Latest News and Comment from Education

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Audit of California Virtual Academies - Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

Audit of California Virtual Academies - Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education):

State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Announces Audit of California Virtual Academies 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that the California Department of Education has contracted with the State Controller's Office to conduct an audit of California Virtual Academies (CAVA) and related charter schools because of serious questions raised about a number of their practices.
"The goal of the audit is to make sure these schools are spending public education funds properly and serving their students well," said Torlakson.
Torlakson said that under the terms of the audit, the State Controller's office will conduct a review of CAVA and related charter schools to verify whether these non-profit schools:
  • Are organizationally separate from K-12, Inc. a for-profit company that these non-profit charter schools contract with.
  • Accurately reported attendance, enrollment, and dropout graduation rates to the California Department of Education.
  • Appropriately allocated and reported shared expenses.
  • Appropriately identified, accounted for, and disclosed related-party relationships.
The audit is expected to be completed by March 2017.

# # # #
Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5206, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100
Audit of California Virtual Academies - Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education):

Big Education Ape: A new political strategy: throw online charters overboard to save the rest of the school privatization industry.| Alternet -
Big Education Ape: CURMUDGUCATION: Pearson's Cyber-Kindergarten Sales Pitch -

CURMUDGUCATION: Charter vs. Charter Fight Heats Up -

Big Education Ape: CURMUDGUCATION: Can Cyber Schools Be Saved? -

Big Education Ape: CURMUDGUCATION: PA: New Face for Old Pearson Scam -

New After School Program Award - Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education) -

What It Takes to Get *Very High Test Scores* | deutsch29

What It Takes to Get *Very High Test Scores* | deutsch29:

What It Takes to Get *Very High Test Scores*

I belong to the job review site, Glassdoor. On occasion, the site sends emails about possible information of interest based on my previous page views. On Jun 21, 2016, I received an email about recent salaries and other info on New-York-based Success Academies (SA).
I write often about SA, in part because SA does get very high test scores–extraordinary test scores, in fact— and high test scores are the single most important measure of success in corporate education reform. To the corporate reform mind, little else matters.
But what about the cost for SA’s very high test scores? For there is indeed a cost, and such cost is well represented in SA employee reviews on Glassdoor.
In adhering to Glassdoor’s terms of use, I will not directly post employee review information. However, what I will do is paraphrase and leave it up to interested readers to sign up for Glassdoor and read the SA reviews for themselves.
Regarding the cost of Moskowitz’s very high SA test scores: I first notice that her teachers and other employees are not paid much when one considers the cost of living in New York. Based on input from 41 SA “lead teachers,” the average salary is $63,000. This salary might initially sound good to someone in my circumstance (a teacher from Louisiana); I have 21 full time years in and hold a Ph.D., and my annual salary is $59,000 (the state stopped my annual step raises in 2012 when I was at 15 full time years, but I have received a little more money since then). However, when one converts that SA $63,000 to its LA cost-of-living equivalent, $63,000 per year to live in Manhattan, NY, is the same as making approximately $29,000 and living in St. What It Takes to Get *Very High Test Scores* | deutsch29:

Mexican Teachers and US Solidarity – Education Town Hall Forum

Mexican Teachers and US Solidarity – Education Town Hall Forum:

Mexican Teachers and US Solidarity


For years, many Mexican teachers have been protesting against privatizing and union-busting education reforms. One protest this past Sunday, June 19, in the Oaxacan town of Nochixtlan ended in gun fire leaving at least 9 teachers and their supporters dead and more than 100 wounded. Reports disagree on the origin of the violence. Federal Police chief Enrique Galindo said masked individuals unaffiliated with the union were behind much of the violence, lobbing Molotov cocktails and shooting at police and civilians. Local witnesses say federal and state police are responsible for the killings.
The protests are organized by CNTE – Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación or National Coordinator of Education Workers – an offshoot of the older national union, Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (SNTE). Most see SNTE as closely allied with the ruling party, PRI, and it has been charged with corruption.
Oaxaca graffiti: Twitter image
CNTE was formed in the southern, high poverty, part of Mexico. Many teachers are products of normal schools and teacher-training programs under attack in current reforms. And so, apparently, are members of the general populace and the police force, as graffiti can be seen in Oaxaca saying: “Police, remember who taught you to read.”
Sundays protests were prompted by the arrest of union leaders, Francisco Manuel Villalobos Ricardez and Ruben Nuñez, as well as the firing of thousands of teachers involved in an earlier work action. Following the shootings, Mexican President Nieto said he was ordering an end to the conflict. Even after this, however, officials arrested yet another union leader. Eugenio Rodriguez Cornejo was detained on suspicion of “aggravated assault and unlawful deprivation of liberty” relating to an Mexican Teachers and US Solidarity – Education Town Hall Forum:

Schools Matter: Competency-Based, Proficiency-Based, Personalized Bullshit

Schools Matter: Competency-Based, Proficiency-Based, Personalized Bullshit:

Competency-Based, Proficiency-Based, Personalized Bullshit

Neil Postman delivered an address at the 1969 NCTE Conference entitled "Bullshit and the Art of Crap-Detection." He advocated for an education that prepared citizens with keen "crap-detectors," or the ability to discern the bogus from the legitimate, the inane from the meaningful, the delusional from the real.

Heidi Sampson is one of those individuals who obviously was educated by parents and teachers who believed as Postman believed; she has a keen crap-detector, and she is using it for good purposes.  Here's an excerpt from a 2015 letter on her experiences detecting some awful crap being sold as education solutions--I hope you will read the entire letter:

Maine’s Education and Cultural Affair Committee commissioned a 2 year study to be conducted on this issue.  David Silvernail and the USM Center for Education Policy, Applied Research, and Evaluation posted their work April 30, 2014 titled Implementation of a Proficiency-Based Diploma System: Early Experiences in Maine. Although this work was funded by the Nellie Mae Schools Matter: Competency-Based, Proficiency-Based, Personalized Bullshit:

Getting The ‘Customer Model’ Out Of Education

6/23/2016 – Getting The ‘Customer Model’ Out Of Education:

Getting The ‘Customer Model’ Out Of Education

THIS WEEK: Schools Aren’t Failures … Ed-Tech Not A Solution … Low Teacher Pay … Chicago School Collapse … America’s School Funding Crisis


Getting The ‘Customer Model’ Out Of Education

By Jeff Bryant

“We’re constantly told schools need to be in step with the needs of businesses, and that education is ‘an investment’ that gets a ‘return.’ The language of education policy is saturated in business values of efficiency, standardization, and productivity. But the truth is most businesses fail.”
Read more …


America’s Not-So-Broken Education System

The Atlantic

“The public-education system is undeniably flawed. Yet many of the deepest flaws have been deliberately cultivated. Funding inequity and racial segregation, for instance, aren’t byproducts of a system that broke. They are direct consequences of an intentional concentration of privilege … It is important not to confuse inequity with ineptitude. History may reveal broken promises around racial and economic justice. But it does not support the story of a broken education system.”
Read more …

State-Of-The-Art Education Software Often Doesn’t Help Students Learn More, Study Finds

The Hechinger Report

“Students didn’t get higher grades from using adaptive-learning software, nor were they more likely to pass a course than in a traditional face-to-face class. In some courses the researchers found that students were learning more from adaptive-learning software, but even in those cases, the positive impact tended to be ‘modest.’”
Read more …

Teacher Pay Around The World


“American teachers are underpaid when compared to teachers in the nations we compete with … In most industrialized countries relative teacher pay is higher than in the United States … The gaps are even larger for upper secondary than for lower secondary … Making teaching a financially more attractive career isn’t the only thing that matters for who teaches. It does matter though, and probably it matters a lot.”
Read more …

Is The Nation’s Third-Largest School District In Danger Of Collapse?

The Washington Post

“Money mismanagement, inadequate funding and failed education policy are combining with a host of other factors to raise the issue of whether the nation’s third-largest school district is in existential danger … The union rejected an independent fact-finders recommendation that it accept a four-year contract offered by the city, and its president, Karen Lewis, said that the district’s financial problems could not solely be laid at the feet of the Republican governor, but also at the mayor’s and district leadership’s.”
Read more …

America Faces A School Funding Crisis


Jeff Bryan writes, “In many communities around the country, families with children in schools are increasingly concerned about the conditions of the schools their kids will return to in the fall. Even worse, some are worrying whether the schools will open at all … National per-pupil spending on primary and secondary public schools has dropped for three straight years … In the meantime, student enrollment in public schools continues to grow … A recent review of the research on the effects of school funding on school outcomes … found that spending more money on education tends to benefit students.”
Read more …

CURMUDGUCATION: Attacking the Public in Public Education

CURMUDGUCATION: Attacking the Public in Public Education:

Attacking the Public in Public Education

Many parts of the attack on US public education have not been subtle or hard to detect. The refrain "our schools are failing" has been so steadily repeated for the past few decades that it is now accepted uncritically, independent of any evidence other than "Hey, I keep hearing people say it, so I guess it must be true." Now we hear it just tossed off as an aside, an assumption-- well, of course, public schools aren't any good.

In addition to attacking the reputation and quality of public schools, we've also heard an unending explicit and implicit attacks on the reputation of our nation's teachers. They're dummies with low SAT scores. They have the worst preparation of any college students. We'd be better off giving an ivy league grad five weeks of training and plunking them in a classroom.

All of these are an attack on the "education" part of "public education," a steady drip, drip, drip that tells us that the system that is supposed to educate is not doing a very good job of educating.

But there has been another steady attack, more subtle but increasingly successful, on the "public" part pf "public education."

The reformster refrain that the money should follow the student is one such attack-- it cuts the public out of the system, removing the voice of any taxpayer who doesn't have a child in school. The whole argument that choice-voucher systems should put all decision-making in the hands of parents makes a foundational assumption that education is not a public good, maintained by the public in the public space in order to deliver benefits to the public. Instead, it re-imagines education as a consumer good, created by a vendor and then handed off to the student while money changes hands. Where education might once have been viewed like air or water or other shared public resources, we're now encouraged to see it like a pizza or a toaster.

We can now start to see some of the side-effects of this view. When a public school is closed these days, it's not necessarily seen as a blow to the community, like the loss of a park or the pollution of 
CURMUDGUCATION: Attacking the Public in Public Education:

As the School Spins – EduShyster

As the School Spins – EduShyster:

As the School Spins 

Today’s topic: what happens when state officials hand a school whose students are among the highest needs in Boston to a team of outside turner-arounders who have never before run a school? The answer, as this week’sBoston Globe report indicated, is nothing good. But might there be more, by which I mean less, to this story than meets the eye? Grab your handrails, reader, and steer clear of the fairground corn dogs. Things are about to get awfully spinny around here.
Tis a truth universally acknowledged
Tis a truth universally acknowledged, reader, that high needs students fare best when their school is delivered into the hands of a private operator. Such is the opening line of a tale that dates back to 2014 when the state threw up its hands and bequeathed Boston’s Dever Elementary School to a well-Blueprint 1heeled (not to mention politically connected) suitor: Blueprint Schools. Lest one think that this arranged marriage was rash, well it wasn’t. You see, various attempts had already been made to turn around the troubled school, including a good old-fashioned browbeating of its teachers by none other than his nibs himself: the state’s Commission of Career and College Readiness, Mitchell D. Chester.  It was time to let someone else have a try…
The Dever’s new partner immediately *made waves,* as Globe writer James Vaznis reports, by asking the teachers and staff at the school to re-apply for their jobs. Or make that re-re-apply. Teachers at the Dever had been handpicked under the previous turnaround effort which gave the autonomous school leader the flexibilityto weed out teachers he didn’t like or who disagreed with the turnaround strategy. But that was the past, and unlike the previous turnaround attempt, Blueprint meant As the School Spins – EduShyster:

In Southern schools, segregation and inequality aren’t just history -- they’re reality | PBS NewsHour

In Southern schools, segregation and inequality aren’t just history -- they’re reality | PBS NewsHour:

In Southern schools, segregation and inequality aren’t just history — they’re reality

GWEN IFILL: The Justice Department recently hailed a federal court ruling affirming plans to desegregate schools in Cleveland, Mississippi. Desegregation, the court ruled, allows students to learn, play and thrive together.
As part of her year-long look at solutions to racism, special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks with a teacher on how to successfully teach in integrated settings.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: The percentage of black and Latino students in what’s being called apartheid schools is on the increase, and yet most schools seem ill-prepared to help those students be the best they can be, while reducing prejudice and teaching them to learn to live with each other.
But Maureen Costello of the Southern Poverty Law Center says there are ways to achieve all three.
Maureen Costello, thank you for joining us.
MAUREEN COSTELLO, Southern Poverty Law Center: Thank you.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: The Southern Poverty Law Center has a curriculum that looks at teaching tolerance in schools. What caused that to happen?
MAUREEN COSTELLO: Well, before we started this program, we were fighting hate crimes, basically.
Morris Dees, our founder, was bringing civil suits against groups like the Klan, and often the young men who had committed some terrible acts against others were motivated by terrible, terrible hatred and just complete misunderstanding of what other people were like.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: It was mostly race at that point.
MAUREEN COSTELLO: It was usually race, although, sometimes, it was also ethnicity.
But he was seeing 19- and 20-year-old perpetrators who were going to spend the rest of their lives in prison. And he said, you know, we have to do something to stop this before it starts. And he said, we need a school program.
And that really was the beginning of teaching tolerance. Let’s find the best research we can find about how we can reduce prejudice starting at early ages, and let’s get it out there to teachers.
One of the issues in American education is that 80 percent of our teachers are white women.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: In the whole country?
MAUREEN COSTELLO: Yes. And I’m not saying white women can’t teach, because I am a white woman, and I did teach for a very, very long time.
But they bring in all of their own expectations and beliefs into class. And teachers have to kind of constantly examine those and say, wait a minute, am I making some judgments here that I shouldn’t be making?
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: How do you then deal with such an equation?
MAUREEN COSTELLO: American classrooms are diverse as a whole, but, in fact, when you get down to individual classrooms and individual schools, we see a lot of the diversity fade away.
So, we have schools today that are more segregated than they have been in the last 25 years were.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: This is even in public schools?
MAUREEN COSTELLO: Absolutely, absolutely. There’s real disparities.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So how do you get a handle on that?
MAUREEN COSTELLO: Every teacher’s job and the job of school is to help students develop the skills that they need to thrive in a diverse society.
Lots of people think it’s a natural thing. We’re all born open-minded, and then we learn to become bigots. And the fact is, that’s not necessarily true. You have to actually develop skills to cross boundaries. And we look at it three ways. We say, OK, first of all, we want to reduce prejudice, which means dismantle stereotypes as much as possible.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: How do you do that?
MAUREEN COSTELLO: You challenge them. You get kids to explore stereotypes about their own group. And once they recognize that the stereotypes of their group are not really real, you ask them to look at other stereotypes in other groups.
A stereotype is simply a box. It’s a very convenient one. It helps us In Southern schools, segregation and inequality aren’t just history -- they’re reality | PBS NewsHour:

City Criticizes Management at Charters - WSJ

City Criticizes Management at Charters - WSJ:

City Criticizes Management at Charters

Reports on Bedford Stuyvesant New Beginnings and Merrick Academy are the first of several

New York City’s comptroller on Wednesday released audits citing poor fiscal practices at two local charter schools, among the first such reports since he said he would scrutinize the finances of a sampling of charters.
The schools, Bedford Stuyvesant New Beginnings Charter School and Merrick Academy Queens Public Charter School, both said in written responses that they had taken steps to address some of the concerns and disputed other findings.
Supporters and critics of charters—which are taxpayer-funded and privately operated—are awaiting the release of Comptroller Scott Stringer’s audit of the city’s largest charter network, Success Academy Charter Schools. It is scheduled to be completed this year.
Auditors said New Beginnings didn’t have written contracts or project plans for $1.5 million spent on construction during the audit period, and it lacked controls over parents’ cash payments for lunches and other programs. The report said most board members also failed to file financial-disclosure forms on time.
Further, the schools wrote nearly $60,000 in checks for amounts roughly $1 less than the $5,000 threshold that requires signatures by two school officials, possibly to avoid oversight.
New Beginnings officials, in their response, disputed that the forms weren’t filed on time and said their new administration is complying with the rules. The audits covered 2013 and 2014.
Merrick Academy was accused of altering the terms of a $1.3 million contract with Victory Schools Inc., a for-profit management company, without putting those changes in writing. The auditors found no documentation to show that the school’s board of trustees approved a move to a new location or considered its costs, which totaled $4.5 million. The report said the school lacked proof City Criticizes Management at Charters - WSJ:

Badass Teachers Association: They Picked Me Up Last. #StudentsDeserveMore - from Anca Stefan

Badass Teachers Association: They Picked Me Up Last. #StudentsDeserveMore - from Anca Stefan:

They Picked Me Up Last. #StudentsDeserveMore - from Anca Stefan

They picked me up last.

They tied my wrists together behind my back, and scooped me up by the elbows.
When I was a child, I'd seen my grandmother pick up hens that way, gathering their wings into one hand, with speed and force, before she made them into soup for dinner.
There was no more space in the two vans they'd sent for us, so they pushed me into a separate police car by myself. My crime was that, along with 13 other educators from all across the state, I'd formed a human chain that, for 20 minutes at rush hour, cut diagonally through the intersection of Morgan and Fayetteville Streets, in front of Governor McCrory's office.
When the governor, again, failed to prioritize my students' suffering, I blocked traffic in protest.
When despite a well-publicized request, our governor disrespected our profession by refusing to meet with leading educators in a civil dialog about the wellbeing of our state's children, I stood in protest.
I stood in protest of the neglect Governor McCrory has continuously shown our children. Repeatedly refusing to address kids' most urgent needs and returning, unbothered, to campaigning for another term in office, was an unconscionable reality to me - so I refused to move.
(I didn't start in that intersection.)
Over the past 4 years, I'd spoken out many times about the alarming conditions my students have to fight their way through in order to learn.
When I say our schools lack basic supplies, I mean paper - both printing paper and toilet paper -, whiteboard markers, working computers, science lab materials, equipment for art or gym class.
We don't have textbooks in history class.
We don't have textbooks in history class.
We don't have textbooks in history class.
I've taught World and U.S. history without a textbook for the past 4 years.
My students can only receive medical care if they get injured Tuesday morning between 9 and 
Badass Teachers Association: They Picked Me Up Last. #StudentsDeserveMore - from Anca Stefan:

Part 2: Draining the Semantic Swamp of “Personalized Learning” : A View from Silicon Valley | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Part 2: Draining the Semantic Swamp of “Personalized Learning” : A View from Silicon Valley | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Part 2: Draining the Semantic Swamp of “Personalized Learning” : A View from Silicon Valley

 In Part 1, based on what I have seen in 17 teachers’ classrooms in eight schools, I tried to explain what I observed by offering a “personalized learning” continuum. As small as the sample is–I will continue with the project in the Fall and add more classrooms and schools–I wanted to take a first pass at making sense (for myself and readers) of what I saw in schools located at the heart of technological enthusiasm, Silicon Valley. Let me be clear, I value no end of the spectrum more than the other. I have worked hard to strip away value-loaded words that suggest some kinds of “personalized learning” are better than others.

This “personalized learning spectrum,” I pointed out, is anchored in the tangled history of school reform, the family fight a century ago among those Progressives who were efficiency-driven and behaviorist in their solutions to problems of teaching and learning and fellow Progressives who sought student agency,  growth  of the “whole child,” and democratic schooling solving societal problems. Both wings of educational Progressives tried to uproot the traditional whole-group, direct instruction model dominating public schools then and since.
The efficiency-driven, behaviorist wing of the Progressives was victorious by the 1930s and has largely dominated school reform since. Innovations appeared each decade trumpeting the next new thing that would make teaching and learning more efficient and effective. In the 1950s, it was “programmed learning machines” (launched by behavioral psychologist, B.F. Skinner); in the 1970s, it was “mastery learning” (anchored in the work of University of Chicago Part 2: Draining the Semantic Swamp of “Personalized Learning” : A View from Silicon Valley | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Post-Katrina, New Orleans School “Reform” in the Context of a History of White Supremacy | janresseger

Post-Katrina, New Orleans School “Reform” in the Context of a History of White Supremacy | janresseger:

Post-Katrina, New Orleans School “Reform” in the Context of a History of White Supremacy

In “Frederick Douglass High School in New Orleans: School Closings, Race, and the Dangers of Policy without History,” Kristen Buras quotes New Orleans’ school superintendent Paul Vallas from 2008—back when technocracy and privatization became mixed with the  New Orleans’ recovery from Hurricane Katrina.  Vallas was working with Paul Pastorek, Louisiana’s state school superintendent, to impose a new school master plan that set out to close public schools and turn many of the buildings over to charter school operators.  When someone at a community meeting, which had been convened to discuss the potential closure of Frederick Douglass High School,  brought up the racially embedded history of the school, Vallas responded: “Kids don’t know they’re going to school at a historical landmark. They just know they’re going to a building where the electricity doesn’t work, where the technology has been antiquated… I’m not going to get involved in the politics of where schools should go.  I’m going to get involved in the politics of what schools should be.”
The building of the all-black, Frederick Douglass High School had been allowed to deteriorate. Buras recounts the school’s history—the founding of Nicholls High School in 1913, its rebuilding by the Public Works Administration in 1938-1939, and its decline through the years after Brown v. Board of Education as as white students moved to private academies and the school became all-black.  The school, whose facilities were allowed to decline over time, was renamed after Frederick Douglass in the mid-1990s. Buras summarizes the assumptions under the state takeover in 2005 and the subsequent charterization of the New Orleans’ schools: “(C)harter school advocates in New Orleans criticize traditional public schools, especially black ones, for their alleged ‘failure’ without connecting racism and inequitable state education policies to the problems experienced by those schools.”
The 2005 hurricane did little damage to the Frederick Douglass building, and the school had re-opened as a comprehensive public high school post-Katrina, to serve the students in the Bywater section of the Upper Ninth Ward. Only after the school was turned over to the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Charter network in 2010, was private money found to upgrade the facility.  Buras quotes Vallas: “If a charter high school like KIPP goes in the Douglass building, the organization might bring outside money to help renovate the building.”  She adds: “Again, no consideration was given to the question of why state and local officials (had) failed to maintain the building or why master planners decided Douglass did not merit renovations.”
Buras profiles the remarkable and transformational writing program launched at Frederick Douglass High School in 1998, a decade prior to the school’s eventual closure: “Douglass was one of the lowest-ranked public high schools in New Orleans when SAC (Students at the Post-Katrina, New Orleans School “Reform” in the Context of a History of White Supremacy | janresseger:

“Grit” Takes another Hit (with Caveats) | the becoming radical

“Grit” Takes another Hit (with Caveats) | the becoming radical:

“Grit” Takes another Hit (with Caveats)

David Denby’s The Limits of “Grit” in The New Yorker offers further evidence that the “grit” train is slowly but surely being derailed.
Paul Tough, journalist, and Angela Duckworth, scholar, have been central to the rise of “grit” as a silver-bullet in education reform—mostly targeting high-poverty racial minority students in “no excuses” charter schools. Both Tough and Duckworth have recently begun pack pedaling slightly as they release new books, Tough’s second on teaching children in poverty and Duckworth’s first on her highly celebrated “grit,” which was a hit as a TED talk and garnered her a MacAuthur Genius grant.
While the “grit” train was gaining steam among politicians, the media, and edureformers, several educators and scholars raised significant concerns about the essential racist and classist elements of “grit” research, the “grit” narrative, and why both are so politically powerful and popular with the public.
“Grit” is receiving another boost directly from Tough’s and Duckworth’s books—and the PR masked as journalism both have been afforded through their own public writings and numerous interviews at many of the most prestigious news sources.
However, an unintended consequence of Tough and Duckworth boosting the “grit” train through soft back pedaling has been a rise in substantive push back; for example consider:
The quality of Duckworth’s research as well as the essential value of “grit” has been fairly strongly refuted now, even in the mainstream media who love the whole “grit” charade (however, we must note, that nearly no one in that push back or the mainstream media is willing yet to acknowledge the racism and classism driving this train).
So Denby’s challenge to Duckworth and “grit” is very welcomed, but also deeply problematic.
Denby strikes first at the essential choice Duckworth has made:
Other social scientists, looking at the West Point situation and many others that Duckworth considers, might have called grit a “dependent variable”—one possible factor in a given experimental situation affecting many other factors. But Duckworth decided that grit is the single trait in our complex and wavering nature which accounts for success; grit is the strong current of will that flows through genetic inheritance and the existential muddle of temperament, choice, contingency—everything that makes life life.
“Grit,” Denby rightfully argues, is grossly over-exaggerated by Duckworth and the cult of “grit” in “no excuses” education reform. Success comes from a complicated matrix of causes—and we must acknowledge that often those competing for success are “Grit” Takes another Hit (with Caveats) | the becoming radical: