Saturday, February 18, 2017

Catch up with CURMUDGUCATION: PA Senate Ed Chair Wants To Trash Education



PA Senate Ed Chair Wants To Trash Education
John Eichelberger has been a Pennsylvania state senator for over a decade, and during those years, he has been no friend to public schools or the teachers who work in them. Seriously-- this is District 30. Eichelberger is a Republican upstart who was swept into office on the wave of voter anger over the infamous late-night pay raise of 2005 . He was supported by an assortment of conservatives incl
PA: How Much Does Your District Pay in Charter Costs
An extremely handy spread sheet has been circulating lately, and if nothing else, I want to put a link here so that I can more easily find it. If you're in Pennsylvania, you'll want to look at this, too. Yes, 502 districts is a lot. The document covers every school year from 2009-2010 through 2014-2015 for every single one of our 502 pubic school districts (yes, that is a high number, but that's a
DeVos: No Real Role for Feds
At Axios (the new "media company" from two former Politico honchos ), Johnathan Swan ( formerly of The Hill ) has a quick moment with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos . She uses the opportunity for a bit of a do-over on her confirmation hearing, but it's her thoughts on the federal role in education that are most striking. Among the things that " Betsy DeVos wishes she had said at her confirmation
IOWA: Gutting Unions
The Iowa House and Senate have voted to gut the public service unions of their state . Under the new bill, Iowa's public service unions (that, of course, includes teachers) may not negotiate anything but wages. Health care, evaluation procedures, and other language items may not be part of contract negotiations. And should those wage negotiations stall, the arbitrator must consider management's ab

FEB 16

Performance Pay Bombs Across the Pond
I don't know if this will make you feel better or make you feel worse, but our nation is not the only one caught in the throes of bad education reform. The UK has a performance pay system in which teachers get an increase of pay based on their job performance. Well, if there's money to pay for a raise. Well, if the raise is within the cap of 1% (aka "not enough to keep up with inflation"). The UK

FEB 15

I Am Not Hostile To Change
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke today to a gathering of Magnet School folks, and opened up by suggesting that "some people" are "hostile" to change. I just want to be clear. I am not hostile to change. In fact, there are some changes that I would love to see. I would love to see a change in the rhetoric about failing schools. Instead of declaring that we will "rescue" students from failin
The Proper Use of Mockery
Jimmie Fallon has done it again , and not, I'm afraid, in a good way. Fallon has now twice included a Betsy DeVos sketch. His show's version of DeVos is bumbling and clueless, the kind of hapless twit who says, in response to questions about her fitness for the job, replies "I am totally got this." As regular readers of this blog are well aware, I am not above or beyond mockery of certain subjects
FL: Merit Pay (Still) Doesn't Work
Yes, and in other news, the sun is expected to rise in the East tomorrow. So, Florida has a merit pay system. In fact, Florida has tried to implement merit pay for quite a while. Of course, there are issues: The design and implementation of merit pay faces several key challenges. First, student outcomes are difficult to define and measure. Second, the contributions of individual teachers to studen

FEB 14

Guest Post: Open Letter To Pat Toomey
Barbara Ferman is a professor at the College of Liberal Arts, Temple University. She's also the Director of the University Community Collaborative. She passed along this letter to share. If you want to make sure Senator Toomey sees it, feel free to help direct it to him. February 13, 2017 An Open Letter to Senator Toomey, Pennsylvania Dear Senator Toomey: I grew up in a working class family and n

FEB 13

New Congressional Attack on Education
You probably already heard about H.R. 899 , a bill elegant in its simplicity. Here's the whole text of the bill: The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018. Thanks to Rep. Thomas Massie (R) of Kentucky for this little zen koan of legislation. It raises many questions. Will the department evaporate? Will it be terminated with extreme prejudice? When the ball drops on New Years

FEB 12

Charter Schism Explainer
The charter world (which is mostly all that's to what we mean by "education reform") has been wrestling and fracturing and considering serious marital counseling over the past year or so. This bit of a crisis has been exacerbated since, oh, November. I've been drawn into conversations about this schism several times in the last week, which means it's time to write a simple explainer. Feel free to
ICYMI: This Week's Reading (2/12)
The list is long this week, but at least it's not all politics. At least, I'm pretty sure it's not all politics. I Never Cared Much About Politics; The Trump Nominated Betsy DeVos A guest at the Washington Post. The title is self-explanatory Holy Warrior Against the Welfare State Jennifer Berkshire's trip to Michigan yielded a lot of good writing. This piece appeared in the Baffler and explains a

Reformsters Contemplate Race (Part 2)
I've worked my way slowly through two panel discussions held at the American Enterprise Institute a couple of weeks ago. They're interesting and mostly thoughtful discussions among reformsters about how reformsterism (by which, mostly, they mean the charter movement) can navigate this new era and the 

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