Saturday, May 20, 2017




My 16 Rules
Today I turn sixty, so it's time form one of those posts. These are the rules. Mind you, they are not a sign of any particular wisdom or smartitude on my part-- I have learned about these rules in the same way a somewhat dim cow learns about an electric fence. About 59 years ago. My typing skills have not improved 1. Don't be a dick. There is no excuse for being mean on purpose. Life will provide


PA: Cyber School Court-Ordered Crowded Clown Car
Pennsylvania has been a big, fat profitable garden of cyber schools, taking an early lead over even California in letting virtual education take root. And there are so many aspects of cyber-schooling in Pennsylvania that we could discuss. As always, I'll preface this by saying that there are students fro whom cyber-schooling is a useful option. But the modern cyber charter industry is not aimed at

MAY 18

So Now Failure Is Okay, Apparently
" Fail better ," says Michael Q. McShane (Show-Me Institute, AEI) in a piece at US News, arguing to reformsters for the virtue of admitting failure and building upon it. Part of his point is vaid, part is hugely self-serving and part of it is just plain annoying. Policy ideas like charter schools, teacher evaluation and high standards first exist in the abstract. When they are actually implemented

MAY 17

The Geography of Reform
It's an oft-repeated reformster refrain. Students trapped by zip code in failed school s. Paul Ryan offering a lifeline for trapped students . And here's Betsy DeVos at a recent speech, explaining some of the fundamental flaws of our terrible awful no good very bad public education system: The system assigns your child to a school based solely upon the street on which you live. We get these repeat
Petrilli Pokes Personalized Processing
Mike Petrilli, head honcho of the ever-reformy Thomas B. Fordham Institute, has taken a look at the future of Personalized Learning , and he has some concerns. He's read the PR, and he knows about the appeal of super-flexible differentiation, the varied student-customized pathways to excellence. However: Hooray for all that. But after seeing a version of personalized learning in action recently, I
Rutgers Prof Beats NJ Charter Attack
I'm happy to provide a good news follow up to an old story. Two years ago, Rutgers University professor Julia Sass Rubin found herself under attack by the New Jersey Charter School Association. She had published research that contradicted the rosy charter picture in NJ, showing that, much to nobody's surprise, that charters enroll fewer very poor students, fewer non-English speaking students, and

MAY 16

The Takeover Lie
One of the techniques in the reformster arsenal has been the school takeover, in which some august body declares a public school a failure, and that school is marked for Takeover. That failure can be certified by specious Big Standardized Test results (yay, PAARC and SBA) or by the more cynical method of refusing to fuly fund a district and then certifying them, as financially distressed. This par

MAY 14

Artificial Stupidity
Facebook absolutely insist on showing me "top stories." Every time I open the Facebook page, I have to manually switch back to "most recent," because even though the Facebook Artificial Smartitude Software thinks it knows what I most want to see, it can't figure out that I want to see the "most recent" feed. Mostly because the Facebook software is consistently wrong about what I will consider Top
ICYMI: Mother's Day Edition (5/14)
Time for another batch of reading. I know I sound like a broken record, but when you read something you like, share it, pass it along, help add to its reach. How Google Took Over the Classroom The New York Times takes a close look at how Google took over the classroom-- and what price we all may be paying. Don't Put Efficiency in School Ahead of Other Goals Andy Smarick in US News once again apply

MAY 13

Progressive: The Trouble with Ranking Schools
For a while now I've been a "Progressive Fellow in Education" (which is different from being, say, a charming fellow in the low brass section) and I write regularly for them as part of a group of twelve education writers. If you aren't reading the Fellows regularly, you should be. Anyway, I'm going to try to entice you over there by offering the lead to my latest piece, because I think it's impor
(Not) A New Conversation
Phyllis Lockett took to Huffington Post last week to call for a New Conversation , which-- okay, can we stop calling for new conversations? Because they're hardly ever new and often they are barely conversations, and we have had many of these calls and maybe we should just finish one of our old conversations instead of dropping them to start new ones like an easily-distracted party guest. Lockett

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