Monday, October 7, 2019

CURMUDGUCATION: What Is A Chief Innovation Officer? (And Does Your District Need A Proactive Change Agent Visionary Leader To Transform Your Human Capital With Capacity-Building Systems?)

CURMUDGUCATION: What Is A Chief Innovation Officer? (And Does Your District Need A Proactive Change Agent Visionary Leader To Transform Your Human Capital With Capacity-Building Systems?)

What Is A Chief Innovation Officer? (And Does Your District Need A Proactive Change Agent Visionary Leader To Transform Your Human Capital With Capacity-Building Systems?)


My college job was in the private sector, working in the education and communication department of an industrial manufacturing company. In ways that my college education could never hope to, my time there drove home how there are plenty of folks making a good living using language to obscure rather than reveal, the there's a whole art of using language to try to convey importance and weight while cloaking the actual content of those words with smoke and mirrors. On the one hand, it's appalling, like watching someone use the Mona Lisa to scrub the grime off their car. On the other hand, it's its own kind of hilarious language, a linguistic emperor's new clothes. We entertained ourselves by cranking out faux bulletins in corporate argle bargle; I actually have a bound collection of our best work.

I am reminded of all that when I read some of the corporate baloney unleashed on education (not that education doesn't have its own ridiculous jargon). Take, for instance, the new-ish corporate ed reform job of Chief Innovation Officer. Right off the bat, we know this is corporate-style baloney, because of the desire to signal this is a Real Important Job by making it C-level with a Chief in front. The whole trend of turning school administration jobs into "chief" jobs is about "translating" education-speak into corporate-speak.

The Center for Digital Education offered its own balonified exercise in explaining CIOs in 2013; you know from the very first paragraph it's going to be richly foolish:

Chief innovation officers are slowly popping up in school districts around the country. Some say CONTINUE READING:
 CURMUDGUCATION: What Is A Chief Innovation Officer? (And Does Your District Need A Proactive Change Agent Visionary Leader To Transform Your Human Capital With Capacity-Building Systems?)

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School leadership disaster: Private companies work an insider game to reap lucrative contracts | Salon.com - https://www.salon.com/2019/09/20/school-leadership-disaster-private-companies-work-an-insider-game-to-reap-lucrative-contracts_partner/

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Why Middle School and Preteens Are So Challenging - The Atlantic

Why Middle School and Preteens Are So Challenging - The Atlantic

Why Is Middle School So Hard for So Many People?
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Middle school. The very memory of it prompts disgust. Here’s a thing no one’s thinking: Geez, I wish I still looked the way I did when I was 12. Middle school is the worst.
Tweenhood, which starts around age 9, is horrifying for a few reasons. For one, the body morphs in weird and scary ways. Certain parts expand faster than others, sometimes so fast that they cause literal growing pains; hair grows in awkward locations, often accompanied by awkward smells. And many kids face new schools and a new set of rules for how to act, both socially and academically.
But middle school doesn’t have to be like this. It could be okay. It could be good, even. After all, middle schoolers are “kind of the best people on Earth,” says Mayra Cruz, the principal of Oyster-Adams Bilingual School, a public middle school in Washington, D.C.
The notion that middle school deserves its own educational ecosystem at all dates back to the 1960s, with a campaign to better accommodate the specific learning needs of children ages 10 to 16. The movement drew from the work of twopsychologists, writes Phyllis Fagell in her new book, Middle School Matters—a movement prompted partially by a quest to strip intermediary grades of their “Jan Brady” syndrome, and by the sense that they were overlooked as the middle child of the K–12 family, an afterthought or a means to an end.
Take the massive variation in grade figurations. Some middle schools are combined on a single campus with their elementary- or high-school peers; most are siloed institutions grouped into two, three, or four grades—or just one. Starting a new school in middle school—a common experience for many students—can be devastating. That’s in large part because of how important social currency is at this age—starting school on a brand-new campus with unfamiliar people is bound to upend kids’ existing popularity hierarchies.
A 2016 American Educational Research Association study of 90,000 students in New York City, for example, found that one’s status as a “top dog” has the most CONTINUE READING: Why Middle School and Preteens Are So Challenging - The Atlantic

Vanquishing the Windigo: Standing Up to Marc Tucker and Digital Capitalism – Wrench in the Gears

Vanquishing the Windigo: Standing Up to Marc Tucker and Digital Capitalism – Wrench in the Gears

Vanquishing the Windigo: Standing Up to Marc Tucker and Digital Capitalism

I’ve embarked on some intense Internet peregrinations lately, and work has been super busy. But it keeps me grounded in the real, physical world for which I am eternally grateful. It is captivating, full of generous people and natural wonders. It’s worth fighting to protect, which is why I continue to wander and try to share the information I stumble over along the way.
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I’m excited to finally have a free weekend to write. I feel a growing sense of urgency as I connect with more and more folks across the country. Alaska, California, Utah, Illinois, North Dakota, Oklahoma…the pressure is intensifying, everywhere. If these thoughts seem somewhat scattered, bear with me. This is more an exercise in unburdening than some of my other posts.
Our current education system, admittedly far from perfect, is in the process of being dismantled. Its replacement? Digitally mediated, “lifelong learning,” workforce-aligned pathways. They’re being pitched in Colorado and Washington State as the “Swiss Model.” Other states are seeing the emergence of Markle Foundation-funded Skillful initiatives. Then there’s the normalization of gamified behavioral compliance tied to digital economic incentives paralleling this transformation.
Frighteningly, it appears education settings from P-20 are being set up to train future generations to accept and participate in the construction of STEM-centric worlds steeped in cyber-security. No hard hats required, just an up to date eyeglass prescription. Everyone expected to do their part to build and secure these new “worlds.” No one spared, not even preschoolers.
We must understand the nature of worlds built in code.
They will exist as augmented reality, mixed reality, and virtual reality.
They will be digitized, data-rich, and surveilled.
They will come with embedded nudges imposed by algorithms.
They will become automated, eventually beyond human control.

Five Signs Your Reform Has Become Another Education Fad - Rick Hess Straight Up - Education Week

Five Signs Your Reform Has Become Another Education Fad - Rick Hess Straight Up - Education Week

Five Signs Your Reform Has Become Another Education Fad
I've long been the skunk at the garden party when it comes to folks cheerfully regaling one another with happy tales of wondrous schools, districts, and instructional programs. After all, I'm the guy who couldn't get stoked about No Child Left Behind or small high schools or the Race to the Top or the teacher-evaluation binge or the Common Core. Of course, that's all old news. The party is now filled with talk of social and emotional learning, career and technical education, "equitable" programming, early childhood, and such.
I've written before about how these new enthusiasms risk repeating the mistakes that helped turn earlier reforms from sensible efforts into self-defeating fads. In response, more than a few readers have reached out with a version of: "OK, I get it. But how can you tell when an effort is just building healthy momentum—and when it's at risk of turning into a fad?"
It's a great question. While I fear that I don't have a great answer, school reforms tend to stand or fall based on how they're experienced by parents and teachers. The problem for many reforms is that champions wind up imagining that teachers and parents are on board long before they really are.
Making allies of parents and teachers requires getting them on board, which means slowly making them believe that this stuff really works. Among other things, this requires reformers to protect their handiwork from shady vendors, wacky allies, unrealistic hype, and goofy practices—all of which can be hard to do. It's doubly so when reformers are riding high and don't want to create unnecessary conflict. That means reformers can find their handiwork defined by its worst excesses.  
So, what are the warning signs that a reform is at risk of being undone? Here are five:
The Vendor Onslaught: Perhaps the earliest sign, but one visible only to those paying close attention, is the way that vendors of all sorts start to bombard school systems, journalists, and any perceived "influencer" with their wares. Vendors who had previously shown little interest in X will CONTINUE READING: Five Signs Your Reform Has Become Another Education Fad - Rick Hess Straight Up - Education Week

Ohio GM Strikers Say They Were Inspired by Teachers' Strike at Local School – Payday Report

Ohio GM Strikers Say They Were Inspired by Teachers' Strike at Local School – Payday Report

Ohio GM Strikers Say They Were Inspired by Teachers’ Strike at Local School

AFT President Randi Weingarten walks the GM picket line in Parma, Ohio.
PARMA, OHIO –  “Hey guys, I’m Randi,” says American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten as she introduce herself to a GM worker as she walks the picket line at GM’s Parma facility.
Over the last year, Weingarten has been no stranger to picket lines; helping to lead a wave of teachers’ strikes across the United States t which surprised many with their mass public support. 
A decade ago, the teachers’ unions in the U.S. were vilified by Republicans and even some Democrats for their union-won benefits and protections. Similarly, auto workers’ unions were vilified by both Democrats and Republicans alike during the auto bailout for their pensions and quality healthcare. 
“Instead of people rising up and working together to change the power dynamics, there was this race to the bottom,” says Weingarten.”I used to call it pension envy. Instead of people saying, ‘Oh, we should all have a pension,’ [it was] ‘how come they have a pension instead of us.’” 
However, now a decade later, something has changed as striking teachers and striking auto workers have received mass support throughout the United States. 
“The narrative has changed–unions are cool again,” says Weingarten. 
Weingarten says that workers taking action helped to change the conversation in the United States. 
“When people start seeing the courage of one’s conviction and particularly when they see people that CONTINUE READING: Ohio GM Strikers Say They Were Inspired by Teachers' Strike at Local School – Payday Report

Los Angeles: Michael Kohlhaas Explains How Charter Lobby Neutralized the LAUSD Inspector General | Diane Ravitch's blog

Los Angeles: Michael Kohlhaas Explains How Charter Lobby Neutralized the LAUSD Inspector General | Diane Ravitch's blog

Los Angeles: Michael Kohlhaas Explains How Charter Lobby Neutralized the LAUSD Inspector General

Working with his treasure trove of emails among charter operators, which he obtained via a public records request, blogger Michael Kohlhaas explains how the Charter Lobby managed to reduce the powers of the Office of Inspector General, whose investigations into corrupt charters had been a thorn in their side.
This is an important post. Read it in full. The charter lobby dedicates a lot of time and money to avoiding accountability and transparency.
He begins:
The Los Angeles Unified School District has a particularly powerful oversight office, the Office of the Inspector General, known in the trade jargon as OIG. And in 2018 the School Board failed to renew then-IG Ken Bramlett’s contract. According to LA Times education reporter Howard Blume, pro-charter board members Monica Garcia, Kelly Gonez, and Nick Melvoin voted against renewal, which was enough to deadlock the board and prevent Bramlett’s return. Blume also noted that Bramlett had aggressively investigated some charter schools, in some cases leading to criminal charges being filed, and CONTINUE READING: Los Angeles: Michael Kohlhaas Explains How Charter Lobby Neutralized the LAUSD Inspector General | Diane Ravitch's blog



glen brown: “The Chicago teachers want school nurses, social workers and librarians” by Mary Richie

glen brown: “The Chicago teachers want school nurses, social workers and librarians” by Mary Richie

“The Chicago teachers want school nurses, social workers and librarians” by Mary Richie

Today’s paper [October 6th] indicates that the Chicago teachers want school nurses, social workers and librarians. I often wondered whether a school nurse was necessary in River Forest and when ours retired and was not replaced, I figured we didn't.

Then along came a skinny little girl with unkempt hair to my third-grade classroom.  There were a few rundown frame homes in south River Forest that the owner rented out to employees.  This youngster's mother had run away, leaving her husband in a coup with a passel of kids.  

My little charge had many problems, but the one most disturbing to the running of my classroom was that she would leave a trail of "turds" (feces) in the classroom much to the dismay of her prim and proper classmates.

I bought her clean underwear and arranged for her to change in the old nurse's office, and then deposit the soiled underpants in plastic bags that were there for her use in the same drawer. Well, one day she felt that she didn't want me to know she had soiled herself again so she flushed the cotton pants down the toilet causing it to, of course, over flow!

She grew to love me and, of course, she received lots of my attention.  I realized that the child had a real artistic talent and with her father's permission took her to the Chicago Art Institute one Saturday.  She loved it all but was especially taken by a CONTINUE READING:  glen brown: “The Chicago teachers want school nurses, social workers and librarians” by Mary Richie

Tim Slekar on the Exodus of Schoolteachers from Their Chosen Profession | janresseger

Tim Slekar on the Exodus of Schoolteachers from Their Chosen Profession | janresseger

Tim Slekar on the Exodus of Schoolteachers from Their Chosen Profession

Tim Slekar is the Dean of the College of Education at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin.  Early in September, Slekar was interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio, an interview recommended to me by a public school teacher who said it is the best statement she has heard of the truth about public education today.
You can listen to Slekar explain what is described in many places as a growing shortage of public school teachers.  Slekar believes we are not merely experiencing a shortage of teachers;  what is happening instead is an exodus of public school teachers from their chosen profession. If it were a classic labor shortage, explains Slekar, pay would be raised, conditions would be made better, and enrollment in teacher training programs would grow.  All of this would attract more people to teaching, according to how a labor market is supposed to work.  But, argues Slekar, fewer and fewer people now want to be schoolteachers.  He explains that in his office, he has listened as parents of his college students beg their children to choose another profession instead.
Slekar believes that teachers are being driven out of the profession by the impossibility of working under the conditions imposed by test based school accountability, a strategy designed to be punitive. The goal was to make teachers work harder and smarter for fear their schools would receive a low rating. Test based accountability was a bipartisan strategy designed in the 1990s and cast into law in 2002 in the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which required schools to test students annually in grades 3-8 and once in high school. Schools were then judged by their aggregate test scores, and the lowest scoring schools were punished.
Slekar also has a blog, Busted Pencils, where he has covered this subject extensively.  In a post last April, Slekar declares: “Accountability—loved by Democrats and Republicans—has almost become a religious movement. In fact the idea of even questioning the usefulness of test based accountability can cause enraged panic in accountability zealots. ‘How will we know what CONTINUE READING: Tim Slekar on the Exodus of Schoolteachers from Their Chosen Profession | janresseger

A Great Minds (Common Core, Inc.) History: Eureka Math, Wit & Wisdom, and More. | deutsch29

A Great Minds (Common Core, Inc.) History: Eureka Math, Wit & Wisdom, and More. | deutsch29

A Great Minds (Common Core, Inc.) History: Eureka Math, Wit & Wisdom, and More.


On October 03, 2019, I had a request on my blog from a commenter who asked if I “could do an investigation on this Wit & Wisdom curriculum we’re being forced to use.” In this case, “we” refers to Louisiana teachers. (The Louisiana Department of Education has a contract for Wit & Wisdom, effective 07/01/16 – 06/30/22.)
This is an extensive dive. Do make yourself comfortable.
Wit & Wisdom is a curricular product of Great Minds, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that also operates an LLC (limited liability company) (see”great minds” using this DC business license search engine). Great Minds also owns Eureka Math.
On its website, Great Minds identifies itself as a nonprofit founded in 2008. Here is the their “about” spiel:

ABOUT GREAT MINDS

A group of education leaders founded the non-profit Great Minds in 2008 to define and encourage content-rich comprehensive education for all American schoolchildren. In pursuit of that mission, Great Minds brings schoolteachers together in collaboration with scholars to craft exemplary instructional materials and share them with the field. Great Minds’ Eureka Math curriculum has won accolades at the state and national levels, and is the only comprehensive math curriculum aligned to the Common Core State Standards at every grade. The non profit also just released Wit & Wisdom, a new English curriculum that taps the power of literature, history and science to meet the expectations of the new standards.
Actually, in 2008, there was no nonprofit named Great Minds, and there wouldn’t be until 2015. The nonprofit formed in 2008 was named Common Core, Inc., which just happens to share a name with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that did not yet exist in 2008 (though, as Washington Post reporter Lyndsey Layton publicized in June 2014,  in the summer of 2008, CCSS “lead writer” David CONTINUE READING: A Great Minds (Common Core, Inc.) History: Eureka Math, Wit & Wisdom, and More. | deutsch29

NYC Public School Parents: Our next "Talk Out of School" show on WBAI with Jamaal Bowman & Eric Blanc

NYC Public School Parents: Our next "Talk Out of School" show on WBAI with Jamaal Bowman & Eric Blanc

Our next "Talk Out of School" show on WBAI with Jamaal Bowman & Eric Blanc





NYC Public School Parents: Our next "Talk Out of School" show on WBAI with Jamaal Bowman & Eric Blanc