Friday, July 31, 2020

Gov. Wolf, You Can’t Shirk Your Duty to Close PA Schools During the Pandemic | gadflyonthewallblog

Gov. Wolf, You Can’t Shirk Your Duty to Close PA Schools During the Pandemic | gadflyonthewallblog

Gov. Wolf, You Can’t Shirk Your Duty to Close PA Schools During the Pandemic



“The Buck Stops Here!”
President Harry S. Truman famously displayed a sign on his desk saying exactly that.
It indicated that he didn’t pass the buck but accepted responsibility for the way the country was run.
What does it say on your desk, Gov. Tom Wolf?
Your latest Tweets don’t fill Pennsylvania residents with confidence:
“There are widespread rumors that I will soon be announcing a statewide school building closure or cancelling classes this fall. I want to be clear: I am not closing school buildings or cancelling classes.”
“School governing boards and administrators will determine if school buildings reopen and if classes resume in person, remotely, or a combination of the two. The best way to find out about these local decisions is to contact your school’s governing board or administration.”

Screen Shot 2020-07-31 at 2.28.51 PM
Well, that’s two things you now have in common with CONTINUE READING: Gov. Wolf, You Can’t Shirk Your Duty to Close PA Schools During the Pandemic | gadflyonthewallblog

Will "Loving Cities" Improve Public Education? | Schott Foundation for Public Education

Will "Loving Cities" Improve Public Education? | Schott Foundation for Public Education

Will "Loving Cities" Improve Public Education?



Schott President Dr. John H. Jackson was a guest on The Damage Report to discuss the launch of the second installment of Schott’s Loving Cities Index. As John explained, "We want to provide the public sector and philanthropy a new way to invest and assess whether or not cities are doing what's necessary to provide the ecosystem where all students can learn and all families can thrive.”
Will "Loving Cities" Improve Public Education? | Schott Foundation for Public Education

Robot as a Teacher | Dissident Voice

Robot as a Teacher | Dissident Voice

Robot as a Teacher
The Perils of Digitalized Progress in Education




Beware of digital education! COVID-19 may be used as a ruse to centralize power and control minds by technological elites.
Schools were created when books were not available, at least not at the mass scale as it is now. Nevertheless, they are still organized as if they responded to the conditions and circumstances from 200 years ago. The recent advancements in education seem to update the learning process to the technological capabilities of our times. However, they may bring a flattening of the old model using computers to enhance the intake of knowledge. This would imply a regress in understanding what education is for this. Potential digitalization of education also bears some dangers.
It is urgent to discuss the purpose and ethics of education in times of imposed pressure to turn to digital tools in organizing teaching. Naomi Klein warned about strengthening the economic power of digital giants as a result of bringing classroom to online realm, which she calls a Screen New Deal. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Bill Gates have been appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to advise on a scenario for post-pandemic reforms, including remote learning and telehealth. Bill Gates’ task was to help rethink public schools’ organization for the next fall. In 2014, Cuomo was CONTINUE READING: Robot as a Teacher | Dissident Voice

Unite don’t fight! - SF PUBLIC SCHOOL MOM

Unite don’t fight! - SF PUBLIC SCHOOL MOM

Unite don’t fight!




This conversation is about more than just “pods”—Don’t let those profiting off of crisis divide us!

Last Tuesday evening, during the Regular Board Meeting on July 28, 2020, we met to discuss the San Francisco Unified School District Fall Learning Plan. While I always hope to focus the discussion on efforts the district is taking, I anticipated there would be a number of families bringing up the “pod” conversation. 
So on that note, I wanted to put some recent observations out there for folks to consider. (Watch the video of my comments below or click this link to view the entire recordin on SFGovTV. This item begins at around 45:30 and my comments begin at 5:20:16)
I’m hearing lots of discussion #onhere and in the community about how the district and our larger community can and should better support distance learning and families this fall and it seems like there are two distinct conversations emerging.
One area of the discussion centers on the formation of what folks are calling “pandemic pods”. These conversations focus on small groups of often CONTINUE READING: 

Parents question College Board’s use of student data | Parent Coalition for Student Privacy

Parents question College Board’s use of student data | Parent Coalition for Student Privacy

PARENTS QUESTION COLLEGE BOARD’S USE OF STUDENT DATA



Is College Board allowing third party advertisers, keystroke loggers, and behavioral analytics to track students?  “Recording everything they do?”

With the move to online learning, many parents are asking edtech companies, “What are you doing with my child’s data?”  That seems a reasonable question. As a parent myself, I have wondered how the College Board uses and monetizes students’ data.  Similar to a recent investigation by Consumer Reports, I recently discovered that College Board allows third parties such as Facebook and advertisers such as Adobe Marketing, Google Ads, Bing Ads, Yahoo and more to track users on multiple College Board websites. However, in addition to these ad trackers, I documented where the College Board apparently utilized hidden analytics tools, including one that records everything a user does on a website and offers keystroke logging and “behavior tag” analysis of users.  I also discovered that College Board apparently required typing samples from students, asked students to give College Board an unlimited right to use their AP written and oral responses, and College Board changed their AP Terms of Service after students agreed to them in Fall of 2019.  I wonder how many parents or students know this about College Board.
The College Board, a signatory to the Student Privacy Pledge which promises not to sell students’ personal data for behavioral advertising and promises to only disclose data for educational purposes, is also the owner of the PSAT, SAT, and Advanced CONTINUE READING: Parents question College Board’s use of student data | Parent Coalition for Student Privacy

Mike Klonsky's Blog: The kind of testing we need

Mike Klonsky's Blog: The kind of testing we need

The kind of testing we need



I went and got tested at one of the many free, drive-through, city-run, partnership testing centers. How great to be in a city where tests are free and available to all. Thanks, Mayor Lightfoot, for your leadership on this front and for making sure that the city has enough test kits.  

It was an easy process -- mouth swab instead of nasal poke -- without a doctor's prescription. The last point is important since so many people lack health insurance and can't afford to see a doctor. If there was ever a case to be made for Medicare For All, this horrific pandemic makes the case.

The best part was getting my negative (no COVID) test results back within 48 hours. The private clinics and testing sites offered 5-7 day returns.

You will rarely hear me say this, but Bill Gates is right on this one. Most U.S. coronavirus tests are a “complete waste” because it takes so long to get results in time for people to self-isolate once they find out they have the virus. 

It's borderline criminal... that both presidential candidates, as well as the leadership of our CONTINUE READING: Mike Klonsky's Blog: The kind of testing we need

Grassroots Education Network- July 2020 Newsletter

Grassroots Education Network- July 2020 Newsletter


The NPE Grassroots Education Network is a network of 150 grassroots organizations nationwide who have joined together to preserve, promote, improve, and strengthen our public schools. If you know of a group that would like to join this powerful network, please go here to sign on. 

If you have any questions about the NPE Grassroots Education Network please contact Marla Kilfoyle, NPE Grassroots Education Network Liaison at marlakilfoyle@networkforpubliceducation.org

Notes from Marla

As communities continue to struggle with school reopening plans, organizations in the NPE Grassroots Education Network are taking the lead in making sure this can be done safely and with the best interest of students and teachers in mind.  As you read through this newsletter, you will see some of the amazing work that organizations are doing across the country to come up with safe, and equitable, plans to reopen school (in whatever form that looks like).  On another note, Carol, Darcie, Diane, and I have been hard at work this month tracking charter schools that took COVID stimulus PPP money that was meant for our struggling small business owners. Charter schools DID NOT  lose their funding stream and should NOT have taken money meant for small businesses to be able to pay their employees while closed.  Please share Carol’s article in the Washington Post Answer Sheet and our Act Now Action Alert to help expose this outrageous money grab.  Please help us amplify the message by sharing the Action Alert here. We are humbled by the outpouring of help that we have gotten from around the country to expose this.  Again, I hope everyone is safe and well.

National Organizing

The Network for Public Education continues to ask everyone to take action to stop CONTINUE READING: Grassroots Education Network- July 2020 Newsletter - Network For Public Education - https://networkforpubliceducation.org/grassroots-education-network-july-2020-newsletter/ via @Network4pubEd


glen brown: Nine ways America is having the wrong conversation about 'reopening' schools by Andrea Ward

glen brown: Nine ways America is having the wrong conversation about 'reopening' schools by Andrea Ward

Nine ways America is having the wrong conversation about 'reopening' schools by Andrea Ward



“When we think we have a choice between virtual learning and ‘normal’ learning. If our school buildings open for in-person instruction in a few weeks, things are going to look very different. Most of us agree that virtual learning, for the general population, is nowhere near as good as in-person learning. But the measures we would need to take to keep students and teachers safe in our schools would eliminate most, if not all, of what makes in-person learning so great. Collaborative group work? Nope. One-on-one conferences at the teacher’s desk? Sorry, no. Partner discussions, active learning ... you get the idea. Anxious teachers trying to avoid virus exposure may resort to lecturing from the front of the room and passing out worksheets, no matter how much they want to do better. ‘Normal learning’ is not on the table this year.

“When we pretend students are going to follow the safety guidelines. The vast majority of students will try to do their best, but let’s really think about what we will be asking them to do. I teach eighth grade. (I know, God bless me. I get that a lot.) If you haven’t been in an eighth-grade classroom since you were in eighth grade, you might not remember what one looks like. I will tell you. It looks like a whispering, giggling, snoring, snacking, writhing mass of humanity constantly touching each other. The only thing eighth-graders love to do more than touch each other is ignore rules created by adults. Yes, even to the detriment of their own health and safety. (Adolescent brain development at work.) There goes your six feet of separation and your mask requirement. Frequent, sustained hand-washing? Not when the sink is outside the bathroom in the hallway where all your bros are waiting.

“When we refer to the low infection and death rates among kids. Emerging evidence suggests that kids over 10 may contract and spread the virus just like adults do. Still, even if kids do get sick and die at lower rates, schools are also workplaces full of adults. Younger adults, older adults, adults who have underlying health conditions, adults who live with or care for people with underlying health conditions, adults who love CONTINUE READING: glen brown: Nine ways America is having the wrong conversation about 'reopening' schools by Andrea Ward

Mr. G for District 3: Chris Guerrieri's Education Matters: 200 here, 1200 there, told to quarantine after graduation ceremonies, we know schools will have to close so why are we risking lives?

Mr. G for District 3: Chris Guerrieri's Education Matters: 200 here, 1200 there, told to quarantine after graduation ceremonies, we know schools will have to close so why are we risking lives?

200 here, 1200 there, told to quarantine after graduation ceremonies, we know schools will have to close so why are we risking lives?




Attendees to two separate Florida graduation ceremonies are being told to quarantine. 200 in Palm Bay, and 1200 in Brevard because they were exposed to the virus. We all know this will happen in schools, every school board member and superintendent who tells families to sign up for virtual options, know this, they know schools are not safe, yet they are still pushing to open. We are risking lives for what?

Many of the same board members and supers say they feel like they have no choice because of the FLDOE's executive order, an order that the Governor called a guideline and violates the state constitution. It's true the governor and commissioner have exhibited a complete lack of leadership but at some point, school boards and supers have to say enough is enough, and we aren't going to risk lives. 

From Florida Today,


As many as 1,200 people could have to quarantine after attendees at two more Brevard County high school graduations tested positive for COVID-19, Brevard Public Schools said late Thursday.

Louisiana Educator: Warning! Sending Our Children to School This Fall May be Deadly!

Louisiana Educator: Warning! Sending Our Children to School This Fall May be Deadly!

Warning! Sending Our Children to School This Fall May be Deadly!
Researchers Find That Children May Carry High Coronavirus Loads in Their Nasal Cavities.




Many Louisiana public school parents are in the process of deciding on options for their children's school setting this fall. Based on guidelines adopted by BESE, many school systems in Louisiana are providing options that include some level of actual on-site attendance by children in school this fall. These decisions should be made with consideration of the latest scientific findings about the affect of the disease on children and their immediate families, especially since Louisiana is again one of the hot spots for spread of the disease. Parents may not yet have been alerted to the latest findings about the possibility of children as carriers of the Coronavirus because new findings are occurring almost daily. This post is an effort to alert parents to the latest research findings on children and COVID-19.

Sending our children to school this fall may be hazardous to our health. For elderly or certain susceptible individuals who come into contact with children who have been exposed to the Coronavirus, such contact may be deadly! Just yesterday, the New York Times reported on a study finding that children may carry large quantities of Coronavirus in their nasal cavities. Even though the article cautions that the study does not prove that infected children transmit the disease, the research indicates that small children may carry up to 100 times more virus in their noses than do older children or adults! In my opinion, any sneeze or cough could spread millions of possibly deadly virus containing droplets to CONTINUE READING: Louisiana Educator: Warning! Sending Our Children to School This Fall May be Deadly!


How can I write about Carranza’s latest mistake when they come so fast? | JD2718

How can I write about Carranza’s latest mistake when they come so fast? | JD2718

How can I write about Carranza’s latest mistake when they come so fast?



The DoE has an idea of what schools should do when there’s a COVID case.
I wasn’t going to write about that. I was going to write about blended learning (‘hybrid schemes”) and remote learning. I was going to compare them. I was going to explain that there was almost no advantage to hybrid, and many disadvantages. I was going to beg, please let us move onto planning remote teaching, let us plan, let us figure out how to do better than the spring, let the schedulers make schedules that work… I was going to demand again that Michael Mulgrew walk back these dumb, counterproductive words: “We believe a blended learning model, with students in class on some days and remote on others, balances our safety concerns with the need to bring students back.”
But no, I’m not going there. Not today. Richard Carranza had other ideas.
He was supposed to have a meeting with principals about the calendar. We don’t have a calendar yet for the year. We don’t even know the first day. September 10? 17? 21? 24? 28? October 1? October 5? I should be selling boxes. Could still do it, since he moved his morning meeting to 4 in the afternoon, and then skipped the calendar issue altogether. 
Carranza talked about whaat to do if there were a COVID case. He described a quarantine procedure for elementary schools.
He didn’t actually say elementary schools. But he described described small groups of students, with one CONTINUE READING: How can I write about Carranza’s latest mistake when they come so fast? | JD2718

Virtual Learning Opportunities for CNPs - Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

Virtual Learning Opportunities for CNPs - Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

Virtual Learning Opportunities for CNPs



The California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division (NSD) is pleased to announce US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Team Nutrition (TN) updates to virtual learning opportunities for Child Nutrition Program (CNP) Operators.
The following training options are offered in a distance learning format to meet annual training requirements for the new school year.

Upcoming TN Virtual Learning Opportunities

Track Training Like a Star with the Training Tracker Tool! Webinar
The Food Buying Guide for CNPs training modules
  • Release date TBA
  • The Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) presents three new training modules on the Food Buying Guide for CNPs. By completing these training modules, you can make your meal planning easier by gaining an understanding of the following resources:
    • The Food Buying Guide for CNPs
    • The Recipe Analysis Workbook
    • Child Nutrition Labels and Product Formulation Statements
  • A URL for accessing the ICN training modules on the ICN eLearning portal is forthcoming

Existing TN Virtual Learning Opportunities

The Professional Standards Training Database
The Professional Standards Training Database allows CNP Operators to search for trainings to meet their virtual learning needs in one location. Access trainings on the Professional Standards Training Database web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab..
Crediting Updates to the CNPs: Be in the Know! Webinar Series
This webinar series provides a detailed look at policy memo SP 08-2019, CACFP 02-2019, SFSP 02-2019: Update of Food Crediting in the CNPs and other related memos. Access the webinars and policy memos on the USDA Crediting Update to the CNP: Be in the Know! Webinar Series web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab..

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding TN virtual learning opportunities, please contact Team Nutrition by email at TeamNutrition@usda.gov

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609


Virtual Learning Opportunities for CNPs - Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

CURMUDGUCATION: Pence, DeVos, And More Private School Choice Baloney

CURMUDGUCATION: Pence, DeVos, And More Private School Choice Baloney

Pence, DeVos, And More Private School Choice Baloney



My thanks to Bill Ferriter, who raised some of this on Twitter, thereby allowing me to boost my blood pressure before I even got all the way home from vacation.

Mike Pence, Betsy DeVos and a few other notables took a trip yesterday to North Carolina, to plug an assortment of their favorites issues while visiting a private school that, unsurprisingly, underlined everything wrong with their favorite issues.

The school was Thales Academy; Pence visited with faculty and with a Fourth Grade class (where he and the teacher wore masks, DeVos did not, and Pence took his off to do his talky talky). He tweeted that "To Open Up America Again is to open up schools again."


Thales of Miletus. Nobody asked him if he wanted
a school chain named after him.
Thales is one of many schools founded by Robert L. Luddy, who made his bundle turning a sheet metal shop into a manufacturer of kitchen ventilation systems. He launched his first charter school in 1998, followed by a private Catholic Prep school, and the Thales chain. You may remember one of his schools being in the news for its policy forbidding the mention of anything related to LGBTQ--well, anything. His libertarian-ish bona fides are many, and he was not initially in the Trump camp in 2016, bnt he's since joined the team. And when it comes to pandemic response, Luddy is right there in Trumplandia; take this March 2020 piece he write entitled "Back To Work: America Has No Choice If It Is To Avoid Total Disaster."

That's a big part of what brought Pence and DeVos to Thales. As Pence noted in his remarks:

We were — we had a great discussion, and I could sense the spirit in the room — the enthusiasm the children feel for being back in school, which is where we want all of America’s children to be. We CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Pence, DeVos, And More Private School Choice Baloney


What Happens When a Teacher or Student Tests COVID Positive? and Other Unanswered Questions from School Leaders and Teachers: Safety, Organization and Instruction [Updated] | Ed In The Apple

What Happens When a Teacher or Student Tests COVID Positive? and Other Unanswered Questions from School Leaders and Teachers: Safety, Organization and Instruction [Updated] | Ed In The Apple

What Happens When a Teacher or Student Tests COVID Positive? and Other Unanswered Questions from School Leaders and Teachers: Safety, Organization and Instruction [Updated]




You don’t encourage teachers to care for, love and respect their students by disrespecting educators and placing their lives at risk.” (Eric Nadelstern, former Deputy Chancellor, NYC Department of Education)
Half of the members of the Miami Marlins baseball team have tested positive for COVID   putting into question the viability of the entire baseball season.
Could the same happen in a school?
A New York Times opinion essay asks the right question, “What Will Schools Do When a Teacher Gets Covid-19, and encourages school districts to answer the question.
At the virtual AFT Convention Randi Weingarten and Dr Fauci answered questions from teachers:  Watch here,  Fauci repeated what he has been saying; school opening decisions are local and depend on scientific data and safety protocols.
highly regarded pediatrician who have been in the forefront of treating COVID infected children, in a NY Daily News writes,

Pressing Questions about The Press | The Merrow Report

Pressing Questions about The Press | The Merrow Report

Pressing Questions about The Press



Donald Trump has resumed his so-called Covid-19 briefings, this time without any medical experts. After watching one in its entirety, I am concerned about the White House Press Corps, which seems to me to be a huge part of the problem. 
 The July 23rd session was billed as focusing on public schools but began with Trump’s announcement that he was cancelling the Jacksonville part of the GOP Convention, because, he said, of his concern for the safety of his fellow Republicans.
Then he read, without enthusiasm and in a monotone, a multi-page document about the necessity for reopening schools on time, without any remote learning or part-time attendance.  With his occasional side trips, he ran on for 2100 words.
Finally he threw in this stunning tidbit: This morning, I spoke with President Putin of Russia, and they’re going through a very hard time with this — in Moscow, in particular.” 
Got that? He told the assembled reporters that he had just spoken with Putin, the man who has put a bounty on the heads of US soldiers in Afghanistan, according to CONTINUE READING: Pressing Questions about The Press | The Merrow Report

2020 Medley #16 | Live Long and Prosper

2020 Medley #16 | Live Long and Prosper
2020 Medley #16


WE’VE GOT OURS. TOUGH SH!T FOR YOU
Randi and Lily are just being selfish. Yes, we had good health insurance when I was teaching. We had good prescription insurance. It cost a lot, but we were a large insured group so we got so-called “Cadillac” plans for less than it would have cost us individually. It included vision and dental, something that isn’t included in Medicare and my Medicare supplement.
But, employer-based health care leaves people behind. It’s unfair. It leaves some people without any coverage at all. And we’re the only advanced nation on the planet that still allows a large chunk of our population to be unprotected in the event of an expensive (and they’re all expensive) medical emergency.
Around a half-million Americans declare bankruptcy because of medical bills each year. Some of them might even have insurance, but it’s not always enough. Often a serious illness means loss of work…and loss of work means loss of health insurance. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic upon us, more than 30 million American workers are unemployed and without employer-based health CONTINUE READING: 2020 Medley #16 | Live Long and Prosper

Thursday, July 30, 2020

NANCY BAILEY: The Gamble: Reflections Concerning School Openings During Covid-19

The Gamble: Reflections Concerning School Openings During Covid-19

The Gamble: Reflections Concerning School Openings During Covid-19



Covid-19 is a trial when it comes to public schooling. Everyone wants their public schools to open safely, for students to socialize, learn about wonderful subjects, play sports, and work with teachers who care for them.
It’s been vividly displayed during this pandemic; how much parents rely on public education. Schools are where children are fed, and where their social-emotional needs are met beyond home.
But it is difficult to resume schooling in a way that is normal during the pandemic. Here are reasons why more time is needed to ensure that schools are safe.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says teachers will be “part of an experiment.” 

In a recent interview with AFT President Randi Weingarten, 
Many look to Dr. Fauci as the voice of reason during this pandemic, but his choice of CONTINUE READING: The Gamble: Reflections Concerning School Openings During Covid-19

Worst Year Ever | Teacher in a strange land

Worst Year Ever | Teacher in a strange land

Worst Year Ever



I was amused to see that 
The best charter schools have made good use of their freedom from old school district rules and biases. Why shouldn’t teachers and principals at regular public schools have a chance to do that, at least during this crisis?
At least during this crisis—and then, of course, we’ll go back to ignoring their wisdom and treating them like cheap, interchangeable cogs in a dysfunctional machine.
I have been reading Mr. Mathews for two decades. I understand that he represents the old guard in educational journalism—the folks who are actually employed by mainstream news outlets, rather than the motley and generally unpaid crew of folks writing from the trenches. The people who work in schools every day.
The point of this blog is not to evaluate how accurately journalists report on truths about teaching and learning vs. those who rely on call-Randi-then-phone-it-in columns. There are plenty of classroom-based bloggers, after all, who cannot see beyond 
Still–there are lots of people writing about the crisis around returning to schools now, and that’s good, no matter who they are  We need to hear all the voices, including CONTINUE READING: Worst Year Ever | Teacher in a strange land