Wednesday, October 24, 2018

What To Read (2018 Edition)

At the NPE gathering, I received many requests to repost (and update) my list of people worth reading, so here we go. This is in no way all-inclusive; I'm going to miss somebody and every day I find new writers I didn't even know about, which means tomorrow I'll find out about someone I don't know about today. There are also bloggers who are worth reading, but if they've been silent for many months, I may leave them off this list. Caveats offered; here we go.

A Dog With a Bone   
Audrey Hill is a 30+ year English teacher. Sometimes the posts are brief and poetic, while some dig deep into a particular item.

A Teacher's Life For Me    
Michael Soskil was a PA teacher of the year. He has a good eye for the places where Big Ideas and Actual Classrooms intersect.

I'm a sucker for a good name, but this Florida blogging duo includes a graphic designer, so it looks good, too. The good fight in Florida is a barometer for reformy messes elsewhere, and these folks have a good eye for malarkey.

Alfie Kohn 
Kohn doesn't post often, but when he does, you don't want to miss it. This is what actual education reform ideas look like.

Annie Tan, An Angry Teacher
This fiery teacher has a big activist streak, and she'll tell you all about what is making her angry at the moment.  

Andrea Gabor
Gabor is a journalist and author (The Capitalist Philosophers, Einstein's Wife and After the Education Wars) who is frequently doing exceptional work looking at charter schools.

Answer Sheet 
Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post is the only big media journalist doing regular, daily coverage of education. Get national news, a public ed perspective, and answers from the kind of people who will ignore bloggers like me, but answer the phone when it says "Someone from the Washington Post is calling."

Automated Teaching Machine
Adam Bessie is a cartoonist who works the education beat. For those of you who like visuals.

Badass Teachers Association 
The activist group, best known through their facebook page, also has a blog featuring an assortment of voices.

The Becoming Radical
Paul Thomas is a college professor comfortable blending references to ed research, race issues, poetry and comic books. A good pair of eyes for seeing beneath the surface of many issues in the ed realm.

Big Education Ape 
One of the best aggregators of edublogging out there. If you only have time to make a couple of stops, BEA will get you up to speed. And as a bonus, you get some fairly hilarious paste-up illustrations.

Blue Cereal Education
Snappy, funny and pointed writing about issues in education. Recently transplanted from Oklahoma to Indiana. "Everything I say is so wise even I can hardly believe it. Feel free to concur."

BustED Pencils
BustED Pencils is a webcast (I've been a guest and it was fun), and it is also the host to regular blogging from Morna McDermott, Peggy Robertson, and others, as well as regular features like What Would Matt Damon's Mom Say. It is unabashedly progressive and activist.

Bob Braun's Ledger 
Long-time New Jersey reporter who has covered politics and education for decades. Regional and national stories with a hard-eyed reporter's view.

Bright Lights Small City
Sarah Lahm covers Minneapolis schools, policy and politics. As with many of the regional bloggers, her writing gives a good look at how the bigger issues play out on a smaller, specific stage.

Charter School Watchdog 
Longstanding clearing house for news of charter school shenanigans.

Children Are More Than Test Scores 
Jesse "the Walking Man" Turner's blog. Personal, heartfelt education activism.

Chicago Public Fools
Julie Vassilatos blogs in and about Chicago, but watches national stories as well.

Cloaking Inequality
Julian Vasquez Heilig has been a visible and vocal part of the pro-public ed movement, covering a wide range of national topics.

Dad Gone Wild
A father in Tennessee who has educated himself in the issues and done some activist work as well. Another regional blogger with national lessons for all of us to learn.

Generally Really Big Picture thoughts about transformation, leadership, and how it relates to organizations like schools.

I don't call her the indispensable Mercedes Schneider for nothing. Schneider blogs almost daily, generally on topics for which she has done research and digging-- she comes up with the facts about the reformsters and their organizations that nobody else had discovered.

Diane Ravitch's Blog
The chances that you read me and don't know about Ravitch are zero-to-none. But this list would look odd without her on it. This blog is like the pro-public education town square where everyone passes through at some point.

Disappointed Idealist
A British blog focusing on education and politics.

The primo source for progressive coverage of all things Michigan. And they've now got Mitchell Robinson blogging about education for them. Essential regional read if you want to understand the state that spawned DeVos.\

Ed in the Apple
A teacher in NYC focusing on "the intersection of education and politics."

Education in the Age of Globalization
The website of Yong Zhao, an international writer and thinker about education. The best man to put China's educational "achievements" in perspective.

Education Opportunity Network
One of the places to find the work of education writer Jeff Bryant. Always well-sourced and thorough, a grown-up voice for public education.

Educolor is a movement, a network, a hashtag, and a voice for equity in education. This is a place where you can start to get activated.

Filling the Pail
The website of Greg Ashman, a teacher in Australia.

Finding Common Ground

One of the family of EdWeek blogs. Peter DeWitt is a former principal and a bridge-builder who is almost always entirely reasonable and thoughtful when discussing issues of policy or managing a school.

Fourth Generation Teacher
Claudia Swisher is yet another Oklahoma blogger and advocate who provides a good look at what advocacy looks like on the ground out west.

Fred Klonsky
Progressive union-loving activist with a clear direct tell-it-like-it-is style, writing in Chicago.

Gadfly on the Wall
Steven Singer blogs about national issues from a fiery progressive perspective. You won't find anyone more passionate about the issues.

Gary Rubinstein
Former TFA-er who keeps the pressure on that organization as well as other reformsters in New York and across the country. A prodigious debunker of miracle schools.

Gene Glass
A senior researcher at the National Education Policy Center and co-author of 50 Myths & Lies that Threaten America's Public Schools. Smart man with a wide grasp of the actual research behind policy debates.

Grumpy Old Teacher   
"Generations of public investment in a quality public education system should not be thrown away."

Hack Education
Nobody knows and understands the past and present of ed tech better than Audrey Watters. She's a really smart lady and a very snappy writer.  

Have You Heard
The website for the podcast by Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider. Berkshire is one of the best interviewers around, and Schneider is a great education history scholar. Together they talk to some of the most interesting and compelling folks in the education debates.

I Love You But You're Going To Hell
Not only my favorite blog title, but a great blog for unpacking religious conservatives for everyone else, respectfully yet clearly. Also, school stuff.

Jan Resseger
She's a strong and insightful voice in the push for a progressive public education system.

Jersey Jazzman
There's no better place for plain-language explanations of the wonky data behind policy debates. I've learned a ton reading this blog.

The Jose Vilson
A consistently decent, human, humane, and personal perspective on teaching and race. Pretty sure this is one of the major teaching voices of a generation.

Keystone State Education Coalition 
A great roundup of links to news and commentary regarding Pennsylvania education.

Living in Dialogue
Anthony Cody, a co-founder of the Network for Public Education, has long been one of the steady progressive blogging voices in education. This site continues his own blogging work along with contributions from other strong voices for public education.

The Merrow Report
John Merrow was a top reporter for decades. He's retired, but he hasn't stopped finding and commenting on some of the important stories in education.

Mitchell Robinson
Heads music education for Michigan State University, as well as being a long-time policy wonk. Great lively writing about national issues. You'll also find him at Eclectablog.

Momma Bears
If you're going to talk about public education activism in Tennessee, you have to talk about the Momma Bears, digging deep and laying bare the tools of the reformsters.

Mother Crusader
New Jersey mom who became a powerhouse public education advocate.

Mr. Anderson Reads and Writes
Reading, writing and policy, digging deep for details, from a classroom teacher.

My Two Cents
Mary J. Holden was an English who left the classroom and became an education activist-- then she went back to the classroom. Located in Nashville, she's busy in one of the flagship states of reforminess, so there's lots for us to learn from her.

Nancy Bailey's Education Website
Former special ed teacher with a Ph.D. in educational leadership, Bailey tackles national issues with both fists. Smart as hell.

NYC Public School Parents 
Leonie Haimson and Class Size Matters are among the heroes in the defense of public education. They thwarted a big data incursion into NY, and they continue to have a sharp eye on what threatens public education in this country. 

Othmar's Trombone
Politics, reform and English teaching in the UK.

Politics K-12
Alyson Klein and Andrew Ujifusa cover the political side of education at EdWeek and are a reliable source of what's happening in the halls of power.

The Progressive-- Public School Shakedown
The Progressive magazine is about the only news magazine with an actual commitment to public education, and that is shown through this ongoing project featuring eleven outstanding national writers (plus me).

Russ on Reading
Russ Walsh focuses on reading instruction, but sees the connections to larger education issues. Incidentally, Walsh has published the definitive layperson's guide to what's going on in ed reform.

Emily Talmage is based in Maine, but she has been one of the voices out front in spotting and opposing the personalized competency based computerized learning trend.

School Finance 101
Bruce Baker manages to make sense out of the twisted labyrinth that is school financing. More interesting and important than you may imagine. Sometimes he shouts.

Schooling in the Ownership Society
A blog focusing on the moves to privatize public education with corporate reform.

Schools Matter
A roster of writers that includes Doug Martin, who wrote the book on Indiana Ed Corruption, and Jim Horn, who takes no prisoners and makes no compromises, but he knows his stuff. An aggressively anti-reform site.

Seattle Education
Another regional blog with a national take on ed reform, filtered through the unique perspective that comes from living in the shadow of Bill Gates' money.

Susan Ohanian
Ohanian had started to figure out what the hell was going wrong long before some of us had even started to wake up. Do not be put off by the design of her site, which can be... well, challenging. Trust me that it's worth it to dig in.

Teacher in a Strange Land
Nancy Flanagan has moved out of the EdWeek gated community, so there's no longer any excuse for missing any of her great posts. She's not as obviously combative, sparkly or full of fireworks as some blogs on this list, but she is smart and funny and honest and always worth the read.

Teacher TomTom teaches at a pre-school co-op in Seattle, and his perspective (and that of his students) is always a welcome breath of cool air.

Truth in American Education
An anti-common core, conservatively angled website with a variety of contributors.

Thomas Tultican keeps an eye on national stories and the bloggers who cover them.

What Is Common Core
These ladies in Utah are from the conservative wing of The Resistance; they pay close attention and do their homework, and they've been doing it for over four years, making them oldsters in this game.

Wrench in the Gears
A blog focused on the multinational machine driving the data mining of society. You may at times feel as if you fell down the rabbit hole, but this woman has done her homework.

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley is one of the top experts on Value Added Measures and their general use and abuse. An excellent source for your VAM-related concerns.

The Other Side
That link will take you to a post I wrote about reading Reformsters, which I think is generally a good exercise.

Also, while I'm tossing up links, if you're interested in living green and mom stuff, let me recommend Sunshine Guerrilla, my daughter's blog. She's got a great big heart and writes awfully well.


  1. Want you to know that I moved out of Ed Week so I could be more sparkly and full of fireworks, which were distinctly Not Our Kind of Commentary over there.

    1. Well, that's something to very much look forward to!

  2. Great list, Peter. I'd suggest another. For those who are interested in the news from North Carolina, check out:

    "Caffeinated Rage: Thoughts on public education, politics, and life. Grab a cup. Refills are free."

    Keep up the good work!

  3. This is so useful, thanks tons. I have a modest one-person blog that covers inter alia education (+ health/care, environment, justice) issues/policies, and I'll use this list to survey on a daily/weekly basis.

    For Illinois, in addition to Fred Klonsky, there's a good group devoted to public ed in Chicago - IL called "Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education"

  4. I’m still blogging about ed issues, but have focused on students caught in the maze of juvenile (in)justice. I’m disappointed I missed NPE this year, but I hope to attend next year. Thanks for keeping me on the sidebar of your blog site. ~Melissa,