Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, February 23, 2020

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION + ICYMI: So Long, February Edition (2/22)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: So Long, February Edition (2/22)

So Long, February Edition (2/22)

A reminder that you can help amplify the voices that you think need to be heard. Go to the original post and share with your network. Do your part to make sure folks are heard whose message speaks to you. Now for this week's list.

Borrowing a Literacy Strategy from Band 
An interesting notion from Edutopia. After all, reading music is readin. "Reading in band has an additional hitch: Students have to read their parts while hearing several other parts at the same time, which requires them to be strong, independent readers—"

The Death of the Crossing Guard
Mr Bob was 88 years old when he saved two children's lives at the crosswaklk. From Washington Post.

How Play Is Making a Comeback in Kindergarten
Actually from a couple of weeks ago in Hechinger, this is an encouraging addition to the "Yes, play is important" file.

High Stakes Tests Aren't Better- And They Never Will Be
Lelac Almagor (an English teacher at a charter school) writes for the Boston Review, explaining how testing damages education, particularly for the non-wealthy.

Will Software Start Helping Students Cheat On Papers?
No, no it won't. At least not well.  But here's one more consideration of the computer role in cheating.

Betsy DeVos's Voucher Boondoggle
Business writer Andrea Gabor takes a look at the voucher con job behind the DeVos budget proposal. In Bloomberg.

Ending High Stakes Testing and Improve Education
A Florida teacher writes about how removing the Big Standardized Test as a graduation requirement would improve the system.

New Mexico Sues Google
The state has decided to go after the tech giant for collecting student data through the ubiquitous Chromebooks. The Verge has the story.

Don't Mess With Texas Schools
Have You Heard travels to Texas, where GOP candidates are trying had to look like they support public education even as a long series of fora have been held bringing Rs and Ds together to talk ab out education. How's that working out (transcript available for those of us who never have time to listen to podcasts).

People Are Not Cattle
G F Brandenburg offers a quick refresher about William Sanders and the origin of value-added measurement in the world of farming.

Getting Rid of Gym Class
Do you not yet subscribe to Nancy Flanagan's blog? Because you should. Here is some history and thought about what should be included in the required core of classes.

I Love Teaching, Even When It Doesn't Love Me Back   
The most-read of the week is a piece by Jose Luis Vilson. "Teaching from l;ove isn't perfec t, but neither are we."

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: So Long, February Edition (2/22)


Social and Emotional Learning Is Drawing Fire

I told you so. If you are of a Certain Age, you remember Outcome Based Education, the Next Big Education Thing of the 1990s . Its basic idea was to reduce education to observable behaviors-- all those lesson plans with "The Student Will Be Able To...," are artifacts of OBE. The architects were intent on reducing all learning to something cold, hard and observable instead of fuzzy objectives like "

FEB 21

Common Core Is Dead. Long LIve Common Core.

The Common Core State Standards are dead. Done. Finished. Authorities have told us so. Betsy DeVos delivered a brief eulogy at the American Enterprise Institute back in January. “And at the U.S. Department of Education, Common Core is dead,” she declared. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis just announced that the work of “rooting out all vestiges of Common Core” done, and new standards would now r
OH: Whose Gold Makes That Parachute?

It turns out there's one more problem with the kind of autocratic corporate-style takeover that Ohio implemented under HB 70. You may recall that Lorain, Ohio, is one of three districts to be placed under the control of an all-powerful CEO . It was not pretty. An Ohio-style school CEO has all the powers of a school board and a superintendent, less the ability to levy taxes but plus the power to ar

FEB 20

Avoiding Teacher Compensation

Erik Hanushek has been at this for a while, and his shtick is pretty well polished. With Raj Chetty , he's been making the assertion that having a good teacher will make a student wealthier . While he can occasionally seem like a champion of teachers and teaching, he also lapses often into the old reform whinge that teachers don't really want to be held accountable for their performance, and that

FEB 19

Shoving Babies Into The Pipeline

I knew I was going to be cranky after the very first sentence: The workforce pipeline begins with quality early education. This is Gil Minor, a retired CEO of a Fortune 200 company; he's also the chair of the Virginia Higher Education Council and vice-chairman of the group he's plugging in this op-ed, E3: Elevate Early Education. And not everything he has to say is odious claptrap, but that first

FEB 18

How To Improve The Quality Of Teaching With Tools Districts Already Have At Hand (And How To Mess It Up)

There is never a shortage of ideas about how to improve the quality of teaching in U.S. classrooms. From the intrusive and convoluted (“Let’s give every student a test and then run the test through a complex mathematical formula and use it to identify the strongest and weakest teachers and then fire the weak ones and replace them with strong ones, somehow”) to the traditional and banal (“Time for
Choice, Parents, Power, Caveat Emptor, and Stupid

Here's an opening sentence from a recent piece of charter advocacy from the74 : But charter schools and the new, more consumer-oriented public education landscape they represent are here to stay. Well, no. I'm going to skip past the "here to stay" part, because what caught my attention was the "consumer-oriented pub lic education landscape" bit. Because that's not what choicers have been pushing.

FEB 16

ICYMI: Discount Chocolate Edition (2/16)

Well, sure-- what else does one do after Valentines Day except shop for deep discounts on chocolate! While you're eating irresponsibly, here's some reading from the week. Remember to share. School choice detrimental to public 

Charter School Forces Pour Money Into L.A. Elections | Capital & Main

Charter School Forces Pour Money Into L.A. Elections | Capital & Main

Charter School Forces Pour Money Into L.A. Elections
About $3.5 million worth of attack mailers have targeted Jackie Goldberg and other LAUSD school board members.

With majority control of Los Angeles Unified’s school board hanging in the balance, it has surprised no one that a flood of outside privatization money has put March 3’s Super Tuesday election on target to smash LAUSD’s 2017 record as the nation’s priciest school board primary ever. At last count, Laundromat tycoon Bill Bloomfield and the Reed Hastings- and Jim and Alice Walton-bankrolled Charter Public Schools PAC have poured in nearly $6.4 million to stop L.A. teachers from returning to office three pro-public school progressives — George McKenna (Board District 1), Scott Schmerelson (BD 3) and Jackie Goldberg (BD 5) — and electing an education justice veteran to fill the sole open seat in BD 7, LAUSD parent and Reclaim Our Schools L.A. co-founder Patricia Castellanos.
One measure of the California Charter Schools Association’s desperation in the wake of 2018’s statewide rejection of charter billionaire-backed candidates is the $3.5 million worth of attack mailers with which Bloomfield and CCSA have inundated voters. The most surreally beyond-the-pale missives have targeted Goldberg, who last week issued a point-by-point rebuttal. A close runner up, however, has been a smear against Schmerelson. Seizing upon some nuisance complaints filed by a member of the charter Astroturf group Speak Up, the mailers caricature some modest stock holdings in Schmerelson’s broker- controlled account — duly disclosed in the board member’s ethics filings — into a frothing vision of Trump-scaled rapaciousness and malfeasance.
Perhaps more revealing are the operatives behind the ads. They include controversial attack consultant John Shallman of Encino-based West Coast Public Affairs (and a go-to “go negative” guy for CA Big Real Estate), and “political vulnerability researcher” Mark Bogetich CONTINUE READING: Charter School Forces Pour Money Into L.A. Elections | Capital & Main

Blue Serials (2/22/20): Teacher Quality Edition | Blue Cereal Education

Blue Serials (2/22/20): Teacher Quality Edition | Blue Cereal Education

Blue Serials (2/22/20): Teacher Quality Edition

Wax On Wax OffWe’re going to keep things simple this week, my Eleven Faithful Followers (#11FF). As much as I enjoy our time together and the hours you no doubt spend giggling over every clever phrase and admiring my poignant insights, I’m hoping you’ll take the time to actually go read and follow at least a few of this week’s featured players. Some you’re no doubt already familiar with, but others I’m happy to take credit for introducing to you.
You’re welcome.
Now, let’s get to it, shall we?
One Good ThingOne Good Thing is a blog for math teachers, only it’s not, really. Yes, many of the posts reference math assignments or issues, but the guiding philosophy is in the site’s subheading: “every day may not be good, but there is one good thing in every day.”
One of the more prolific posters on One Good Thing is Rebecka Peterson, a math CONTINUE READING: Blue Serials (2/22/20): Teacher Quality Edition | Blue Cereal Education

California students who sued state because they can’t read just won $53 million for troubled schools - The Washington Post

California students who sued state because they can’t read just won $53 million for troubled schools - The Washington Post

California students who sued the state because they can’t read just won $53 million for troubled schools

A group of students and teachers just won $53 million from California in a first-of-its-kind lawsuit arguing the state had not done enough to ensure students learned how to read.
The settlement last week in Ella T. v. State of California, accepted by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rupert A. Byrdsong, calls on state officials to introduce legislation that will establish a $50 million block grant program. The money is to be used over three years by the state’s 75 lowest-performing elementary schools, which will work with stakeholders to identify causes of poor academic performance and develop high-quality literacy programs. The 75 schools include charters, which are publicly funded but privately operated.

The settlement also provides $3 million to install a statewide literacy leader.
This was the first civil rights case brought under a state constitution to establish a right of access to literacy, according to attorney Mark Rosenbaum of the advocacy law firm Public Counsel, which sued with the Morrison & Foerster law firm. This case — which could lead to similar suits in other states — is based on the California constitution’s mandate that all students receive an equal education.
Students in Detroit Public Schools, citing the U.S. Constitution, sued state officials in federal court, arguing the state had violated their constitutional right to learn to read by providing inadequate resources. That case is on appeal.
“Access to literacy is not just the cornerstone of education,” Rosenbaum said. “It is the cornerstone of our democracy.”
The lawsuit was filed in 2017 on behalf of current and former students and teachers at three low- CONTINUE READING: California students who sued state because they can’t read just won $53 million for troubled schools - The Washington Post

Book Tour Reaches Charleston, West Virginia: Meeting the Teachers Who Lit a Fire | Diane Ravitch's blog

Book Tour Reaches Charleston, West Virginia: Meeting the Teachers Who Lit a Fire | Diane Ravitch's blog

Book Tour Reaches Charleston, West Virginia: Meeting the Teachers Who Lit a Fire

I wanted to go to Charleston, West Virginia, to thank the leaders of the Red4Ed Teachers Strike of 2018. Jay O’Neal of the NEA local and Fred Albert of the AFT local made it happen. I spoke on February 22, the second anniversary of the strike.
The teachers themselves were amazed by what they had done. They were outraged back then when the cost of their health insurance reduced their already meager take home pay. They met, count by county, they organized, they eventually realized they would be ignored unless they went out on strike.
Their strike wasn’t just one county or district, but the entire state. West Virginia is a right to work state. They could be fired for striking. But every superintendent closed every school and every school employee, including support staff and bus drivers, struck too.
At one point the union leaders announced a deal that included a 5% raise for teachers but not other staff, and the teachers sent them back to demand the same raise for everyone.
They won the raise but governor promised only a CONTINUE READING: Book Tour Reaches Charleston, West Virginia: Meeting the Teachers Who Lit a Fire | Diane Ravitch's blog

The U.S. granted free tuition before, and it can do it again |

The U.S. granted free tuition before, and it can do it again |

The U.S. granted free tuition before, and it can do it again
A 2019 survey shows 60 percent of Americans want tuition-free public colleges and universities

When Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal submitted joint bills for the College for All Act in Congress last June, it sparked joy among the nearly 20 million attending or planning to attend public universities and colleges, not to mention their families. But even such a reaction had to pale compared to the celebration by 45 million past defaulters and present eligible holders of federal student loans that the bill would "forgive," student debt in addition to providing completely free tuition and fees at public institutions of higher education.

However, the joint bills also drew immediate jeers from conservative economists, pundits, Congress members and the media, and even opposition from Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. It also raised eyebrows among those at the U.S. Treasury and among presidents of the nation's exclusive colleges and universities. 
But that opposition was simply a newer iteration of the same scorn and fear from 75 years ago when these same constituencies fought the passage of the G.I. Bill of Rights, otherwise known as the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, signed into law June 22, 1944, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his administration recognized that at the end of World War II, some 16 million returning soldiers would join the millions of the Great Depression's unemployed. To keep most out of the labor market for at least four years, the bill's education and vocational training section was designed to provide not only around $7,300 (in 2019 dollars) for tuition at any school, but also cover other chief expenses: books, supplies, equipment, and other necessities, exclusive of CONTINUE READING: The U.S. granted free tuition before, and it can do it again |