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Sunday, April 5, 2020

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION + ICYMI: I'm Pretty Sure It's Palm Sunday Edition (4/5)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: I'm Pretty Sure It's Palm Sunday Edition (4/5)

I'm Pretty Sure It's Palm Sunday Edition (4/5)
So here we all are, sitting at home and nervously watching the numbers, while a whole lot of folks pretend that all they have to do is wave their hands and teachers will somehow fix the school part of this. Here's the reading. I've tried to include some things to brighten your day a bit.

Remote Learning Is Turning Out To Be A Burden for Parents
Yeah, a zillion folks have figured this out, but this is the New York Post, the newspaper that is pretty sure any dope can be a teacher.

This is not an experiment
John Warner reminds us that while there is data to be gathered, this is not any kind of experiment.

Can my son get more worksheets before the world ends
McSweeney's is on a roll right now. This is just one of the posts I'll include this week.

Another charter school attempts a hostile takeover
In Los Angeles, a reminder that some parts of business as usual are still going on, like charters trying to push public schools out of public school buildings.

Astrophysicist gets magnets stuck up nose
From Australia. This has nothing to do with education; it's just funny. "My partner took me to the hospital that she works in because she wanted all her colleagues to laugh at me."

Five concerns about the rush to online learning
From Valerie Strauss. A worthwhile list.

We, the Hard-Working, Newly Homeschooling Parents of America, Have Rewritten the Common Core Standards
McSweeney's again. If you're staying in place with children, you will recognize these goals.

The Homeschooling movement sees an opportunity  
Jeff Bryant at Citizen Truth (though, weirdly, someone else's name is on the byline). A good thorough look at some of the forces being marshalled during the pandemic.

Learning from home is hard enough. Try doing it where wifi is illegal.
Really interesting piece from Mother Jones. Turns out that in West Virginia where the big radio telescope is aimed at the universe, there's a whole area where wifi and cell phones are banned. If you think your school is having trouble transitioning...

15,000 high school students are AWOL
How's distance learning going in LAUSD? Well, could be a little better. From the LA Times.

Day 12: We should not be requiring parents to teach their children from home
Susie Johnson, Not Your Average Mom, offers a solid articulation of one point of view about the whole home school-ish thing.

DeVos weighs waivers for special ed
It's the big fear. The New York Times looks at the possibility that DeVos will just scrap special ed requirements.

North Lenoir student treks three miles to school for wifi.
You know there are stories like this all over the country. A reminder, once again, that not every home is internet-ready.

Hula Dancing, Singing and a Teacher's Impact  
I've missed Russ Walsh in the blogosphere, but he has returned recently, and here's a nice little piece to remind us about the long term impact of a teacher's work.


As Schools Tackle Coronavirus Pause, Don’t Forget Career And Technical Education Students. - by @palan57 on @forbes

As Schools Tackle Coronavirus Pause, Don’t Forget Career And Technical Education Students. - by @palan57 on @forbes

DeVos: Leaving Students Behind And Launching National School Vouchers - by @palan57 on @forbes

Get Your Shift Together

The interwebs have been drowning in hot takes, thinky pieces and unsolicited teacher advice for the business of shifting education from the classroom to the web. This is hands down the smartest, best quick advice on the subject I've seen. If I was designing my class to be an online course, it would look nothing like I'm doing now. You don't just "shift" a class to online instruction, it needs to b
Privilege and the Pandemic

The pandemic-powered slide into crisis schooling is highlighting many aspects of how our public education system works (or doesn't). In particular, the push for some version of distance learning is underlining the huge gap between haves and have-nots. We see the gap on the district level, between districts that can quickly muster the hardware and resources to maintain "continuity of instruction" (

APR 02

Of Pandemics And Teacher Motivation

Remember that time that schools were shut down because of a pandemic, and all the teachers said, "Yippee! Extra vacation! I am out of here" and all jumped in their Porches and drove to their beach homes? Yeah, neither do I. Here's what I'll remember. Teacher after teacher, from the ones in my Twitter feeds to the ones in my email to the ones that I know personally, sharing how miserable and worrie
FL: Path Opens To Killing Public Schools

If there was a state most likely to grab the coronaviral opportunity to gut its public school system, it would have to be Florida, some those ducks appear to be lining up. Florida Virtual School (FLVS ) has had its share of rough times . Started by the state in the 90s, spun into a private business (a " publicly-funded non-profit, " so a charter school), and then mired in a mess of incompetence an

MAR 31

Why Teach Literature Stuff: #5 Language Is Power

When I was teaching, and I had extra time on my hands, I would reflect on the work--the whys and hows and whats. So in solidarity with my former colleagues, I'm going to write a series about every English teacher's favorite thing-- teaching literature, and why we do it. There will be some number of posts (I don't have a plan here). Also, it would be nice to write and read about something positive

MAR 30

Career And Technical Education Deserves A Resurgence. Let’s Not Mess-- Oh, Hell

Amidst all his slashing of the education budget, Donald Trump has proposed an e normous spending increase for one area —career and technical education. The Trump budget includes an increase of $900 million in spending on CTE. Of that, $680 million would be directed through the Carl D. Perkins program , the main conduit for moving federal money into high school and post-high school CTE programs, t
Please Hold Your Applause

Yeah, you. The one posting the memes about heroic grocery store workers and medical personnel. The one posting all the heartwarming stories about our collective outpourings of love and appreciation for the people doing the hard work right now, out in the world where viruses can find them. The one sharing articles about how we should all help keep these front line workers healthy . The one sharing

MAR 29

ICYMI: What Day Is This Edition (3/29)

I feel like retirement gave me a head start, but yes-- after a while, the days kind of blend together. Still, we have some reading from the week. Remember, share safely. The Biggest Obstacle To Moving America's Public Schools Online Susan Adams, my editor at Forbes, takes a look at some of the problems with just tossing school onto the interwebz. Baghian and Vallas candidates for LA state ed chief

MAR 28

Why Teach Literature Stuff: #4 Books Versus Video

When I was teaching, and I had extra time on my hands, I would reflect on the work--the whys and hows and whats. So in solidarity with my former colleagues, I'm going to write a series about every English teacher's favorite thing-- teaching literature, and why we do it. There will be some number of posts (I don't have a plan here). Also, it would be nice to write and read about something positive
When Tech Makes Educational Decisions

"The internet is a bad place. Young people really shouldn't use it at all." The speaker was not some cranky parent or enraged luddite. It was the guy in charge of maintaining the network in my high school. In other words, the guy responsible for making sure it was possible for our students to access the internet. This was many years ago, but it slapped me upside the head with the realization that

MAR 27

Business and Humanity (When People Tell You Who They Are)

It has been a central conflict in education for decades now. Should education be organized around the needs of the business world, guided by the invisible hand in service to The Economy. We've heard it over and over again. Business 

"Have To" History: Stone v. Graham (1980) | Blue Cereal Education

"Have To" History: Stone v. Graham (1980) | Blue Cereal Education

"Have To" History: Stone v. Graham (1980)

The following is a first draft for what I hope will become the follow-up to "Have To" History: Landmark Supreme Court Cases. I'm sharing some of the chapters as they're written, partly to share with you, my Eleven Faithful Followers, and partly because nothing brings out the typos, grammar errors, and other shortcomings like publishing something online. Enjoy.

Thou Shalt Post These In Every Classroom

Three Big Things:

1. Kentucky required that the Ten Commandments be posted in all public school classrooms without comment, but with a little disclaimer underneath about them being the “fundamental legal code of Western civilization.” 
2. The Court applied the “Lemon Test” and determined that the legislation had no clear secular purpose; it was thus a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
3. Whereas recent cases had dealt with efforts to support the secular education of students in religious schools without running afoul of the “wall of separation,” Stone marked a new generation of cases focused on the reverse – seeing just how far religion could be brought back into public schooling.


Ten CommandmentsThe Supreme Court’s decision in Stone v. Graham was announced on November 17th, 1980. Less than two weeks earlier, Ronald Reagan had been elected President of the United States, initiating what would later be called the “Reagan Revolution” – a resurgence of conservative values and policies anchored in an idealized past. The events leading to Stone began years earlier, but its outcome sent a message to the faithful in the 1980s similar to that of Engel v. Vitale and Abington v. Schempp two decades before: American’s fundamental values (meaning public promotion of CONTINUE READING: "Have To" History: Stone v. Graham (1980) | Blue Cereal Education

EdAction in Congress April 5, 2020 - Education Votes

EdAction in Congress April 5, 2020 - Education Votes

EdAction in Congress April 5, 2020

DeVos revives failed push to privatize education

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is using the coronavirus crisis to revive her failed push to privatize education. This time, she’s calling for “microgrants” instead of vouchers. But the impact would be the same: robbing the public schools that educate 9 out of 10 students of funding, robbing the public of accountability, and diverting taxpayer dollars from public to private systems.
DeVos admits her latest scheme is just vouchers by another name. “I’ve always believed education funding should be tied to students, not systems,” she said at a March 27 press conference at the White House. “It is shameful that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would use a pandemic like the coronavirus to, once again, push her failed privatization agenda to defund public schools,” responded NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garc√≠a. Congress has rejected DeVos’ voucher schemes for three years and must do it again. TAKE ACTION

Congress contemplates fourth coronavirus package

The coronavirus legislation enacted thus far is a good start, but doesn’t do nearly enough for students and educators—especially in light of school closures, the switch to online instruction, and the intense strain on state budgets we know is coming. Now is the time to begin pushing for more funding where we know it is needed: the Education Stabilization Fund to help fill state budget gaps and prevent educator layoffs, closing the “homework gap” experienced by students who don’t have internet devices or access at home, and expanding student loan forgiveness.
All Americans need paid sick leave not just when they are sick, but when they need to care for incapacitated family members. With state budget shortfalls looming ever larger, the federal government needs to pay a bigger share of Medicaid costs to stave off cuts in education and other essential public services. The federal government also needs to protect voting rights—the money provided thus far is not nearly enough to ensure every citizen actually has the opportunity to vote by absentee ballot or other means in November’s nationwide elections. TAKE ACTION

Cheers and Jeers

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to waive the requirement that children must be physically present when school meals are picked up—and it agreed. For details, please see the Washington Post. 

EdAction in Congress April 5, 2020 - Education Votes