"Dedicated to the premise that no matter what 'experts' say, trends in Education really are fleeting; and that the ONLY goal of all school employees should be to work with parents to help their students become better people in June than they were in September."
Everything in American education is broken. Or so say the policy elites, from the online learning pioneer Sal Khan to the journalist-turned-reformer Campbell Brown. As leaders of the XQ project succinctly put it, we need to “scrap the blueprint and revolutionize this dangerously broken system.”
This, they explain, is the sad truth. The educational system simply stopped working. It aged, declined, and broke. And now the nation has a mess on its hands. But there’s good news, too. As Michelle Rhee’s group, StudentsFirst, declares: Americans can “work together to fix this broken system.” All it takes is the courage to rip it apart.
This is how the argument goes, again and again. The system used to work, but now it doesn’t. And though nobody inside schools seems to care, innovators outside the establishment have developed some simple solutions. The system can be rebuilt, reformers argue. But first it must be torn down.
American education has some obvious shortcomings. Even defenders of the schools can make long lists of things they’d like to change. But the root of the problem is not incompetent design, as is so frequently alleged. Nor is it stasis. Rather, it is the twofold challenge of complexity and scale. American schools are charged with the task of creating better human beings. And they are expected to do so in a relatively consistent way for all of young people. It is perhaps the nation’s most ambitious collective project; as such, it advances slowly.
For evidence of this, one need look only to the past. If the educational system had broken at some point, a look backward would reveal an end to progress—a point at which the system stopped working. Yet that isn’t at all the picture that emerges. Instead, one can see that across many generations, the schools have slowly and steadily improved.
Mexican federal police clash with teachers during a protest against education reform and the arrest of two of its leaders in Oaxaca on Sunday. Patricia Castellanos/AFP/Getty Images
There’s a nastiness to conversations about U.S. education reform, which are characterized by the kind of stark taking-of-sides that’s usually reserved for debates over guns or abortion rights. One side often sees the other as union-busting corporate reformers who’ve never been inside an actual classroom yet are hell-bent on reducing all learning to meaningless, time-destroying tests and evaluations. The other, at its worst, portrays its opponents as parasitic, lazy, abusive teachers who care more about their benefits package than the children they’re supposed to be educating. Both are dangerous, inaccurate distortions that keep divisions within the education community fresh and festering.
But however rancorous the debate gets, the U.S. has never seen anything like what happened in Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, over the weekend, when…
PA: Cybers Are Delusional
Posted Peter Greene: 25 Jun 2016
It’s been little more than a week since the bricks and mortar portion of the charter school industry took a big, hard swipe at their cyber-siblings. As you may recall, three major charter school groups released a “report” that was basically a blueprint for how to slap the cyber-schools with enough regulation to make them finally behave. The report was rough, noting all of the worst findings about cybers– how they achieve no learning and actually destabilize many students.
The cyber-school industry was not amused. K12, one of the biggest chains in the largely for-profit sector, fired back with its own press release that managed to be feisty without really addressing any of the criticisms.
But in Pennsylvania, one of the Big Three of free range cyber-school activity (Ohio and California are the other two), cybers are trying a different approach…
Outside groups — including politically active nonprofits like the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity — have spent more money trying to influence the 2016 Ohio Senate race between Republican Sen. Rob Portman and his challenger, Democrat Ted Strickland, than any other congressional contest: $15.5 million so far. The RealClearPolitics polling average currently has the … read more.
The IRS has broken new ground in nonprofit data transparency. On June 16, the IRS released more than one million electronically-filed tax forms in bulk, open, machine-readable form; the filings go from 2011 through the most recent reports, most of which cover 2014. The data is now available for anyone to download from Amazon Web Services (AWS) through Amazon S3. The machine-readable data Form 990 data will provide a more textured … read more.
Last month, Donald Trump tweeted that his campaign had “perhaps more cash than any campaign in the history of politics.” New Federal Election Commission filings show that he was very, very wrong. At the end of May, Trump’s campaign had nearly $1.3 million in cash on hand, putting him significantly behind Hillary Clinton’s $42 million. With less money than many congressional campaigns — let alone Clinton and at least one erstwhile … read more.
Former presidential candidate Ben Carson’s campaign committee, Carson America, spent nearly $1 million in the months of April and May, including payments to a number of former Carson staffers for “political strategy” consulting.
Carson suspended his campaign on March 4 and has since stumped for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, whom he endorsed on March 11.
During April and May, Carson America spent $907,498, of which $272,831 went to political strategy consultants and their travel; that includes $69,080 in May alone. The campaign laid out an additional $123,627 for other forms of consulting — legal, financial, compliance, and digital — for a grand total of $396,458 spent on consulting over the two months.
Let’s Talk About Voter Suppression (w/ math!)
by John Laurits
Let’s Talk About Voter-Suppression Greetings, my sisters & brothers & others — I hope that you are all in good spirits & doing well, when this article finds you. I wasn’t planning on writing an article today — but, after having a conversation with a Clinton-Supporter, I was inspired to write one. Before I begin, I’d like […]
"That all citizens will be given an equal start through a sound education is one of the most basic, promised rights of our democracy. Our chronic refusal as a nation to guarantee that right for all children.... is rooted in a kind of moral blindness, or at least a failure of moral imagination.... It is a failure which threatens our future as a nation of citizens called to a common purpose... tied to one another by a common bond." —Senator Paul Wellstone --- March 31, 2000