Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, March 27, 2022



Tax Edition 

Because ours are done. Fortunately, the finances of the Institute are uncomplicated (as zeros often are). Also, enjoy the annual hilarity of the $250 limit on teacher's professional expenses. But here's some reading for the week.

Cleveland charter schools uses public dollars to fight union drive

Tanisha Pruitt in the Ohio Capital Journal, detailing how one charter is using its covid relief funds to try to squelch a union drive by teachers. 

It's pride week in Austin schools. The Texas AG says that's illegal.

Washington Post coverage of a bald-faced campaign ploy to strike out--again--at LGBTQ students.

Schools nationwide are quietly removing books from their libraries

A Washington Post story about the entirely-predictable trend of gutless administrators unilaterally getting rid of any books that might "cause trouble." 

Texas superintendent tells librarians to pull books on sexuality, transgender people

Here's exactly the kind of gutless administrator we're talking about, quietly trying to cover his butt and avoid cranky phone calls.

My Little Town

Nancy Flanagan reflects on the racism, small town style. 

After losing book banning drive, some Moms for Liberty are aiming at Tennessee's school board

Jo Napolitano at The 74 has the story of how one high-profile Moms for Liberty group mostly failed with the book banning drive, and is now setting its sights on more high power targets.

How the Minneapolis Foundation bankrolls the destruction of public schools

At Racket, Rob Levine has the history and methodology of one of Minnesota's well-heeled corporate privatization groups, and just how much damage they've done. 

Inside the chaotic charter schools run by a for-profit company

Jeff Bryant has a look inside the schools run by Accel Schools. The chain doesn't know much about education, but it knows an awful lot about how vulture capitalism works by stripping "value" out of an "asset" and handing off the remains to the next extractor.

As legislators push so-called ‘anti-CRT’ bills citing discomfort, Black students ask whose feelings matter

WFPL reporters do a deep dive into this story about race and curriculum, asking whose voices are being heard.

It never stops. In Michigan, DeVos and her buddies are attempting an end run around the governor by creating a ballot initiative to create tax credit scholarship tyle vouchers. But some public school supporters are organizing a response.

An actual fan of school choice says that the DeVos plan for Michigan is bad news for kids.

This week Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire landed in the New York Times, explaining how Democrats are failing to get any ground on education. 

Craig Harris takes a look at how charter schools snagged some small business covid loans (because whether a charter is a public school or a private business depends on which answer gets money). The original piece was a USA Today story, but this link will take you to the no-paywall Yahoo News version.

The indispensable Mercedes Schneider makes sense of the convoluted story of Florida corruption and self-dealing (a story ironically that only came to light because two scams got in each others' way).

Anna Noble at Telegraf shows how big tech is getting its big greasy hands into SEL. Surprise, not.

Thomas Ultican with another of his well-researched deep dives, this time into the shenanigans around the establishment of another amateur-run charter school.



Congress Considers Lifetime Data Tracking For Post-High School Students - by @palan57 on @forbes

Think Florida’s Don’t Say Gay Bill Is Bad? Tennessee Is Considering One That’s Worse. - by @palan57 on @forbes

Louisiana Bill Would Silence All Discussion Of Gender And Sex In Schools - by @palan57 on @forbes
GAO Took A Closer Look At Virtual Charter Schools. The Results Are Not Encouraging. - by @palan57 on @forbes

Feds Propose Change In Charter School Grant Regulations
This is exactly the kind of boring policy wonk stuff that can make ordinary humans nod off. But it;'s worth paying attention to. It's even worth giving the feds your two cents. I'll tell you how at the end of this. First let me explain what's happening. The Charter Schools Program (CSP) is a federal grant program that gives charter schools money both for start-ups and expansions. It's a big, beau
Abbott Elementary and the Problem of TV Teachers
Abbott Elementary is the surprise hit of the year, particularly for teachers . The teachers are human beings, the stories are relatable while being recognizable for teachers. It adapts school life well to the mockumenbtary workplace comedy format, even if it hews too close to the formula in some places (the show blares its intention to run a long-simmering plotline in which the main character wil
NH: Lessons From Croydon's 50% School Budget Cut
Well, you can't pretend that the Free Staters of New Hampshire are at all secretive about what they have in mind. Here's the story of how they just went ahead and axed a school district budget. But first, let me fill in the background. The Free Staters are a bunch of folks who believe they can move into the Granite State, take over the levers of government, and then install their Libertarian drea
PA: New Charter Regs Are A Start
Monday Pennsylvania's Independent Regulatory Review Commission gave a 3-2 victory to Governor Wolf's latest move in his ongoing attempts to update the state's decades-old charter regulations. These new regulations do not address some of the persistent issues (particularly PA's messed up funding system for charters), but it does provide a few pieces of much-needed transparency and accountability.
Public Education's PR Problem
Last week a New York Times opinion piece by Jessica Grose presented a conclusion that was not exactly news to those of us in the education world-- despite the loud yawling from the vicinity of the parents rights area, parents in this country are mostly happy with their children's schools. In fact, despite the pandemic-related chaos, according to Gallup, more parents were satisfied with the qualit
Read This Series About Hillsdale College and the Dismantling of Public Education
Teaching is our trade; also, I confess, it's our weapon. That's Larry Arrn, the president of Hillsdale College, the very right-wing Christianist college that has become a major force in the desire of folks who want to take education back from the government (perhaps best exemplified by Betsy DeVos). For these folks, it's not about competition or improving the nation's education base or bringing g
ICYMI: Springtime Edition (3/20)
Pretty sure it's practically spring, more or less. Not that that means a lot around here, but still, it's nice to mark the seasons. Here's your reading for the week. Lot of paywalls this time--my apologies. Who's unhappy with schools? The answer surprised me. The answer probably won't surprise you. But there are some good data here in this New York Times story about how the failing schools narrat