Saturday, August 27, 2016

Catch up with CURMUDGUCATION: FL: Children and Opt Out Win



FL: Children and Opt Out Win
When last we cast our gaze at the sunshine state, its deep love of testing had gotten it dragged into court. Florida's indefensible third-grade retention rule says that a student can't move on to fourth grade without passing that test, and while some districts saw an alternate path in portfolios and other alternative assessments, other districts collided with opt out families . If the child has no


Guest Post: Is Integration Too Much Bother?
It's my pleasure to feature a guest post from Rita Rathbone, a teacher and blogger in NC. She writes regularly at Patiently Impatient. The debate over charter schools has slowly spread into wider and wider circles of public discourse. In response to data supported concerns that charter schools are contributing to the resegregation of our schools, the NAACP and Black Lives Matter have expressed co
Should We Close Schools for Low Performance?
Over at Rick Hess's EdWeek blog, guest blogger Deven Carlson (Poli Sci, Oklahoma U) considers the question of whether or not schools that show low performance . In the process, he illuminates some of the deeply flawed premises under which reformsters operate. He opens by noting that school closure has been a popular policy approach since the days of No Child Left Behind. The logic of closing low-p

AUG 25

Alan Watts: Life Is Not a Journey
I've encountered this quoted material from Alan Watts, specifically his lecture Out of Your MInd, multiple times in the last few days in a video featuring the audio from the lecture and cobbled-together clips from Tree of Life. I don't really want to repeat the "borrowing" of the film clips, though Watts's delivery is pretty special. You can quibble with his use of "journey,"
PA: Open Letter To My Legislators
To Senator Scott Hutchinson and Rep. R. Lee James Dear Scott and R. Lee: It is long past time to regulate the cyber charter school industry in Pennsylvania. Perhaps you saw the news yesterday that Nicholas Trombetta finally pled guilty to federal tax conspiracy charges. Trombetta was the founder of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School in Beaver County, a business that he used to steal at least $8

AUG 24

13 Deadly Sins of PD
In my neck of the woods, this is the magical week in which teachers go back to balance their time between finishing room preparation and sitting through year-launching professional development sessions. Some sessions can address useful topics, and some are unfortunate choices (my wife's district decided to welcome their teachers back for the year by starting their first day with a session about su
Voting with Their Feet
One feature of "unleashing the power of the free market" in education is supposed to be a sort of regulation by the market's infamous invisible hand. Customers will "vote with their feet," driving the bad actors out of business. In this country, there will always be an argument to be had about how well this really works. It's one of the dances of freedom and commerce that we ha

AUG 23

Can We Filter Out Bad Teachers?
Last February, Chad Aldeman and Ashley LiBetti Mitchel, working at Bellwether Partners (a right-tilted reformy-favoring thinky tank) released a report that asked the question "Is it possible to ensure teachers are ready on day one?" and answered that question in the title: " No Guarantees. " Now Aldeman is back with a look at some specific tools for filtering out the chaff, rai
Why Are Teachers Burning Out?
It has been half a year since Campbell Brown took over the LA School Repor t, but the site still occasionally publishes something that's not bunk. Reader Bill Spangler brought this next piece to my attention, and it's worth a look. " Why Teachers Are Burning Out " is the second in a five-part series about teacher turnover. The first piece in the series looked at how high the LA turnover
Let The Vergara Whining Begin
Vergara is dead (probably, mostly). The California lawsuit brought by gabillionaire anti-union, pro-charter reformsters has finally had a well-deserved stake driven through its non-existent heart. When the appeals court shot it down, the determined that while one might imagine that in some imaginary alternative universe without tenure laws, students might get better teachers, the statutes do not a
John Oliver on Charter Schools
I hope you've seen this by now. But if you haven't, or you just lost the link, or you were going to get around to it someday, then watch it now. Oliver does not address the philosophy behind charters, the types of charter malpractice like No Excuses, or the ways that charters leech money from public schools. But boy does he nail the corruption, the lack of oversight, and the distinction-without-a-

AUG 22

How Do Unions Really Affect Schools?
Back in February, Eunice Han at Wellesley College put out a paper entitled " The Myth of Unions' Overprotection of Teachers: Evidence from the District-Teacher Matched Panel Data on Teacher Turnover ." Han reaches some really interesting and, perhaps for some folks, counter-intuitive findings, and they're worth a look. But full disclosure right up front-- I can't really make sense out of

AUG 21

Resolve To Be Present
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. If teaching is about relationship (and I believe most definitely that it is), then it must follow the First Rule of Relationships, which is that the first thing one must do to be in a relationship is show up. There a
Feds Testing Plan, Part II (Still Clueless)
You may recall that almost a year ago, President Obama and his administration announced that they'd noticed that testing was out of control in schools, and maybe somebody should do something about that. (Actually, if your memory's good, you may recall they had the same epiphany two years ago .) This led to the announcement of a Testing Action Plan that did not so much rearrange deck chairs as it c
Education and Profit
Even as many charter fans are backing away from the idea of for-profit schools, last month found US News running this piece arguing that profit-making and education go together like a horse and carriage. The author is Ian Lindquist , a 2009 graduate of St. John's College (the read great books people), former charter school teacher, and current fellow at AEI. Lindquist wants us to know that the pro
ICYMI: Mid-August Edition
I'm embarrassed that I haven't been saying this all along, but if you find something on this list that speaks to you, be sure to share it on your own networks. Amplifying voices is important, and you can do that just by tweeting and posting anything you find that you like directly. Don't share this post (not just this post) but share the original post that I've linked to. Teacher Education and a C

AUG 20

PA: Charters Spend Less on Teaching
This week the Pennsylvania School Boards Association released a report looking at what charter schools are doing with all that taxpayer money. Short answer-- spending a whole lot of it on administration, and not quite so much on actual 

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