Tuesday, October 8, 2019

CURMUDGUCATION: Why You Can Ignore That Hot New DFER Poll

CURMUDGUCATION: Why You Can Ignore That Hot New DFER Poll

Why You Can Ignore That Hot New DFER Poll

Yesterday the Democrats for Education Reform dropped a hot new pile of steaming poll results, and some media outlets, like US News, jumped right on it. The take was that Democrat voters are hollering for charters and choice, and the candidates are acting foolishly by running in the other direction.

Here's why you (and the candidates) don't need to be excitedly about any of this.


First, it's DFER. DFER was founded by some hedge funders who hoped to steer the Democratic party in a more free-marketty direction when it came to education. Their Democrat bona fides are suspect enough that some state Dems have actually demanded they un-D-ify themselves. DFER has had a bit of a tactical problem ever since Trump moved into the White House and brought Betsy DeVos along for the ride, namely that when DFER's favorite policies come out of DeVos's mouth, they're much harder to sell. Consequently, DFER has been trying hard to make the case that Good Democrats believe in charters and choice and Practical Democrats must at least act like they support these things if they want to get elected. So this is more of that.

Second, the polling company Benenson is not a polling company like Gallup is a polling company. Says their site, "We help leaders connect with, persuade and activate the audiences you need to win." They are a high-powered PR consulting firm, ready to help you anywhere "from the political war room to the corporate board room."

The poll questions are tilted (we'll get back to that), but the big clue to what's really going on here is in their own write-up of the results. Here's how one item is presented:

Message tested: “It’s time to not only start making real investments in our public schools, but fix CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Why You Can Ignore That Hot New DFER Poll



Michael Moore on Education in Finland | Diane Ravitch's blog

Michael Moore on Education in Finland | Diane Ravitch's blog

Michael Moore on Education in Finland



Michael Moore visited Finland with a camera crew to learn about its education system.
How could a nation post high test scores on international tests when its schools emphasize creativity, play, physical activity, and the arts and ignores standardized testing?
Watch his video and see what you think.
Michael Moore on Education in Finland | Diane Ravitch's blog

Sesame: How To Talk With Children About Race, Gender And Class : NPR

Sesame: How To Talk With Children About Race, Gender And Class : NPR

The Things Parents Don't Talk About With Their Kids ... But Should

A majority of parents rarely if ever discuss race/ethnicity, gender, class or other categories of social identity with their kids, according to a new, nationally representative survey of more than 6,000 parents conducted by Sesame Workshop and NORC at the University of Chicago. The researchers behind Sesame Street say the fact that so many families aren't talking about these issues is a problem because children are hardwired to notice differences at a young age — and they're asking questions.
" 'Why is this person darker than me?' 'Why is this person wearing that hat on their head?' " These are just some of the social identity questions parents might hear, says Tanya Haider, executive vice president for strategy, research and ventures at Sesame Workshop. "We sometimes are scared to talk about these things. If the adults stiffen up and say, 'Oh, you shouldn't say that loudly,' that's sending [children] a cue that there's something wrong."


And there's nothing wrong, Haider says, with a child's natural curiosity. What's risky is when kids are left alone to make sense of the differences they see, with little more than stereotypes, television and guesswork to guide them.
For the past year, NPR and Sesame Workshop have collaborated on a podcast for parents — part of NPR's Life Kit project. Together, they've covered all sorts of subjects, from how to raise kind kids and navigate divorce to how to talk with children about death. Earlier this year, NPR and Sesame Workshop devoted an entire episode to the CONTINUE READING: Sesame: How To Talk With Children About Race, Gender And Class : NPR

Jack Covey on Checker Finn vs. Finland | Diane Ravitch's blog

Jack Covey on Checker Finn vs. Finland | Diane Ravitch's blog

Jack Covey on Checker Finn vs. Finland

Reader Jack Covey, a teacher in Los Angeles, sent the following comment to me:
First, watch this clip from Michael Moore about
schools in Finland:
Now, read Education Next on the same topic, in
the context of a book review by Cherker Finn.
Here’s the ending of Chester Finn’s “Stick with GERM” 
review of Past Sahsberg’s new book, and his
argument that “play” hurts poor kids, but it’s fine
for middle class kids (and presumably upper class
kids as well).  
He says we’re “bizarrely and cruelly” damaging 
those poor kids when U.S. schools “model themselves 
on a charming small country in northern Europe 
(it’s Finn vs. Finns, I guess)
CHESTER FINN:

Teacher activism is making Red State governor’s races competitive

Teacher activism is making Red State governor’s races competitive

Teacher activism is making Red State governor’s races competitive
Mississippi went big for Trump, but education supporters are threatening a political shakeup
Paula Howard teaches in a Republican stronghold in north Mississippi, along the Tennessee border. She usually votes Republican and is closely following the campaign of Jerry Darnell, a Republican educator running to represent Howard’s home district in the state Legislature.
But — while energized about the possibility of sending a conservative colleague to the state Capital — for governor she’s backing the Democrat, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. She likes his calls to dramatically increase funding for education, including raising teacher pay, directing an additional $300 million to school districts, and expanding the state’s public pre-K program.
And, like other teachers around the state, she hasn’t forgiven the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, for opposing a 2015 school funding initiative that would have increased money for education.
“It’s not about a ticket,” Howard said. “It’s about what they can do for our children.”
Mississippians last sent a Democrat to the governor’s mansion in 1999. But November’s gubernatorial match up will be competitive, political experts say. While frustration over partisan clashes in Washington and the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump could sway voters, many educators like Howard are fired up CONTINUE READING: Teacher activism is making Red State governor’s races competitive


The Walton takeover of public education continues - Arkansas Times

The Walton takeover of public education continues - Arkansas Times

The Walton takeover of public education continues


Shorter headline proposed for Hunter Field’s fine article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette this morning on bids to study school funding adequacy in Arkansas:
The fix is in.
Arkansas is sliding annually in meeting adequacy of school funding mandated by the landmark Lakeview decision. The legislature finally has been prodded into an assessment. But Republican legislators, who don’t want to spend a dime more than necessary, are busy putting fists on the scale.
We learn from Field’s excellent article that inside information from an unnamed legislator or legislators led to the single-purpose creation in Missouri of a company that has submitted the lower of two bids received to do this study.

And who might the leaders of this enterprise include? Answer: devotees of school vouchers and charter schools. The leader of the company is a University Arkansas graduate, a participant in a right-wing (excuse me, “free market and individual liberty”) think tank.  He proposes to partner with the Office of Education Policy at the Walton Family campus of the University of Arkansas, a unit stocked with people whose CONTINUE READING: The Walton takeover of public education continues - Arkansas Times


‘I’m not sending anyone to jail yet’: Federal judge slams Betsy DeVos’ Education Dept. for violating court order – Raw Story

‘I’m not sending anyone to jail yet’: Federal judge slams Betsy DeVos’ Education Dept. for violating court order – Raw Story

‘I’m not sending anyone to jail yet’: Federal judge slams Betsy DeVos’ Education Dept. for violating court order

A federal magistrate judge on Monday slammed Betsy DeVos‘ Department of Education for violating a federal court order after finding the federal agency is continuing to collect on the loan debt of former Corinthian Colleges students. The for-profit school went bankrupt and closed its doors in 2015.
“I’m not sending anyone to jail yet but it’s good to know I have that ability,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim told Education Dept. lawyers at a hearing in San Francisco, as Bloomberg News reports.
“I’m not sure if this is contempt or sanctions,” she added.
On Friday The Washington Post reported that despite “a court order barring the Education Department from collecting on the federal student loans of former Corinthian College students, the agency continued to pursue the debts. Some former students of the defunct for-profit college had their paychecks garnished. Others had their tax refunds seized by the federal government.” CONTINUE READING: ‘I’m not sending anyone to jail yet’: Federal judge slams Betsy DeVos’ Education Dept. for violating court order – Raw Story


Whatever Happened to Madeline Hunter? | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Whatever Happened to Madeline Hunter? | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Whatever Happened to Madeline Hunter?
Image result for Madeline Hunter

I used to think teachers were born, not made … but I know better now. I’ve seen bumblers turned into geniuses, while charismatic characters turned out happy illiterates.” Madeline Hunter, 1991
A former teacher and elementary school principal, and professor of educational administration and teacher education at University of California, Los Angeles, Madeline Hunter developed a model of teaching that combined instructional techniques applied to all academic subjects across elementary and secondary school classrooms. Called Instructional Theory into Practice (ITIP), the teacher-centered, direct instructional model was anchored in, according to Hunter, psychological learning theory and educational research. Academic content was important as were specific student objectives on what they were to learn and the sequence of techniques teachers were to use to reach those content and skill objectives (see here and here).
Hunter’s gift was to convert this model of “mastery teaching” into seven key features that every teacher had to cover within a lesson.  A common template for a “Hunter Lesson” looked like this:
madeline+hunter.jpg
Administrators and teachers adopted this design for lessons across the country CONTINUE READING: Whatever Happened to Madeline Hunter? | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Jim and Alice Walton Drop $200K to Support (In Part) La. BESE Candidates Kira Orange-Jones and Preston Castille | deutsch29

Jim and Alice Walton Drop $200K to Support (In Part) La. BESE Candidates Kira Orange-Jones and Preston Castille | deutsch29

Jim and Alice Walton Drop $200K to Support (In Part) La. BESE Candidates Kira Orange-Jones and Preston Castille


Well. It was too good to be true to believe that the Waltons would stay out of Louisiana’s October 12, 201,9 BESE election.
On September 13, 2019, billionaire siblings and Arkansas residents Jim and Alice Walton each contributed $100K to the Louisiana PAC operated by NY-based Education Reform Now (ERN) Advocacy.
Among the 21 candidates ERN Advocacy PAC is promoting are two BESE candidates: Teach for America (TFA) exec director, Kira Orange-Jones (Dist 2) and Baton Rouge lawyer, Preston Castille (Dist 8).
Donating on September 13, 2019– one day after “30 days prior to election”– allowed the ERN Advocacy and the Waltons to keep the news out of the public eye until 10 days prior to election. (The Walton donation was made public in ERN Advocacy’s October 02, 2019, filing.)
alice-and-jim-walton
Alice and Jim Walton

Jim and Alice Walton Drop $200K to Support (In Part) La. BESE Candidates Kira Orange-Jones and Preston Castille | deutsch29


Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

Jim and Alice Walton Drop $200K to Support (In Part) La. BESE Candidates Kira Orange-Jones and Preston Castille | deutsch29