Sunday, December 29, 2019

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION + ICYMI: Almost A New Decade Edition (12/29)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Almost A New Decade Edition (12/29)


Almost A New Decade Edition (12/29)
Yep, soon anything from the 1900s will be "a long time ago." But we can meditate on how experience fades into the dim past some other day. Right now we'll just worry about last week. Here's some of the worthwhile reading; it's a short list because holiday time. Remember to amplify the stuff that speaks to you!

How Ibram X. Kendi's Definition of Antiracism Applies to Schools 
If you don't know Kendi's work yet, you should catch up. Here KQED takes a look at how it applies directly to schools. Start thinking about racism before you get back from vacation.

The Stories We Were Told About Education Technology (2019)
Audrey Watters takes a look at the year in ed tech, employing her gift for blowing away the smoke and cutting through the bullshit. This read is a little depressing, but important.

While City Services Suffer, MNPS Plans $45.6 Million For Charter Expansion
Andy Spears looks at one more instance of how Tennessee's charter gravy train keeps running at the expense of the public good.

Reasons Children Have Reading Problems That Corporate Reformers Don't Talk About
Nancy Bailey takes a look at some of the factors that can affect children's reading, even if they aren't part of the reformster playbook.

Massachusetts Nonprofit Receives $57 Million from Arkansas Waltons
The indispensable Mercedes Schneider looks into one more astro-turfy charter-promoting group and finds a big fat pile of Walton money.

The PISA Problem 
The Have You Heard podcast looks at the regular testing chicken littling. And if, like me, you don't really have a chance to listen to podcasts, there's a transcript for us dinosaurs.

Ten Ideas To Save The World In 2020
Looking for ways to have a more positive impact on the planet? Here's some simple starter ideas from a fine blogger who is also my daughter.

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Almost A New Decade Edition (12/29)

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION


Dana Goldstein's Common Core Ten Year Tale, Annotated

Dana Goldstein's NYT ten year retrospective of Common Core has been sitting on my desktop since it was published, making me grumpy. It's yet another example of how the stories we are told about modern disruptive education reform are subtly sugared and carefully crafted to avoid discussing some of the larger issues. I don't know-- after all, Goldstein is a published book author and writes for the A

DEC 27

VA: Ideas About How To Recruit and Retain Teachers

As squawking about the teacher "shortage" many states have developed methods to either take advantage of the situation ("Now we can finally break the teachers union and public education by letting any warm body stand in front of a classroom because, hey, there's a shortage") or try to figure out a way to actually solve the problem. In Virginia, a coalition appears to be t aking a shot at the latte

DEC 26

Big Brother U & The Surveillance State

If you missed this article at Washington Post about on campus surveillance of students-- well, congratulations on having one less troubling thought in your head over the past week. Because the surveillance is continuing its slow, steady advance. Now technology lets colleges monitor their students 24/7. Yay. This particular article focuses on a company called SpotterEDU , and they are creepy as hel

DEC 25

Merry Christmas

To those of you who celebrate the holiday, best wishes. (For those of you who don't, best wishes). Here's the Curmudgucation Institute's annually curated selection of Christmas music that's not just the same damn thing the radio's been playing for weeks. Enjoy. I've taken off a couple of days to spend with board of directors and the rest of the institute stakeholders who are in town. I'll be back

DEC 22

WI: Pre-K Cyberschool Shenanigans

A few Wisconsin legislators have a dumb idea for a law . They'd like to spend $1.5 million on cyberschool -- on line computerized instruction-- for pre-schoolers. This is just layers and layers of dumb. First, cyberschools in general have proven to be lousy. Spectacularly lousy -- and that's in a study run by an organization sympathetic to charters.. Students would be better off spending a year pl
ICYMI: The Nights Before Christmas Edition (12/22)

Down to the wire (or in some cases, past the wire-- my extended family gathered at my folks yesterday for our holiday celebration). But there's still plenty to read from the last week. The Science of Writing "Science is not a hammer." Paul Thomas with some thoughts about the teaching of writing and the science that is (or is not) behind it and science's place in the grander scheme. Whatever Happen

DEC 20

OH: Voucher Crisis Looming

When does a voucher program lose support? When it comes for the wealthy white districts. Ohio has quietly been working to become the Florida of North when it comes to education, with an assortment of school choice programs that 
CURMUDGUCATION - http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/

Cursive Writing and Coding: Conflicts over School Goals | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Cursive Writing and Coding: Conflicts over School Goals | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Cursive Writing and Coding: Conflicts over School Goals



I published this post originally on May 18, 2014. Since then the regular media run pieces on the disappearance and revival of cursive writing. I am re-printing this post since again proposals to resusitate cursive writing have appeared. As reported in the New York Times, 24 states now require different forms of cursive writing with seven that have adopted policies since 2013.
Schools as “museums of virtue”* and schools as engines of change have been dominant and conflicting metaphors in the history of school reform. In the mid-19th century, tax-supported public schools pursued Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmetic–the three Rs. Basic literacy–being able to read the Bible, write one’s name, know elementary ciphering, and absorb family and community values–were the primary reasons for creating public schools. In a predominantly rural society, one-room schools sought to preserve the virtues of Protestantism, instill basic literacy, strengthen patriotism, and social custom through the three Rs.
One hundred and fifty years later, public schools are not only expected to instill the traditional three Rs and socialize children into dominant societal values but also expected to be responsible for the “whole child” and change society for the better. There has been an unrelenting expansion of traditional  three Rs to now include a suite of literacies:  scientific , numeracytechnological, and civic. The notion of schools as “museums of virtue” still exists but now competes with the idea that schools were (and are) engines of political, social, and economic CONTINUE READING: Cursive Writing and Coding: Conflicts over School Goals | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Reader: I Taught SAT Prep. It’s a Sham. | Diane Ravitch's blog

Reader: I Taught SAT Prep. It’s a Sham. | Diane Ravitch's blog

Reader: I Taught SAT Prep. It’s a Sham.



An anonymous reader left this comment about the SAT.
Once upon a time, 25 years ago, I ‘offered’ SAT tutoring (at a rather high price of $50/hr.) to denizens of a tony private school. I could charge that much because I ‘got results’. But, it was rather easy to improve scores.
First, there was the fact that almost all of my clients had scored ‘too low’ when they first took the test. The probability was, therefore, that if they simply took it again, they would ‘improve’. Secondly, most low performers had a certain level of anxiety when they took the test. Simply being familiar with the format by reviewing former tests helped those students assess the test in a more calm and analytical manner. Thirdly, despite the subtraction of ‘wrong’ answers from the score (at a rate commensurate with the number of answers), the students needed to understand that they actually knew something, if only at the subconscious level, and they needed to ‘guess’ (even randomly) because an inaccurate random guess didn’t really count against the score. They needed to trust their instincts.
The result was often (among ‘median’ scores) a 100 point increase. Were the students any ‘smarter’ after the CONTINUE READING: Reader: I Taught SAT Prep. It’s a Sham. | Diane Ravitch's blog

Listen to This – Nineteen for 2019 | Live Long and Prosper

Listen to This – Nineteen for 2019 | Live Long and Prosper

Listen to This – Nineteen for 2019




Nineteen meaningful comments and quotes from 2019 from my blog and others…
JANUARY
Making Laws About Teaching
Perplexing but not surprising- people who are most judgmental & outspoken about the qualifications necessary to perform a job are typically those people who have never done the job.
Hey Kindergarten, Get Ready for the Children.
…it is not a five year old’s job to be ready for kindergarten– it is kindergarten’s job to be ready for the five year olds. If a test shows that the majority of littles are not “ready” for your kindergarten program, then the littles are not the problem– your kindergarten, or maybe your readiness test, is the problem. The solution is not to declare, “We had better lean on these little slackers a little harder and get them away from their families a little sooner.” Instead, try asking how your kindergarten program could be shifted to meet the needs that your students actually have. 
FEBRUARY
Punishing third graders
Now we are witnessing the other consequences of the Third Grade Threat—pushing inappropriate instruction down to kindergarten, as anxious CONTINUE READING: 
Listen to This – Nineteen for 2019 | Live Long and Prosper

Massachusetts Nonprofit, Building Excellent Schools, Receives $57M from Arkansas Waltons | deutsch29

Massachusetts Nonprofit, Building Excellent Schools, Receives $57M from Arkansas Waltons | deutsch29

Massachusetts Nonprofit, Building Excellent Schools, Receives $57M from Arkansas Waltons
The billionaire Walton family spends millions promoting school choice, including fronting money for charter school start-ups. Moreover, the Walton “paths to public charter school startup” advertises a number of “partners,” including Massachusetts-based Building Excellent Schools (BES).
BES received its tax-exempt status in June 2003; however, BES’s “about” page places its beginnings prior to formation of the BES nonprofit, a a resource center in response to “poor academic performance of Massachusetts’ first charter schools.” The BES mission statement from its tax forms indicates BES’s purpose is “to foster the development and ensure the success of charter schools.”
Once BES became a nonprofit, the Waltons immediately began funding BES. In fact, BES’s first tax filing, spanning July 2003 to June 2004 (FY2003) indicates total revenue of $1,670,374– mostly Walton cash:
In 2003, the Waltons gave BES $1,190,000– which equals 71 percent of the BES revenue reported on its initial return– making Massachusetts-based BES instantly dependent upon the Arkansas-based Walton wealth for most of its revenue.
I was curious what percentage of BES revenue derived from the Waltons across the years, so I examined BES total revenue on its tax forms and compared it to BES’s Walton grants as listed on the Walton Family Foundation.
A continuous, year-by-year comparison is not possible: The Walton grants CONTINUE READING: Massachusetts Nonprofit, Building Excellent Schools, Receives $57M from Arkansas Waltons | deutsch29


Sixteen Gadfly Articles That Made Betsy DeVos Itch in 2019
 | gadflyonthewallblog

Sixteen Gadfly Articles That Made Betsy DeVos Itch in 2019
 | gadflyonthewallblog

Sixteen Gadfly Articles That Made Betsy DeVos Itch in 2019

“Life can only be understood backwards,” wrote Søren Kierkegaard, “but it must be lived forwards.”
I remember reading the Danish philosopher’s “Fear and Trembling” in my philosophy of religion class back in college.
To be honest I was never a big fan of his work – I thought if the only way to truth was taking a leap of faith, how many madmen have already reached enlightenment?

But he had a point when he wrote about the backwards order of perspective – that we can only understand the meaning of our lives once those moments have passed. How cruel that we must live our lives without knowing the importance of those moments until later.
The only times I remember knowing – really knowing – that I was living through an CONTINUE READING: Sixteen Gadfly Articles That Made Betsy DeVos Itch in 2019
 | gadflyonthewallblog

CURMUDGUCATION: Dana Goldstein's Common Core Ten Year Tale, Annotated

CURMUDGUCATION: Dana Goldstein's Common Core Ten Year Tale, Annotated

Dana Goldstein's Common Core Ten Year Tale, Annotated

Dana Goldstein's NYT ten year retrospective of Common Core has been sitting on my desktop since it was published, making me grumpy. It's yet another example of how the stories we are told about modern disruptive education reform are subtly sugared and carefully crafted to avoid discussing some of the larger issues. I don't know-- after all, Goldstein is a published book author and writes for the

Alas, poor standards.
New York Times, and I'm sitting here next to a sleeping baby on the couch, blogging for free, so it's always possible that I don't know what I'm talking about. But there is just so much stuff going on in her piece that I'm going to just going to quote and respond. For full fairness, you should go read the full piece, but these are all the little moments I experience reading this piece. Some of this is about how Goldstein reports the story, and some of it is just a chance to re-experience the anger of the last decade all over again. Yay, nostalgia.

So let's wade in.

The plan was hatched with high hopes and missionary zeal:

First sentence and already we're passive voicing our way right past a critical CCSS CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Dana Goldstein's Common Core Ten Year Tale, Annotated


 


Education in New York: Looking Back and Looking Forward: Remembering 2019 and Anticipating 2020 | Ed In The Apple

Education in New York: Looking Back and Looking Forward: Remembering 2019 and Anticipating 2020 | Ed In The Apple

Education in New York: Looking Back and Looking Forward: Remembering 2019 and Anticipating 2020


The decade of the teens began with high expectations and ended in confusion, both for New York State and New York City.
The decade started with a new leader of the Board of Regents, Merryl Tisch, and a new commissioner, David Steiner. Ever rising questionable test scores led to Tisch and Steiner, bravely, demanding an external audit and asked Daniel Koretz; a Harvard testing expert, to examine the testing regime in New York State and Koretz found the testing seriously flawed.
John King replaced Steiner and the state adopted the Common Core State Standards, moved to Common Core-based state tests, imposed four pre-service exams for prospective teachers, won a $700 million Race to the Top grant and began “scaling” the Regents exams.
It appeared like the state was moving in the right direction.
At the end of the decade the commissioner, after a contentious relationship with the Board precipitously announced her resignation.  NAEP scores remained in the middle of the bottom half of states, and five months later the Board is still searching for a new commissioner.
Were Tisch/King moving in the wrong direction?  Why was the current Board and Commissioner  relationship so conflicted? The members? The structure? Or, were the sharp disparities in school funding across the state impacting CONTINUE READING: Education in New York: Looking Back and Looking Forward: Remembering 2019 and Anticipating 2020 | Ed In The Apple

NYC Educator: On Academic Language and ELLs

NYC Educator: On Academic Language and ELLs

On Academic Language and ELLs

Image result for Cultivating Knowledge, Building Language
I've read most of a book called Cultivating Knowledge, Building Language. Someone from UFT told me it was the book on which the geniuses in Albany based their ELL policy. I'm not sure where to begin, if indeed that's the case, but I'll start with the fact that it focuses exclusively on elementary students.

I'm a high school teacher. The fact is my students come to me with varying knowledge of their first languages. They may be much more sophisticated than the learners on which this book focuses. Since this book focuses only on elementary students, it doesn't need to be aware that such skills are likely to transfer into English with experience. However, if the geniuses in Albany base practices for all students on such a book, it behooves them to know.

If I were to assume that my students had little knowledge of language because they have little knowledge of English, I'd be unqualified to teach these kids. Of course I get students who've had interrupted formal education, students who haven't received the instruction or attention elementary students usually get, but they are the exception, not the rule.

If you've studied language acquisition, you know that age is a big factor. You also know that puberty tends to be a real turning point. My students will not acquire English as easily as their elementary-aged brothers and sisters. They will need guidance and support beyond what six-year-olds need. It's my job to provide them with a nurturing and supportive environment. While the book does acknowledge that, were I to focus as intensely on vocabulary as the authors, I'd have little time to focus on what really concerns my kids.

Now I'm not against vocabulary. I love words, or I wouldn't be in the business of teaching English (let alone writing this blog). There is, though, a natural progression. I am not merely a provider of language. I am a salesperson, impressing CONTINUE READING: 
NYC Educator: On Academic Language and ELLs