Saturday, August 13, 2016

Catch up with CURMUDGUCATION: FL: Attacking Children and Teachers


Catch up with CURMUDGUCATION: 

FL: Attacking Children and Teachers
AP reporter Gary Fineout did yeoman's work yesterday, live tweeting the Florida hearing about the retention, in some districts, of third grade students who passed their courses but didn't take Florida's Big Standardized Test (the FSA). There were many low-lights as the hearing unfolded, but this had to be the lowest: Lawyer for @EducationFL said that reports card are meaningless and don't show if
MA: The Swift Boating of Public Schools
Massachusetts is heating up. Perhaps no state has better exemplified the fierce debate between public school advocates and fans of modern education reform. Ed reformers captured the governor's seat, the mayoral position of Boston, commissioner of education, and the secretary of education offices, and yet have consistently run into trouble since the day they convinced the commonwealth to abandon it
Effect and Effect
One of the linchpinny foundational keystones of education reform is a confusion between correlation and causation. Sometimes correlations are random and freakishly mysterious. For examples, check out the collected and recollected Spurious Correlations , by which we learn, among other things, that the divorce rate in Maine correlates with the amount of margarine consumed. But often the correlation-


CO: Damn, PAARC-- You Had One Job
Well, the lead from this Chalkbeat article gets it. For a second year in a row, schools across Colorado are back in session and principals are empty-handed. Somehow the Colorado Department of Education has statewide results, but districts and schools and teachers will have to wait a few more months, because those results will be released "later." And how is that even possible? The articl
To Save the Village...
There's a new documentary out dealing with the history of the Cabrini Green project in Chicago. 70 Acres in Chicago deals with the many complicated issues of race and urban poverty. But as the Slate article about the documentary notes, it underlines another huge issue with the "improvement" of some urban neighborhoods. Cabrini building demolition. (Photo: MJ Rizk) The idea behind these h
Resolve To Breathe
For the next couple of weeks, as the beginning of my school year approaches. I'm going to write to renew my resolve to keep focus in my practice. This is one of that series of posts. Years ago, when I would take a long trip either by myself or with family, my focus stayed on the destination, the goal. Drive-through restaurants so that we wouldn't "lose" time stopping to eat. No more res

AUG 11

FL: Test Fetish on Trial
You may recall that last spring, some school district officials in Florida lost their damn minds . Florida's test fetish became so advanced, so completely divorced from any understanding of the actual mission of schools and education and, hell, behaving like a grown human adult with responsibility for looking after children, that some district leaders interpreted state law to mean that a student w

AUG 10

ACLU: Illegal California Charter Practices
The ACLU recently issued a report outlining a variety of widespread illegal practices among California charter schools. The report is worth reading in detail because it gives an impression of just how widespread these practices of restricting student enrollment are, creating one more situation in which "school choice" means that schools get to choose students. California law is pretty cl
Refresh the Resolve
Of course, we're all on different schedules across the country, but here in NW PA, it's a little under three weeks till school gets started. (Boy, shouldn't we do something about that? I mean, a student moving from PA to TN would find themselves suddenly several days behind, or one moving the other way would have to do the first day all over again, so we probably need a Common Core School Calendar
The Global Agenda for Monetizing Education
In today's USNews, education historian and activist Diane Ravitch talks about the worldwide movement to buy and sell education, to privatize it, to attack "the very concept of public education." You don't have to look hard to find some of the folks who are heavily invested in driving what some call the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM). Take for instance this white paper presented

AUG 08

Summative School Ratings: Not So Great
Chad Aldeman took to the Bellwether blog to make his case for summative school ratings (grades) under the loaded headline " Summative Ratings Are All Around Us. Why Are We Afraid of Them in K-12 Education? " Of course, plenty of us, maybe even most of us, are not "afraid" of slapping a grade on schools. There just don't appear to be many benefits, and plenty of harm done. Aldem
Standardized Character
Here we go again. Eight states are going to launch a program for social and emotional learning in their classrooms. A collaborative group has been put together to craft the whole business. I'm going to get in early here with a prediction that nothing good will come of this. I understand the impulse. On top of the usual rantings about Kids These Days, we see the references to research that today's

AUG 07

Reuters: SAT, ACT, and Test Insecurity
A Reuters investigative team has been taking a look at the ACT and SAT testing industry, and finding a huge mess. We had already seen hints of the problems with, among other things, whistleblowing posts from SAT insider Manuel Alfaro . But this Reuters series, now at five articles plus sidebars, is sort of jawdropping. The articles have maintained a remarkably low profile, so I'm going to give you
ICYMI Hooray for August
Plenty of goodies for you this week. Snuffing Out Democracy Out in Seattle, the battle is on over mayoral control, because if the school board won't follow the policies you want them to, can't you just get rid of the whole elected mess? Bless Your Heart, Stand for Children Dad Gone Wild provides a good summary of what happened in Tennessee and how Nashville thoroughly humiliated outsiders trying t

AUG 06

MI: Charter Demonstrates Need for Tenure
Charters are fond of at-will staffing, where all teachers may be hired or fired at any time, for any reason. Sort of the exact opposite of tenure or due process. Here's a story out of Detroit of just how bad that can be-- not just for teachers, but for students and community. Michigan has been a playland for charters. There are well over 300 charter schools operating in Michigan (the number varies
Big Money Loses, But Doesn't Give Up
This story has been covered extensively, but it's one of those stories that needs to be covered extensively, so if this post seems a little redundant, that's okay. As teachers and marketers both learn, if you really wnat a message to get through, 


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