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Alexander Russo
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Entries by Alexander Russo

Frontline Michelle Rhee Documentary: Tales Behind The Film

(37) Comments | Posted January 8, 2013 | 4:06 PM

This piece comes to us courtesy of This Week In Education.

How fascinating to wake up and find out that Adell Cothorne (pictured), the Noyes Elementary School principal interviewed in tonight's PBS Frontline documentary (a) had never been on camera in all the previous previous PBS segments on...

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The NCLB Reauthorization We Should Be Doing Now

(4) Comments | Posted December 5, 2012 | 1:33 PM

As the lame duck Congress wraps up and energy builds towards a new Congress and a second Obama term in office, I can't help but wishing that reauthorizing No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was something that was on everyone's first order of business for January and February.

Instead, NCLB...

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New And Notable At NewSchools 2012

(0) Comments | Posted May 7, 2012 | 1:07 PM

We're still waiting for the Howard Fuller and Rahm Emanuel videos but, with the benefit of a couple days to reflect, here are some thoughts about last week's NSVF summit that I haven't seen elsewhere:  the newfound prominence given to the parent trigger, the honest self-criticism about public engagement, the...

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Critique of Education Journalism Flunks Its Own Test

(0) Comments | Posted April 2, 2012 | 2:20 PM

The only thing worse than superficial, credulous education journalism is superficial, credulous criticism of education journalism. A recent AJR story on the dismal state of education journalism (Flunking the Test) is getting torn apart (behind the scenes, mostly) for mis-apprehending the issues facing mainstream education reporting.

While I'm...

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Meet the Poster Child for Charter School Burnout

(10) Comments | Posted September 7, 2011 | 4:30 PM

A young charter school administrator named Jessica Reid played a small but important role in Steve Brill's book, Class Warfare, both in illustrating how some of the higher-performing charter schools do things and in highlighting the wear and tear that such efforts can create.

What's it been like for her...

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There Is No Cheating "Crisis"

(11) Comments | Posted July 28, 2011 | 11:06 AM

Like others, I'm a big fan of education writer Dana Goldstein (and love the line in her latest piece about the current mood of "brutal optimism" about testing). But the piece in Slate -- about how "a growing spate of evidence from around the country suggests that the most egregious...

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Education Will Break Your Heart

(9) Comments | Posted July 7, 2011 | 6:54 PM

The best and most important commencement speech of the year was given by author Jonathan Franzen, not Conan O'Brian or Stephen Colbert. Franzen's remarks at Kenyon College in Ohio were witty and smart like those of Conan and Colbert, but they were also much more intensely personal and human --...

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A 'Marshmallow Test' For Teachers

(45) Comments | Posted June 26, 2011 | 2:49 PM

Young teachers are great.  So smart, so energetic, so idealistic.  They can be remarkably effective in raising student achievement scores, too, especially after the first year or two.  But, the way the media portray it, the vast majority of them -- Ivy League-educated TFA members and youngish "teachers of the...

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Why Duncan Waiver Proposal Isn't Breaking NCLB Logjam

(4) Comments | Posted June 15, 2011 | 1:36 PM

You have to give Team Duncan credit for keeping at it with this whole reauthorization thing, whether you agree with them or not on the substance (NCLB is having a dire negative effect on public education) or the tactics (they're calling it a "flexibility package" but I call it a...

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Diane Ravitch's Stunning Certainty

(17) Comments | Posted March 3, 2011 | 9:40 AM

Picture 107Later on today, education historian Diane Ravitch is going to head out from her Brooklyn Heights home and make her way into the city...

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Five Bold Ideas For TFA's Next 20 Years

(5) Comments | Posted February 11, 2011 | 12:28 PM

Here are five completely unsolicited ideas for TFA's next 20 years, on the occasion of its first, written while on the Bolt Bus from New York City to Washington, D.C. for the weekend celebration:  

(1) Tell locals to pick one or several struggling schools, stuff them with...

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Almost Chancellor

(2) Comments | Posted November 23, 2010 | 1:26 PM


Remembering the man who was -- almost -- Chancellor of the New York City public school system, and -- with apologies for the self-indulgence --...

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Reform: The Return Of The 'Thin' Contract?

(0) Comments | Posted October 14, 2010 | 1:45 PM

image from Maybe it's just because I'm writing about a book about them but Steve Barr and Green Dot schools (and "thin" or...

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A New Kind Of School: The "Neighborhood" Charter

(1) Comments | Posted May 7, 2009 | 7:58 PM

What this week's New Yorker story on Steve Barr and Green Dot gets right -- and wrong.

This week's New Yorker profiles education activist Steve Barr (article here), whose upstart nonprofit called Green Dot has created a slew of successful schools in Los Angeles over the past nine years....

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How A Charter School Turns Union

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2009 | 4:07 PM

When two teachers came up to Kashi Nelson earlier this year and invited her to a meeting, Nelson was not at all enthused.

After all, it was all the extra meetings at the KIPP school in Brooklyn that the veteran educator felt were making the school year so hard.

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Education 2008: Winners And Losers

(2) Comments | Posted January 2, 2009 | 12:51 PM

ScreenHunter_02 Dec. 28 20.24 WINNERS:  Obama campaign staff:  they threaded the needle for 22 months and then (some) got plum DPC jobs. Win! Arne Duncan: from nearly-complete obscurity to the top education job in the country....

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Looking Deeper Into Obama Education Pick's Accomplishments

(30) Comments | Posted December 16, 2008 | 3:30 PM

It's hard not to think of incoming president George Bush's 2000 pick of Houston superintendent Rod Paige right now. Like Paige, Arne Duncan comes from a big city with a success story that the national press failed to figure out was mostly a mirage. Like Paige, Duncan will soon find...

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Who (Or What) Fouled Up The Education Secretary Decision?

(15) Comments | Posted December 15, 2008 | 4:23 PM

In a transition that has overall gone relatively smoothly, the still-incomplete process of picking an Education Secretary -- usually considered one of the least important and most easily-filled Cabinet posts -- has turned a prolonged, openly antagonistic debacle.

What's happened? Part of it is circumstantial. Another part is generational. But...

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Duncan Should Stay. But He Has to Go.

(3) Comments | Posted December 4, 2008 | 4:30 PM

Should Chicago schools superintendent Arne Duncan go to Washington if he's asked to head the U.S. Department of Education, or should he stay in town?

That's the question on many peoples' minds, including Elizabeth Evans from the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, who very much wants him to stay...

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Uncertainty Over Obama Education Adviser

(5) Comments | Posted November 10, 2008 | 12:06 PM

The general public may only want to know what kind of puppy the Obama girls are going to get and where they're going to go to school. The big-time pundits may be focused in on the pros and cons of a stimulus package and John Kerry as a candidate for...

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