Saturday, April 15, 2017




Who's The Boss?
When someone tells you who they are, listen to them. Representative Markwayne Mullin (Rep-OK) told his constituents a great deal this week, when in a town hall meeting he said this: You say you pay for me to do this. Bullcrap. I pay for myself. I paid enough taxes before I got there and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go. And as a foll


IN: Welcome UPSTART Pre-K Cyberschool
You probably thought this was going to be one of those posts where I made fun of some trend in education by extending it to its logical yet absurd extreme. Sadly-- I mean, really sadly-- that is not the case. "Seriously, dude. What the hell." Meet UPSTART , a company that... well, let me just quote from their home page: UPSTART is an in-home, technology-delivered kindergarten readiness program tha

APR 13

College-Ready Sixth Graders
Mike Petrilli, Big Cheese at the Fordham Institute, a reliably reformy thinky tank, is concerned. While he allows that some students and families are uber-stressing about the whole college thing, the rest of us should be in a greater state of panic: We need the majority of parents and kids to be more stressed out. We need to shake them out of their complacency and tell them: You and your kids are
New Merit Pay Study Hits The Wrong Target
We're all going to be hearing about a piece of research, a working paper that suggests that teacher merit pay works . Sort of. Depending on what you mean by "works." Matthew G. Springer , an assistant professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt University, has produced a meta-analysis (that's research of the research) entitled " Teacher Merit Pay and Student Test Scores: A Meta-Analysis

APR 12

PA: Charter Reform Sort of Revisited
Pennsylvania charter law is rather a mess. In April of 2016, State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale issued a blistering report, dubbing PA charter law the " worst in the nation ." There have been occasional legislative attempts to address the issue, but these bills have often confused "reform" with "give charters more freedom and opportunities to suck up public tax dollars." Harrisburg has a hist

APR 11

Corporations versus Human Persons
The story of United Airlines and the Shameful Assault on a Paying Customer has been more thoroughly covered than almost anything this week (congrats, Beloved Leader Trump, on a widespread distraction from your latest screwup). We've had lessons from the airlines in free market delights before, but this is an even more direct and clear example of why the corporate approach is a bad idea for public

APR 10

Trump Education Sad Argle Bargle
So, Donald Trump held a town hall, if your idea of a town is a place where only CEOs live. It included some Presidential word chunks on the subject of education, and happened all the way back on last Tuesday and yet somehow I missed it (almost as if I'm not actually a CEO) but Valerie Strauss was right on top of things for the Washington Post . As one might expect, the entire conversation was a fa
Will Investors Love Fake Teachers?
Well, this was, of course, inevitable. We've heard a lot about CGI students as a training (and evaluation) technique for teachers, a freakish notion in which teachers or neo-teachers square off against cyber-puppets in an uncanny valley showdown. And we've also hear endlessly about artificial intelligence being used to craft a personalized education program , somehow. I'm from the future and I'm h

APR 09

Soap Box Derby Equity
We have tied to explain the problems of equality and equity and opportunity dozens of ways. Here are two you've probably seen, many times: I'm going to offer another metaphor today-- the soap box derby. Let's imagine two racers approaching the starting line. Our two young divers are seated in similarly-built cars, made well enough for the race. The race down the hill begins at the starting line, b
What the Public Sees
While reading my way around the web this weekend, I came across this "Topline Report" of the Phi Delta Kappa annual poll about education issues . I'm way late to sifting through this data, but it's an interesting report, so I'm going to do it anyway. It gathers together the data over the past several decades into some quick-and-dirty charts, and it makes for some interesting reading. The newest re

ICYMI: Early Earth Day Edition (4/9)
Every Sunday I try to share some of the noteworthy reads of the previous, focusing on the pieces you might have missed. You can also keep up with plenty of what's worth reading by using the column to the right, where I list most of my 

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