Sunday, November 7, 2021


CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Project Time Edition (11/7)

Project Time Edition

 Here at the Institute we have a project brewing, and it's taking some actual time to prepare. But I still collected some reading for you this week.

Why my book has been removed from school shelves

An LA Times op-ed from Christopher Noxon, author of Good Trouble: Lessons from the Civil Rights Playbook, which has drawn some attention in Virginia for being about, you know, Black stuff. 

Loraine Superintendent deemed a hero

A fairly encouraging story in a dreary week, not the least because here's a superintendent who regularly drives the school bus.

Moms for Liberty- Williamson County is a hell of conspiracy theories and petty complaints

There's a new blogger in Tennessee, and he went and signed himself up as a member of MFL so he could see what he could see on the inside. Turns out it's not encouraging.

The demoralization of the American teacher

I'm not agreeing with all of this piece by Shane Trotter in Quillette, but it's still a good read with some worthwhile observations.

Self-care versus Sustainable Leadership

You should be reading Nancy Flanagan regularly anyway, but I'll just keep recommending her stuff. 

Virginia was not about education...but Democrats need to be.

Mitchell Robinson at Eclectablog directs some righteous anger at the Democrats and their continued failure to stand up for public ed.

Youngkin's campaign was about something sinister

Jan Resseger offers an analysis of the ugly subtext of the new governor's campaign

When should racism be taught in schools

CBS actually caught so much grief over this terrible headline that they have since changed it. But the article that comes with it is a pretty good look at CRT panic.

PA school funding on trial

Later this week, a trial will kick off challenging Pennsylvania's lousy funding system. This is a good explainer of what the big deal is.

Anti-Hillary group rebranded as anti-CRT group

CNBC has the story of 1776 PAC, which turns out to be an old anti group with a new mission.

This is a story about milk, but also about what happens when the press doesn't do its job.

This is a great piece from Parker Molloy, spinning off the CNN coverage of milk prices this weekend (don't worry--if you missed that mess, the article brings you up to speed) but also about what happens when the press lets people go on being angry about things that haven't actually happened.

The Conversation About Critical Race Theory In Schools Is Over. - by @palan57 on @forbes

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

More Rough Days Ahead For Public Ed
The post-mortems are rolling in this morning. Some mild suggestions like this one from Ross Douthat : "Democrats probably need a new way to talk about progressive ideology and education." Some chortling Twitter feeds about how CRT panic is a winning issue. However you parse it, it seems reasonable to assume that a whole bunch of GOP politicos have, in the wake of the Virginia governor's election,
Replying to Moms for Liberty: What about These Books?
This exchange turned up on my Twitter feed. How do you propose that parents handle the books they are finding in the school libraries? I’m not totally disagreeing with you, but they are finding these books everywhere and they are upset. Can you blame them? — Moms for Liberty (@Moms4Liberty) November 3, 2021 I'm going to try to answer this question, because I think it's a legitimate one. Caveats f
Classroom Management Secrets
This question has popped up a couple of times on my screen lately: Which is the more essential classroom skill set - subject matter and pedagogical expertise OR the ability to “manage” behavioral issues? It's a trick question. The ability to "manage" a classroom is rooted in subject matter and pedagogical expertise. If you have ever wrangled toddlers, you probably know this simple trick--always b
ICYMI: Spooky Edition (10/31)
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'
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 s
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