Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Writer Who Couldn't Answer Standardized Test Questions About Her Own Work (Again)!

The Writer Who Couldn't Answer Standardized Test Questions About Her Own Work (Again)!

The Writer Who Couldn't Answer Standardized Test Questions About Her Own Work (Again)!

We are in standardized test season, and all across the country, students are taking the Big Standardized Test by which they, their schools, and their teachers will be judged. How absurd are these tests? Meet Sara Holbrook, the writer who couldn't answer test questions about her own work.
Back in 2017, Holbrook wrote an essay for Huffington Post entitled, "I Can't Answer These Texas Standardized Test Questions About My Own Poems." The writer had discovered that two of her poems were part of the Texas STAAR state assessment tests, and she was bit startled to discover that she was unable to answer some of the questions.
One reason was simple inaccuracy. One question asked why the poet had inserted a stanza break in a particular spot-- and then didn't insert a stanza break in the testing materials. But there was a second issue. Holbrook is a performance poet, and she had inserted the break at the point where, in live readings, she pauses. That choice was not one of the choices available on the test.
In fact, much of Holbrook's issue with the questions was a sort of existential dilemma. Several questions asked, directly or indirectly, for the test taker to judge the author's intentions. The author knew some of her intentions, sort-of-remembered others, and had others that were layered and complex. But the manufacturers of the test--who had never asked her about any of this--provided only four choices that did not allow her to choose the answer that she knew to be correct.
Now, it's possible that Holbrook is such an angsty, tortured soul of a CONTINUE READING: The Writer Who Couldn't Answer Standardized Test Questions About Her Own Work (Again)!


Florida to become most anti-immigrant state - YouTube


Heading into the final week of this year’s regular legislative session, and Florida lawmakers have pushed through most of the controversial measures we’ve discussed.
The senate is scheduled to vote Monday on a House bill that would deny the will of over five million Florida voters in restoring voting rights for ex-felons.
A bill by Miami Springs Rep. Bryan Avila is close to stripping public school teachers of the raises voters approved through local referenda. That omnibus education package with an unconstitutional voucher program creating a separate and unequal school system has a clear path to the governor’s desk. And the senate has approved a bill arming classroom teachers. No word yet on who’s going to pay for the insurance.
Most disturbing, Republicans in both chambers have passed a ban on so-called “sanctuary cities.” The Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald that “there is no such thing as a sanctuary city in Florida.” In fact, the Justice Department has found no evidence that local governments are withholding information from immigration authorities.
Supporters claim that what amounts to a family separation bill is actually about safety.
But critics say the measure is an excuse to harass and intimidate immigrant communities and a handout to the corporate prison industrial complex.

“In some Florida cities, police have already been documented mistreating immigrants and calling ICE and Border Patrol on people — a tactic not usually embraced by law enforcement because it deters witnesses from coming forward and victims from reporting crimes.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis claims the bill is necessary because undocumented workers drive down wages. Too bad he and his buddies who control the legislature aren’t in any position to, say, raise the minimum wage.
An open letter signed by 44 Florida businesses and community leaders says immigrants “contribute to every sector of Florida’s economy, driving innovation, creating jobs and adding billions in tax revenue…”
Economists predict the impact on Florida could exceed $3.5 billion in losses.
The ACLU is warning that all travelers to Florida, “including U.S. citizens, may encounter racial profiling, unjust detention, [and even] deportation.”
And if you live here, just don’t speak in Spanish. At least not in public.

Florida to become most anti-immigrant state - YouTube

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Post-Easter Chill Edition (4/28)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Post-Easter Chill Edition (4/28)

ICYMI: Post-Easter Chill Edition 

In my neck of the woods, we figure that spring can't arrive until there has been a post-Easter snow. We appear to be working on tht today. So while we sip our hot chocolate of shivery bitterness, here are some current readings to absorb and-- please-- share!

Choice As A Substitute For Adequacy 

Did states deal with the Great Recession by expanding choice to cover their cuts to public education? School Finance 101 takes a look.

The X-odus Files

Tim Slekar has long believed (as do I) that there is no teacher shortage, but rather a nationwide slow-motion one-at-a-time walkout. And he's started collecting the stories as evidence.

School Districts Are Going Into Debt To Keep Up With Technology  

Cash-strapped districts are financing their tech programs with debt (which just makes the tech even more expensive). The Hechinger Report digs in  .

Tony Soprano Visits Tennessee Legislators

A look at the GOP assault on education and voting rights and oh, boy, is Tennessee a fun place right now.

For all the Talk About School Competition in Camden, Families Really Haven’t Had a Choice 

When choice turns out to be not choice at all.

Success Academy Podcast IV- Got To Go

Gary Rubinstein is listening his way through a podcast about Success Academy. It's not exactly hard hitting, but he finds some content worth talking about.

A Flippity-Do-Da Day In Tennessee

Momma Bears look at how Governor Lee slimed his way to passage of his assorted bills. This is not how it was described by Schoolhouse Rock.

How Is School Choice "Freedom" When Students Lose School Libraries and Librarians 

Nancy Bailey looks at one of the casualties of the school choice movement.

The Problem With Education Research Fixated on "What Works"  

 Rick Hess makes his contribution to the research wars, and it' a good one. Really.

An Ambitious Plan To Combat Segregation Just Made Things Worse

Dana Goldstein in the NYT looks at the San Francisco plan to desegregate and how it only made matters worse.

Who Should Pay For Public Education  

Nancy Flanagan answers the question, "So if philanthropists want to spend their money on education, what's the problem?"

Let Us March On 'Til Victory Is Won

Jose Luis Vilson is a poet of connections. Here we find Beyonce, testing season, and school spaces. 

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Post-Easter Chill Edition (4/28)




Charter Lessons From Democracy Prep

I was as unimpressed as anyone when education privatization fan Campbell Brown launched the 74 site as a platform for the same old "Charters schools rule, public schools drool" song and dance. But since that launch, and particularly since Brown stepped away from the site, the straight journalism side of the operation has done some commendable work (though the propaganda side is still frying up its

APR 26

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 I owa where an ALEC governor privatized Medicaid. Former governor Terry Branstad was a founding member of the American Legislative E

APR 25

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 f

APR 24

Using Cultural Competency To Sell Personalized [sic] Learning

Over at EdTechTimes, a site that for a consulting group that clearly is interested in pushing personalized [sic] learning, I found a podcast by Mariel Cariker entitled " Cultural Competency: Finding Ways To Bring Equity Through Personalized Learning. " (It is accompanied by a transcript.) The podcast is sponsored by TeachPlus. Like many of the arguments being used to push PL, it's an odd little mi

APR 22

Guest Post: The True Cost of College

I've known Beth Pfohl for years. She was a top student in my Honors English class, and years before that I cast her as Annie in our community theater production. When she was a senior, I installed her as editor of the yearbook. She's an exceptional human being. Beth is currently finishing up her college education at Miami of Ohio, and it is from that vantage point that she wrote the following pos

APR 21

ICYMI: Easter Edition (4/21)

One of my favorite holidays is today, but whether you celebrate or not, here's some reading from the past week to feed your brain. Against Metrics: How measuring performance by numbers backfires . Not directly tied to education (though the subject comes up), this piece takes a look at the problems of people who think numbers are magical. If we don't work on pedagogy, nothing else matters . One of

APR 20

When Local Control Turns Toxic

I am a fan of local control for school districts, but I'm not going to pretend that under the wrong circumstances it won't produce some terrible results. EdBuild has just issued a report on a troubling phenomenon-- the secession of wealthy communities from larger school districts . This issue has been reported on before , but this is a report that collects instances of attempts across the nation.

APR 19

KY: DeVos, Bevin, Loving Vouchers, Hating Teachers

Betsy DeVos took her Education Freedom Voucher Tour to Kentucky, and things went just about as well as you could expect. Secretary of Education DeVos has been crisscrossing the country in an attempt to sell her $5 billion voucher plan . Her latest stop was Kentucky, a state that has achieved a sort of choice limbo ; there's a charter law on the books, but the legislature has so far refused to fund
Creating More Defective Children

This has always been a dangerous side effect of educational certainty. If I'm absolutely certain that my program is awesome, my pedagogy is flawless, my materials are on point, and classroom is just generally perfect-- and yet some students are not learning-- well, there's only one possible explanation. The student must be defective. The defect effect appears to be cropping up in a new place. As r

APR 18

Why DeVos Doesn't Care About Charter Closings

During the recent House hearings, Betsy DeVos was confronted with some of the results of the Network for Public Education study of federal dollars going to charters, a huge number of which have closed or never even opened. She was unmoved : Let me first comment on the study you’re referring to. I’m not sure you can even call it a study. We’re looking more closely at it of course, and anything that

APR 17

The Charter Effect On Teachers

Unions, we have been told, have a deleterious effect on teachers, forcing them to accept lousier deals than they could get in a free market where they each negotiated their own deals. In such a market, schools would compete for teachers, bidding up the salary offers. Teachers could negotiate from a place of strength. No teacher would ever want a union ever gain. I confess that there was a time whe

APR 16

Guns Headed For The Classroom

Of all the bad ideas. I know there are folks who believe in their heart of hearts that arming teachers will make schools safer, or that putting armed police in the building will be helpful. But there are so many bad signs. I want to believe that school resource officers can be helpful. Earlier this month, a school shooting was likely averted just up the road because students at the school felt com

Melinda Gates Achieves Peak Epic Cluelessness

Sigh. Melinda Gates seems like a nice lady who means well, but her recent interview at the New York Times Magazine is a master class in how living in a very wealthy bubble can leave you out of touch with the rest of the world and an understanding of your place in it. It starts in the very first paragraph. “There are absolutely different points of view about philanthropy,” says Melinda Gates, who,