Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, December 1, 2019


CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Deer Season Edition (12/1)

ICYMI: Deer Season Edition (12/1)
Yes, it may be Thanksgiving weekend where you are, but in my neck of the woods, schools are closed tomorrow for the first day of deer season. Don't knock it if you haven't eaten some excellent deer baloney. In the meantime, here's some reading from the week

Sign of the times. This one was in New Jersey. One more reminder of the vulnerability of school data systems.

Over at The Hill they've noticed that DeVos is not exactly racing to help students drowning in debt incurred at frauduversities. Fun detail I hadn't previously seen in coverage of this-- when DeVos signed off on claims already approved, she added "with extreme displeasure" below her signature. What a sweetheart.

This is just awesome. Researchers took a look to see what happened if you used VAM to check on which teachers had the best effect on student height. Turns out VAM is just as valid for that purpose as it is for measuring teacher effect on test scores. A great addition to everyone's VAM is a sham file.

In a shocking development, yet another set of PD stuff turns out to be largely useless (I know-- I'm shocked, to). Peter DeWitt at EdWeek asks what the problem might be.

Stephen Dyer at 10th Period takes a look at how Ohio charter vampires are upping their blood intake to even more dangerous levels.

Thomas Ultican has a thoroughly researched look at all the reasons i-Ready is a snare and a delusion. A great read (and not just because he included me).

Peter Gray at Psychology Today reminding us, again, that pushing academics on the littles is not doing anybody any good.

Audrey Watters is freakin' awesome. Here's the text of a recent speech she delivered about the stories that ed tech pushers use to sell their junk. A must read.

Wrench in the Gears traveled to Seattle to speak about some of the threats hiding behind the tech revolution in education.

David Dawkins at Forbes identifies one of the many longterm problems that come with the rise of our philanthropist kings.

The indispensable Mercedes Schneider has been digging again, and she's found another project messing with education being funded by Michael Bloomberg's daughter.


TX: Bigotry In The Classroom

This is a troubling story, for several reasons. Georgia Clark was an English teacher in the Fort Worth Independent School District, a district with over 80% Hispanic student population. Clark sent a message to Donald Trump, asking him to do something about all the illegal [sic] immigrant students. Her request included charming lines like "anything you can do to remove the illegals from Fort Worth


Ed Tech Giant Powerschool Keeps Eating the World

If you want to be a tech giant, you can try to grow organically within your company, or you can just look for companies that are already doing what you want to do, and buy them. Some are better than the strategy than others-- Facebook absorbed Instagram well enough, but Google seems to kill everything it touches . Back in the day, PowerSchool was a simple little program for taking care of classroo

NOV 29

CO: READ Didn't Work. Quick, Call A Consultant!

In 2012, Colorado joined the list of states whose legislators don't understand the difference between correlation and causation. Colorado passed the READ Act , "born out of convincing research by a variety of sources...that shows students who cannot read by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school." That's an interesting, possibly valuable correlation. But to ar

NOV 28

Be Grateful

It's ironic, with a very American sort of irony, that we have a national holiday about thankfulness and gratitude, because we are kind of lousy at that whole thankfulness and gratitude thing. We're more attracted to the self-made story, the I-pulled-myself-up-by-my-own-bootstraps story, the story that in this country, anyone can get ahead with grit, virtue and hard work (and if you haven't gotten

NOV 27

AI: Bad Data, Bad Results

Once upon a time, when you took computer programming courses, you had two things drilled into you: 1) Computers are dumb. Fast and indefatigable, but dumb. 2) Garbage in, garbage out. The rise of artificial intelligence is supposed to make us forget both of those things. It shouldn't. It especially shouldn't in fields like education which are packed with cyber-non-experts and far too many people w
Finn And Hess Accidentally Argue For Teacher Tenure

Chester Finn (honcho emeritus, Fordham Institute) and Rick Hess (AEI education guy) are concerned about the threat of rampant wokeness , particularly in the reformster universe. And they are not afraid to exercise some strenuous prose in service of the point: School reformers have long seen themselves as plucky champions of change. Today, however, as funders and advocacy groups chant from a common

NOV 26

TN: Doubling Down On Bad Reading Policy

Among the worst policy ideas of the past decades, we have to count third grade reading retention laws. These laws can sometimes give schools a brief bump in test scores, but the consequences for actual human students are not good . And some folks in Tennessee have decided that more of a bad idea would be super. Why tell a eight or nine year old child that they failed third grade, even though they

NOV 24

ICYMI: Good Lord Is Thanksgiving Really Next Week Edition (11/24)

I find that in retirement holidays sort of sneak up on me. I suppose it's because I'm not exposed to the daily reminders from students and the school calendar. Mostly I like it, but sometimes I'm surprised. In the meantime, here are some 

Learning From The Historic Gains We Won In The Chicago Teachers Strike | PopularResistance.Org

Learning From The Historic Gains We Won In The Chicago Teachers Strike | PopularResistance.Org


As a Chicago Public Schools (CPS) student from first grade through high school, and in my 17 years of teaching in the system, none of my schools ever had a full-time social worker or nurse every day of the week.
In the first contract the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) secured in the era of legalized public sector bargaining, in 1967, the language states: “a plan shall be devised to make available to teacher nurses a list of vacancies to which they may indicate their desire to transfer.” That language, providing no firm guarantee of staffing ratios, remained virtually unchanged for half a century. All subsequent contracts until 2019 include no references to bilingual education, dedicated staff and resources for our homeless students, case manager positions for our diverse learner population, sanctuary language to protect undocumented students from ICE, living wages for our lowest-paid paraprofessional members, or a dedicated article on early childhood education. Now, that’s all changed.
After 52 years of struggle, and an 11-day citywide strike, we were finally able to secure these critical demands—and more. We won 180 case-manager positions, 20 English language program teachers, full-time staff for homeless students, up to $35 million to lower excessive class size and even nap time for our little ones. This dedicated effort to win seminal staffing supports and educational justice for CPS students did not happen overnight—it’s been a long and protracted fight for the schools they deserve.
During the lead up to the 2019 strike, the editorial pages of the two major CONTINUE READING: Learning From The Historic Gains We Won In The Chicago Teachers Strike | PopularResistance.Org

Helen Ladd on the Negative Effects of Charter Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog

Helen Ladd on the Negative Effects of Charter Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog

Helen Ladd on the Negative Effects of Charter Schools

Helen Ladd is one of our nation’s most distinguished economists. She has written extensively about education and poverty, as well as school choice.
Dr. Ladd informed me that she has written scholarly articles about charter schools. I asked if she was willing to let me post them here. She said that they were on a website that was closed.
However, the articles are now available and accessible to individuals who download them.
You can find the links on her web site: CONTINUE READING: Helen Ladd on the Negative Effects of Charter Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog

CURMUDGUCATION: TX: Bigotry In The Classroom

CURMUDGUCATION: TX: Bigotry In The Classroom

TX: Bigotry In The Classroom

This is a troubling story, for several reasons.

Georgia Clark was an English teacher in the Fort Worth Independent School District, a district with over 80% Hispanic student population. Clark sent a message to Donald Trump, asking him to do something about all the illegal [sic] immigrant students. Her request included charming lines like "anything you can do to remove the illegals from Fort Worth would be greatly appreciated" and a request for "help reporting illegals in the Fort Worth public school system" and even a complaint that "the Mexicans refuse to honor our flag."

But it turns out that Clark is a little fuzzy on how to work the electric tweeter machine, and posted her various complaints as regular tweet and not direct messages, and that's where her latest troubles began. So her request for protection so that she could make her requests anonymously was, well, not so useful.

FWISD had reportedly already had Clark on their radar for not-entirely-supportive language used with students; she was apparently almost fired in 2013. This blew up in the community, and the district made the obvious call-- they put her on leave immediately, then fired her.

Clark didn't want to go, so she appealed the firing, and last week, Texas Education Agency commissioner Mike Morath ordered that she be reinstated, with back pay.

The FWISD board is appealing, and took a symbolic revote just to be clear that they really mean it, and again unanimously canned Clark. The board says that they believe the state's ruling is based on a procedural technicality, but the conclusion of the state's report also says

Clark’s Twitters were a private citizen’s free speech about a matter of public concern and was CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: TX: Bigotry In The Classroom

NewBlackMan (in Exile) TODAY

NewBlackMan (in Exile)

NewBlackMan (in Exile) TODAY

A Nigger Un-Reconstructed: The Legacy of Richard Pryor

by Mark Anthony Neal | @NewBlackMan | NewBlackMan (in Exile) "Unreconstructed black men don't have the manners of their reconstructed 'Negro' brethren, who are always trying to put a 'civilized' face on their blackness, especially in the company of white folks." — -- Quincy Troupe "I think that niggers are the best of people who were slaves, and that's how they got to be niggers 'cause they stol
Tiny Desk Concert: Black Uhuru

'Considering the state of global politics, there's never been a better time to get reacquainted with the righteousness of Black Uhuru . The iconic reggae band, whose name means "Black Freedom" in Swahili, is still going strong after more than 40 years, and they brought their much-needed songs of solidarity to the Tiny Desk . Fittingly, the set begins with "Here Comes Black Uhuru," a telling and l
'Atlantics' Is A Haunting Refugee Story — Of The Women Left Behind In Senegal

'In the new movie Atlantics , directed by Mati Diop , a group of young men set off on a boat for Spain from the coast of Senegal. They're fed up with their lives, and have made the fateful — and fatal — decision to sail to Europe. But Atlantics , which won the Grand Prix at this year's Cannes Film Festival is not a movie about them. It's the story of the women they've left behind. And it's a ghos
Amanpour & Company: Ford Foundation President Darren Walker on Philanthropy

'In “From Generosity to Justice: A New Gospel of Wealth”, Darren Walker articulates a bold vision for philanthropy in the 21st century, joined by an array of thinkers, activists, and leaders from every field, sector, and walk of life. Walker sits down with Walter Isaacson to discuss his personal journey and how philanthropy can be a tool for achieving economic, social, and political justice.' --
19-Year-Old Filmmaker Phillip Youmans on 'Burning Cane'

'19-year-old Phillip Youmans ’ first film Burning Cane won three awards at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. He has made history as the youngest director to feature in the festival and the first African American director to win the top prize, and he spoke with Alicia Menendez about his story.' -- Amanpour & Co.
Robert Glasper Names Favorite Hip-Hop Jazz Samples

'In this clip from People's Party , Robert Glasper and Talib Kweli discuss all-time great Jazz samples in Hip-Hop songs, including favorites from A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and J Dilla.' -- UPROXX Video
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. How Is It Different From PTSD?

'How is Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome different from PTSD? Dr. Joy DeGruy explains how trauma can be passed on generation after generation.' -- AJ+

Left of Black S10:E6: “Black Studies has always been ahead of its moment” – A Conversation with Petal Samuel

Left of Black host Mark Anthony Neal (@NewBlackMan) is joined in the studio by Dr. Petal Samuel ( @iounalao ), an assistant professor in the Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies at the University of North