Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, December 20, 2020


CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Santa's Almost Here (12/20)

Santa's Almost Here

And the Board of Directors has just about figured out this Christmas thing and twigged onto the notion that presents are coming (but why not right now). I am going to try not to think constantly about all the family and children and grandchildren that I am not seeing this week, because that sucks. In the meantime, here's some reading from this week.

The Logjam that Awaits Biden's education secretary

Derek Black at CNN, with hard dose of reality therapy for everyone imagining that a new administration will bring dramatic change. What a grinch. Okay, he may have some points, too.

How to assign writing when you don't teach writing  

Paul Thomas with some great thoughtful practical advice for assigning writing when that's not really your lane.

For Black educators when school systems aren't doing enuf

Dena Simmons at ASCD with some powerful personal reflections for the times.

Reaganland: Public education and America's right turn

Have You Heard talks to Rick Perlstein and takes us back to the seventies. Really interesting stuff about how schools became a target in the culture wars.

Black students most likely to be going to school remotely

Samantha Fields at Marketplace looks at an emerging trend. Safety and trust seem to be the issues (and not that they are dupes of the teachers unions).

Testing students this spring would be a mistake  

Can't say this enough, but this time it's not me, but testing expert Lorrie Shepard at EdWeek.

Fifty years of trickling down didn't work  

Not directly related to education, exactly, but important validation for what everyone already knew.\

How teachers are sacrificing student privacy to stop cheating

From Vox, one more article pointing out that surveillance software is a bad idea, and schools should knock it off.

The 2020 snow day is here. It must include "sleducation."

Okay, I wish Joshua Goodman at Education Next had the courage to write sleducation without the quotation marks, but still a nice little piece.

A rural school under pressure to stay open

This is how ugly it's getting in places like rural Idaho, where the 'rona is still a big hoax and people are too tough to mask up. Kirk Siegler at NPR.

Sen. Jon Tester on Democrats and rural voters

Tester has some thoughts, including the novel idea of standing up for public education. From New York Times.

Florida lets voucher schools hire dropouts as teachers--and keep it secret

The Orlando Sentinel has been a great source of watchdogging the Florida shenanigans. You may or may not be able to scoot past the paywall, but if you can, this story is amazing. You will not believe how bad it is down there.

As the gap between students and teachers of colors widens in PA, Black families demand change

Sojourner Ahebee reporting for WHYY, Philly's NPR station. This is a great piece of reportage, with plenty of nuance and detail for a difficult topic. If you don't read anything else this week...

Here’s What Needs To Be Done To Rebuild K-12 Education In This Country - by @palan57 on @forbes

Six Arguments For Giving The Big Standardized Tests This School Year (And Why Biden’s Education Secretary Should Ignore Them) - by @palan57 on @forbes

Pennsylvania's Teacher Problem
We already know that the teaching profession is primarily composed of white women (average age 43). But sometimes, when you break data down in particular ways, it becomes even more striking. Research for Action is a Philly-based group that has done some great work over the years, and they've done some research about the TOC/SOC balance in PA that are featured both in this article from Sojourner A
1776 Commission Members Appointed (And It's About What You'd Expect)
You remember just six 2020 weeks ago (that's roughly a year and a half in regular time), Dear Leader proclaimed that the 1776 Commission would be formed in order to create a more perfect set of teaching stuff that would teach our young people to think about our country in the Correct Way. The proclamation announcing this was a piece of work , among other things laying out how we should teach stud
Children are not our future
There are plenty of warm fuzzy teacher sayings that I could well do without, emphasizing as they do that teachers are too noble to ever want to do things like, say, insist on being paid a decent wage or have control over their working conditions. But there's a child-focused saying that I would like to banish to the Island of Misfit Cliches-- Children are our future. Or, sometimes, children are the
More Teacher Effectiveness Mirages
The Fordham Institution has a new report entitled " Teacher Effectiveness and Improvement in Charter and Traditional Public Schools. " Despite what it claims to study, the report is a neear-perfect demonstration of Campbell's Law in action. The study starts with a question that, as used car salesmen put it, assumes the sale: Study after study has found that urban charter schools, and non-profit c
How Does Education Fix Poverty? Spoiler alert...
The idea that we can educate poverty away has been a popular one with policymakers and politicians for years now. Here's just one example , from Janet Yellen, former Fed Chair and, possibly, future Treasury Secretary , back in 2017: Yellen spoke to a conference on community development today, where she says that providing children with the opportunity to learn important skills earlier is essentia
Schools, Supposedly, Have Caused the Fall of US Religion
The Christian Church has been suffering a steady and rapid decline for a few decades now, a trend noted by many social scientists, and a source of struggle within many churches that are looking for ways to fill newly-emptied pews. You can look at many data sets on the subject. The folks at Pew Research find that there's a stark generational factor; in the Silent Generation and Baby Boomer cohort,
ICYMI: Still Shopping Edition (12/13)
Trying desperately to shop at small local stores, and it's a real challenge right now. And what has to be ordered comes with the special When Will It Actually Arrive suspense. Happy holidays, one and all. In the meantime, some reading.... San Joaquin Valley in the DPE Crosshairs Thomas Ultican peels back the layers on yet another assault on public education, this one out in California. Interestin
Schools Are Still Not Like Ubers
Betsy DeVos (who will soon not be a humble servant in the education secretary's office, but will instead be a very rich lady who wants to dismantle public education) likes to compare her vision of education to the same kind of disruption offered by outfits like Uber, a comparison that many folks like to