Sunday, June 19, 2016


 ICYMI: Get a Comfy Chair

Maybe it's because it's summer and I often have larger stretches for reading. But once again, I have lots of good reads for you from the last week. 

The Disconnect Between Changing Test Scores and Changing Later Life Outcomes Strikes Again

You may or may not be familiar with Jay Greene, who generally works the reformy side of the street. But he is one of those reformers who's not afraid to call BS when he sees it, and these days he is seriously challenging the assumption that raising test scores actually accomplishes anything. This is one of most important reads of the month.

A Void in Oversight of Charters

Wendy Lecker takes a look at just how messy the lack of charter oversight gets in Connecticut.

Promise Me

Kate With Keyboard writes a heartfelt open letter to the parents of her students as she sends those students home for the summer.

The Upper West Side Is New York's Latest Integration Battleground

Laura Moser at Slate looks at one more new battle over integration

On Latinos Education in America

Speaking of things we don't speak much about

Why Denver Is a Warning Sign, Not a Model

Man, do I ever appreciate people like Jeff Bryant who do actual journalism. A look at how the Denver model is to be feared, not imitated.

How To Cheat Good

One of the great things about the internet is that you can stumble across old friends here. I first read this essay years ago, and I still love it. A classic for anyone who deals with student papers.

Dr Steve Perry Sells Black Kids to the Highest Bidder

Jose Vilson reacts to Perry's proud announcement that he got a bunch of black kids to make themselves look less "black." Read this, and then read Vilson's follow-up piece here.

Feeding the Sparks of Revolution in Chicago

Xian Franzinger Barrett gives us a look at student activists on the ground in Chicago, where students now have to fight for their own educational future

Surviving Success Academy

Do you have time for one more horror story from a teacher who escaped working for Success Academy? 

Call It a Racism Tax

Bob Braun and how New Jersey taxpayers are paying more just so they can keep all those black kids away.

How We Pervert Compassion in Schools

Empathy is helpful, but pity-- not so much. 

Major: Debt

Jennifer Berkshire talks to writer Neil Swidey, who provides some powerful argument against the idea that a college education is the path out of poverty.


Teachers' View of Growing Problems of Teaching
Back in May, the Center on Education Policy (located at George Washington University) released their report Listen To Us: Teacher Views and Voices. You may have missed the report because it didn't lend itself to any zippy coverage or grabby sound bite. If you are an actual teacher, virtually nothing in the results will make you go, "Wow! I had no idea!" The Center's own press release (&q
To Lounge or Not To Lounge: The Venting Question
Most beginning teachers have heard the advice-- stay out of the lounge.That advice has been echoing around the internet for the last month or so, as exemplified by pieces like this one at Edutopia. The concerns is that lounges are where the negative teachers collect, where all that venting about the terrible students occurs.Should teachers vent? Well, I would be a spectacular hypocrite to say no,
Another NYC Integration Story
This week in Slate, Laura Moser covers yet another flap in New York City centered on schools, race and class.I generally try to stay away from NYC education stories, because I find the politics of the city, district and union to be absolutely headache-inducing. But there are two elements in this story that are familiar to residents of many cities.First, the well-regarded school at the center of th
ICYMI: Get a Comfy Chair
Maybe it's because it's summer and I often have larger stretches for reading. But once again, I have lots of good reads for you from the last week. The Disconnect Between Changing Test Scores and Changing Later Life Outcomes Strikes AgainYou may or may not be familiar with Jay Greene, who generally works the reformy side of the street. But he is one of those reformers who's not afraid to call BS w


Pearson's Cyber-Kindergarten Sales Pitch
So I stumbled across the Connections Academy blog Virtual Learning Connections (a friendly resource supporting K-12 school from home). In particular, I stumbled across this post-- "5 Reasons Why Parents Choose Virtual School Kindergarten." The piece is written by Carrie Zopf, a teacher at one of the Conections Academies. Connection Academy is the virtual charter chain purchased by Pearso
Charter vs. Charter Fight Heats Up
K12 Inc is feeling grumpy.Earlier this week we looked at a report co-created by the National Alliance for Public [sic] Charter Schools, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, and 50CAN in which the bricks and mortar wing of the charter school industry took the cyber-charters to task for stinking up the whole charter sector, and very helpfully offered some advice that involved a wh
Bill Gates & His Chickens
Bill Gates believes in chickens.He took to one of his blogs to extol the virtues of chickens as engines of economic improvement for the Very Poor of the world. In fact, he's pretty sure that the Poor Folks should be raising chickens; he's pretty sure it's their path to a better world.When I was growing up, chickens weren’t something you studied, they were something you made silly jokes about. It h

JUN 17

A Reformster Manifesto
While they stump for all the usual suspects, the Center for Education Reform is not really a full on reformy group. They are first, last, foremost, and always, a group that pushes hard for charters.Their founder, president, and chief spokesperson Jeanne Allen  graduated from Dickerson with a degree in political science, then moved on to study political philosophy at the Catholic University of Amer

JUN 16

Can Cyber Schools Be Saved?
Say what else you like about them, but the charter school industry has a pretty keen sense of where its own vulnerabilities lie, and at the moment, there is no underbelly softer than the virtual charter sector-- what the rest of us call cyber-charters. Multiple studies have made it clear-- cyber charters do not deliver much of anything except giant truckloads of money to the people who operate the
Eli Broad's Bloodless Coup
I don't think there's ever been anything like it.Well, maybe Teapot Dome, kind of. Back in the early 1920s, the feds had special oil reserves set aside for the Navy. One was near Teapot Dome in Wyoming, and during the administration of Warren G. Harding, some folks engineered the oil reserves at Teapot Dome being handed off to the department of the interior. But since Secretary Albert Bacon Fall h

JUN 15

Houston Slams VAM (Plus: All About SAS)
As a Pennsylvanian teacher, I am paying particular attention to the news from Houston, where VAM just suffered another well-deserved loss. I'll get to that in a second, but let me set the stage and tell you a little story of how we arrived here.Houston and Reformsters The Houston Independent School District has always been out in front of education reformsterism. It was Houston where Superintenden
PA: School Funding Emerges from Time Warp
Pennsylvania now has a formula for distributing education dollars to school districts.You will notice that I didn't say "new formula." That's because, contrary to what rational human beings might assume, Pennsylvania hasn't had a formula for decades. Well, that's not exactly true. The formula has been Y times some-percent-usually-less-than-two of Y, with Y equalling "whatever you go

JUN 14

TeachLivE: Robot School in the Uncanny Valley
A few days ago, I quoted Thomas Kane's bizarre observation about teacher training:Surgeons start on cadavers, not on live patients.I observed that it would be hard for teachers to start working with cadavers, but a couple of regular commenters reminded me that, in fact, there are teachers out there working on not-exactly-live students. Ladies and gentlemen, it's TeachLivEThis particular example co

JUN 13

Jeb Bush's Education Vision
After his attempt to be the New Coke of GOP Presidential politics, Jeb Bush has retreated to his signature issue-- privatizing education. He's back at the head of his advocacy group the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), and he's even back to cranking out magazine copy about his vision of a better tomorrow for US schools.The National Review has given Bush a platform with "Saving Am
An Educated Person
A while back, blogger Starr Sackstein took a whack a two part question-- has the definition of an educated person changed, and should our education delivery system change with it. My gut reaction, my visceral answer, is "Not really, and not really." But I didn't really have anything to back up my gut, so I've been mulling over this for a while. What were my viscera thinking when they pas



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