Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, October 25, 2020

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Fake Spring Edition (10/25)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Fake Spring Edition (10/25)

Fake Spring Edition 

It was beautiful here most of the week, which served in part as a reminder that pandemic winter is going to suck so very much. Here are a few pieces to check out from the week.

The Perfect Trap 

Paul Thomas with some good insights about teaching writing and the power of redrafting.

Neoliberal Education Reformers Have Found A New Way To Scapegoat Teachers   

At Jacobin, Josh Mound talks about that awful MacGillis piece (don't worry if you haven't actually seen it or heard about it) and the ways that pandemic schooling has been used to point the finger at those damned lazy teachers yet again.

A Fourth Grader Walked To School To Use Its Wi-Fi   

At CNN Business, yet another variation on the story that teachers nationwide are hearing again and again and again (this time it's New Mexico).

The Cautionary Tale of Adam Neumann and WeWork   

Somebody actually wrote a book about this billion-dollar fiasco, which included yet one more rich visionary's idea about how to fix school. It's a cautionary tale about how somebody so absolutely full of baloney drew so much glowing press and piles of investor money. This is the New York Times review of the book--it's not strictly about education, but the visionary entrepreneurship on display is certainly familiar.

"The global pool of capital on which free-market societies float like inflatable rubber ducks is a virtually bottomless reservoir of folly, vanity, mania and caprice."

Valerie Strauss at the Answer Sheet reports on a court decision that comes with big judicial warnings about the future of democracy in the US

Here's your "if you read one thing" item for this week's list. Jennifer Berkshire, Jack Schneider, Derek Black and Diane Ravitch team up for a clear call about the election, just in case there was any doubt in your mind. At the Philly Inquirer.

John Thompson at the Progressive looks at how the pandemic made a terrible idea even worse, and Oklahoma wasted a whole ton of money.

Not about education, but Umair Haque's look behind the curtain at modern retail reveals the same sort of economist-driven baloney that threatens public education. Management by screen and coaching via earpiece are not just bad education ideas.

The courts are still trying to make Betsy behave, and she still won't.

Nancy Flanagan offers a solid explanation of why right now is the perfect time to kick the test addiction.

For those of you who are also spending plenty of time reading to the littles, here's a handy collection of titles to consider. Because who doesn't need more books?

Did Covid-19 Destroy The Case Against School Choice?
Betsy DeVos repeatedly insists that the current pandemic A) shouldn't in any way interfere with the normal operation of public schools and B) makes it "more clear than ever" that school choice must be a thing, toot de suite. The two prongs of her argument belong to two entirely different pitchforks, but many folks with more coherent debate tools have picked up that second point. One of those is R
VA: Teacher Ejected From Board Meeting For Live Covid Demo
Henrico County Public School District is a Virginia school district that sits right beside Richmond. For the first part of the school year, they have been using distance learning, and finding it just as unsatisfactory as pretty much everyone else. So the board has proposed a phased in return to a four-day week (with Wednesday off for cleaning). Students will have the option of remaining full virt
Trump’s Patriot History Lessons Or Critical Thinking: You Can’t Have Both
Donald Trump wants to sweep away the “web of lies in our schools and classrooms” and replace them with the “magnificent truth” about the US, “the most exceptional nation in the history of the world.” This country, he asserts, is the “most fair, equal, and prosperous nation in human history.” To further that goal, he signed an executive order to create a “1776 Commission,” to promote “patriotic ed
The Big Engines That Wouldn't
The Board of Directors has reacquainted me with a host of kid lit classics, including the 1930 classic, The Little Engine That Could, written by Watty Piper, which was a pseudonym for Arnold Munk, cofounder of the publishing company. There are also some newer abridged versions (Piper can be a little verbose and repetitive--always a problem when you're your own editor/publisher) which we like here
Betsy DeVos Goes Full Trump: Kuyper, Arrows and the Unholy Mob
Generally, when education secretary Betsy DeVos makes a public appearance, you get a rehash of the same old talking points. But put her in front of a friendly, like-minded audience, and she may just let her hair down and let 'er rip, giving us all a clearer picture of what she's really got going on upstairs. That just happened this week as DeVos made an appearance at Hillsdale College . Hillsdale
Call Made For DeVos To Cut Off Fraudulent College Chain
Last week, an assortment of organizations signed off on a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos , from the AFT to the Feminists Majority Foundation to the Education Trust to the Young Invincibles . This crew came together to insist that the time has come for the department to finally cut the Center for Excellence in Higher Education (CEHE) off from any federal money. Let me give you the short
ICYMI: Leaf Watching Edition (10/18)
Well, it's really beautiful out in the world right now, so we've got that going for us. In the meanime, here's some reading from the week. There's a Better Way: Trust Based Observation Craig Randall guests at Peter DeWitt's EdWeek blog spot talking about a better way to handle teacher evaluations and, really, school management in general. Separate and Unequal: School Funding in PA In the Pocono R
US Education versus Confucius
Last Wednesday, the Education and State departments in DC announced that it was time to clamp down on Chinese influence in US classrooms. The letter, which appears over the signatures of Betsy DeVos and Mike Pompeo, 

Childcare and the Pandemic - LA Progressive

Childcare and the Pandemic - LA Progressive
How Coronavirus Exposed the Flaws of the Childcare Economy

he U.S. government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that childcare workers in the nation have a median salary of just over $24,000 a year—below the poverty line for a family of four. The segment of our nation’s workforce that attends to the basic needs of our children is shockingly underpaid, and now during the coronavirus pandemic, left even farther behind as childcare centers are forced to downsize or close. At the same time, billionaires have minted money during our time of national crisis. The fortunes of the wealthiest have increased by a quarter over the past several months, proving once more that the economy is rigged to benefit the already-rich.

It is no coincidence that an industry dominated by women, particularly women of color (40 percent of childcare workers are women of color—twice their population representation) is in dire straits. The vast majority of childcare workers do not have health insurance. Many are self-employed and, even before the pandemic, operated on razor-thin margins to stay financially afloat. While the cost of operating a childcare center is fixed, children age out quickly, making revenues extremely unstable. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The businesses have little in the way of collateral. Banks are rarely interested in lending to them, beyond costly credit cards, making it difficult to ride out rough patches.”

The pandemic has revealed the barbaric nature of an economy that has largely left the care of children to the whims of market forces. The well-being of children, women, and especially women of color is at stake.

In other words, childcare is not a lucrative business in spite of its crucial nature, and while the cost of childcare for parents is often far too high, the cost of operating even a bare-bones childcare business is also too high.

Once the pandemic hit, many childcare providers simply lost clients as lockdowns required families to remain at home. According to one survey conducted in April 2020, “60% of programs [were] fully closed and not providing care to any children” at that time. While some workplaces were able to transition to remote environments, by its nature, childcare work was not able to adapt to this “new normal.” While many workers like grocery store employees, nurses, and delivery drivers were deemed “essential” to society and continued working, they needed care for their out-of-school children. Suddenly American women providing childcare found themselves out of work, while women in other industries had no access to the CONTINUE READING: Childcare and the Pandemic - LA Progressive