Civil Rights

Racial Disparity in Student Discipline Isn’t All About Race – Education Article

In 2016, the poorest 50% of American adults had an average net worth (home and financial assets minus debt) of just $7,500. To make matters worse, only a year previously it was $9,000. The difference all went to the top 1% who gained an average of $1.5 million during that same year.   These facts have real world consequences for every level of society – especially how our children behave in school.   CONSEQUENCES   It seems clear then that…

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Greater Test Scores Often Mean Less Authentic Learning – Education Article

 The main goal of schooling is no longer learning.   It is test scores.   Raising them. Measuring growth. Determining what each score means in terms of future instruction, opportunities, class placement, special education services, funding incentives and punishments, and judging the effectiveness of individual teachers, administrators, buildings and districts.   We’ve become so obsessed with these scores – a set of discrete numbers – that we’ve lost sight of what they always were supposed to be about in the…

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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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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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The Absurdity of Standardized Testing: Caught Between Prediction and Assessment – Education Article

 Standardized testing is truly absurd.  It’s both a prediction and an assessment.   You take a test to determine what you’ve learned and that will in turn predict what you will be able to learn in the future.   We hardly ever do this anywhere else in life.   We don’t measure babies’ leg muscles to predict whether they’re ready to walk. We let them do what they do, possibly with some encouragement and positive models of locomotion, and they…

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Every Charter School Must Be Closed Down – Every. Single. One. – Education Article

 The problem with charter schools isn’t that they have been implemented badly.   Nor is it that some are for-profit and others are not.   The problem is the concept, itself.   Put simply: charter schools are a bad idea. They always were a bad idea. And it is high time we put an end to them.   I am overjoyed that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are starting to hear the criticisms leveled against the charter school…

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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 School’s Two Dads – How a Hatred for Public School Gave Us School Privatization – Education Article

Nathan saw in this an opportunity and invited Shanker to speak at the Itasca Seminar. His goal was to hide his side’s privatization aims under the shadow of progressive unionism.     And it worked. In fact, if you look up the history of charter schools, you’ll STILL find people who insist they were invented by Shanker.     With this cover, the Citizen’s League, which was underwritten by the Minneapolis Foundation, was able to pass a bill requiring mandatory…

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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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Busing and School Segregation Used for Politics not Policy – Education Article

 If children of all races went to the same schools with each other, it would be harder to treat them unequally.   Moreover, it would be harder for them to grow up prejudiced because they would have learned what it’s like to have classmates who are different from them.   And though most people agree with these premises in principle, our laws still refuse to make them a reality in fact.   Perhaps that’s why it was so astounding when…

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Top 10 Reasons Bernie Sanders’ Education Policies Are Light Years Ahead of Everyone Else’s – Education Article

    For most of my life, the United States has been neglecting its public school children – especially the black and brown ones.   Since the mid 1970s, instead of integrating our schools, we’ve been slowly resegregating them on the basis of race and social class.   Since the 1980s, instead of measuring academic success by the satisfaction of an individuals curiosity and authentic learning, we’ve been slowly redefining it to mean nothing but achievement on standardized tests.  …

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Standardized Tests Are Not Objective Measures of Anything – Education Article

 When it comes to standardized tests, most people are blinded by science.   Or at least the appearance of science.   Because there is little about these assessments that is scientific, factual or unbiased.   And that has real world implications when it comes to education policy.   First of all, the federal government requires that all public school children take these assessments in 3-8th grade and once in high school. Second, many states require teachers be evaluated by their…

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School Field Trip Turns Into a Tour of Our Nation’s Unhealed Scars – Education Article

 You’ve got to be a little crazy to take a bunch of teenagers on a field trip – especially overnight and out of town.   But that’s what I did, and – yeah – guilty as charged.   For the second time in my more than 15-year career as a public school teacher, I volunteered along with a group of parents and other teachers to escort my classes of 8th graders to Washington, DC, and surrounding sights. And I never regretted…

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Charter School Lobbyist Introduces Elizabeth Warren at Rally – Education Article

  The biggest news from Elizabeth Warren’s rally in Oakland, California, on Friday wasn’t what she said.  It was who introduced her and what that says about Warren and her 2020 Presidential campaign.  According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Warren was introduced by Sonya Mehta, a former Oakland schoolteacher.”  However, this characterization is inaccurate.  Mehta was not an authentic public school teacher. She taught in a non-union charter school called “Learning Without Limits.” She also was a policy fellow at…

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Michigan: Time for Governor Whitmer to Keep Her Promises! – Education Article

Thomas Pedroni of Wayne State University sent the following urgent message for readersof this blog. Professor Pedroni writes: “In 2016, seven Detroit school children and their parents joined together as plaintiffs to sue the State of Michigan for depriving them of what they deemed to be their basic right— the right to access literacy in minimally sufficient learning conditions. The plaintiffs, along with the vast majority of Detroit school children, had endured years of worsening conditions in the district— exploding…

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