Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ed News Roundup

Think it's just teacher evaluations that Arne Duncan wants to manipulate?  Nope, according to this op-ed on Obama and American public education that appeared in the Huffington Post,

This past week, as the deadline approached for states to make their submissions to Arne Duncan's Department of Education requesting monies appropriated under the Race to the Top initiative, we were reminded that the DOE has decreed that no proposal will be considered where the state government has put a cap on charter schools. Penalties are being imposed on those who choose to limit, in any quantitative way, the charter school movement.

Good "either this or that" article on public education by Chester E. Finn, Jr. in Education Next (whose viewpoints I don't embrace 90% of the time but this one is valid).  Questions like:
  • Learning with the Help of Technology or Human Beings?
  • Diversity vs. Uniformity
  • Skills vs. Knowledge
  • “Sage on the Stage” vs. “Guide on the Side”
  • Who Should Be in Charge: Parents or the State?  
The one bad line?

 The Common Core State Standards go through grade 12, but they’re just standards, not curriculum or pedagogy, and they focus on just two subjects. They leave ample scope for being different.

Not "ample" when you are squeezed by standards on one side and assessments on the other.  That narrows what you teach.  

From MathEd, a review of Gates-funded study on the Khan Academy. 

Big ed election in California for Superintendent of Public Instruction as reported by Capital & Main, pitting the current superintendent, a former teacher, against a Harvard Business school grad investment banker and former president of a charter school chain.  Oh and the business guy when through the Broad residency.  I know who I'd pick.

From Food Politics, a wrap-up of the story about universal school meals and a limit to sales of junk food in schools (limiting junk food is not big news for SPS because former Director Brita Butler-Wall had this enacted years ago).

From Politico: Arizona state superintendent John Huppenthal has been trying to reach out to Tea Party groups in his state to get them to reconsider their stands on Common Core.  (Good luck with that.)  His statement on wondering why national foundations that have spent millions on creating and pushing CC (read: Gates Foundation) are not trying to get with the Tea Party is priceless:

 They’re as useless as ticks on a boar hog,” he grumbled.

And, as Politico says, the "official" Common Core website got a makeover.  Question is: new and better or just the same nonsense repackaged?

Politico also reports on some Congressional meetings on closing low-performing charters.  This seems to be a growing theme but I have to wonder: with all these "great" charter laws and the emphasis on how charters have "accountability", why is this an issue at all?  Oh right, it's harder to close a school than it looks.


Anonymous said...

Another interesting ed article, re: charters in New Orleans.


Anonymous said...

Well it's the case of pushy, bossy billionaires running amok. The billionaire boys have their educational hobbies and the billionaire girl has the word ban. Wish they stick with building pretty libraries and filling them with books instead.


Anonymous said...

So am I missing something here? If Duncan says that no state that has placed a cap on charter schools can get RTTT money, and we know that I-1240 HAS placed a cap on charters, why then do we care about any of Duncan's money?

-- Ivan Weiss

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, he has not made that an issue for WA state because we just got them. Just wait.

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