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Friday, October 12, 2018

Public Education Stories of Interest

A great story worth showing your tweens/teens about a Rohingya boy who escaped - but not for a long time - from persecution in Myanmar, leaving his family behind.  He ended up in Mercer Island.
This story was created in KUOW's RadioActive Intro to Journalism Workshop for 15- to 18-year-olds at Jack Straw Cultural Center. 

What's this? Some school districts replacing libraries with maker labs?

 From the Nancy Bailey's Education Website:
We know that schools with excellent libraries have students that do better than those with insufficient or no libraries.  

But the Maker Movement appears to be about replacing school libraries and the role of librarians with digital learning. There is a concerted effort to convert libraries to Makerspaces, Hackspaces, or Fab Labs. 

We hear that the only way libraries and librarians will survive, is if they sign on to Makerspaces! Many librarians are being renamed “innovation specialists” and their role is changed to that of a facilitator for digital learning.
Matthew Shepard, a young gay man, was brutally murdered outside Laramie, Wyoming on October 13, 1998.   From the NY Times, it's a story that should not be forgotten.
Mourners flocked to his funeral that year in Casper, Wyo., but there were also some protesters, carrying derogatory signs. Mr. Shepard’s parents worried that if they chose a final resting place for their son, it would be at risk of desecration.

Now they have found a safe place. On Oct. 26, Mr. Shepard will be interred at the Washington National Cathedral, the neo-Gothic, Episcopal house of worship that is a fixture of American politics and religion.

Mr. Shepard’s death “became a symbol of the kind of mindless, pointless violence against us for no other reason than being who we are,” Bishop Robinson said. “It is important for us to remind ourselves that we are still trying to come out from under that shadow.”
So what is Betsy DeVos up to?  A lot.  From the Education Opportunity Network:

In her latest low-profile appearance, DeVos and her high-priced security detail paid a friendly visit to Koch Industries in Wichita, Kansas without telling local officials, the media, or any other public outlet. The purpose of her stopover was to meet with a select group of representatives of Youth Entrepreneurs, a Wichita-based non-profit group founded by Charles and Liz Koch.
Youth Entrepreneurs, according to an investigative report by the Huffington Post, provides high school curriculum designed to inculcate students in the blessings of unfettered capitalism and libertarian ideology. Among the teachings included in the program’s lesson plans and classroom materials are that “the minimum wage hurts workers and slows economic growth. Low taxes and less regulation allow people to prosper. Public assistance harms the poor. "Government, in short, is the enemy of liberty.

Another recent trip brought the DeVos caravan to New Orleans to drop in on two charter schools – nearly all taxpayer-supported schools in New Orleans are charter schools – and praise the district for being “a great example of what can be if people embrace change.”

But as Louisiana-based public-school teacher Mercedes Schneider explains on her personal blog, the charter schools DeVos chose to visit are hardly representative of the conditions of New Orleans public schools under the reform regime.

First, both schools are among the few A-rated schools, based on state rankings, in a sea of D- and F-rated schools. Further, the two schools have much higher percentages of white students than is typical in a district that is overwhelmingly populated by black and brown students.

As Politico reports, USDoE recently awarded $399 million in federal grants to expand and support charter schools across the country.

Even a cursory scan of some of the recipients warrants deeper scrutiny.

For instance, among three Alabama charter schools that received $1 million each in grant money, two have already been the subjects of multiple lawsuits

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