Economists Ate My School – Why Defining Teaching as a Transaction is Destroying Our Society – Education Article

    Teaching is one of the most misunderstood interactions in the world.     Some people see it as a mere transaction, a job: you do this, I’ll pay you that.     The input is your salary. The output is learning.    These are distinctly measurable phenomena. One is calculated in dollars and cents. The other in academic outcomes, usually standardized test scores. The higher the salary, the more valued the teacher. The higher the test scores, the…

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Sixteen Gadfly Articles That Made Betsy DeVos Itch in 2019
 – Education Article

  “Life can only be understood backwards,” wrote Søren Kierkegaard, “but it must be lived forwards.”  I remember reading the Danish philosopher’s “Fear and Trembling” in my philosophy of religion class back in college.   To be honest I was never a big fan of his work – I thought if the only way to truth was taking a leap of faith, how many madmen have already reached enlightenment?     But he had a point when he wrote about…

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Charter Schools, Harrisburg & Mayor Peduto Created Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Budget Deficit – Education Article

 Where did all the money go?     Pittsburgh Public Schools will start 2020 with a $25.1 million budget deficit.     Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet has asked for a 2.3% tax increase to cover the shortfall, but school directors ended up approving his spending plan without approving the tax increase.     The school board will meet on Friday to decide whether to ultimately raise taxes or make cuts including possible staff furloughs.     But in the meantime,…

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Demand Reform to Pennsylvania’s Charter School Law – Before It’s Too Late – Education Article

  If no one answers a question, was it even asked?  Way back on August 24, 2019, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) quietly posted a little notice on the PA Bulletin Website asking for public comment on the state’s charter school law.   This is not exactly a high traffic site.     It’s a state-run page that includes proposed rules, notices, proclamations, court rulings, actions and executive orders.  Unless you work for the state, are a journalist or…

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Pittsburgh Mayor’s Tantrum About School Finances Proves He Doesn’t Understand Education or Equity – Education Article

  Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is steaming mad and he doesn’t care who knows it.   On Tuesday he raved that Pittsburgh Public Schools’ finances should be taken over by the state – the same fate the city had suffered during its own economic troubles from 2004-18.   The reason Peduto thinks the school should submit to a financial recovery plan overseen by a state appointed board? School Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet is proposing a 2.3% tax increase in 2020…

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The Stink of Segregation Needs to End in Steel Valley Schools – Education Article

 I am a teacher at Steel Valley Schools.   I am also an education blogger.   In order to belong to both worlds, I’ve had to abide by one ironclad rule that I’m about to break:   Never write about my home district.   Oh, I write about issues affecting my district. I write about charter schools, standardized testing, child poverty, etc. But I rarely mention how these things directly impact my school, my classroom, or my students.   I…

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Teachers Are More Stressed Out Than You Probably Think – Education Article

 When I was just a new teacher, I remember my doctor asking me if I had a high stress job.   I said that I taught middle school, as if that answered his question. But he took it to mean that I had it easy. After all – as he put it – I just played with children all day.   Now after 16 years in the classroom and a series of chronic medical conditions including heart disease, Crohn’s Disease…

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Six Problems with a Growth Mindset in Education – Education Article

  Sometimes the truth is not enough.   Especially if you misunderstand its meaning.   That seems to be the main problem with a growth mindset.   It’s one of the trendiest concepts in education today, and – though it’s based on an authentic insight into how kids learn – it’s been shackled and monetized into an excuse to support a sterile status quo.   The basic idea goes like this: academic ability isn’t something students have or do not…

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Who’s Trading Public School Funding for a Tax Credit? – Education Article

  Ever wonder why our roads and public school buildings are crumbling?   Ever wonder why schools can’t afford books, buses and nurses?   Ever wonder why classroom teachers are forced to buy paper, pencils and supplies for their students out of pocket?   Because businesses like Giant Eagle, American Eagle Outfitters, and Eat’n Park aren’t paying their fair share.   It’s a simple concept – you belong to a society, you should help pay for the roads, bridges, schools,…

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Blaming Schools for Student Absences is Like Denouncing Doctors for Disease – Education Article

 If something is wrong with children, it must be the school’s fault.   Right?   If kids can’t read, write and do ‘rithmetic, the teachers must not have taught ’em right.   It couldn’t have anything to do with home life, generational poverty, economic inequality and systemic racism.   Except that it almost always does.   Inextricably.  The fact is children who don’t live in safe, loving homes have much greater difficulty concentrating and caring about academics. Kids with impoverished…

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What Kind of A—hole Ransoms School Data? – Education Article

 You’ve got to be a grade A sleaze bag to steal from kids’ public schools.   But that’s exactly what a growing number of slime balls are doing when they hack into schools’ computer networks and hold their data for ransom.   Even worse – districts are paying it!   Just this week the Rockville Center School District in New York state paid an $88,000 ransom to get back files that had been encrypted by Ryuk ransomware.   The district…

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Charter Schools Were Never a Good Idea. They Were a Corporate Plot All Along – Education Article

    America has been fooled by the charter school industry for too long.   The popular myth that charter schools were invented by unions to empower teachers and communities so that students would have better options is as phony as a three dollar bill.   The concept always was about privatizing schools to make money.   It has always been about stealing control of public education, enacting corporate welfare, engaging in union busting, and an abiding belief that the…

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Charter Schools Will Always Waste Money Because They Duplicate Services – Education Article

 You can’t save money buying more of what you already have.   Constructing two fire departments serving the same community will never be as cheap as having one.   Empowering two police departments to patrol the same neighborhoods will never be as economical as one.   Building two roads parallel to each other that go to exactly the same places will never be as cost effective as one.   This isn’t exactly rocket science. In fact, it’s an axiom of…

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Sell Your Soul to the Testocracy: Kamala Harris’s Faustian Teacher Raises – Education Article

 I love the idea of Kamala Harris’ plan to give teachers a pay raise.  But once we get past ideas, it’s way more troubling.   The California Senator and Democratic Presidential hopeful is proposing a $13,500 pay increase for the average teacher, with the exact number based on the size of each state’s pay gap.  That’s $315 billion more over a decade through federal matching funds, which amounts to a 23 percent salary increase for most educators.   Yes, please!…

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Schools That Hinder Opt Outs Are Participating in Their Own Demise – Education Article

You can’t be a public school and still ignore the will of the people.   That’s the problem at too many districts across the country where narrow-minded administrators are waging an all out war on parents opting their children out of standardized testing.   The federal government still requires all states to give high stakes tests to public school students in grades 3-8 and once in high school. So states require their districts to give the tests – despite increasing…

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The Best School Innovation Would Be More People – Education Article

  Public schools thrive on innovation.   In nearly every classroom around the country you’ll find teachers discovering new ways to reach students and foster skills, understanding and creativity.   But if you pan out to the macro level, the overwhelming majority of innovations aren’t organic. They’re imposed on us by bureaucrats and functionaries from outside the classroom:   Education Technologies.   School privatization.   Standardized tests and Common Core.   For the last two decades, these are the kinds…

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