Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, December 27, 2020

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION + ICYMI: Christmas Recovery Edition (12/27)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Christmas Recovery Edition (12/27)

Christmas Recovery Edition 

We're getting there, and by "there" I mean into whatever future we're about to build in the new year. In the meantime, here's this week's reading list.

The Attack on Dr. Jill Biden Is Cloaked Hatred of Teachers and Public Ed 

While folks have been compiling lists if bad Wall Street Journal takes in 2020, the Epstein hit piece is often overlooked--but it was bad. Nancy Bailey pushes back. (Yes, this was only just last week)

SCOTUS Opened the Door for Religious Charter Schools  

One more preview of the argument that charter operators will use to cash in now that SCOTUS has signaled its willingness to bat down the church-state wall. It's Newsweek, which is not always a god sign, but the author is a law professor at Notre Dame.

A Teacher's Take on Computerized Reading Tests

Stefanie Fuhr is at the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood explaining why those tests are not a great thing, or even an adequate thing.

Too many parents and decision makers treat teachers like they don't matter  

At CNN, Alexandra Robbins argues that teachers need to be more than data points during the pandemic building re-opening debates.

Stop using black children as an excuse to open your schools  

AKA "where was al this concern a year ago?" From the Black and Smart blog.

Arizona charter school got a PPP loan, gave $10 million to a shareholder  

From the Arizona Republic, via USA Today, a tale of more stimulus loan shenanigans in the education private sector.

Education secretary should curb standardized tests   

Andrea Gabor at Bloomberg backing up the argument so many folks are making-- this is a terrible year to insist on the Big Standardized Test

Learning Pods Show Their Cracks  

Okay, this is mostly forehead slapping schadenfreude reading from the New York Times, as a bunch of pandemic pod parents discover that setting up a school is, in fact, hard. 

The Dark History of School Choice 

Diane Ravitch in the New York Review of books takes a look at three books that outline how the school choice movement owes much of its roots and arguments to the U.S. racist past, fueled by a long-time religious crusade against public education.

Where Did Education Fail Us?

As the end of the year approaches, Jose Vilson asks some of the big questions. A thoughtful meditation for a winter eve.

Why A Classroom Connection Matters For The Department Of Education - by @palan57 on @forbes

Here’s What Needs To Be Done To Rebuild K-12 Education In This Country - by @palan57 on @forbes

Six Arguments For Giving The Big Standardized Tests This School Year (And Why Biden’s Education Secretary Should Ignore Them) - by @palan57 on @forbes

No Test In 2021 (A BS Test Reader)
Among the many things that the new secretary of education really needs to do upon taking office, a big simple one is this--cancel the Big Standardized Test for 2021. I've been banging the "Get Rid of the BS Test" for years, but all the reasons it's a lousy, toxic, destructive-and-not-even-useful force in education are amplified a hundred-fold by our current pandemess. Many wise folks have pointed
Here's Some Merry Christmas Listening For You
I hope that those of you who celebrate the holiday are enjoying it, even in these weird and distant times. May we never have a Christmas celebration like this one ever again. As is tradition here at the institute, I have a collection of seasonal tunes for yoe- actually, a couple, this year. For you youtubers, here's a collection specifically put together without the performances you've been liste
AI, Language, and the Uncanny Valley
We experience vertigo in the uncanny valley because we’ve spent hundreds of thousands of years fine-tuning our nervous systems to read and respond to the subtlest cues in real faces. We perceive when someone’s eyes squint into a smile, or how their face flushes from the cheeks to the forehead, and we also — at least subconsciously — perceive the absence of these organic barometers. Simulations ma
Nobody Hates Miguel Cardona (So Far)
(OF course, I finished this post at about 3:55 PM Eastern time on Tuesday, so there's plenty of time left for folks to crank up the disapproval) So now we know who the new guy is (probably) going to be, and an awful lot of folks are asking who he is and whether we should be delighted or upset or whatever. Diane Ravitch notes that he hasn't taken a position on many of the hot-button issues, like c
ICYMI: Santa's Almost Here (12/20)
And the Board of Directors has just about figured out this Christmas thing and twigged onto the notion that presents are coming (but why not right now). I am going to try not to think constantly about all the family and children and grandchildren that I am not seeing this week, because that sucks. In the meantime, here's some reading from this week. The Logjam that Awaits Biden's education secret
Pennsylvania's Teacher Problem
We already know that the teaching profession is primarily composed of white women (average age 43). But sometimes, when you break data down in particular ways, it becomes even more striking. Research for Action is a Philly-based group that has done some great work over the years, and they've done some research about the TOC/SOC balance in PA that are featured both in this article from Sojourner A
1776 Commission Members Appointed (And It's About What You'd Expect)
You remember just six 2020 weeks ago (that's roughly a year and a half in regular time), Dear Leader proclaimed that the 1776 Commission would be formed in order to create a more perfect set of teaching stuff that would teach our young people to think about our country in the Correct Way. The proclamation announcing this was a piece of work , among other things laying out how we should teach stud
Children are not our future
There are plenty of warm fuzzy teacher sayings that I could well do without, emphasizing as they do that teachers are too noble to ever want to do things like, say, insist on being paid a decent wage or have control over their working conditions. But there's a child-focused saying that I would like to banish to the 

Why Joe Biden's stutter is a gift to America |

Why Joe Biden's stutter is a gift to America |
Why Joe Biden's stutter is a gift to America
A president who thinks before he talks? Bring it on

In the clip, Donald Trump is standing before a throng of his worshippers, musing about character and how it is shaped by circumstances. "Can you imagine if that happened to me?" he asks, throwing out a hypothetical. "Man, would I be a bad guy. I would be the meanest man in history." It is February of 2020, and he is speaking of the man who will defeat him in nine months. "Biden is angry. Biden is angry, everything is anger," Trump continues, adding, "and that's what happens when you can't get the words out. That's what happens when you can't get the words out. You get angry." Donald Trump, who sees himself as a not angrynot badnot mean individual, is apparently imagining himself here horribly warped by a characteristic the president-elect himself wears with pride: his stutter.

That one of the most important communications positions in the world will soon be held by a man who grew up with a speech disorder is, on the surface, an achievement. It definitely takes some of the air out of the mockery, 

misunderstanding and snide derision Biden has endured in past several years, notably from Trump's inner circle. In January, Lara Trump declared that "Every time he comes on stage, I'm like, 'Joe, can you get it out? Let's get the words out, Joe." When confronted about it later on CNN, she did not improve the narrative by insisting that what she meant was that Biden has "very clearly a cognitive decline." Similarly, a year ago, Eric Trump sneered to Fox News that "Biden can't get through two sentences without stuttering." CONTINUE READING: Why Joe Biden's stutter is a gift to America |

Wendy Lecker: Two Books That Demonstrate Why Public Education Matters | Diane Ravitch's blog

Wendy Lecker: Two Books That Demonstrate Why Public Education Matters | Diane Ravitch's blog
Wendy Lecker: Two Books That Demonstrate Why Public Education Matters

Wendy Lecker is a civil rights attorney who writes frequently for the Stamford Advocate. In this column, she reviews two important books: One shows how deeply embedded public schools are in our democratic ideology, the other describes that coordinated assault on the very concept of public schooling. The first is low professor Derek Black’s Schoolhouse Burning, the other is A Wolf at the Schoollhouse Door, by journalist Jennifer Berkshire and historian Jack Schneider.

Lecker writes:

In his scrupulously researched book, Derek Black emphasizes that the recognition that education is essential to democracy predated public schools and even the U.S. Constitution. He describes how the Northwest Ordinances of 1785 and 1787, which applied to 31 future states, mandated funding and land for public schools, declaring that education was “necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind.” Education was not explicitly included in the U.S. Constitution. However, after the Civil War, the United States required Southern states guarantee a right to education in their state constitutions as a condition for readmission. Northern states followed suit. State education articles CONTINUE READING: Wendy Lecker: Two Books That Demonstrate Why Public Education Matters | Diane Ravitch's blog