Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, November 22, 2020

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION + ICYMI: Here Comes Thanksgiving Edition

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Here Comes Thanksgiving Edition

Here Comes Thanksgiving Edition

Well, the holiday certainly feels heavily weighted this year, doesn't it. Will people get together? Will people die because they couldn't bear not to see Grampa cut the turkey? And how hard will it be for some folks to think of something to be thankful for? Yes, this is going to be a fun week.

In the meantime, here are some things to read. 

Public Schools. Public.

Nancy Flanagan makes a great plea for the value and preservation of public education. One more example of why I want to be her when I grow up.

Business Terms Used To Privatize Schools

Nancy Bailey with a very useful glossary of some business-speak that has been used to shape the conversation about public schools.

Digital Shock Doctrine   

Alex Gutentag at The Bellows looks at the pandemic digital boom in Californian and what it shows about the face of digital austerity. (Spoiler alert--it's not pretty).

Ed Tech Spending Rampaging in North Carolina   

Thomas Ultican takes a look at all the digital cashing in going on in NC. (Spoiler alert--it's not pretty).

Betsy DeVos Legacy (Civil Rights)

We're kind of drowning in these pieces, but as I've argued before, Betsy isn't going away, and it's a good idea to understand just who she is and what she wants. Rebecca Klein's entry into the genre is at HuffPost, and it's a good one.

How will DeVos be remembered?

Okay, one more of these. This time it's Cory Turner at NPR with a not-bad take on the DeVos legacy.

After four years of DeVos, what a Biden presidency will mean  

I try to stay away from most of these murky crystal ball pieces, but this is Joy Resmovits returning to the ed beat in the Seattle Times, so it's worth a look.

Cheating detection companies made millions during pandemic. Now students are fighting back.

At the Washington Pst, Drew Harwell takes a look at the new battles between surveillance companies and the students they're spying on (badly).

Why applications are plummeting at Florida universities

Akil Bello joins the gang at education with a story about how Florida is testing its own hjigher ed system into oblivion.

Study Challenges Use Of Test Scores To Gauge Teacher Effectiveness   

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution brings us yet one more study showing that VAM is junk. SWhat a surprise! Still, a nice addition to the file.

Canceling Student Loan Debt; Just Do It   

John Warner at Inside Higher Ed makes the case for canceling college debt.

Are Test Score Gaps Growing?   

Matt Barnum at Chalkbeat looks at the inability of researchers to agree on an answer to the question. You know that my answer is "Why should we care?" But it's still striking that we really don't know.

Stuck In It Until I Die   

Hechinger Reports has a sobering report about another side of college debt--Parent Plus loans are crushing folks who thought that sending their kids to college was the right thing to do. Wish someone had shown me this article a couple decades ago.

White female teacher bias shown in research   

Turns out that a lot of white lady teachers have some race-based bias problems. Hechinger Reports again. Some discouraging research results.

100 online shops to try instead of Amazon    

From the Sunshine Guerrilla blog, a look at alternatives to stuffing Jeff Bezos' pockets even more full of money.

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Here Comes Thanksgiving Edition


Is Public Education Part Of The Foundation Of Democracy? A New Book By Legal Scholar Derek Black Says Yes. - by @palan57 on @forbes

Four Questions Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Never Answered - by @palan57 on @forbes

Do Students Possess Global Competence? The OECD Thinks They Can Figure It Out. - by @palan57 on @forbes

Another Rich Guy Wants To Fix Education
Joel Greenblatt is a hedge fund guy from NYC who, like many hedge fund guys, has it All Figured Out and occasionally writes books to share his insights with rest of us. Of course, that includes education. It was Greenblatt and fellow Rich Guy John Petry who recruited Eva Moskowitz to take their little charter school, Harlem Success Academy, and turn it into the Success Academy juggernaut. They ev
Teaching Bad Test Prep Writing For Fun And Profit
This is the sort of thing that the Big Standardized Test has brought us-- Top Score Writing . TSW is the brain child and property of Lisa Collum , who bills herself as mompreneur. Collum graduated from Florida Atlantic University about 16 years ago and went to work in 2004 as a writing teacher in a Palm Beach County School District Title I school and the Florida Virtual School . She became concer
FL: Bullying, Vouchers, And More Baloney
When it comes to school choice, Florida (state motto: "We'll abolish public education any day now") is the place to be. With an array of anti-public education public officials, a non-functioning Democratic party, and the a long history of legislative baloney, it's no wonder that this is Betsy DeVos's idea of how a state is supposed to get things done. But even for Florida, the anti-bullying Hope
College Debt Sucks
I passed a milestone a couple of months back--I paid off the last of my children's college loans. I went to college back in the 70s. My entire undergrad education cost about $16K. I could have paid for some of it with the proceeds of my summer job, but my parents covered the costs and that allowed me to save for grad school and to start out on my feet. Lots of my friends from high school worked t
Music and the Death of Shared Spaces
I play in a town band (or at least, I do in years without pandemics) that has been around since 1856. I've dug into the history (actually wrote a book about it) which has just extended my lifelong interest in popular music and culture, and if you trace all of that history, I think you can see how we ended up where we are, both politically and in the education world. As the 19th century turned int
Donors Choose Monday: The Extra Screen
Every Monday, I'm making a donation to someone on Donors Choose, a well-rated charity site that lets folks offer financial support to teachers across the country. No, we shouldn't have to do this. Yes, some of the requests might raise an eyebrow (is that something you really need, really?) But we are where we are in the world right now, and this is a small way to help support individual classroom
ICYMI: Counting Is Hard Edition (11/15)
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. 

EdAction in Congress November 22, 2020 - Education Votes

EdAction in Congress November 22, 2020 - Education Votes
EdAction in Congress November 22, 2020

McConnell confirms more judges, refuses to act on COVID-19

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) continues to focus on confirming conservative judges even as COVID-19 reaches new heights—nearly 12 million cases and a quarter-million deaths—and the expiration of previously enacted relief looms. Measures that expire at year’s end include the suspension of student loan payments, a nationwide moratorium on evictions, and enhanced benefits for more than 13 million unemployed million Americans—a number that is expected to increase in coming weeks due to the resurgence of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the need for coronavirus relief grows ever more urgent. The HEROES Act—first passed by the House in May and updated in October—fulfills key NEA goals: at least $175 billion to stabilize education funding and provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for students and educators and at least $12 billion in emergency funding to narrow the digital divide and close the homework gap. As many as 16 million students—1 in 3—are unable to do schoolwork at home due to lack of internet access and devices. A disproportionate share of those students are Black, Hispanic, Indigenous, and live in rural areas or low-income households. Relief for student loan borrowers is also among NEA’s top priorities.

Promising news on the vaccine front will not lead to a quick fix. Two companies, Pfizer and Moderna, have announced highly encouraging results—as much as 95 percent efficacy—in vaccines created with cutting-edge technology and U.S. government support to speed development and distribution. The Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved either vaccine and even if it does so soon, the general public will not have access to them for months—spring, at the earliest. Both vaccines require two shots and must be stored at extremely low temperatures, which will complicate distribution and administration. TAKE ACTION

Top leadership to remain the same in 117th Congress

The leadership ranks of the 117th Congress that will be sworn in Jan. 3 will be filled with familiar faces. In the Senate, Republicans reelected Mitch McConnell of Kentucky as their leader and Democrats reelected Chuck Schumer of New York as their leader. Runoff elections for Georgia’s senators, to be held Jan. 5, will determine which of them is majority leader and which is minority leader.

In the House, the Democratic caucus reelected Nancy Pelosi of California as speaker, Steny Hoyer of Maryland as majority leader, and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina as majority whip, Katherine Clark of Massachusetts as assistant speaker, and Hakeem Jeffries of New York as caucus chair. Republicans reelected Kevin McCarthy of California as minority leader, Steve Scalise of Louisiana as minority whip, and Liz Cheney of Wyoming as conference chair.

Cheers and Jeers

Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) introduced the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 (H.R. 8294), which recognizes that programs offering on-the-job training and mentoring pave the way to successful careers, and helps bring these programs into the 21st century.

Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Full-Service Community School Expansion Act of 2020 (S. 4865), legislation to help schools and districts expand services for students, families, and communities.

Justin Parmenter: Don’t Blame Educators Who Get COVID | Diane Ravitch's blog

Justin Parmenter: Don’t Blame Educators Who Get COVID | Diane Ravitch's blog
Justin Parmenter: Don’t Blame Educators Who Get COVID

Justin Parmenter, an NBCT teacher in North Carolina, published this article in the Charlotte Observer.

As COVID-19 rates skyrocket in North Carolina and more educators lose their lives to the virus, an unmistakable trend is starting to emerge: school districts falling all over themselves to claim the infected employee didn’t get the virus at work.

When Stanly County teacher Julie Davis died last month, superintendent Vicki Calvert quickly issued a statement saying, “there is no information from the local health department indicating Mrs. Davis contracted the COVID-19 virus from any staff member or student on campus.” 

Davis’s family spoke of her extreme vigilance in avoiding situations where infections could occur, wearing a mask whenever out of the house and doing all of her shopping by curbside and drive-through. She was apprehensive CONTINUE READING: Justin Parmenter: Don’t Blame Educators Who Get COVID | Diane Ravitch's blog