Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, July 12, 2020


CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Hell Of A Week Edition (7/12)

Hell Of A Week Edition 

Well, that was a hell of a week, between administration backflips and dictates over covid policy and the general rising tide of panic. Here at the Institute, I've decided to skip the 642 pieces I've read about reopening schools this week, because chances are you didn't miss any of them. But in the meantime, a few other things have dropped that are worth your attention.

The Seven Habits of Highly Affective Teachers 
This ASCD piece by Rick Wormeli is five years old, but I have the feeling that the mental health of a school is going to be a trending topic for a while, and while this is not necessarily earth-shattering, it's still a decent read with some useful reminders.

Claudia MacMillan: A Remarkable and Inspiring Program of Learning 
Diane Ravitch included a couple of guest posts this week. This one focuses on the Dallas/Fort Worth based Cowan Academy in the Humanities, and while I tend to be leery of people who slap their copyright on pedagogy, it's still heartening to read about a program that is so assertively and effectively championing the liberal arts and humanities.

Jack Schneider: Why Study History 
Another guest post for Ravitch, this short essay answers the age-old question.

Is It Time To Cancel Teach Like A Champion?
Have You Heard takes a deep historical dive to look at TLAC's predecessors and the current conversation (again) that maybe Doug Lemov's best-selling guide is just a wee bit racist.

What the Espinoza Decision Means for Other Aspects of Religious Freedom
At The Dispatch, Andy Smarick (Manhattan Institute, etc) has a nice breakdown of the decision, its roots, and its implications.

Assessing the Assessment
This will take you to an abstract of an article from December of 2019; if you want to dig further, it will cost you. But the last line of the abstract tells the story of this research into edTPA: "we argue that the proposed and actual uses of the edTPA are currently unwarranted on technical grounds."

Charter schools may have double-dipped as much as $1 billion in PPP small business loans
Roegr Sollenberger at Salon looks at just how well it has paid off fore charter schools to drop the mantle of "public school" and put on their small business hats.

Colleges and Schools Rethinking Role of Standardized Tests
UMass Lowell picks up the ongoing conversation about doing more than just pausing the standardized testing giants. Jack Schneider appears here, too--busy week for him, but he gets a nice picture this time.

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Hell Of A Week Edition (7/12)


Want Schools Open In The Fall? All The Money In The World Can’t Solve These Problems - by @palan57 on @forbes

Want Schools Open In The Fall? Then Pay For It - by @palan57 on @forbes

DeVos and Trump Throw Cyberschools Under Bus
Here is Betsy DeVos speaking as part of a coronavirus task force presentation back in March: Learning can and does happen anywhere and everywhere. It's a sentiment that she has expressed numerous times in connection with the idea that technology could be the brand new key to better education. As in, cyberschool or its fancier name, "virtual learning." She has been a fan for years . And here she is
Betsy DeVos Is Failing Hard
In the midst of all this chaos and confusion, it's perhaps easy to miss how thoroughly Betsy DeVos is doing a terrible job as Secretary of Education. And by so many measures. There's the business of managing college loans. DeVos, you may recall, has been pointedly spanked by the courts for going after students who owe money on their college loans even in those cases where the law clearly states sh
Trump and DeVos Can't Make Up Their Damned Minds About Schools
It doesn't seem all that hard to figure out how Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos feel about public schools in this country. And yet, they seem oddly conflicted. DeVos famously called public schools a "dead end." Just last week, reflecting on the SCOTUS decision, she opined that the history of American education is "sad and static" and "too many students have been discriminated against based on their f
Teachers Face A Summer Of Soul Searching. What Do They Do In The Fall?
This originally ran in early June. No signs that things are looking up at all. We know a handful of things. We know that virtually nobody wants to continue the pandemic shut-down crisis school model in the fall (with the possible exception of ed tech companies that hope to keep cashing in on it). Elected officials across the country are calling for schools to open again, a position that’s easy fo
ICYMI: Pet Recovery Day Edition (7/5)
Our current dog is impervious to pretty much everything other than people on our front porch. But my previous dog spent every July 4 cowering under a shed, and every year I think of him and all the pets like him. This year, a number of things derailed our usual Fourth celebration, including the cancellation of local fireworks. But today can still be a rest and reflect opportunity. And I have thin
Trump Comes After Public School Teachers
Against every law of society and nature, our children are taught in school to hate their own country and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes but that were villains. One of the big pull quotes from Donald Trump's historically shallow paean to the idea of American exceptionalism on July 3rd at Mount Rushmore, an attack on public education and the teachers who work there e
Baradaran: The Neoliberal Looting of America
Mehrsa Baradaran, who wrote The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap (a properly self-explanatory title), had a great piece this week in the New York Times-- not directly about education, but involving many 

New York Times: Secret CDC Report Warned of Danger of Opening Schools Without Proper Safeguards | Diane Ravitch's blog

New York Times: Secret CDC Report Warned of Danger of Opening Schools Without Proper Safeguards | Diane Ravitch's blog

Secret CDC Report Warned of Danger of Opening Schools Without Proper Safeguards 

Eileen Sullivan and Erica L. Green of the New York Times managed to get a copy of an internal (secret) report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that warned of the dangers of opening schools without adequate protection of students and staff.
WASHINGTON — Federal materials for reopening schools, shared the week President Trump demanded weaker guidelines to do so, said fully reopening schools and universities remained the “highest risk” for the spread of the coronavirus.
The 69-page document, obtained by The New York Times and marked “For Internal Use Only,” was intended for federal public health response teams to have as they are deployed to hot spots around the country. But it appears to have circulated the same week that Vice President Mike Pence announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would release new guidelines, saying that the administration did not want them to be “too tough.” It is unclear whether Mr. Trump saw the document, nor is it clear how much of it will survive once new guidance is completed.
(The cover page of the document is dated July 8, 2019, an obvious typographical error since the novel coronavirus did not exist then.)

Mitchell Robinson: Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste: Michigan Ed Reform Edition | Eclectablog

Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste: Michigan Ed Reform Edition | Eclectablog

Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste: Michigan Ed Reform Edition

If you’ve seen your teacher friends warning about the dangers of the Covid-19 pandemic providing an opportunity for unscrupulous education reformers, like US Secretary of Education and serial public school defunder, Betsy DeVos, to dismantle our system of public schools and wondered to yourself, “Now how would these people do that?”…here’s how.
In the Utica (MI) Community Schools (UCS), the district superintendent, Dr. Christine Johns, sent the following letter to all UCS parents yesterday–not to the district’s teachers, mind you…just to the parents. I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting some important clues as to what’s really going on in UCS that may not be clear from Dr. Johns’ letter, and will provide a translation below:
July 10, 2020
Dear Parents/Guardians:
Earlier today, you received information regarding the UCS Virtual Academy through the UCS Campus for Connected Learning. The virtual school is one option we are offering parents this fall as we continue our focus on educational excellence and address the health and safety of our students, staff and families.
The virtual academy provides a personalized learning option that engages students across the curriculum and goes beyond what the typical e-learning program offers. Highly qualified UCS teachers will guide learning while academic coaches will provide tutoring support responsive to student needs. More information on this opportunity is available on our CONTINUE READING: 
Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste: Michigan Ed Reform Edition | Eclectablog

Do what I want: Betsy DeVos tells school districts - The Washington Post

Do what I want: Betsy DeVos tells school districts - The Washington Post

Do what I want: Betsy DeVos tells school districts trying to open for 2020-21

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made clear on Sunday she wants schools to reopen fully for most students for the 2020-21 academic year, even as coronavirus infection rates are soaring in some parts of the country and some superintendents say it is impossible for them to do that.
DeVos made her latest statement about what schools should do on CNN’s “State of the Union.” In the interview with journalist Dana Bash, DeVos doubled down on calls she made last week for schools to reopen. “Kids need to be in school,” she said. “They need to be learning, they need to be moving ahead. And we can’t — we cannot be paralyzed and not allow that or not be intent on that happening.”
DeVos said nothing, however, about what school superintendents have been saying they need to reopen: billions of dollars in additional federal funding to cover the costs of changes they have to make and personal protective equipment they need to buy. In fact, DeVos last week threatened to withhold federal funding from districts that didn’t do what she wanted, even though she can’t unilaterally stop funding approved by Congress. CONTINUE READING: Do what I want: Betsy DeVos tells school districts - The Washington Post

High School Scheduling Will Not Work With the Carranza Hybrid Plan | JD2718

High School Scheduling Will Not Work With the Carranza Hybrid Plan | JD2718

High School Scheduling Will Not Work With the Carranza Hybrid Plan

Putting the “right” number of students into a building does not guarantee the “right” number of students goes into each room. In fact, in most high schools, it’s not possible under the Carranza Hybrid plan.
Why not?
First period, my school, juniors and seniors.  Normally we’d have about 200 upperclassmen divide into 7 classes, anywhere from 20 to 34 in a class. Mostly upper 20s. I’ve got last fall’s program in front of me: AP English Literature and Composition, Vectors and Matrices, Calculus AB, Vertebrate Physiology, AP English Language and Composition, Spanish Level III, AP US History
But today, socially distanced and hybridized, only 50 upperclassmen are in, divided into 7 classes, carefully selected so that there are 5 to 9 in a class. Mostly 7 or 8.
Those are good numbers. Our classrooms are small, and most have capacity between 7 and 11, including teacher.
The bell rings, second period. 7 classes again. AP English Literature and Composition. AP Spanish, Vectors and Matrices, AP Biology, AP English Language and Composition, Spanish Level IV, AP US History. Good, right?
Wrong. There are way too many kids in Spanish Level IV and AP Bio (15 each) and the rest of the classes CONTINUE READING: High School Scheduling Will Not Work With the Carranza Hybrid Plan | JD2718

TODAY'S BETSY DEVOS "HIT" PARADE: Internet buries Betsy DeVos for ‘total trainwreck’ CNN interview: ‘Why is she in charge of ANYTHING?’ – Raw Story

Internet buries Betsy DeVos for ‘total trainwreck’ CNN interview: ‘Why is she in charge of ANYTHING?’ – Raw Story


Internet buries Betsy DeVos for ‘total trainwreck’ CNN interview: ‘Why is she in charge of ANYTHING?’ – Raw Story -

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos both stunned and appalled Twitter commentators on Sunday morning after she spent nearly 24 minutes sparring with CNN host Dana Bash over reopening the schools during a pandemic while misrepresenting the health risks to children that led the “State of the Union” to fact-check her.
With Bash closing the contentious interview by smirking at another non-answer from the Trump administration official, Twitter commenters flooded the social media platform with comments over what one called a “total trainwreck” cable news appearance. CONTINUE READING: Raw Story -

DeVos pushes for schools to reopen, defends CDC guidelines


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Sunday broke with President Donald Trump’s criticism of federal guidelines for reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic, calling the recommendations the president described as tough, expensive and impractical “common sense.”
DeVos also emphasized that the CDC’s recommendations are merely guidance, as she insisted that children need to return to school this fall, despite surging coronavirus infections throughout swaths of the country that have contributed to new nationwide daily infection records. And she said that returning children to school will not endanger them. CONTINUE READING:  POLITICO -
‘You can’t do that’: Chris Wallace scolds Betsy DeVos for trying to illegally cut off school funding – Raw Story -

Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday challenged Trump administration Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over a threat to cut off funding for schools that do not agree to gathering students together during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Both you and the president have threatened to cut off funding for schools systems that don’t open fully in the fall,” Wallace explained during an interview with DeVos. “Are you and the president unilaterally going to cut off funding that’s been approved by Congress — and most of the money goes to disadvantaged students or students with disabilities?” CONTINUE READING: Raw Story -

Betsy DeVos cut off by CNN’s Bash with fact-check that children will not be safe back in school during the pandemic – Raw Story -

During a contentious “State of the Union” interview with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, CNN’s Dana Bash had to pull the Trump administration official up short that she said that children would be safe to return to school despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
With DeVos repeatedly insisting kids need to go back to school, while avoiding questions over whether her department has any guidance or plans for their health neeeds, Bash pressed her to guarantee that kids would be safe. CONTINUE READING: Raw Story -
Fairfax teachers and parents debate returning to school in fall - The Washington Post -

DeVos Provides Little Clarity on School Reopening Push - Politics K-12 - Education Week -

Betsy DeVos won't say if schools should listen to CDC guidelines on reopening - CNNPolitics

Betsy DeVos: Schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds - Axios - on @axios

Full interview with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos - CNN Video -

Political notebook: OEA president slams DeVos over threat to withhold funding from schools | Latest News | -