Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, June 28, 2020

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION + ICYMI: Yes, It's Still Happening Edition (6/28)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Yes, It's Still Happening Edition (6/28)

Yes, It's Still Happening Edition

I haven't reminded you for a while-- if you read something here that speaks to you, go to the original posting site and share that puppy. You have the power to amplify voices. Everything that ever went viral was shared one person at a time. So do your part and spread the word.

An Experiment in the Socially-Distanced Classroom   
From the blog "Counting From Zero," some teachers head to the classroom and take a look at the practical issues of social distancing for the classroom. The good, the bad, the ugly. I told you it was going to be up to teachers to work this stuff out.

Cleveland/University Heights City Schools On Board for Ohio's Ed Choice Lawsuit
I student taught in Cleveland Heights (Wiley Middle School). They may join many other Ohio districts fighting back against Ed Choice, Ohio's attempt to follow Florida in siphoning off unlimited money to choice schools. I hope they get it stopped.

The often ugly reality Black students face
Allan Blodget guest-writes at The Answer Sheet about what he found when he discovered an Instagram community of Black students writing about their school experiences.

Ed Department Killed Website That Made Applying for Loan Forgiveness Too Easy  
Lauren Camera at US News has this important story. The coda is that, thanks to coverage, the department decided to go ahead and put the website back up. But if you want further confirmation of what USED prioritizes these days (spoiler: not students), here's a story.

Lamar Alexander Said What?  
What he said, reported by CNBC, is that the feds have to provide extra funding to schools if it wants them to reopen this fall. Yes, really.

Michigan Republicans Try To Head Their Governor Off At The Back-To-School Pass
Nancy Flanagan has the story of Michigan's GOP trying to push some crappy policies quick-like before the governor can actually do something useful. Because if we're not learning anything else, and we hadn't already learned it from school shootings, the pandemic can teach us that to some folks, absolutely nothing matters more than politics.

What an actual school reopening plan looks like    
Jersey Jazzman runs down the characteristics necessary for a decent school reopening plan

Jamaal Bowman Scores Victory  
Call it an upset. Call it the Progressive wing of the Dems taking the old guard to school once again. Call it one more example of an outstanding educator moving into the political world. But whatever you call it, cheer.

The Standardized Testing Horror Show Is Not Over
There are plenty of reasons to think that the support for the Big Standardized Test is flagging, but as Nancy Bailey points out, there are zero reasons to relax vigilance. That fight is nowhere close to over.

For some California teens, school closures led to work in the fields
From Elizabeth Aguilera at CalMatters, a story about how huge a failure distance crisis learning was for some teens, and what school closure means for students who are also migrant workers.

Trying to make sense of fluid fall 
From Inside Higher Ed, a couple of simulations suggest that colleges are going to have some real problems in the fall.

You want a confederate monument? My body is a confederate monument.
From the New York Times, a powerful piece of essay writing from poet Caroline Randall Williams.

Teachers in Fairfax revolt against fall plans 
Meanwhile, what may be the first open revolt by a staff against the district's plans for next fall. From the Washington Post.

The Ed Tech Imaginary
I can't imagine why you would not be subscribing the Audrey Watters' newsletter, but just in case, here's the text of a recent address, looking at the stories we tell ourselves about ed tech. Well worth your while.

A message from your university's vice-president for magical thinking  
Speaking of school reopening plans, here's McSweeney's with a piece that is, I guess, darkly humorous.

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Yes, It's Still Happening Edition (6/28)


New Report: Zuckerberg’s Favorite Digital Ed Program Is All Sizzle, No Steak - by @palan57 on @forbes

The 2020 Test That Many School Districts Failed Before The Pandemic Even Started - by @palan57 on @forbes

GOP Legislators To Schools: Re-Open Or Else. - by @palan57 on @forbes

Florida Tightens The Public Education Noose
I have run out of words for Florida. It's been a little more than a year since I dubbed them "the worst," and there really isn't anything to add to that, except of course there is. The leadership positions under Governor Ron DeSantis have been handed over to profiteers and people whose whole life story is anti-education, plus a very active astro-turfy group of folks determined to cheer the legisla
TN: When Charters Abandon The Community
So here we go again. Another angry piece written about the abrupt closing of a charter school -- two, actually. This time it's a pair of KIPP schools in Memphis. The closings were announced in April , the reasoning a little fuzzy. KIPP Memphis Preparatory Elementary and KIPP Memphis Preparatory Middle were par of Tennessee's failed experiment, the Achievement School Distric t, a collection of scho
CA: San Diego Charter Versus The Evil Union
This week you may have run across a piece entitled " How the Union Stopped Innovation at My School. " The piece, which has turned up in numerous California outlets, was written by Jessica Chapman, a teacher at Gompers Preparatory Academy . Chapman's story has been steadily promoted by For Kids and Country , the organization run by Rebecca Friedrichs , a former teacher who loves Jesus and America a
CA: Charter Decides To Grab A Small Business Loan
Palisades Charter High School has a lot of history . When launched in 1961, it was the most expensive high school in the LA City School system. The state grabbed the farm property through eminent domain; previous residents included the daughter if Francis X. Bushman , and Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. Members of the Class of '65 were the basis for What Really Happened to the Class of '65? . B
Trump Back DeVos On Soaking Scammed Students
Trump has mostly ignored DeVos and the education department (insert joke about Trump and education here), but he's now decided to jump in, with both feet, right onto the backs of people scammed by for-profit colleges. This story has been dragging on for-freakin-ever. In 2017, 18 states and DC sued DeVos over her stated intention of ignoring/rewriting the Borrower Defense to Repayment rule from 201
ICYMI: Fathers Day Edition (6/21
I've had my hands full elsewhere, and have been spending refreshingly little time on line, but I still have a few goodies to pass along. Remember, sharing is caring, What Teachers Want American Education Research Journal has some research about what it takes to attract and retain teachers. A fun conversation starter. Looking for the Missing NBC News has the story of Detroit teachers who went looki
No, Software Still Can't Grade Student Essays
One of the great white whales of computer-managed education and testing is the dream of robo-scoring, software that can grade a piece of writing as easily and efficiently as software can score multiple choice questions. Robo-grading would be swift, cheap, and consistent. The only problem after all these years is that it still can’t be done. Still, ed tech companies keep making claims that they ha
AEI And The Commodification Of Education
The American Enterprise Institute comes from that part of the ed reform spectrum devoted to free market approaches. But a new report from AEI really pushes the boundaries of treating education as a commodity like a 

I'm Trying Not To Take Sides | Blue Cereal Education

I'm Trying Not To Take Sides | Blue Cereal Education

I'm Trying Not To Take Sides

Aliens PyramidsThese are complicated times, and in the interest of serving ALL students (and avoiding as many problems with parents as possible), I’m renewing my commitment to avoid pushing my own personal values and ideology and just sticking to the facts.
It’s not that hard in early American history. I mean, sure – there’s the issue of Columbus and whether he “discovered” America or not. Rather than give my own opinions, I just give kids facts. I’ve prepared a sheet of links to over 200 scholarly sources and primary documentation for them to peruse at their leisure, and they can decide for themselves whether or not what Columbus did was “good” or “bad,” or whether the Vikings got here first, or the Chinese, or that guy from Africa whose name I can never remember.
The whole clash of early settlers and the natives can be a little tricky, but no worries – I just present all sides of the issues and let my 8th and 9th graders figure out what it all means. It’s not my job to label something as “genocide” or “natural progress” or “God’s will.” Maybe smallpox blankets were a tacky move, maybe not. Maybe scalping and CONTINUE READING: I'm Trying Not To Take Sides | Blue Cereal Education

EdAction in Congress June 28, 2020 - Education Votes

EdAction in Congress June 28, 2020 - Education Votes

EdAction in Congress June 28, 2020

House takes initial steps to end police brutality

The House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (S. 3912/H.R. 7120) by a bipartisan vote of 236-131 while a separate bill failed to advance in the Senate. The bill passed by the House takes initial steps to end police brutality, protect the civil rights and liberties of all people, and change the culture of law enforcement agencies. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could take up the bill or consign it to the Senate’s legislative graveyard, where scores of NEA-supported bills passed by the House already languish. TAKE ACTION

HELP Committee chair calls for federal aid to help schools reopen safely

To help schools and colleges reopen safely this fall, retiring Senate HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is calling on the federal government to provide additional funding—though not nearly as much as educators have sought. “The surest step back to normalcy in our country is when 70-75 million college and high school and elementary school students go back to school,” he said. “If we need more money for that, I’m for that.” This support is helpful and a signal that educators’ advocacy is having an impact. But to move anything forward soon, many more Republican senators will need to put pressure on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
NEA’s priorities for the next coronavirus package include at least $175 billion to stabilize education funding, at least $4 billion to equip students with hot spots and devices to help narrow the digital divide and close the homework gap, at least $56 million in directed funding for personal protective equipment, relief for student loan borrowers, and at least $4 billion to protect voting rights and make voting by mail more widely available. LEARN MORE TAKE ACTION

House infrastructure bill includes more than $130 billion for schools

Your advocacy has paid off. The House is scheduled to vote this week on the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), which now includes the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act that provides significant support for public schools and the students most in need. Specifically, the bill would create a $100 billion grant program and $30 billion tax-credit bond program that target high-poverty schools whose facilities pose health and safety risks to students and staff. It would also provide $5 billion in funding to help close the digital divide and equip more students to go online. Nationwide, as many as 12 million students—1 in 5—are unable to do schoolwork at home due to lack of internet access. TAKE ACTION

Cheers and Jeers

Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Pete Stauber (R-MN) led a bipartisan letter signed by more than 60 members of the House urging Education Secretary DeVos to revise her CARES act equitable services rule because “runs counter to the intent of Congress.”
Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) played a leading role in building support to try to override the president’s veto of a congressional resolution that would overturn Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ revised borrower defense rule and protect students from unscrupulous for-profit colleges. Although a broad majority of the House voted YES, the veto override came up short—two-thirds must support it.
Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Will Hurd (R-TX), Fred Upton (R-MI) for joining all Democrats present in supporting the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

232 representatives voted for the Washington, D.C. Admission Act (H.R. 51), which would make the District of Columbia our nation’s 51st state and give its 700,000 residents the right to full representation in Congress.
180 representatives opposed the Washington, D.C. Admission Act (H.R. 51).

EdAction in Congress June 28, 2020 - Education Votes

It's time to revisit the Washington Murals debate. - SF PUBLIC SCHOOL MOM

It's time to revisit the Washington Murals debate. - SF PUBLIC SCHOOL MOM

It’s time to revisit the Washington Murals debate.

I firmly stand behind my vote to paint down the Life of Washington Murals. I don’t need white (and Asian) alumni, many of whom graduated from the school before it was even integrated as a result of Brown v. Board of Education, to tell me what those murals represent.
The Black children and families that walk into the school each day seeing their ancestors picking cotton and kneeling before a slave master, know what those paintings represent. Native American and Indigenous children and families don’t need false histories of scalping and “Indian attacks” and true histories of “Dead Indians” to know what those paintings represent. That history is a part of them.

As Caroline Randall Williams states in her NY Times article titled “You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is a Confederate Monument”:
“My blackness does not put me on the other side of anything. It puts me squarely at the heart of the debate.”
— Caroline Randall Williams
When I voted to paint over the Life of Washington Murals, I did so because I know what it feels like to see your history marginalized and erased. I know CONTINUE READING: It's time to revisit the Washington Murals debate. - SF PUBLIC SCHOOL MOM