Thursday, October 1, 2020

No More Debates. For the Good of the Country. | Teacher in a strange land

No More Debates. For the Good of the Country. | Teacher in a strange land

No More Debates. For the Good of the Country.




It’s been another tough week in Teacher Land. My music teacher buddies in Michigan are writing about coming inside from the cold, after a few weeks of humming softly in a circle on the grass, playing ukuleles or meeting under a canvas canopy with tubas and flutes.
How to make music safely, indoors: a challenge I never had to meet, but creative teachers are figuring out, on the fly, every day. Kudos, and more kudos, to every teacher struggling to make whatever form their instruction is taking effective. Y’all rock.
But imagine you are the 8th grade Social Studies teacher who assigned watching the Presidential debate, asking for a one-paragraph response or trying to discuss it via Zoom. You anticipated lots of fireworks, and actually hope that your students get hung up on the bad behavior. Because otherwise you’ll have to explain who the Proud Boys are–and the fact that a serving president has already falsely deemed the election a fraud, five weeks in advance. Try being ‘neutral’ and pro-civic engagement after that.
There have been lots of jokes today about needing a middle school teacher at the next debate. Ha ha and all that, but as a veteran, 30-year middle school teacher, let me  CONTINUE READING: No More Debates. For the Good of the Country. | Teacher in a strange land

The Radical Imagination of Black Educators: Past and Future Directions for the Education Justice Movement | Schott Foundation for Public Education

The Radical Imagination of Black Educators: Past and Future Directions for the Education Justice Movement | Schott Foundation for Public Education

The Radical Imagination of Black Educators: Past and Future Directions for the Education Justice Movement


This fall we find ourselves in a confluence of crises: the economic crisis hurting households across the country, the dangers of re-opening during COVID-19, police brutality on the streets and in schools, massive dislocation of families due to climate wildfires, and now Trump’s White House is trying to punish educators for teaching about the history of racial injustice and white supremacy that continues in our country.
On September 30th, Black educators and advocates discussed how we can navigate the present moment and also reimagine the future of teaching and learning. What can we learn from the liberation struggles of the past to inform and inspire our current work? What are students, parents, educators, and community members doing right now that we should support and defend?
Speakers:
  • Karen “kg” Marshall, Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools (Rethink)
  • Dr. Richard Benson, Spelman College historian of Black Education
  • Dr. Khalilah Harris, Center for American Progress, #WeBuildEDU  
  • Jesse Hagopian, Teacher, #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool
  • Leah Austin (moderator), Schott Foundation for Public Education
Watch the webinar here:



The Radical Imagination of Black Educators: Past and Future Directions for the Education Justice Movement | Schott Foundation for Public Education



Will the students who didn’t show up for online class this spring go missing forever?

No participation in online learning could be detrimental

Will the students who didn’t show up for online class this spring go missing forever?
Districts are scrambling to locate the ‘lost’ kids of Covid and reengage them in school this fall


Monica Williams remembers the late May day she and first grade teacher Lizette Gutierrez reconnected with the four young siblings from Cable Elementary. No teachers from the San Antonio elementary had heard from the children since schools closed abruptly in March due to the pandemic.
participation in online learning
When teachers at Cable Elementary in San Antonio couldn’t reach four siblings who attended the school this spring, Monica Williams of Communities in Schools was able to arrange a meeting with them at their grandmother’s house. Credit: Monica Williams
Williams is a former social worker who serves as a site coordinator for Communities in Schools of San Antonio, a support program for low-income families operating in more than 100 schools in Bexar County, including the city of San Antonio. She and her colleagues have had to intercede in evictions, deliver supplies and report children in dire circumstances to child protective services since the start of the pandemic. This time, she knew the family. She’d become acquainted with the children before the pandemic because of their academic struggles. After making some phone calls, she located them at a hotel, where the family had moved after wearing out their welcome with relatives. Williams arranged to meet the children at their grandmother’s.
Gutierrez and Williams spent 90 minutes standing on the sidewalk outside the house in the Texas sun, at arm’s length from the students, showing them how to sign into Google Classroom on their school-provided Chromebooks and helping their father figure out passwords.
The siblings logged on for the remainder of the school year. But then they went missing again, failing to show up for the district’s summer school program, which teachers had recommended for each of them. Now Williams and school staff are heading back out into the field, trying to relocate the siblings and other children who’ve gone missing and reengage them in learning this fall. With the siblings, they finally had some luck: The children showed up for school on September 29, the second day  CONTINUE READING: No participation in online learning could be detrimental

Teacher Tom: What Would Mister Rogers Do?

Teacher Tom: What Would Mister Rogers Do?

What Would Mister Rogers Do?



Based on the feedback I've been receiving and the general online chatter, most of us don't feel that doing school online is working. Children are bored, frustrated, and learning very little. Spending hours a day, seated, indoors, and muted while staring at a screen is the set up for a science fiction dystopia, yet it's happening right now. 

My advice to the parents of preschoolers, if they are able, is to simply opt out. If you're sitting with your child as they do online school, you're already doing most of the "work" of the teacher anyway, you're already not getting anything else done, and so you might as well dive into the real deal of homeschooling and the way to do that with preschoolers is to let them play. (I humbly offer the 3000+ posts in my archives as a place to start in figuring out what that means as it will mean something different for every family.)

However, opting out is not an option for many families so the remote learning continues. I'm going to try in this post to talk to teachers and parents about what can be done to make it suck a little bit less.

But first, the rhino head on the table: the problem is the medium, make no mistake about that, yet I want parents to know that much of what you find dissatisfying about so-called "remote learning" is baked into regular in-person schooling as well. The kids are still spending their childhood seated, CONTINUE READING: Teacher Tom: What Would Mister Rogers Do?

CURMUDGUCATION: No, The Next Debate Moderator Should Not Be A Teacher

CURMUDGUCATION: No, The Next Debate Moderator Should Not Be A Teacher

No, The Next Debate Moderator Should Not Be A Teacher




Within ten minutes, the comments started, and they haven’t stopped since.

This is why kindergarten teachers should be paid a million dollars. Next time, pick a middle school teacher—they know how to handle this. It was like watching squabbling children. Referring to Trump as “President Manbaby.”

The comparisons are unfair to teachers and children both, and while I know we’ve all got a few things on our minds, it’s worth taking a moment to think about why the comparisons are unfair.

There are teacher skills that apply here. For instance, when chaos envelopes a classroom seemingly involving every student there, a good teacher knows who the instigator was. That’s where you direct your energy for rebuilding focus—at the source of the disorder.

But there's a picture of teaching implicit in all these jokes that is inaccurate and really kind of insulting--that a teacher's job is to stand in a room and sternly, even forcefully, crushing students into compliance. That's not the job, and hasn't been for quite a while. Yes, teachers have to learn how to exercise some sort of authority, but in this century, that involves earning trust and building relationships. In short, some of these japes imply an idea of teaching as the exercise of some sort of authoritarian, even dictatorial control over others. That's a bad picture of teaching and it's not particularly useful on the debate stage, either.

What I really object to is the comparison, both direct and implied, of these geriatric candidates as CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: No, The Next Debate Moderator Should Not Be A Teacher

2020 Medley #21 – If wrong, to be set right. | Live Long and Prosper

2020 Medley #21 – If wrong, to be set right. | Live Long and Prosper

2020 Medley #21 – If wrong, to be set right.


If wrong, to be set right.
To hear the current occupant of the White House talk, public education has been teaching anti-American propaganda for years. I suppose he thinks that there are no longer any lessons on how the Founding Fathers fought against the English or wrote of the rights to free speech or religious liberty. He apparently thinks there are only lessons on how those same men (and they were all men) were slaveowners. Perhaps he thinks that instead of teaching how Americans mobilized to fight the Axis Powers in WWII, public schools only teach about the McCarthy era paranoia or how Jim Crow supported the subjugation and murder of United States citizens. In other words, public schools, according to him, are teaching the bad things about the US and nothing else.
Are public schools supposed to ignore the three-fifths clause?
…or the fewer than 240,000 native Americans who were left on the continent out of a total population of between five and fifteen million after the “Indian Wars” of the 19th Century?
…or the imprisonment of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans simply because of their ancestry?
Are public schools supposed to teach only the goals enumerated in the Bill of CONTINUE READING: 2020 Medley #21 – If wrong, to be set right. | Live Long and Prosper

Bully – radical eyes for equity

Bully – radical eyes for equity

Bully




TV shows and movies throughout the 1970s and 1980s, if my memory serves me well, tended to fall back on a predictable and likely lazy portrayal of bullies; beneath their abusive and violent exteriors hid a deeply insecure but ultimately redeemable human.
In the real world, however, the United States has elected a bully and conman president. The first presidential debate of 2020, in fact, put that harsh truth on display as well as offering ironic proof of the power of white male privilege.
Donald Trump and Joe Biden demonstrated the extremely low bar for white men with wealth and power. As I watched the circus between the conman clown and cartoonish career politician, I thought about “no excuses” charter schools where mostly Black and brown students are compelled to make eye contact, walk in straight lines, and conform to the most rigid rules of civility and behavior.
The expectations for the weakest among us in the U.S. are infinitely higher than for the most powerful—as demonstrated by Trump’s bullying and Biden’s doddering.
Let me be clear, my concern about the Trump/Biden debate is not a both-sides complaint. While Biden is a deeply flawed candidate and person, Trump is in a CONTINUE READING: Bully – radical eyes for equity

The Rich and the Rest – Have You Heard

The Rich and the Rest – Have You Heard

The Rich and the Rest




Have You Heard episode #98: The Rich and the Rest
There is a vast gulf between the public education priorities of most voters and the favored policies of the very wealthy. Nowhere is that gap more visible than in Arizona, where support for public education has emerged as a central issue in 2020. Complete transcript of the episode is here.
The financial support of listeners like you keeps this podcast going. Subscribe on Patreon or donate on PayPalJennifer and Jack’s forthcoming book, A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door, will be out on November 17 and is now available for pre-order.




The Rich and the Rest – Have You Heard

Thousands of Devices Available for Schools - Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

Thousands of Devices Available for Schools - Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces More Than 500,000 Additional Computing Devices Made Available to California Schools Amid Worldwide Technology Shortage




SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced Wednesday that the California Department of Education (CDE) has worked closely with technology companies to make available more than 500,000 more computing devices for California students in need.
“We cannot stop until we know we have leveled the playing field for every student in California by connecting them to the technology they need to succeed now, and in the years ahead,” Thurmond said. “At a time when there is a worldwide shortage of devices, I want to thank these companies for prioritizing California students, and I am proud that we have been able to work together to give school districts a unique chance to equip every student in need with a computing device.”
Thousands of devices will be made available within weeks as many schools either continue distance learning or transition to hybrid models that require some remote instruction.
As the 2020–2021 school year began, it became clear that worldwide disruptions to the technology supply chain created new challenges to school districts striving to fulfilling their unmet computing needs, with hundreds of thousands of devices on backorder in August.
During a virtual news media briefing Wednesday, the State Superintendent said the CDE has worked directly with manufacturers and technology re-sellers to identify and prioritize available devices for California students. Companies working with the CDE to increase availability include ASUS, CDW, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Staples, and Office Depot. These devices are on top of the hundreds of thousands of internet-enabled iPads prioritized for California students under a collaboration announced last month between the CDE, Apple and T-Mobile to connect up to 1 million students in need.
Schools can find regular updates on available devices on the CDE Securing Devices and Connectivity for Students web page. Updates are sent to school districts weekly. Many devices are available for delivery now and more will be coming in the weeks and months ahead.
School districts this year received $5.3 billion in one-time funding in the state budget for schools to strengthen distance learning. These funds—a rare opportunity for districts to make short and long-term investments in student technology—can be used immediately for purchasing needed devices. School districts are encouraged to order devices as soon as possible since they are in high demand across the country.
As communities across California respond to and recover from the devastation of multiple wildfires, the CDE has also helped secure and distribute hundreds of computing devices, hotspots, and accessories for students in schools that are preparing to resume learning in the coming weeks. As of Tuesday, at least 36 schools and 12,000 students were known to be in evacuation zones.
The State Superintendent and the Closing the Digital Divide Task Force, which Thurmond created and co-chairs, continues to focus on identifying solutions that expand reliable internet access to low-income students and households in underserved rural communities. Building on the work of State Superintendent Thurmond’s task force, the Governor in August signed an executive order directing state agencies across government to work toward expanding broadband access and bridging the digital divide.
Since April, the task force has worked with internet service providers to secure commitments to expand discounted service to households in need, and with the California Emerging Technology Fund to address low-income service programs.
The task force also has worked with the Department of Technology, the Department of Transportation, and emerging connectivity companies to address infrastructure barriers. The CDE worked closely with the Governor’s Office and California Public Utilities Commission to secure $25 million in funds through the California Tele Connect Fund to subsidize service plans for hotspots loaned to students by school districts and $5 million in California Advanced Services Fund grants to school districts for devices and hotspots.
An archived broadcast of Wednesday’s full media check-in with the State Superintendent can be viewed on the CDE’s Facebook pageExternal link opens in new window or tab..

# # # #
Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100
Thousands of Devices Available for Schools - Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

Education Improvement Thwarted by “Reform” | tultican

Education Improvement Thwarted by “Reform” | tultican

Education Improvement Thwarted by “Reform”




By Thomas Ultican 10/1/2020
For more than two decades, bureaucratic style top down education “reform” has undermined improvement efforts by professional educators. For budding teachers, beginning in college with the study of education and their own personal experience as students, an innate need to better education develops. However, in the modern era, that teacher energy to improve education has been sapped by the desperate fight to save public education from “reformers,” to protect their profession from amateurs and to defend the children in their classrooms from profiteers. 
Genuine advancements in educational practices come from the classroom. Those edicts emanating from government offices or those lavishly financed and promoted by philanthropies are doomed to failure.
The writer Kristina Rizga conducted a four years’ study of Mission High in San Francisco. She discovered a great school whose students do not test especially well. One of her clarion observations that almost all teachers would hardily CONTINUE READING: Education Improvement Thwarted by “Reform” | tultican

Jersey Jazzman: Trump and Christie: Everything Teachers Stand Against

Jersey Jazzman: Trump and Christie: Everything Teachers Stand Against

Trump and Christie: Everything Teachers Stand Against




Most of what needs to be said about Donald Trump’s appalling performance last night has been said. But I want to quickly add two thoughts. 

First, as an educator, I want to make sure we acknowledge that the massive damage Trump has done to our country includes his corrupting influence on American children. Every day, teachers go into our schools and try to instill important values in our students: respect, honesty, integrity, civility, modesty, empathy. Donald Trump’s whole life, however, has been a wholesale rejection of every personal characteristic a citizen in a democracy should strive to embody.

Donald Trump can't even lift himself to the level of behavior expected in an elementary school.  His preening, whining, blustering foolishness would never be tolerated in a second grader. His inability to accept responsibility for his actions would earn him a conference in the principal’s office with his parents. His casual disregard for the truth would result in a string of Ns ("Needs Improvement") on his report card.

We’ve had many bad presidents in my lifetime; not one, however, has been so craven, so boorish, so full of contempt for others that they didn't have some positive attribute that a teacher could point to. But not this man -- there isn’t a single quality in the leader of our nation that an American student should emulate. 

The fact that a man of such low character holds high office makes it that much more difficult for teachers to convince their students that the hard work of making yourself into a CONTINUE READING: Jersey Jazzman: Trump and Christie: Everything Teachers Stand Against

CURMUDGUCATION: DeVos and the Problem of the "Right Fit"

CURMUDGUCATION: DeVos and the Problem of the "Right Fit"

DeVos and the Problem of the "Right Fit"




Betsy DeVos has been talking about the “right fit” for a while now.

In 2017: “It shouldn’t matter what type of school a student attends, so long as the school is the right fit for that student.”

During Charter Schools Week this year: “... to celebrate the millions of students who have found the right fit for their education...”

In her recent letter to parents: “...we believe families need more options than ever to find the right fit.”

In the rhetoric of school choice, “right fit” has become a replacement for the “rescue from failing schools” and “trapped by their zip code.” 



The “right fit” rhetoric has some advantages for school choice proponents. In particular, it lets them target a much broader “market,” pitching school choice to students whose school is well-rated and generally successful. “It’s a great school,” the pitch goes, “but it still might not be the right fit for your child.” Voila—instant expanded choice customer landscape.

But there are reasons to be extremely wary of this language.

First of all, while DeVos likes to suggest that parents know what the “right fit” for their child will be, it is the private and charter schools that will ultimately decide whether or not the child is the “right fit” for their school. Charter schools have a history of pushing out students who are too CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: DeVos and the Problem of the "Right Fit"

Audrey Watters: Hack Education: Selling the Future of Ed-Tech (& Shaping Our Imaginations) | National Education Policy Center

Hack Education: Selling the Future of Ed-Tech (& Shaping Our Imaginations) | National Education Policy Center

Hack Education: Selling the Future of Ed-Tech (& Shaping Our Imaginations)




 I have volunteered to be a guest speaker in classes this Fall. It's really the least I can do to help teachers and students through another tough term. I spoke briefly tonight in Anna Smith's class on critical approaches to education technology (before a really excellent discussion with her students). I should note that I talked through my copy of  The Kids' Whole Future Catalog rather than, as this transcript suggests, using slides. Sorry, that means you don't get to see all the pictures...
Thank you very much for inviting me here today. (And thank you for offering a class on critical perspectives on education and technology!)
In the last few classes I've visited, I've talked a lot about surveillance technologies and ed-tech. I think it's one of the most important and most horrifying trends in ed-tech — one that extends beyond test-proctoring software, even though, since the pandemic and the move online, test-proctoring software has been the focus of a lot of discussions. Even though test-proctoring companies like to sell themselves as providing an exciting, new, and necessary technology, this software has a long history that's deeply intertwined with pedagogical practices and beliefs about students' dishonesty. In these class talks, I've wanted to sound the alarm about what I consider to be an invasive and extractive and harmful technology but I've also wanted to discuss the beliefs and practices — and the history of those beliefs and practices — that might prompt someone to compel their students to use this technology in the first place. If nothing else, I've wanted to encourage students to ask better questions about the promises that technology companies make. Not just "can the tech fulfill these promises?", but "why would we want them to?"
In my work, I write a lot about the "ed-tech imaginary" — that is, the ways in which our beliefs in ed-tech's promises and capabilities tend to be governed as much by fantasy as by science or CONTINUE READING: Hack Education: Selling the Future of Ed-Tech (& Shaping Our Imaginations) | National Education Policy Center

Teacher Tom: What If We Raised A Generation That Could Recapture Childhood at Will?

Teacher Tom: What If We Raised A Generation That Could Recapture Childhood at Will?

What If We Raised A Generation That Could Recapture Childhood at Will?




Genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will.  ~Charles Baudelaire

According to the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking, 98 percent of kindergarteners qualify as "creative geniuses." By age 25, only three percent can make that claim.

To me, that 98 percent seems a bit low. I have never met a preschool aged child who is not, in her or his own way, a genius. The three percent rate for adults, however, seems about right. Until I read about the Torrance Test, I figured that my observation and interpretation of this phenomenon likely had more to do with my own prejudices than anything else. I mean, certainly there is genius within each adult as well, left over from childhood, but now simply hidden beneath the layers of normalcy and averageness that come to form the shell of what we call being "grown up."

Every parent of every preschooler I have ever met knows that her child is a genius. Sometimes they are proud of early-onset "academic" skills, but more often they are astonished by genius of the creative, social, emotional, or physical variety. "She can climb to the top of anything!" they might enthuse or, "He cries when another child gets hurt!" or, "She makes friends everywhere we go!" You hear genuine astonishment in their voices, the way one always does when one is discussing genius.



Cynics might say that I'm not writing about genius as much as the doting adoration of parental love, but from my perch CONTINUE READING: 
Teacher Tom: What If We Raised A Generation That Could Recapture Childhood at Will?

Co-Teaching For Emerging Bilingual Learners: Theory And Practice | Shanker Institute

Co-Teaching For Emerging Bilingual Learners: Theory And Practice | Shanker Institute

Co-Teaching For Emerging Bilingual Learners: Theory And Practice




A VERY BUSY DAY Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day... The latest news and resources in education since 2007

   Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day... | The latest news and resources in education since 2007


A VERY BUSY DAY
Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...
The latest news and resources in education since 2007
 
 

Big Education Ape: THIS WEEK IN EDUCATION Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day... The latest news and resources in education since 2007 - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2020/09/this-week-in-education-larry-ferlazzos_26.html


“Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses Yearning To Breathe Free” – Never Mind
Trump plans to slash refugee admissions to US to record low is a new Associated Press article about a decision The Trump Administration made last night. Honestly, how can these folks look at themselves in the mirror? I’m adding this post – somewhat ironically – to The Best Sites For Learning About World Refugee Day .
A Video Worth Watching: “Active Learning: Bets, Discussions and Hard Work in Classrooms of Champions”
harishs / Pixabay Dr. Carl Wieman is a Stanford professor and a Nobel Prize winner, and he’s also done important work over the years trying to shake up the antiquated lecture style of so many college courses. Much of that work is also applicable to K-12 settings. He also helped establish PhET Interactive Simulations , which are well-known among science teachers. You can see a guest piece he wrote
Ed Tech Digest
Nine years ago, in another somewhat futile attempt to reduce the backlog of resources I want to share, I began this occasional “” post where I share three or four links I think are particularly useful and related to…ed tech, including some Web 2.0 apps. You might also be interested in THE BEST ED TECH RESOURCES OF 2020 – PART ONE , as well as checking out all my edtech resources . Here are this w
“‘More Than Aladdin’: Dismantling Common Misconceptions About Arab and Muslim Students”
‘More Than Aladdin’: Dismantling Common Misconceptions About Arab and Muslim Students is the headline of my latest Education Week Teacher column. Teachers have the power to help students view their Middle Eastern peers as individuals with rich cultures who defy the stereotypes, say four educators who offer guidance. Here are some excerpts:
Everything You Wanted To Know About Education Research But Were Afraid To Ask
Pexels / Pixabay I have over 2,100 frequently revised and updated “Best” lists on just about every subject imaginable, and you can find them listed three different ways in three different places (see Three Accessible Ways To Search For & Find My “Best” Lists ). I’m starting to publish a series where each day I will highlight the “Best” lists in a separate category. Today, it’s on Education Resear
Great News: Odds Are Increasing That Schools May Get Billions In Next Stimulus!
On Monday, the Democratic House leadership announced a new bill that would provide $175 billion to schools (yes I know that total is different from what’s in the text box and I’m not sure why there’s the discrepancy), along with billions more to help other needed sectors. Tonight, Roll Call reported the details of a counter-offer from the White House: Mnuchin coronavirus relief plan includes more
Here Are Student Responses To Surveys I Used One-Month Into Full-Time Virtual Learning
I”ve written A LOT about the value of having students anonymously evaluate classes ( My Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers) ) and, more specifically, the importance of doing it a lot more often in virtual learning (see THIS EDUTOPIA VIDEO OFFERS A CRITICAL POINT ABOUT 

   Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day... | The latest news and resources in education since 2007