Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, February 20, 2022


CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Van Gogh Edition (2/20)

Van Gogh Edition

Yesterday, as our Valentine's Day outing, the CMO (Chief Marital Officer) and I went to see the Van Gogh immersive art thingy, Pittsburgh edition. Much of what I know about Impressionism I learned by reading my daughter's college papers, because she is the art whiz in the family. It was an unusual and beautiful experience. Very cool.

The reading list is a little short this week, but still worthwhile. Remember to share the pieces that speak to you.

Actually, this piece from Mother Jones calls Sonny Perdue a "know-nothing MAGA stalwart." A reminder that even though some politicsy stuff is boring, it matters a whole lot.

The 74 takes a look at the spreading book banning going on across the nation.

Author Bill Konigsberg has been the subject of several book bannings; here he writes a response to one particular attack on his work. This is well done.

To Fight Attacks on “Critical Race Theory,” Look to Black History

The Nation takes a trip through history to show how Black educators have dealt with this kind of stuff in the past.

Steven Singer has a birthday wish, a wish to change just one thing that would lead to a host of positive changes in education (and I agree with his choice).

From Jeff Bryant and Velislava Hillman for The Progressive, a look at how some education programs are being co-opted by businesses to make more meat widgets.

Schools Matter took a look at a Hillsdale Form 990, and boy does that raise some questions about the support for this uber-conservative school, soon to be a major player in Tennessee charter schools.

Reuters put three reporters on this story which gives a broad and deep look at the kind of crap that school board members have to put up with these days. It's not pretty.

This 16-year-old wanted to get the COVID vaccine. He had to hide it from his parents

In the midst of all this noise about parental rights, it's important to remember stories like this one from NPR.

A researcher from Vanderbilt writes about a different way to view competencies in the littles. Posted by the good folks at Defending the Early Years. 

Hey, it's an encouraging story about a school managing to hold true to its actual mission.

Nancy Flanagan looks around and sees stuff and then turns it into words; she has a real gift. She and her husband were positive for Covid last week, and she has some thoughts about that.

Finally, I'm going to plug two columns I wrote for Forbes, mostly because they took a chunk of time. But if you want to look at a state-by-state rundown of where teacher gag laws have been enacted and where they are currently pending (with links), I have that for you, as well as a look at what separates the bad from the worse.

MySpace and What Corporations Really Want
This is an old story, but a revealing one. I missed it at the time, but it's worth revisiting. Back in 2016, Time Inc acquired Viant, an ad tech company--and that was mostly exciting because back in 2011, Viant had purchased MySpace. If you are of a Certain Age, you remember MySpace as a visually alarming website created for fledgling bands to share their stuff, but which morphed into a -proto-Fa
TN: Another Bad Library Law
Tennessee is working on another example of performative nothingburger legislation. SB 2407 is entitled the "Age-Appropriate Materials Act of 2022." This two and a half page gem is Governor Lee and the legislature GOP's attempt to get some traction over the rising panic over books. The substance of the bill is as simple as it is thin. Each school must have a list of materials in the school library,
Things Milton Friedman Got Wrong
I've been reading some Friedman lately, trying to refamiliarize myself with the intellectual granddaddy of education privatization. I'm fascinated by Libertarian thought, because I think they get some things really right, but it's canceled out by the things they get terribly wrong, and it was the wrongness that jumped out at me from some of Friedman's words. And yes, he's a major figure in econom
Hillsdale Is Coming To Tennessee. Who Are They?
Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee has announced his intention to bring Hillsdale College in to add to the state's charter school program. If you've been watching the religious right, you already know this name. But if you hadn't previously noticed Hillsdale, here's your explainer. Hillsdale's history starts in 1844, initially as Michigan Central College. In 1853, they moved to Hillsdale, Michigan an
ICYMI: Important Upcoming Holiday Edition (2/13)
By which I mean the much-beloved annual Half Price Candy Day, celebrated on February 15th every year. Spend it with someone you love. Meanwhile, here's the reading for the week. What's behind the right-wing book-ban frenzy? Big money, and a long-term plan Jon Skolnik at Salon takes a look at the ongoing book ban panics across the country. Think my South Side high school is a "bad school"? Think a
Everyone On The Train
The issue of loving the work had come up a few times already this week when this article turned up on my screen. You may remember the story from 2017. A white supremacist threatens two girls on the Portland rail; three men intervene, and he attacks them with a knife. The youngest of the three, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, was stabbed fatally. As he lay dying in another passenger's arms, he said,
When Choice Doesn't Put Parents First
I often say that vouchers and neo-vouchers are not about empowering parents--they're about getting government out of education and giving private operators an open shot at a marketplace. It's true that I can't know the minds of choice advocates, but I can play the what if game. I can ask, "If X were true, what would that look like?" rather than sift through the details of what is. If parent empowe
Utah: It's not a voucher bill--it's worse.
Its sponsor says it's not a voucher bill--it's a scholarship. What HB331 proposes is an education savings account, which is a voucher on steroids. There are a few significant differences between the two systems, but they are fundamentally the same thing. With a voucher, the state gives you a "ticket" to the private school of your choice (if they will accept you). With an ESA, the state gives a pi