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Sunday, July 19, 2020


CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Vacation Edition (7/19)

Vacation Edition 

The Institute staff and board of directors are headed for a corporate retreat in a place where the internet doesn't really reach, so things will be quiet here for a bit. But before I go, here's some reading for you to do. Sorry for all the paywalls today.

There have been several recurriing themes in this week's coverage. For instance, lots of folks have noticed that Betsy DeVos's current stance on getting schools open, and using federal muscle to force it, appears to be a complete reversal of her long-held beliefs.

Here's Matt Barnum at Chalkbeat with a pretty good take. Erica Green at the New York Times also offered some DeVosian historical context.

But other folks focused more closely on just how bad DeVos is at her job. Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post wanted to know who the heck thought it would be a good idea to send DeVos out onto the Sunday shows. Jessica Calarco is at the New York Times wondering what the heck DeVos is thinking. And Charles Pierce at Esquire observed, among other things, that "the only thing DeVos knows about education is how to turn a buck on it."

Local dispatches have thrown the pandemic school issues into sharper relief. A Missouri school district wants parents to sign a waiver of liability for any illness of death that happens to occur. Ohio provides yet more examples of public schools getting funding cuts while charters hoover up some of that sweet small business loan cash. In Orange County, a "bold" idea to reopen school as if nothing unusual was going on turns out to come mostly from charter school fans. And from Wyoming comes this top-notch piece of reporting about a school board meeting that shows some of the attitudes and ideas roll out in unreal time.

Nancy Bailey blogs about some ideas for facing the new school year, and people continue to point out that it really will take some money to do this right, but the headline of the week award may go to The Nation, with their piece entitled "There are literally no good options for educating our kids this fall." Actually, for the "We've got the money; tough noogies for everyone else" crowd, there is one option-- hire teachers to come homeschool your kids.

In other news. Education Next has a brief of research that suggests that No Excuses schools have some problems (quel surprise!) just as KIPP decides that it's time for a motto change and Schools Matter has some thoughts.

I'll be back in ten days or so. In the meantime, check out the blogroll that I keep here, wear a mask, and be kind to each other.

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Vacation Edition (7/19)


SCOTUS Gives Private Religious Schools The Okay To Discriminate Freely - by @palan57 on @forbes

There Are No Writing Prodigies: What That Means For Writing Instruction - by @palan57 on @forbes

Want Schools Open In The Fall? All The Money In The World Can’t Solve These Problems - by @palan57 on @forbes

Everything's Made Up (And Nobody Is Behind)
This is the opportunity we're missing, but to grab it would require us to look at things that some of us would rather not look at. We can start with the notion that students are currently "falling behind." Well, now-- behind what, exactly? Is there some line scribed by the Hand of God in the intellectual sand that tells us, yes, a child who has been on earth 193 months should have crossed this abs
FL: The Broad Outlines of the PPP Cash-in
So it turns out that all you have to do to get some charter and voucher schools to admit they're businesses is just wave some sweet, sweet business-purposed money at them. We've heard the individual stories from here and there about this, but a friend of the Curmudgucation Institute sent along an astonishing piece of data crunching. I don't have a handy way to attach a spreadsheet to this post, bu
Report: Zuckerberg’s Favorite Digital Ed Program Is All Sizzle, No Steak
Last month, the National Education Policy Center released a new report: Big Claims, Little Evidence, Lots of Money: The Reality Behind the Summit Learning Program and the Push to Adopt Digital Personalized Learning Programs. It looks at one of the most prominent digital learning platforms, and how money and power are able to push such programs despite any real evidence that they work. Summit Scho
A Rebecca Friedrichs Reader
Friedrichs has been in the news yet again, this time appearing on Fox to accuse America's Evil Teacher Unions of being sexual predators . It's an accusation that will have traction in some circles; if you spend any time in conspiratorial comment sections of the interwebz, you're probably aware of the grand conspiracy theory that says that the entire Democratic Party is a smokescreen for pedophiles
The Test Many School Districts Failed Before The Pandemic Even Started
You’ve heard about an emotional bank account , a metaphor for the investments in personal relationships that keep them healthy and able to deal with the bumps and bruises that come along in any relationship. Build trust and deposit in the account in good times, make withdrawals in the lean times, and maintain a healthy balance. Organizations such as school districts have similar accounts, and 2020
NBA Includes Education Reform On Approved Social Justice Message List
So, the NBA and NBPA have created a list of approved social justice messages that players may put on the backs of their jerseys. Which is, I guess, a way to let players protest within a carefully delineated parameter, an official approved expression of disapproval. And the slogan will go in place of the player's name. But at least the NBA is doing something positive-ish, which is more than certain
Biden's Education Platform
The Unity Task Force has been working hard to convince Sanders supporters to back Biden to come up with policy statements that will appeal to all wings of the party, thereby promoting Unity! Huzzah! I almost didn't bother to look; this is a document that will be fed into the shredder that is the Official Platform Process, and it's pretty hard to compare about party platforms in a Presidential race
ICYMI: Hell Of A Week Edition (7/12)
Well, that was a hell of a week, between administration backflips and dictates over covid policy and the general rising tide of panic. Here at the Institute, I've decided to skip the 642 pieces I've read about reopening schools this week,