Sunday, March 24, 2019

ICYMI: My Brother's Birthday Edition (3/24)

It's my brother's birthday today. I'll have to tell you my brother's story someday-- it's an object lesson in how predicting a child's future when they are still in school is, in fact, a fool's game. In the meantime, here is your weekly batch o'reading.

If More Teachers Were Men  

Another way of looking at the issues surrounding teacher policy as the result of teachers being mostly women and teacher policy writers being mostly sexist. One of those "you may not agree with everything  but it's something to think about" articles.

Can We Recommend Teaching As A Career

One more Floridian voice contemplating the wretched mess that is Florida education policy

Ohio Charters Need a 22% Raise? Really?

As Ohio charters shift from "We can do more with less" to "We need more money," a blogger looks at some of the numbers behind that request.

New York's Testing System Is Broken

As Black and Brown students are once again shut out of NYC's top high schools, Jose Luis Vilson takes a look at how messes up the system is.

Parents Are Part of the Problem

Looking at the issues of academic anxiety for teens, and how parents are making it all worse.

Here's What Betsy DeVos Has To Say About Indiana's Failing Virtual Schools  

Almost everyone agrees that Indiana's cyber schools are a mess crying out for serious intervention. Guess who thinks they're just swell.

Arts Should Be Core Education, Not Optional Add-ons

From Commonwealth magazine, an argument for arts education .

Trump Is Trying To Change the Meaning Of Instructor, and It's Not Good 

From Forbes (and not by me), this looks at another troubling trend on the federal level.

How Do We Know It Won't Work?   

A look at the historical record on public-private funding of schools.

Code of Conduct for Politicians and Test Makers 

If we're going to worry about accountability, Steven Singer has some thoughts for an oft-overlooked group.

Blaming Teachers Easier Than Addressing Poverty  

Somebody should point out how wrong Eric Hanushek is at least once a month. Here's this month's entry.

Campbell Brown's Union Busting Organization Is Dead   

And here with the autopsy is the indispensable Mercedes Schneider.

Atlanta Votes To End Democratic Control Of Schools

Thomas Ultican looks at how Atlanta's board decided to go portfolio.

John Engler and Me

How much of a freakin' jerk is Michigan's education-busting former governor. Nancy Flanagan has a story. Spoiler alert: it will not make you like him more.

Reasons That Children Have Reading Problems That Reformers Don't Talk About   

What! You mean it's not just that teachers don't know how to do their jobs properly?? Nancy Bailey takes a look.

A Lifelong Teacher

Public education lost a dear friend and tough advocate with the recent passing of Phyllis Bush. Here's a beautiful tribute from the Journal Gazette


  1. Parents have always been part of the problem, yes. There have always been too many parents who use their children's success (or "success") as a vicarious way to prove their own worth and superiority.

    With that said, however, parents are *not* responsible for the *increase* in teenage stress, depression, hospitalization and suicide. It's not like there's been a sudden groundswell of narcissistic parents demanding that kindergarten become the new first grade and fifth grade become the new high school. The number of Tiger Parents I'd wager is roughly the same, maybe even somewhat decreased as parents are the ones seeing first-hand what the pressure is doing to their children.

    The *increase* in teen stress and suicide rests on the rephormers and those in power who have allowed the rephormers to turn schools into joyless military-style, suck-it-up-and "achieve"-you-lazy-kid, gritty, play-free "academies".

    Public schools didn't used to be like that. I had three recesses a day and I went to a school that was considered very "strict". My pre-school and kindergarten teachers specifically told my parents *not* to be teaching me to read, but instead get out and play. I never had a high-stakes test until the SAT.

    But now it's not just the "no excuses" charters that are like that. I looked into our local public schools when my older daughter was ready to go off to school and was so horrified that we've since spent a fortune on a private progressive school. My younger daughter chose to go to public school for a year because she's really not into the touchy-feely, process-it-out approach to conflict at the progressive school, but she came back because the year of excessive homework and constant threat of detention and almost no lunch time/recess was too much for her (and she actually had a teacher who used to work at a progressive school and took a much more progressive approach than many of the other teachers - I can't imagine how awful my daughter's experience would have been with most of the other teachers at that school).

    These changes have not happened because parents have been clamoring for more high-stakes tests and more content-free drill-and-kill worksheets. Politicians, superintendents, principals and other "education leaders" (ahem) have made those decisions.

  2. From the Commonwealth article: "The National Core Arts Standards provide a rigorous and developmentally appropriate set of process-oriented skills for students in grades K-12. The NCAS not only reinforce art as a standards-based subject, but the standards present flexible benchmarks to measure growth." Does that set off an alarm for you? It does for me.

    1. Excellent point! Furthermore, anyone using the word "rigorous" in connection with either art or kindergarten (much less both) should be shot.