Sunday, January 10, 2021

ICYMI: Well Aren't We Off To A Grand Start Edition (1/10)

Well, that was a week, wasn't it. What a hellacious shitshow (sorry, Mom). But despite the the dumpster fire burning brighter than ever, we still have things to read, because while governments may rise and fall and grind to a halt and play stupid games with stupid insurrectionists, you know what still keeps on keepin' on? The post office and public schools.

Republican Cowards Betsy DeVos and Ted Cruz  

Yes, there's tons to read about Betsy DeVos on her way out, and you've probably read all of it, but you might have missed this take from the politics editor at TeenVogue, the surprise source of solid political commentary these past four years. No punches pulled.

Betsy DeVos's Greatest Hits

Okay, just one more. Valerie Strauss at Washington Post has a nice synopsis of DeVosian specialtude over the past four years. 

Will pandemic impact further reduce teacher pipeline?

Maureen Dowd in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, saying nothing that will surprise you, but with details and reporting to make it a little more real.

You literally just did history

Chalkbeat talks to Colorado's teacher of the year about teaching in times that get extra interesting.

Stupid and Clumsy from Grief  

Lisa Eddy blogs about her week. It's personal and moving and a fine piece of writing.

Voucher Vultures Face FBI Raid  

While other things have been happening, the FBI raided some members of the TN House GOP over a plot to pass Gov. Lee's voucher scheme in 2019. Andy Spears has the story.

Do schools spread Covid

For a change of pace, try this reasonably balanced look at what we know, courtesy of Matt Barnum at Chalkbeat.

Reform PA cyber charter authorization and funding

Eric Wolfgang with an op-ed in the Courier Times, repeating what we all know-- PA's cyber-school rules need to be overhauled with a flamethrower.

Reforming Educational Authority

Andy Smarick is a reformster, but he's also a classic conservative and as such brings some interesting ideas to the table. You'll disagree with parts of this, and it's not a short easy read, but it's a useful perspective on what has happened to the way we run school systems.

Unlearn Chait's False Opinion About Charters

Jonathan Chait once again was given space to unleash his opinion about charter schools (without any accompanying caveat that his wife is a charterista). D. Julian Vasquez Heilig pointed out the many problems with Chait's piece, using the clever weapon of actual facts.

ExamSoft's proctoring software has a face-detection problem  

Yet more crappy student surveillance software in action. The Verge has the story. Three guesses what sort of faces the software has trouble with.

The Ridiculousness of Learning Loss

John Ewing at Forbes with a fully-exasperated explanation of why the learning loss panic is bunk.

Kafka Narrates My Online Teaching Experience

From the New Yorker. You can use a laugh this week.


  1. From Andy Smarick:
    "The “accountability” movement clarified and made more rigorous what students were taught, established assessments to measure what students learned, and implemented interventions when results fell short. State-level learning standards, standardized reading and math tests, school and district report cards, and school and district takeovers are fruits of the accountability movement."

    Three points:

    1) I defy Smarick to describe even five specific, important, and consequential examples of "rigorous" content knowledge that any students was supposed to gain from CC math or ELA.

    2) Smarick conveniently omitted the most misguided and damaging aspect of the "accountability" movement: linking teacher evaluations to test scores through VAMs and SLOs. They have never addressed the inconvenient fact that among other many other issues, that about 70% of teachers do not teach these tested subjects.

    3) Smarick also ignores the 800 lb. gorilla riding the elephant around the testing room: Test score accountability for everyone, except the actual test takers!

  2. I really appreciate how you have remained concerned about education in the middle of the Republican sedition activities. I recommend that you use what ever influence you might have to get Diane to return to education issues. Her blog unfortunately is now just a rerun of news items that I usually have already read. Her phenomenal expertise is in how these events may impact education.
    Thank you