Sunday, January 17, 2021

ICYMI: Well, Nothing Blew Up This Week Edition (1/17)

Did we just get through a whole week without anything more than whingings based on the willful misunderstanding of the First Amendment and admittedly horrifying details from last week's insurrection? I feel like maybe we're having the equivalent of when someone screams in your ears and then stops but your ears still keep ringing. Or maybe my brain has just reached an overload stage and something horrible happened this week, again, and I've simply blocked it out. If that's the case, you can disillusion me in the comments (I'd rather have truth than comfort).

At any rate, I have some stuff for you. And I promise you something beautiful and encouraging at the bottom of the page.

A Look At The Biden Education Team

Thomas Ultican runs us through all the players in the Biden education sector. A thorough look. 

State Disinvestment after Great Recession  

This is not beautiful. The Education Law Center crunched some numbers, and they figure that post-2008 states underfunded public education to the tune o0f about $600 billion. This article has a link to the full report, if you're feeling tough enough to read it. 

Education Still Top Issue in Arizona   

Arizona is getting more interesting all the time--solid red, except for the people they elect lately. And still screwing over public education even as surveys like this indicate that the voters want something else.

Private school vouchers back on state legislative agenda  

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes about how Georgia is back to pushing school vouchers, an oft-defeated proposal, but we're going to give it another try because Covid.

Well, That's a Special Kind of Dumb  

As long as we're touring states, let's check in with Dad Gone Wild to see what Gov. Lee is up to with silly education bills in Tennessee.

Use of CARES funding by cyber charter schools in question  

In Pennsylvania, The Citizens' Voice is wondering how cyber-charters managed to play the double dip game with relief funds yet again. They're public schools! They're private businesses! They're whatever will get them a check.

School Finance Indicators Database  

"Often imitated but never duplicated," courtesy of the Albert Shanker Institute and Rutgers Graduate School of Education, it's a big mountain of curated and collected data about school funding. 

Why Billions in Food Aid Hasn't Gotten To Needy Families  

Anya Kamanetz at NPR looks at how red tape is keeping so many students and their families hungry

These Textbooks In Thousands of K-12 Schools Echo Trump's Talking Points  

Okay, it's Huffington Post, so the headline's a little clickbaity. But it's Rebecca Klein, who specializes in the many ways that school choice has been used to finance schools of Christianist nationalism and assorted anti-science baloney.

Why doesn't increasing knowledge improve reading achievement [sic]?

Shanahan on literacy, and the actual question he's asking is "why doesn't increased knowledge raise reading test scores?" The resulting article has a subtext contrasting the goals of  "raising test scores" and "building a better life."

Books of 2020

Nancy Flanagan has her list of big books from last year. If you're looking for something to pick up...

Grendel should not have rampaged through our capitol, but slaying him will only further divide the clans

Lit nerd political humor from McSweeney's

And I promised you something encouraging. This is from last spring, but I missed it at the time. It's a music video written and produced by a student and her friend, involving students from across eleven states. There are references to "September" which make it a little bittersweet (ah, how young and hopeful we all were last spring), but it's still a great piece of work.

Make the World Better from EL Education on Vimeo.


  1. Shanahan on literacy: "Why doesn't increased knowledge raise reading test scores?"

    I have administered every grade 8 ELA test since the inception of NCLB. The shift to Common Core standards was dramatic. Most notably,
    Common Core standards in ELA do not test for reading comprehension. Instead the focus was on vague and subjective skills, the most commonly tested was that of finding "supporting evidence" for specifically cited "claims" within the text. The tests were atrocious because the the CC standards were (and still are).

    So, why would teaching content knowledge help improve test scores when content knowledge isn't being tested?

    The problem with the BS tests in ELA is that scores simply reflect a lifetime of language experience and acquisition. ELA teachers are faced with the impossible task of making up for this.

  2. Thank you for Make the World Better. I'm taking the September reference as pointing to September 2021 when maybe most of us will be vaccinated, the new variants will not resist it, and we can start the process of getting back to normal.