Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, November 15, 2020

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION + ICYMI: Counting Is Hard Edition (11/15)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Counting Is Hard Edition (11/15)

Counting Is Hard Edition

Who knew that math would be such a big deal, or that counting would have such deep political issues? Just let me know when he's gone, or at least moved on to his next big grift. In the meantime, lots to read about this week. Remember, the stuff you like you should share. 

What Happens When Ed Tech Forgets   

Audrey Watters has some thoughts about how we keep putting failed ed tech enterprises in the memory hole and letting the architects of these failures carry on with freshly scrubbed reputations. Also, Proctorio sucks.

Merchants of Doubt

Bruce Baker guests to talk about how conservative thinky tank the Hoover Institution helped spread the idea that investing in public education was pointless and fruitless.

Axios Deep Dive on Race and Education in America  

A batch of articles working through different aspects of the topic, with a good side of data. You're probably not going to buy all of this, but there are some good places to start talking here.

These Stanford students are racing to get laptops to kids  

A pair of Stanford students have launched a small business is getting refurbished laptops to students in need. It's a small story, but an encouraging one.

Houston-area high school requiring failing students to return to in-person education   

So here's one more variation on pandemic schooling. Not sure how I feel about this one. 

Why the 1776 Commission is a bad idea   

Diane Ravitch is at The Hill explaining why this Trumpian idea is a bad one. Yes,. I know this version of it is likely dead now, but let's just drive a stake through it to be sure, okay.

Top Biden aid talks to EWA about education stuff  

I've referenced this piece elsewhere, but you may want to read the whole account of what top aid Stef Feldman had to say about the full range of ed policy topics. Currently it's the most direct statement we have about what Biden has in mind.

The truth about returning to school? There's no easy answer.

Many's the time I've objected to what Morgan Polikoff had to say, but his summation of the l;ousy place we're stuck in right now is as good as any I've read. At Hechinger Report.

Other countries have social safety nets. The U.S. has women.  

This interview with sociologist Jessica Calarco in Culture Study is pretty powerful stuff. And her suggestion about thinking sociologically is needed at the moment when so many teachers are beating themselves up for not being able to handle the pandemess perfectly.

Teacher Demoralization Isn't the Same as Teacher Burnout   

At EdWeek, Doris Santoro, who wrote a book about this stuff, explains how the current pandemess is keeping teachers from "reaping the moral rewards" they are used to getting from the work. And more. Another useful "Oh, this is what I'm feeling" article.

Teachers forced to MacGyver their own tech solutions

At Hechinger Report, in  an article that will surprise roughly zero teachers, a look at how teachers are having to bridge the tech gaps themselves. 


There's Only One Reason Districts Should Be Doing Teacher Evaluations This Year
Word keeps popping up on line from here and there that some schools are going ahead with teacher evaluations this year, even this fall. Which is nuts. Teachers are reeling, scrambling, doing their damnedest to stay upright on constantly shifting ground, trying to maintain some semblance of education in the midst of chaos and uncertainty that is marked by a widespread lack of leadership and direct
Charter Fans Dislike This Part of Biden's Plan
The charter advocacy Twitterverse is unhappy about this part of the Biden plan, as described here by Biden staffer Stef Feldman talking to the Education Writers Association : And we’ll require every charter school, including online schools, to be authorized and held accountable by democratically-elected bodies like school boards and also held to the same standards of transparency and accountabili
Schooling For Democracy (Or What Is Education For)
I just read a piece that doesn't necessarily say anything new, but puts it all in a useful frame. Let me show you the first paragraph: There’s no such thing as a “good school” in the abstract. Every school serves a particular community, in a particular time and place, with its own needs and desires. A good school in rural Montana might not be a good school in Midtown Manhattan, just as a good sch
Anti-Union Activists Want To "Speak Out For Teachers"
Among the folks pushing the narrative that schools are shut down because of the Evil Teachers Unions, we find this sparkly website-- Speak Out For Teachers . Here's their pitch: Are you one of the millions of teachers eager to return to safe, in-person learning — only to find a teachers’ union is fighting to keep schools closed and students at home? Share your story below. It might even air on na
Let The Disappointment With Biden's Ed Department Begin
Well, that didn't take long. Back in October, top Biden aid Stef Feldman spoke to Education Writers Association members about ed policy. It was... not encouraging. She didn't make a "firm commitment" about state testing waivers, an odd stance for someone who promised to put an end to high stakes testing. She stood by the "former public school educator" promise, but as many of us have noted, depen
Donors Choose Mondays At The Institute
It sucks that Donors Choose exists. For those unfamiliar, it's basically a Go Fund Me for classrooms instead of medical problems. Like all such charities, it occasionally pops up in the news because some celebrity and/or business decides to sponsor a bunch of projects ( like that time with Katy Perry and Staples ) and we get a bunch of warm fuzzy stories and I just hate that stuff, because we sho
ICYMI: That Was A Week All Righty Edition (11/8)
Has it only been a week since we got together here? Seems like that was in a whole different world, and I have a feeling that we have a few more to go through before we're done. But as soon as the last echoes of Beloved Leader's 1,732 lawsuits dies down, maybe we can get back to doing some important stuff and not dying and--well, won't it just be nice not to have to have him barging into our cons
Betsy DeVos Will Be Leaving. Prepare To Curb Your Enthusiasm.
It has been a few hours since the race was finally called, and now, once we get past a few hundred petulant lawsuits, the Trump Train will be leaving DC (undoubtedly kicking over every table it can find on the way out). That means that Betsy DeVos will be leaving the department of education, and that is 

Who’s to Blame? | Live Long and Prosper

Who’s to Blame? | Live Long and Prosper
Who’s to Blame?

How can a school system evaluate their teachers this year?

No one has been trained to work under our current conditions of either remote learning or learning while maintaining a social distance while wearing face coverings.

Everyone is doing what they can to make things work.

Some of the teachers who have worked hard to be there for their students have gotten sick.

Some have died.

We’ve discovered that COVID can strike anyone…even children. Even in school.

Parents who work outside the home can infect their children, and those children can infect their teachers.

When students or teachers get COVID, school systems, cities, and municipalities are quick to say “it didn’t happen at school.” This keeps the schools open and the kids at school so parents can work even if it’s not true. (And I understand the need for parents to work. I understand the difficulty for some parents of not being able to work from home…and at the same time having to be home with their children).

Sometimes if it gets too bad, schools will “go virtual.”

What happens to the parents, then? Do they quit their jobs? Do they lose their jobs? Do they enlist the aid of grandparents who might be more susceptible to CONTINUE READING: Who’s to Blame? | Live Long and Prosper

NYC Educator: NYC School COVID Testing Is a Scam

NYC Educator: NYC School COVID Testing Is a Scam
NYC School COVID Testing Is a Scam

We can argue about how effective testing plans are. Should we do it weekly? Every other week? Monthly? Which percentage do we need to test at a time? Should we vary depending on the rate of positivity? These are all valid concerns. I'm not an expert or a medical professional, and I'd defer to the opinions of those who are. 

Everything I hear, though, tells me that however we answer the above, things are far from kosher in the Big Apple. Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza are constantly paying valuable lip service to just how much they care about the safety of students and staff. Carranza writes us flowery letters saying how much he cares about us even as he tries to pick a billion dollars from our collective pocket. Meanwhile, I can only suppose we aren't supposed to pay attention to actual conditions on this astral plane.

It's my understanding, from multiple sources now, that those who do the testing have numbers they need to hit. I'm not sure exactly how they arrive at these numbers, but once they reach whatever their quotas happen to be, they are gone. That's fine. If we have a hundred people and they need to do 20% a week, they therefore need to test 20 people a week. 

In fact, in our school, they initially favored coming in on Fridays. There are very few people in our building on Fridays. That's a day we reach out to students with special needs or issues, and the pool of students and staff in our building is by no means representative. It took them weeks to remedy that, though it should've been one simple conversation. While that may be representative of their lack of competence, that's not even the main CONTINUE READING: NYC Educator: NYC School COVID Testing Is a Scam