The DeHavilland Blog

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Garrison Keillor and NCLB

Of all the people who could be expected to defend NCLB, I never would have included Garrison Keillor on that list. Yet here he is, on

The heart of it:

Face it, the schools are not run by Republican oligarchs in top hats and spats but by perfectly nice, caring, sharing people, with a smattering of yoga/raga/tofu/mojo/mantra folks like my old confreres. Nice people are failing these kids, but when they are called on it, they get very huffy. When the grand poobah Ph.D.s of education stand up and blow, they speak with great confidence about theories of teaching, and considering the test results, the bums ought to be thrown out.

There is much evidence that teaching phonics really works, especially with kids with learning disabilities, a growing constituency. But because phonics is associated with behaviorism and with conservatives, and because the Current Occupant has spoken on the subject, my fellow liberals are opposed.

Liberal dogma says that each child is inherently gifted and will read if only he is read to. This was true of my grandson; it is demonstrably not true of many kids, including my sandy-haired, gap-toothed daughter. The No Child Left Behind initiative has plenty of flaws, but the Democrats who are trashing it should take another look at the Reading First program. It is morally disgusting if Democrats throw out Republican programs that are good for children. Life is not a scrimmage. Grown-ups who stick with dogma even though it condemns children to second-class lives should be put on buses and sent to North Dakota to hoe wheat for a year.

Who’d a thunk it?

Hat tip to Alexander Russo at This Week in Education.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ready to roll!

If you're interested in registering for the Effective Education Partnerships Conference, we're finally ready to accept registrations: just go here to download a registration form or to pay online with a credit card.

(And a piece of advice: if you ever need to add a shopping cart to your site, hire somebody to do it for you. Don't try it yourself. Seriously.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

EEPC 2008 agenda available

I'm very proud to announce that we've confirmed the agenda for the 2008 Effective Education Partnerships Conference. Go here to review the agenda and to download it into PDF format.

We've had our keynote speakers in place for some time - what's new is that we've announced our breakout sessions, which make up the bulk of the event. We'll have six breakout sessions, with five sessions running simultaneously in each - a total of 30.

I'm thrilled at the quality and diversity of our sessions! Given that the conference is intended to bring school and business people together to discuss effective partnership practices, it's fitting that we have equal representation from each group: 12 sessions led by education professionals and 12 by business leaders, with the remaining six falling into an "other" category (primarily foundations and higher education).

The presentations include case studies that highlight effective practices, sessions on effective strategy in program design and community engagement, and discussions on attracting resources and engaged partners to your efforts.

This is exactly the lineup I had hoped to see when we first envisioned the conference - go here to see what you'll be getting when you attend.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The early returns are in...

No, not in the presidential primaries - I'm talking about the impact of the economic downturn, led by the subprime mortgage crisis, on education budgets.

A few recent stories:
In the short term, the focus will be on belt-tightening; I've talked recently to school officials in Nevada and Florida who have seen budgets cut for travel, conferences, and other non-core activities.

The question will be, what happens after budgets are tightened?

Monday, January 07, 2008

New guide to building education partnerships

I've just written a guide on behalf of NASSMC titled "The SAI Guide to Building Effective Education Partnerships." Underwritten by Lockheed Martin, this is a step-by-step guide to developing an education initiative, with sections including:

  • Introduction
  • Setting Initial Program Parameters
  • Partnership Development
  • The Asset Inventory
  • Program Design
  • Measurement and Evaluation
  • Strategic Reviews
  • Sustainability

You can download the guide in PDF format here; I'd love any feedback.