Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, October 11, 2020


CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: PA Fake Summer Edition (10/11)

PA Fake Summer Edition 

Every Fall, in Western PA, we get a week or so of fake summer. This year it's particularly nice to get another pass at playing outside  in shorts and sweatshirt weather. The board of directors has suddenly taken an interest in gardening, and the timing is perfect since there's hardly anything going on that they could kill. 

Meanwhile, there's some stuff for you to read. Remember, sharing these readings helps amplify the message. Help out.

Bill Gates Quest for the Mythical Magic Bullet   
Ed in the Apple takes a look at the newest attempt by Gates to remake education; this time it's going to be Algebra I for everybody!

What does it mean when hardly anybody stands up for the basic needs of children and public schools.
Jan Resseger talks about how much it sucks that public education continues to be an orphan in these miserable times

Virtual Instruction: 5 pros and 5 cons  
Steven Singer takes a look at the pluses and minuses of trying to educate via computer connection

The Freedom to be That Change
Teacher Tom talks about the challenge of raising children to be moral, ethical beings.

NC can leave the dark ages on education    
Justen Parmenter offers an op-ed in the Charlotte Observer laying out in fairly short, stark terms, how leaders in North Carolina have lost the educational plot.

Governor accused of improperly using Covid relief money to fund vouchers  
Meanwhile, in South Carolina the governor decided he woud just go ahead and implement the DeVosian voucher plan on his own. From EdWeek.

Everybody needs to work less   
At Slate, Dan Kois notes that pandemic distance learning is stretching everybody, and the crazy radical has a solution to offer that doesn't involve dumping the problem on teachers or parents.

The lost year fallacy  
Nancy Flanagan takes a look back through history to see if it's legit to write off 20-21.

The corruption of charter schools in Alaska   
The Anchorage Daily News looks at how the  charter industry in Alaska is a money-grubbing mess

How online learning companies are using the pandemic to take over the classroom
Jef Bryant takes a look at the corporate opportunism going on right now.

Greatschools wanted to disrupt school ratings. Did they make segregation worse?  
Well, yeah, probably. And the hidden culprit is, once again, high stakes testing. A thorough look from Mother Jones.

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: PA Fake Summer Edition (10/11)


Know Your Price And The Assets Of Education - by @palan57 on @forbes

Pennsylvania Poised To Turn CARES Money Into School Vouchers - by @palan57 on @forbes

Dear Secretary DeVos: Either Help Or Hush
Dear Secretary Devos: Teachers in the US are facing unprecedented challenges this fall, trying to make the best out of whatever bad solution their local districts have chosen. It's a tough time, the kind of time in which we look for help and leadership from folks at the top. You have not been helpful. Last Wednesday, you took a conference call with the Phyllis Schlafly Eagles , a collection of yo
Democracy Is Not The Point
Twitter is often a fine place to catch people saying the quiet parts out loud. For instance, this tweet from this morning: Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that. — Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) October 8, 2020 Mike Lee is a Senator from Utah who tilts all the way over into Libertarian rightness. He loves
Has Miami-Dade Really Found The Secret Of Cheap Excellence?
From school choice to school finance, Florida is the state education disruptors love to point at, though they tend to point verrrrry carefully at very specific features of the Floridian education landscape. For instance, here's Michael Q. McShane at Education Next running a piece about how Miami-Dade schools have "bucked the staffing surge tren d" while still maintaining "student achievement." Hi
CAP: It's the School System's Fault
The Center for American Progress (CAP) is nominally a left-tilted thinky tank, but they have always been solidly on the side of reformsterism , backing charter schools and relentlessly stumping for the Common Core. They're also fans of the narrow reformster view of education as a mill for churning out meat widgets, and here they are at it again in a post from mid-September (you know, about ten yea
ICYMI: Another Week That Lasted Ten Years Edition (10/4)
Holy crap. Let's take a moment to wax nostalgic about last weekend, those happy times when a story like the First Lady talking about how we should [expletive] Christmas would have gotten at least fifteen minutes of attention instead of being completely wiped out by a raging news cycle. Those happy times when the national news seen was merely a dumpster fire and not a dumpster fire dragged across a
DeVos Awards Another $131 Mill From Failed Federal Charter Fund
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Friday that the department will pump yet another $131 million into the charter school industry (you may have missed the news; a few other things have happened in the last 48 hours). The grants go to 19 different organizations, primarily charter school "developers." Amounts range from a tiny $299,988 to Acadia Academy in Maine up to $18 mill to Florida's
Covid Slide Panic Is Still Baloney
Back in April, NWEA (the MAP test folks) issued a "report" about what we've taken to calling the Covid Slide , which is sadly not a cool new line dance, but is instead an important tool for people in education-flavored businesses who want to try to panic school districts and bureaucrats. Now Stanford 

Wisconsin, South Carolina: Two Teachers Die of COVID-19 | Diane Ravitch's blog

Wisconsin, South Carolina: Two Teachers Die of COVID-19 | Diane Ravitch's blog

Wisconsin, South Carolina: Two Teachers Die of COVID-19

Yesterday, I posted an article by an economist who wrote that schools are not super spreaders, and that the rate of transmission of COVID has been very low among students and teachers. Some readers got angry at me for posting this article. Let me be clear that I am not a scientist or a doctor. I do not know whether it is safe to reopen schools. I am as uncertain about the right course of action as many other people.
I am not qualified to offer any guidance. The decision about reopening depends on the community and expert judgment. Everyone should follow the science, wear a mask, practice social distancing both indoors and outside, and wash their hands frequently. It may be safe to reopen schools in some places but not safe in other places. What is important to know is that the COVID is surging again in many states, that the infection rate is rising nationally, and that this is a contagious and deadly disease. Be informed.
The stories below tell what happened to two teachers. They loved teaching; their students loved them. It is not CONTINUE READING: Wisconsin, South Carolina: Two Teachers Die of COVID-19 | Diane Ravitch's blog

Let's Support California’s Proposition 21 - LA Progressive

Let's Support California’s Proposition 21 - LA Progressive

Let’s Support California’s Proposition 21

s Big Real Estate’s No on Prop 21 campaign spins and distorts, there’s one thing the real estate industry can’t change: the overwhelming support of trusted leaders and organizations for Proposition 21. From California’s housing justice movement to labor union icon Dolores Huerta (pictured above), they’re urging Californians to vote early — and vote “yes” on Proposition 21.
Prop 21 is the statewide ballot measure that puts limits on unfair, sky-high rent increases, reins in corporate landlord greed, and prevents homelessness. Top experts at USC, UCLA, and UC Berkeley agree that sensible rent limits are key for stabilizing California’s housing affordability crisis. 
In the University of Southern California’s Rent Matters report, esteemed professor and co-author Manuel Pastor wrote: “The housing crisis requires a range of strategies, [and] moderate rent regulation is a useful tool to be nested in broader strategy. It has fewer damaging effects than are often imagined, it can address economic pain, and it can promote housing stability. And housing stability matters because it is associated with physical, social, and psychological well-being; higher educational achievement by the young; and benefits for people of color.”
The USC study found that rent limits don’t increase the rent of non-regulated units, don’t impact the construction of new housing, and help keep rents more affordable for everyone.
The need for stable, affordable housing has only taken on added importance because of the COVID-19 pandemic — people must have shelter to stay safe and healthy.
The need for stable, affordable housing has only taken on added importance because of the COVID-19 pandemic — people must have shelter to stay safe and healthy.
The urgency to pass Proposition 21 has prompted civic leaders, social justice organizations, and political groups to rally behind the measure. The diverse, impressive list is rock-solid proof that voting “yes” on Prop 21 is a no-brainer. It’s so long, in fact, that not all the names can be mentioned here. But you can check out the Endorsements page on the Yes on 21 website.
What makes the list so powerful is that it’s made up of people and organizations who’ve been fighting for fairness and justice in California — and, in some cases, around the world — for years. 
In comparison, No on Prop 21’s leading contributors are CONTINUE READING: Let's Support California’s Proposition 21 - LA Progressive

Fix America With Libraries, Playgrounds, and Parks - The Atlantic

Fix America With Libraries, Playgrounds, and Parks - The Atlantic

Fix America With Libraries (And Playgrounds and Parks and Rec Centers)
Investing in public infrastructure should be at the center of a 21st-century civil-rights agenda.

s the covid-19 pandemic continues into the fall, the Trump administration has ruled out any further action on a federal relief package. Meanwhile, state and local governments, lacking federal support, are considering deep cuts to budgets and public services. These measures reflect a deep problem in American policy and culture: the systematic undermining of public infrastructure.
When I refer to public infrastructure, I mean something much more expansive than roads and bridges; I mean the full range of goods, services, and investments needed for communities to thrive: physical utilities such as water, parks, and transit; basics such as housing, child care, and health care; and economic safety-net supports such as food stamps and unemployment insurance. But under America’s reigning ideology, public infrastructure like this is seen as costly, inefficient, outdated, and low-quality, while private alternatives are valorized as more dynamic, efficient, and modern. This ideology is also highly racialized. Universal services open to a multiracial public are vilified, coded in dog-whistle politics as an undeserved giveaway to communities of color at the expense of white constituents. The result has been a systematic defunding of public infrastructure since the 1970s.

Now under the extreme pressures of the pandemic and the economic collapse, the true costs of this underinvestment have become appallingly clear. As the country looks at how to respond to both the recent demands for racial justice and the needs of survival and rebuilding from the COVID-19 crisis, any recovery agenda will have to overcome these ideological and institutional attacks on the idea of public infrastructure, and commit to investing more dollars into our public infrastructure, dismantling racialized barriers to access, and embracing an economic narrative that defends these public goods.
On an economic score alone, massive investments in public infrastructure would pay off. Every dollar invested in transit infrastructure generates at least $3.70 in returns through new jobs, reduced congestion, and increased productivity, without accounting for the environmental and health benefits. For each dollar invested in early-childhood education, the result is $8.60 worth of economic benefit largely through reductions in crime and poverty. A universal health-care system would save Americans more than $2 trillion in health-care costs (even accounting for the increased public expenditure that would be needed) while securing access to life-saving care for more than 30 million Americans. The fact that federal and state governments fail to make these investments is not a matter of limited resources, but rather of skewed priorities. The 2017 Trump tax cuts of $1.9 trillion sent most of its gains to corporations and the wealthiest Americans; the United States has spent more than $820 billion on the Iraq War since 2003, and hundreds of billions every year to fund the CONTINUE READING: Fix America With Libraries, Playgrounds, and Parks - The Atlantic

Virtual Instruction: Top 5 Pros & Top 5 Cons | gadflyonthewallblog

Virtual Instruction: Top 5 Pros & Top 5 Cons | gadflyonthewallblog

Virtual Instruction: Top 5 Pros & Top 5 Cons

Teaching today is not the same as it was just a year ago.
The global Coronavirus pandemic has forced schools to change the way they do almost everything.
With infection rates moderate to high in most areas of the country, many schools have resorted to full virtual instruction while others have adopted a hybrid model incorporating a mix of cyber and in-person classes.
Only in the most sparsely populated, secluded or reckless areas have schools been allowed to reopen 100% without safety precautions.
For many districts trying to juggle both in-person and virtual classes, the online component has been left to ed tech companies like Edmentum often specializing in credit recovery.
These have been an absolute disaster.
Corporate America has no business educating our youth – and moreover they’re terribly bad at it.
However, in many districts, virtual instruction has come to  CONTINUE READING: Virtual Instruction: Top 5 Pros & Top 5 Cons | gadflyonthewallblog

Lump Sums Delayed, on Average, 4 1/2 months | JD2718

Lump Sums Delayed, on Average, 4 1/2 months | JD2718

Lump Sums Delayed, on Average, 4 1/2 months

Thursday, two days ago, Bill de blasio announced NYC would not pay UFT members the lump sum payments owed them on time. Michael Mulgrew announced that the UFT would fight – by going straight to arbitration.
The arbitrator, on Friday, ordered the city to pay half the amount in two weeks (October 31 instead of October 15), and the other half July 1, 2021.
The payment was the last and largest chunk left over from when Bloomberg refused to negotiate fairly with us. When de blasio came in we got a new contract, but some of the money owed us was pushed forward. And instead of being retroactive, it was made into “lump sums” – more about that, later.
This affects members who worked 2009-11. We should be aware that for the many members hired after that, they experienced the events of the last few days as a fight between City leadership and Union leadership, just as they have experienced much of the news from the last seven months. Does anyone know how many in service members have no financial stake in this? I am guessing 40-50%, but I could be wildly off.
In my school only 5 or 6 members are not due a payment – but we are probably not typical. At the other end of the spectrum, members who are paycheck to paycheck, or who had spent the lump sum in advance, or who had upped their TDA without backup, they still will hurt – but now they are looking at CONTINUE READING: Lump Sums Delayed, on Average, 4 1/2 months | JD2718