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Sunday, January 9, 2022

Sunday, January 2, 2022 CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION + ICYMI: The Week It Hits The Fan Edition (1/9)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: The Week It Hits The Fan Edition (1/9)

The Week It Hits The Fan Edition

 Well, that was almost as much fun as when schools started up last fall. Fun times all around, for sure. And a hefty reading list for the week, and I'll warn you up front--it's not a cheery collection. A reminder that sharing is caring, and that if you find something here that speaks to you, it's a great idea to signal boost it out into the world. 

Teacher shortages will linger after the pandemic wanes

Andrea Gabor at Bloomsburg opinion looks at the problems that pre-date covid and will outlive it as well. Secrets to try? Maybe rethinking what professional respect id supposed to mean.

Michigan superintendent: Let's address teacher shortage

The MI state education leader in an interview discussing the problems that have led to this challenge, and what might be done about it.

TennesseeCAN Knows the Plan

Governor Lee has a great new idea of how to carve up inadequate funding to make it better, but Andy Spears notices that somehow, reformsters at TennesseeCAN already know what's in the plan. Not a good sign.

Why we could soon lose even more Black teachers

Sarah Carr at the Hechinger Report talks to some former Black teachers about what could be done to stop the loss of so many Black teachers.

Open letter to Indiana legislature on subject of pending critical race theory bills

Shane Phipps tries to help the legislature understand why this is a bad idea.

I am a school board member. Anti-CRT bills are stoking fear in our district.

Oh, New Hampshire. What happened to you? A school board member in the granite state talks about what the attacks on teaching about race have meant. Here's a line about the transformation into more strident parent comments:

That transformation was concerning — not because parents don’t have the right to share their views and concerns with their school board, but because the content of their concerns seemed divorced from the reality of the teaching happening in our district.

It's been a long, arduous week for Massachusetts teachers. Why won't state leaders apologize?

Neema Avashia talks about how MA leaders dropped the ball this week.

Controlling the fear

Jennifer Orr blogs about her own stress this week as a teacher, and asks some important question about what, exactly, the current goal is.

NY High School Students' COVID Experience

The indispensable Mercedes Schneider has a look at that Reddit post that's been making the rounds, describing NYC's opened schools as not exactly firing on all cylinders.

Who gets the blame when school shut down?

Well, you know the answer, but Jessica Winter at The New Yorker offers a more fair and balanced look at the issue.

Don't blame teachers for covid quarantines and closures

Steven Singer would like you to stop laying all of this disruption on teachers. Here's why.

America doesn't have enough teachers to keep schools open

Anna North at Vox explains just how close to the edge most schools are right now.

The demise of genuinely public education

One of the hardest reads I had this week. Nancy Flanagan has stayed pretty optimistic for years, but that has changed, as this doom post explains.

Profits for Non profit charter schools

An interview with Carol Burris appearing in Jacobin

Why education is about to reach a crisis of epic proportions

Mark Perna at Forbes lays it out again in an article that you probably already saw this week because everyone was sharing it.:

In order to reach and teach students effectively, teachers must forge a human connection with them. Today’s younger generations simply will not move forward in their education and career journey without that connection. This is a non-negotiable; it’s just who they are.

What K-12 textbooks are like now

Bob Shepherd lays out a sample lesson. Tongue firmly in cheek.

100 Ohio school districts file anti-voucher lawsuit

Jan Resseger has a great explainer for that lawsuit in Ohio in which public schools are fighting back against privatizers.

Voucher lawsuit filed, voucher proponents dissemble

As voucher fans try to defend against that Ohio lawsuit, Stephen Dyer looks at some of their claims, including the claim that they provide a great service to communities of color. (Spoiler alert: they don't)

Dark money in the holy city

I don't usually put Diane Ravitch posts on this list because I figure if you read me, you probably already read her. But this is one not to miss. A reporter was looking at charter shenanigans in Charleston. Here's what he found, not published anywhere else, including at the paper that used to employ him.

A Note of Reassurance from your School District Regarding Our Updated Omicron Policies

McSweeney's is here once again with a darkly funny take on school district responses to the current surge.

Finally, over at Forbes this week I wrote about an important new book and why school choice is really bad at transparency.

PA: Number of New Teachers Plummets
This was rocketing around the Book of Face this morning. It's not encouraging, but I have verified it. The actual source of the data is what's known as the Act 82 report, which requires the state Department of Education to report on how many Instructional Certificates it issues every year, which is a good measure of new teachers. I'm looking at the spreadsheet for Act 82, and I can report a few d
AI Did Not Write (Most Of) This Post (Or: "Why our screens are filled with so much crap")
Once more, someone is trying to cash in on the prospect of teaching an AI to "write" and resolutely calling it an AI when it's just one more algorithm scraping the internet for samples that it can regurgitate, sort of correctly, sort of not. Hooray for automating mediocrity. Meet Jarvis (yes, that's a cute nod to comics nerd-dom), an algorithm that can make it "fast and easy to create content for
Cowardly Silence
“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” --J.R.R.Tolkein The word came out of the office pretty quickly, via a printed message that was sent out to classrooms by hand-- don't show it on tv, don't talk about i
Social Impact Bonds Are Still A Thing, Sadly
Remember Social Impact Bonds? They've been around for at least a decade or so ( here's an explainer I wrote in 2015 ). Also called "pay for success" programs, these are another instrument for privatizing public stuff. As such, they make an appearance in the new book The Privatization of Everything, a must-read from Donald Cohen and Allen Mikaelian. The book is a deep dive into the many, many, man
PA: One More Cyber School Regulatory Failure
This is a small thing, but it's an important one that points toward how the rules in PA are written to make running a cyber-charter just like printing money. In Pennsylvania, there's been a rule since 2003 (Act 48) limiting how much money a school district can park in its unreserved fund balance--basically just extra money in the bank that's not assigned to any purpose. Limits are in the 8%-10% r
The Absence of Government Is Not Freedom
I have considerable sympathy for Libertarians. Maybe it's my New Hampshire roots, but I don't have limitless faith in government's ability to do stuff well. But Libertarians and the Free Market crowd are, I think, critically wrong in one respect. The argument is that removing government and its ability to impose its will by force would bring about greater freedom, that the playing field would be
FL: Charter $chool New$
It turned up as an item in the South Florida Business Journal, and the lead tells you just where we're headed. The campuses of three charter schools in Broward County were purchased for a combined $49 million by a company in Boise, Idaho that specializes in charter school real estate investments. That just says a lot. Let's look at some details. The big deal involves--well, several companies. We'
ICYMI: So This Is 2022 Edition (1/2)
Well, here we are. It's almost as if the physical universe is not particularly impressed by our arbitrarily created markings of the passage of time. I remain optimistic, however. Here's the reading list for the week. The Coming Troubles of Public Ed In Virginia Nancy Bailey joins those looking at the incoming administration in Virginia and concludes that it means bad news for those who love publi
Look Back. Look Forward. Breathe.
I'm not always moved to do a "look at the year" post or a "predictions for the upcoming year" post. A lot of these compilations are meant to be a way to lessen workload at a busy time, but as anyone who has done the work can tell you, it doesn't actually lessen anything. Plus, the new year is one of those things that we humans made up and then tried to imbue with great weight and importance, as i