Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, February 17, 2019

enrique baloyra: Teachers with guns: What could possibly go wrong? - YouTube

Teachers with guns: What could possibly go wrong? - YouTube

Teachers with guns: What could possibly go wrong? 

This week a bill to arm classroom teachers cleared the Florida Senate Education Committee, making it likely to be the first bill to make it to the senate floor when this year’s legislative session begins on March 5th.
After 17 students and teachers were murdered at their high school in Parkland last year, thousands of demonstrators, including students who saw their classmates gunned down, flooded the state capitol building in Tallahassee for weeks, demanding common-sense gun control legislation, starting with a ban on military-style assault riles, the weapon of choice for mass shooters.
The resulting school safety bill raised the legal age for some gun purchases — which, by the way, looks like is going to be reversed this session — and created a “Guardian” program, requiring every public school to have some armed personnel. Public backlash forced lawmakers to include an amendment exempting classroom teachers. But this year’s SB7030 could reverse that amendment.
Despite the recent publicity on mass shootings, schools are actually the safest place for kids when it comes to gun violence. But putting guns in classrooms could replace a student’s trust in a teacher with fear.
Research shows that more guns mean more gun murders and that the presence of firearms escalates situations into deadly violence.
Even police officers who have extensive training and previous experience in shootings, have been shown not to respond adequately in high-stress situations, often missing their intended targets.
“Arming teachers is likely to result in even more shootings at schools, both intentional and accidental. Teachers attempting to take down an active shooter can harm bystanders and lead to casualties among police officers.
“Florida’s Stand Your Ground law could be cited in a school shooting, placing students of color at greater risk for racial injustice.”
Putting more guns in schools is not the solution to the growing gun violence epidemic. Even the bill’s own sponsors can’t cite a single credible study supporting this NRA-backed bill.
But closing the background check loophole will. So will requiring people to safely store their weapons, holding adults responsible when kids use their guns, red flag laws, and keeping the age limit on gun purchases.
The vast body of evidence supports this. But Florida politicians aren’t known for using facts. That’s why it’s up to us to tell them.

Teachers with guns: What could possibly go wrong? - YouTube

Blackface and Other Ugly Truths. Not Just a Southern Thing. | Teacher in a strange land

Blackface and Other Ugly Truths. Not Just a Southern Thing. | Teacher in a strange land

Blackface and Other Ugly Truths. Not Just a Southern Thing.

I have lived in Michigan all my life. I never thought of myself as a Yankee until I started working for an education nonprofit based in the South and quickly picked up that nickname–as well as a reputation for being on the side of teachers’ unions (guilty), and outspoken in a way that was downright unladylike. Nobody ever said ‘Bless your heart’ to me.
In fact, it’s easy for folks who don’t live in the South to feel a little smug about being on the right side of the War Between the States, even though it happened more than 150 years ago. Northern educators are fond of pointing out that the lowest-achieving states tend to cluster across the south-eastern tier of the United States.
We are seldom encouraged, however, as teachers, to think about the range of historical and economic streams—or the policy wars—that led to such disparate outcomes. Worse, we’re not pressed to ask what we can do to address and support equity and justice nationwide in an economy that is increasingly global. We get let off the hook sometimes.
The recent outrage over Ralph Northam’s yearbook photo, and his fumbling response, is a case in point. As Teju Cole points out in a New Yorker podcast, white men of a certain age grew up in a deeply racist culture, and not much has changed since then. Since Reconstruction, blackface and minstrelsy have been used to belittle black Americans. We are nowhere close to reconciling our national shame over deep-seated scars of injustice.
The difference with Northam—what separates him from other political leaders who CONTINUE READING: Blackface and Other Ugly Truths. Not Just a Southern Thing. | Teacher in a strange land

Cashing in on Kids: The School Security Gold Rush | Diane Ravitch's blog

Cashing in on Kids: The School Security Gold Rush | Diane Ravitch's blog

Cashing in on Kids: The School Security Gold Rush 

In the Public Interest is a nonpartisan organization that tracks the privatization of public services and assets.
Its latest report:
Is school security the next gold rush? A year after the harrowing school shooting in Parkland, Florida, investor cash is pouring into the school security market. But big money was already being spent on unproven technology shielded from public view. “Schools and other education-related buyers are the fifth-biggest market for surveillance systems across the world but the top market in the United States, with $2.7 billion in revenue in 2017.” The Washington Post
A warning to D.C.’s education leaders. A former board member at Indianapolis Public Schools describes her experience working with former superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee, who also happens to the D.C. mayor’s choice for the next D.C. Public Schools chancellor: “Under Dr. Ferebee’s leadership, we created ‘Innovation Network Schools’— partnerships between IPS and charter schools. But it turned out that Innovation Network Schools aren’t really partnerships at all. In fact, they’re an underhanded way of turning over public resources and assets to private hands.” 730DC
Huge salaries for charter school leadership. Journalist Rachel Cohen digs into charter school administrator salaries in Washington, D.C., revealing startling figures:  CONTINUE READING: Cashing in on Kids: The School Security Gold Rush | Diane Ravitch's blog

Heartbreak becomes burnout for teachers when work is turbulent |

Heartbreak becomes burnout for teachers when work is turbulent |

Heartbreak becomes burnout for teachers when work is turbulent
Teaching is often known as a “trial by fire” profession

Teaching is often known as a “trial by fire” profession.
In many countries, well-prepared teachers leave the profession at alarming rates, including in Canada, Australiathe United Kingdom and the United States.
School and educational system leaders have to invest significant time considering how to retain teachers
because keeping them is necessary to provide stability to the system.
What’s happening in schools that is causing educational professionals to leave a dream job with seemingly great perks such as summers off, good pay and a short work day?
Many factors influence teacher exhaustion and burnout, but I’d like to discuss a more personal reason: heartbreak. Stressful environments, where teachers’ agency is highly restricted and their resources and supports are strapped can create crushing heartache. This distress can influence educators’ well-being, willingness to innovate and the formation of warm relationships with other people.
Occupational heartbreak
People decide to become teachers because of love – love for subject matter or love for children.
For the past four years, I have worked with young people studying to become teachers. In our class discussions about why they chose the teaching profession, two reasons have consistently emerged: students either love a subject area (such as physical education, biology, math or English) or they love working with children and youth.
Some of my students have even spoken eloquently of feeling a calling to be a teacher, and have expressed their eagerness to join the profession. They cannot wait to finish their education degree and CONTINUE READING: Heartbreak becomes burnout for teachers when work is turbulent |

In New Book, Former Atlanta Teacher Blames Education Policy For Cheating Scandal : NPR

In New Book, Former Atlanta Teacher Blames Education Policy For Cheating Scandal : NPR

Former Teacher Blames Education Policymakers For Atlanta Cheating Scandal

In 2015, a verdict was delivered on the cheating scandal in Atlanta Public Schools.
2011 Georgia state report found unethical behavior in the school system, including teachers and principals changing wrong answers on standardized tests. Two years later, a grand jury indicted the Atlanta school superintendent and 34 other educators. Some agreed to lesser charges; 12 eventually went to trial, and all but one of them were found guilty of racketeering in 2015 — a felony charge often used to prosecute the mafia.
Shani Robinson was one of those found guilty, but has continued to maintain her innocence. In an interview, she says she could not take a plea deal, even though she was pregnant during the trial (and gave birth shortly after it).
"Because I know that I'm on the right side of justice," Robinson says. "And I even get emotional talking about it. But the thought of being blamed for something that I did not do is horrifying. ... Here I was facing 25 years in prison for something that I didn't do, and I felt like if I was on the right side of justice, that one day I would be vindicated. That was the moment that I decided that I would never take a plea deal."

She is free now, pending appeal, and in the meantime has made her case in a new book, written with Anna Simonton. It's called None of the Above: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed, and the Criminalization of Educators. CONTINUE READING: In New Book, Former Atlanta Teacher Blames Education Policy For Cheating Scandal : NPR

None of the Above
The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed, and the Criminalization of Educators
Hardcover, 256 pages

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Winter Is Forever Edition (2/17)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Winter Is Forever Edition (2/17)

ICYMI: Winter Is Forever Edition (2/17)

I do this every Sunday, so you can skip back week by week, or just search "ICYMI" in the search bar in the upper left to read some of the good stuff coming from other writers in the education world. Remember to share-- that's how this stuff gets around and finds the audience it should have.

Rahm Emanuel's Non-Apolgy for Being School Privatization Cheerleader

Rahm released an essay that was billed as a change of direction, but which might be better described as a branding exercise.

Getting To The Root of the Public Education Crisis

I have mixed feelings here, but this op-ed spinning off the issues of segregation in Rochester is still worth a look.

3 States Tried To Shutter Failing For Profit Online Charter Schools

Sometimes the 74 does real journalism, and this story is a stunner. In three states, officials tried to shut down cyberschools; what happened next is chilling-- a stealth campaign to smear officials.

Pcops, Pensions and Picket Lines

Yes, it's settled for now, but this is a great look at what exactly got Denver to the point of a strike in the first place.

On Responsible Social Media Use

A handy reminder about the use of compelling-yet-groundless statistics on line, and other ways to behave better

Teach For America Overwhelmingly Exits The Classroom

Mercedes Schnieder with a reminder that TFAers are mostly just passing through.

Testing Chaos in New Jersey 

Dr. Jazzman with a look at the latest developments in the continuing saga of New Jersey's exit exam fiasco.

Writing as Threat

From Jose Luis Vilson, the challenge of being a writer and owning that idenity. 

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Winter Is Forever Edition (2/17)

PA: The Death of Cyber Charters (Maybe, Finally)
In the entire education ocean, cyber charters continue to be a festering garbage patch, and a recently proposed bill could clean them out of Pennsylvania. It is not that cyber charters could not be useful for a select group of students with special needs. But in the whole panoply of failed reform ideas, none have failed harder and more thoroughly than cyber charters. In fact, they have failed so h

FEB 14

Speedbumps on the Road to Curriculum's Golden Age
Among the recent shifts in reform thought is one to a focus on curriculum and content, and I don't hate it. One of the hugely screwed up features of the last two decades has been the content-stripped focus on hollow skills. Reading is not a set of skills that can somehow be taught and practiced in a content-free vacuum, but that's what we've been trying to do for most of the 21st century, so far.

FEB 12

NY: Parents Call For Charter Pause and Evaluation
NYC school district's parent board has come out in opposition to raising New York's charter school cap. Will Governor Cuomo hear them? The New York City schools are under mayoral control (never, ever, an ideal system), so they have no school boards. What they do have is thirty-six Community Education Councils composed of elected parents. Those CECs in turn have an Education Council Consortium, com

FEB 11

The Problem with "Monopoly."
A standard piece of charter/choice rhetoric is to refer to the public school monopoly, the suggestion being that school choice is needed in order to break the public school stranglehold. I'd argue that the term is not accurate, that it suggests a single nationwide education entity that imply doesn't exist. Can an enterprise be a monopoly if it's actually several thousand individual entities? But t

FEB 10

ICYMI: Valentine's Edition (2/10)
A handful of worthwhile reads this week. Remember to share! Defining High Quality Curriculum Nancy Flanagan wants to know why curriculum is supposed to be so hard for actual teachers. Charter Schools Are Pushing Public Education To The Brink Jeff Bryant looks at how badly charter schools squeeze public school finances. (Spoiler alert: pretty badly) Active Shooter Drills A reminder, if you need one

FEB 09

Field Guide To Strike Objectors
In my four decades of teaching, I went through a strike twice--once as a first year teacher, and once as the president of the local union. Writing about education, I have followed dozens more. No matter what kind of public support a strike is getting, there are always some familiar tunes you can expect to hear played in opposition to a teacher walkout. Here's your guide to all the classics. Don't

FEB 08

IA: Choice Is Taxation Without Representation
An Iowa state senator has caught on to one of the problematic side effects of many choice programs-- disenfranchised taxpayers. Or, as somebody put it a while ago, taxation without representation. Iowa has long allowed open enrollment; an Iowa family can enroll their student in any public school district, whether they live there or not. Currently the full per-pupil expenditure follows the student-

FEB 07

DC: Charter Leaders Make The Big Bucks
It's a phenomenon noted in many urban education-scapes. The leaders (CEO, Education Visionary, Grand High Muckity Muck, whatever) of a charter operation makes far more money than a) the local public school superintendent responsible for far more students and b) the teachers who work within the charter. But a recent Washington City Paper article by Rachel Cohen lays out some stark examples. The art
Count Them As They Go
I'm asked from time to time (mostly, I think, because some people are curious but reluctant to ask) what it's like to be in my particular spot in life. Retired from teaching, sixty-one years old, raising two babies about thirty years after I raised two other babies-- as my wife and I have said at various times over the last decade, we are kind of off the map here. So my honest answer is that I'm f

FEB 06

Portfolio School Management For Dummies
One of the issues that was hanging over the Los Angeles teacher strike is the idea of portfolio management; the UTLA asserts that Superintendent Austin Beutner already has a plan prepared for converting the LAUSD to a multi-portfolio model. In Denver, the model has already been rolled out, to less than stellar result . It's a challenging issue to discuss because so few people understand exactly h

FEB 05

Hammering the Littles: Are The Kids Really All Right?
The headline says " Kindergarten classes are getting more academic. New research says the kids are all right. " The news is that a big shiny new study shows that the increasingly academic approach to kindergarten is okee dokee. The quick take is that the study followed 20,000 kindergarten students and found that they both achieved academically and their social and emotional development was just fi

FEB 04

Reclaiming Choice
So we just froze our way through School Choice Week, the annual PR blitz in favor of privatizing public education, and I find myself troubled and annoyed by the word "choice." See, I favor choice. In all my years at our tiny small town/rural high school, we'v e graduated students who went on to become doctors, artists, teachers, welders, construction workers, lawyers, telephone linemen, and jobs y

FEB 03

ICYMI: Really Big List Edition (2/3)
Was it the cold? Did we all just have more time to wander the internet? I don't know, but it's a huge list this week. Remember to share-- that's how the word gets out. LA Strike: Charters Are An Existential Threat To Public Education The LA strike was extraordinary in that it addressed so much more than wages and benefits, but also addressed policy as well. Here's a good look at where the LA chart

FEB 01

Measuring Success: A Study in Contrasts
Two items tossed my feed this week that underline contrasting ideas about what constitutes success in education. First, let's go to the Jackson-Madison County school system of Tennessee. At JMCSS folks are pretty excited