Friday, April 26, 2019

The "X"odus Files | BustED Pencils

The "X"odus Files | BustED Pencils

The “X”odus Files

It’s time for the teacher shortage myth to be exposed. In the coming weeks you will hear directly from real teachers about the conditions in our nations’ schools and the ridiculous policies that are responsible for a mass exodus—not shortage—of passionate professionals from their classrooms.
Since the release of A Nation at Risk in 1983, public schools and their teachers have been under assault from a political and financial elite connected to both Democrats and Republicans. Although A Nation at Risk was thoroughly debunked, the failing schools narrative and the corresponding “achievement gap” have driven education policy in a simple minded direction—high stakes, test based “accountability.”
Accountability—loved by Democrats and Republicans—has almost become a religious movement. In fact the idea of even questioning the usefulness of test based accountability can cause enraged panic in accountability zealots. “How will we know what children are falling behind?” “How will we close the achievement gap if we don’t measure it?” “How will we fire bad teachers without the data?” “How will we know what schools to close?” “What will happen to my lucrative consulting gig with test company X?”
Time for the hard truth. Test based accountability has done one thing well. Over the past 35 years, we have beyond any doubt, measured and confirmed the achievement gap. That’s it! CONTINUE READING: The "X"odus Files | BustED Pencils

TN Voucher Legislation: Bill Details and Public Reaction | deutsch29

TN Voucher Legislation: Bill Details and Public Reaction | deutsch29

TN Voucher Legislation: Bill Details and Public Reaction



On April 25, 2019, the Tennessee senate passed an amended version of the school voucher bill that the Tennessee house had passed a day eariler.
I could find no article that linked to the actual school voucher legislation passed in the Tennessee house or senate, nor any mention of either bill by its bill number. Too, a search of the terms, “education savings accounts,” “opportunity scholarships,” and “school vouchers” on the Tennessee General Assembly websiteyielded nothing that appeared to be the school voucher bills just voted on. I also tried looking up the date the legislation was voted on as well as the name of the only co-sponsor of the senate bill who was quoted in the media, state senator Brian Kelsey (R- Germantown).
However, I did eventually find the school voucher legislation voted on in the Tennessee senate on April 25, 2019, SB0795, and the house version, HB0939, as well as a detailing of the complete process undertaken by the Tennessee house and senate as it relates to the school voucher legislation in question. (See the numerous amendments to both house and senate versions of the bill here  by clicking the “amendments” tab). Part of the complication is that the original senate bill SB0795 description includes no mention of school choice directly and at best obscurely hints at it:
Education – As introduced, extends, from 10 days to 30 days, the period of time after a local board of education orders a student’s school assignment within which a parent, guardian, or legal representative may apply to the board for a hearing to challenge the reasonableness of the student’s assignment and to request the student’s transfer to another school. – Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 6.
On April 25, 2019, the Tennessee senate substituted the house version of the school voucher bill for the senate version, which they amended. Below is a summary detailing the entire process (to locate the summary, click here and CONTINUE READING: TN Voucher Legislation: Bill Details and Public Reaction | deutsch29

Who Should Pay for Public Education? | Teacher in a strange land

Who Should Pay for Public Education? | Teacher in a strange land

Who Should Pay for Public Education?


Short answer: The public.
Short rationale: Public education is a public good. When it’s funded by taxes, and oversight is provided via elected boards, there is, at least nominally, a backstop against corruption and egregious inequity, and there is a public mechanism for expressing dissatisfaction as well as suggestions for improvement.
Does this always work out perfectly? Of course not. Hahahahhaha.
Does this then mean that perennially strapped public education should be open to ‘improvement’ plans funded by the very rich?
No. Because billionaires and their foundations have something other than the public good in mind when they offer school districts millions to follow a plan that sounds good to funders. Furthermore, there is no backstop against things going horribly wrong, once they’ve accepted the money and conditions, before the billionaire pulls out and claims that it’s the district’s fault that millions have been squandered.
Foundations are not hoping to have enough money to send all the fifth graders to camp, or rebuild the orchestra program, or provide more modern science equipment. Billionaires and their organizations aren’t interested in small-potatoes needs. They want Big Sexy Ideas—like gutting tens of thousands of tailor-made local curricula (easily dismissed as a ‘patchwork’) and replacing them with national standards (which somehow will evolve into a ‘more rigorous’ national curriculum).

Dana Goldstein: San Francisco Had an Ambitious Plan to Tackle School Segregation. It Made It Worse. - The New York Times

San Francisco Had an Ambitious Plan to Tackle School Segregation. It Made It Worse. - The New York Times

San Francisco Had an Ambitious Plan to Tackle School Segregation. It Made It Worse.


SAN FRANCISCO — Like many parents in San Francisco, Melvin Canas and Delfina Ramirez described applying to public kindergarten as a part-time job. They researched schools all over the city for their daughter, Cinthya; took unpaid hours off their jobs as cooks to tour over a dozen; and ultimately ranked 15 of them on her application.


San Francisco allows parents to apply to any elementary school in the district, having done away with traditional school zoning 18 years ago in an effort to desegregate its classrooms. Give parents more choices, the thinking was, and low-income and working-class students of color like Cinthya would fill more seats at the city’s most coveted schools.


But last month, Cinthya’s parents, who are Hispanic, found out she had been admitted to their second-to-last choice, a school where less than a third of students met standards on state reading and math tests last year. Only 3 percent were white.


Results like these have soured many on the city’s school enrollment plan, which is known here as “the lottery” and was once considered a national model.


“Our current system is broken,” said Stevon Cook, president of the district Board of Education, which, late last year, passed a resolution to overhaul the process. “We’ve inadvertently made the schools more segregated.”


For decades, the education mantra from presidential campaign trails to local school board elections has been the same: Your ZIP code should not determine the quality of your school. Few cities have gone further in trying to make that ideal a reality than San Francisco. CONTINUE READING: San Francisco Had an Ambitious Plan to Tackle School Segregation. It Made It Worse. - The New York Times

Oakland: A Must-Read Lexicon of Charter Frauds | Diane Ravitch's blog

Oakland: A Must-Read Lexicon of Charter Frauds | Diane Ravitch's blog

Oakland: A Must-Read Lexicon of Charter Frauds


Jane Nylund, a parent activist in Oakland, wrote this incisive overview of charter frauds in her district and submitted it to the Task Force reviewing the California charter law. Please copy and forward to the Task Force at:
She writes:
For fifteen years as a parent, volunteer, and employee of Oakland Unified, I’ve been witness to what is now a full blown privatization movement in Oakland under our “portfolio district” model. A movement designed to crush our real public schools and privatize them; a movement to close our schools and gentrify our neighborhoods. A movement to allow outside interests and corporations to feed at the trough. And the current laws in California that allow this to happen, unchecked and unfettered. And the absolute failure of any of it to collectively improve the lives of our most vulnerable children. 
 The time for this damaging experiment on our children is over. Stop clutching at the billionaires’ purse strings, while at the same time declaring that more choice is the answer. Here’s why it isn’t.
 Choice in Oakland-Do you want fries with that?
What does choice in Oakland mean? The model here isn’t much different than saturating the poor neighborhoods with cheap fast food. Oh, there’s choice all right-McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, or Taco Bell. Plenty of choice, take your pick. How about a nice juicy steak? Forget it, you don’t need that choice, but here’s some other choices for you. Poor nutrition that fills you temporarily, but ends up starving you of any real sustenance. Saturating neighborhoods with charter schools is the same business model. I heard an East CONTINUE READING: Oakland: A Must-Read Lexicon of Charter Frauds | Diane Ravitch's blog



CURMUDGUCATION: Another Free Market Lesson

CURMUDGUCATION: Another Free Market Lesson

Another Free Market Lesson


Even as Florida continues its race to become the first state to completely do away with public education and replace it with a free market free for all, lessons abound in why that's a lousy idea.

This frickin ' guy.
At Tarbell, Simon Davis-Cohen takes us on a trip to Iowa where an ALEC governor privatized Medicaid. Former governor Terry Branstad was a founding member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a special group that brings corporate movers and shakers together with legislators to share the really cool legislative ideas the corporations have come up with. Branstad's bright idea to privatize Medicaid was sold as a cost-cutter and became reality in 2016.

It has gone badly, and how it has gone badly is instructive for folks contemplating privatization of other necessary public institutions.

“In private insurance, denial is the rule, not the exception,” says Glenn Hurst, a doctor who runs a rural health clinic in Western Iowa. Hurst is referring to the tendency of private health insurers to challenge most bills they receive. Tarbell found reports from across Iowa indicate legitimate Medicaid claims are being regularly denied by private insurance companies — wreaking havoc since Medicaid was handed to private managed care organizations (MCOs) in 2016. A few years into privatization, delayed and denied reimbursements to Medicaid providers are hurting Iowans, doctors say.

The privatization has costs millions of dollars just in person-hours spent pursuing payment. The move has also been followed by waves of reduced benefit and coverage. The delay and denial of CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Another Free Market Lesson


Let Us March On 'Til Victory Is Won | The Jose Vilson

Let Us March On 'Til Victory Is Won | The Jose Vilson

LET US MARCH ON ‘TIL VICTORY IS WON

Even on concrete, my shoes manage to screech at me when I’m chasing down a crosstown bus at 6:45 in the morning. My robust frame belies my uncanny ability to accelerate as the neon green sign flashes from a block away. Upon entering the bus, I’m met with less eyerolls like someone who’s holding up the bus and more with incredulity that I made it. I thank the bus driver whose coffee still hasn’t kicked in while driving dozens of passengers to their respective stops. We stop at a mosque, a church, and a Dominican bodega in succession. The screeches continue as I float down the subway steps, through the turnstiles, and between the closing doors of the C train.
By the time I’ve made it to my third floor classroom desk, I’ve clocked in 3,000 steps. I have yet to start the marathon.
Throughout this trip and the few others since last week, Beyoncé’s hitting another riff in her latest production, Homecoming (Live). She hums, chants, harrumphs, and raps through the touchstones in her discography while an HBCU-inspired band accompanies her vocals. She positions herself squarely in her identity as a Black woman artist who prefers her audience do the work of decoding should they have questions. The images she unfolds in her music accompany the visions she lays out for us in her documentary of the same name. Throughout the country, the Beyhive (Beyoncé’s fan club) has taken up a call to dance in sync and asynchronously. Even those of us who aren’t part of the conglomerate CONTINUE READING: Let Us March On 'Til Victory Is Won | The Jose Vilson

Considering School Closures as Philadelphia’s Empty Germantown High School Faces Sheriff’s Sale | janresseger

Considering School Closures as Philadelphia’s Empty Germantown High School Faces Sheriff’s Sale | janresseger

Considering School Closures as Philadelphia’s Empty Germantown High School Faces Sheriff’s Sale


In her profound and provocative book about the community impact of Chicago’s closure of 50 so-called “underutilized” public schools at the end of the 2013 school year, Eve Ewing considers the effect of school closures on the neighborhoods they once anchored.  Ewing’s book, Ghosts in the Schoolyard, is about Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood and a set of school closures in Chicago in which 88 percent of the affected students were African American, and 71 percent of the closed schools had majority-African American teachers. (Ghosts in the Schoolyard, p. 5)
Ewing writes: “Understanding these tropes of death and mourning as they pertain not to the people we love, but to the places where we loved them, has a particular gravity during a time when the deaths of black people at the hands of the state—through such mechanisms as police violence and mass incarceration—are receiving renewed attention. As the people of Bronzeville understand, the death of a school and the death of a person at the barrel of a gun are not the same thing, but they also are the same thing. The people of Bronzeville understand that a school is more than a school. A school is the site of a history and a pillar of black pride in a racist city. A school is a safe place to be. A school is a place where you find family. A school is a home. So when they come for your schools, they’re coming for you. And after you’re gone, they’d prefer you be forgotten.” (Ghosts in the Schoolyard, pp. 155-156)
Public school closures were one of three “school turnarounds” prescribed for so-called “failing schools” in the No Child Left Behind Act; they were also as part of Arne Duncan’s priorities in Race to the Top and School Improvement Grants. (The other two turnaround strategies were firing the principal and half the staff or privatizing school by charterizing it or turning it over to a private Educational Management Organization.)  At the end of the school year in 2013, Chicago closed 50 schools. Other big city school districts also imposed school closure as a CONTINUE READING: Considering School Closures as Philadelphia’s Empty Germantown High School Faces Sheriff’s Sale | janresseger

Mike Klonsky's Blog: Peter Cunningham's empty advice to Lori Lightfoot

Mike Klonsky's Blog: Peter Cunningham's empty advice to Lori Lightfoot

Peter Cunningham's empty advice to Lori Lightfoot


Peter Cunningham should save his advice to Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot. In fact, after his miserable performance running Bill Daley's disastrous law-and-order campaign for mayor, one would think that he would show some contrition and either disappear for a while or maybe start asking the mayor-elect for some advice.


You may recall that despite Daley's heavily-favored (by big business) and heavily-financed ($9M) campaign, he could only muster 14% of the vote. For those who keep track of such things, that came out to a whopping $111.21 per vote.

Yet here is Cunningham with a full page in today's Sun-Times offering a package of five cliche-ridden suggestions that Lightfoot would do well to flush or stash in her circular file.

They begin with admonitions to think small and forget all those highfalutin ideas and social-justice and equality and stick to things like garbage collection. 
  • No matter how bold your vision, it won’t get done if you don’t first pick up the garbage, fix the potholes and deliver basic city services.
  • You can’t reach for the sky unless you first meet the floor of expectations.
  • You don’t begin dinner with dessert.
Here's the worst:
...the black, gay, female agenda did not get Lori Lightfoot elected and won’t CONTINUE READING: Mike Klonsky's Blog: Peter Cunningham's empty advice to Lori Lightfoot

What’s the Goal of Education? | My Island View

What’s the Goal of Education? | My Island View

What’s the Goal of Education?

As adults we generally learn about things that we need to learn about. Of course we also have an opportunity to learn about things we would like to learn about. We do not have anyone assigning us projects, or books or exams for which to prepare. The exception to that would be the job requirements in a job that we have chosen. Theoretically, we work in a job that has some personal appeal, and the required learning for that job is something that ultimately, we have chosen to accept. When what appeals to us about that job wanes, we hold on to that job only as long as it takes to find another with a better, more appealing position. The learning and application of that learning again is a choice that we make for that new position. The learning is relevant in our new role.
If all of this is true, then it should be evident that this is the life for which we are preparing our children. As a long-time educator, I am no longer convinced that we are adequately preparing our children with the needed skills to live, survive and thrive in their future life of that real world environment.
Additionally, I also question whether we, as education professionals, have been truly prepared for our present environment. Many of us grew up in a world where information came in printed form vetted by publishers. A world where TV producers vetted information produced for the airwaves. A world where CONTINUE READING: What’s the Goal of Education? | My Island View

CURMUDGUCATION: Is AI A Game-Changer For Education (International Edition)?

CURMUDGUCATION: Is AI A Game-Changer For Education (International Edition)?

Is AI A Game-Changer For Education (International Edition)?


Sometimes it's informative to see how some of this stuff is playing out in other settings. A post on Entrepreneur India makes the claim that "Artificial Intelligence Can be a Game-Changer for Education, Here are 5 Reasons Why" and its five arguments are, well, intriguing.

The post is from Vishal Meena from the start-up MadGuy Labs, an Indian on-line test prep company that promises to prep you for the tests for all sorts of government jobs. Meena has a degree in chemical engineering, but he likes doing the start-up thing, and has previously launched companies involved with bikes and with tourism. So he comes directly from the modern tradition of "You don't need any education background to be an education entrepreneur."

Meena also seems to lack a certain level of fluency in English. I bring this up not to make fun or to get all ugly American with people who aren't from around here, but because Artificial Intelligence applications for education have to be fluent in the language. They have to be. If you're going to sell me the eleventy billionth hunk of software that can supposedly assess writing, then it had better be plenty fluent in the language and capable of telling the difference between effective writing and tortured gobbledeegook. If you are an AI entrepreneur who wants to sell to English speaking people, then your AI had better be fluent-- and if you can't even use it to check your own work, then I'm not interested.

So-- the five reasons that AI is going to change the education game. Let's see how many of these CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Is AI A Game-Changer For Education (International Edition)?