Sunday, December 31, 2017

ICYMI: Year in Review Edition (12/31)

Got nothing to do tonight? Ring in the new year with the best of the things you might have missed this year (or just forgotten about). I have slanted this collection toward pieces outside the blogosphere, because you should be reading and sharing my blogroll. Here's a year's worth of in case you missed them...

Good Business Models for Education
We don't talk enough about the fact that reformsters don't just want to schools to be run with business practices, but with bad disproven business practices. Here's Sam Abrams in the LA Times suggesting some better business practices to use.

The Red Queen
Jennifer Berkshire (Edushyster) spent nine days in Michigan interviewing over forty different people. She came back not only with the definitive DeVos nickname, but how the Education Secretary nominee looks to the people who have lived under her shadow.

How the Pioneers of the MOOC Got It Wrong
about how the launchers of MOOCery screwed up some pretty basic fundamentals

A Visit to the For-Profit Edu-Mall
A comic strip series from Mr. Fitz. Great explainer to share with people who aren't up for reading whole paragraphs.

Have We Lost Sight of the Promise of Public Schools
At the New York Times, Nikole Hannah-Jones looks at the difficulties we've always had fulfilling the promise of public education (hint: they're related to our problems acepting all citiizens as equal parts of the public).

Betsy DeVos' Holy War

So this is where we are now-- Rolling Stone decides to go ahead and cover the Secretary of Education. Much of this will be familiar to those of us who have been studying up on DeVos, but Janet Reitman's piece connects all the dots and lays out the bigger, scarier picture.

Dismantling Public Education: Turning Ideology into Gold

Alex Molnar at the Institute for New Economics takes a look at the big picture in the school privatization movement.

Rest in Peace, EVAAS Developer William Sanders
At VAMboozled, an obituary for and recap of the developer of EVAAS, one of the widely used VAM models. If you want the incredible story of where this thing came from, here it is (with links, for advanced students). 

The War on Education as Public Good
Wendy Lecker with another great set of insights on the assault on Public Education

What Betsy DeVos Calls Education Transformation Is Actually Public Theft

Jeff Bryant walks us through what DeVos is actually telling us, and what's she's telling us is that she's going to turn education over to privateers.

The Histories of Personalization

Audrey Watters takes a long, detailed look at the history of the school personalization movement and the many ways in which it is not what it's cracked up to be.

Betsy DeVos Doesn't Get It

Jan Ressenger looks at how DeVos's Libertarian beliefs do not serve the public good.

White People Keep Finding New Ways To Segregate Schools

From Mother Jones, a piece that looks at ed reform through a different lens, and shows how creative white folks have been about getting their children away from black and brown students.

The Charter School Free Riding Problem

Jersey Jazzman takes a look at a little-noted phenomenon: how public schools are doing the work of recruiting teachers for charter schools.

Field Guide To Jobs That Don't Exist Yet

That annoying stat about how 65% of the jobs our students will have do not exist yet-- it turns out to be pretty much made up. Here is a beautifully researched explanation of where that little slice of baloney came from.

Internalizing the Myth of Meritocracy
Another hard-hitting Anderson piece in the Atlantic, looking at how the myth of meritocracy becomes damaging to children of color. Because if I believe that the system is fair and rewards excellence, and I'm not being rewarded, I can only conclude one thing...

Three Myths About Reading Levels

Psychology Today takes a shot at those damned reading levels.

A Black Face in a White Space
A graduate talks about his four years as a black student at University of Pennsylvania. Plenty to think about here. 

Reality Check: Trends in School Finance
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.

Standardized Tests Are So Bad I Can't Answer These Questions About MY Own Poems
here's a reminder about how absurd these tests are. A poet discovers her own poems used on a standardized test-- and that she can't correctly answer the test questions. A classic.

The History and Future of Learning Objects and Intelligent Machines
Nobody is better than Audrey Watters at drawing the lines between the cold, hard specifics of ed tech and the bigger ideas and issues behind them. If you only read one item on the list, make it this one.

Pence: Black Is White
Sheila Kennedy on the Pencian habit of setting truth and reality aside in the pursuit of privatization.

Who Can Say What 20 Years of PA Charter Schools Have Taught Us?

Philly paper takes a look a twenty years of charter not-so-success in Pennsylvania.

Dark Money in Mass
Andrea Gabor with a good summing up of the dark money mess in Mass, where various bad actors tried to secretly support raising the charter cap.

Teachers Are Grown-ups, Not Children
From across the Atlantic, this piece about someone who changed careers and was astonished to discover that teachers are not treated like grown-up professionals. 

Why Privatization Is a Disaster for any Democratic Society
Salon looks at privatization in education and other areas

Teaching: If You Aren't Dead Yet, You Aren't Doing It Well Enough
Read this piece from Othamr's Trombone about teaching as an act of self-sacrifice and martyrdom

The Great Tennessee Achievement School District Experiment Finally Comes to an End
Gary Rubinstein revisits the Tennessee ASD, the ASD that launched a bunch of other ASDs, now that it has reached its sell-by date, to ask how it did. (Spoiler alert- not so well)

Florida School Voucher Investigation
How bad is voucher fraud and corruption in Florida? The Orlando Sentinel gives us a three part series that answers the question (and it's not pretty)

We Libertarians Really Were Wrong about School Vouchers

Well, here's a perspective that's different in many ways

What We Talk About When We Talk About the Corporate Education Agenda
A not-very-uplifting episode of the Have You Heard podcast, interviewing Gordon Lafer, author of the One Percent Solution.  Important but grim.

How Do You Keep an Iceberg Fresh?
From I Love You But You're Going To Hell, possibly the most perfectly-named blog out there. Addressing the problem of taking education ideas to scale, with a perfect analogy.

How Ed Reform Ate the Democratic Party
Jennifer Berkshire looks at the sad history of how the Democratic Party decided to stop being the party of public education and instead transformed itself into GOP-lite.

Software Is a Long Con
"Computer systems are poorly built, badly maintained, and often locked in a maze of vendor contracts and outdated spaghetti code that amounts to a death spiral. This is true of nothing else we buy."

Not specifically about education, but given the heavy attempt to turn education into a software product, boy is this about education.

Top Ed Tech Trends Fake News
A long read of the week, but well worth it, putting fake news in the context of our country as a whole and ed tech baloney in particular. From Audrey Watters.

She Breaks Rules While Expecting Students To Follow Them
Lisa Miller reviews the Moskowitz memoir and identifies some of Eva's central problems, like how she is proud of being a rebel, and demands that all of her students never rebel at all. It gets better.

Voucher Schools Can Teach Whatever They Want
HuffPost did some heavy-duty research into what is actually taught at the mostly-religious schools that benefit from vouchers in this country. You may have expected the emphasis on anti-evolution and anti-science, but there's a also a healthy dose of political conservatism (and get them women back in the kitchen). How Betsy DeVos wants your tax dollars to work.

The Other Tech Bubble

I prefer the other title this piece appears under-- "Silicon Valley Techies Still Think They're the Good Guys. They're Not." This Wired piece doesn't address education directly, but its portrayal of Silicon Valley guys as entitled, arrogant jerks in a toxic culture will be recognizable to everyone who deals with edtech wizards.

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