Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, October 6, 2019

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Applefest Weekend Edition (10/6)

ICYMI: Applefest Weekend Edition 

Applefest is a thing in my small town, like the most giant tchotchke/food/car/etc festival a small town could hope to put on. So for three  days we have walked till we dropped, only instead of dropping I'm going to sit here and pass along some worthwhile reading from the last week.

The Unmet Promises of a New Orleans Charter School

From The Nation, one more example of how charters in NOLA never quite lived up to the hyped promises that were made.

I Think My Bladder Changed

From Yahoo Lifestyle's series of interviews with teachers who left the field. Short, but utterly recognizable.

Let's Review Matt Bevin's Plan To Undermine Public Education In Kentucky 

The Lexington Herald Leader is not having it with Kentucky's pro-privatization governor, and here is the whole breakdown of his program (recogizable from plenty of other states, unfortunately)

Craziness: How Mongomery's First Charter School Has Devolved Into Chaos In Less Than Six Weeks 

Not enough supplies or teachers and a principal who has already been pushed to an angry resignation by the board. LEAD is a mess under a loader who asserts that charters don't have to follow laws. The Alabama Reporter has the whole wretched story. Oh, and as a bonus, there's a Gulen tie, too.

Teachers Won't Embrace Research Until It Embraces Them

The Right To Read project looks at how the "reading science" crew treat teachers, and how that seems unlikely to engender teacher loyalty or acceptance.

What's Wrong With Assigning Books--And Kids--Reading Levels

Reporters at the Washington Post books section provide yet another reminder that Lexile scores are not vert reliable or trustworth. Some concrete examples, including the one showing that Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a higher Lexile score than The Grapes of Wrath or The Sound and the Fury.

Black Male Teachers Have Positive Effects On Students of All Races

Nice little op-ed from a former Black male teacher.

Inside the Koch's Vision for Public Education

Have You Heard interviews the author of Kochland about what exactly the Kochs want to see in public education (spoiler alert: less of it).

It's Not A Flashdrive

If you are a teacher, the odds are good that there's at least one student vaping in your classroom, right in front of you. The indispensable Mercedes Schneider has collected some of the info you need to catch up on this newer trend.




The Next Big Problem With School Shooter Preparedness

We think we're seeing the worst side effects of our national preoccupation with school shooters. We aren't. The problems with active shooter drills have already been widely documented. In the best of circumstances, active shooter drills are disturbing, even if they are focused just on the adults in the building. I've been through a drill with shooters using blanks; it's rough . But we've ben seein

OCT 04

A Teacher's Final Lesson

If you live in western Pennsylvania, you may already know the story of Ashley Kuzma. If you don't, I'd like to share it with you. Kuzma was born in Beaver County, PA, and graduated from Freedom Area High School in 2005. She attended Pitt where she earned a Bachelor's in History and Poli Sci, and Edinboro University, where she earned a Master's in Education and a teaching certificate. She worked as

OCT 03

Bad Administrator Field Guide

Is there a lousier job in the world than that of a school administrator. For the past twenty years, it has been all of the responsibility and none of the power. Yet a building principal (and to some extent a superintendent) have enormous control over a teacher's workplace-- how miserable is it, how safe is it, and how hard is it for teachers to do the job they signed up to do? Administrators come

OCT 02

What Is The Real Promise Of School Choice

AEI hosted a pep rally for the DeVos $5 million scholarship tax credi t, and afterwards, Rick Hess put up the latest entry in AEI's 60 second that "reminds" us of the "real promise" of charters and choice: Thank you to @BetsyDeVosED , @KellyannePolls , and state decision makers for a great conversation about Education Freedom Scholarships today! In any discussion about school choice, it's importan

SEP 30

Are School Vouchers A Path To Religious Freedom?

Let me make a confession-- I am not at all unsympathetic to many Libertarian beliefs. I am wary of government involvement in many arenas, and the bigger the government, the warier I am. Additionally, I know some Libertarians personally, and they are perfectly nice human beings. But when you start turning general Libby philosophical notions into specific policies, particularly in areas where my exe

SEP 29

ICYMI: Show Weekend Edition (9/29)

Last weekend was a family wedding in State College, so I did not get this weekly digest done. This weekend I open the local production of The Music Man that I'm directing, so things are a little busy at this house. But I'm still collecting a few good reads for you to read (if you haven't already). Remember to share. Litigating Algorithms Beyond Education Audrey Amrein-Beardsley went to a conferenc

SEP 28

A Good Teacher Is Not Like A Candle

I just hate this kind of thing. First of all, is there any other profession that has to put up with this. Substitute "lawyer" or "plumber" or even "doctor" for "teacher" in this meme, and it just sounds dumb. "Nurse," maybe. (Hmm. What do nursing and teaching have in common as professions. Could it be that they're not commonly associated with testosterone?) We don't expect any professionals to con

SEP 27

Stanford: Opportunity And Testing Baloney

Look, it's not that I want everyone to stop any discussion of Big Standardized Test scores at all forever (okay, I might, but I recognize that I'm a radical in this issue and I also recognize that reasonable people may disagree with me). But what I really want everyone to stop pretending that the BS Test scores are an acceptable proxy for other factors. But here comes a new "data tool" from Stanfo

SEP 26

RAND Plays Corporate Reformy Buzzword Bingo

RAND Corporation, with its vision to be "the world's most trusted source for policy ideas and analysis." regularly contributes to the total thinky tank output of material that wants to be viewed as "a report" or "research" or "a study" or "a paper," but is more like an op-ed or blog post that has put on a tie and juiced up its vocabulary. This week they cranked out a new one entitled " Reimagining

SEP 25

NH: Failing To Learn From Charter History

I have a soft spot in my heart for New Hampshire. I was born there, and much of my family lived there. My grandmother was a legislator for ages, and many of my relatives are still in the state. So it's a bummer to see the state fall into 

Seattle Schools Community Forum: WA State Charter Schools to Benefit from DeVos Largess

Seattle Schools Community Forum: WA State Charter Schools to Benefit from DeVos Largess

WA State Charter Schools to Benefit from DeVos Largess

The Seattle Times has a story about how Washington State charter schools are eligible to apply for dollars from a $20M grant that the Washington State Charter School Association will receive from the Department of Education.  To note, Betsy DeVos has been instrumental in sending out many more federal dollars to help shore up the starting-to-lean-like-the tower-in-Pisa charter school business.  Washington state was just one of five states to receive a grant.

Although they receive state funding for each child who attends, they do not benefit from local tax levies, which pay for school districts’ building and construction costs. Charters have to raise money for these and other upfront costs by fundraising, turning to philanthropists and seeking grants.”
The original charter law would have allowed access to local school levy dollars and luckily, that got changed. I’m glad for a couple of reasons. 
Districts have to pay for these elections and there was no wording in the law that charters would have to contribute. Why in the world would they get the benefit of school levy dollars without helping to pay for levies AND going out to help pass them?

Also, the Gates Foundation has a non-profit group just for charter schools and their capital needs. I’m surprised the Times didn’t admit this fact into the story. Of course, the Foundation has its favorites so only those that Gates wants to see succeed get those dollars.

To note, Seattle charter schools can now access levy funds from the City’s CONTINUE READING: 
Seattle Schools Community Forum: WA State Charter Schools to Benefit from DeVos Largess

New Orleans: A Charter School Finds Out That Making Bold Promises is Not Enough | Diane Ravitch's blog

New Orleans: A Charter School Finds Out That Making Bold Promises is Not Enough | Diane Ravitch's blog

New Orleans: A Charter School Finds Out That Making Bold Promises is Not Enough

This article in The Nation by Casey Parks tells the story of Sci Academy in New Orleans and the lessons it learned over time about making bold promises.
The school pledged that all its students would go to college and encouraged them to apply to four-year colleges that were outside their comfort zone (not close by and predominantly white).
In 2012, almost all of its graduates were accepted to colleges. By 2019, only 18% had graduated from college.
Parks describes what happened to some of Sci’s top students.
Only months after starting college, some students dropped out.
Most couldn’t point to just one reason for their decision. Some missed their families or needed to find jobs to pay for gaps remaining after their scholarships. Students who enrolled in a North Louisiana university found that the food was too bland. No other place in America is like New Orleans—not even North Louisiana—and it hurt too much to lose the city again after they’d been displaced by the hurricane. Others grew unfocused after they left Sci’s CONTINUE READING: New Orleans: A Charter School Finds Out That Making Bold Promises is Not Enough | Diane Ravitch's blog

Indiana was the 2nd state to pass an emergency manager law and 2nd state to realize it doesn't solve their problems | Eclectablog

Indiana was the 2nd state to pass an emergency manager law and 2nd state to realize it doesn't solve their problems | Eclectablog

Indiana was the 2nd state to pass an emergency manager law and 2nd state to realize it doesn’t solve their problems

Back in 2012, Indiana became the second state after Michigan to pass an emergency manager law that allows the state to take control from locally, democratically elected leaders and put it into the hands of an appointed bureaucrat. The law covers any “distressed political subdivision” which, like in Michigan, includes municipalities or school districts. Furthermore, Indiana’s Emergency Managers have the power to, among other things:
  • Review existing labor contracts
  • Renegotiate existing labor contracts and act as an agent of the political subdivision in collective bargaining.
  • Reduce or suspend salaries of the political subdivision’s employees.
  • Enter into agreements with other political subdivisions for the provision of services.
Fast forward to today and, just like in Michigan, Indiana is finding that trying to fix systemic and intractable problems by cutting and gutting doesn’t actually work:
Indiana State Board of Education (ISBOE) member Tony Walker says he is frustrated with the lack of progress in the Gary Community School Corporation since the takeover by the state two years ago.
On July 31, 2017, the State of Indiana hired MGT Consulting to provide emergency CONTINUE READING: Indiana was the 2nd state to pass an emergency manager law and 2nd state to realize it doesn't solve their problems | Eclectablog

Education Insider for October 6, 2019 - Education Votes

Education Insider for October 6, 2019 - Education Votes

Education Insider for October 6, 2019

Don’t steal from military families to fund border wall

The congressional recess is an opportunity to meet with representatives and let them know what you think of President Trump’s scheme to divert money from kids from military families to building the wall Mexico was supposed to pay for. At the president’s direction, the Department of Defense is shifting $3.6 billion from projects approved by Congress to wall construction—a maneuver that will rob schools and childcare facilities on military bases of nearly half a billion dollars. Those projects include refurbishing a severely overcrowded middle school at Fort Campbell, Ky., and remediating hazardous mold at the Child Development Center at the Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. Schools for military families in Puerto Rico, Italy, Okinawa, and Germany are also affected. Military families shouldn’t have to sacrifice their children’s education to fund Trump’s wall, an issue NEA board members raised when they lobbied on Capitol Hill last week. Only Congress—after hearing from you!—can halt the effort to rob military kids of the support they deserve. Tell your representatives to speak out and oppose this travesty. TAKE ACTION

H.R. 4540 begins to fix problems caused by Social Security’s WEP

Nearly 2 million retired educators and other public employees would benefit from fixes to Social Security’s Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) made by the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act (H.R. 4540), introduced by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) on Sept. 27. Among those subject to the WEP, current retirees would get an extra $150 a month and future retireesan average of $75 a month. Moreover, the bill includes a guarantee that no one would get less than the amount provided under current law. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefits of people who work in jobs covered by Social Security and jobs NOT covered by Social Security over the course of their careers—for example, educators compelled to take part-time or summer jobs to make ends meet. After years of congressional inaction, this bill is a step in the right direction. NEA continues to push for full repeal of the WEP and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) that reduces the Social Security spousal or survivor benefits of people not covered by Social Security themselves. Tell your representative to support H.R. 4540. TAKE ACTION

Senate committee chairman’s higher education bill graded “incomplete”

The Student Aid Improvement Act (S. 2557), introduced Sept. 26 by HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), falls short of NEA’s goals for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) that governs student-aid programs, federal aid to colleges, oversight of teacher preparation programs, and more. “Despite tackling a few areas where reform is needed, the bill is a far cry from the comprehensive reauthorization needed to provide all students with an opportunity to obtain an affordable and equitable higher education,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. Key areas that S. 2557 fails to address include loan forgiveness for public service, many student aid programs, teacher preparation, and the 90/10 rule that caps the percentage of revenue for-profit schools can receive from federal financial aid sources—all areas it is essential to address in a reauthorization that reflects the perspective of students and educators. The House version of HEA reauthorization will be released soon. In the meantime, weigh in with senators on what to include in the next HEA. TAKE ACTION

Cheers and Jeers

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) introduced the Native American Education Opportunity Act (H.R. 4586) to create a voucher program for tribal students. The bill would rob the public schools attended by the vast majority of students of funding and resources.
Education Insider for October 6, 2019 - Education Votes