Sunday, December 5, 2021

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Lights Up Edition (12/5)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Lights Up Edition (12/5)

Lights Up Edition

We are in the unusual position of putting lights up this year. I call it unusual because traditionally I just never take them down at all. Glad to do it and bring something to this miserable week. Maybe some year I'll finally be able to take down the call for reasonable gun control that sits in the right-hand column here. At any rate, here's some reading from the week.

More Sins of Omission

TC Weber provides a breakdown of some of the sweetheart deals and big spending going on in Tennessee--quietly.

The Democratic Dilemma on Dark Money\

This may not be easy to read, but it's important. Rachel Cohen explains why we're not going to get an end to dark money any time soon--because everybody is addicted to it at this point.

Oregon Trail at 50

Truth is, the74 has evolved to the point that it sometimes publishes some good stuff. This piece traces the history of your favorite pioneering game. Who among us has not died of dysentery? Created by teachers.

The New White Flight: banning uncomfortable books

Gretchen Eick offers some commentary about the current rash of book banning around the country, this time going after books that include the embarrassing parts of America's past.

Violence and Threats in School: Who's Responsible

Nancy Flanagan is in Michigan, a state on edge because of a round of social media threats to schools, now given more weight by the murder of four students this week. As always, she has some on point thoughts.

Caught in the Middle

If you're a teacher in Indiana hired a decade or so ago, congratulations--you've landed right in a dead spot in the state's teacher compensation plan. Some teachers are speaking out--here's the explanation.

Program shows promise putting more Black men in classrooms

In Alabama, there's a program that seems to be showing success addressing one of education's ongoing problems-- a shortage of Black male educators.

The Black people who lived in Walden Woods long before Henry David Thoreau

The Washington Post's Sydney Trent has one of those little-known stories of US history. Who got to Walden before HDT?

Current Attack on Democracy and Public Education

Thomas Ultican has followed the thread of Koch dollars through a host of causes and organizations, many of which have public education in their sights.

What gets taught?

“How does this apply to me when I teach in a school with all-white staff and an almost all-white student body?” Jose Luis Vilson has been asked the question--more than once. Here's his answer.


Amazon, The Algorithm, and the Future of Education
Intriguing piece in the New York Times yesterday, looking at Amazon's bookstore (and business in general) and how it has become an unholy mess. It is framed by a lawsuit being brought by an author, John C. Boland, who has found his own work listed at hundreds of dollars with a false, much earlier, publication date. This, it turns out, is just a tip of the proverbial iceberg. The online seller is
PA: Board Activism Versus Board Business
Earlier this week the New York Times ran a piece by Campbell Robertson contrasting the light and heat surrounding school boards with the actual problems crying for attention. The piece opens with a fairly stark example from Doylestown, PA: Early in the November school board meeting, a few of the departing members made farewell remarks, talking of things that they believed still need addressing: m
Chiefs For Change Recruiting Big Brother
What a twisty road it has been for Chiefs for Change. They were supposed to be part of the big web of education reforminess that would usher Jeb Bush into the White House, and they've been flailing ever since. They've just suggested a cool new way to expand the surveillance state, but before we look at that, let me crib from my own previous work ( here and here ) to explain how we arrived at our
TN: Moms For Liberty Lose--On A Technicality
Tennessee has one of the more punitive gag laws of the recent spate. It comes with the prospect of financial penalties for the school district and punishment for teachers all the way up to firing and loss of license. The state's law lists fourteen forbidden concepts. It was arguably an easy win for education conservatives who need to distract the public from all manner of education shenanigans, f
The Coming Pre-K Religion Battle
State-funded pre-schools are a spotty lot, ranging from well-funded to non-existent . The gaps are filled in by a variety of providers. My own small town is a good example; here you have a choice of a state-subsidized program, a small program run by the YMCA, and a program run by a local church. That's not at all unusual. People look for someone they can trust with the care of their littles, and
Charter Scandal Collection Now Available
Years ago there was a charter scandal website that eventually started to gather dust. In more recent years, the Network for Public Education has been collecting those various scandals under the tag #AnotherDayAnotherCharterScandal. Now those various items are collected on the NPE website in a (partially) searchable collection. You can search by state or by category, as well as searching with term
A Reminder About The Uselessness Of Test Scores
As we move through the latest stage of the pandemic in schools, we still get a lot of noise about how we Really Need to get those Big Standardized Test scores collected and crunched, because only then can we address Learning Loss or Pandemic Stumble or general Falling Behind. In doing so, we once again make the same old mistake of trying to use Big Standardized Test scores as a measure of future
Another Curmudgumile Marker
I pause to note this so that I can find the moment later, should I ever choose to. Sometime last week, this blog passed ten million views. That's partly because I have just stayed here, flailing away ta my keyboard for seven plus years. It's also because people really care about this public education stuff, and because they appreciate finding someone who says what they think but maybe can't quite
ICYMI: Tryptophan Hangover Edition (11/28)
The week may have been hectic, but people were still writing things and putting them into the world, so it's time to take a look. Working in the Pencil Graveyard Notes from the Educational Trenches takes a quick look at the current toll on middle school students. Somehow, things have to get better. Is It about Learning or The Adult Ned To Control Children Teacher Tom looks at Johnny Cash and the
Romanticizing Anxiety
I'm working my way through Judson Brewer's book Unwinding Anxiety , and at one point he addresses the ways in which we justify and even seek out anxiety. The sciency basis is a paper from 1908 by Yerkes and Dodson that has become enshrined as the Yerkes-Dodson Curve or even the Yerkes-Dodson Law. Yerkes-Dodson posit a sort of bell curve for stress, where more stress and anxiety and pressure drive