Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Why This Teacher Needs Jackie Goldberg on the School Board

Why This Teacher Needs Jackie Goldberg on the School Board

Why This Teacher Needs Jackie Goldberg on the School Board

As I wind up my 24th year of teaching in Los Angeles classrooms , I pause to think of my past lives in different schools and neighborhoods. While presenting to students in Finland I always included a slide of past eras of my life such as  growing up in the Eastside, college and adulthood in the Westside, teaching on the Southside, and married life in the Valley. Apart from being a native Angeleno, significant years of my life have been spent living in many parts of town, and teaching in many communities. I love all of them.

Which is why I have no doubt in my mind that what students all over L.A. need more than anything is an ally on the school board. My South Central students need a warrior who recognizes that our teachers’ strike was more than just a salary dispute, but a movement to reclaim our rightful place as agents of change in the profession we love. One that will help us do our jobs serving students. My West Valley students need a fighter who will challenge our legislators to restore appropriate levels of funding to the L.A. classrooms so class sizes across the board are at a level where one can maintain a meaningful relationship with students.  All students need a leader who  understands them, has taught them, and knows CONTINUE READING: Why This Teacher Needs Jackie Goldberg on the School Board

Mother’s Day 2019: Moms Want Their Children To Be Safe at School!

Mother’s Day 2019: Moms Want Their Children To Be Safe at School!

Mother’s Day 2019: Moms Want Their Children To Be Safe at School!

If mothers could have anything they wanted for Mother’s Day, they would say I want my child to be safe. I want them to be safe at school!
Here’s why they worry they aren’t.
The NRA 
After Sandy Hook, most of us thought the NRA would scale back its rigid position about gun control, especially addressing assault weapons, background checks, age limitations, and so forth. It didn’t happen. It still didn’t happen after Parkland and other school shootings, despite a great outcry by students and many Americans.
After the recent shooting at the Denver STEM School Highlands Ranch, parents and students protested when Sen. Michael Bennett spoke about gun control at a memorial. The event was organized by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
NRA supporters always point to the need for better mental health services. Why aren’t they lobbying for better mental health services for students?
While this country must still address the controversy surrounding guns and school CONTINUE READING: Mother’s Day 2019: Moms Want Their Children To Be Safe at School!

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION: + ICYMI: Do You Feel Appreciated Now Edition


Do You Feel Appreciated Now Edition 

So, teachers, did this week do it for you? Here are some pieces to read while you bask in the warm glow.

A Bridge Too Far

Wow. Florida Senator Tom Lee (R) is a long time supporter of charters, but during this last round of legislative baloney he stood up to say "enough." Accountabaloney reports some of his speech and it is rough and honest and nobody paid attention, but you should.

Firing Day At A Charter School  

What's it like to teach at a charter? This former charter teacher talks about the ritual of firing day.

Teachers Are the Classroom Experts

Steven Singer on the absence of teacher voices in education coverage.

Teacher Appreciation and Fair Pay

Jan Resseger on what would really make for a good TAW.

How NOT To Evaluate Education Policy

Jersey Jazzman once again provides the invaluable service of explaining clearly why a talking point is baloney. Here he takes on the "four times more likely to attend a successful school" PR.

Who Do I Appreciate? Music Teachers. 

I can't disagree with Nancy Flanagan here.

Florida Teachers: Arming Us Is Most Dangerous Decision Ever

And dumb.

Cyber Charters Aren't Free  

Susan Spicka speaks up for Pennsylvania taxpayers and students  

Thoughts About Reading from a Classroom Veteran

Fewer tests. More reading for pleasure. And stop buying programs. A Florida teacher speaks up.

If Education Advocacy Were More Like Pharmaceutical Ads

Yes, it's the reformy Robert Pondiscio. Read it anyway.

Success Academy Being Sued For Violating Student Privacy 

It's a fairly gobsmacking violation, too. But you know how it is-- rules are for little people.

FBI Investigating Tennessee Voucher Vote 

There was a lot of horse trading done to get the necessary votes. Apparently actually bribing legislators is bad.

Can Choice Save Public Schools Revised 

Well, this is kind of interesting. Deborah Meier looks at her own evolution on the subject of choice.

Policies Harmful for Children of Color 

Wendy Lecker looks at some misguided policies in education reform, including the rise of the school resource officer.

Louisiana's Voucher Program Featured As Failure

The indispensable Mercedes Schneider looks at LA vouchers, recently held up as failures (spoiler alert: they are)

5 DeVos Puzzlers

Valerie Strauss looks at some of the striking things DeVos did-- and didn't-- say at EWA gathering.

Why The Tests Must Be Kept Secret 

Continuing to pursue the mystery of why the Big Standardized Test must be kept shrouded in secrecy.

Knewton Is Gone 

John Warner looks at the passing of the big data giant, and we shouldn't throw a party just yet.

Rebranding My Mom 

Not an education story, but a great little essay for Mom's Day. What happens when your mom loses her job?       


PA: More Charter Shenanigans in Harrisburg

On May 7, a group of four bills related to charter schools suddenly popped up, referred to the House education committee in the state capitol. Surprise! Let's take a look: HB 355 : This bill is supposed to strengthen the "ethical requirements" for charter schools (including cybers). It sets requirements for annual independent financial audits and puts limits on how much money charters can hold in

MAY 09

What She Taught Me

I've written about Miss Gause before. She was my elementary school vocal music teacher, and she had a critical effect on me in two major ways. First, she was fairly relentless in confronting the Monotone Boys I'm-Too-Cool-To-Sing Chorus in the back of the room. She harangued us into listening to pitches and more or less matching them. Now, in my school students took a listening aptitude test in fo

MAY 07

Knewton, A Big Name in Big Data, Bites The Dust

Adaptive learning. Computer-enhanced psychometrics. Personalized learning via computer. Knewton was going to do it all. Now it's being sold for parts. Knewton started in 2008, launched by Jose Ferreira. By 2012, Ferreira led the ed tech pack in overpromising that sounded both improbable and creepy. In a Forbes interview piece , Ferreira described Knewton as "what could become the world’s most valu
Maine Dumps Test-Centered Teacher Evaluation

Maine has broken with the status quo of test-centered accountability for teachers. Beginning with No Child Left Behind, public schools have committed to test-centered accountability, using student results on a single standardized math and reading test to drive assessment of districts, schools and ultimately teachers. For years, the prevailing definition of a good teacher in this country has been

MAY 06

Jeanne Allen's Charter Murder Mystery

Nobody represents the angry anti-public school side of reform better than Jeanne Allen . She's the founder, president, and chief spokesperson for the Center for Education reform. She graduated from Dickerson with a degree in political science, then moved on to study political philosophy at the Catholic University of America. She was the "youngest political appointee to serve at the pleasure of the
The Problem With Tax Credit Scholarships

The classic talking point for tax credit scholarships (yet another type of voucher) is that they don't actually take money away from public education. This is technically correct because the money never actually gets into the government's hands; instead of paying taxes, the contributor hands the money to their favorite charter or private school and gets credit for paying taxes. So does that take m

MAY 05

ICYMI: May Day Edition (5/5)

Read, read, read. Share, share, share. It's Not Like You Weren't Warned Dad Gone Wild gives us a look on the ground at the messes in Tennessee and Memphis Betsy DeVos Has No Idea Who Alexander Hamilton Is A lesson for DeVos on Hamilton's place in US history and why he is not her BFF The F-Bomb in Texas A new problem on the STAAR test. Charter School Controversy in Rural Alabama So many of the prob

MAY 04

PersonAOLized Learning

If you are of a Certain Age, you have fond memories of America OnLine . You grabbed one of those magical discs that arrived in the mail like Harry Potter's unthwartable Hogwarts invitations. You stuck it in your computer, listened to the modem beep and boop and finally hissssss like R2D2 had just fatally assaulted a snake. Then a portal opened up, promising a variety of channels with a dizzying as

MAY 02

Is Your School Year Over Already?

Depending on which state you live in, your schools are now, or are about to be, entering testing season. It's the magical time of year when your schools must subject students to the annual Big Standardized Test, a narrow slice of testing aimed at reading and math skills. In most states, the stakes are high, including the rating of the school itself as well as the professional ratings for the teac

MAY 01

Florida Really Is The Worst

There are plenty of states in the country that are not very friendly to public education, but Florida under its new governor has established itself as the very worst state for public education. The worst. Its hatred of public school teachers and its absolute determination to dismantle public education so that it can sell off the pieces to privatizers and profiteers puts the sunshine state in the

Episode 28: “Black Mama Day Bail Out” Tiara Moore – Parenting for Liberation

Episode 28: “Black Mama Day Bail Out” Tiara Moore – Parenting for Liberation

Episode 28: “Black Mama Day Bail Out” Tiara Moore

In honor of Mama’s Day, and to raise awareness of the Black Mama Bailout initiative, Parenting for Liberation spoke with Tiara Moore and mother of 5, an activist, and mama who was bailed out by the Black Mama Day Bailout initiative. In our conversation, Tiara reflects on her experience with the criminal INjustice system, how she was arrested for defending herself, the fear tactics used and unlawful means of detainment that lead to so many Black folks taking plea deals, how Black Mama Bail Out came to her rescue, and how she used her experiences to help formerly incarcerated folks connect to resources and opportunities.

Tiara (center left) with Leslie Turner and her family at home after being bailed out.
Image as featured in Global Citizen article linked below provided courtesy of Tiara Moore
Tiara was featured in this article. And she shares more about herself and her experience in her own words below:CONTINUE READING: Episode 28: “Black Mama Day Bail Out” Tiara Moore – Parenting for Liberation

Texas Pays TFA $5.5 Million A Year For 400 Recruits | Gary Rubinstein's Blog

Texas Pays TFA $5.5 Million A Year For 400 Recruits | Gary Rubinstein's Blog

Texas Pays TFA $5.5 Million A Year For 400 Recruits

The title of this post says it all.  I’ve learned that for the past 2 years Texas taxpayers have been subsidizing TFA about $6 million a year and that for the next two years, through 2021, they are scheduled to receive $5.5 million a year.
You can see the official document here.
And here is the relevant text on page 218:
Screen Shot 2019-05-11 at 10.10.15 PM.png
This is quite a sum of money.  TFA provides the state with a report that makes it seem like they are doing a lot with this money, but considering that they recruit about 400 corps members into Texas and only 85% of them even finish their two year commitment, this is a big waste of money.  This is about $15,000 per recruit, and that doesn’t include whatever finders fees the districts themselves pay.
Texas didn’t always pay TFA so much money for their services so what would happen if CONTINUE READING: Texas Pays TFA $5.5 Million A Year For 400 Recruits | Gary Rubinstein's Blog