Saturday, August 16, 2014

8-16-14 Curmudgucation Week

Curmudgucation Week

A Curmudgucation Birthday
I made my first post here one year ago today (this is post #485). Several, in fact. Do us both a favor and don't go read them; it was a month or so before I started to figure out what the hell I was doing. Still working on it.I was fortunate to find some audience fairly quickly. I joined BATs back when there were around 1600 members, and the responses I garnered there were encouraging. I was fortu

Can We Enter Phase Three?
Reading Paul Thomas always makes me feel smarter (and yet we have also shared some great cyber-conversation about comics). A recent post on his blog is both smart and challenging. In it, he addresses the phases of the current education debates.Phase I goes back to the accountability fever of the 1980s and takes us right up through NCLB and its steroidified sibling, Race to the Top (and waiver-driv

Teachers in Thunderdome
One of the dreams of reformsters is a school system in which teacher employment is shaped by neither tenure nor seniority. When the time comes for cutting staff, administrators will just grab their Big Spreadsheet of Teacher Effectiveness Data, look down at the bottom of list, point at the name next to the lowest rating number and declare, "Okay-- that's who's getting laid off."We've tal


Marketing and Mystification for CCSS
Well, we knew this was coming.Launching in winter of 2014, EdReports, a new non-partisan non-profit, will provide "Consumer Reports-style reviews will highlight those instructional materials that are aligned to the higher standards states have adopted so that teachers, principals and district and state officials charged with purchasing materials can make more informed choices."Politico c
Teachers in South Korea
Remember a few years ago there was a repeated talking point about how teachers are treated in other countries? Heck, the 2011 State of the Union address included this bit of cheerleading-Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom.  In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders.”  Here in America
Classroom Lessons for Cops
Are the Saint Louis County police feeling stupid this morning? I hope so. They should be. The difference between Wednesday and Thursday nights in Ferguson was the difference between chaos and community, between war and peace.The difference certainly wasn't in the crowd; Ferguson's population didn't change over night and they had, if anything, more reason to be enraged after Wednesday's mess.Some o

AUG 14

A Big Problem with Ed Research
I've always taken a skeptical view of education research. I was in college in the seventies, and I have memories of repeatedly discovering that the Gortshwingle study of How Students Learn was actually a study of how twenty male college sophomores at a small Midwestern college performed a particular task. Educational research seemed to suffer a experimental subject of opportunity problem. And like
For (Some of) the Children
Children are the photo prop of choice for conflicts in war zones around the world. Photographic coverage of the Iraqi refugees trapped by Isis activity has been heavy on photographs of children in the camp. Shocking images from Syria have centered on children (upsetting enough that I'm not going to link). And current warfare in Gaza opened with children-centric coverage, to the point that some cov

AUG 13

Dear Campbell Brown:
Today you made an appearance in Valerie Strauss's blog to respond to your many critics. I want to take a moment to respond to some of your questions.First, let me applaud you for taking the dialogue directly to your critics, rather than simply trashing or dismissing them elsewhere. Direct dialogue between the various sides of the ed debates (there are more than two)  is rare and needed. I'm going
Duncan Funnels Millions to College Board
This is how it works in our current form of government.Suppose you make left-handed widgets. You are a major player in the market, but you do have competitors. You would like to both cement your role in the market while growing your share of the revenue. What do you do? Well, you could work on marketing, product development, basically making your case to the potential left-handed widget market.Or
Dear Michelle
Dear MichelleWell, we both knew this day would come. I never thought your love affair with education was a forever thing, but it still hurts to see that you've found a new flame. I know you'll still have a hand in education in a small way, but it won't be the same, will it.I stopped using your full name here months ago for a couple of reasons. For one, it seemed like the worst kind of clickbait, l

AUG 10

The 21st Century Teacher
If reformsters get their full laundry list of school system rewrites, the 21st Century teacher will be a very different animal from her 20th Century counterpart.* She will be paid little. If she sticks around, she will either face stagnant wages or her wage increases will put her in danger of being fired.* Her one real chance to make some extra money (and to keep her job) will be to get her studen

AUG 09

Zip Codes and Schools
In the Washington Post, Neerav Kingsland writes about The Cost of Neighborhood Schools. Kingsland is specifically addressing the pushback on a DC plan to move away from the neighborhood school model toward something more New Orleans-y (Kingsland is the former chief executive for the New Schools in New Orleans). Advocates, therefore, worry that communities would be weakened if students from across
Unity is hard.When leaders of a group start by saying, "We need to be sure we have total unity on this," the rest of the sentence is almost never "and so we are going to sit down with you and really listen to your concerns and ideas." No, generally a call for unity within a group comes with some diplomatically-worded version of "so shut up and get in line."It's unders