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Sunday, March 7, 2021

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION + ICYMI: In Like A Turducken Edition (3/7)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: In Like A Turducken Edition (3/7)

In Like A Turducken Edition

So it's March, and we're beginning the celebration of the one-year anniversary of the Last Time We Did That Normal Thing. Really looking forward to that.

In the meantime, I am continuing to work out the balance between all my old gigs and the new one handling the Hey Look At This blog for the Network for Public Education, which you should definitely check out, but which will definitely share some overlap with this regular Sunday piece (and my Twitter account) but you can decide how you want to stay caught up on stuff. I'm just going to keep flinging it out into the void.

So here we go.

The Brief Distressed Life of a Virtual School

The indispensable Mercedes Schneider with the tale of one more cyber-school that didn't quite make it.

A Half-dozen Things You (Could Have) Learned in School: Lessons from a Pandemic

Nancy Flanagan has some thoughts about the real hard lessons of the pandemic when it comes to schools (and not the ones we thought we were going to learn a year ago).

Using Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms to Guide Education Choice

Here's Accountabaloney with what I think is a really important piece of the growing push for choiciness and its marriage with technofaith in AI. 

Divides? We Got 'Em!

From Eduwonk, not a usual source here, this uncredited piece (probably Andrew Rotherham) is one of those things that is worth a thought, even if you decide to argue with it.

Civility and the Steady Retreat from Truth

Not sure how I missed this a week or so ago, but better late than never for this insightful essay from Paul Thomas about the tension between civility, truth, and the general ugliness we're all soaking in these days.

Three Leaders Defending the Schoolhouse Door

If you were not able to catch the on-line chat between Diane Ravitch, Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire, Fourth Generation Teacher's blog has a good summary of the talk. Also, if you haven't bought Schneider and Berkshire's book yet, get on that.

Biden Administration's push for standardized tests irks teachers union

Politico has a half-decent summation of the many reactions to the testing decree. Plus the headline is handy for sharing with all those people who were certain that Biden would be in the union's pocket.

Biden and Cardona see light at the end of the tunnel for education

This week FLOTUS and the USED secretary visited a school just up the road from me. It was an interesting choice--rural and in the heart of Trump country, You probably didn't hear about it because now we're back to a country where the USED secretary doesn't say something awful every time they step outside the office. But here's how local-ish media covered it, complete with video.

Idaho Republican votes against early childhood education because--oh no! Really?

In incredible news of the week, we have this guy who thinks early childhood ed is bad because it makes women get all uppity.

A college president worried about the risks of dorm isolation. So he moved in.

From the New York Times, an unusual story of college leadership.

Student Online Speech Case

Easy to lose in the shuffle, but the Supreme Court is looking at a case that will test just how much reach a school has when it comes to students on social media. The Biden administration and various other groups have chimed in. Mark Walsh is reporting at EdWeek.

I am Not a Good Teacher

From the blog Your First Black Friend, a thoughtful meditation from someone who is eight years in. 

Group that approved South Dakota college without students rebuked

You may recall the college that was getting federal aid, but had no actual students. Looks like something may finally happen with that mess that Betsy DeVos didn't help at all with. (Why does it exist? Probably as a visa mill.)

While Focus Is On Re-Opening School Buildings, Four Critical Education Issues Still Deserve Attention - by @palan57 on @forbes

Joe Biden Made One Campaign Promise That Really Mattered To Teachers. He Just Broke It. - by @palan57 on @forbes

Better Writing Assessment: Do Something Right
If you aren't ready to take the no-grade plunge (or your particular corner of the pool will never support that choice), there are still ways to shift your thinking about assessing student writing. One of the biggest is to move away from focusing on deficits and mistakes. Avoiding mistakes is not a useful focus for writing. For one thing, not making mistakes is an easy path to mediocrity. You can
Update: Chester Upland's Mysterious Missing Money
The Chester Upland School District frequently gets the adjective "embattled" in front of its name, and it has earned that name by suffering every hardship ever inflicted on a school district. Most recently, it has been the target of a plan to chop the district up and sell the parts off to various charter school operators. But suddenly, this week, new issues. The story was first picked up by the D
Arizona Mounts Further Assault On Public School Teachers
Arizona has lost its damn mind, this week passing some of the stupidest, most aggressively anti-public ed laws anywhere, including an absolutely insane law requiring teachers to file lesson plans a year in advance. Arizona has always been a strong contender for most anti-public education state in the county. They've had trouble convincing teachers to work there for years (at one point they were r
Breaking: FBI Investigating Chester Upland District Finances
Chester Upland School District has been through the wringer, suffering through just about every problem a school district could face in the last century. Most recently they have been facing a state receivership and an administration that seems anxious to convert them to charter schools, the first district in Pennsylvania to be official dismantled, gutted and sold for parts. Today, more trouble --
Free Charters Are Not Free
The Heritage Charter Academy of Cape Coral, Florida plugs itself as a "free public charter school," but that turns out to be not entirely true. As reported earlier this week, the charter schools of Cape Coral are in deep financial trouble. The charters run by Oasis Charter Schools can't afford their lease. So they are facing some serious deficit spending issues, as described by a city official: “
I've Got A New Blogging Job
For many years, Diane Ravitch has taken on the task of maintaining a sort of town square for folks who care about the health and future of public education. Most of us who are part of this blogosphere owe her a heap of thanks for helping us find our audiences and for amplifying our voices. But right now, Diane is scaling back (so, only 50 posts a week instead of 600) by concentrating on her own o
Donors Choose Monday: Out of the Ordinary
One of the harder things about retirement has been sitting on the bench while friends, old colleagues, and family are in there doing the work. I deal with that partly by making contributions where and how I can, and that includes poking through Donors Choose for classrooms to help. Yes, so much of what is there is stuff that the school districts ought to be taking care of themselves, but I'm goin
FL: College Is For Meat Widgets, Not That Learnin' Stuff
Oh, Florida. GOP State Senator Dennis Baxley wants only some students to have Bright Futures . Under his bill SB 86 , the scholarship program would be targeted only for those students who are pursuing majors that lead "directly to employment." Baxley offers a folksy justification for this, saying his own sociology degree was very nice and all, but wouldn't buy him a cup of coffee, and not until h
ICYMI: Unsurprised But Disappointed Edition (2/28)
Well, it didn't take long for Biden to return to his corporate ed reform roots. Not a surprise, but even when hope is a very tiny thing with very small feathers, it's a bummer when a big cat chomps it up. Time to move on. Here's some reading from the week. America prefers teachers who offer themselves