Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, May 17, 2020

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION + ICYMI: Shorts and T-Shirt Edition (5/17)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Shorts and T-Shirt Edition (5/17)

Shorts and T-Shirt Edition 

So it's finally almost summery here, for what that's worth. We can at least sit out on the porch. Meantime, here's some stuff to read. Well, a lot of stuff, actually.

Why High Stakes Testing Was Cancelled This Year
Steven Singer looks at some of the less-obvious reasons the Big Standardized Test is cancelled this year (and probably next year, too).

TFA Will Train New Recruits Virtually
So, while everything else is going on, Teach For America has adapted by giving their recruits even less training than usual. Gary Rubinstein has the details.

Who Does the Biden/Sanders Unity Panel Unite
Nancy Bailey has concerns about this cozy moment, and some details about the people on the panel.

CREDO Study Biased Against Public Schools  
Thomas Ultican takes a look at CREDO's long, storied history, and why that gives us reason to doubt the sincerity of their newest researchy thing.

Cyber Charter School Has Failed Students
An op-ed takes Agora cyber-school to task for its consistent failure.

Will Coronavirus Be The Tipping Point That Ends Annual Testing In Schools
The Education Writers Association takes a look at the big testing question. A good survey of some of the views of the issue out there.

Does It Work? The Most Meaningless Question To Ask About Online Education
Yong Zhao cuts right to the chase with five critical reasons that there is no simple answer to that simple question.

A Looming Issue For Schools: Teachers Who Can't Or Won't Go Back
Chalkbeat takes a look at how covid-19 can further affect the re-opening of schools.

Not National, Not Parents, Not A Union
Maurice Cunningham takes a look at the National Parents Union and peels back the layers hiding the group's true nature.

Crazy Pandemic Behavior Messes With AI 
"Machine-learning models are designed to respond to changes. But most are also fragile; they perform badly when input data differs too much from the data they were trained on. " Not about education per se, but this MIT Technology Review piece reminds us that the magic of AI is not very magical.

How Can I Keep From Singing?  
It's going to be a while before things are normal in your school's music department again. Nancy Flanagan with a beautiful piece that tells why that matters.

The Sheer Number of School Districts Is Tilting the Playing Field   
The New York Times looks at the role of district boundaries, the role in perpetuating inequity, and the sheer (large) number of districts in the country.

AP Online Exam Fiasco
Two worthwhile pieces here cover the AP testing mess. Teen Vogue has a piece from an AP teacher looking at just how ugly this mess was, while the indispensable Mercedes Schneider takes a look at how parents and students are reacting. The College Board once again has a not-its-finest-moment

And here's a bonus that I missed last week-- Diane Ravitch on Full Frontal

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Shorts and T-Shirt Edition (5/17)


Without The Big Standardized Test, Would Schools Be Flying Blind? - by @palan57 on @forbes

Successful School Reopening Plans Will Have One Thing In Common - by @palan57 on @forbes

Why Bill Gates Is Not The Man To Reimagine New York Education - by @palan57 on @forbes

How Dr. Perelman Helped Save Australia
(Note: If you're not in the mood to read the whole piece, skip down to the bold quote at the end-- ikt'll be worth it.) Longtime readers know that Les Perelman is one of my heroes. Retired in 2012 from teaching and administration at MIT, he has continued his work in the world of education, most notably repeatedly poking holes in the balonified field that is robo-grading . Software that can assess
Small Things: Secretary DeVos, Twitter and Teachers Vs. Charters
For quite a while, National Charter School Self-Promotion Week was scheduled for the first week in may-- the same week that the PTA had, for decades, scheduled Teacher Appreciation Week. Last year somebody finally decided that maybe that wasn't the greatest idea and moved Charter Week to the second week in May. So we're just wrapping that lovefest up today. Coincidentally, I recently broke down an

MAY 14

Fordham Advises Conservative Board Members In Parallel Universe
It's a curious little piece in the Fordham Institute's blog, this " Conservative Agenda for School Board Members. " The co-authors are Michael Petrilli and Chester Finn, the current and former head honchos of the right-leaning thinky tank (though I will say-- and I'm just guessing here--the level of pearl-clutching in this piece sounds a lot more like Finn than Petrilli to me). The stock photo is

MAY 13

Biden's Education Unity Task Force
Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have announced a half-dozen unity task force thingies, one of which will be focused on education , more or less. Folks are reacting with varying degrees of freaking out on the social medias. I'm going to recommend that you take a deep breath. Here are some things to consider. Concerns Alejandro Adler is nobody to be excited about. He's an academic who is associated wit

MAY 12

The Why Of Opening Schools Matters As Much As The When
Originally posted about three weeks ago. Not much has changed; only become more so. At some point, schools are going to open again. Figuring out when will require some complicated medical and political calculus, and while lots of folks are hoping it will be just as easy as life going back to normal sometime over the summer, nobody is ready to bet the farm, or even a few select outbuildings, on th
Private Equity's Destructive Tendencies
This article ( "Why Private Equity Keeps Wrecking Retail Chains Like Fairway ") has been sitting on my desktop since late January, which is now, of course, roughly ten years in our collective past, but it's still worth a look. It's not about education, except that, given the deep and abiding love that hedge funds have for charter schools , this is absolutely about education. Jordan Weissmann at Sl

MAY 11

After The Grieving
The first student death I ever experienced was when I was in fifth grade. Betsy was a kind sweetheart of a girl, but suffered from a cruel variety of health issues. One Monday we came back to school, and she wasn't there. Through the day, the word spread that she had died over the weekend. It was a rough day. Over the years of teaching, there were several student deaths. Suicide. Auto accident. Su

MAY 10

ICYMI: Mothers Day Edition (5/10)
We got some take-out brunch at our house, so my wife is having what appears to be a delicious quiche (I'm not a good judge of egg-based foods) and we're going to try to ignore the return of winter. In the meantime, here's some reading for you. It's a pretty rich week-- enjoy. Appeals Court Decision Guarantees Basic Literacy as a Right Jan Resseger looks at the recent court decision that could chan

MAY 09

Backpack Full of Misdirection
Jeanne Allen called it a backpack full of cash, strapped to the back of each student, who would carry it from school to school like a young mule. It's the child's money. It's the family's money. The money should follow the child. It has been the reformster mantra for years, and it is enjoying a comeback as we discuss very particular dollars, i.e. the stimulus dollars being thrown at the country to

Annie Abrams: Privatization Vultures Are Circling Our Public Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog

Annie Abrams: Privatization Vultures Are Circling Our Public Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog

Annie Abrams: Privatization Vultures Are Circling Our Public Schools

Writing in the New Republic, New York City public school teacher Annie Abrams warns about the vultures circling public schools during the pandemic, hoping to make remote learning a feature, not a temporary emergency measure.
She cites the recent comments by Governor Cuomo about the seeming obsolescence of “all these buildings, all these physical classrooms; why, with all the technology you have?” And, of course, his invitation to Bill Gates of all people to “reimagine education” in the state. She might have also cited any number of statements by anti-public school individuals like Betsy DeVos and Jeanne Allen of the Center for Education Reform, which supports every kind of school except public schools.
Abrams knows that distance learning cannot replace the person-to-person contact that happens in physical classrooms.
Meaningful education is built on connection, and fostering relationships requires proximity. This is what a classroom does. It’s a space for students to establish relationships while experimenting with being in public. And while we don’t yet know the details of Cuomo’s plan, there’s CONTINUE READING: Annie Abrams: Privatization Vultures Are Circling Our Public Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog

Giving Private Schools Federal Emergency Funds Slated for Low-income Students Will Shortchange At-risk Kids - Education Law Prof Blog

Education Law Prof Blog

Giving Private Schools Federal Emergency Funds Slated for Low-income Students Will Shortchange At-risk Kids

Public schools have faced three distinct challenges since the coronavirus pandemic began – scrambling to make sure that low-income children don’t go hungry, teaching students remotely who lack internet access and bracing for dramatically smaller budgets.
Congress tried to help in the US$2 trillion economic relief package known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES Act, by designating $13.5 billion for public schools. The money was supposed to be distributed to school districts based on the number of low-income students they enroll. A new directive from the U.S. Department of Education, however, tells districts to share far more of the money than expected with private and religious school students, even though fewer than 5% of those children are poor.
I’m a scholar of federal education policy and history who has testified before a congressional commission and federal courts in disputes over federal funds. In my view, this new policy runs counter to what Congress has tried to achieve in public education for the past 50 years and it directly contradicts the CARES Act.

A new formula

The funding is supposed to stabilize public school budgets as local and state revenues, the primary sources of U.S. public school funding, decline and the costs of responding to the pandemic increase.
Schools from coast to coast are buying computers and scrambling to get low-income students the bandwidth they need for distance learning.
The relief package specified that the money would go to school districts based on the number of low-income students they serve. Those are children who are eligible for free and reduced-priced meals. Students whose families are below 185% of the official poverty line – which as of 2020 stands at $26,200 per year for a family of four – fall into this category.
School districts are also to reserve a portion of those funds to ensure equitable services for any low-income CONTINUE READING: Education Law Prof Blog