Sunday, October 31, 2021


CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Spooky Edition (10/31)

Spooky Edition

The Board of Directors will be out scrounging for candy dressed as a member of Koo Koo Kangaroo and a Construction Guy. I will be on the front steps of the Institute handing out candy to costumed wanderers of all ages. Hope you are having a fun evening wherever you are.

Where Facts Were No Match For Fear

Not actually about education, but certainly provides some insights into the kind of stuff we're seeing these days. The New York Times looks at an attempt to raise tourism in Montana.

Why we are suing Pennsylvania over school funding

Yes, that's happening in PA, and will probably provide a lesson of one sort or another for activists in other states. On The Morning Call.

This is the problem with ranking schools

I never get tired of watching people chastise US News and their crappy ranking lists. This time it's Ethan Hutt in the Washington Post.

Methods for comparing school site spending (and correctly making charter school comparisons)

Bruce Baker at School Finance 101. I know, it doesn't sound very sexy, but it's awfully useful for making comparisons that are actually valid.

Anya Kamenetz at NPR giving a good overview of all these various outfits stirring the pot these days. 

Inc. has some unsurprising news--grit might not be the great be-all that Angela Duckworth and friends suggested it was.

Nancy Flanagan looks at the staffing problems faced in districts across the country. Gee, what could the problem be?

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board has a few thoughts about the poorly-written Texas gag law that led to a call for both-sidesing the Holocaust 

A Gay Music Teacher Got Married. The Brooklyn Diocese Fired Him.

This story from the New York Times explains how a religious school can get away with this, and will continue to.

Jennifer Berkshire in The Nation offers more perspective on the current dust-up across the country that has drawn a target on school districts.

Schools facing critical race theory battles are diversifying rapidly, analysis finds

This NBC piece from back in September is worth revisiting because it offers an answer to the question, "What do all these up-in-arms districts have in common." The answer may be that white folks have become less of a majority there.

Matt Krause’s campaign for attorney general comes with a reading list

Texas state rep Matt Krause has a list of 850 questionable books that he wants schools to reconsider. He's also running for state attorney general. Great opening line in this Texas Tribune piece-- "Book bans don't really work, except in politics."

From Friend of the Institute Barth Kleck at CT News Junkie, a great reminder of how we got here. They said what they were going to do, they said they were doing it, they bragged about how successful they were at doing it, they said they'd done it. 

Alexandra Petri is a national treasure. Sharp satire at the Washington Post.

Universal Pre-K: Can The Feds Build It Without Messing It Up? - by @palan57 on @forbes

The Sentences Computers Can't Understand
Alternate title: Reason #451,632 that computer software, no matter how many times its vendors call it AI, should be allowed to assess student writing. Though you can also file this under "reasons that content knowledge is the foundation of literacy." Our ability to use language is astonishing and magical. Now that the Board of Directors are 4.5 years old, I've again lived through the absolutely a
How I Taught Controversial Texts
So the critical race theory panic has, in many cases, boiled down to a good old-fashioned desire to ban books, most notably in Virginia where, somehow, Toni Morrison's Beloved is being debated (and, I should add, spoiled for those who haven't read it). I am not going to make my argument against banning here, because that's a book in itself. But I am going to talk about what the teaching of these
What Can Schools Learn From Learning Pods
This is not hard. Really. Not hard at all. But Lisa Chu somehow dances around it. She's writing for the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) , an advocacy group for charter-flavored ed reform. Founded by Paul Hill and now headed by Robin Lake, who was heavily invested in the push for Washington state charters and who at one point rejected the mantle of reformer even as she continued to em
Betsy DeVos Plays The Hits (NAEP Edition)
Before Betsy DeVos was Secretary of Education, she was a relentless, wealthy privatization advocate, and there was never any chance that she would walk away from her old job once she was done with the new one. It's just that now she can put that "former secretary" in front of her name. So it should come as zero surprise that she turned up last week sharing an op-ed on Fox News , joining in that po
What The WSJ Anti-Public Ed Op-Ed Gets Wrong
Last Friday, the Wall Street Journal (Fix News' upscale sibling) p ublished an op-ed from Philip Hamburger, a Columbia law professor and head of the New Civil Liberties Alliance , a Koch-funded pro bono firm that takes cases primarily to defend against the "administrative state." It's a hit job on public education with some pretty bold arguments, some of which are pretty insulting. But he sure sa
ICYMI: No Staff Shortage Here Edition (10/24)
The advantage of having the Curmudgucation Institute operated with a staff of one, unpaid, is evident at times like these. I would give me a raise, but the Institute can't afford to stretch our budget of $0.00. I mention this because we all need to be periodically reminded that all one needs to be a policy spokesperson, think tank, or important activist group, is one person, a point of view, and
Another Faux Diverse Viewpoint Ed Site
I have reached the point where I really appreciate a website that says "We are here to promote the right wing education agenda," rather than one like Chalkboard Review* that leads with lines like "Everyone is a stakeholder in