Saturday, December 3, 2016

Catch up with CURMUDGUCATION: Smarick: How It Could All Go Wrong + Book Banning and Gaslighting America


Catch up with CURMUDGUCATION: Smarick: How It Could All Go Wrong +   Book Banning and Gaslighting America

Smarick: How It Could All Go Wrong
Regular readers know that Andy Smarick is on my short list of folks from The Other Side whose writing I generally respect. Smarick is often a thoughtful voice for what I think of as "old school conservatives" or "traditional conservatives" or even "real conservatives." And he's comfortable with nuance. None of which is to say that I don't totally disagree with him on many subjects. But he makes an
Book Banning and Gaslighting America
Here we go again. A family in Virginia has apparently scared a school district into banning Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird . If you have been an English teacher for longer than a week, this is well-trod ground. American literature is a field full of land mines because American culture is a field full of land mines; as I tell my students every year, it is impossible to talk about Americ

DEC 01

Measuring Charter Success
The charter business is going to boom soon. Let's imagine how we could become really successful in that industry. Let's imagine a world where schools are judged on how healthy their students are. And since overall health is a complicated metric, let's choose an easily-measured metric as a proxy. We'll say that the students' height will be the measure of student achievement. We'll start advertising
Unionizing Charters (PT. 3)
So I've been working my way through the newly-launched conversation about how teacher unions and charter school fans could become BFFs. (Here are Part 1 , Part 2 , and a sort of Prelude ). After plowing through all that, I'm going to try to articulate what I think we're looking at and how I feel about it. The Need This is all in reaction to the Ascent of Herr Trump and his Secretary of Education-i
Unionizing Charters (PT. 2)
As I noted in Part I, Peter Cunningham and others from the Why Of Course We're Liberal Democrats Who Support Charter Schools crowd have been trying to rustle up a new conversation about unions and charters and why they should be BFFs. This newly minted conversation has cropped up and there, but Ed Post has whipped a whole little flurry of discussion on its own millionaire-charter-lover-backed web
Unionizing Charters (PT. I)
A curious conversation is unfolding over at Education Post, kicked off by this piece by Dirk Tillotson , founder and executive direct of Great Schools Choices, a charter advocacy group. It's a "provocative" piece simply because it is a charter fan writing in favor of unionizing charter work forces. Tillotson kicks off his conversation by using classic passive voice weaseling to get around a fundam

NOV 30

Revising Reform for Trumplandia
If reformsters are good at anything, it's revising the narrative to match current conditions. They are masters of the retcon (a comics term referring to retroactively altering character continuity, like when Frank Miller introduced Elektra into Daredevil continuity and we suddenly learned that a character we had never heard about before had actually been-- oh, shut up. You're a nerd!). Anyway, ref

NOV 29

Slowing Down
For the past several years, I have sometimes felt like Indiana Jones just a few feet in front of the damn giant boulder. This is not entirely the result of various education reforms. We've been through some changes locally, including but limited to some schedule changing that has resulted in slightly shorter periods, and some changes in staffing that have led to slightly larger classes. But of cou
Christmas Curmudgushopping
If you want a little something for the fan of education blogging in your life (because don't we all know dozens of such people), I'm going to make a quick pitch here for Curmudgucation gear. It almost physically pains me to say "Hey, buy my stuff," but 1) helpful people keep telling me to build my brand and 2) I've got twins on the way. Here's a book! Featuring almost 100 hand-picked blog posts fr

NOV 28

Online Teaching Credentials
Want to be a teacher, but just don't have the time or money to do all that, you know, college degree getting stuff? Well, you're in luck. Meet Teach-Now ! It's the Teach-Now Educatore difference (no, I didn't mistype "educator")! "Become certified to teach in virtually every subject, at virtually every level, in virtually every state" though it's more than that, because the company is internationa
FL: Testing Students Into Oblivion
Friday the Tampa Bay Times reported on a great new program being pursued by Pinellas County schools to raise school ratings. The program could best be described as "Just stop having school and devote your time to test prep instead." The article focuses on differences that are emerging between biweekly test results for 3-6 grade students and K-2 students. In doing so the article completely breezes

NOV 27

ICYMI: Post Turkey Edition (11/27)
I briefly toyed with the idea of collecting all the articles that explain how awful Betsy DeVos will be as Secretary of Education, but it just made my computer sad, so I just picked a couple and selected some other pieces to help us all remember that there are other things to pay attention to. Higher Education in Pennsylvania 101 William Boggs in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explains what some legi
How Bad Is DeVos? So Bad...
The nomination of Betsy DeVos to the post of Secretary of Education is such a bad choice that we don't even have to talk about actual policy ideas to understand how unsuited she is for the position. Consider-- John King was a terrible choice for Secretary of Education. But John King has worked in a classroom with students and run a school, even if the classroom and school were charters. John King

NOV 26

Spotting Fakes and the Death of Reading
I've looked once before at the Stanford study which found that students-- middle school, high school and college-- can't tell the difference between real news and advertisements, fake news, or just general detritus on line . The researchers themselves called the results shocking; that may be only becaus