Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, May 19, 2019

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION: + ICYMI: Birthday Eve Edition (5/19)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Birthday Eve Edition (5/19)

 ICYMI:  Birthday Eve Edition 

Might even eat some cake today just to warm up. You know the drill, folks. Read and share. Read and share. Only you can help amplify voices in the web-o-sphere.

A Letter To Journalists About Dark Money

A great little primer here from Massachusetts, where dark money tried to make charter schools happen.

Curriculum for Profit and Propaganda  

Alan Singer takes a look at the newfound interest in curriculum among the reformnoscenti.

Open and Accessible?

A Chalkbeat reporter tries to attend ten charter school  meetings in a month. It doesn't go well.

Gates Funded Commission To Put Value on College Education

Just in case you were worried that Bill Gates might be done messing with education.

I was a white teacher who couldn't talk about race 

Sarah Fine with an open and honest look at her own journey. If you only read one piece this week...

About charter schools-- and Betsy DeVos

Larry Campbell will not make you guess what he really feels.

At Excel Academy, a confrontation that never should have happened 

An ugly encounter between a racist and students. For your "I can't believe this kind of crap still happens" file.

Better To Be Born Rich 

A Georgetown study tracked kindergartners from 1989. Turns out that test scores don't change your future, but the economics of your family pretty well set it.

What Do Teachers Really Want From Professional Development? Respect.

Yes, somebody gets it.

Dear STAR Test, We Need To Talk, Again  

Another crappy standardized test. This time it's reading.

Jeanne Allen 

The indispensable Mercedes Schneider digs deep for the story of the crankiest reformster of them all.

The New But Not Necessarily Improved ASD 

Tennessee's Achievement School District was a model for how the state could take over a bunch of schools and work miracles. Only it couldn't. But the ASD is still thrashing away down there.

Avenue to the Stars 

Have Your Heard looks at the intersection of school and the free market

Jeb Bush's A+ Disaster

A look at how Florida is still paying the price for Jeb! Bush and his edureformerific ideas.

Are School Playgrounds Still Empty?   

Nancy Bailey looks at the issue of littles with no chance to run and play. 

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Birthday Eve Edition (5/19)

Center for Education Reform Doesn't Love Bernie
If you have any doubts about the effect of Bernie Sander's education proposals , Jeanne Allen of the Center for Education Reform tossed off a somewhat apoplectic newsletter after Sanders went public. Here's some sample frothing: Sanders’ comments - yelling about transparency (which of course exists) or regulation (which charters have plenty of!) and accountability (which is the very essence of ch
Bernie Sanders' Education Platform Doesn't Suck
The big headline on Friday was that Bernie Sanders was going to call for a ban on for-profit charters , and if the story had stopped there, I would be unimpressed. Hillary Clinton managed to condemn for-profits, and while that's a nice low-hanging fruit for politicians to grab, regular readers of this blog know that a non-profit charter is usually just a for-profit charter with a good money launde

MAY 17

Diane Ravitch's New Book: Scholarship, Activism and History
Diane Ravitch was the first major voice of the resistance to the modern corporate "reform" of education, in part because of her newsworthy turn from the reform ideas and peers she had previously embraced. An education historian, she has laid out the problems with the recent assaults on public education in several solid and well-built books (with another one on the way). But Ravitch is a tireless v

MAY 16

Miracle School's Secret Sauce
Here's news of yet another miraculous charter school. Can we look closely and see what the secret of their success might be. Southland College Prep School in Chicagoland had 100% of its mostly-Black graduating class accepted to college. It's the sixth straight year for this achievement, and it's been covered widely in the area. The school is the only charter high school in the state to earn an exe
Why The Big Standardized Test Is Useless For Teachers
In schools throughout the country, it is testing season--time for students to take the Big Standardized Test (the PARCC, SBA, or your state's alternative). This ritual really blossomed way back in the days of No Child Left Behind, but after all these years, teachers are mostly unexcited about it. There are many problems with the testing regimen, but a big issue for classroom teachers is that the

MAY 15

OH: State Ed Board Joins Takeover Law Opposition
HB 70 is an Ohio law that strips a school district and its elected school board of all their power and hands it, via an academic distress board, to one person-- a super-powered CEO. The law was rammed through the legislature in less than 12 hours under the direction of then-Governor Kasich, and so far it has been used to take over Youngstown, Lorain, and East Cleveland schools (three districts tha

MAY 14

Success Academy Violates Student Privacy (Again)
In a way, I can almost sympathize with Eva Moskowitz and Success Academy. Schools can find themselves in a real bind at times. A student can go to the media (social or traditional) and tell a story of how he was repeatedly hauled into the principal's office and disciplined because he was fighting bullies who picked on him for being gay, and the school must hold its tongue, even if it has a folder

MAY 13

DFER Tries To Swing A Primary
We live in interesting times. So many folks are sure they know what "most people" think or "most people" want, but it's hard for anybody to have a clue because the great American industry is the business of trying to sell a particular opinion. Even when the Russians mess with us, their disinformation campaigns focus not on lies about policy (free college will make your hair fall out) so much as on

MAY 12

Parenting Is All About Losing
As I've been immersed again in the world of children's music, I'm struck by how much of it is sad. Not "when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall sad," but a kind of melancholic ache behind the music itself. I think it's the losing. My wife asked me the other day, "Is it always like this?" We had turned around and had one of those moments when you realize that your baby looks like a small child,
ICYMI: Do You Feel Appreciated Now Edition (5/12)
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

MAY 10

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