Tuesday, April 23, 2024

FL: Ron DeSantis vs. Words (Also, Satan)

Earlier this year, Florida became yet another state to pass a law allowing volunteer school chaplains. It's a bad idea for a variety of reasons (outlined when actual professional chaplains spoke out against a similar bill in Texas last year).

Both the House bill and the identical Senate bill are thin on requirements. A district that wants to use volunteer school chaplains must describe what they'll do, inform parents of the availability, and get written parental consent before a student can participate in any program with the chaplain attached. The volunteer school chaplain must pass a standard district employee background screening.

There are no requirements at all for the chaplain to have actual chaplain training, even though actual professional chaplains get a great deal of religious, professional, and ethical training (but not, they note, any sort of school counseling training). And as far as the religious part goes, well, the district has to publish a list of volunteer school chaplains, "including any religious affiliation" on the district website. And when it comes to selecting a chaplain they approve for their child--
Parents must be permitted to select a volunteer school chaplain from the list provided by the school district, which must include the chaplain’s religious affiliation, if any.

Emphasis mine. 

The bills were pretty clear. And you would think somebody who graduated cum laude from Harvard Freaking Law School could understand the plain language therein. 

But DeSantis, like too many folks, has this habit of insisting that the words means what he says they mean. 

Write a law that clearly says a book is Naughty and Bannable if it mentions and sex or upsetting stuff, but then insist that there are certain books that don't fall under the law (like Certain Classics and the Bible). Write a really dumb law that says gender identity and sexual orientation can't be taught or discussed in school, ignoring that such a law means that gender-segregated bathrooms and anything mentioning traditional gender roles--all of that is illegal. Debates keep circling back around to the assertion, "Well, that may be what the law says, but that's not what it means."

While it's conservatives that often fall into this error, plenty of conservatives are smarter. In Oklahoma, religious conservatives somehow believe that when they open the door to taxpayer funded religious charter schools, only proper Christian religion will walk through that open door, it's Oklahoma conservatives who understand that once the door is opened, any religion will walk through it. 

And who always shows up to walk through that door, committed to making a point? The Satanic Temple, of course, regularly ruffling religious feathers. And they have already announced that if this bill became law, they would be sending Satanic chaplains into Florida schools.

Is there anything in that bill that says there can't be a Satanic volunteer school chaplain? Nope, not a thing. Unless you're Governor DeSantis. As reported by Douglas Soule for USA Today:
"Some have said that if you do a school chaplain program, that somehow you're going to have Satanists running around in all our schools," he said at a press conference at a high school in Kissimmee..."We're not playing those games in Florida," DeSantis continued. "That is not a religion. That is not qualifying to be able to participate in this."

The IRS has long since granted the Satanic Temple (which, too be clear, does not recognize Satan as real, let alone worship him) status as a tax-exempt church. 

The bill's sponsor is smart enough to see the problem here (and it's not Satan). Senator Erin Grall told Soule:

I think that as soon as we get in the middle of defining what is religion and what is not, and whether or not someone can be available and be on a list, we start to run (into) constitutional problems.

Exactly. Christian conservatives will rue the day they passed these sorts of laws because either A) all sorts of non-Christian faiths are going to come through that open door and B) the only way to mitigate it will be to enact some sort of govern Department of Religion to folks like DeSantis certify what qualifies as a "real" religion. And the official government Department of Religion is the last thing anybody should want. 

It's a bad bill. Amateur volunteer untrained chaplains are not, as some folks insist, a solution to the need for more mental health supports and more school counselors. That argument is an insult to actual counseling and mental health professionals, and a dismissal of the concerns it claims to address by suggesting that literally any person off the street can come in and provide meaningful mental health help. 

And for those who like the idea because they see it as a way to get Christianity into schools? What they get, and what they asked for, and what they wrote a law to allow, is the Satanic Temple, no matter how grumpy it makes DeSantis. Maybe one of his Harvard Law School professors can explain it to him.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

FL: Book Bans, Classical Schools, Charter Turnaround, And More

The "update" of Florida's book ban has arrived--and brought a whole lot more with it.

By the time he had slunk back from the Presidential campaign trail, Ron DeSantis had figured out that book bans had a branding problem. 

What was the problem? Overzealous banners making the policy look ridiculous and excessive. Opponents treating the law as if it actually meant what it said, and not something else entirely.

In a press conference back in February, DeSantis announced his intention to fix this law (yes, governors can't technically legislate, but if you've got a majority of compliant and cooperative legislators, you can order up laws). Yes, he said that non-parents challenging 100 books was not "appropriate." But he also made it clear that the idea of banning naughty books from school is a sound one, but not when you ban the Wrong Ones. 

For instance, people who "banned" perfectly good classics and other things that "are not in any way a violation of any type of Florida law." Like that Roberto Clemente book that got pulled? Totally not a violation, says DeSantis. The Bible. Dictionaries! The teacher who covered up all her books.! Crazy stuff, says Ron.
DeSantis's concern was people "hijacking this process," not that the process was in some way inherently flawed. Not that it was excessively vague, or that it somehow distinguished between books with sex stuff that DeSantis objects to and books with sex stuff that he does not object to. The fact that, under that law, folks could object to the Bible is an indictment of those people, and not a sign that it was poorly-written bad idea of a law.

“You have some people who are taking the curriculum transparency, and they are trying to weaponize that for political purposes,” he said at an event in Jacksonville, Florida. “That involves objecting to normal books, like some of the books that I saw in the teacher’s lounge, these classic books.”
As if the entire set of policies were not created to be weapons for political purposes.

Now the rewrite has arrived, so we can ask what legislators actually fixed. For book bans? Not a lot. But there are other goodies tucked away in this bill.

Here's the book ban fix. Now a resident of the county who is not a parent or guardian may object to one item per month. 

That's it. All other shenanigans may continue unabated. 

But what other goodies are included in this bill?

The state Board of Education will issue a "classical education teaching certificate," which will valid only at a classical school. 

New wrinkles for school takeover. One of the penalties for a repeatedly low-scoring school was to be closed and re-opened as a charter. Now when the school is re-opened as a charter, the school district will continue to operate the school, while implementing a turnaround contract (in October) with the charter school which will give the charter school an opportunity to evaluate how well the public school is doing. Sop, "We'll take a look and decide how and if we want to take you over." The charter must give priority to students already in the school, and must keep the existing grade levels (though it may add more). The district may not charge leasing or rental fees. 

Also, while the school could get out of turnaround in the past by raising their grade to a C, that no longer works if they've already executed a turnaround contract.

The executive director for the Education Practices Commission will no longer be elected by the commission itself, but will be appointed by the Commissioner of Education. 

Folks who own charter school property no longer have to apply every year for tax exemption. 

The Office of Ocean Economy will hereby become a thing. Within the university system and housed at Florida Atlantic University, it will exist to "connect the state's ocean and coastal resources to economic development strategies that grow, enhance, or contribute to the ocean economy."

Preferred enrollment status student will include students who want to transfer from a private classical school to a charter classical school. Also, students whose parents work in a development that sets up a charter school. Or any students whose parents are "employed with a reasonable distance of the charter school."

A private school can be set up in facilities owned or leased by a library, community service organization, museum, theater, or church without any rezoning needed. Ditto for any land or facilities owned by Florida College system or university.

Postsecondary schools may not block students from being employed. Unless they are being employed by some organization "associated with a foreign country of concern."

International Baccalaureate teachers get a $50 bonus for every one of their students who scores C or higher on the IB Theory of Knowledge subject exam. 

Plus other little things. But it's the book ban change that will get the attention, even though it changes almost nothing. It's still vague, still punitive, and people can still challenge absurd numbers of books for absurd reasons, as long as they have a child in school. And people can still take it at its poorly-written word and challenge works that Harvard-educated Ron DeSantis thinks should be off-limits. 

Like his elimination of Common Core and his call to reduce testing, this is one more example of DeSantis pitching Floridians a mountain and delivering a tiny swamp-soaked mole. 

ICYMI: Tech Sunday Edition (4/21)

Today I'll be breaking in the orchestra for our local community theater production of Jesus Christ, Superstar. I'm music directing, which includes flapping my arms at the pit orchestra. The CMO is in this production, and has sustained some leg injuries in the line of duty, so this production has been a little more consuming than some. But I do love me some community theater, and this is a particularly rewarding production, so if you're in the neighborhood, stop by one of the next two weekends and check it out.

In the meantime, here's some reading from the week. 

Denying Education to Immigrant Children is Morally Wrong — and Practically Dumb

The 74 was founded by Campbell Brown to be an election voice for privatization, but it still has its moments of decent journalism and opinion, and this is one of them. Conor Williams and Alejandra Vazquez Baur take on the Heritage Foundation's idea to deny education to immigrant children.

GOP nominee to run North Carolina public schools called for violence against Democrats

North Carolina has been given the chance to elect a truly terrible candidate for their public schools chief, so let's just keep making sure to push the word about how awful she is.

Generative AI in Education: Another Mindless Mistake?

From Education Next, of all places, a really smart take on why AI is not poised to replace teachers. Benjamin Riley has written an essay that will help clarify why you have a gut sense that AI can't do the job.

A charter school in Las Vegas faces closure if more than $800K in taxpayer funds are not repaid

Yeah, letting amateurs run schools like a business is a great idea.

Utah school board member who questioned a student’s gender loses party nomination for reelection

From Utah, an AP article reminds us that sometimes the voters do the right thing.

Louisiana lawmakers vote to remove lunch breaks for child workers, cut unemployment benefits

In Louisiana, some legislators aren't done rolling back rights for children and workers. James Finn reports for nola.com

Thomas Ultican introduces us to a website that contains many resources for public school defenders.

The 18th of April…

Nancy Flanagan, poetry, history, and the test.

Book Bans in the Real World (Part II)

Steve Nuzum continues to dig deep into book challenges in South Carolina school districts. Here's some on the ground information and at least one mystery.

Where’s the “Evidence” in State-Mandated Science of Reading Programs?

Nancy Bailey goes looking for the beef in SOR programs and coming up empty.

What is White Christian Nationalism and How Is It Affecting Public Education Today?

Jan Resseger takes a look at a book about white Christian nationalism, and considers its implications for public education.

Charter school goes shopping

Steve Hinnefeld looks at Indiana charter authorizer shopping. Did your charter school lose its authorization? Just go looking for some other authorizer that will give you the okay.

Two books I'm looking forward to reading later this year are available to pre-order now.

The Education Wars: A Citizen's Guide and Defense Manual is the next book from Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider, popular education podcasters and authors of Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door. Coming in July.

 Mr. Lancaster's System: The Failed Reform That Created America's Public Schools is the nest book from Adam Laats, who is a scholar with expertise in the intersection of public education, religion, and school reform. Coming in September.

I'm prepared to recommend both of these simply on the strength of the authors. Go ahead and pre-order them now. 

Elsewhere this week, I wrote a piece for the Bucks County Beacon looking at the newest attempt to launch a special conservative school board association in Pennsylvania. 

In Forbes, a look at a documentary that just debuted on your favorite streaming service about a trailblazing teacher twenty years ago in Florida.

That's it for this week. I'll ask that you consider subscribing on substack-- having more subscribers boosts my profile and gets the education news out in front of more folks. It's free, now and always.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Moms For Liberty 3.0

First, there was Moms For Liberty Beta, called the Florida Coalition of School Board Members. Then came the actual Moms For Liberty launch, a group of ladies who were upset about masking and school building closures. That gave way pretty quickly to M4L 2.0, the group that was all about banning naughty books and clamping down on LGBTA ideology (whatever that is).

M4L 2.0 cruised along pretty well for a while. But as more people came to understand what they were up to, their thin skins, their desire to tell other moms what children should be allowed to read. their intolerance-- well, opposition started to swell. And their last election round wasn't very impressive (we'll never know exactly how unimpressive because, perhaps already sensing that their brand was tarnished, they backed away from endorsing so many candidates). And their beloved Ron DeSantis had to slink home in humiliation and defeat. And they went on 60 Minutes and couldn't really explain the terrible alleged indoctrination they were crusading against.

Make way for version 3.0.

The moms have been rolling this out for a while, like the time M4L honcho Tina Descovich appeared at the DeSantis presser about how his book ban was being abused.  She led with the statistic that the literacy rate in Florida is 40%, which is about 40% off (it's 80%). I think she means to say that the proficiency rate on the NAEP is 40%, and at this point anyone who says NAEP proficiency is "at grade level" is just not trying to get it right (NAEP proficiency is A or B level). But her point is that there is a public education crisis in America.

Then she wagged her fingers at the "media in the back of the room" and says "All you can do is be obsessed with book bans that are not happening." She hammered home that "we the parents" have had enough, and when is the media going to start covering the literacy crisis.

They're currently rolling out 3.0 in a series of town halls, like this one in North Carolina hosted by co-Mom Tiffany Justice as reported by Emily Walkenhorst.
Speakers focused on problems in public schools — chiefly, worsening student behavior and test scores that remain below pre-pandemic levels — and suggested more discipline and having schools cut ties with federal programs and outside nonprofits as solutions.

You can watch the whole thing here (all two hours and eleven minutes of it). Some of the standards are here. Open with a Jesus prayer. Stand up for parents' God-ordained right to control their children's everything. Indoctrination! But then we swing on to other topics. 

Moms For Liberty 3.0 is deeply concerned about student achievement (have you seen those dreadful NAEP scores-- let us misrepresent the amount of proficiency) and school discipline (here's an anecdote about something awful that happened to a kid in school). Also, special needs students are not getting their proper services.

The complaints about indoctrination, gender ideology, CRT--all the classics--are still part of their shtick. And these days, the happy warriors who once handed DeSantis a shiny sword are now decrying the political persecution of Donald Trump. Witch hunt! Also, M4L 3.0 will no longer do political endorsements, but you know, that's just because they're designated candidates were harassed. 

Does 3.0 represent a serious shift for the organization? Not really. The fundamental message of M4L has always been the same-- public schools are scary and terrible and good God-fearing people should either take them over or abandon them. Parental rights (but not student rights)! As Chris Rufo, hot young culture panic agitator, told a Hillsdale College audience, "To get universal school choice, you really need to operate from a place of universal school distrust." 

M4L have aligned themselves with far right group like the Heritage Foundation and the Leadership Institute. Their leaders are experienced and well-connected comms professionals. None of that has changed. 

Like anyone else whose mission is to manage comms and break things, they are going to periodically adjust their approach and set aside old dull tools for new, more effective ones. Learning loss panic has been hot for a while, and school discipline problems are a legitimate issue. "Beware outside groups" is a new skin for their old government-imposed LGBTQ/SEL panic wine. 

New tools. New approached. New talking points for the brand. We'll see if the new tools help them achieve their usual goals. 

Friday, April 19, 2024

PA: Far Right Law Group Comes To Meadville

Crawford Central School District has joined the ranks of school districts in Pennsylvania considering anti-LGBTQ policies.

And while their name didn't come up, the conservative christianist Independence Law Center fingerprints were all over the work.

The Independence Law Center

The ILC is the law arm of the Pennsylvania Family Institute. PFI was founded in 1989 as a “key strategic voice for the family, and for the Judeo-Christian principles needed for a free and prosperous society.” Their stated mission is to “strengthen families by restoring to public life the traditional, foundational principles and values essential for the well-being of society.” As with many christianist political groups, they’ve learned to couch their goals in more secular language, but their true nature often peeks through.

Our goal is for Pennsylvania to be a place where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished.

Of course, they only have one particular God in mind.

The founder, president, and CEO of PFI is Michael Geer. Geer started out as a journalist, including almost a decade as senior news producer at WPXI in Pittsburgh. Geer is a regular voice in conservative meetings, church gatherings, and media coverage. He’s opposed to legalization of marijuana, women’s health care options, non-traditional marriage, and freedom to read for students.
PFI has a variety of related organizations in addition to ILC. The Pennsylvania Family Council, which lobbies for the “pro-family goals.” City on the Hill, an annual conference for high school students to “teach worldview principles and develop leadership skills” including topics such as The Case for Life, Christians in the Public Square and Why Religious Freedom Matters. The Church Ambassador Network, aimed at connecting pastors with their local legislators. They even run the Family Choice Scholarships, one of the many organizations that manages and brokers Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) voucher monies.

PFI handles around $3 million a year, with only a handful of paid employees. Those include Jeremy Samek and Randall Wenger, the lawyers heading up ILC. 

In 2006, PFI set up the Independence law Center to do pro bono work “that litigates and advocates on behalf of the sanctity of life, marriage and family and religious liberty.” Wenger has been the chief counsel since the center’s inception. He’s a ninth-generation Lancaster County Mennonite who decided early on that he wanted to be a religious liberty lawyer.

Samek, who joined in 2015, is senior counsel. Samek has been a school board member (Franklin Regional), spent eight years as an attorney with Eckert Seamans in Pittsburgh, and before that was a staff sergeant in the USAF reserve. His law degree is from Pitt; his undergraduate work was done at Liberty University.

ILC has been involved in some high profile religion cases. They’ve been in court arguing against abortion, including cases in which they argued both for and against parental consent for a minor’s abortion. Wenger took a case to the Supreme Court ( Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp v. Burwell) that was folded in with the more famous Hobby Lobby case that determined that employers could refuse to provide any health care coverage options they disagreed with (in this case, birth control).

In the last decade or so, ILC has extended its crusade to public schools. In particular, they have developed a booming business in helping school boards craft right wing culture panic policies--pro bono.

The Central Bucks school board drew national attention, launching a batch of anti-LGBTQ, anti-reading policies. Conservative board members refused to tell non-right-wing members of the board exactly who was “helping” write those policies, it turned out that Samek had a hand in it

Multiple districts in the southeast corner of the state used ILC to help them craft similar policies, and when some board members at Penncrest School District (right next door to Crawford Central) decided they wanted to create some anti-LGBTQ policies, they reached out to Samek and the ILC

None of this was done in the open. We know as much as we know only because various news organizations have filed Right To Know requests to uncover the communication between conservative board members and ILC attorneys.

In fact, a RTK request by the York Dispatch (whose Meredith Willse has been all over this story) found that ILC not only created policy for the Red Lion Area School District, but actually wrote not just talking points, but a word for word speech for a board member to read.

So what does this have to do with Meadville?

Crawford Central board members considered a basic cut-and-paste of policies adopted by South Side Area School District (a district near Pittsburgh). The policies require students to participate in sports corresponding to their birth gender, restricts use of locker rooms and restrooms, and prohibits using anything other than the student's legal name without parental permission, while not requiring staff to honor that parental request. 

South Side Area School District passed these policies in February. They hired ILC and Jeremy Samek back in 2022. 

The policies are ILC policies. I've reached out to Mike Crowley, the reporter who covered the meeting for the Meadville Tribune, to ask how exactly those policies arrived before the board. He responded that the superintendent said some members had expressed an interest, but did not specify which ones. But if I were a CCSD taxpayer, I'd be asking if some of my board members have been talking to the ILC. 

Crowley quoted the district's actual legal counsel:
“I just want to urge some caution because I’ve reviewed these policies and I know that they say that they are Title IX compliant and they make some statements about Title IX and about protecting students,” said Rachael Downey Glasoe, referring to the federal statute prohibiting sex-based discrimination in federally funded educational programs, “but I have serious, serious concerns.”

But as with Penncrest, where one board member said, "I don't care what the law says," some CCSD board members have their focus elsewhere. Board member Ron Irwin argued that science says you just go by chromosomes and science "and not this, you know--Oh I identify as, at any given time, to change that." And Crowley captured this jaw-dropper:

“When we release these kids into the real world — they graduate — you can no longer pick and choose what you want to be and stuff like that,” Irwin said. “Reality is going to hit. So I think XX and XY chromosomes is the way to go moving forward.”
Fellow board member Ryan Pickering, a psychology professor at Allegheny College, politely pointed out that the science wasn't nearly as clear as Irwin suggested "and I don't know if we're ready to have that conversation scientifically."

Next week, the board will have some sort of conversation and we'll if they want to join ILC's stable of school district's. Glasoe seems to have a hint of at least part of what's going on:
“My read on this is South Side (Area) School District is looking for a fight in court and that is what will happen down there,” Glasoe said. “If we look to these as a model, I would say this school district is going to also get a fight — is going to get a big legal fight.”
Except I don't think it's the South Side district that's looking for the fight in court. ILC, on the other hand, specializes in finding fights that they can take to court in an attempt to push a conservative christianist agenda, to make their particular view of the Bible the law of the land. Let's hope that the board listens to Glasoe and not any other lawyers that they might be listening to through quiet back pro bono channels. 

Monday, April 15, 2024

DEI, Charlamagne, and Racist Confusion

Charlamagne The God did a stint on The Daily Show, and got a whole lot of positive right wing attention--positive attention--for one segment.

That segment was six and a half minutes about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs, and it was sharp and smart.  He talked about its corporate roots from way back in 2020, then noted the more recent right-wing attempts to blame everything bad in the world on it, like the clever folks who say that DEI stands for "Didn't Earn It." And then...

These right wingers are crazy, right? But here's the part where y'all stop applauding everything I say. The truth about DEI is that although it's well-intentioned, it's mostly garbage, okay? It's kind of like the Black Little Mermaid." Just because racists hate it doesn't mean it's good.

He went on to compare it to DARE programs, which actually made things worse, saying that DEI programs can create racist backlash in organizations. And he pointed at bad reasons for corporations to adopt such programs, noting that having a DEI program on the books can help provide a company with protection from civil rights lawsuits, even if the program is ineffective. "It's the 'I have a Black friend' of the legal system."

Conservatives hopped on the bit, with pieces like this one from Peter Laffin at the Washington Examiner. Laffin's contention is that conservatives have long made Charlamagne's point that corporate DEI programs are ineffective and fuel disharmony. Conservatives should go ahead and say "I told you so."

So, I guess, DEI programs are both ineffective and change nothing AND are super powerful and put unqualified non-White folks into positions of power. I suppose this is line with other simultaneously-held beliefs like the idea that Joe Biden is both a doddering senile fool AND a clever mastermind darkly and deliberately destroying America. 

Conservative commentators did not mention a couple of other points that Charlamagne made in his piece, such as the observation that one thing DEI programs have been good at is "giving racist white people cover to be openly racist." Laffin says that the "colorblind" approach is clearly best, but how colorblind is Charlie Kirk being when he says that seeing a Black pilot will make him question if that pilot is qualified.

DEI done right is not anti-merit. It's not about jettisoning merit in order to make a minority hire. It's broadening your search for merit so that you look in places that you haven't always thought to look in the past. For instance, the US Catholic Church, for whom Laffin often writes, has around 35,000 priests in the US (and a priest shortage). Of those, about 250 are Black. A DEI program might lead to asking why that is, and asking whether God's just not calling Black guys in the US, or if the Catholic Church is doing a lousy job catching those Black men of faith who get the call. 

I get Charlamagne's point about corporate DEI, which I have on occasion called "one more brand of corporate bullshit" and "part of that grand tradition of programs designed to get corporate leadership to pretend to act like decent human beings even if they aren't so inclined." And education, which is where failed corporate programs go to die, doesn't need that kind of baloney. But actual diversity, equity and inclusion? Yes, please. You can watch the full clip below.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

ICYMI: River's Rising Edition (4/14)

Every so often we get enough rain to make the river at the bottom of our back yard to get really rambunctious. It would take an extraordinary catastrophe to actually threaten the Institute, but it's pretty cool to see what the river can do when it really fills up and unwinds, and that's where we are at the moment. It's one of those majestic splendor of nature things. Never gets old.

Meanwhile, I've got some readings for you from the week. Remember, sharing is caring.

AI Vocabulary For Teachers

From Tom Mullaney, a former teacher, who blogged this exceptionally useful glossary of AI terms (starting by correctly identifying "AI" as a marketing term). 

Pittsburgh-area school district will keep 14 library books challenged by community members

CBS covers this story from my end of the commonwealth. It's a good example of how a superintendent should handle this kind of thing.

She couldn’t wait to work for Ryan Walters’ administration. Now she’s worried public schools won’t survive the rest of his term

Spencer Humphrey for KFOR talks to a woman who thought working for Ryan Walters would be a chance to stand up for her conservative values in Oklahoma's department of education. Instead, she quit. One more picture of just how bad he is at the job he campaigned for.

‘Are We Being Used as a Test Case?’: Oklahoma Justices Question Catholic Charter

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Supreme Court is hearing the challenge to the attempt to establish the first religious charter school. In many ways, it's a nothingburger because the school's supporters would love to take this all the way to the US Supreme Court. But this is the opening round of an important fight. Linda Jacobson is covering for The 74.

Governor Polis Sides with Far-Right Groups in Opposing Charter School Accountability

Mike DeGuire reports on the push against charter school accountability in Colorado. 

Two-Sigma Tutoring: Separating Science Fiction from Science Fact

You've probably heard about research showing that tutoring is super-duper effective. Paul T. von Hippel, at Education Next, of all places, revisits that research and points out there's way less than meets the eye.

House Republican calls for Tennessee Education Commissioner Lizzette Reynolds to resign

Tennessee's newest ed chief is just having a rough time. NewsChannel5 reports on calls for her ouster.

Blaming Low Wages on Bad Schooling Is a Neoliberal Myth

A long-standing assertion of the neo-liberal wing of reformsterdom has been that if everyone got a college degree, everyone would make more money. Nora de la Cour demonstrates the problems with this fairy tale.

Amplify is all ready to jump on the Science of Reading train, complete with bogus marketing claims. Thomas Ultican breaks it down.

Are Science of Reading Laws Based on Science?

Speaking of which, the National Education Policy Center newsletter notes that SoR laws are not exactly science-packed themselves.

Chicago Begins the Hard Work of Dismantling Neoliberal School Reform

Jan Resseger on Chicago's attempt to undo its reformy mess.

At Forbes.com this week, I looked at the new ed honcho in Vermont, and why some folks are concerned about what she might have in mind.

Join me over on substack. It's free!