Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, April 17, 2022


CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Easter Edition (4/17)

Easter Edition 

Finally. We await Easter in my neck of the woods if for no other reason than spring isn't here until we have at least one snow after Easter. In the meantime, here's some reading from the week.

Florida rejects math textbooks over ‘prohibited’ topics

Yes, Florida threw out a bunch of math books because CRT and other Forbidden Things--things so forbidden that apparently the state isn't even going to reveal what they were. This is Valerie Strauss's coverage at the Washington Post, but if the paywall is in your way, I have no doubt this story can be found many other places. Because Florida.

Why retaining middle school teachers is critical to student achievement

Interesting little study covered by the Deseret News, giving yet another reason that maybe school districts should attempt to hold onto teachers.

A College Fights ‘Leftist Academics’ by Expanding Into Charter Schools

The New York Times takes a look at the increasingly-infamous Hillsdale College and their to push schools back to the 1950's with an extra helping of Jesus.

The indispensable Mercedes Schneider has some receipts for the definitely-not-grassroots National Parents Union

The Biden administration has decided to tighten up regulations for its charter school grant program. Jeff Bryant at The Progressive explains why this is long overdue.

David French, not exactly a left-leaning guy, takes to The Atlantic to argue that the MAGAfied right has lost its damned mind when it comes to free speech. When I posted this on Twitter, people from all sides descended to lambaste it. So, a fun read.

The Far-Right Is Doxxing School Officials They Think Are ‘Groomers’

How bad is it getting? On the fringes, pretty bad. Vice news with the story.

An author was set to read his unicorn book to students. The school forbade it.

Sigh. All it takes is one cranky parent and one gutless administrator and you get this one dumb outcome. Story from Ohio in the Washington Post.

Gary Rubinstein is tops at keeping an eye on Teach For America, and he has some questions about their new podcast highlighting super awesome schools.

Nancy Flanagan takes a look at the sad story of J D Vance.

The Costs of Canceling Darwin

In Education Next (yes, that thing) is this intriguing study of how science standards that include (or don't) evolution correlates with outcomes like number of scientists in the state.

Maurice Cunningham is an expert in tracing dark money in ed reform circles, and in this piece, he tracks some money in Idaho tied to defunding public education.

Erin Einhorn at NBC news looks at a study that shows--gasp--that making the SAT and ACT optional leads to a more diverse student body of students who do just as well as those who took the test. Go figure.



Not Just Florida. How “Don’t Say Gay” Legislation Compares In Other States. - by @palan57 on @forbes
There’s A New Technique For Intimidating School Boards. It Involves Bonds And Golf. - by @palan57 on @forbes

New Grant Regulation Proposal Raises A Fundamental Question About The Nature Of Charter Schools - by @palan57 on @forbes

Teacher Job Satisfaction Hits Bottom
That's the headline we're seeing all over , based on the results from an Education Week/Merrimack College teacher survey The survey was conducted between January 9 and February 23 of this year, with a sample of 1,324 teachers. And the chart that everyone keeps zooming in on is this one-- --which admittedly is pretty ugly, though it needs to be said that the Merrimack survey is in its first year,
MAGA And Social Isolation
It is easy to think of MAGA in terms of everything it hates, the many things it strikes out against. It's even easy to slip into the habit of making fun of it. Sure, MAGA, go ahead and call for a boycott of Disney, because I'm sure that will totally bring that gazillion-dollar multinational conglomerate to its knees. But I'd suggest we view the MAGA anti-ness through a different frame, another wa

Choice vs. Culture Battles
Some school choice fans are pretty steadfast in their belief in free market dynamics and in the need to let all parents choose as they see fit. But as the culture debates heat up, a whole group of choicers are turning out to be less committed to choice than to other things. Note these three stories. In New Hampshire ( in a story that we've looked at before ), the Croydon community had actually in
Video: CRT Panic: What's Behind It
Here's a ten minute explainer from More Perfect Union , a left-tilted outfit that produces videos with a labor union focus. You may or may not agree with everything here, but it's a good quick job of connecting dots between the Critical Race Theory panic, and particularly benefits from the inclusion of a guy who used to work for the Goldwater Institute setting up this very sort of initiative.
Yes, Lesson Plans. But--
I don't think a week goes by that I don't find someone on the interwebs arguing that writing out lesson plans is a big fat waste of time. I'm not convinced. I've worked with too many student teachers and even beginning teachers who really needed to write lesson plans. They were stepping in front of a class without really figuring out what exactly they were doing, why they were doing it, or how th
SCOTUS Will Take On School Prayer
Later this month, the Supreme Court will take on the case of Kennedy v. Bremerton School District . If you have not been paying attention to this case of the praying coach, you should take a look, because once again the court is contemplating smashing holes in the wall between church and state. The case comes from Washington State, where high school football coach Joe Kennedy made a practice of t
James Blew Wants To Squelch Title I
James Blew has made a career out of ed reformsterism. He was director of Student Success California, part of the 50CAN reformy network, the Alliance for School Choice, and he served a stint as president of StudentsFirst, the national reform advocacy group founded by Michelle Rhee, former DC chancellor and ed reform's Kim Kardashian. He was the director of the Walton family Foundation's K-12 "refo
The State of US Book Banning
PEN America is having quite the year, emerging as an organization that has helped us all keep tabs on the new wave of attempts to ban books. Now they've released a report looking at the whole picture of the rising tide of educational gag orders, and while I recommend that you go read the whole thing for yourself , including their index of school book bans, let me just pass along some of the more
Cory Doctorow And Tech Baloney
Sometimes in this space I mostly just want to say "Hey, look at this!" This is one of those posts. When it comes to ed tech, there's nobody better to read than Audrey Watters . But when it comes to slicing modern tech baloney, Cory Doctorow has a pretty sharp knife, and while he doesn't directly address education very often, many of his critiques make some points instantly recognizable to educati
ICYMI: Not A Great Week Edition (4/10)
We said goodbye to yet another member of the extended family this week, so that got things off to a sad start. And now that I look at the week's readings--well, I will warn you up front that it is not an encouraging batch. This is probably a good week not read absolutely everything here. Tucker Carlson calls on men to storm into schools "and thrash the teacher" Let's get the most infuriating thin
PA: Principal Charged With Wiretapping
File this under "Well At Least I'm Not Working At That School." Edward Pietroski is the principal of Conneaut Area Senior High School (over in my northwestern corner of the state). Last November several faculty members at the school held a meeting. Months later, they learned that their principal, with the assistance of the assistance principal, had recorded the meeting without anyone's consent or
PA: In Erie, School Shooting Followed By Teacher Walkout
On Tuesday (4/5) at 9:30 AM, the school day at Erie High School was interrupted by a shooting . Several shots were fired within the building, with one person injured. There was, of course, a lockdown (more about that in a moment) and a hefty police response. The shooting was described as "an isolated, targeted incident." These days, I guess, it's good-ish news if a school shooting is committed by
MI: DeVos and Far Right Team Up To Crush Public Ed (And Voting, And A Few Other Things)
Michigan's right wing has a problem, and she's living in the governor's mansion. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has vetoed many favorite proposals, including bills aimed at tax cuts , limiting voting rights , and vouchering education . So they've developed a new plan--just do a complete end run around Michigan's elected leaders and get their wish list mandated. Michigan allows something called a citize
How To Innovate On Assessment (And Why States Won't)
At Bellwether Education Partners, Michelle Croft marks Testing Season by wondering why states have not been using their new-found sort-of-freedom-ish-ness under ESSA to innovate with the Big Standardized Test. Despite rhetoric over the years about innovations in assessments and computer-based delivery, by and large, students’ testing experience in 2022 will parallel students’ testing experience i
Is The Big College Enrollment Dip Bad News?
Looking at reports that the pandemic resulted in many, many missing college students , Mike Petrelli (Fordham Institution) is musing that perhaps this is not bad news . On top of the pandemic dropouts, we've also got the plummeting number of students signing up for a college education. And while regular readers know that I don't very often agree with Petrilli, in this case I think he may have a v
ICYMI: Can It Be April Already Edition (4/3)
Every Sunday I offer up a compendium of notable readings from the previous week, because there's just so much out there and just in case you missed something, here it is. You can make sure you don't miss this weekly digest or any other scintillating posts by subscribing via the little box over in the right column (I have no idea where it is on your phone). There's also a Facebook page where you ca
Uh Oh. Don't Say Gay Compliance Angers Moms For Liberty
Well, I (among others) told you so . The letter has been tearing around the internet and, apparently, Florida, and yesterday, Moms For Liberty grabbed a high handful of dudgeon and sputtered onto the Tweeter machine: The letter writer is, of course, absolutely correct. This is exactly what the backers of the "Don't Say Gay" law asked for, and then asked for again when they insisted repeatedly tha
Moms For Liberty's Big Takeover Plans
Tiffany Justice, one of the co-founders of Moms For Liberty and experienced Florida rabble rouser , appeared on Steve Bannon's show to share some of her thoughts about ongoing culture battles, and at one point she laid out her plans for what comes next: BANNON: Are we going to start taking over the school boards? JUSTICE: Absolutely. We're going to take over the school boards, but that's not enou