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Sunday, May 31, 2020

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION + ICYMI: Hellacious Week Edition (5/31)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Hellacious Week Edition (5/31)

Hellacious Week Edition 

Well, this has been a bunch of big ugly crap, on top of the One Damn Thing After Another sundae that is 2020. Let's read.

All About the Mask
Nancy Flanagan looks at the politics and symbolism of the ongoing mask wars.

Chalkbeat Discovers Teachers on Front Lines
Chalkbeat lets a brand new charter leader lay out some obvious obviousness about teachers and pandemic response. NYC Educator breaks it down and provides a good response.

Distance Learning? Even my students will tell you that's not the future
The LA Times, via Yahoo, offers bad news for those banking on distance learning.

Vouchers hurt poor kids
The 10th Period blog responds to a pro-reform editorial about the Ohio EdChoice lawsuit. Some good response here to the classic "but vouchers help the poor kids" argument.

Good News and Bad News from Harrisburg
Steven Singer reports on financial impacts on PA schools-- and bonuses for the private edubiz guys.

All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace
Audrey Watters speaks to the impulse to deal with the fall's crisis with more automation and surveillance.

Betsy DeVos Ignores Congress
Jan Resseger takes a big, deep look at DeVos's plan to use relief money to help fuel her own pet causes.

Giving private schools federal emergency funds slated for low-income students will shortchange at-risk kids
Derek Black is at the Conversation, laying out how the DeVos plan will cut funding true at-need students in US schools.

Lawsuit Over AP Botch No Publicity Stunt  
The indispensable Mercedes Schneider takes a look at the Fairtest lawsuit over the complete clusterf#@! that was the College Board's online AP test

Annie Tan: My First Year Disaster With TFA 
Schneider again, interviewing Annie Tan about her less-than-awesome experience with Teach for America.

I Just Don't Think Remote Learning Works
Susan Sciara, a special ed teacher, writes for Hechinger Report about the failure of the remote learning adventure.

Private Interests Are Wrongly Shaping Education Policy in Ohio 
An op-ed at looks at Ohio's messed-up history with privatization, bad policy, and business people in the driver's seat.

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Hellacious Week Edition (5/31)



The Betsy DeVos Reverse Robin Hood Act: What Is The Big Deal? - by @palan57 on @forbes

No, Software Still Can’t Grade Student Essays - by @palan57 on @forbes

Changing To Personalized Learning Would Be Huge Mistake. What If We Tried Personalized Learning Instead. - by @palan57 on @forbes

Teaching And The Social Contract (TL;DR)
I didn't write anything yesterday, which is an unusual day for me, but I've just been trying to take it all in. I have family in Seattle, friends in Pittsburgh. There's a lot of mess out there tonight. It's nothing new for our country, but it's never been laid out so starkly. The woman in Central Park deliberately weaponizing her status as a white woman to, at best, put a Black man in his place an
Betsy DeVos, the Catholic Church, and Public Tax Dollars
The Trump administration and the Catholic Church have seemed extra tight lately. And an awful lot of it has to do with public education. Cardinal Timothy Dolan (New York) took the lead in a fun conference call last month in which Trump , along with Betsy DeVos, swapped personal admiration and what is either some quid pro quo or just a shared love for the notion of shredding public education and re

Why shouldn't high stakes testing be abandoned next year?
Testing in the fall? Let's talk about that idea. Thomas Toch is one of those reformsters who has managed to bounce from job to reformy job . Currently, he's head honcho at FutureEd , an ed reform advocacy group that bills itself as a thinky tank, and there isn't an educational disruption that they haven't tried to make a case for. This spring they have been vocal in trying to protect the future of
Boutique Virtual Pre-School (I Am Not Making This Up)
Here's another entry in the swanky virtual pre-school field. It's Bumo Virtual School , and it is the brainchild of an influencer and an entrepreneur. They originally wanted to start a café where parents could hang out while their littles played and learned stuff. It was going to be "a chic little spot in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Century City." But then the coronavirus happened, so they shi
Separating Home And School For Teachers
Watching my wife deal with the challenges of doing crisis pandemic distance learning, I've been having flashbacks to my first job. I taught in Lorain High School (not the current LHS but the one that stood where there is now a vacant lot), and I rented an apartment right across the street from the school. When I found the place, I was delighted-- the ultimate in convenience. I wouldn't even have t
ICYMI: A Year Older Edition (5/24)
I had a birthday this week, but I feel pretty much the same. I might have taken a couple of half-days off, so let's see if the reading list looks any shorter. After online learning flopped... The continuing saga of failed online learning in Fairfax, VA, continues with a flood of Google-based student-on-student harassment. Students think College Board is running a reddit scam One fun side note to t
How Hard Are CDC Guidelines To Follow
So now everyone is freaked out about the CDC "guidelines" as reported on that blue meme that was going around. This, of course, was the point-- to sell the idea that public schools will be like prisons, so everyone should pull their kids out. Because in the spirit of never letting a crisis go to waste, there are folks from your neighbor with the tin hat all the way up to the US Secretary of Educat
Betsy DeVos Has, In Fact, Become Arne Duncan 2.0
When this originally ran at, there was still some qujestion about the premise. Since then I've updated it with new info from DeVos herself. For many conservatives, one of the greatest sins perpetrated by Obama’s 

EdAction in Congress May 31, 2020 - Education Votes

EdAction in Congress May 31, 2020 - Education Votes

EdAction in Congress May 31, 2020

McConnell still stalling on fiscal aid while 40 million are jobless

The coronavirus has killed more than 100,000 Americans and left more than 40 million jobless—roughly a quarter of the U.S. workforce, the level at the height of the Great Depression. But that’s no reason for Congress to act anytime soon, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “I think about a month from now we’ll take a look at how things are going and be able to make a more intelligent decision,” he said. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) responded, “We need a pause? Tell that to the virus.”
The longer Congress delays, the greater the likelihood we’ll see a repeat of the Great Recession a decade ago, during which financially strapped state and local governments cut essential student services and laid off tens of thousands of educators. This time, the damage could be even worse. NEA supports the HEROES Act passed by the House, which would provide $915 billion in direct relief for state and local governments that can be used pay educators and other vital workers. The bill also provides $90 billion to stabilize education funding, takes steps to narrow the digital divide and close the homework gap, and recognizes the pressing need for PPE for educators. TAKE ACTION

Despite COVID-19 educators risk their lives for students, ESP of the Year says

In Kentucky alone, two ESPs, both bus drivers, have passed away since school buildings closed. In North Carolina, three others have passed away from the virus. “I hate that it took a dedicated member’s life to open others’ eyes,” said Matthew Powell, NEA’s 2019 ESP of the Year. “When you have stories about ESPs still fighting for our students, risking their own lives to meet the needs of every child, that really sticks out.”
Educators know it will take ongoing advocacy to secure personal protective equipment (PPE) and implement other safety measures that meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) standards for teachers and support professionals, whose duties vary widely. NEA is seeking directed funding for PPE for educators, including—and especially—the support professionals who continue to prepare and distribute meals; clean, maintain, and secure school buildings; oversee technology needs; and perform other vital work during the coronavirus pandemic. TAKE ACTION

Cheers and Jeers

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA)honored NEA Aspiring Educators by filming a video celebrating their “graduation.”
Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) released a comprehensive report on the GOP’s push to confirm far-right judges chosen not for their qualifications or experience, but for their allegiance to political goals.
EdAction in Congress May 31, 2020 - Education Votes

CURMUDGUCATION: Teaching And The Social Contract (TL;DR)

CURMUDGUCATION: Teaching And The Social Contract (TL;DR)

Teaching And The Social Contract (TL;DR)

I didn't write anything yesterday, which is an unusual day for me, but I've just been trying to take it all in. I have family in Seattle, friends in Pittsburgh. There's a lot of mess out there tonight.

It's nothing new for our country, but it's never been laid out so starkly. The woman in Central Park deliberately weaponizing her status as a white woman to, at best, put a Black man in his place and, at worst, to try to harm him for daring to challenge her right to break the rules. The armed white guys threatening duly elected lawmakers with harm and worse, because masks make them sad; met by well-disciplined law enforcement who do everything to avoid escalating the situation (reminiscent of the Bundy family's armed attack on a US facility to protect their right to steal US resources-- nobody lost their cool there, either). A peaceful protest of the gazillionth unjust death of a Black man escalated.

One of the most useful lenses I've found in the past few days is this one, from Trevor Noah

In it, he talks about the social contract, the various sorts of deals we make as a society that keeps the society working. We pretend sometimes that it's people exercising authority, like police officers or school teachers, who keep the place working, but in the absence of some kind of contract, even if it's unspoken and unexplained, there aren't enough authority figures on the planet to keep things from falling apart--it's the contract that makes the center hold.

On some level, we understand this. I'm not the only teacher who spent his first year (or two) CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Teaching And The Social Contract (TL;DR)