Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, February 2, 2020

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION + ICYMI: Sportsball Sunday Edition (2/2)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Sportsball Sunday Edition (2/2)

Sportsball Sunday Edition (2/2)

Human beings are funny creatures. Today we'll celebrate the prognostication of a giant rodent, invest a gazillion dollars in a sportsball contest, and get all excited because our date-labeling system will cough up a palindrome today (spoiler alert: every date-- every last one-- only comes around once). But in the meantime, there are things to read.

An Open Letter to Preschool Homework   
From McSweeney's, a look at homework for preschoolers with characteristic wit.

Four Things You Need To Know About Education Policymaking   
Rick Hess (AEI) at EdWeek offers four fairly solid observations about how the sausage is made, even if he does skip the one about how policy conversations should be informed by people who can talk about how that policy lands in the classroom.

Why Private Equity Keeps Wrecking Retail Chains 
This would have nothing at all to do with education, if private equity and hedge funds weren't so interested in getting into the charter school biz. But they are, so here's a cautionary tale.

In Indiana, School Choice Means Segregation 
The Kappan looks at some research showing that Indiana school choice program, which has ended up looking a lot like a white flight program.

Schools Are Killing Curiosity  
From The Guardian, this is a depressing read. About the time a researcher watches a teacher tell a student, "No questions now-- it's time for learning" you know this is a sobering piece of work.

Journalist with education message white America might not want to hear  

Maureen Downey with a look at Nikole Hannah-Jones and the issues of integration.

Don't be fooled. Tax credits for private school are about dismantling public education .
The education writer at the Lexington Herald-Leader, Linda Blackford, lays out the truth behind tax credit scholarship programs.

Not Burnout, But "Moral Injury" of Doctors  
This WBUR piece is about doctors, but teachers will recognize the issue-- the toll it takes when malpractice is mandated, rules are too restrictive, and resources are too scarce.

Two Decades of Havoc  
Education scholar Yong Zhao synthesizes criticism of PISA, the international assessment regularly used as proof that US schools are failing compared to Estonia, Singapore, etc.

Parent Resistance Thwarts Local Desegregation Efforts 
The AP (here picked up by WTOP) writes about one of the big obstacles to desegregation--  white folks who don't want to let Those People into "their" schools.

More Students Are Homeless Than Ever Before
Laura Camera at US News with some depressing data.

It's GPAs Not Standardized Tests That Predict College Success 
Nick Morrison at Forbes lays out the latest research that shows--again--that high school GPA is a better predictor of college success than the SAT or ACT.

Michigan schools revolt
Michigan has a third grade reading retention rule that is kicking in, and many schools are prepared to circumvent it by any means necessary.

Anti-LGBTQ: Follow the Anti-evolution Road
Adam Laats is a historian who knows about both education and conservative Christianity in the US. The struggle over LGBTQ students in private religious schools reminds him of another time the religious right stood up against the mainstream.

Charter School Funding: Time for lawmakers to fix a flawed system 
The editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette backs the governor on charter funding reform.

Education Reform Has Failed America 
Diane Ravitch hits the central points of her new book in a piece for Time magazine.


OH: More Voucher Nonsense

I've frequently kvetched that a central fallacy at the heart of school choice is the notion that several parallel school system can be run for the cost of one. "Why," I ask, "can't politicians have the cojones to just say they think school choice is so important that they are going to raise peoples' taxes to pay for it?" Well, the legislature of Ohio (motto "We want to be Florida when we grow up")

JAN 29

FL: Another Voucher Problem (And Not The One You Think)

When the Orlando Sentinel revealed that many Florida private schools-- eighty-some of them!-- were both receiving taxpayer dollars and openly discriminating against LGBTQ students, it was not exactly news. Rebecca Klein had the same story on a national level at Huffington Post back in 2017. Voucher money goes to religious schools, and some religious schools discriminate against LGBTQ students ( an
MI: Whitmer Stands Up For Reading Sense (GLEP Opposes)

Of all the pieces of bad, dumb, abusive policy that have come out of the ed reformster movement, one of the worst is third grade reading retention. Michigan has it, and their governor wants to get rid of it. Guess who wants to stand up for it. Lansing in winter; much like April in Paris How did this damn fool policy get spread across the country? Somebody half-looked at some research and said, "He

JAN 27

McKinsey's New Baloney Sales Pitch For Computerized Classroom

McKinsey is the 800 pound gorilla of consulting, a behemoth with their own set of values about how to drag everything into MarketWorld (I recommend Anand Giridharadas's Winners Take All for a closer look at how that world looks). They have occasionally dipped their toes into the world of education because, hey, there's a lot of money in that pool. One notable adventure was their plan for re-struc
SC: A Bill of Rights For Teachers, Sort Of

Like many other states, South Carolina is failing to hold attract and retain teachers . They're doing an especially lousy job holding onto beginning teachers; after the 2017-2018 school year, 34% of the first year teachers did not return to their classroom. Veterans are also bailing , because of "low pay, a burdensome testing system and a sense they aren’t valued." Wallet Hub ranks South Carolina

JAN 26

ICYMI: Is It Still January Edition (1/26)

Every Sunday (well, almost every Sunday) I post a collection of goodies from the week that I think are worth reading. In case, you know, you missed them. I also encourage you to share anything you like (use its "home" location to share so that they get any benefits of traffic). That's what's going on here. You can dig into the ICYMI archives just by using the little search block in the upper left

JAN 25

Ed Tech Reporters Should Make These Eight Resolutions For 2020

This ran three weeks ago over at Forbes . Three weeks into 2020 it still applies. Audrey Watters bills herself as “an education writer, an independent scholar, a serial dropout, a rabble-rouser, and ed-tech's Cassandra.” Her Hack Education blog is required reading for anyone who cares about technology in education. Since founding the blog in 2010, she has provided a meaty, thoroughly researched a

JAN 24

Impersonating A Teacher

In a John White valedictory piece , he's called "a former English teacher in New Jersey." I have twice this week come across a reformster who says he "started out as a teacher." Regular students of ed reform have seen similar pattern over 

A Podcast at Books and Books in Miami | Diane Ravitch's blog

A Podcast at Books and Books in Miami | Diane Ravitch's blog

A Podcast at Books and Books in Miami

The first stop on my national book tour was Books and Books, a wonderful old-fashioned independent bookstore in Coral Gables in Florida. I talked with Mitchell Kaplan, the owner, who is determined to keep the literary life alive.
After the podcast, I met with the leadership of the United Teachers of Dade County. My presentation at the store was moderated by Karla Hernandez-Mats, the leader of the union and a dynamo.
The Republican legislature is hostile to public schools and would like every child to have a voucher to attend a religious school.
This is the current (and evolving) list of my speaking engagements in connection with the publication of my new book: SLAYING GOLIATH: THE PASSIONATE RESISTANCE TO PRIVATIZATION AND THE FIGHT TO SAVE AMERICA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
I am trying not to wear myself out. Ten years ago, I hopped from city to city like a mountain goat.
But now I am 81 years old, and my knees are worn out. I have to pace myself.
Come out and say hello if you are in one of these cities.
SLAYING GOLIATH is a pro-public education, pro-teacher, pro-social justice, pro-common-good book. It is a book meant to give hope and encouragement to those who stand up to the billionaires and fight the status quo of choice and high-stakes testing. It contains inspiring stories of parents, students, teachers, and civil rights activists who took action against the powerful and won. At some of these events, the bookstore charges a modest fee to cover its expenses. Most are free. 

My Book Tour Dates for SLAYING GOLIATH | Diane Ravitch's blog

NYC Schools are Segregated | JD2718

NYC Schools are Segregated | JD2718

NYC Schools are Segregated

New York City schools are segregated. That is context.
I am not writing about how they became segregated, or how segregated they are (very).
I am reminding us, all of us, of the context.
The Chancellor’s proposal to integrate the specialized high schools was rolled out poorly. He caught allies off-guard. He angered opponents. State Senators (including mine) blasted him for not holding hearings before sending the proposal to Albany (where the state government 50 years ago assumed direct control over preventing integration in NYC). But the context?  New York City schools are segregated.
The School Diversity Advisory Group’s recommendations were blasted in the media. I read their recommendations, overall a great report. They made 28 recommendations; the media focused on one. The context?  New York City’s schools are segregated.
Several Districts have begun discussions about integration. There have been angry conversations. Some parents have said pretty cringe-worthy stuff (the worst, from PS199 in District 3 from two years ago, it looks like the video has been everywhere-deleted). The Chancellor has inflamed the situation. He’s walked out. He’s been abrasive. But the context is not an honest give and take over policy. The context: New York City’s schools are segregated.
The Chancellor and his team have been unresponsive to allies. They have stonewalled. They have failed to share information. In one case I am aware of, they have shut down a promising proposal. I am not CONTINUE READING: NYC Schools are Segregated | JD2718

EdAction in Congress February 2, 2020 - Education Votes

EdAction in Congress February 2, 2020 - Education Votes

EdAction in Congress February 2, 2020

Infrastructure package needs to do more for schools

House Democrats unveiled a $760 billion infrastructure package that would improve roads, bridges, and transit systems, among other things. When asked, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said school modernization also needed to happen this year. But timing is unclear, so we need to make sure Congress knows schools need to be part of any infrastructure package that moves forward. The overall condition of public school facilities gets a D+ on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2017 infrastructure report card. To build support for school modernization, we need personal stories—your stories. Tell us about your leaky roofs, crowded classrooms, broken heating and air conditioning, lack of wiring for high-speed broadband, contaminated drinking water, insects and vermin—whatever needs fixing in your school.  Share your story

Tell Congress to repeal unfair Social Security penalties

Nearly 2 million people dedicated to public service, including many educators, have their Social Security benefits reduced—or lose them entirely—due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO). The Social Security Fairness Act (S. 521/H.R. 141) would fully repeal both the GPO and WEP while the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act (H.R. 4540) starts to fix problems caused by the WEP, but not does address the GPO. Email your representatives and tell them to support both of these pieces of important legislation. Read more.

Cheers and Jeers

By a vote of 221-189, the House passed the Comprehensive CREDIT Act of 2020 (H.R. 3621) by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) to protect student loan borrowers from unfair credit reporting practices.

NEA urged the House Ways and Means Committee to support the FAMILY Act (H.R. 1185) by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT); the bill would provide 12 weeks of paid leave per year for the birth or adoption of a child, the serious illness of an immediate family member, or a worker’s own medical condition.
By a vote of 393-5, the House passed the Never Again Act of 2020 (H.R. 943) by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) to provide funding for educational programs about the Holocaust and other human rights atrocities.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Reps. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Greg Murphy (R-NC), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Gil Cisneros (D-CA), Anthony Brown (D-MD), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Jason Crow (D-CO), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Joe Courtney (D-CT), John Garamendi (D-CA), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), and George Holding (R-NC) signed a bipartisan, bicameral letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressing serious concerns about “turmoil within the Department of Defense Education Authority (DODEA),” including imposing 24 additional hours of unpaid time per quarter on our Federal Employee Association members.
EdAction in Congress February 2, 2020 - Education Votes

Progressives Have All the Answers, Except for How to Provide Educational Justice - Philly's 7th Ward

Progressives Have All the Answers, Except for How to Provide Educational Justice - Philly's 7th Ward


I’ve had the chance to travel a lot in my work as an educator and activist, and frequently I find myself in what I call the “too-expensive-for-Black folks” cities.
You know, those cities that present themselves as magnets for change and opportunity, but when you look past the facade (my friend and colleague Chris Stewart likes to call out all the hot yoga, tofu, paper straws, miles of bike lanes, and green this and green that), you uncover something deeper and more troubling.
After they’ve told you how healthy the soybeans are for like the millionth time, and you finally get to ask the seemingly simple question, How are the children?—it is met with devastating disappointment.
Everyone progresses with a progressive platform, apparently, except for Black and Brown children.
I wish I could claim disappointment, but sadly I’m not surprised at all by the CONTINUE READING: Progressives Have All the Answers, Except for How to Provide Educational Justice - Philly's 7th Ward