Sunday, August 11, 2019


CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Just A Quiet Day Edition (8/11)

ICYMI: Just A Quiet Day Edition (8/11)

Buying office supplies. Fretting about getting up in the morning. School must be getting closer-- but not too close yet. Have a cup of whatever you have cups of to relax, and take in some of the education reading from the last week. Don't forget to share the good stuff.

How much knowledge is necessary for comprehension?

You need some background knowledge in order to get better at reading (regardless of what you've been told about "skills"). Turns out there's even research about how much is the bare minimum requirement. Yes, it's from the Fordham blog, but I think it's worth reading, anyway.

Strategy Overdue for Special Ed 

Wendy Lecker, writing in the Register Citizen, looks at how lobbyists have made a mess out of Connecticut's special ed sector.

In PA, a Charter Rules Change To Benefit Just One School

WHYY uncovers a somewhat nuts story about political payback to benefit just one charter school. Because level playing field.

7 Harsh Truths That Will Improve Your Leadership Skills Overnight

From Inc., this piece isn't education-specific, but both teachers and administrators could benefit from these pointers.

Inside the NAACP Civil War Over Charter Schools 

Yes, charter advocates have gone so far as to plant folks inside the NAACP in an attempt to weaken the organization's stance on charter schools. From Rebecca Klein at HuffPost.

Student Culture in Question 

From Colorado, yet another example of a charter school that uses its "flexibility" to shaft its employees.

Nick Hanauer and Diane Ravitch

Ex-reformster rich guy Hanauer stirred things up a few weeks ago with his piece in the Atlantic. Listen to his podcast talking to Diane Ravitch; there's some really good stuff here.

Problems with Midyear Admissions 

Matt Barnum at Chalkbeat looks at one more way that charters game the test results and avoid taking on some of the tougher challenges of education.

Florida Charters Can Reject Kids With Disabilities 

The Orlando Sentinel just noticed one more way that Florida charter avoid providing an actual source of public education to all students.

How a Truly Epic Charter School Fraud Unfolded in Oklahoma 

And speaking of charter cheating, John Thompson is at the Progressive with an astonishing tale of how a truly ballsy piece of charter fraud was pulled off in plain sight.

New Orleans' Kennedy High School Grading Fiasco 

The indispensable Mercedes Schneider with the continuing story of how a NOLA charter has put the future of its students in jeopardy. Will anyone be held responsible?

This Teen Hacker Found Bugs In School Software That Exposed Millions of Records

Want one more story to make you anxious about the online work your students do? This Wired story is just the thing. This high school student didn't just find problems with obscure edusoftware-- he broke into Follett and Blackboard, then used them as doorways to millions of student records including grades, medical, schedules, cafeteria balance, photos, and more. And this was just what a bored, curious sixteen-year-old could do.

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Just A Quiet Day Edition (8/11)


Reed Hastings: Stars In Every Position

We’re like a pro sports team, not a kid’s recreational team. Netflix leaders hire, develop and cut smartly, so we have stars in every position . That's Reed Hastings in a 2009 interview about his then-juggernaut business, Netflix. I came across it recently and, because Hastings has approached education and charter schools with the same business attitude, hoping to turn charter schools into a Netf
What Does "Personalized Learning" Even Mean?

Personalized learning is all over the educational landscape these days, even though nobody can offer a clear and consistent explanation for what it might be. The field encompasses everyone from teachers designing more effective methods to businesses with a new edu-product to sell. Assuming for the moment that there is no solid, universal definition, let's consider the different aspects of instruc

AUG 09

Guest Post: Please Treat Teachers Like Dirt

Last week I posted a blog on about the Phi Delta Kappa annual report on education. This year it features a focus on teacher morale, and I pulled the quote " Tired of being treated like dirt. " A reader-- Stacey Miller Chester-- wrote a reply on Facebook I just love, because I'm a sucker for good analogies and metaphors, and so I'm reprinting it here, with her permission: May I be hones

AUG 08

Indian Hill, Free To Teach, And How To Bust A Union

If you are a teacher in Pennsylvania, you have probably heard from the folks at Free To Teach (I'm sure there are at least two of them) about how much better your life could be without a union. Their most recent letter includes an example of a district where teachers are happily existing without any connection to the state or national unions. Free To Teach has been around for a while . It's an ope
Ed Reform vs. Democracy

It was not that long ago that I wrote a piece about how school choice, by shifting the locus of control for the education purse strings, tends to undermine democractic processes . After all, if only parents of school age children, or only rich folks who contribute to tax credit scholarships, get to decide which schools get paid, then the non-parent taxpayers who are footing the bills don't really

AUG 07

What Can We Learn From An Experimental High Tech Wunderschool Failure?

Max Ventilla launched AltSchool quietly enough in 2013, but within two years it was a hot Silicon Valley startup. In 2015, $100 million of investment dollars from major education reform players like Mark Zuckerberg and the Emerson Collective spurred an impressive wave of press. In just 24 hours the Silicon Valley Wunderschool had been covered by Kevin Carey in the Pacific Standard , Natasha Singe

AUG 05

PA: Governor Calls Charters Private, Makes Advocacy Group Sad

When Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf trotted out his budget last month, he made it a point to note that he was raising money for public schools-- and that he had some definite ideas about which schools are public and which schools are not. He wants to see more of those basic education dollars to school districts get distributed through the state’s fair funding formula. He also wants to address conc
Ed Reform Was Supposed To Crush Unions

Every once in a while I stumble on an old article from back in the days when some reformsters would just say certain parts out loud instead of trying to be subtle or dog whistly. Take this piece from April of 2014 by Terry M. Moe. It's an excerpt from his book What Lies Ahead for America's Children and Their Schools , and it's really, really clear what this Hoover Institute Fellow has in mind. Her

AUG 04

ICYMI: What A Miserable Sunday Edition (8/4)

This has not been a great week in the US, but here we are again. Read some pieces about education if you can; otherwise, just go curl up with loved ones. Testing Craze Is Fading in U.S. Schools. Good. Here’s What’s Next . At Bloomberg, Andrea Gabor takes a look at testing and what may come after. Why Do White Reformers Keep Making This Obvious Mistake ? I Love You But You're Going To Hell adds som
Segregation: Who's The Worst?

A new study of segregation in charter schools has been released. Authored by Julian Vasquez Heilig, T. Jameson Brewer, and Yohuru Williams, " Choice without inclusion?: Comparing the intensity of racial segregation in charters and