Sunday, September 6, 2020

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION + ICYMI: Labor Day Weekend Edition (9/6)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Labor Day Weekend Edition (9/6)

Labor Day Weekend Edition 

While you're enjoying your socially distant cookouts and celebrations this weekend, take a moment to thank the labor movement that made things like weekends possible. In the meantime, here's some reading from the week.

This Teacher Turned Remote Learning Into A Road Trip  
There are many cool parts to this story (including the part where her administration greenlights it, because administrators who say yes to things are a real treat). 3000 miles on the road for this Texas history teacher, remote teaching a la Carmen Sandiego.

Robot Teachers, Racist Algorithms, and Disaster Pedagogy  
Audrey Watters is doing guest spots in classes, and here's one of her most recent, touching on algorithms, the British grading scandal, racist AI, and other ed tech shenanigans. Always, always worth the read (and you should be subscribing).

Biden and Democrats Turn Away from Two Decades of Test-Based Accountability
Jan Resseger takes a long, thoughtful, and optimistic look at the evolution of the Democrats on the whole ed reform biz.

Borrowers Demand Answers About Blanket Denials of Loan Forgiveness   
Remember that federal loan forgiveness program where your college loans are supposed to be forgiven if you were the victim of fraud by a predatory for-profit college? Remember how DeVos simply refused to actually truly implement it, and then the court slammed her for it and told her to get on with it, or else? Here's an update, and it is going about as well as you'd expect.

The Myth of Charter Schools and Local Control   
Carl Peterson takes a close look at a candidate for the LAUSD board who has some thoughts about school management that don't quite match how she helps run a charter school.

Arizona Charter Schools Can Double Dip
Laurie Roberts at the Arizona Republic is pretty steamed about how Arizona charters cashed in on the PPP program, and the state is okay with that.

Pasco's Future Crimes Division  
Not directly tied to education, but more about the creeping surveillance state. From the Tampa Bay Times, a look at a sheriff's program for stopping crime before it happens. Exceptionally creepy and appalling.

Success Academy Delays In-Person Learning Till January  
I included a couple of these just because some folks are trying hard to push the narrative that teachers' unions are the force behind the closing of school buildings. And yet, it seems that some folks who aren't the Evil Union are also shifting to distance.

Cyberattacks persist ; K12 a Florida mess
Miami-Dade schools have a variety of problems. Come to this Miami Herald story for the district screw-ups (still no signed contract with K12) and stay for the reminder that increased online learning means increased exposure to hackers etc.

Idaho Considers Dropping Common Core   
Williamson Evers at the Independent Institute pens a pointed response to one of Mike Petrilli's ubiquitous Common Core cheerleading op-eds. Not in 100% agreement, but he does bring some heat.

Standardized Testing: Indispensable to Those Who Are Not Subjected To It
The indispensable Mercedes Schneider offers a good vivid portrait of the Big Standardized Test. I love a good extended simile.

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Labor Day Weekend Edition (9/6)


Strike Three! Another Federal Court Ends Betsy DeVos A Plan To Use Public Money For Private Schools - by @palan57 on @forbes

The Problem With Betsy DeVos And The ‘Right Fit’ - by @palan57 on @forbes

Second Federal Judge Slams DeVos Plan To Send Federal Funds To Private Schools - by @palan57 on @forbes

Will The Pandemic Give DeVos Her $5 Billion Voucher Scheme
Betsy DeVos has been pitching "Education Freedom" as long as she's been in office. It's a tax credit scholarship scheme, which is to say, a voucher program that would blow a $5 billion hole in the federal budget, but would be a real treat for rich folks who A) like private schools better than public ones and B) would rather not pay taxes to the feds. This frickin' guy The Education Freedom pitch h
A Seventh Grader Kicks Edgenuity's Dumb Robograding Butt
The story comes to us from Francesca Paris at NPR's Here and Now , and it can serve as our sixty-gazillionth reminder that computer algorithms-- even ones that are marketed as Artificial Intelligence-- cannot grade student work to save their cybernetic lives. A student in LAUSD's virtual school was dismayed when his first history assignment came back an F. It was short written responses, and the s
DeVos Stands Up For Testocracy
Thursday, Betsy DeVos issued a letter clarifying the Department of Education's position on postponing the Big Standardized Test this year, and it closes one of the few remaining gaps between DeVos and Arne Duncan. In a letter to chief state school officers, DeVos noted that there has been a pandemic. She thanked the school leaders for their efforts to meet the needs of all students (forgetting, pe
As Schools Reopen, Beware These Five Bad Management Approaches
Not all schools are blessed with excellent management teams (a million teachers just rolled their eyes and said, “No kidding.”) But while schools can succeed in spite of bad management in the good times, in times of crisis, bad management can really derail the whole train. Trying to launch a school year during a pandemic with little to no help from state and federal governments will test every sch
TX: Why Vouchers For Private Schools Are A Bad Idea
Texas is a happy playground for charter operators, but fans of school voucher program using public taxpayer dollars to fund private school tuition-- well, they're been mighty disappointed on a regular basis. Even as US Senator Ted Cruz (yes, he's really from Texas) has tried to help push the Betsy DeVos voucher plan , a state-level program has been shot down again and again. Mind you, they don't g
DeVos Continues Transformation Into Arne Duncan
Arne Duncan said many not-so-swift things, often revealing his true attitudes about the dismantling and privatization of public education. But one of his truly revealing moments came in 2010 when he famously argued that Hurricane Katrina was "the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans." For the many Black teachers who lost their jobs to Teach for America tourists, and the
Trump Demands Patriotic Classrooms
Trump's education agenda is, well, terse. Eleven words, two items. And the second of the two is "Teach American Exceptionalism." Monday, Trump expanded on that idea, saying that the nation needs to install "patriotic education" in schools. It's his plan for quelling rebellion in cities and countering "lies" about US racism (i.e. the "lie" that it exists). Gotta counter that "left-wing indoctrinat
ME: Pandemic Excuses More Uncertified Teacher Replacements
On August 26, Governor Mills of Maine issued an executive order that any warm body with any kind of college degree (or maybe even without) may be certified as a teacher. The executive order actually has three parts. One gives instructions on how to count attendance if you want your state subsidy. One gives some loose instruction on facility disinfection. And one expands the eligibility for emergen
ICYMI: This Month Can't End Too Soon Edition (8/30)
Sometimes you're just really ready to get to te next chapter, or just the next page. Not an uncommon feeling these days, even though it's not clear that the next chapter will be any less troublesome than this one. We'll see soon enough. In the meantime, here are some readings from the week. As