Sunday, January 19, 2020


CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Saturday Snow Day (1/18)

Saturday Snow Day (1/18)

A Saturday Snow Day is when the weather is so awful that adults are absolved of any obligation to go anywhere and get anything done. We were having one right now in NW PA, with Interstates shut down and folks huddled up home. It's not a bad thing. If you need something to read while you huddle, I've got you covered.

Why Aesha Ash Is Wandering Around Inner City Rochester In A Tutu
Let's start the week with a really cool story about a Black ballerina creating her own project to make a difference.

The Rhetorical Secretary
Okay, so much for good feelings. Here's Mark Hlavacik in The Kappan breaking down Betsy DeVos for her part in the history of the Ed Secretary as leader of a national conversation about education. This is actually from last November, but I missed it till now. It's thoughtful and worth a look. Here's a snippet, considering some of DeVos's attacks on her opponents:

Such rhetoric is not an attempt to persuade those who disagree with her. It is not even an invitation for further conversation or meaningful debate. Instead, the insults that pepper her addresses serve to exclude any part of her audience that disagrees with her and — given how many Americans disagree with her, by her own account — functionally makes the enactment of rhetorical leadership on a national scale impossible.

Two States. Eight Textbooks.
Dana Goldstein at the New York Times does some detailed comparison of history texts from Texas and California. The differences may not be surprising, but they're still concerning.

Texas School District Falls For Email Phishng Scam, Loses $2.3 Million
Reminder-- your security is only as good as the people you let get behind the keyboard. A cautionary tale.

Minneapolis Public School Stands To Lose 1/3 of Families with Redesign  
Sarah Lahm continues to provide a sharp and insightful look at what some brands of ed reform look like on the ground in Minneapolis. Not pretty.

Are You Ready to Make 2020 the Year of Early Childhood Education  
The folks at Defending the Early Years have lots of important stuff planed for this year. Here's the rundown so you can mark your calendar now.

The Misleading Rhetoric of School Choice
Jersey Jazzman digs down and looks at how the word "choice" is deployed in ways that are misleading. This is a really good piece.

The Tennessee ASD: Booted or Re-Booted?
Gary Rubinstein has been following the ill-fated Tennessee Achievement School District since Day One (the one that was use magical state takeovers and charter management to move the bottom 5% of schools to the tippy top), and now that they appear to be throwing in the towel, he takes a look back. He also, unfortunately, makes a convincing case for why folks can't heave a sigh of relief just yet.

Equitable Education Funding Isn't Happening Yet
Andre Perry at Hechinger talks about what we don't like to talk about-- that wealthy and nmiddle-class folks just don't want to pay to educate the poor.

About That Montana Choice Program
Espinoza v Montana is coming up, poised to take down the wall between church and state when it comes to school funding. But Rebecca Klein at Huffington Post took a look at the schools in that tiny choice program and found lots of explicit discrimination against LGBTQ students.

How Higher Salaries for Teachers Became a GOP Governor Thing 
Erin Einhorn at NBC news takes a look at the new sort of trend. Not sure I agree with all of this piece, but it's still an interesting overview.

Charter Schools Have No Valid Claim To Public Property
From Shawgi Tell, at Dissident Voice, an argument against handing public property like school buildings over to private companies.


OH: A Superintendent Who Gets The Problem of EdChoice

Woodridge School District is located a bit north of Akron. The district is highly rated and has escaped the current Ohio school rating system with no low ratings. Which means they didn't have to speak out against the problems being created for districts across the state by the EdChoice program. But on their website, you'll find this message from their superintendent, who offers a clear an explana
ICYMI: Saturday Snow Day (1/18)

A Saturday Snow Day is when the weather is so awful that adults are absolved of any obligation to go anywhere and get anything done. We were having one right now in NW PA, with Interstates shut down and folks huddled up home. It's not a bad thing. If you need something to read while you huddle, I've got you covered. Why Aesha Ash Is Wandering Around Inner City Rochester In A Tutu Let's start the w


Trump, Prayer and School

Donald Trump yesterday took the very Trumpian action of solving a problem that didn't actually exist until he made it up, in this case involving religion and education (two things in which he appears to have no actual interest). But hurray-- after today, students and teachers are free to pray in schools, which they were also free to do yesterday and last week and last year, etc etc etc. That's why

JAN 17

Six Stories To Watch For In 2020

I made these predictions about three weeks ago, and now that we're halfway through January, I still stand by them. It's a cheap writer's game-- we won't know if I'm right until December, and I predict that nobody will remember what I predicted. So here are my guesses wise predictions about six stories that will heat up in 2020. Ed Tech Will Try To Grow Its Market Tech companies are sure that educ

JAN 16

National Parents Union: Do You Smell Astroturf

This week Lauren Camera treated us to a warm, fuzzy piece of launch PR for the National Parents Union ; the US News editor announces right in the headline that this group is here to challenge the teachers unions, but in a totally organic grass roots kind of way. Two Latina mothers from opposite sides of the country have joined forces to form their own union to disrupt an education agenda they say

JAN 15

DeVos on Fox: Six Minute Baloney Digest (With Homelessness)

Betsy DeVos went on Fox and Friends this week , the softest of soft interview destinations form members of this administration. If you want a quick six-minute sampler of her current talking points , you could do worse, but it you don't think you can take looking at the patented smile d'smarm, here are the highlights- and there are a couple of revealing moments here. The segment is nominally titled
DeVos: Remote Work Bad, Remote School Good

Betsy DeVos has long been a fan of cyber-schooling. Her husband was an investor in K-12 , the cyber-charter behemoth, way back at beginning of the millennium (we can start saying that now, right?) Back when she was still running the American Federation for Children, she had this to sa y Families want and deserve access to all educational options, including charter schools, private schools and virt

JAN 14

Should Tax Dollars Pay For This Discrimination

From Kentucky comes the story of a fifteen-year old student expelled for wearing a rainbow t-shirt . Seriously. Kayla Kenney used to be a student at Whitefield Academy , where the mission is "to serve Christian families by providing a Christ-centered, Biblically-based education marked by academic excellence and spiritual vitality." Part of their vision is "to produce powerful and effective student

JAN 13

More Proof The Big Standardized Tests Mean Diddly-Squat

Chad Aldeman (Bellwether Education Partners) wants us to take heart. He's over at The 74 ( Campbell Brown's House of Reform Advocacy ) arguing that although reformsters are writing off the last ten years as a " lost decade " there was actually some good news-- while "educational achievement" (by which Aldeman actually means "standardized test scores") remained stagnant, college attainment has been

JAN 12

ICYMI: Unexpected Spring Edition (1/12)

It is unseasonably warm here, even as some parts of the country deal with a fresh helping of winter. Either way, we've got things to read. Remember-- if the piece strikes you as an important one, go to the original location for the post or article and share it through your social media. It's all about the amplification. Putting a Price Tag on Public Schools Wendy Lecker doesn't write enough, so th