Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, July 28, 2019

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Post Jet Lag Edition (7/28)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Post Jet Lag Edition (7/28)

ICYMI: Post Jet Lag Edition (7/28)

All righty. We are slowly getting back into the swing of things (two year olds do not seem to respond to jet lag well). So my reach might not be quite as far as usual, but I've still got some things for you to look at this week.

This supreme court case made school district lines a tool for desegregation.

A critical piece of history about how school district lines were set up to be a tool for-- or against--desegregation.

Learning To Read  

A reminder from Nancy Flanagan that reading teachers are not the only people who teach reading.

I'm a black teacher who works for a black principal. It's a game changer.

Well, here's a perspective that we see much too rarely. An interesting and worthwhile perspective piece.

Reforming California's dysfunctional charter school law.

Thomas Ultican looks at the continuing struggle to fix California's charter school mess.

State Takeovers vs. Organic Local Turnarounds  

State takeover of school districts are a hot business again, and Jan Resseger has a look at the good, the bad, and the alternative that actually works a lot better for everyone-- except for corporate profiteers.

What Is Really Happening in Camden  

Nobody does a better job of explaining complicated research in plain human language than Jersey Jazzman, and his series on the attempted reform of Camden schools is invaluable as a look at what really happens in such places, and how Reformsters spin it.

Teachers are miserable because they're being held at gunpoint for meaningless data.

Just in case you think this is just a US problem, here's a piece from back in April from the UK. Much of this will seem sadly familiar.

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Post Jet Lag Edition (7/28)




FL: Next Surveillance State Deadline Approaching

In the wake of the murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, the great state of Florida decided to make a giant leap forward in establishing a surveillance state , proposing a data base that would collect giant massive tanker cars full of data from every public sources imaginable as well as social media. It will provide a one-stop shop for singling out every troubled child in the state. What could

JUL 26

Eight Weeks of Summer: Where Are We Now? Deprogramming.

This post is week 7 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators. I've been doing the challenge because why not? Mostly I've been answering as my pre-retirement self, but we may mix it up a bit this week. Here's the prompt: Check-in on where you are in your summer learning journey and your overall professional journey . When I was still teaching, I was always... somewhere. Every sum
The Busing Conversation We Should Be Having

Originally posted at Forbes (June 29) So apparently, thanks to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, we're all going to talk about busing some more. That's a conversation many Americans have been having, sort of, for a long time. When Joe Biden was a freshman congressman, I was a high school junior. In my rural small town and mostly white high school, we were aware of racial and racist strife as something

JUL 25

FL: Trees and the Taj Mahal

Florida Education Commissioner is angry with Duval Schools Superintendent Diana Greene. Grr mad. Really really mad. Corcoran was previously the speaker of the house, where he pushed a variety of privatization moves. In particular, he pushed the " Schools of Hope ," a cool plan in which public schools that were having trouble w ould be targeted for direct charter competition , with lots of incentiv

JUL 24

CA: Any Warm Body

California is in the midst of a legislative battle over charters , with the charter business suffering the prospect of a crackdown after years of happy life in the Land of Do As You Please. There are many issues and voices flying about, but the Pasadena Star-News just chose to speak up for one of the odder old arguments of charter fans-- that charter schools shouldn't have to hire qualified teache

JUL 23

How School Choice Undermines Democratic Processes

Opponents of school choice in its many forms often talk about processes and institutions and policies, but one way to grasp choice-created problems is simple, old fashioned, and non wonky. Just look at who is holding the purse strings. In the public school system, the money is controlled by some combination of taxpayer-elected local school board members and taxpayer-elected state legislators (the

JUL 22

What Killed Lesson Planning?

Are lesson plans a big fat waste of time? Well, yes, and no. But is something currently killing them? Sadly, yes. Why Lesson Planning Is Invaluable I read this piece arguing against them and kind of dismissed it and forgot about it until Nancy Flanagan brought the subject up again (Do you follow Nancy Flanagan regularly? You should). As usual, I agree with most everything she said in defense of l

JUL 16

Eight Weeks Of Summer: Getting It Done

This post is week 6 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators . I've been doing this challenge because why not. I answer the prompts as my pre-tirement self. Here's this week's question: How are you planning to implement change next school year? This often depended on the change. For lots of changes, I just did it. Changing how I approached vocabulary? Just did it. Changing the r

JUL 14

ICYMI: House Painting Edition (7/14)

Yes, we're getting the house painted. If that's not fun, I don't know what is. But in the meantime, here's some reading for you. How Did We Miss This? The story of the Indiana cyberschool collecting money for ghost students. Palm 


Busing Worked in Louisville. So Why Are Its Schools Becoming More Segregated? - The New York Times

Busing Worked in Louisville. So Why Are Its Schools Becoming More Segregated? - The New York Times

Busing Worked in Louisville. So Why Are Its Schools Becoming More Segregated?

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When she saw the news images of angry white mobs pelting school buses with rocks and bottles, Sherlonda Lewis was glad that she was not among the black students being bused to a school in a white neighborhood.
It was 1975, and Louisville had initiated a court-ordered effort to integrate its public schools by busing students out of their racially segregated communities. As a high school senior that year, Ms. Lewis was exempt from being bused from her predominantly black neighborhood of Smoketown in central Louisville. Having seen the violent resistance, she considered herself lucky.
“I didn’t think it would last,” Ms. Lewis, 60, said of the busing plan.
Little did she know, that same integration program would go on to be widely embraced by members of the community, educating three generations of her family.
While some desegregation plans faltered in the face of white resistance, Louisville’s has proved remarkably resilient. It has survived riots and court rulings, skeptical superintendents and conservative lawmakers, making Jefferson County Public Schools, which includes Louisville, one of the nation’s most racially integrated districts.

But if Louisville is proof that busing can work when there is the political will to have an integrated school system, its community is now grappling with what happens when that political will starts to dry up.
These tensions — coming at a time when the nation is once again battling over the effectiveness of school integration — are the latest development in a series of changes that, in recent decades, have steadily chipped away at Louisville’s original integration plan.
A recent survey commissioned by the district showed dwindling support for the plan and a decreased interest in diversity among parents. Struggling schools and a yawning achievement gap between black and white students are drawing more attention these days than the benefits of maintaining racially integrated classrooms.
As the district’s schools slowly become more segregated, officials are considering more reforms that will almost certainly increase segregation.
The state’s Department of Education proposed taking over the district last year after finding myriad problems, from financial mismanagement to flaws in the desegregation program, known as the student assignment plan. State officials agreed to give district CONTINUE READING: Busing Worked in Louisville. So Why Are Its Schools Becoming More Segregated? - The New York Times

Education Insider for July 28, 2019 - Education Votes

Education Insider for July 28, 2019 - Education Votes

Education Insider for July 28, 2019

House passes bipartisan budget bill

On July 25, the House passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 (H.R. 3877), which lifts the budget caps introduced in 2011 and prevents severe cuts in non-defense discretionary (NDD) funding for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. Bipartisan support for the deal demonstrates how damaging the budget caps’ automatic cuts of $55 billion to NDD programs, including educating funding, would have been. Congress is now on track as the Senate takes up its appropriations bills to make investments to education programs such as Title 1 and IDEA, programs serving students most in need. In addition, the bill adequately funds the 2020 Census, which is critical to ensuring an accurate allocation of federal dollars for programs serving students and their families. In its letter urging passage of the bill, the NEA stated, “Lifting the caps for the next two years is essential if Congress is to move closer to adequate investment in America’s students and schools.”

NEA Supports Social Security 2100 Act

On July 25, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on the Social take actionSecurity 2100 Act (H.R. 860). This legislation would strengthen Americans’ retirement safety net by increasing Social Security benefits across the board, calculating the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) more accurately, by adopting a formula to better reflect the costs incurred by seniors, and increasing the minimum benefit to ensure that low-earning workers do not retire into poverty. NEA wrote to Congress in support of the Social Security 2100 Act, which would also improve the viability of the Social Security program by gradually raising the payroll tax rate from 12. 4 percent to 14.8 percent. For the average worker this would mean paying an additional 50 cents per week every year to keep the system solvent. In addition, the bill would—for the first time ever—subject annual earnings over $400,000 to the payroll tax. Presently, payroll taxes are not collected on wages over $132,900. Send an email urging the House of Representatives to support the Social Security 2100 Act (H.R. 860).

Cheers and Jeers

thumbsupThe House for passing by a vote of 233-195 the Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA), sets a minimum standard of care for children, women, and families taken into custody by Customs and Border Protection by establishing basic health and medical standards supported by NEA.
thumbsupDemocratic New Jersey Reps. Mikie Sherrill, Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Bill Pascrell, and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) for their work on housing affordability, including seeking measures to eliminate homelessness for 112,000 children, who account for 20 percent of the homeless population, according to the 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.  At an Opportunity Starts at Home event in the U.S. Senate July 24, they presented bills they have offered to address the housing crisis.
thumbsupHouse Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Subcommittee Chairwoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit for their July 25 hearing on school bus safety. NEA’s letter supporting the Stop for School Buses Act (H.R. 2218) introduced by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) was made part of the formal record for the hearing.
thumbsupReps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Robin Kelly (D-IL), and Yvette Clarke (D-NY), members of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, for bringing together a working group to discuss the School-to-Prison pipeline, ways to address it, and their legislative priorities for responding to the problem. NEA is a participant in the working group.
thumbsupRep. Josh Harder (D-CA) for introducing a package of bills (H.R. 3891, H.R. 3892, and H.R. 3893) focused on making higher education more affordable and accessible, expanding career- and technical-education programs, and exposing students earlier in their academic careers to career options.
thumbsdownRep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) for reintroducing the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2019 (H.R. 3934), which permanently repeals the windfall elimination provision (WEP). The legislation does not eliminate the Government Pension Offset (GPO), and therefore would create winners and losers.
Education Insider for July 28, 2019 - Education Votes

Technology in the Classroom Is Great — When It Works (Benjamin Keep) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Technology in the Classroom Is Great — When It Works (Benjamin Keep) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Technology in the Classroom Is Great — When It Works (Benjamin Keep)

Keep is a “researcher, learning scientist, and writes about science, learning, and technology at”
This appeared July 10, 2019 on T74

When it comes to learning technologies, educators and administrators often focus on what technology to use instead of how the technology facilitates learning. This leads to serious costs.
U.S. fourth-graders who report using tablets in all or nearly all of their classes are a full year behind in reading ability compared with peers who report never using tablets in their classes. Internationally, students who report greater use of technology in their classrooms score worse on the PISA exam, the major international student assessment, even when accounting for differences in wealth and prior performance. This is all according to a recent report by the Reboot Foundation.
These findings align with prior research that found essentially the same thing three years ago: High levels of technology use in the classroom tend to correlate with lower student performance.
The question in both of these reports is not whether technology can improve learning outcomes; lots of well-designed experimental research establishes that it can. The question, rather, is whether it is improving learning outcomes. And the answer seems to be: Not really.
Every year, administrators and teachers make major decisions about which new technologies, software platforms and assessment systems should be added to their ed tech arsenal. Companies pitch their products to school representatives at huge conferences. But technology often is misused, underused or even CONTINUE READING: Technology in the Classroom Is Great — When It Works (Benjamin Keep) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice