Saturday, February 4, 2017

Catch up with CURMUDGUCATION: NOLA Charters and Bloated Bureaucracy + Exhuming inBloom


NOLA Charters and Bloated Bureaucracy
Remember how the charter school industry was going to be a lean, mean, educatin' machine. That is repeatedly turning out to be not particularly true. Take this recent study from New Orleans, home of the charter industry's greatest opportunity, the hurricane-fueled chance to set up a chartertastic free-for-all. The ways in which this is failing are legion and oft-reported. For the moment we're just


Exhuming inBloom
The folks at Data & Society have decided to take a look at " The Legacy of inBloom ,." and mostly what they've revealed is that they haven't learned much of anything from the Data Overlords Disaster that was Gates' failed attempt to create a massive data mine. Data & Society is "a research institute focused on the social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technological development." In

FEB 02

Active Shooter
So today we had early dismissal so that we could spend the afternoon running active shooter drills. Loads of local law enforcement and other agencies participated in the drill. We had fifty-ish hand picked students to play the part of student victims. We had several previous PDs to go over how to handle ourselves. And we had two live "bad guys" with blank-firing guns to make it all nice and realis
PA: More Bad School Evaluation
For a while, here in PA we've been rating schools with the SPP (school performance profile) for a few years. It's a fun little batch of number shuffling that pretends to be a broad method of scoring school performance that is actually 90% Big Standardized Test scores . It has been spectacularly non-useful (except that it has provided some teachers of a certain age with whom I work to invoke the Na
Goldman Sachs Backs Bad Reform
For whatever reason, a video from your friends at Goldman Sachs has been circulating again. First floated out into the interether last June, it highlights "three ways technology will transform the classroom" (and therefor you should invest in this stuff and make a bunch of money). Our host is Victor Hu . With a JD from Harvard law and an MBA from the Wharton School, Hu is well set to spend over a

FEB 01

DeVos: We're Not Done Yet
The HELP committee approved her, and then two members of that committee who voted "yes" to send her on to the full Senate indicated that they would vote No to her appointment to the USED Secretary post. So. We're not done yet. Contact your Senator. If you know they're voting against DeVos, thank them and let them know that you support their choice (because you can be sure they're getting pressure
PA: Gutting Teacher Sick Leave
In Pennsylvania, while folks were busy working to head off the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, the State Senate's education committee was passing a bill to strip sick and bereavement leave from teachers (as well as sabbatical leave). SB 229 is a re-introduction of SB 584 from the previous session. It would end the state requirement for a minimum number of sick and bereavement
What About Rural Charters
In a recent panel discussion , Nine Rees, the head honcho of the National Alliance of Public [sic] Charter Schools observed that " It is actually quite hard to expand charter schools in a lot of rural communities because there's no political base of support for those kinds of changes ." And then she was on to other stuff (I'm working my way through that video and will have commentary on the whole

JAN 30

Beyond Tuesday
It's late Monday night. I've finished firing off today's set of e-mails and vented some general internet outrage (because, you know, a well-turned tweet from a small town English teacher is totally going to shift the American conversation). And I think I'm settled for tomorrow. Look, sooner or later one of two things is going to happen. Betsy DeVos is going to be confirmed as Secretary of Educatio
PAC Makes Final DeVos Push
America Rising is a super PAC created by Republicans back in 2013 when the RNC determined that they needed a group that did "nothing but post inappropriate Democrat utterances and act as a clearinghouse for information on Democrats.” You may remember them as the folks that followed every single Democratic candidate around and taped everything they ever said. These masters of opposition research h

JAN 29

Friedrichs At It Again
You remember Rebecca Friedrichs. She had a whole lawsuit named after her in which she was the face of union-busting in California . That case stalled when Justice Scalia died and the GOP decided that they would keep the court stuck with eight justices for almost a year (yes, that would be the same GOP that says only dirty rotten America-haters would obstruct a Presidential appointment). But Rebecc
OR: Protecting the Tests
Oregon has a law-- House Bill 2713 -- that directs their Secretary of State to conduct an audit of "use of statewide summative assessment in public schools in this state." It's an audacious, wacky move-- don't just implement the Big Standardized Test, but actually check back and do some studies to see if it's a big waste of money or not. The audit was actually released back in September of 2016, t
ICYMI: Has it only been a week edition (1/29)
It is really hard to keep a focus strictly on education these days, and yet tomorrow morning, those of us who teach will be headed back into our classrooms whether the world is burning or not. Media Consensus on Failing Schools Paved Way for DeVos Making the case that years of repeating that "everybody knows" how badly schools are failing set us all up for someone like Betsy DeVos. Channeling My R

JAN 28

Don't Read Me Today
Seriously. I'm not blogging today. I'm throwing all those words into tweeting, emailing and Facebook messaging my Senators and Representatives and telling them that so much of what's happening this week is not okay (I would be