Latest News and Comment from Education

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

VWCS delegation attends AFT meeting « The VW independent

VWCS delegation attends AFT meeting « The VW independent:

VWCS delegation attends AFT meeting

I am not biased. Okay, maybe a little biased. Regardless of one’s political views, parents should understand the sheer pride of watching their child represent her community, her school, and herself before an entire room filled with representatives from the American Federation of Teachers.
These AFT vice presidents and executive council members gathered from around the country into one giant conference room to collaborate efforts on promoting public school education. Van Wert City Schools was well represented during this meeting.
Van Wert High School student Madison Pauquette (center) speaks during a meeting of the American Federation of Teachers in Washington, D.C., while Van Wert Federation of Teachers President Jeff Hood looks on. (photo submitted)
Van Wert High School student Madison Pauquette (center) speaks during a meeting of the American Federation of Teachers in Washington, D.C., while Van Wert Federation of Teachers President Jeff Hood looks on. (photo submitted)
On the heels of a recent Van Wert visit from U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and American labor leader and educator Randi Weingarten, Van Wert’s own AFT president, Jeff Hood, was invited to share with the members of the AFT what the visit from an appointed member of Trump’s cabinet meant for a rural Ohio school that was both ordinary and extraordinary, according to Hood.
Hood decided to collaborate in this presentation with my daughter, Maddie Pauquette, who is a senior at Van Wert High School. The two of them spent a couple of weeks brainstorming and preparing to be heard in Washington, D.C., on May 9. The opportunity was surreal.
The experience was even more incredible as we arrived in Washington, met with the press, then entered the conference room and saw the advocators of public education with Weingarten leading the meeting. She clearly sees the value in educators and the role they have on the lives of students in both classrooms and communities. Weingarten is heard again and again calling “public education the cornerstone of our democracy”.
Hearing people in D.C. talk about Van Wert was crazy. The town of Van Wert, the school system of Van Wert, and travelers from Van Wert were being discussed within this group of important people who are passionate about education. Hood described to the audience his role in getting both DeVos and Weingarten to Van Wert to see public education in action.
Pauquette told the group of AFT representatives about her personal experience with their visit, taking on the role of a press member for the day. She said this gave her an outsider’s view of Van Wert’s education and the school’s accomplishments. She shared that this unique perspective gave her a new appreciation for the quality of education, the personal investment of Van Wert’s faculty in their students, and how the Project Based Learning model prepared her for life after graduation.
After a few bouts of laughter and applause, plus Weingarten’s display of Van Wert school spirit (she gladly put on a VWCS t-shirt, compliments of Hood), Weingarten told the entire room that Maddie is a product of their efforts.
Talk about an overflowing sense of pride for what I just witnessed in my daughter, who confidently shared before a room full of powerful adults a portion of her educational journey and her ambitions that derived from her experiences in the Van Wert school system. As a result, we can all feel some prideful bias in knowing that Van Wert provides a quality education to our kids and people in Washington, D.C., know about it.VWCS delegation attends AFT meeting « The VW independent:

To our wonderful school nurses: We need you more than ever! - Lily's Blackboard

To our wonderful school nurses: We need you more than ever! - Lily's Blackboard:

To our wonderful school nurses: We need you more than ever! 

Some days, 15 minutes can seem like an eternity…and then there are 15 minutes in the life of Maggie Beall, school nurse at Dassa McKinley Elementary School. She wrote about those minutes on our website, in “A Nurse’s Tale.”
As a recent day came to a close at her West Sunbury, Penn., school, she faced: a feverish third-grader who vomited in the health room, right in front of the asthma inhaler cabinet; two students who needed their inhalers at that moment; a kindergartener holed-up in the bathroom who’d stripped out of his wet clothes after he had an accident; and a boy who hit his head in PE and would have boarded the school bus home, had Maggie not been there to quickly assess his pupillary response, determine he had swelling on the brain, and send him to the hospital instead. 
That is called “handling your business.”
To Maggie Beall and the school nurses from coast to coast who do their jobs with the strength of Atlas, the grace of a swan, and the vitality of the Energizer Bunny:  Happy School Nurse Day!
Every year in May, we give a round of applause to the nurses who are providing students with the one-on-one attention, support, and comfort they need. Their duties range from the mundane to the heroic and they never know what they’ll encounter from one day (or minute) to the next. I’m just glad they’re part of our team.
school nurse with student
Beth Mattey, RN, president of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), tells a story about a school nurse whose actions saved a life.
The student was brought to the nurse’s office because he kept falling asleep in class. No one could pick him up from home. The nurse began her assessment as soon as the student came through her door. As required by the standards of care, she took the student’s blood pressure, but had trouble getting a reading. She asked the student to tell her why he was so tired. It turned out that he’d taken a drug overdose.
There was a time when overdoses of any kind in school were rare. But with the opioid crisis enveloping so many communities, nurses are seeing more of these. In fact, the NASN in 2015 recommended that school nurses should facilitate access to naloxone, a nasal spray that quickly reverses overdoses.
Regardless of what they face, we need school nurses now more than ever. And yet, there’s a shortage of them that’s likely to get worse as more of those who’ve been on the job for a while retire.
The average school nurse is over 55, according to NASN’s 2015 survey; fewer than 16 percent are under 40. The shortage is underscored by stories like the one from a couple of years ago in Philadelphia, where a 12-year-old died after an asthma attack at a school without a full-time nurse.
Maggie Beall leans on her file cabinet, which has photos as her as the Tooth Fairy
The recommended ratio for school nurses is one for every 750 students, but the most appropriate ratio will depend on the student population being served; if students have more complex health care needs, the optimal ratio is closer to 1:125. The average ratio varies widely across the country—from a high of one for every 396 students to a low of one for every 4,000 students.
In a 2015 survey, the NASN found that on average, nurses are covering more than one building, and as many as 1,000 students.
(The survey also yielded some good news: The number of nurses who assisted a parent or student with enrolling in Medicaid or another low-cost health care program fell dramatically in 2015. The NASN attributed this to an all-time low in the number of children who lack health insurance. Thanks, Affordable Care Act!)
As for Nurse Maggie, she’s lucky to be in one building, where she gets to forge close relationships with families. She To our wonderful school nurses: We need you more than ever! - Lily's Blackboard:



SAT Test Prep Is Back

Image result for big education ape David Coleman

You may recall that one of the awesome parts of David Coeman's shiny new SAT test was going to be how impervious it was to any kind of test prep. Coleman's singular vision (because in Coleman's world, he's the only one with a vision) was a new SAT that would fix inequality in America. Because being able to afford expensive test prep would no longer matter.

Flexibility in viewing tomorrow's self-owned widgets
Well, okay. Maybe it will matter a little.

After a few years of declaring that your Jedi test prep mind powers won't work on the SAT, the College Board (which is totally a for-profit business and not some sort of service-oriented board of college representatives) has announced that test prep from their business partners at Khan Academy totally works! Totally! As proven by their own in-house self-produced research.

Just a couple of thoughts.

1) In house self-produced research conducted by a business to show how well its product works is... dubious? How about some tobacco institute research showing that smoking is healthy. Also, why did the College Board only "study" the results of their own business partner without looking at any other test prep vendors.

2) Correlation and causation, for the love of God! College Board's research shows a correlation 

Image result for big education ape David Coleman

Image result for big education ape David Coleman
Image result for big education ape khan academy

Jeff Bryant Democrats: Stop Flirting With The School Vouchers Scam! - The Zero Hour - The Ring of Fire Network

Democrats: Stop Flirting With The School Vouchers Scam! - The Zero Hour - The Ring of Fire Network:

Democrats: Stop Flirting With The School Vouchers Scam! – The Zero Hour

Image result for big education ape devos vouchers

While the healthcare debacle is the big story of the week, it isn’t the only story. Richard Eskow, host of The Zero Hour, is joined by Senior Fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future, Jeff Bryant, to talk about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ push for charter schools and voucher programs, and how it could be damaging to the education system.

 Democrats: Stop Flirting With The School Vouchers Scam! - The Zero Hour - The Ring of Fire Network:

Strange Days Indeed

 John Lennon- Nobody Told Me - YouTube:

Strange Days Indeed
Image result for watergate trump

John Lennon- Nobody Told Me

Everybody's talking and no one says a word

Everybody's making love and no one really cares

There's nazis in the bathroom just below the stairs.
Always something happening and nothing going on

There's always something happening cooking and nothing in the pot

They're starving back in China so finish what you got.
They're starving back in China so finish what you got.
Nobody told me there'd be days like these

Nobody told me there'd be days like these

Nobody told me there'd be days like these

Strange days indeed
strange days indeed.
Everybody's runnin' and no one makes a move

Everyone's a winner
and no one seems to lose.
There's a little yellow idol to the north of Katmandu.
Everybody's flying and no one leaves the ground

Everybody's crying and no one makes a sound.
There's a place for us in movies you just gotta stay around.

Nobody told me there'd be days like these

Nobody told me there'd be days like these

Nobody told me there'd be days like these

Strange days indeed
most peculiar
Everybody's smoking and no one's getting high

Everybody's flying and never touch the sky

There's Ufo's over New York and I ain't too surprised.
Nobody told me there'd be days like these

Nobody told me there'd be days like these

Nobody told me there'd be days like these

Strange days indeed
most peculiar. Mama.
 John Lennon- Nobody Told Me - YouTube:

CURMUDGUCATION: HUD, Carson and Choice

CURMUDGUCATION: HUD, Carson and Choice:

HUD, Carson and Choice

Image result for ben carson christian values pause

Slate's Henry Grabar has a great piece today about Ben Carson and his clueless already-disproven theories about low-income housing. The piece is worth a full read on its own, and it has nothing to do with education-- except that it is yet another lesson in how a market actually works, with huge implications for the kind of choice system that Betsy DeVos and Beloved Leader have in mind. So I'm going to give you the quick-and-dirty synopsis of the article, and then I'll make the education connection.

The compassionate thing would be NOT to feed the 5000. Go forth and let my people know they're on their own.

Carson has taken to saying that public housing should not be comfortable. Literally. As was reported in the New York Times:

Compassion, Mr. Carson explained in an interview, means not giving people “a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: ‘I’ll just stay here. They will take care of me.’ ”  

This, Grabar points out, is ironic because it was the philosophy behind "the nation’s mid-century public housing debacle." Poorly constructed, often segregated, badly managed, and rapidly deteriorating was made unappealing enough that only people who had no other conceivable choice would pick them.

But folks working in the government housing biz realized almost immediately that holding onto higher-income tenants added "to fiscal and social stability." Modern government housing is supposed to be comfortable, because that's how you get a mix of incomes and "socioeconomic integration." Planners now value stability, so getting the tenants to move out is not the goal, Steady churn, it 
CURMUDGUCATION: HUD, Carson and Choice:

Black Girls Are Twice as Likely to Be Suspended, In Every State | Education News | US News

Black Girls Are Twice as Likely to Be Suspended, In Every State | Education News | US News:

Black Girls Are Twice as Likely to Be Suspended, In Every State

And it’s not because of more frequent or serious misbehavior, researchers say.

Girl (6-8) looking at book in library, silhouette
Black female students are more than twice as likely to be suspended as their white counterparts. (TERRY VINE/GETTY IMAGES)

Black girls are more than twice as likely to be suspended from school as white girls – in every state – and it’s not because of more frequent or serious misbehavior.
That’s one of the major findings included in a new report from the National Women’s Law Center, which examined a slate of issues that disproportionately impact girls of color. Its researchers placed the bulk of the blame on racist and sexist stereotypes that educators and school officials sometimes harbor about black girls, as well as a web of social circumstances, including their overrepresentation in schools with limited resources that hampers their access to experienced teachers and counselors.

“Black girls face high and disproportionate suspension rates across the country – and it’s not because they are misbehaving more frequently than other girls,” said Neena Chaudhry, director of education at the women’s law center. “This uneven discipline is often the result of deeply ingrained racist and sexist stereotypes that push black girls out of school.”
Black girls are 5.5 times more likely to be suspended than white girls, the report found, and they’re also more likely to receive multiple suspensions than any other gender or race of students.
In Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, black girls are 8.5 times more likely than white girls to be suspended. In the District of Columbia, where black girls represent 73 percent of girls enrolled in school but 94 percent of all girls suspended, they are an astounding 17.8 times more likely to be suspended than white girls.
Overall, girls of colors are more than five times more likely than white girls to be suspended in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Illinois, and in 10 additional states they’re more four to five times more likely to be suspended.
One barrier that is prevalent for all girls of color, the report underscores, is implicit and explicit bias based on racist and sexist stereotypes.
“Stereotypes of black girls and women as ‘angry’ or aggressive, and ‘promiscuous’ or Black Girls Are Twice as Likely to Be Suspended, In Every State | Education News | US News:

Reign of Error DeVos Style Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all

Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all:

Reign of Error DeVos Style Diane Ravitch's blog 
A site to discuss better education for all

Sue M. Legg Sends an Even Better Post about Erik Fresen and His Likelihood of Going to to Jail

Well, this is a new one for me. After I posted Sue Legg’s piece about Erik Fresen, Sue contacted me and told me she had mistakenly sent me her notes, not the finished post. So, here is the finished post. I must admit. It reads better. And 

Betsy DeVos Met by Boos and Students Turning Their Backs at Bethune-Cookman University Commencement

Betsy DeVos gave the commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University in Florida and received an unfriendly reception from the graduates. Many booed and were chastised by the University President. Many stood with their backs to the speaker. It was probably not the best venue for a billionaire who works for the Trump administration, which has appealed to white males and the alt-right, no friends

Peter Dreier Predicts that Trump’s “Tuesday Afternoon Massacre” Could Lead to Impeachment or Resignation

Peter Dreier is a professor of political science at Occidental College in California. He is also an astute observer of contemporary politics. In this post at Salon, Dreier reviews the “Tuesday afternoon massacre” and compares it to Nixon’s 

Sue M. Legg: Will Erik Fresen Go to Jail? Is Charter Corruption in Florida Out of Control?

Sue M. Legg, education director of the Florida League of Women Voters, wrote the following post about the current situation in Florida, which is reaching a critical point. The legislature just passed a bill that showers favors and funding 

New York City: “My Neighbors Warned Me About the Neighborhood School. We Chose It Anyway.”

This is a very interesting account by Mia Simring, a rabbi in New York City, about her family decision to choose a school for their daughter. She was warned not to send her to the public school across the street. She visited the school and to her surprise, was very impressed by the small classes and the emphasis on the arts. She visited other schools, including some that were highly selective. Sh
Peter Greene Takes a Deep Dive into the Mind of Betsy DeVos and Finds…Nothing

Peter Greene reviews the speech that Betsy DeVos gave to the annual meeting of the Global Silicon Valley investors and entrepreneurs at Arizona State University. She interminably bashes and belittles the public schools as obsolete, failing, etc. She has, as he puts it charitably, a one-track mind. She visited wonderful public schools in Van Wert, Ohio, and saw children and teachers who were engag
Wendy Lecker: The War on Public Schools and the Public Good

Like Jan Resseger, Wendy Lecker paid tribute to the political philosopher Benjamin Barber. She acknowledged his work on behalf of democracy and the public good , which is currently under attack by a bipartisan coalition of corporate reformers. She writes: Political theorist Benjamin Barber, who died April 24, wrote about the importance of education as a public good. “Education not only speaks to
Jan Resseger: A Tribute to Benjamin Barber, Philosopher of Democracy and the Common Good

Benjamin Barber was a political philosopher whose passion was the strengthening of civil society and democratic institutions. He died April 24. Jan Resseger wrote a beautiful tribute to him , on the importance of public education and the danger of privatization. Her citations from his works are eloquent and powerful. Jan doesn’t mention that Barber criticized me in his 1992 book, which she quotes


The Firing of James Comey: What’s Next?

The Trump administration’s decision to fire FBI Director Comey shows what a perilous condition our country is in. It took Trump nearly three weeks to fire Michael Flynn after learning that he lied about his contacts with Russian officials. Comey was fired in a day, without being notified in advance. He learned about it while giving a speech in Los Angeles. The excuse for firing him was that he wa
Hundreds Show Up to Protest Paul Ryan’s Visit to Success Academy Charter School in New York City

Although advance notice was minimal, and most people had no idea that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was visiting Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy Charter School in Harlem, hundreds of protesters showed up. Ryan briefly stopped in the Mickey Mantle public school (P.S. 811) that is co-located with Success Academy. The public school is devoted to students with special needs. Eva tried to push out PS
Paul Lauter: Why Do Dentists Need to be Licensed?

In response to the ALEC-inspired legislation to allow uncertified, unlicensed people to teach, Paul Lauter–Emeritus Distinguished Professor of English at Trinity College–poses a simple question: I think we should propose doing away with dental licenses. After all, there’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a piece of string and a door knob. Why not? Why do doctors need to be licensed? Why do lawyer
South Carolina: A New Group to Support Rural Schools

In the South, rural schools tend to be neglected, impoverished, and forgotten. A group of educators have created a new organization to advocate on behalf of rural schools. It is called the South Carolina Organization of Rural Schools. If you live in the state, reach out and learn more or get involved.
A Poem in Favor of Humanity: A Teacher Sees Students

I urge you to read this poem. I urge you to share it with your students if you are a teacher. As machines and digital devices come to dominate our lives, let us not forget our humanity. It is humanity that keeps us human, not a data point.
Frank Adamson: Is Education a Choice or a Right?

Frank Adamson of Stanford University wrote a marvelous article that lays out the issues with enormous clarity and insight. To read the references and links, open the article. The United Nations has identified “free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education” by 2030 as a goal for sustainable development. This goal reaffirms the right to education guaranteed by countries in multiple U
How a Climate Change Denier Changed His Mind: A Story Familiar to Me

Jerry Taylor used to be paid to dispute people who said that the climate was changing. He was a skeptic. He did battle on television with those who believed in climate change. But he changed his mind. When I read this interview with Jerry Taylor in The Intercept, I was very struck by the amazing similarity to my own change of view. I was once certain that common standards and tests were necessary
EXPOSE: Hedge Clippers Expose Billionaires’ Attempt to Buy Control of Los Angeles Public Schools

Hedge Clippers, a group of political activists who work to reveal the unprincipled use of hedge fund money to influence politics and education, have posted the names of the billionaires (and millionaires) who have sunk large sums into the Los Angeles school board race in hopes of electing their favorites, Nick Melvoin and Kelly Fitzpatrick-Gonez. Many of their financial backers are major Republic
Michael Hynes: This is What Education Should Be Today

Michael Hynes is the superintendent of the Patchogue-Medford School District on Long Island in New York. He has a progressive vision of what schools should be, and he is implementing it in the schools of his district, with the support of the elected board. Take a few minutes and watch his TED talk, where he explains how to transform our schools and make them schools of thoughtfulness, learning, a
Busted Pencils: THEY DID IT!

Tim Slekar followed up his earlier post with an announcement that the war against the teaching profession in Wisconsin has reached a new low. He declared a victory for the far-right ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council, which writes most of the “model laws” to privatize schools and eliminate the teaching profession). Well today “they” did it. “They” opened the door to deprofesssionalizatio
Busted Pencils: Teacher Licenses Are Under Attack!

Tim Slekar, dean of education at Edgewood College in Milwaukee, warns of the strategy that corporate reformers are using to undermine and destroy the teaching profession. They say there is a shortage. They ignore the fact that the “shortage” is caused by the exodus of experienced teachers due to policies that create intolerable working conditions. They then say that the “solution” to the manufact
Truth-Out: The Driving Force Behind Privatization Is Greed

This article in Truth-Out was written in 2014, but it remains timely. It shows the driving force behind privatization: Greed. It contains only one error: it suggests that this is a Red State phenomenon. But there are Democratic governors who have taken large sums from the financial industry and turned into champions of school choice, such as New York’s Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut’s Dannel Malloy
New York City Alert for Paul Ryan!

Jack Covey reports: There’s even a FACEBOOK ALERT (with time and place) and a smorgasboard of progressive groups listed: ALERT: Paul Ryan will be at Success Academy in Harlem on Tuesday, May 9th (TOMORROW!). Fresh off of voting to take away health care from millions of Americans, Paul Ryan is coming to NYC tomorrow! Because Paul has done so much fo
Why Republicans Blocked Vouchers in Texas

Gary VanDeaver is a conservative member of the House of Representatives in Texas. On most of the hot-button social issues, he is a hardline conservative. But Representative VanDeaver of New Boston, Texas, opposes vouchers. He is well 

 Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all: