Saturday, June 24, 2017




What Choice Won't Do

When it comes to the advocates of school choice, there are many points with which I disagree. I disagree with many of their assessments of the public school situation ("a dead end for which we spend more money than God and get results lower than dirt"). I disagree with many of their policy goals (why exactly should parents-- and no other taxpayers-- have a say about how tax dollars are spent). The

JUN 22

NY: Competition, Shmompetition

Eva Moscowitz has some kind of magical power. Maybe it's money or pheremones or some sort of magical aura, but her record in getting New York leaders to roll over and play fetch for her is impressive. At the beginning of the month, NY court declared that her Success Academy is not accountable to the taxpayers when it comes to her Pre-K program; the city can not hold her to any sort of performance
Rural Life vs. Free Market

I live in a small town and rural county in northwest Pennsylvania. Our population is a little over 50,000. The median value of a home is a little over $80K. Per capita income is a little over $23K, and our official poverty rate is 13.5%. As of 2010, we had about 81 persons per square mile. Our biggest city contains maybe 7,000 people, though our towns are surrounded by stretches of villages, farml

JUN 21

How To Sell Personalized Learning

Competency based education, one of the major flavors of personalized learning, has a great number of problems . It's beloved by our Silicon Valley tech overlords, but it has a lousy history (if you a4e of a certain age, you may recall Outcome Based Education , CBE's older failed sibling). CBE reduces education to a series of simple standardized tasks, the complexity and depth of rigorous intellect

JUN 20

Finn Backs Accountability-- Hard

The Great Divide in the reform world continues to be right along the lines of accountability, with DeVos and her DeVotees being pretty much against it in any meaningful sense. Just let the marketplace sort it out, they say, and Jeanne Allen, of the Center for Education Reform (a hard core charter-backing group), put together a whole book to help argue the point. It can happen Several folks have ta
Digital Native Naivete

The cliché is a fifty-year-old asking some ten year old student for help in making the computer work. Having trouble making working with your device or your software? Just grab one of those digital natives to handle it for you! Well, not so fast. Here's Jenny Abamu at Edsurge saying what I've been arguing for over a decade -- our digital natives are hugely naïve about technology. With the adoption

JUN 19

PA: Islamophobes, Real Estate, and Scam Artists

I'll tell you right up front that this story raises more questions than it answers, but many of them are questions about just what comes through the door when you invite privatization in, and others are questions about how people react when they discover what an open door actually means. The New Castle Youth Development Center was set up in about 1967 as a facility for dealing with "felonious yout

JUN 18

ICYMI:Father's Day Edition (6/18)

It's a day for Dads, a holiday that somehow doesn't clog restaurants and bolster the greeting card industry. But in the meantime, here are some readings from the week. Remember to share! The acquittal in Philando Castile’s killing makes clear that black lives still do not matter Not strictly about education, but important none the less, particularly for its pointed observations about the second am

JUN 17

PA: Testing Non-Reform

In Pennsylvania, our Big Standardized Test for high school students is the Keystone Exam. Its history is a sad study in BS Testing. Its future is cloudy. Unfortunately, while the Keystones may be on the way out, there's no reason to believe they won't be replaced with something worse. Back in the (pre-Common Core) day, PA used the PSSA tests to measure student achievement of some sort for reasons

JUN 16

FL: Death To Public Education

Florida has long struggled to take the lead in the State Most Hostile To Public Education contest, with North Carolina, Wisconsin and Nevada giving some real competition. But this week, Florida's legislature and governor took a decisive 


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