Sanctuary cities and federal funds: Interpreting Trump’s executive order – Journalist’s Resource

Shortly after taking office, President Trump ordered federal funds withheld from so-called “sanctuary cities.” We look at the legal debates and what these communities could lose.

Sanctuary cities and the president’s executive order 

Shortly after taking office, President Trump ordered federal funds withheld from so-called “sanctuary cities.” We look at the legal debates and what these communities could lose.

Source: Sanctuary cities and federal funds: Interpreting Trump’s executive order – Journalist’s Resource

Social Security reform: An explainer – Journalist’s Resource

Half of millennials believe Social Security will run dry before they retire. That’s not entirely true, but without major reforms their benefits will take a hit. We explain.

Social Security reform: The latest research

Many millennials worry Social Security will run out of money before they retire. That’s not entirely true, but without major reforms their future benefits will take a hit. We explain.

Source: Social Security reform: An explainer – Journalist’s Resource

DeVos Created AmplifyGR cancels meeting with GR Homes for All

“The GR Homes for All Facebook event made it clear that the AmplifyGR group was funded and created by the RDV Corporation, which is part of the DeVos family holdings.

The fact that AmplifyGR canceled this community meeting raises questions about what it is that they don’t want the public to know, particularly those who will be most impacted by the development plans they are working on as it relates to the Boston Square and Cottage Grove neighborhood areas, as we reported on Tuesday.

If indeed a public meeting will be taking place in the Southtown neighborhood area, how will that meeting be run and who will be facilitating it? Once a meeting date is known, we will post information about it so that people can attend, ask the necessary questions and raise concerns about the process so far, which appears to favor the Rockford Construction/DeVos-led development project at the expense of residents.” — read the full blog post here –

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

Yesterday, the DeVos-created group AmplifyGR sent an e-mail to the group Grand Rapids Homes for All cancelling the meeting that was scheduled for June 8 at the Baxter Community Center.

Here is the message that AmplifyGR sent:

I wanted to let you and the Grand Rapids Homes for All team know that we will need to reschedule our June 8 meeting scheduled until July/August.

We have been working with City Commissioners to host a neighborhood meeting in late June to share information with residents on Amplify GR’s goals, planning process, partnerships and real estate transactions. Once that meeting happens, we would like to reschedule with Grand Rapids Homes for All and work with you to maximize attendance and discuss how our goals align for creating and maintaining quality housing for all.

I apologize for the disruption, but hopefully we can identify an opportunity to continue the conversation in July/August.  


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

Angry (tl;dr)

It’s important to remember that America has seen angry, agitated times before. The Civil War, when politicians became so angry they left the country and raised armies to kill each other– that was a fairly angry time. We’ve had Presidential campaigns that were hugely vicious and libelous, Hell, as we’ve all been musically reminded, once upon a time the Vice President of the United States killed a prominent political leader in a duel.

And yet, something feels different now. My stock explanation is that while we’ve always had anger and viciousness as part of our public and political life, we’ve at least agreed that civility was the ideal, the norm to be pursued, and now we don’t. I’m not sure that’s true, but it feels true. We have become outrage junkies; we are sold policy and products based on the outrage it will cause. “The Secret That [fill in the blank] Doesn’t Want You To Know” which translates roughly to “This will really piss those bastards off.” The GOP policy position on the ground has been largely reduced to “Do things that will enrage liberals” and political coverage in the second-hand full-bias media is usually framed in terms of who will be outraged. And damn– progressives and liberals and anti-Trump’s really have to stop publishing versions of “Trump has now done something that will totally end his run!” Sorry, but 2,437th time is not a charm.

Telling truth to power is important, hugely important. But truth is not measured by how enraged you can imagine somebody being about what’s been written. And when you start steering by imagined outrage rather than truth, understanding and accuracy, you are headed for the weeds. Sometimes I find Samantha Bee funny; sometimes I think maybe we’ve found a progressive Ann Coulter.

I was talking about this on twitter (to the extent that anybody can talk about anything on twitter) and was called out for my own contributions to incivility in the education debates. Well, sir, that’s just…um… fair. But I like to think I’ve made a bit of a journey in this regard, and I think it tells us a little something about the shape of these debates.

When I started blogging, my defining characteristic was anger. It had been growing for a few years. Having stupid policies, anti-education and anti-student policies, inflicted on my classroom was nothing new, but I was noticing that I was increasingly losing my power to defend my students from them. The idea of national standards backed up by a national standardized test that would be enforced by making it part of student grades all seemed like self-evident educational malpractice, and yet policy makers were talking about it, taking steps to inflict it. So I went to learn more, and I fell through a door into a world where all sorts of people whose policy ideas struck me as wildly insane and rather abusive– and who seemed absolutely uninterested in paying any attention to what actual teachers had to say.

My colleagues at school were, by and large, not interested. They complained when we were gored by the tip of the iceberg that passed by us, but they had no particular interest in finding out what the tip was attached to, or how big and wide the iceberg really was. And I was turning into the staff crank. So I turned to the outlet that has always served me in the past– writing– and for a number of reasons (mostly admiration of the bloggers already out there) I turned to blogging.

It did not occur to me that anybody would read my stuff. My goal was to vent, to rail about policies and articles that struck me as foolish, destructive, blind, ignorant. And so I regularly broke Rule #1. I called people names– some of them kind of mean. I broke one of my big rules of online discourse– I said things about people online that I never would have said to their faces.

I was angry. And the more I read, the angrier I became. Not just the anger of seeing destructive and dangerous policies pushed, but the anger of seeing my own profession and the institution to which I devoted my adult life to both under attack. And the anger that comes with being under attack and not being heard– not just being unheard, but seeing no avenue whatsoever to say a word. Was it effective? Well, yes, in two ways. It was effective in giving me an outlet for what I was thinking and feeling, and it was effective in letting other people who felt angry and upset and isolated know that they weren’t the only ones, that they weren’t crazy, that somebody else could see what they saw. We teachers are a terribly isolated tribe, and in troubled times, that does not serve us well.

What has surprised me most about social media is the avenues of conversation that have opened up, not just with fellow teachers and supporters of public ed, but with thinky tankers and policy wonks on the other side of the debates. The mere fact of being actually able to be heard in, as they say, some of these spaces has made me more careful and less ragey over the past couple of years. That’s not a bad thing.

In times like these, it behooves all of us to pay a little more attention to our rhetoric. There may be times when rhetorical flourishes like “I’d like to punch him in the face” or “She should just go die somewhere” may be harmless hyperbole; these are not those times. We have a civility problem these days, and every time you put out some words, you are either helping or hurting. It’s no good arguing you are in the righteous right, so it’s okay– everyone thinks they’re in the right.

At the same time, I believe firmly that you feel what you feel. Telling somebody, “Hey, you should have different feelings” is a waste of everyone’s time. You feel what you feel.

And I still firmly believe that some people can be taken seriously, and some can not. Some people are using words in good faith, and some are just using words as a tool for leveraging whatever goal they have, and still some others in high office use words like magical incantations, intended to conjure lies into reality. There are good grown-up arguments for charter schools that I disagree with, but can recognize as serious arguments; there are also pro-charter arguments rooted in deliberate skewing of the facts and denial of reality. I am absolutely opposed to national standards, but I understand how people of sound mind and good faith can like the idea. On the other hand, there isn’t a serious argument in the world for the retention of third graders who passed their classes but failed one standardized reading test. Civility does not mean letting someone piss on you and tell you it’s raining while you cheerfully agree with their weather assessment.

In other words, during times of conflict and stress, it is hard to chart a path between civility and honesty, and anger can make a lousy GPS system.

People want to be heard, and if they can’t be heard when they speak, they will keep raising their voice until they think they are heard. I’ve survived many tough meetings and tense classroom situations by holding onto that truth. But the flip side of it is that if you scream at people like they’re stupid and evil, it’s really hard to get them to hear you. Which doesn’t mean that you couldn’t be dealing with someone who is, in fact, stupid and evil.

On the one hand. On the other hand. But. So. However. You see the problem– balancing the line between civility and honesty in contentious times defies easy answers. It’s not as simple as “Everyone on that side of this line is an evil beast” or “Everyone on this side of the line is fully trustworthy” or even “People on both sides of the line are equally culpable.” In fact, there is never a clear place to draw a line.

That may be the disease of our age– not incivility or meanness or anger or viciousness, but just a fervent belief in easy answers that can divide everyone up into simply delineated tribes. Twisting our map of the world to accommodate our simplified view of the world is distorting everything, and the strain of doing the twisting is making most of us extra cranky. And while our leaders seem unwilling to engage in thoughtful introspection and reflection, that also means that “Just follow some leader I trust” is off the table as an operating procedure. It may be that we just have to be big boys and girls and think for ourselves.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: Angry (tl;dr)

Attempt to Refute Suspension’s Harmful Academic Impact Falls Flat | National Education Policy Center

BOULDER, CO (June 1, 2017) – A new report from the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas examines the association between out-of-school suspensions and student test scores. The findings and conclusions presented in the “working paper,” however, lack validity on multiple grounds.

Understanding a Vicious Cycle: Do Out-of-School Suspensions Impact Student Test Scores? was reviewed by Brea L. Perry of Indiana University and Daniel Losen of the University of California Los Angeles.

Using dynamic and multilevel regression modeling of six years of student discipline records from all K-12 public schools in Arkansas, the paper purports to estimate a causal relationship between exclusionary discipline and academic performance. It concludes, in contrast to prior work, that the number of days of suspension a student receives has a very modest positive relationship to math and language arts test scores.

The reviewers explain that the effects of out-of-school suspension are not measured in the academic year in which suspensions occurred, but instead are measured at least a full academic year later. In other words, the study design does not adequately capture lost instructional time, deterioration of student-teacher relationships, psychological distress, and other immediate consequences of suspension that would logically affect academic performance in the same academic year. Instead, the analyses only consider the delayed effect of suspension, without accounting for suspensions occurring more recently.

The findings also have weak face validity in light of the weight of evidence suggesting that exclusionary discipline and school absences have adverse effects on key outcomes such as test scores, GPA, grade retention, and dropping out – including research conducted using the Arkansas dataset by a member of this same research team, examining grade retention.

For these and other reasons, the reviewers caution that this paper should not be used to guide disciplinary policy and practice.

Find the review by Brea L. Perry and Daniel Losen at:

Find Understanding a Vicious Cycle: Do Out-of-School Suspensions Impact Student Test Scores? by Kaitlin P. Anderson, Gary W. Ritter, & Gema Zamarro, published by The University of Arkansas, Department of Education Reform, at:

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) Think Twice Think Tank Review Project ( provides the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice:

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at:

Source: Attempt to Refute Suspension’s Harmful Academic Impact Falls Flat | National Education Policy Center