Sunday, January 31, 2021

ICYMI: Worse Week Than I Thought Edition (1/31)

You know, I thought last week was pretty okay until I looked at the pieces I had collected. So maybe you don't want to read every single item on the list this week. But do stick around for the palate cleanser at the end.

Jeff Bezos wants to go to the moon. Then, public education.

From Dominik Dresel at EdSurge, a piece that will not warm your heart or lift your spirits. 

2nd Grader expelled for telling another girl she had a crush on her

While we're not lifting your spirits--from CNN. Just in case you need one more example of how that nice Christian private school doesn't have to take--or keep--any kid they don't want to.

Unions just got a rare bit of good news.

If you thought the Janus case, which illegalized fair share payments and allowed teachers to be free riders on their unions work--well, if you thought that was the end of it, you underestimated how much some people hate unions. The next wave of suits is asking the court to make unions pay back all the fair share money they ever collected. SCOTUS announced this week that it will not hear at least the first block of such cases. Fully explained at Vox.

LA Virtual School's Whopper Course Sizes, with a Side of Edgenuity

Let's start a quick tour of some states by starting down south with the indispensable Mercedes Schneider, who reports on how virtual school is working out in Louisiana.

Norfolk remains deeply segregated

The Virginian-Pilot begins its long look at the city that was the site of the first federally funded public housing, the first to be released from federally mandated bussing. They have some issues, and this series, produced with support from the Education Writers Association Reporting Fellowship program, looks to be a long haul.

ASD Light

Against all sense, somebody in Tennessee thinks that maybe a do-over on the failed Achievement School District concept might work. Andy Spears has the story at Tennessee Ed Report.

All the World's A Stage

TC Weber has a variety of news items from TN, including an item that suggests TNTP is getting ready to teach everyone literacy stuff.

Ohio: Funding Doesn't Matter

The state auditor has decided that funding schools doesn't really do anything. Jan Resseger begs to differ, and brings some receipts.

Will North Carolina continue to whitewash history for its students?

North Carolina was on a path toward acknowledging some systemic problems. Then they elected a new state superintendent.

Will SB48 make educating your child more difficult than finding a covid vaccine?

Florida is set to take one more giant bite out of its public education system. I wrote about this bill, but Accountabaloney is one the scene and has a clear picture of what's going on. And everyone needs to pay attention, because Florida is using the same playbook that other states crib from.

The school choice movement reckons with its conservative ties

The splintering of choice's right and left wings has been a story for a while, but when the Philly PBS station notices, you know something's going on. Avl Wolfman-Arent reports for WHYY.

Teacher Comments on Being Tech Skeptics

Larry Cuban has collected some real comments from real teachers about the value of ed tech.

Is there really a science of reading?

At the Answer Sheet, David Reinking, Victoria J. Risko, and George G. Hruby stop by to explain in calm, measured tones why the whole "science of reading" thing is not the cure-all it's promoted to be.

More states seek federal waivers

Also the Answer Sheet, Valerie Strauss reports that more and more states are asking for what is so obviously the right thing to do-- scrap the 2021 Big Standardized Test.

Marketplace mentality toward schools hurts society

The Baptist Standard, of all places, has an interview with Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire about Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door (do you have your copy yet? get it today!) and how the market approach to education is bad for everyone.

Trump conspiracists in the classroom

Buzzfeed, of all places, takes a look at the problem of teachers who have fallen down the Trump/Qanon hole. Politics in the classroom are one thing; lies and debunked conspiracies are another order of trouble.

Meet the Vermont Teacher behind Bernie's Mittens

Just in case you haven't met her already. I've got to leave you with something encouraging.


  1. It really is 'fascinating' that you can cover all these things and still leave out covering --which helps reduce poverty and the need for people to donate time to making mittens and allows them to donate time for moving everyone forward better.... Bobby Scott over the House Ed & Labor committee should be regularly mentioned in regards to the 'disaster plans' for public schools and small businesses.

    1. STEAM education is more fad than substance.

      I'll be a convert when math teachers are required to have a strong science education themselves, and when math and science teachers are required to have a strong educational background in technological systems and engineering practices.

      Art is a stretch.

      The so-called "engineering" aspect is more like trial and error testing. The single most important aspect of engineering practices is often nowhere to be found in the typical STEM problem solving activities. that missing component is, "measurement".

      Try and find an engineer or scientist without a lab full of measuring instruments, spec lists, calculators, or mathematical computer models. Finding a STEM student without them is the norm.

  2. I agree. STEAM is a fad just like proficiency-based/personalized learning/ States are wasting time on "steaming" our curriculum with "loosey goosey" Essential Learning Targets for science and math?? Didn't we waste time matching our curricula with Common Core before CC was thrown out? Please. Hopefully the pandemic pause will being state ed departments to their senses. When you combine science and math, students don't get a deep understanding of either. Let's learn the individual subjects first, then use them to do project-based learning.

    1. 100%
      The push under the new NGSS is an "integrated" approach to science. It conflates the ways that highly trained professional scientists "do science' with the best ways for beginners to "learn science". NGSS cheerleaders are criticizing traditional science scope and sequencing as an outdated, "silo" approach. NGSS is the bastard spawn of Common Core and will meet the same death by a million cuts. In the meantime, untold amounts of time, energy, money, and morale will be wasted.