Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, December 12, 2021

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION + ICYMI: Quick Summer Day Edition (12/12)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Quick Summer Day Edition (12/12)

Quick Summer Day Edition

It was beautiful but blustery here yesterday, the gentler end of that front that wrought such havoc out west. My county has been on the receiving end of killer tornados, and it's an awful thing, that mixture of destruction and death and the reminder that we are tiny creatures on the surface of a giant globe that we can't actually control. Maybe that's one reason we spend so much time fighting about other stuff.

At any rate, here's some reading for the week, beginning with a bang and ending with Britney.

The Supreme Court's new religious liberty case could destroy public education

Slate looks at the case currently working its way through SCOTUS, and how it will probably mean very bad news for public education

To reduce inequality in our education system, reduce class sizes 

This week Friend of the Institute Leonie Haimson went off on a press conference in NYC. Here's the written out version of her argument form The Nation. It is the one reform that we know works, and yet somehow, it's the one education "leaders" never seem to want to implement.

What should parents be worried about? The books their children don't read.

Anne Lutz Fernandez points out that if you are worried about indoctrination and brainwashing of your children, maybe think about how little they actually read, and the time they spend on their devices.

DeVos family among top DeSantis re-election PAC supporters

Because of course they are.

In Texas, a battle over what books can be taught and what books can be read

Michael Powell at the New York Times with a deep dive into the sides of the Texas-based move to control curriculum and gag teachers.

Bloomberg's charter push: big money and bigger political peril

Matt Barnum at Chalkbeat takes a look at Bloomberg's plan to throw money at charters.

The problem(s) with Bloomberg's $750 million investment in charter schools

At the Washington Post, Carol Burris and Diane Ravitch lay into Bloomberg's big money attempt to take charge of education.

When your job interferes with your work

John Warner at Inside Higher Ed talking about college teaching, but every other teacher who ever said "I love teaching the kids, but the rest of this job is killing me" will recognize exactly what he's talking about.

The GOP has revived its obsession with parents' rights

Jennifer Berkshire at The New Republic with a stroll down memory lane to the 90s, when the GOP thought it had a winning political issue with parents' rights. (Spoiler alert: it looks great until voters see the fine print).

"We are here" Debates over teaching history exclude Native people

From the LA School Report (and yes, in partnership with The 74) a look at some Indigenous parents pointing out that the "how to teach history" debates are leaving someone out.

What's one more deadly school shooting when the real danger to kids is a book?

From the Miami Herald, a pretty blunt assessment from Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Tennessee's kids should be taught the truth about our history

Betsy Phillips in Nashville Scene has some thoughts about the work of the group she calls "Moms for Lying to Kids" 

"A dog whistle and a lie" Black parents on the critical race theory debate

From the parenting column at the Washington Post, a missing perspective in the great crt panic

Empty pedagogy, behaviorism, and the rejection of equity

There's a lot to read here, and a lot to take in (framed by Doug Lemov and his teach like a champion shtick, but it's a great article for pinpointing just what feels so very wrong with technique-focused educationeers like Lemov

Bring back homerooms

Nancy Bailey with a simple solution--use home rooms in school. It's true. We had them on and off for years at my school, used because they made a great "base camp" for students, and repeatedly discontinued because they weren't instructional time. She's got a point here.

New Hampshire is trying to protect itself from subversive doctrine

Charles Pierce at Esquire rips into New Hampshire's descent into suppression of certain Naughty Things

Why we need to address scam culture

Tressie McMillan Cottom is the bomb (if you don't follow her on the twitter, you should fix that). This NYT piece about scam culture is not directly about education, but you'll certainly recognize features.

Texas substitute teacher who brought karaoke machine to class asked to leave

The story we need. A sub who screwed up, but not horrifically. An administration that reacted with restraint (and a bit of wit). And the video is included.


In Iowa, GOP Wants Teachers Thrown In Jail For Allowing Students To Read The Wrong Book - by @palan57 on @forbes

Michael Bloomberg Wants To Spend $750 Million On Charter Schools. It’s Not A Great Idea. - by @palan57 on @forbes

Jeb Bush Has A New Education Master Plan For 2022
I'll give Jeb! this--when education policy failed to carry him to the White House, he didn't just turn tail and pretend that he's never met the whole thing ever before (that was Common Core he disowned). And his policy right-tilted thinky tank is still at it, currently under the name Foundation for Excellence in Education, aka Excel in Ed . In fact, the group has a whole new education policy play
Are Parents' Rights The Only Ones We Need To Worry About?
Being a parent is a scary business. Suddenly you've got these tiny humans to take care of and you don't know what you're doing and you try to make the best choices you can even though you're worried that you may be scarring them for life but you invest your heart and soul into trying to keep them safe and smart and growing up to be good people. And then just as they're starting to turn into real
Education Is Not A Market Good, Episode 564,221
A fun story from Tik Tok via Daily Dot , and which has been bouncing around for a while, showing once again how the free market actually works. The clip is from a Door Dasher, and it shows a wall's worth of bags at McDonalds, waiting for someone to Door Dash them to the person ordering. They are sitting and languishing because the customer did not attach any kind of tip to them and Door Dash pays
Dear Teacher Near The End Of Your Rope:
It's not you. You may be thinking that it's you, that if you were better, stronger, a more gifted teacher, a more resilient human being, somehow this year would not be feeling like an uphill slog against a downhill landslide. You may be thinking that somehow you're missing something, failing to catch something, just not getting your best foot forward. It's not you. First of all, I can guarantee yo
Can You Beat The Virtual Proctor?
Distance learning ushered in huge market opportunities for virtual proctoring businesses. These offered a method of watching students take on-line tests and making sure they don't cheat. It sems like an elegant solution--except that the programs stink. Take Proctorio, one of the big names in student test surveillance. They impose requirements that are a burden on poorer students, and their "machi
ICYMI: Lights Up Edition (12/5)
We are in the unusual position of putting lights up this year. I call it unusual because traditionally I just never take them down at all. Glad to do it and bring something to this miserable week. Maybe some year I'll finally be able to take down the call for reasonable gun control that sits in the right-hand column here. At any rate, here's some reading from the week. More Sins of Omission TC We
Amazon, The Algorithm, and the Future of Education
Intriguing piece in the New York Times yesterday, looking at Amazon's bookstore (and business in general) and how it has become an unholy mess. It is framed by a lawsuit being brought by an author, John C. Boland, who has found his own work listed at hundreds of dollars with a false, much earlier, publication date. This, it turns out, is just a tip of the proverbial iceberg. The online market is
PA: Board Activism Versus Board Business
Earlier this week the New York Times ran a piece by Campbell Robertson contrasting the light and heat surrounding school boards with the actual problems crying for attention. The piece opens with a fairly stark example from Doylestown, PA: Early in the November school board meeting, a few of the departing members made farewell remarks, talking of things that they believed still need addressing: m
Chiefs For Change Recruiting Big Brother
What a twisty road it has been for Chiefs for Change. They were supposed to be part of the big web of education reforminess that would usher Jeb Bush into the White House, and they've been flailing ever since. They've just suggested a cool new way to expand the surveillance state, but before we look at that, let me crib from my own previous work ( here and here ) to explain how we arrived at our
TN: Moms For Liberty Lose--On A Technicality
Tennessee has one of the more punitive gag laws of the recent spate. It comes with the prospect of financial penalties for the school district and punishment for teachers all the way up to firing and loss of license. The state's law lists fourteen forbidden concepts. It was arguably an easy win for education conservatives who need to distract the public from all manner of education shenanigans, f
The Coming Pre-K Religion Battle
State-funded pre-schools are a spotty lot, ranging from well-funded to non-existent . The gaps are filled in by a variety of providers. My own small town is a good example; here you have a choice of a state-subsidized program, a small program run by the YMCA, and a program run by a local church. That'