Monday, July 1, 2019


CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Now Where Was I Edition (6/30)


Last week I was on an actual vacation, so I'm still getting back up to speed. Here's what I've got for you to read on  this muggy Sunday.

Michigan's School Choice Mess

Jennifer Berkshire took a road trip to Michigan for the Have You Heard podcast, to see what she could learn about the choice system, the local love for DeVos, and the implication for the nation as a whole. This episode focuses on the inter-district choice system they have out there.

Why Many School Districts Are Being Set Up For Fiscal Failure  

Jeff Bryant takes a look at how some systems have been financially gutted. Good reporting here.

What If Teachers Didn't Focus On Individual Achievement

Some really interesting thoughts about how to use a classroom to lift up a community.

Are Today's Children Developmentally Different  

This is a classic from Nancy Bailey that was making the rounds again this week. Still an important read.

AltSchool Finally Bites Dust 

The high tech personalized learning boutique charter chain has finally devolved into the software company it was always destined to be.

What Actually Helps Poor Students

Another article from a few years back. A meta-study about what actually helps students achieve and-- surprise-- it's not computer software.

Things Education Reformers Still Don't Understand About Tests

Jersey Jazzman lays out in plain English some of the fallacies worked into reformer "news" about test results.

Chalkbeat and TFA Propaganda

Chalkbeat Tennessee published a horrendous piece of TFA-as-savior baloney, and Gary Rubenstein is here to pick it apart.

New Koch and Walton Backed Initiatives  

EdWeek reports on some new players in the reformster advocacy game. Forewarned is forearmed.

About That Marshmallow Test

Another study debunks the famous delayed gratification experiment.

Pay for Success Preys On The Poor

A direct and clear explanation of how some see the pay for success movement turning the poor into financial fodder in the surveillance state.

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Now Where Was I Edition (6/30)

DeVos Backs Corporate Profits Again
If there is one signature feature of a DeVos doctrine, it's that the government should never, ever stand between a business and its revenue stream. That part of the doctrine was on display yesterday as DeVos officially announced her intention to let for-profit colleges do whatever the hell they want. Okay, that may be an overstatement. What she actually did was roll back the Obama-era requirement
Eight Weeks of Summer: Leaders and Followers
This post is week 3 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators. This post will catch me up on this little project. It's an interesting piece of teacher sharing and is also turning out to be a nice antidote to political overload. As always, I'm answering the prompt on behalf of the younger, pre-retirement version of me. How are you both a leader and a follower in your career? Of co
Eight Weeks Of Summer: Influences
This post is week 2 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators. Well, actually, I'm a week late because I was on vacation where the mosquitoes are stronger than the wifi. But I'm going to stick with the exercise anyway, because I find it interesting. Here's the Week #2 prompt. As always, I'll answer for my previous pre-retirement self. What has contributed to the educator you are

JUN 28

Dear Teachers: Don't Make Your Lesson Relevant
When I was getting my teacher training way back in the 1970s, we used to hear a great deal about making our teaching relevant. It took me several years of teaching to figure out why that was terrible advice. And it hasn't ever gone away . It seems to make sense. Connect your lesson on parts of speech to a current popular song. Assign persuasive essays about something the kids are into today. Coul

JUN 20

Five Reasons School Takeovers Fail
At the May 22 meeting of the Florida State Board of Education meeting, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and some board members expressed frustration with the state of Duval County Schools. " At what point do you say, ‘Maybe we should put them in receivership. Maybe we should have legislation that allows us to go over there and take over,’ ” he said. Meanwhile, Ohio is trying to come to gri

JUN 18

We Told You So, Dammit
Over the past two years or so, there has been a steady drip drip drip of apostastic epiphanies among some Reformsters, some of whom have stepped forward to write some version of, "Oops. I think we were probably wring about X." For X, substitute emphasis high stakes testing, treating teachers like the enemy, attempts to impose national standards, education policy dictated by wealthy self-appointed

JUN 17

WV: Did Trump Just Kick Betsy DeVos (plus, Hidden Donor Shenanigans)
Is it hyperbole to suggest, as Huffington Post does , that West Virginia's Senate has gone to war with teachers (again). I'm always reluctant to use combat metaphors, but at a bare minimum, the West Virginia Senate is showing teachers a big fat middle finger. It's not just the Senate is making its third attempt to implement the same policies that prompted two previous teacher strikes. On top of tr

JUN 16

ICYMI: BBQ And Blues Edition (6/15)
Today in our city park you can listen to jazz and blues all day while sampling a variety of barbecue offerings. Now don't you wish you lived near me? In the meantime, here is some reading for you. Remember to share. Better Schools Won't Fix America Another wealthy reformster figures out that ed reform is on the wrong path. She Left The Education Department For Groups It Curbed; Now She's Back Yet

JUN 15

Winners Take All, Education Edition
Every so often you come across a book that unpacks and reframes a part of the universe in a way that you can never unsee. Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas has been a book like that for me. Giridharadas is writing about "the elite charade of changing the world," and while he is taking a broad look at the way the Betters are trying to influence our country and our world, the connections to edu
Winners Take All-- Read This Book (Excerpts)
Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas might be the most important book you read this year. It is not directly aimed at education or education reform, and yet it has everything to do with education form. I 'll address that in a separate post going up the same time as this one . But here I just want to share some important quotes from the book as a means of encouraging you to buy it and read it, b
Eight Weeks of Summer: Professional Growth Plans
This post is week 1 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators . This is a little blogventure put on by; for eight weeks they invite teachers to respond to a prompt about how they actually spend summer. I am a sucker for A) busting the myth that teacher summers are all unicorns and pina coladas and B) a prompt. I am, of course, a retired teacher, but I'm just going

JUN 14

Magical Money And School Choice
Pennsylvania's legislature is currently having Version 2,433,672,127 of the same argument that emerges every five minutes in the places where charter schools and public schools bump up against each other. The PA legislature just passed a suite of charter school bills addressing a variety of issues, but not the single issue that folks on all sides want to have addressed: Absent from all four bills

JUN 13

The Trouble With The College Board's New Adversity Score
The College Board has for years been trying to rescue its floundering flagship, the SAT. The newly announced adversity score is just the latest unforced error from the testing giant. Just keep telling yourself that For almost a decade, the