Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Samuel Klein, Zenkhatzen Times

Samuel Klein is a cartoonist/graphic designer/novelist/Oregonian, and his blog, The ZenKhatzen Times is just about as unique as he is. ZKT tackles just about everything in, but not limited to, Portland. In the site one has access to his self proclaimed “add-style bloggings” that contain information about graphic design, newly published cartoons, politics, to just plain cool photography. On the right side of his blog there are a whopping One hundred and fifty-three people, blogs, websites, and randomly wonderful places that are able to tickle just about anyone’s fancy. His main focus, however, always seems to relate back to Portland and graphic design(at least in most cases), even if it is about some strange deep-sea creature/dragon illustration.

Klein started out as a barista while in college with hopes of moving on to a Washington DC think tank, post-graduation. Although this dream came true, he soon found himself back in the comfort and creativity of the coffeeshop. In 2003 he packed up his belongings and moved to Portland, a place of intense interest for this wildly eclectic man. In May of 2004, ZenKhatzen Times was born from the depths of cyberspace and is now a blog that attracts viewers near and far. The reason for his incessant bloggings you ask?

“I just wanted to write and be read,” explained Grier.

Klein’s mission is not exactly clear-cut, even to him. When asked what his purpose was, he replied by describing his blog simply as a place where Portland’s culture is able to manifest and describe itself through photography, people and their experiences, illustrations, and political comics.  Through all of the information he provides on his blog he intends to make a “sort of quilt out of it all,” combining art and visual communication with well thought out and grammatically correct writings.

“I tend to diverge at times, sometimes I’ll take a spin into politics, sometimes into tangential areas of pop-culture – but I try to keep it down to Portland and Oregon and graphic design and art.”

There is a massive amount of content within this treasure chest of a blog. With the multitude of people, places and blogs (over one hundred and fifty, as I previously stated), one is able to find something that will, without a doubt, provide valuable information and even entertainment. With over seven years of archived bloggings and 150,000 visitors since its birth, there is a multitude of information to access.

Despite this blogs hoard of content, wonderfully written posts and delightful humor, there is a delicious amount of irony to be found. It is a blog that mainly tries to focus on graphic design and Oregon, but despite Mr. Klein’s heated passion for graphic design, the blog is, for lack of a better word, ugly. Boring, even. The black background mixed in with the dull, blue lettering doesn’t create a very visually stimulating blog. On top of this visually unappealing appearance, the content seems to be slightly scattered and lacking of solid categorization.

“My approach is very zen, very of-the-moment, very no-approach to managing the blog,” said Klein when asked about his blog management.

There is an apparent presence of professionalism within this blog, despite this laid-back managerial approach. It seems though, regardless of layout, that Klein is still able to attract a robust amount of visitors – 150,000 since December of 2004. The reason for this? Content, content, content, my friends. There is just too much in this blog for it to be looked at as unprofessional or useless. The blog is, in fact, quite useful, and visitors seem to respond to this very well. There’s too much useful content for it to be thrown to the side because of its unattractive presentation. Its presentation and rolodex of people and other sites drive its visitors to keep coming back for more.

Also, Klein doesn’t necessarily need to be a completely dry and professional blogger here. His audience is not full of strict and rigid people. It is full of artists and culture sponges, another reason why this blog is not perfectly organized. Again, it is the content that attracts his audience and reaches them, and his knowledge of the topic at hand.

“There are plenty of blogs that are all serious and are very impressed with themselves because of it. So I try to keep it light and fun and maybe a bit silly… The world is full of problems and were lucky enough to live in a place where we can take the time to be fun with it all.”

All in all I find this to be a wonderful blog. Despite its visual shortcomings, it reaches a wide audience with grammatically correct and content stuffed postings that are all directed toward a single purpose. Klein’s experience in his profession mixed with his down-to-Earth personality make this a blog worth keeping track of.


Multimedia

Multimedia about Race to the Top and its motives and goals

Despite numerous program cuts such as art, Wilson students have voluntarily painted hallways

Racing to the Top

Despite 25 years of acclaim and success, principal Sue Brent was forced to make a decision about the crown jewel of Wilson High School, the child psychology program, which allowed high schoolers to teach a class of preschoolers preschool curriculum. The program was terminated last year, and is just one example in a growing number of budget cuts facing America’s floundering educational system and rapidly evaporating funding pool.

Funding has been a perennial problem for administrators and their schools. For years staff have had to scavenge for funding in order to keep crippled schools and programs alive, and in many cases even keep their jobs.

“I’ve seen countless programs fall off and tons of instructors lose their jobs in my school because of inadequate funding,” said Brent from her office in Southwest Portland.

President Obama announced last July an ambitious new program, Race to the Top, which promises more than $4 billion in federal grants to schools, but there is a catch. Schools must compete against each other for the funding. School instructors and administrators alike are worried that this new program is emerging as a new form of Darwinism, where only the strongest schools will survive.

“Not every school will win, and not every district will be happy with the results,” said president Obama when introducing the program.

President Obama is already requesting an additional $1.35 billion to push the program into 2011 and possibly further, despite the lack of results. The methods of competition will also change. Individual districts will be competing against one another for the grants instead of states.

Many politicians and organizations praise Race to the Top and its goals. It intends to employ internationally benchmarked standards and tests, target the ever-widening achievement gap, recruit and develop new teachers, build new data systems to measure student growth, and turn around the lowest performing schools in each state.

“Its goal is a good one: to spark smart and sustainable improvements in public education, particularly for struggling schools and struggling students,” said the American Federation of Teachers.

Despite the solid goals of Race to the Top, many administrators are concerned with the whirlwind initiative. Popular belief is the program approaches reform the same way as Adequate Yearly Progress and the No Child Left Behind Act.

NCLB sought a similar approach to Race to the Top: enacting theories of standards-based education reform, which call for clear, measurable standards on which students can be evaluated. Adequate Yearly Progress is how the U.S. Department of Education evaluates performance of schools on standardized tests.

The controversy surrounding AYP and NCLB is that it is said to encourage teachers to “teach to the test,” and not the developing student, articulated Martha Collins, principal of Village Elementary in Eugene, Oregon.

The most unique aspect of RTTT, outright competition, has also drawn criticism. Many are worried that pitting schools against each other will lead to an uneven playing field where the lowest-performing schools are destined for closure.

Inner-city instructors are saying that there is already an unequal playing field, and that floundering schools will find it hard to compete with better-funded schools that actually have the capacity to reform.

“I think competition to a certain degree is healthy, but when you talk about competition on an already uneven playing field, that to me is illogical,” said Mike Nolan, an instructor of ten years who has taught at both strong and struggling schools.

Many say that RTTT targets the wrong areas entirely. Showing students the connection between what they are doing in school and what they will be doing once they go into the world and addressing the social and emotional needs of students are common sentiments echoed by instructors and administrators alike.

The opinion is that if a school cannot cater to the emotional needs of a student or show them why they’re going to school, the student has no reason to pursue an education.

“A student may be completely capable academically, but if their social and emotional needs aren’t met, they end up dropping out, and that’s something Race to the Top does not address,” said Larry Dashiell, administrator of 30 years and principal of Robert Gray Middle School in Portland, Oregon.

High school dropouts have a large effect on the economy as well. The Alliance for Excellent Education estimates that dropouts from the 2006-07 class will cost the U.S. more than “$329 billion in lost wages, taxes, and productivity.”

That is a lot of money, especially considering that if Race to the Top fails in prompting students to graduate, it will continue increase each year.

The first round of Race to the Top grant distribution is drawing to an end, and the second is set for September. Brent, along with thousands of other administrators forced to make cuts to their schools, hopes to see her deceased program resurrected at the finish line and her funding pool refilled. Administrators had better lace their shoes up tight and get ready for a hard-fought competition.

Perspectives

Race to the Top has the potential to prevent the cancellation of programs such as art and music, along with providing other classes and services.

Mike Nolan is a father of two and has been a school instructor for nearly a decade at both floundering and flourishing high schools. He has seen graduation rates across the nation plummet to abysmal standards, and he has seen the long-term effects of past education reforms.

The new multi-billion dollar Race to the Top initiative is one of the most ambitious reform programs in decades, seeking to have schools compete against each other for funding. The similarity of it with its predecessors, however, is beginning to raise eyebrows.

Nolan expressed concern for his children and students in America’s current educational system. “Increasing standards, holding teachers accountable, having better assessment, those are all things a confident teacher should be doing anyway… the notion that if you make a better test you make a better student, I don’t believe that.”

RTT targets several key areas of reform such as internationally benchmarked testing standards, holding the lowest-performing schools more accountable, and holding teachers more accountable. All of these topics however seem to mirror past efforts of initiatives such as the infamous No Child Left Behind Act.

“We are still based on this industrial mode of education where we are going to put out widgets into the world when we’re not really addressing the demographics and socio-economics of what’s going on. Populations change… It’s about numbers right now.”

Obama intends to acquire an extra 1.35 billion dollars from Congress to change the competition to a district versus district level and push the initiative into 2011, and possibly even further.

“How do you compete with the Beaverton school district that’s building new high schools, while Portland Public Schools hasn’t built a new high school in over fifty years… I think competition to a certain degree is healthy, but when you talk about competition on an already uneven playing field, that seems illogical,” said Nolan when asked about RTTT’s intentions.

Only time will reveal the effects of RTTT. For the time being it seems overly ambitious to anticipate these effects as positive enough to make this program annual and make competitive funding a cornerstone of United States academics. All we can hope is that at the finish line is a soft landing for America’s educational free-fall.

Social studies instructor Mike Nolan in his classroom during break period.

Larry Dashiell, principal of Robert Gray Middle School, expresses great alarm along with administrators across the nation due to an abysmal graduation rate below 50 percent in America’s 50 largest cities.

Dashiell has over thirty-years administrative and teaching experience from both floundering inner city and elite K-12 institutions, and therefore knows a thing or two about possible reasons for this catastrophic statistic.

“If student’s social and emotional needs aren’t met, they will drop out… A student may be completely capable academically, but if these needs aren’t met then they will not have the drive to remain in school or even carry onto a college atmosphere.”

A brand new multi-billion dollar reform initiative, Race to the Top, intends to confront spiraling graduation rates by having schools compete nationally for funding. But is it confronting the same areas as past initiatives while failing to examine such overlooked areas as the social and emotional needs of students?

These kinds of questions and criticism for Race to the Top are beginning to surface from parents, administrators, instructors, and even students. The main source of concern being RTTT may prove to be another failed initiative, mirroring past reform efforts such as the infamous No Child Left Behind Act.

“I’ve been in the other options of NCLB and AYP scenarios, and I don’t think they were fair and just in their assessments… You just can’t put it on a few factors and say that it’s all going to be good,” Dashiell said when asked about previous reform initiatives.

“I think there needs to be a lot of counseling, a lot of students are going through tough times, a lot of parents are going through tough times, the economy is going through tough times, but no one’s looking at the social and emotional issues our kids are going through. And that is our biggest deficiency… and that takes money [to reform].”

Will RTTT prove to be the parachute for America’s educational free fall and an answer to overlooked necessities like the social and emotional well being of students? Only time will tell, but in the mean time Obama is asking for an extra 1.35 billion dollars in funding to extend the initiative into 2011, and has hinted that it may be extended further into the future.

Principal Larry Dashiell in his office

As the Race to the Top initiative expands, opposition increases from thousands of school districts nationwide.

The Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiative has been called by the Washington Post “the crown jewel of the Obama administration’s education reform agenda,” despite having received growing opposition.

Funded by the stimulus package, Race to the Top intends to have states compete against each other on a national level for federal grants (a grand total of 4.35 dollars in initial funding) that would be used toward educational reform.

President Obama recently asked for an additional 1.35 billion dollars from Congress in order to expand the initiative into 2011. With this money, the administration plans to reform the program itself as to have schools compete on a district level, rather than state versus state.

Because of this publicly made request, previously unheard opposition has surfaced and is beginning to grow.

Quoted from the New York Times, “Thousands of school districts in California, Ohio and other states have declined to participate, and teachers’ unions in Michigan, Minnesota and Florida have recommended that their local units not sign on to their states’ applications.”

Public officials are beginning to voice their opinions as well. Governor of Texas, republican Rick Perry had this to say: “We would be foolish and irresponsible to place our children’s future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special-interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington.”

The administration will award the first round of funding this month to each state that decided to participate. Second round applications will begin later this year.

Surely no single proposal can quell the worries and woes of all, but those who oppose must be heard or no one side can move forward.

Links to Information Gathered:

http://usliberals.about.com/b/2010/02/11/race-to-the-top-mandates-radical-education-reform-agenda.html

http://www.stateline.org/live/details/story?contentId=452653

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/01/president-calls-to-expand-race-to-the-top.html


“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”

-G.K. Chesterson


Topic:

Race to the Top federal grant money, who will get what, and what states are currently doing to get it

Category

Academic, article from the website of Christian Science Monitor

Summary

This article details which states are doing what in the areas of reform to earn some of the Race to the Top funding. It quotes several respectable researchers in the area of academic reform and why they think that Race to the Top will be a successful reform program.

Title

Eyeing stimulus money for education, states adopt reforms

Christian Science Monitor, February 1st, 2010

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2009/1203/p02s09-usgn.html

Accessed February 9th 2010

Summary of Sources:

Jack Jennings, Center on Education Policy President
Grover Whitehurst, Brown Center on Education Policy

Department of Education

Arne Duncan

Source Analysis

The Christian Science Monitor is a fairly conservative source. Although being conservative and created in 1808, it seeks out other points of view and proposing them within each article. It has been respected since it’s development and has recently become an exclusively online newspaper. It does, however, tend to bolster only one side of the story. Speaking in general terms, yes it is fairly conservative, but their articles have proven very useful and informative in terms of empirical evidence gathered.

Usefulness

Although rather small, this article outlines directly what states are doing currently in their search for reform. It quotes respectable researchers of education reform for their direct opinions on where reform is headed nowadays, and provides heavy emphasis on Obama’s Race to the Top program. In reference to Race to the Top, it lists the four top priorities that the program seeks states to enforce and why these areas are the most deserving of federal grants.

Topic

Race to the Top federal grant program

Category

Government publication, a press release of the Race to the Top initiative on the Department of Education’s website

Title

President Obama, U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan Announce National Competition to Advance School Reform

Ed.gov US Department of Education, July 24th 2009

http://www2.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2009/07/07242009.html

Accessed February 3rd 2010

Summary

This is a press release outlining exactly what Race to the Top is and what its ultimate intentions are. In it the release discusses the several areas that this initiative intends to reform and also how long this initiative is intended to last. Arne Duncan and President Obama are quoted within about their intentions with the reform.

Summary of Sources

US Department of Education

Barack Obama, President of the United States

Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education Reform

Source Analysis

These sources are all drawn from academia. These centers for education are the leading researchers on reform and national records of reform progression for each state, containing information on a federal and state level. The Brown Center on Education Policy publishes daily articles about education on every level, and both men are very educated in the topic. Government publications are very direct and do not embellish. They simply put the facts out there and allow the public to judge what they are. Therefore I have utmost confidence in the detailing of the Race to the Top program within this document. You can’t get much more legitimate than the government.

Usefulness

This is basically the blueprint for the Race to the Top education reform program. Because this outlines exactly how much money there is for these grants, what states must do, sub-programs, and exactly what this program intends to do, it will prove to be probably the most useful of all documents that I have at this point. The only way I could see this document falling in usefulness is if the Program itself goes under reform before it applies to schools nationwide, which is a very slim possibility.

Topic

Reforming the “No Child Left Behind Act” in terms of funding and direction

Category

Government Publication, press release, Department of Education’s website

Title

President’s Education Budget Signals Bold Changes for ESEA (No Child Left Behind Act)

Ed.gov, US Department of Education, February 1st 2010

Abrevaya, Sandra

http://www2.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2010/02/02012010.html

Accessed February 9th 2010

Summary

This press release details the reformation of the No Child Left Behind Act, which is closely related to the Race to the Top program. Race to the Top seeks to, in itself, change portions of the NCLB act and this release describes which portions and why. It also breaks down the funding with which Race to the Top intends to change it’s predecessor act.

Sources

Arne Duncan

President Obama

Source Analysis

Arne Duncan is a well-respected and very accomplished member of the education community. He has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools and was very successful in reform in this city. Before becoming president, Barack Obama served on the Illinois senate and graduated from Columbia University and also Harvard Law. These sources are the most influential of all in the area of education reform in the United States. The President and the Secretary of education hold highest office and most power within the institution of education in America; they are able to create policies, requirements, and goals.

Usefulness

Perhaps the most useful aspect of this article is that it is not about Race to the Top, at least directly. Also, it is a government issued press release, which is very dependable. The fact that this is a budget release describing exactly where funding is to be allocated for the reform of an old policy provides useful information and also generates another aspect to the research topic of education reform.

Topic

Positive effects of race to the top across the nation

Category

Journalistic Resource, Specified to Education,

Title

Race to the Top Driving Policy Action Across States
Edweek.com, December 23rd 2009

Robelen, Erik

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2009/12/23/16states.h29.html

Accessed January 5th 2010

Summary

This article describes what states nationwide are reforming in order to receive some of the Race to the Top funding. It quotes several government officials from several states who talk about why they are or are not applying for the program.

Sources

Bob Riley, Alabama Governor

Phil Bredsen, Tennessee Governor

Arnold Schwarzenneger, California Governor

Joe Williams, Executive Director of Democrats for Education Reform

David Patterson, New York Governor

Source Analysis

Edweek.com is a fairly moderate website. From what I have read it does not tend to walk on either side of the line pertaining to political parties. The only thing that alerted me about this article however was how pro-Race to the Top it was. It did not provide any other points of view or any other opinions on the program besides, for the most part, fairly positive review. I know that somewhere out there someone has a negative opinion on the reform and is willing to speak about it, even if they are a publicly elected government official. These sources are all useful in a different way than the other articles I have posted because it discusses this issue on a state governmental level, rather than a federal level. They represent very official information and opinions. These sources are all very reliable, seeing as how they are public officials elected into the highest position in state governance.

Usefulness

The usefulness of this article is fairly evident with the sources it touches upon and the opinions gained. Although they are mostly pro-Race to the Top, interviewing a handful of state governors for their opinions shows what states nationwide think about the situation. By interviewing state officials one can see what each state is thinking rather than what each political party is thinking.

Topic

The Obama Administrations seeks to acquire an additional 1.35 billion dollars in funding in order to expand the initiative into 2011 and beyond

Category

Journalistic, an online newspaper that is directed toward instructors nationwide

Title

Obama to seek 1.35 billion dollars Race to the Top Expansion

Edweek.com, January 19, 2010

McNeil, Michelle

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/01/19/19rttt-budget.h29.html

Accessed  February 12, 2010

Summary

This article details the recent speech Obama gave about his Race to the Top program. The Administration desires an additional 1.35 billion dollars in funding in order to expand the Race to the Top initiative into 2011. The article also hints a possibility of this reaching further into the future. What I found very useful is that it gives specific details about the funding; furthermore it gives oppositional viewpoints to Race to the Top, which I have found very hard to locate.

Sources

Barack Obama

Arne Duncan

Rick Perry, Texas Governor

George Miller, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee

Source Analysis

Edweek.com is a respected information purveyor and is a “must have” for education grad students. It provides weekly information about education within the 50 states. Recently it has gone online, this proves the most frequently used form.

Usefulness

This is a useful article for a handful of reasons. Opposition the Race to the Top program ahs been hard to come by in my research, and for my final article I would like to include both aspect as to remain as objective as possible. This also provides a current stance on the topic and what the Administration plans to do with Race to the Top, which is extending it into 2011 and possibly further into the future. This extension of Race to the Top has actually provided me with a more valid research project.

Topic

Race to the Top expansion

Category

Civilian, blog on ABC News website

Title

Obama to announce Race to the Top Expansion

ABCnews.com, January 20th 2010

Bruce, Mary

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/01/obama-to-announce-race-to-the-top-expansion.html

Accessed February 12th, 2010

Summary

This article is a blog post by Mary Bruce of ABC news. It is Kind of a hybrid of a professional journalistic viewpoint as well as a civilian based one as well. It details how the Obama Administration plans to alter the rules of Race to the Top so long as they receive the necessary funding. For example they plan on narrowing it down to school districts instead of state versus state competition. Although similar to the previous article mentioned, it is nice to have a civilian standpoint as well as a journalistic resource on the same topic.

Sources

Arne Duncan

Barack Obama

Rick Perry, Texas Governor

Source Analysis

Mary Bruce is a blogger for the ABC news website. Although ABC news has been called a somewhat “left leaning” news organization, it is a world-renowned news source and I have faith that whatever they post has professional validation and no extreme points of view, meaning that for the most part they remain objective in their reporting. Bruce has also been reporting and blogging on this issue extensively.

Usefulness

I find this article useful in the sense that it complements the hard news article in the previous entry above. Having a professional and objective journalistic viewpoint along with a rather opinionated blog tends to balance each other quite nicely because on one hand you have the objective facts, and on the other you have what people think about these objective facts and the topic at hand.

Topic

Effects and possibility of Congress allowing extra funding for Obama’s Race to the Top initiative

Category

Academic, article taken from Christian Science Monitor using “Academic Search Premiere”

Title

Obama Pushes to Add 1.35 Billion Dollars in Race to the Top Grants

Paulson, Amanda

Christian Science Monitor, January 1st, 2010

http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=47604891&loginpage=login.asp&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Accessed February 12, 2010

Summary

This academic article is truly wonderful in the sense that it has everything that I do not already have. It gives several viewpoints from several respected persons within the education community that oppose Race to the Top. It lists quite a few of the school districts that oppose the initiative and also gives specific reasoning as to why they do. In addition to all of this, the article lists some aspects of reform that have already taken place.

Sources

Barack Obama

Arne Duncan

Rick Perry, Texas Governor

Russ Whitehurst, Director of Brown Center on Education

Source Analysis

The Christian Science Monitor is a fairly conservative source. Although being conservative and created in 1808, it seeks out other points of view and proposing them within each article. It has been respected since it’s development and has recently become an exclusively online newspaper. It does, however, tend to bolster only one side of the story. Speaking in general terms, yes it is fairly conservative, but their articles have proven very useful and informative in terms of empirical evidence gathered.

Usefulness

The most useful aspect of this article is about why some states and districts are not signing up for the Race to the Top funding. The reason that this is so useful is because I have struggled to find oppositional points of view, and this article contains several of them.

Topic

Officials warned against using “single assessment” to measure gains

Category

Academic

Title

Test Experts Wary on Race to the Top Rules

Lesli, Maxwell

Education Week, October 14th, 2009

https://blackboard.uoregon.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_284006_1%26url%3D

Accessed February 9th, 2010

Summary

The article discusses the request by the Board on Testing and Assessment to the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that multiple indicators and not only the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) should be used to determine what students know when giving states Race to the Top funding. The Board reviewed the rules and reiterated that NAEP isn’t aligned with any states’ academic standards. The concern about value-added models to evaluate the teacher effectiveness is discussed.

Sources

National Assessment on Educational Progress

Arne Duncan

Source Analysis
Edweek.com is a fairly moderate website. From what I have read it does not tend to walk on either side of the line pertaining to political parties. Edweek.com is a respected information purveyor and is a “must have” for education grad students. It provides weekly information about education within the 50 states. Recently it has gone online, this proves the most frequently used form.

Usefulness

On top of providing another useful point of view, this article provides a point of view that is held by a national organization that is directly related to Obama’s ideas about educational reform. It discusses the problems with what the Administration desires to do in reforming standardized testing nationwide.

Topic

The question of stimulus money and Race to the Top leading to valid educational reform

Category

Citizen, blog

Title

Will Stimulus Money Actually lead to Education Reform?

Ramirez, Eddy

USnews.com/blogs April 9th 2009

http://www.usnews.com/blogs/on-education/2009/04/09/will-stimulus-money-lead-to-actual-education-reform.html

Accessed February 9th, 2010

Summary

The focus of this article is how Race to the Top will influence change within school districts and revamp education nationwide. It balances viewpoints based on right and left wing principles and provides valuable insight to each sides ideas about the initiative.

Sources

Civilian opinions

Source Analysis

You cannot place any qualifications on civilian blogging, and I know how troublesome that can be. This is the reason that I like this blog. It has about 20 comments made from civilian sources and provides public opinion. Therefore the sources cannot be depended upon for the information and statistics that they are giving, but they can be depended on for seeing what the public thinks about this issue.

Usefulness

There is a lot of public input on this blog and this is specifically what I find useful about it. Although I cannot depend on the statistical information given here, what I can depend on is their opinions and relate it back to the public as a whole. This will not be an article used for its empirical evidence, just as a source used to evaluate public opinion, which I believe to be crucial in reporting this initiative.

Topic

How terrible teachers in New York are being dealt with under current educational policy

Category

Journalistic

Title

The Rubber Room

Brill, Steven

The New Yorker, August 31st 2009

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/08/31/090831fa_fact_brill

Accessed February 9th, 2010

Summary

This article discusses New York instructor efficiency in a unique way. It provides information on what happens to an instructor if they are identified as being incompetent within their school systems and examples of what has happened to such instructors in the past.

Sources

Joel Klein, New York City School Chancellor

Michael Bloomberg, Mayor

United States Federation of Teachers

Source Analysis

The New Yorker has been described as a fairly left leaning organization, despite its imminence as a worldwide purveyor of information. This article however I find to be quite neutral in a political sense because it comes right out and says that it is going to take a negative stance on this issue at hand.

Usefulness

This is useful because it provides several first hand accounts of inefficiency in the classroom and how the government tends to deal with this inefficiency. I see myself quoting this article many times within my essay and news article.

Here is a link to the wonderful Brookings Institution and the Brown Center on Education Policy. You will be assaulted with loads of useful information. Enjoy.

http://www.brookings.edu/brown.aspx