Sunday, September 10, 2017

ICYMI: Post-Labor Day Edition (9/10)

Holy smokes, but I have a lot for you this week. Good Stuff just kept rolling across my screen, and here's some of the best of it. Remember, sharing is empowering.

Michigan Gambled on Charter Schools and Its Children Lost

The New York Times offers a detailed and depressingly thorough picture of how badly Betsy DeVos's home state, often under her direction, has ed reformed itself into a deep hole.

The War on Public Schools

A rundown on how public education has been run down, form the Atlantic.

The Decline of Play in Preschoolers and the Rise in Sensory Issues.

This point keeps getting made, and I'll keep amplifying anyone who makes it until it sinks into school districts' collective heads. Replacing play with academics is damaging to small children.

The Department of Justice Is Overseeing the Resegregation of American Schools

From The Nation-- how the DOJ is involved in allowing white parents to secede from largely black school districts.

The Sad Story of Public Education in St. Louis

St. Louis is one more urban district that has been taken over by privatizers and gutted. It's been going on for a while-- and things aren't getting any better.

Those Who Can't

Spoon Vision with a new take on an old cliche

A Scrappy Parent Takes on Bow Tie Man

Philadelphia public school activist tries to attend a "public" meeting/about further privatizing in Philly. Turns out that "public" is only a figurative term. But boy is this woman feisty.

Fueling the Teacher Shortage

Wendy Lecker looks at how states in general and Connecticut in particular are accelerating the teachers "shortage."

Parents Cite Student Privacy Concerns

Turns out that Mark Zuckerberg's Summit Schools education-in-a-software-box program has some truly nightmarish problems with student privacy

Underachievement School District Superintendent Resigns in Disgrace

Remember the Tennessee Achievement School District, the model for state takeover districts. Remember how it was going to take bottom schools and move them to the top. Remember how its first super, Chris Barbic, left, having realized it couldn't be done? So how have things been going since then? Gary Rubinstein reports on that (spoiler alert: terribly, and yet it's still touted as a model).

Reality Check: Trends in School Finance

This might be the most important post on the list today. Bruce Baker looks at that old reformy refrain "We've spent double the money and test results have stayed flat." Is that actually true. (Spoiler alert: no). With charts and explanations that civilians can understand.

The Real Reason We Can't Fix Our Schools

Short, sweet, and to the point./

Dear Teachers: Don't Be Good Soldiers for the Edtech Industry

Steven Singer with a reminder that sometimes the best soldiers are the ones that defy bad orders.

Seven Times “XQ Super School Live” Denigrated America’s Teachers (And One Time It Praised Them)

And finally, though this makes two appearances in one week for Spoon Vision, this is my favorite of the many excellent pieces written in response to Laurene Jobs' XQ infomercial. I like this because you can use this to explain to your co-worker, family member, or neighbor (or the celebrities who were in the thing-- meet me over on twitter in a few minutes) why, "no, I, was not really excited about that special on Friday night."


  1. Her's the comment I left at the article about the XQ infomercial:

    Zero talk about the last 17 years of test-and-punish school “reform”. A movement based on threats, that forced schools to focus almost exclusively on math and ELA while placing virtually all other subjects on the (unlit) back-burner of the K to 12 school experience. A movement that not only constrained curricula but constrained math and ELA as well, while pressuring teachers to turn classrooms into test-prep centers or face any number of internal or external consequences.

    Zero talk about the whole sale, post-recession defunding of public school combined with the de-facto defunding brought about by the charter movement which was born of the false narrative that public schools were failing using a broad brush and very narrow set of standards and companion tests designed to produce the super-failure rates they rail about. Zero talk about the privatization movement built on the backs of our poorest students and their parents.

    Disingenuous is not the word that comes to mind after viewing this infomercial from the 4th richest woman on the planet. Just a bunch of bullshit coated with sequins, gloss, and celebrity egos. I dare Powell Jobs to give up a year of her life, put her considerable wealth where her mouth is, and try teaching in a high needs, inner city school for a year. We would all see a very different infomercial if she did.

  2. Regarding Bruce Baker's article, the racial achievement gap narrowed greatly from the early 1970's to the late 1980's - which was the period of changing from Skinnerism to Jerome Bruner's cognitive learning theory; when education became more centered on individual learning differences; and when schools were being desegregated. In contrast, starting in 1990 the gap did not become any narrower and in recent years has increased, at the same time that teachers' autonomy started being taken away; schools started being resegregated; high-stakes standardized tests started being used; school funding declined; and economic inequality and poverty increased. This is not a coincidence.

  3. OMG! Really good stuff. Thank you. Again.