Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, November 18, 2018

4-H: Trump agency push to dump LGBT policy led to Iowa leader's firing

4-H: Trump agency push to dump LGBT policy led to Iowa leader's firing

EXCLUSIVE: How Trump administration pressure to dump 4-H's LGBT policy led to Iowa leader's firing

The Trump administration pushed the national 4-H youth organization to withdraw a controversial policy welcoming LGBT members — a move that helped lead to the ouster of Iowa's top 4-H leader earlier this year, a Des Moines Register investigation has found.
The international youth organization, with more than 6 million members, introduced the new policy to ensure LGBT members felt protected by their local 4-H program — part of a larger effort to modernize the federally authorized youth group and broaden membership.
Several states posted the policy on their websites, including Iowa, where it prompted fierce opposition from conservatives and some evangelical groups.

"The current focus of this campaign may be Iowa, but the values and vision of the entire Cooperative Extension are under attack," Andy Turner, director of the New York 4-H program, wrote in an email to John-Paul Chaisson-Cárdenas, Iowa's top 4-H leader, last April.
But within days of the LGBT policy's publication, Heidi Green, then-chief of staff for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, requested that it be rescinded, Sonny Ramaswamy, then-director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the federal department that administers 4-H, told the Register.
Afterward, a NIFA communications manager sent an "urgent" email to at least two states — Iowa and New York — urging the 4-H organizations there to remove the LGBT policy from their websites, the Register found.
The subsequent decision to take down the policy set off a firestorm this spring for 4-H programs in at least eight states — including Iowa, IdahoWisconsin, California, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia and New York.
It eventually precipitated the firing of Iowa 4-H director John-Paul Chaisson-Cárdenas, a fierce advocate of the LGBT policy, the Register found after conducting extensive interviews and examining more than 500 pages of state and federal communications.

The 4-H policy's removal comes amid other moves by the Trump administration to roll back federal protections covering gender identity — the deeply held sense of who one is that may differ from the sex organs with which one is born.
The Trump administration previously declared it would place limits on transgender troops serving in the military, and it rescinded a 2016 Dear Colleague letter issued by Obama’s Education Department that said prohibiting transgender students from using facilities such as restrooms that matched their gender identity violates federal anti-discrimination laws.
In October, the New York Times obtained a leaked memo from the Department of Health and Human Services that seeks to define gender as “either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.”
The move would “essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million” transgender Americans, the Times reported.
The Trump administration to date has declined to comment on the leaked memo.

Iowa director pressured to drop policy

As Iowa’s document — and the ones posted to other states’ sites — circulated the internet this spring, Christian conservative leaders and media outlets rallied their supporters to pressure 4-H leaders to remove the document, and a Christian law firm threatened legal action.
Some states relented. In Iowa, Chaisson-Cárdenas, the first statewide Latino director of 4-H in the organization’s 115-year history, resisted.
A dyslexic Guatemalan refugee who graduated from Continue reading: 4-H: Trump agency push to dump LGBT policy led to Iowa leader's firing

In Kansas, Teach for America Underdelivers and Still Gets Paid $270K | deutsch29

In Kansas, Teach for America Underdelivers and Still Gets Paid $270K | deutsch29

In Kansas, Teach for America Underdelivers and Still Gets Paid $270K

On November 16, 2018, (NPR in Wichita, Kansas) published an article entitled, “Kansas to Pay Teach for America $270,000 for Recruiting Three Teachers.”
$270,000. Three teachers. (But if you count last year, which was pre-TFA-contract, and allow those teachers to become part of the TFA commitment, the number rises to five recruits….)
Still, $270K for five TFAers. A waste of public money, for sure.
Add to that story the reality that those three teachers aren’t permanent hires. TFA doesn’t promote classroom teaching as a career, just a temporary stop onto a more lucrative potential career: Ed Reform Ladder Climber.
Of course, one rung of said ladder is to spend two or three TFA years in the classroom, only to turn around and be compensated handsomely as a TFA recruiter. (For examples, see here and here and here and here.) It is even possibleto become a TFA recruiter having been a substitute teacher for under two years, though, to be fair, one might possibly break the four-year mark in the classroom before landing on the incomey softness of TFA recruitment.
And as a TFA recruiter– regardless of the number of recruits, apparently– the payoff is sweet.
From the article:
…The Kansas City, Kansas school district says it only hired three Teach For America instructors this year. Two other recruits started teaching in the district last year before Kansas hired the organization. …
The state education department says Teach For America told the Continue reading: In Kansas, Teach for America Underdelivers and Still Gets Paid $270K | deutsch29  

How Facebook Dealt with Crisis: A Tale of Denial | Diane Ravitch's blog

How Facebook Dealt with Crisis: A Tale of Denial | Diane Ravitch's blog

How Facebook Dealt with Crisis: A Tale of Denial

This article was published by the New York Times on November 15. You will learn how Facebook dealt with questions about its slipshod handling of multiple crises. Facebook has the power for great good, connecting people to act collectively as they did in the teachers’ protests last spring, or for great evil, as it has been used to sell personal data, to spread racism and hate speech, even to facilitate genocide, as in Myanmar (see here and here). Congress has pondered whether or how to regulate this communications behemoth. This article describes how Facebook responded to this threat to its autonomy.
Sheryl Sandberg was seething.
Inside Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters, top executives gathered in the glass-walled conference room of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. It was September 2017, more than a year after Facebook engineers discovered suspicious Russia-linked activity on its site, an early warning of the Kremlin campaign to disrupt the 2016 American election. Congressional and federal investigators were closing in on evidence that would implicate the company.
But it wasn’t the looming disaster at Facebook that angered Ms. Sandberg. It was the social network’s security chief, Alex Stamos, who had informed company board members the day before that Facebook had yet to contain the Russian infestation. Mr. Stamos’s briefing had prompted a humiliating boardroom interrogation of Ms. Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, and her billionaire boss. She appeared to regard the admission as a betrayal.
“You threw us under the bus!” she yelled at Mr. Stamos, according to people who were present.
The clash that day would set off a reckoning — for Mr. Zuckerberg, for Ms. Sandberg and for the business they had built together. In just over a decade, Facebook has connected more than 2.2 billion people, a global nation unto itself that reshaped political campaigns, the advertising Continue reading: How Facebook Dealt with Crisis: A Tale of Denial | Diane Ravitch's blog

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Light Up Night Hangover Edition (11/18)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Light Up Night Hangover Edition (11/18)

ICYMI: Light Up Night Hangover Edition (11/18)

Last night was my town's big Light Up Night parade, which includes a huge parade (well, huge by our standards) fireworks, and cold children. But I still have some reading for you. Remember-- sharing is caring.

If People Talked To Other Professionals The Way They Talk To Teachers

A painfully hilarious piece from McSweeney. Just in case you're one of the three people who hasn't already seen this.

Former Camden Superintendent on Testing, Drawbacks Thereof

From our catalog of reform dudes discovering insights that we've been saying for years. It's still a pretty sharp indictment of testing.

Seattle High School TGeacher Shares the Wonder of Books with Students

This is so awesome-- a book store field trip. Read this and then start thinking about how you're going to do the same thing in your community.

Students Protest Zuckerberg-backed Digital Learning Program

Valerie Strauss with details about the Brooklyn students who walked out on Summit Learning.

You Are More Than Your EVAAS Score  

Justin Parmenter with words of encouragement aimed at NC teachers, but applicable to many others.

ReadyNation Prepares for More Next Gold Rush  

Impact investing, pre-K, and a pair of new governors make for a depressing game of connect the dots at Wrench in the Gears. 

Public Schools for Private Gains

From the Kappan.

Balance Is The Key

How is privatizing the weather like privatizing school?

Building an Early Childhood Resistance Movement

Defending the Early Years continues the work of standing up for the littles.

Disruption Using Technology Is Dangerous To Child Development and Public Education

Nancy Bailey sorts out some of the issues of ed tech and the threat it poses to children (and teachers).

The Best Woman for the Job

Nancy Flanagan reflects on meeting the glass ceiling in the world of music and teaching.


Public advocate beats charter supporter for California schools chief - The Washington Post

Public advocate beats charter supporter for California schools chief - The Washington Post

Public advocate beats charter supporter for California schools chief
It was the most expensive race for a state superintendent.

Finally, more than a week after the vote, there is now a winner in the race for California’s superintendent of public instruction after the most expensive race in history for a state schools chief.
State legislator Tony Thurmond, an advocate for traditional public schools, beat out charter schools supporter Marshall Tuck. He tweeted the following on Saturday:

I want to thank the voters of CA for electing me to serve the 6 million students of CA. I intend to be a champion of public schools & a Superintendent for all CA students. I want to thank Marshall Tuck for his gracious call to congratulate me & wish me well. Time to get to work!

950 people are talking about this
The election of Thurmond was a victory for forces in California who want to reform the scandal-ridden charter school sector and a blow to the charter school lobby and wealthy philanthropists, some of them out of state, who had poured millions into Tuck’s campaign. Both men are Democrats.

Thurmond had established an insurmountable lead more than a week after the actual election, with 50.8 percent of the vote to 49.2 percent for Tuck, who lost his second consecutive bid for the job.
Until Saturday the race appeared to be too close too call, with a gap of only a few thousand votes at one point. Tuck initially led, but as more votes were counted, Thurmond took the lead and opened a wide enough margin for Tuck to concede.
Thurmond was elected to the California State Assembly in 2014 from the East Bay and has been a member of two school boards.
Tuck was the first president of the Green Dot network of charter schools in Los Angeles and then founded a nonprofit that used private donations to help turn around troubled traditional public schools. Four years ago, Tuck ran for state superintendent, losing in a race that cost some $30 million, with a lot of coming from billionaires backing Tuck.
This year’s race had a price tag of more than $50 million, making it the most expensive for a state Continue reading: Public advocate beats charter supporter for California schools chief - The Washington Post