . how did those rules get written, who do they benefit, and what about those pesky loopholes?

"Loopholes No Surprise To Duncan, Congress," Russo wrote earlier this month in a response to a naive New York Times editorial.

"The stimulus loopholes are all there because Congress wrote them that way - to address members' concerns, to appease industry lobbying - and the Obama administration went along.

"Duncan et al shouldn't get to pretend that they weren't there when the stimulus was being put together, just like Treasury couldn't pretend it didn't know about the AIG bonuses."

Anyway, moving on.

* "Once again, Chicago public schools are not even among the five finalists for the annual Broad Foundation prize for urban school districts. Same as it ever was. Why should you care? The guy who didn't race Chicago to the top of the Broad finals - but who was hyped as a big education leader - is now your (our?) Secretary of Education, influencing schools everywhere," Russo writes.

* "Most of the incoming freshman at Robeson High School in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood read below grade level. So resources are directed toward those struggling students, and less attention is given to the motivated ones like freshman Sarah Vance. These honors students get high grades but the curriculum doesn't adequately prepare them for college. Some do make it but others either get discouraged or are doomed for failure," Natalie Moore of WBEZ reports.

* "Education Chief Urges Mayoral Control Of Schools," AP reports. I tend to agree.

* Via Russo I learned about this New York Times blog. The Times has some of the best blogs going; they seem to get that the blog form and online journalism begs not just for different business models but but different content models as well.

* "We recommend Diane Ravitch's op-ed column in Friday's New York Times. 'Mayor Bloomberg's Crib Sheet,' the tangy headline said,' Bob Somerby wrote over the weekend at the Daily Howler.

"Challenging comments by Ed Sec Arne Duncan, Ravitch pens a major buzz-kill about alleged progress in New York City under Mayor Bloomberg."

Catching up with:

* "Arne's Chicago Plans Fall Apart (A Little)."

* "Ironic that Duncan would call for a longer school day when he did little to nothing to extend the day and year in Chicago, which are among the shortest in the nation among urban schools," Russo notes elsewhere.

* The standard education script, as recently typed by David Broder and taken apart by Somerby.

Somebody Somebody Sent
"A guy knows a guy who knows a guy," John Kass writes today. "And all we get is speeches."

Online Ethics
The Sun-Times apologies to readers today for failing to check the veracity of a signed letter to the editor from a woman whose name was apparently forged, but fails to explain why that same letter would have been perfectly acceptable as an anonymous, pseudononymous or forged comment.

Odds & Ends
* Irma Thomas, Napalm Death & Neko Case. Time is on their side. In RockNotes.

* Nick Swisher, Alfonso Soriano & Alexei Ramirez. Hot and not. In Fantasy Fix.

* Sexting in Vermont.

* Illinois Housing Out of Reach. Wages not keeping pace.

* Five political myths our pols like to repeat.

* Luck of the Irish Parade. Half of the charges have been dropped because the cops who made the arrests didn't show up in court.

* Mayor Muntz. Twenty years under Daley.

Beachwood Party
We'll be doing a little celebrating this Friday at the Beachwood Inn to honor everyone involved in the award won this week by Chicago Talks and The Beachwood Reporter with generous assistance from the Better Government Association, which deserves full credit as an equal partner.

We'll have some door prizes, snacks and Bob behind the bar. Official starting time is 7:30 p.m., but plenty o' folks will be there sooner and plenty more much, much later. Everyone is invited.

The Beachwood Tip Line: All about Bob.


Posted on April 15, 2009

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike An Old Story.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Kanye, Chili, Jimmy, Tarik.

BOOKS - Conway Barbour & The Black Middle Class.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Recall! Malone's Pork Head Cheese.

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