Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, January 6, 2019



How School Reform, Including Common Core, Has Devastated Children and Their Joy of Learning to Read

School reform has taken a toll on children starting in kindergarten (even preschool). There’s little doubt that children are being forced to learn to read earlier than ever before. The reading gap likely reflects the developmental differences found in children when they are forced to read too soon. Why are schools doing this? Forcing kindergarteners […]

DEC 31 2018

Nineteen For 2019: Choose This, NOT That, to Save Public Education in the New Year!

1. Kindergarten NOT The New First Grade Kindergartners should be treated like the four and five-year-old students that they are and not pushed to be first graders. The activities and instruction for this age group are well established. Real educators should take charge and ensure that there’s much free play and age appropriate activities. 2. […]

DEC 26 2018

Arne Duncan Continues to Push Dangerous Corporate School Reform

With Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, it might be tempting to see Arne Duncan as an educational expert, but Duncan has never formally studied education, or been a teacher. Duncan paved the way for DeVos. EdSurge recently brought us Arne Duncan’s 6 lessons about education. They are nothing but the same old corporate reforms that have […]

DEC 22 2018

Technology or Books? The Right Book for Christmas and the Holidays

When I was a child, my aunt and uncle, who lived in Chicago, would always send me a cool present for Christmas. I would eagerly run home from school looking for that package attached to the mailbox. It would be wrapped in brown paper and string. The packaging paper would be removed on Christmas Eve, […]

DEC 20 2018

What Santa Claus and Social Emotional Learning Have in Common

You better watch out, you better not cry, Better not pout, I’m telling you why Santa Claus (and SEL assessment are) comin’ to town. ~Song lyrics to “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” by Songwriters: Haven Gillespie / J. Fred Coots (with alteration). Why is there such an intense push for social-emotional learning (SEL) involving young […]

DEC 16 2018

School Choice Deception: Florida’s Plan and Students Who Don’t Measure Up

Florida is a bellwether state. What happens to schools there will move to other states in one form or another. I would like to share a personal story of how I met school choice as a teacher in Florida and how it helped cement in me the desire to advocate for a public school system […]

DEC 13 2018

Seclusion and Restraint: 16 Ways to Address Acting Out Behavior Without It

Restraint or seclusion should not be used as routine school safety measures; that is, they should not be implemented except in situations where a child’s behavior poses imminent danger of serious physical harm to self or others and not as a routine strategy implemented to address instructional problems or inappropriate behavior (e.g., disrespect, noncompliance, insubordination, […]

DEC 10 2018

How School Reformers Try to Convince Us You Can Fly a Plane Without a Real Pilot

Spending time studying how to teach and how children learn has been replaced with fast-track programs that breed future workers. These people know little about children, but they follow the script. They will keep children focused on their computer lessons, and collect data on their progress. It’s like getting on a plane and learning the […]

DEC 01 2018

Vocabulary Used to Sell Technology to Teachers and Parents

It’s the use of only technology in education without qualified teachers that is the concern. It’s “tech without teachers” and without public school buildings, a sense of community, student socializing, and the misuse of data collected on children that keep parents and teachers up at night! The problem is that there is a concerted effort […]

NOV 29 2018

Common Core Creator Slammed Reading Teachers for Having a Research Gap—How Ironic

Teachers have enough difficulties. Sometimes you find an article so full of hubris and irony it cannot be ignored. Several weeks ago, I criticized a series of reports about reading by journalist Emily Hanford. Hanford claimed teachers didn’t understand reading instruction and that their education schools failed to teach them what they should know. I made […]

NOV 27 2018

What’s Behind the Chan Zuckerberg (CZI) Push for “Brain Science?”

It doesn’t matter how much trouble Mark Zuckerberg might appear to be in with Facebook, he and his wife still find time to mess with education and give elitist advice to teachers. Their latest initiative is to claim teachers need to learn brain science. They’re donating $1 million to Neuroteach Global, an online PD platform created […]

NOV 24 2018

Personalized (Online) Learning Fails at Classroom Dynamics and Socialization

Let’s get together, yeah yeah yeah Think of all that we could sha-are Let’s get together everyday Every way and everywhere And though we haven’t got a lot We could be sharin’ all we’ve got Together ~Haley Mills, From Walt Disney’s 

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Still Waiting for Winter Edition (1/6)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Still Waiting for Winter Edition (1/6)

ICYMI: Still Waiting for Winter Edition (1/6)

Still no snow in my neck of the woods, but still plenty of writing about education to be read. Remember, sharing is caring.

Keep That Same Energy 

Jose Luis Vilson has my favorite kick off the new year piece. Check it out.

Excuse Me While I Teach Your Child

A greatest hits fun and games from McSweeney's

Appellate Division Kills Zombie PARCC

A great breakdown of New Jersey's rejection of the little-loved PARCC exam

How To Help Public School Teachers Love Their Profession Again

From The Hill, of all places. You may agree with all, some, or none, but it's a good conversation starter.

The Year in K-12 Education

A Kansas professor takes a look at what happened to education out in the plains.

It's Time We Started Calling School Choice What It Is

And that's privatization.

What If Schools Focused on Improving Relationships Instead of Test Scores.    

The tale of someone who left the work and then came back to a whole different kind of school, and realized what had been wrong all along.

Five Things Lawmakers Can Do for Education in 2019.     

We're talking about North Carolina here, but the items on the list can apply in many states.

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Still Waiting for Winter Edition (1/6)

Terror, Hubris and AI (or Can Artificial Intelligence Fake Being A Self-important Pompous Tool?)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is, if not a hot new product itself, the additive that helps sell a million other products ("New! Improved!! Now with AI!!!"). And the proponents of AI are loaded with big brass cyberballs when it comes to making claims about their product. And all the most terrible and frightening things are happening in China . Come down this terrifying baloney-stuffed rabbit hole wi

JAN 04

After the Education Wars: The Best and Worst of Reform

Andrea Gabor is a business journalist by trade, and it's our great good fortune that she followed the thread of business-style reform into the world of education. Her recent book, After the Education Wars: How Smart Schools Upend the Business of Reform, is an invaluable addition to the literature of ed reform -- not the faux reform that has been foisted on us for the past decades, but ac dual impr

JAN 03

It's Not the Implementation

"You just didn't implement it properly." This is the all-too-frequent cry of program creators and policy writers after their pet project goes belly up in the great goldfish bowl of education. It was a popular explanation for the crash of Common Core. More than a few district superintendents have used it to explain why their pet project failed. And publishers like to use it as an explanation for w
Not Quite Seven Reasons To Ditch Teachers Unions

The Foundation for Economic Education may be the oldest libertarian thinky tank in the US, and they are a missionary group , set "to make the ideas of liberty familiar, credible, and compelling to the rising generation." So it comes as no surprise to find them running an article entitled " 7 Reasons To Say Goodbye to the Teachers Union." Author Daniel Buck is a bit of a mystery on line, but he lay

JAN 02

How Much Money In That Edusector?!!

When you're starting to wonder why so many people are interested in education, even though they have no training, experience, or apparent deep interest in education, it's helpful to see some numbers. Like 2,600,000,000. Reportsnreports is an international outfit that provides "market research reports to industries, individuals, and organizations to accelerate decision making process." They offer a

JAN 01

School Choice Is School's Choice

The core idea of every version of a school choice program is that students and their families will choose wha schools to attend. The anecdotal evidence has called that into question time after time, suggesting that it is schools that get to choose what students they will or will not accept. This happens not necessarily through direct rejection, but by a hundred little obstacles. An application sys
China: You Will Wear Big Brother

If nothing else, China is constantly providing new responses to the comment, "Well, there's no way anybody could actually do that." What happens when the business mindset comes up against a powerful profit motive? China has provided continuing examples of how business-driven enterprises will sacrifice almost any of their principles when confronted by the opportunity to tap a huge market. What beco

DEC 31 2018

Is It A New Year?

I'm not a huge fan of New Year's Eve for some personal reasons (ranging all the way back to a semi-public dumping back in high school), but I also find it a curious practice. It's that thing we humans do-- we make an somewhat arbitrary mark on the surface of the universe and then wear ourselves out investing it with Deep Significance. Is there a strong objective cosmological reason to declare toni
Venture Capital And Fake Teaching Careers

Here's just one example of how the machine works. Earlier this month at Forbes, Jessica Pliska (who writes about careers) started with this chirpy lead . Access and opportunity aren’t words often associated with venture capital. Aaron Walker, CEO of Camelback Ventures, is looking to change that. Here, we chat about what shaped his vision for the future of venture capital, the management lessons he

DEC 30 2018

A Call for Hong Kong Reform

Philip Yeung was educated at Oxford and the University of Toronto, but he has made his living in China. He's been an academic consultant, a senior communications manager, and currently is with English for Emergencies (my new favorite company name) where he does ghostwriting . He's also an opinion writer for the South China Morning Post , which is where we find him today . Here's a message for eve
Elon Musk's Special School

There may be few Very Rich Guys who can top Elon Musk for confidence that is boundless and groundless , so it should come as no surprise that Musk started a school. Unlike other wealthy meddlers in the education world (and, that matter, unklike Musk when it comes to other enterprises), Musk has kept the not-for-profit school, created in 2014, mostly under wraps. That's because his goal has not bee
ICYMI: Arbitrary Marker Of Time's Inexorable Passage Edition (12/30)

Yeah, I'm not big on the whole New Year celebratory thing. I will occasionally give in to the urge to do an end-of-year/beginning-of-year style post, but sometimes I think it's just as well to keep on keeping on. So here's this week's batch of worth-your-while readings. Beware Silcon Valley Santas in the School Michelle Malkin and I share little in the way of either style or beliefs, but if you wa

DEC 28 2018

Why Teachers Don't Use The Software Their Districts Paid For

Ryan Baker (University of Pennsylvania's Center for Learning Analytics) unleashed a small surprise last month with a report indicating that the vast amount of software licenses purchased by school districts are simply never used . There are points on which we might quibble, including the smallish sample size of districts (48) and the very small sample size of data management companies (1). But th
Defining Reformy Terms Is Everything

EdChoice has released their annual report about education , with a particular focus on reformy stuff. It's a survey of teachers, parents and the general public, and a look at attitudes and beliefs about many aspects of education. I've read