Sunday, June 20, 2021


CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Father's Day Edition (6/20)

Father's Day Edition 

My father is in his mid-80s, not quite as spry as he once was, but still the smartest human I know. I have a lot more to say, but I just erased a humongous paragraph because I realized it just needs to be a separate post. So let's get on to the reading for this week.

I will warn you up front that there's a lot of critical race theory stuff on the list this week, and you might want to skim and just pick out one or two to read, because lordy this controversy is depressing. There's other stuff here, too. I promise.

This New Yorker piece is a great explainer of how Christofer Rufo built an erupting right-wing mountain out of this long-simmering academic theory.

At Vice, a reporter digs up a connection between an anti-CRT group in NYC and notorious dirty tricks guy Rick Berman (if you need a refresher about this guy, here's one)

This is turning out to be a whole sub-genre of CRT coverage, in which dipstick legislators are asked to explain what exactly they're opposed to. Low hanging fruit, but instructive. And in this piece, Kyle Whitmire goes the extra mile by moving on from asking a middle aged white man to asking a middle aged Black man.

Alex Thomas at the Daily Dot takes the same story idea and takes it to scale by asking a whole bunch of Senators.

Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider in the Nation looks at the question of just what bad ideas Biden is carrying over from his previous time in DC.

James Murphy in Slate with a look at what really gives folks a leg up get into a fancy college. Not affirmative action, not even legacies--it's private schools. I found some of these numbers surprising.

Three reporters for NBC discover that conservatives are parachuting in to disrupt school boards again--this time with CRT as the hook.

Perhaps because laws keep getting passed and penalties threatened. Aris Foley at The Hill.

I'm always leery of big city journalists coming to rural stories, but this New York Times story feels true to me. In West Virginia, they're trying to boost local fortunes with better schooling--but what do young people do when they've got a good education, but no local prospects?

It's the end of the school year, and Nancy Flanagan is not feeling happy about the current state of education.

Gary Rubinstein went to an online seminar about the great ideas about school takeovers in Tennessee. He came equipped with facts about the massive failures of that policy in the state, and though he had resolved to hold his tongue, well... 

In an NBC op-ed, Brian Franklin looks at the problem of states that have forbidden teachers to teach the full truth of a new federal holiday, focusing on Texas.

The Onion is on the job again. 

Florida’s New Critical Race Theory Gag Rule Will Have A Chilling Effect in Classrooms. - by @palan57 on @forbes

Joe Biden Wants To End The Teacher “Shortage.” Here’s How To Do It. - by @palan57 on @forbes

Former DeVos Aid Tries To Rally Reform Troops
James Blew has made a career out of ed reformsterism. He was director of Student Success California, part of the 50CAN reformy network, the Alliance for School Choice, and he served a stint as president of StudentsFirst, the national reform advocacy group founded by Michelle Rhee, former DC chancellor and ed reform's Kim Kardashian. He was the director of the Walton family Foundation's K-12 "refo
Using Critical Race Theory To Target... Everything
The strategy was explicit way back in March. Christopher Rufo, who's been out in front of the charge, told us what they intended to do. The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think "critical race theory." We have decodified the term and will recodify it to annex the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with Americans. — Christophe
Another Version Of Choice
One of the slickest rhetorical tricks of the modern choice movement is to weld the idea of "choice" to the idea of privatization. We've been sold the notion that providing students with a school choice must involved privately owned and operated providers, as if the only conceivable way to provide school choice is by opening the "market" to private operators. I have a hard time escaping the feelin
The Vast Education Conspiracy
There are choice and reform advocates that I talk to, online style, fairly regularly. I do so because they are rational, fairly reasonable people and 1) I'll talk to almost anybody and 2) there's a lot of understanding to be gained by listening to people who disagree with you. I think these folks are wrong about a lot of education stuff, but they're still rational, fairly intelligent human beings.
ICYMI: Summer Break Begins Edition (6/13)
This weekend marks the beginning of summer break for all the staff here at the Institute (I, of course, am either always or never on break, depending on how you look at it). We have not quite hit our stride yet, but I'm sure it's coming. In the meantime, here are a few things for you to read from the week. Is the Charter Schools Program funding white-flight academies? Carol Burris makes a guest a
Nevada Family Alliance: That Body Cams for Teachers Group
Nevada is yet another state where folks are whipped into a frenzy about "Critical Race Theory," which they can't entirely identify and therefor consider to include , apparently, anything about equity, diversity, racism and US history. But the headline item is one particular proposal -- attaching body cameras to all teachers to make sure they aren't indoctrinating children. Who's behind this reall