BustED Pencils Trending News: Resistance! | BustED Pencils

Stark.  Bleak. Depressing. etc. Have you used any of these words to describe your sense of the world lately?  Hey it’s hard not to.  But let’s not forget that the solutions we seek and the remedy for this malaise is within each of us. So in that spirit here are three stories of resistance—with endings… Read more »

Source: BustED Pencils Trending News: Resistance! | BustED Pencils

Oops!Docs Can Talk To Patients About Guns But Patients Can Keep Their Guns.

Oops!Docs Can Talk To Patients About Guns But Patients Can Keep Their Guns.
by mikethegunguy
Six years ago the State of Florida decided that doctors could not talk to their patients about guns. The state of Florida has become the legislative sandbox for every attempt by Gun-nut Nation to rid the country of any and all protections against the violence caused by guns. Stand Your Ground, Concealed Carry – both of these harebrained schemes came out of the Gunshine State. But the law known as FOPA (Firearm Owners Protection Act) was the craziest of them all…
https://mikethegunguy.com/2017/02/17/oopsdocs-can-talk-to-patients-about-guns-but-patients-can-keep-their-guns/

Six years ago the State of Florida decided that doctors could not talk to their patients about guns. The state of Florida has become the legislative sandbox for every attempt by Gun-nut Nation to rid the country of any and all protections against the violence caused by guns. Stand Your Ground, Concealed Carry – both of these harebrained schemes came out of the Gunshine State. But the law known as FOPA (Firearm Owners Protection Act) was the craziest of them all.

doc-glocks             What made the law so crazy wasn’t the fact that it criminalized doctors who talked to their patients about guns; it was that in a state of 18 million people, the law was based on six unsubstantiated anecdotes which, as the 11th Circuit Court noted, didn’t even address the same concerns.  Which was one, but not the only reason why the 11th Circuit Court ruled…

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Michigan House bill would mandate full-day for kindergarteners – News – Holland Sentinel – Holland, MI

House Bill 4250, introduced by State Rep. William Sowerby, D-Clinton Township, would require a school district to provide kindergarten, and that the kindergarten program school day length must be the same as other elementary grades.

Source: Michigan House bill would mandate full-day for kindergarteners – News – Holland Sentinel – Holland, MI

CURMUDGUCATION: Toomey Doesn’t Get It

CURMUDGUCATIONThe slightly-cranky voice navigating the world of educational “reform” while trying to still pursue the mission of providing quality education.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: Toomey Doesn’t Get It

Toomey Doesn’t Get It

Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey’s office was one that was bombarded with phone calls, faxes, texts, tweets, emails, and messages strapped to the backs of delivery hamsters during the run up to the Betsy DeVos confirmation. At one point he was targeted as one of the GOP senators who might change his mind, which struck me as odd because I’ve met Toomey and heard him talk about school choice and I don’t think he’ll be abandoning that drum any time soon. That’s okay– it couldn’t have hurt for him (or at least some member of his staff) to hear from actual constituents.

That may be why Toomey (or at least some member of his staff) took the time to write a Betsy DeVos mash note that appeared at PennLive this week. It doesn’t make his support of DeVos any more palatable, but it does at least show in brief, painful detail why Toomey is not a supporter of public education.

Toomey opens with what is one of my least favorite pro-charter-choice lines:

No child should be forced to stay in a failing school.

Can anybody, anywhere, find me the person who wants to force a child to stay in a failing school? Nobody anywhere disagrees with this statement. There’s considerable disagreement about the definition of a failing school, but let’s let that slide for a moment and accept that pretty much everyone believes that there are some schools failing to get the job done. The disagreement starts immediately after that period at the end of this statement.

For modern charter-choice advocates, the next sentence is “That’s why we’re going to allow maybe five percent of those students to leave that school for some other school that may or may not be any better, and we’re going to provide less funding for the school to try to help the remaining 95%.”

That is not a solution.

No, the next sentence ought to be, “That’s why we’re going to marshal the resources, the finances, the support, and the same exercise will that this country brings to other major efforts, to improving that school so that every child within its walls is getting the very best education.” The next sentence ought to be about making all schools better for all students.

That’s never the next sentence. And it’s not the next sentence here, either.

Toomey says that Betsy DeVos wants poor children to have the same kinds of choices that rich and middle class students have, and if you think that means she’s a big fan of improved housing in urban areas, well, no. She means something more like her Detroit schools, where students who are forcibly “liberated” from their neighborhood schools are presented with an assortment of upscale schools that will not admit them.

Toomey (or one the members of his staff) works in all the reformy wiggle-words. Thanks to DeVos’s hard work and use of her personal fortune, thousands of those poor “trapped” students “have been able to access a quality education.” Oh, that word “access.” Everyone on the Titanic had “access” to a lifeboat; just not everybody actually got to an actual seat.

“DeVos refuses to give up on any child,” says Toomey, which makes me wonder how many children she has actually met. To read Toomey’s Hymn to Betsy, you would think that she has been using her billion-dollar personal fortune to pay private school and college tuition for thousands of Michigan children instead of spending millions and millions of dollars to swing elections and earn the well-purchased loyalty of politicians.

Toomey also touts the success of Detroit charters, which are okay schools as long as you don’t compare them to schools anywhere else in the country. Detroit public schools are a mess. Detroit charter schools are a mess. Michigan’s school system is a mess, one of the failingest in the country. DeVos owns some of that mess, but she has yet to acknowledge it, has actively opposed regulating it, and told the Senate HELP committee that she could not think of any lesson she had learned from any of it.

But Toomey is not interested in exploring any of that because here’s what he knows:

School choice works. 

You might expect that such a bold assertion might be followed with evidence. You would be wrong. Toomey follows up with anecdotes. A family that scrimped and saved and sent kids to private schools. And his own story– the fortunate 8th grader who won a philanthropist’s scholarship to a top Catholic school. Toomey and DeVos want a world in which all students can have that good luck, without it being luck. And yet, DeVos’s work in Michigan has been all about solidifying the divide between what the rich and the poor can have for an education.

Toomey (or some member of his staff) will continue to run the usual talking points here.

Critics assert that DeVos has no experience in public education, even though she has spent decades aiding charter schools–which are public schools. 

She has spent decades as a high-powered lobbyist, which is “aiding” only if you think the most important part of operating a charter school is the getting money without oversight part. And no, Pat– charter schools are not public schools.

Or they call Betsy DeVos “unqualified” because she is not proficient in D.C. jargon and does not fit the mold of previous Education Secretaries.

Nope. They call her unqualified because she is unqualified. Even in this piece, Toomey cannot list any qualifications for her other than her concern, her lobbying experience, and her money.

But where have these previous Education Secretaries left us? 

It’s true. We’ve had a string of education secretaries who were also spectacularly unqualified and who did a lousy job. Toomey stops just short of declaring, “So what we need is someone with even fewer qualifications than John King or Arne Duncan!”

What Toomey does want to do is trot out the old “We’ve been spending more and more money on education and yet our standardized test scores haven’t gone up,” He’s going to go deep twisty spin on this point, by listing points like “Our SAT scores were really low in 2012” or “according to NAEP some big number of students aren’t ready for college.’ Both of these stats are baloney, the kind of thing you cherry pick when you want to buttress a bad point, not when you’re really trying to understand what’s going on. (Pro tip: SAT averages depend on who’s taking the test, and NAEP scores are highly suspect as predictors of success).

Toomey finishes up by saying that sure there are many swell public schools and they have nothing to fear from choice, and also, the money should follow the child.

“Money should follow the child” is wrong in many ways, but it signals that Toomey, like DeVos, would like to go full voucher. (Pro tip: parents are not the only stakeholders in public education. See also: separation of church and state).

It’s also wrong because it signals that Toomey would like to run multiple parallel school systems for the same money we currently spend on one system. That is simply impossible. I’d respect Toomey and other choice advocates a bit more if they just said so– “We really believe in choice, and to make it work we’ll have to raise school taxes, but we think it will really be worth it.” Oddly enough, they never say that.

As I mentioned, I met Toomey once at a local meet-and-greet with voters. He seems like a nice guy, was sweet with his kids, and looks far less scowly-librarian than all of his official photos. But he’s not a friend of public education, at all. He’s also a member of the new “I’d rather not meet my constituents face to face in a real town hall” club, so if you want to explain a few things to him, you’ll have to stick with phone calls, faxes, emails, tweets, and the occasional hamstergram. Good luck to all of us in Pennsylvania.

CURMUDGUCATION

CURMUDGUCATIONThe slightly-cranky voice navigating the world of educational “reform” while trying to still pursue the mission of providing quality education.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION

Barber: Let It All Burn

On Valentine’s Day, Sir Michael Barber (the head education honcho at Pearson) took to the74 to offer a rather odd and ultimately confused metaphor for education reform by walking us through the story of St. Paul’s Cathedral. It’s the test from his speech at the 2016 Global Google Education Symposium. Yikes.

The problem, he asserts, began with the construction of the original St. Paul’s, a classic Gothic construction whose spire had been shattered by a lightning strike in the 1560s, a mess that was never repaired. A century later, royal surveyors recommended patch and repair, but fortunately, just a few years later, the Great Fire of London leveled the city, St. Paul’s included. Christopher Wren got to build a new cathedral.

Does this historic example of disaster-based opportunity remind you of Katrina-socked New Orleans? Well, it does Barber. And it represents for him a choice that he will repeat throughout the piece— patch and mend, or transformation?

He proceeds with a litany of ills– blacks men sent to prison, poor students not admitted to Oxford, Greece’s huge levels of youth unemployment, illiterate Ugandan teachers, jobs at risk for automation.

Patch and mend, or transformation?

He’s talking now about the education system. And he will now call out the reasons he think transformation isn’t happening.

Cost– it’s easy to let short term concerns “override long-term aspirations.” Kind of like poor people could save money over time by buying a Tesla with the $80,000 they don’t have.

Entrenched status quovians– Oh, those damn teachers’ unions. They advocate for crazy things like smaller classes. Barber also accuses us of advocating for less accountability, which is simply a lie.

Psychological barrier– This is clever. The many botched ed reforms of the past are not to blame for, you know, failing, but rather their failure has created a psychological resistance. Sort of like your psychological resistance to having your hair permed by a six year old, or your psychological resistance to taking your car back to the mechanic who botched your car repairs the last ten times you gave him a chance.

Barber then presents his chart of “false dichotomies” as part of the psychological barrier problem.

His point here is that we can actually have both/and of each of these.  Some of these are straw men– has anybody ever said that we have to choose between best practices and innovation? Others are just glossing over some serious questions, like universal standards vs. personalization. And all of them skip over the question of the content of the ideas considered– it’s not a strategy vs. implementation issue if the strategy is junk to begin with and no implementation in the world will de-junkify it

Lack of imagination– “We cannot build what we cannot imagine” is a facile observation, and not really applicable here. First, Wren’s imagination was firmly rooted in a deep and thorough understanding of architecture and building. He did not imagine a cathedral floating on clouds, or with a roof unsupported by functional structure. Second, we’re not talking about building a big stone structure; we’re talking about an organization grounded in a complex web of human relationships. I can imagine that Angelina Jolie will fall madly in love with me the moment she sees me. I can imagine that I can staff a factory with a thousand obedient, compliant, happy meat widgets who will put loyalty to the corporation ahead of their own concerns. But imagination does not make it so.

But Barber believes that some systems and system leaders have made it happen, including Paul Pastorak and Paul Vallas in New Orleans, which is a bit of a stretch. Tony Blain and Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore) get nods as well. He allows as none is perfect, but all have “dramatically improved student outcomes within three to five years,” a claim that is only true insofar as those “leaders” were able to swap out bad test taking students for meat widgets that did better on bubble tests.

Barber is attached to the romantic vision of the Hero CEO, the “courageous leader” who can transform an entire system, using the transformative elements of deliverology,a management consultant cathedral of bunk.

Barber wants to spend the rest of his life transforming the living daylights out of education, comparing that goal to Wren’s forty-year work on the Cathedral. He wants to get transforming right away, and the big finish of his speech is a question–

Why do we have to wait for the fire?

So, I guess, step one is to burn it all down now. Disaster capitalism should never have to wait for a disaster to present itself.

But here’s the really curious thing about Barber’s speech. I have saved the first for last.

Barber opens this speech by introducing St. Paul’s Cathedral via the famous WWII photo showing its dome rising above the rubble of a shell-shocked London.

This was the view my mother saw each morning as she crossed Southwark Bridge on her walk to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, where she was training to be a doctor. She found the sight of St. Paul’s rising majestically above the city very inspiring. Millions of Londoners felt the same way. St. Paul’s was still standing. Britain had endured.

So there was never a question about transforming this St. Paul’s, never an issue of wanting to destroy it and replace it, in fact a celebration and gratitude that it survived the fire, held on through the disaster, and stayed standing. Barber’s mother never encountered someone staring at the dome while waiting for the fire to come and ruin it so that replacement was the only option.

The monument that Barber seeks to honor maintains its status as an important monument precisely because the fire didn’t take it, and nobody wanted it to, not even the madman in Europe whose imagination, whose vision was of a London completely destroyed– even St. Paul’s cathedral.

Barber answered his own question before he even asked it. Not all visions are worth pursuing, not all systems are waiting for the fire, and not everyone who wants to watch the world burn deserves the power to bring their imagination to life.

Hybrid Learning, Cicada Killers & the Next Big Fight

Hybrid Learning, Cicada Killers & the Next Big Fight
by seattleducation2010
Those seeking to privatize our schools know framing the conversation is key. That’s why institutions like the MacArthur Foundation have put serious time and money into social science research. Focus group results have been refined into sophisticated campaigns designed to convince us that digital education for children is superior to face-to-face instruction with a certified teacher. The […]

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seattleducation2010 | February 15, 2017 at 3:34 PM | Categories: A Better Way, Dreambox, LearnLaunch Institute, MAPLE, Nellie Mae Foundation, New Schools Venture Fund, personalized learning, Reed Hastings | URL: http://wp.me/pNbRQ-6LU

Seattle Education

cicada-killer

Those seeking to privatize our schools know framing the conversation is key. That’s why institutions like the MacArthur Foundation have put serious time and money into social science research. Focus group results have been refined into sophisticated campaigns designed to convince us that digital education for children is superior to face-to-face instruction with a certified teacher. The goal? Put technology front and center in 21st century school redesign, and push human beings to the sidelines. Please disregard the fact that many giants in the tech world choose to send their children to Waldorf schools where natural materials and learning in relationship are the norm. I’m hoping this cicada killer post will be a bit of a shock to the system, one that can help reframe the current conversation about digital education and spur us to action. I know you’re curious, but bear with me, the insect portion of the story comes near the…

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WA State House Bill 1518: “The Summer Step-Up Act” re: Social Emotional Learning: Why are we experimenting on low income four-year old’s?

WA State House Bill 1518: “The Summer Step-Up Act” re: Social Emotional Learning: Why are we experimenting on low income four-year old’s?
by seattleducation2010
I took a deep dive into the realm of Social Emotional Learning recently and someone brought to my attention a House Bill that is in committee at the time of this writing. It is House Bill (HB) 1518 that was initially titled “Improving student achievement by promoting social emotional learning throughout the calendar year” but […]

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seattleducation2010 | February 16, 2017 at 9:38 AM | Tags: “The Summer Step-Up Act”, HB 1518, RULER, Social Emotional Learning, Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) | Categories: Social Emotional Learning SEL | URL: http://wp.me/pNbRQ-6QQ

Seattle Education

sel.jpg

I took a deep dive into the realm of Social Emotional Learning recently and someone brought to my attention a House Bill that is in committee at the time of this writing. It is House Bill (HB) 1518 that was initially titled “Improving student achievement by promoting social emotional learning throughout the calendar year” but may be changed to “The Summer Step-Up Act”, a catchier title that masks what the bill is really about.

The reason I want to bring this bill to the attention of the public is that this piece of proposed legislation has the appearance of being the beginning of a concept that needs further study.

Public school education continually, by way of the whims of politicians and their donors and the whimsy of philanthropists, goes through upheavals on a regular basis and most of the time, common sense and lessons learned are left behind in…

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Friday Funnies – Book Hoarder

This cartoon is the work of the team at Last Lemon – home of Lisa Swerling & Ralph Lazar. Learn more about their work at their site, where they have all kinds of fun projects including a page of Stories. You can also find them on Facebook at The Happy Page and the I Wish page. Have fun!

nhwn | February 17, 2017 at 7:18 am | Categories: Friday Funnies | URL: http://wp.me/pUTUc-4EV

Live to Write - Write to Live

secret-library

This cartoon is the work of the team at Last Lemon – home of Lisa Swerling & Ralph Lazar. Learn more about their work at their site,  where they have all kinds of fun projects including a page of Stories. You can also find them on Facebook at The Happy Page and the I Wish page. Have fun!

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We have been here before. 75 years ago today, FDR signed Executive Order 9066.

We have been here before. 75 years ago today, FDR signed Executive Order 9066.
by Fred Klonsky
In the summer of 2011 we were on a road trip through beautiful western Wyoming.

Jackson Hole. The Tetons. Yellowstone.

We drove back through the eastern part of the state so that we could stop for a day in Cheyenne for the rodeo.

I desperately needed an excuse to wear my white Stetson hat that I had purchased in Fort Worth a few years earlier at an NEA Representative Assembly in Dallas.

There are not many opportunities to wear a white Stetson hat in Chicago.

That part of the west is not called big sky country for nothing. Eastern Wyoming is mostly flat with a few outcroppings, one of which is Heart Mountain.

We drove along the interstate through miles of open prairie until we came upon markers for the Heart Mountain internment camp.

https://preaprez.wordpress.com/2017/02/19/we-have-been-here-before-75-years-ago-today-fdr-signed-executive-order-9066/

Fred Klonsky

In the summer of 2011 we were on a road trip through beautiful western Wyoming.

Jackson Hole. The Tetons. Yellowstone.

We drove back through the eastern part of the state so that we could stop for a day in Cheyenne for the rodeo.

I desperately needed an excuse to wear my white Stetson hat that I had purchased in Fort Worth a few years earlier at an NEA Representative Assembly in Dallas.

There are not many opportunities to wear a white Stetson hat in Chicago.

That part of the west is not called big sky country for nothing. Eastern Wyoming is mostly flat with a few outcroppings, one of which is Heart Mountain.

We drove along the interstate through miles of open prairie until we came upon markers for the Heart Mountain internment camp.

During World War II 14,000 Japanese, some American citizens and some non-citizen immigrants, were rounded up…

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