Sunday, April 12, 2020

The digital equity issues of confronting coronavirus with online education

The digital equity issues of confronting coronavirus with online education

Should schools teach anyone who can get online – or no one at all?
What Washington schools have learned about the digital equity issues of confronting the coronavirus with online education


The Northshore School District, in an upper-middle-class suburb of Seattle, was among the first in Washington state – and in the country – to close due to the coronavirus. Less than a week after the March 5 closure, one Northshore parent, Amy Amirault, noticed a shift in the tone of other parents on social media. “We’re in this together” quickly turned to finger-pointing at “those kids,” one of whom was her eldest son.
Amirault’s son Daniel Sabol, 14, has autism. She said he was essentially nonverbal and had difficulty holding conversations – either online or in person. Certain sounds and songs on a computer can send him into “screaming and sobbing fits,” she said, and a visual that catches his eye may make him demand to watch a tutorial again and again. Before now, the most he’d done on a video call was to wave to grandma. Online education was unlikely to work well for him.
On its website and in letters to families, the district initially boasted of its preparation “to move teaching and learning beyond the four walls of the classroom.” And in statements to the media, Northshore pledged to make that transition as seamless as possible for everyone, including students with disabilities.

55.1 million – students in the U.S. out of school (public and private) due to coronavirus
Problems arose right away.
“Our team in the Special Education Department continues problem solving issues and concerns from parents and guardians,” Northshore CONTINUE READING: The digital equity issues of confronting coronavirus with online education

Sac City schools distance learning begins with computer shortage

Sac City schools distance learning begins with computer shortage

Sacramento City Unified School District distance learning begins with computer shortage
District said roughly 13,000 computers still needed





Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) is starting distance learning Monday. Thousands of families are picking up district computers this weekend to prepare for class. However, roughly a third of students will be without district-issued Chromebooks.
Pickup locations are at schools and only for students enrolled at that school.
The district currently has roughly 12,000 computers to handout. But estimates a total of 26,000 Chromebooks are needed.
There are more than 40,000 students in the district. Approximately 27,000 students will have computers by the end of the weekend-- either their own or provided by the district, according the district. The district still needs to distribute approximately 13,000 Chromebooks.
“We distributed last week about 3,500. We will distribute about 8,500 today,” Superintendent Jorge Aguilar said. “We have additional computers coming in. Unfortunately, we aren’t the only district that placed large orders for Chromebooks.”
The district ordered around 20,000 computers and is expecting more deliveries on Monday, Friday and likely the following week.
“Sac City Unified like many school districts had not invested heavily in computers,” Aguilar said. “It is a huge gap. But one thing I want to clarify is that distance learning can be done without technology and without computers as well.”
The distance learning is moving forward despite the district and teachers’ union did not reach an agreement.
“Teachers -- and to a bigger extent students -- don’t have the technology and the resources they need to get started,” Sacramento City Teachers Association President David Fisher said.
Because of the shortage, the first round of pickups is for elementary students and will be branched out to middle school and high school students as more become available.
“Yes, we want it to start,” Fisher added. “There will just be huge percentages of students who will not have the technology to begin and that’s our big concern.”
SCUSD is rolling out “hybrid learning” which the district described as including phone communication, conference calls, textbook assignments and additional materials.
“There can be learning that takes place across the district that is not fully dependent on computers,” Aguilar said. “We are going to have some missteps. We are going to encounter bumps along the road. This is an entirely new learning space.”
The district also has a list of free or discounted internet on its website. Aguilar said he is also talking with the mayor and internet providers to increase accessibility.
Sac City schools distance learning begins with computer shortage

When this is over, what will education researchers want to study about the 2020 covid-19 crisis? Here’s some answers. - The Washington Post

When this is over, what will education researchers want to study about the 2020 covid-19 crisis? Here’s some answers. - The Washington Post

When this is over, what will education researchers want to study about the 2020 covid-19 crisis? Here are some answers.





When this is all over, what will researchers want to study about how American education was affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic that has shut down public life in most places around the world?
Joshua Goodman, an associate professor of economics at Brandeis University, asked his colleagues that question on Twitter, and he got plenty of responses.

Goodman is an applied microeconomist on labor economics and education policy, and his overarching goal is to provide rigorous quantitative evidence that illuminates how schools and labor markets work, particularly with respect to postsecondary and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.
Here are just a few of the answers:
  • With most schools in the country (and world) closed, how will those closures exacerbate existing learning inequalities?
  • What are the socio-emotional outcomes for adolescents?
  • Have attitudes about teachers and public schools changed?
Read through the discussion between Goodman and other researchers: CONTINUE READING: When this is over, what will education researchers want to study about the 2020 covid-19 crisis? Here’s some answers. - The Washington Post

UC Berkeley professor: How I’m teaching ‘Ethics in the Age of Trump’ course online during the coronavirus crisis - The Washington Post - https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/04/12/uc-berkeley-professor-how-im-teaching-ethics-age-trump-course-online-during-coronavirus-crisis/

Johann Neem: On Unbecoming American | Diane Ravitch's blog

Johann Neem: On Unbecoming American | Diane Ravitch's blog

Johann Neem: On Unbecoming American


Johann Neem is the author of Democracy’s Schools: The Rise of Public Education in America, in which he describes the creation of public education between the American Revolution and the Civil War and recognizes public schools as an essential building block of a robust democracy.
Neem’s family came to America from India when he was a. Dry young child. They settled in California and lived in a diverse, multiethnic America. He went to public schools, to college, to graduate school, and eventually became a historian of education.
He lived what was then considered the American Dream. But now he fears it is disappearing for reasons he explain in this essay.
He begins:
I arrived—as we all do—in the midst of history. I was not yet three, and my parents had migrated to San Francisco from Mumbai to start a new life. They had been sponsored by my dad’s sister, whose husband, an engineer, had come over to work for Bechtel. We were, in other words, part of the first wave of immigrants to crash into a changing America in the wake of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Our arrival—among those of the numbers of Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans who came to the country—was largely unexpected. It was not what most Americans had anticipated when the law was passed during the civil rights era. But it was what CONTINUE READING: Johann Neem: On Unbecoming American | Diane Ravitch's blog

CURMUDGUCATION: What Do We Want To Measure When We Get Back?

CURMUDGUCATION: What Do We Want To Measure When We Get Back?

What Do We Want To Measure When We Get Back?


I have railed against this for years, but now it's apparently time to take the railing up a notch.

Lots of folks are worried about--or at least pretending to be worried about--the notion that students may lose a step or two during the coronahiatus, and that's reasonable concern. Every teacher knows that September, not April, is the cruelest month, the month in which you discover just how much information just sort of fell out of students' heads under the warm summer sun. This pandemic pause is undoubtedly going to set some educational goals back.


Coronadonuts?
But which goals? Exactly what kind of ground do we think we're going to lose?

Cue all the folks who like to treat "student achievement" and "test score" as synonyms. Here, for instance, is a paper from the folks at testing company NWEA projecting what the COVID-19 Slide (which would be a good name for a dance) will look like. As a piece of research, it is really, really scrambling to be anything better than a best guess, and while I don't fault them for that, because what else can anyone do except make a best guess, NWEA's people have buried their guess under layers of language like this--

To provide preliminary estimates of the potential impacts of the extended pause of academic CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: What Do We Want To Measure When We Get Back?

EdAction in Congress April 12, 2020 - Education Votes

EdAction in Congress April 12, 2020 - Education Votes

EdAction in Congress April 12, 2020


For next COVID bill, NEA urges Congress to think big

As a fourth coronavirus legislative package begins to take shape, NEA is urging Congress to address immediate needs like funding as well as long-festering problems ranging from the homework gap to student loan debt. On April 9, NEA sent every member of Congress a detailed list of top priorities for students and educators accompanied by a letter urging lawmakers to see the current crisis for what it is: a wake-up call, not a passing storm. Like 9/11 and the Great Depression, the coronavirus crisis is destined to have a lasting impact on our way of life. Now is time to renew America’s promise of equal opportunity and justice for all. TAKE ACTION

COVID-19 resources on educationvotes.org

We’ve assembled a special COVID-19 page about the work NEA is doing at the federal level and what Congress is doing to address the COVID-19 crisis—and our “asks.” In addition to information about the three bills passed thus far, the page provides links to NEA’s letters to Congressestimated relief for each state, and fact sheets on key issues, including one-time payments to individuals, unemployment insurance, student loans, school meals, and more. Check it out!

Cheers and Jeers

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Robin Kelly (D-IL) sent a letter urging Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to “monitor and address racial disparities in our nation’s response” to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reps. Colin Allred (D-TX), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), and Marc Veasey (D-TX) and their staffs helped NEA member VerĂ³nica Mariscal, a Dallas arts teacher, get safely back to the United States from Peru during the coronavirus crisis.
Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) led a letter signed by 136 of their colleagues urging House and Senate leaders to incorporate provisions in upcoming COVID-19 stimulus packages that will: (1) boost the maximum SNAP benefit by 15 percent; (2) increase the monthly minimum SNAP benefit from $16 to $30; and (3) place a hold on harmful proposed rules that weaken the SNAP eligibility and benefits.
Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sent a letter encouraging Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to target CARES Act funding to public and nonprofit colleges—calling excluding for-profit colleges from the funding the “most legally sound” approach.
EdAction in Congress April 12, 2020 - Education Votes

Yaw Really Homeschooling Or Nah? - Philly's 7th Ward

Yaw Really Homeschooling Or Nah? - Philly's 7th Ward

YAW REALLY HOMESCHOOLING OR NAH?


Before we get into today’s piece, let’s get a few things clear from the top:
  1. My wife and I have five… yes, one, two, three, four, five… kids at home with us right now. They range from 9 to 17, but frankly that doesn’t matter*. There are five of them. Our lives weren’t set up for them being here all the time. (*After further review, it does matter. I was just sharing with a friend about the joys of being past diaper days. So yeah, I may have a slight advantage here with my older kids. Still, my professional skills are aligned with teaching college students. This is not that.)
  2. I’m starting this draft at 1:15pm Weds afternoon on my lunch break from my 9–5 (which now consists of Zoom meetings and emails from my sofa). My kids would / should be in someone’s classroom right now, not in the process of eating up all of my food.
  3. I’m writing this entry to think out loud about what I’m going to do with CONTINUE READING: Yaw Really Homeschooling Or Nah? - Philly's 7th Ward

JEFF BRYANT: Homeschoolers want you to believe the pandemic has a silver lining — they’re wrong | Salon.com

Homeschoolers want you to believe the pandemic has a silver lining — they’re wrong | Salon.com

Homeschoolers want you to believe the pandemic has a silver lining — they’re wrong
While the public experiences a health calamity, the homeschooling movement sees a big opportunity


In the early days of the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S., when the number of known cases was barely cresting 1,000, advocates for homeschooling were greeting news of the outbreak as an opportunity to promote their cause.
"While the virus has caused illness and hardship for many, keeping children out of school is not a global calamity," wrote libertarian think tank operative Kerry McDonald in Forbes on March 11, two days before President Trump declared coronavirus a national emergency.
McDonald wasn't the only cheerleader for homeschooling in the face of a pandemic. "Learning can happen anywhere," Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos enthused on Twitter.
School closings were turning parents into "the nation's teachers," according to the Washington Times, a consistent advocate for public school privatization. The article, by Christopher Vondracek, told readers not to think about home-schooling as being "associated with religious reactions to the secularization of public education and the banning of prayer in public schools during the 1960s." Homeschooling, he contended, "looks nothing like that of yesteryear," because now "innovative lessons abound" and new technologies — including video streaming, apps, and social media — have made homeschooling a better option for parents seeking "individualized instruction and safer environments" for their children.
Vondracek pointed readers to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), which "lists a CONTINUE READING: Homeschoolers want you to believe the pandemic has a silver lining — they’re wrong | Salon.com

Pandemic Wake-Up Call: Easter 2020 | The Crucial Voice of the PeopleThe Crucial Voice of the People

Pandemic Wake-Up Call: Easter 2020 | The Crucial Voice of the PeopleThe Crucial Voice of the People

Pandemic Wake-Up Call: Easter 2020


The coronavirus pandemic is our newest wake-up call. But instead of listening to the call from our political leaders, how about listening to others?
#####

This is a wake-up call for the nation from Laura Bowman, Parents Across America Board Member.

We need to focus on what’s truly important for our children.

What is important is their face-to-face interactions with caring, experienced, human teachers. It’s ensuring they have what they need in their homes and communities, so they can better succeed in the classroom. It’s fully and fairly funding our public schools so they’re ALL well-staffed and well-resourced.
You are seeing why so many of us have been saying the following:

Biking and Debating Which Schools Are “Good” | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Biking and Debating Which Schools Are “Good” | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Biking and Debating Which Schools Are “Good”


I published this post over a decade ago. While I no longer can climb Mt. Hamilton in the Bay area, the arguments a small group of bikers had on their ride up the mountain continue to resonate among Americans.
“Why do people argue so much about education?”
I heard this question as I pumped up Mt. Hamilton. Biking up a California mountain forces you to think about many things or else you note how goofy you are for taking five hours to climb nineteen miles just to eat peanut butter sandwiches in the parking lot of the James Lick Observatory. So two friends and I chat about biking, the panoramas of the Santa Clara valley and, yes, even education.



About halfway up the mountain my friends and I began talking about the constant disagreement over schools. Victor mentioned the uproar over whether a high school should provide condoms to students. Deborah remembered a conversation with an aunt who was a “creationist.” They knew I was an educator and this led to Deborah’s question: “Why do people argue so much about CONTINUE READING: Biking and Debating Which Schools Are “Good” | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

A Special Message to the Readers of This Blog | Diane Ravitch's blog

A Special Message to the Readers of This Blog | Diane Ravitch's blog

A Special Message to the Readers of This Blog




This blog was started on April 12, 2012.
Today is its 8th anniversary.
During that time, you have been wonderful readers. Your support has kept me going. I’ve shared with you the news stories, posts by bloggers I respect, occasional humor, and even some personal advice.
My goal for eight years has been to create a broad awareness of the failure of privatization and standardized testing to improve education. The movement to save and improve our nation’s public schools is strong and getting stronger. When someday this terrible pandemic ends, we will continue our struggle for better education for all.
The blog is closing in on 36 million page views. There have been more than 600,000 comments by you.
All in all, the blog has given me a great opportunity to speak my mind and to engage in lively conversation every day with you and to learn from you, not only your views but what’s happening in your community and state.
Here is my gift to you. Open and enjoy.
If you want to show your appreciation for my work, send a copy of SLAYING GOLIATH to a legislator or school board member.
Thank you!

Happy Pandemic Easter! | deutsch29

Happy Pandemic Easter! | deutsch29

Happy Pandemic Easter!


Given the social distancing necessary for combating COVID-19 pandemic, this Easter will undoubtedly find most church buildings empty– a scenario that is not completely unheard of.
You know, the first Easter was not one of filled chuches.
On the first Easter, there was no celebration. The previous Friday, one of Jesus’ disciples, Judas Iscariot, sold Jesus out to the religious authorites, who chose to illegally arrest Jesus at night for fear of public reaction. The remaining eleven of his inner circle were scattered, and Peter, the one who boasted that he would never deny Jesus, did so three times before dawn of Saturday morning– just like Jesus told Peter he would.
Jesus’ inner circle didn’t know what hit them. It isn’t as though Jesus kept his imminent betrayal and death a secret– they just couldn’t hear it because they were already convinced that Jesus intended to ride his popularity into the political arena and become an earthly king, end of story. They even fought among themselves concerning who was greatest among them. Why, the mother of two of that inner circle, James and John, even asked Jesus to guarantee her sons top positions in his kingdom– which really miffed the others.
So, when Jesus was publicly and brutally put to death, his inner circle was stunned.
They were not quick to catch on to the “kingdom not of this world” and its CONTINUE READING: Happy Pandemic Easter! | deutsch29

CURMUDGUCATION: Happy Easter

CURMUDGUCATION: Happy Easter

Happy Easter


I love Easter, love it better than Christmas. I have decades of Easter traditions piled up, and of course, today, none of them will happen.

I love tradition, but on the other hand, tradition can become an enabler, a means of just sleepwalking through life. I love tradition, but I always told my yearbook students that they were not allowed to make any decisions about the book "because that's what we did last year."

So I'm going to try to see today as a reminder to be mindful and deliberate, to strip off the tradition and get back to thinking about why they were a good idea in the first place, what values and ideals and goals they helped express and embody, and get back to those foundational things. It's probably a useful exercise for all of us in this weird pandemic time. It will certainly be a valuable exercise when we are trying to get back to whatever we're going to do.

It's also useful for people of faith, because the last many yeas I've seen my faith hijacked by people who are more focused on venal petty earthly power than on the great I Am, the Creator of all that is or was or will be. I can barely recognize my church any more. So there's that to chew on.

So take the day off. I mean, really off, because even if you haven't had to work, you've still been doing the work of fretting and itching and worrying, so drop that today, too (I know--easy to say). Whatever your faith (or absence thereof), take a day to breathe in and out and in again. Eat something tasty. Call someone. Hug someone. Sit with some quiet and grab hold of your own potent human core, the parts that help anchor you to this world and move through it. I often say that education is about learning to be fully yourself, to understand how the world works and how to be fully human in it. Pretty sure working that out is the gig for our lifetimes.

Love and peace, readers. I'll get back to the rest of it tomorrow.



CURMUDGUCATION: Happy Easter

Louisiana Educator: America Needs More Science and Less Stupid Politics

Louisiana Educator: America Needs More Science and Less Stupid Politics

America Needs More Science and Less Stupid Politics


Note to readers of this blog: Most of my readers know that I started my career in education as a science teacher at the high school level. I still consider myself primarily a science teacher. That’s why I feel compelled to examine our country’s reaction to the current Covid-19 pandemic from the point of view of the relevant science. In addition, I believe there are critical lessons to be learned as we fight though this dangerous challenge. These lessons should be anchored in a reliance on science instead of knee jerk reactions of some of our inept and unethical politicians.


Someone recently sent me a slick public relations video of the city of Wuhan China. This is the city of 11 million people where the Corona virus got its start. The video showed an aerial view of a fabulous city featuring beautiful architecture and amazing infrastructure including complex highway systems, attractive high-rises, and even beautiful public art works in the center of the city. 

I was skeptical of such an obvious propaganda video, so I went to the Internet and did a little research. I found that Wuhan does have some amazing architecture and much of the infrastructure represented on the PR video. I concluded that Wuhan was quite an impressive city, regardless of the problems that we know would carefully be excluded from a PR video. I am not including a link to the PR video here because I don’t want to be part of any propaganda effort by the Chinese government.

But none of this keeps me from concluding that any society or country that could build such a fabulous city must have more going for it than just one-sided-trade policies. (Some popular media sources have been blaming China for many of our country’s failings in dealing with Covid-19 by pointing to what they claim to be CONTINUE READING: Louisiana Educator: America Needs More Science and Less Stupid Politics

Like Vultures, They’re Still Planning to End Public Schools and a Professional Teaching Workforce!

Like Vultures, They’re Still Planning to End Public Schools and a Professional Teaching Workforce!

Like Vultures, They’re Still Planning to End Public Schools and a Professional Teaching Workforce!


There’s a movement underfoot to end the way children learn. Look carefully at who says “we need to reimagine” or “this is the time to reassess” schools. These can be signals from those who’ve led the charge to dismantle public schools for years. Like vultures, they’re scheming how to use this pandemic to put the final stamp of success on their privatization agenda.
Most parents and teachers can’t wait for public schools to reopen. Children miss their teachers, friends and their public schools. Teachers tirelessly work to assist their students from afar. Heartwarming stories flood social media about how children and teachers are coming together.
Many, including me, have implied that due to the virus there will be a renewed appreciation of what’s been lost. Public schools and the teaching profession we hope will return stronger and more appreciated. It’s especially important to have hope.
It’s also important not to be fooled. A frightening, albeit not unexpected, reality has emerged. Those who’ve foisted their ideology on public schools for years don’t care CONTINUE READING: Like Vultures, They’re Still Planning to End Public Schools and a Professional Teaching Workforce!