First up, the most hilarious thing I have read in a long time is this innocent recipe for a rainbow cake with a number baked inside (see pictures).
Why is it great? The comments. Goes from an innocent question (with a somewhat snarky answer) to a troll to an all-out fight. I laughed out loud and it reminded of how commenting can go off the rails.
Next, a sobering piece on reform from the Huffington Post - Education Reform: a National Delusion by Steve Nelson.
In the cacophony of reform chatter -- online programs, charter
schools, vouchers, testing, more testing, accountability, Common Core,
value-added assessments, blaming teachers, blaming tenure, blaming
unions, blaming parents -- one can barely hear the children crying out:
"Pay attention to us!"
None of the things on the partial list
above will have the slightest effect on the so-called achievement gap or
the supposed decline in America's international education rankings.
Every bit of education reform -- every think tank remedy proposed by
wet-behind-the-ears MBAs, every piece of legislation, every one of these
things -- is an excuse to continue the unconscionable neglect of our
As Pogo wisely noted, "We have met the enemy and he is us." We did this to our children and our schools.
He goes on to make a very easy-to-read list of what went wrong including this:
Education was already in trouble and then, beginning in 2001 with the
ironically named No Child Left Behind Act (which has left almost all
children behind), the decline accelerated. When a bad policy fails, just
rename it. In a nation where "branding" reigns supreme, you get Race to
the Top. It's changing the paint color on a Yugo and expecting it to
drive like a Lamborghini.
He ends with slam-dunk:
Doing meaningful education with the most advantaged kids and ample
resources is challenging enough with classes of 20. Doing meaningful
work with children in communities we have decimated through greed and
neglect might require classes of 10 or fewer. When will Bill Gates, Eli
Broad, the Walton Family, Michelle Rhee, Arne Duncan and other education
reformers recommend that?
No, that's not forthcoming. Their
solution is more iPads and trying to fatten up little Hansel and Gretel
by weighing them more often. Pearson will make the scales.
Only in contemporary America can a humanitarian crisis be just another way to make a buck.