Saturday, September 10, 2016

Catch up with CURMUDGUCATION: PA: Judge Cuts School Funding + Testing Still Incentivizing Cheating


PA: Judge Cuts School Funding
Here in Pennsylvania, we've had a potentially game-changing ruling come down that could create all new problems for school districts and their funding. This story has many moving parts, so you'll have to stick with me for a bit here. The short version of the story is this. The Lower Merion School District raised taxes. Somebody sued them. The judge in the case ruled that the tax increase was unnec


Testing Still Incentivizing Cheating
Yesterday out of Texas we have a new version of an old story-- a school that found a creative-ish new way to cheat on the Big Standardized Test. This is a predictable and, at this point, oft-noted phenomenon. If you take a bunch of numbers and tie them to high stakes, people will look for ways to manipulate those numbers. Which is kind of the point of making those numbers high stakes. But some peo
Leave Those Kids Alone
Pre-K is the growth sector of the privatized school industry. There's no existing institutional structure to sweep aside, and there's near-universal agreement that a good Pre-K foundation is important for all future success, coupled with research indicating that many of our children are already behind on the first day of kindergarten. Unfortunately, "good Pre-K foundation" is a phrase th

SEP 08

Can Evidence Improve America's Schools?
That's the question asked by Mike Petrilli (Fordham Institute) asks over at the Fordham blog. The piece harkens back to Chester Finn's 1986 book titled, unironically, What Works. And the piece also ties into Petrilli's ongoing series about how to drive change in education. After noting that nothing from Finn's work has ever really gotten traction, Petrilli bemoans our benighted edu-state. Educatio

SEP 07

Virtually Teaching
"Teacher Shortage Crisis Forces Districts To Innovate" I get emails, often from folks who are thrusting their PR releases blindly into the blogosphere. Somebody or something told them I'm an education blogger, and so they add me to a mailing list, and mostly I don't pay attention. But the subject line that appears above caught my attention, and so I read my email from Shelly Smith, PR Ma
Mother Jones: Black Teachers Matter
I usually save my reading recommendations for Sunday, but if you read one article this week, it must be " Black Teachers Matter " by Kristina Rizga at Mother Jones. Rizga addresses the all-important question of why we're missing so many black teachers in this country (and she does it far more thoughtfully than the folks at Brookings ) by focusing on one school in the Philadelphia distric

SEP 06

Chester Finn, the Death of Democracy, and Opposites Day
So today, conservatives hate tradition, and democracy is increased by taking away the vote. Behind the paywall at Wall Street Journal, Chester Finn (honcho emeritus of the Thomas Fordham Institute), Bruno V. Manno (Walton Foundation), and Brandon Wright ( Fordham ) are happy to announce the death of one more piece of democracy in this country. The trio reports that charter schools are spearheading
Brown Goes To Boston
Campbell Brown has decided to add her two cents to the sprawling debate about raising the charter cap in Massachusetts (and really, why not, because lord knows everyone else has added their two cents, or two million dollars). Brown's argument is the same basic one repeated by other charter school proponents: 1) We should do it for the poor children. 2) Unions suck 3) Boston charters have had amazi

SEP 05

FL: Still Stupidly Punishing Children
Sigh. So you will probably recall that some of Florida's educational leaders have lost their damned minds , having decided that the full force of districts and state powers must be brought to bear in order to beat a bunch of nine-year-old children into compliance. In some school districts, administrators had concluded that third grade children who opted out of the Big Standardized Test could not b

SEP 04

Why Charters Love "Public School"
The question is up for pseudo-debate once again because of the National Labor Relations Board decided in two separate cases that charter schools are private corporations . The decision is new, but the fact that charters are private businesses is not. While charter fans are trying to act shocked and surprised ., I'm just going to go ahead and link, for the six-zillionth time, to that special occasi
Brookings Fails at Teacher Diversity Research
This is just exceptional. In mid-August, Brookings released a report looking at the huge inequity in the teacher force , specifically the question of how to get more teachers of color in the classroom. Their conclusion, loosely paraphrased, is that the problem just can't be solved . Which seems, I don't know-- counterintuitive? improbable? wrong? There are some red flags in this report. Right up f

SEP 03

ICYMI: Fall kick-off edition (9/4)
As always, if you see something that really speaks to you, share it. Michigan Spends $1 Billion on Charter Schools But Fails To Hold Any Accountable Well, that headline for this Detroit Free press pretty well covers it. Schools Open, Schools Close-- Charter Schools and the Ties That Bind From Harvard, a thoughtful consideration of the real costs of school closures Rubric for the Rubric Concerning
Some Gates Charter Personalized Love
Don Shalvey has been pushing charter schools for many, many years. He was serving a superintendent of the San Carlos School District when he launched the first charter school in California . That was 1992. In 1998 he joined with Reed " Elected Schools Boards Suck " Hastings (Netflix) to for Californians for Public School Excellence, an astroturf group created to push charter school legis
Is Poverty No Longer a Thing?
Mike Petrilli was over at Campbell Brown's place this week where A) he was oddly billed as a research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and a book author, but not as the head honcho of the Fordham Institute and B) suggesting 



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