Saturday, January 21, 2017

Catch up with CURMUDGUCATION: Meanwhile In Switzerland... + Confessions of a Trumpistan Teacher



Meanwhile In Switzerland...
While we've been staring into the dark, distorted mirror that is our new American administration, the uber-rich and super-powerful have been gathering for the annual summit in Davos, Switzzerland. And they think the see a world a-comin' that looks very different from the one we're in. The event's official name is the World Economic Forum, and it's a reliable source for pieces about how the uber-ri


Confessions of a Trumpistan Teacher
Look, give me just a few minutes. I need to tell someone. Well, I screwed up. Understand, I was on edge. Maria didn't get our cups of espresso out on the veranda until a full minute after she had served the toast, and the toast was already cold. Do you know how hard it is to spread the butter when the toast isn't quite warm enough to melt it? Do you? I mean, seriously, do you, because I don't. I h
How Not To Improve Schools
The report is in from the US Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences-- " School Improvement Grants: Implementation and Effectiveness. " It is our last lesson in school reform from the Obama-Duncan-King education department, and although that version of the department is being bulldozed under even as I type, there are still important lessons to be learned here. The full report is
What Do You Want?
In teacher school, we're taught that effective classroom management involves focusing on what you want the students to do, not what you don't want them to do. In other words, "stop twiddling your thumbs" is less effective than "please read the story." I always think of Larry Shreckengost, my high school driver's ed teacher who told us to look at where we wanted to go, not at what we wanted to avoi

JAN 19

School Accountability Diet
One of the best things the feds ever created was the nutritional information panel for food. When I go shopping, I can quickly and easily access information about the food I buy. There's how much fat in these power bars??!! Look-- twinkies have far fewer calories than I imagined! The panels are a model of transparency, because the information is there for me to do with as I will. Years ago I didn'
Trevor Noah Covers DeVos
I'm not always a Trevor Noah fan, and he repeats the egregious characterization of Betsy DeVos as a "businesswoman"-- really? What business, exactly, has she ever run? She's an heiress and the wife of an heir. But otherwise, this is a pretty good mainstream take on DeVos's terrible hearing performance. MTV's set-up is problematic for embedding, but follow this link for the clip. And now we've got

JAN 18

The $1 Salary
So apparently billionaire heiress and presumptive Head of the Department of Things She Knows Nothing About, Betsy DeVos intends to take a salary of a mere $1 when she ascends her education throne. I think that's a lousy idea. I know it's meant to make her seem magnanimous and willing to take on the office just out of the sweet public servicey goodness of her heart. I suppose there may also be some
DeVos Song and Dance
I am grateful that work kept me from experiencing the DeVos hearing in one long take, like a thousand fingernails being dragged down a twenty-mile chalkboard. So just as I experienced a disjointed hearing, I will share my disjointed thoughts. The Reviews Are In Wait! I'm now famous because why..? And who wants to shoot me...? One of the reasons I'm not doing an in-depth review of the hearing is th

JAN 17

It has been one of those days. Not bad, but about sixteen hours long, and so I have followed the DeVos hearing via occasional peeks at Twitter, and I'll catch up over the hours ahead in short burst so that my blood pressure does not shoot the nails off the ends of my fingers. But I will confess that as strongly as I believe we should tell our senators repeatedly and loudly about Betsy's severe, ex

JAN 16

MLK & Another Christmas
Every year around December 25, a whole bunch of people who aren't actually Christians get all misty about a watered-down version of the original faith, make some generic noise about peace and good will while ignoring all the parts of the message that might be, well, more uncomfortable ("But wouldn't the moneylenders get upset if we threw them out of the temple? That just seems so rude and uncomfor
MOOCs and the Failure of Innovators
Today at IEEE Spectrum, Robert Ubell has a rough and telling explanation of " How the Pioneers of the MOOC Got It Wrong ." It includes some important lessons for many of the "innovators" in the education world today. Massive Open Online Courses took off five years ago, when Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig decided to stream the computer lectures from Stanford out across the internet to the world.

JAN 15

First 100 Reformy Days
Did Jeanne Allen ever oppose Trump? Long ago she may have expressed some misgivings, but she has since been swept up in the Great Migration of from Anti-Trump Land to downtown We Want To Be The Winner's Friend. So now Allen and her group, the Center for Education Reform, a reformy group that is friends with all the best charter school boosters (and even has a seat on the gates Gravy Train )-- now
ICYMI: Last Sunday Before Trumpistan Edition (1/15)
This week I'll start you off with a short video from the folks at Brave New Films about the DeVos nomination. Something to share with your friends who would rather watch than read. Sears in Death Spiral I wrote about this article earlier in the week, but if you missed that, you should still read this. Nothing to do with education, but everything to do with how terrible mis-management makes a hash

AZ: Fake-Dumping the Core
When Diane Douglas ran for the post of Chief Education Honcho of Arizona, she ran and won on a basic platform -- kill the Common Core. As it turns out, that was kind of a lie. Douglas was a bit of a dark horse candidate; her previous 

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