Pennsylvania Wants YOU to Give Standardized Tests to Your Kids at Home – Education Article

    A multi-million dollar corporation wants to make sure Pennsylvania’s children keep getting standardized tests.  Data Recognition Corporation (DRC) and the state Department of Education are providing the optional Classroom Diagnostic Tools (CDT) assessments for use in students’ homes.     Students are not required to take the CDT in the Commonwealth unless their district decides to give it. The test is encouraged by the state as a way of telling how students will do on the required tests.…

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Why High Stakes Testing Was Cancelled This Year (and Probably Will Be Next Year, Too) – Education Article

 There are at least two silver linings to the current Coronavirus catastrophe for education.   One – with nearly all public schools closed, March was the first month since 2002 without a school shooting.   Two – districts nationwide cancelled high stakes standardized tests in April and May.   Taken together, these are two victories that no one could have predicted before November.   Gun safety restrictions remain laughably lax in the US compared to the rest of the world.…

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The Internet is NOT the Best Place for Kids to Learn After the Coronavirus Pandemic – Education Article

 If the Coronavirus quarantine has taught educators one thing, it’s this.   Online learning is not better than in-person schooling.   After all these years of corporations throwing apps at us and well-meaning administrators providing us with devices and philanthrocapitalists pumping billions of dollars into ed tech first academic schemes, we can all see now that the emperor has no clothes.   When schools nationwide are closed to stop the spread of a global pandemic and learning is restricted to…

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Adventures in Online Teaching: Reinventing the Wheel for a Handful of Students – Education Article

 Today in our ZOOM meeting, one of my students tried to get one over on me.   I sat at the bureau in my guest bedroom, surveying a gallery of 7th grade faces lined up in little boxes on my laptop like the opening scene of the Brady Bunch.   Lilly was lying on her bed face up, almost definitely scrolling on her cell phone.   Pha’rrel was eating a cookie as he tried to fit his overgrown curls under…

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Trumpsters are Furious Over My Refusal to Sacrifice Students to the Economy – Education Article

  You can’t make this stuff up!   I published an article yesterday on my blog with the title “You Can’t Have My Students’ Lives to Restart Your Economy.”    In it, I criticized Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil and a Walton Family Foundation advisor who lambasted social distancing efforts as a response to the Coronavirus global pandemic, especially here in the United States. To varying degrees, they each thought it was acceptable to sacrifice children’s safety by reopening schools early…

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You Can’t Have My Students’ Lives to Restart Your Economy – Education Article

    It’s okay if a few children die to start up the economy.   That is literally the opinion being offered by media influencers and policymakers as Coronavirus social distancing efforts continue passed the 30-day mark.   In the midst of a global pandemic, we’ve closed down all nonessential businesses while people self quarantine at home waiting for the curve of infection to plateau and then drop off. Medical experts tell us this is the only way to ensure…

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The First Taste is Free: Ed Tech Follows Drug Dealer Sales Techniques with Schools During Coronavirus Crisis – Education Article

  “Pst! Hey, Kid! Come here!”   Educational technologies are a multi-billion dollar industry.   “Who? Me?”   The coronavirus pandemic has closed schools across the globe, and districts have tried to solve this problem by putting their classes online.   “Yeah, you. I’ve got some… candy I want to give you.”   Nearly every ed tech company has offered help with this processes.  “Oh boy! I sure love candy… Wait a minute! How much does it cost?”   Teachers,…

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How Did America’s Schools Cope with Spanish Flu vs. Coronavirus? – Education Article

  They say history repeats itself.   And if you’ve read any accounts of the bygone days of yesteryear, the current crisis certainly appears like a rerun.   Look at all the closed businesses, frightened people venturing out wearing face masks or self quarantined in their homes. It sure looks a lot like 1918.   The Spanish Flu epidemic that swept the nation a little more than a century ago bares more than a passing resemblance to COVID-19, the coronavirus.…

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Virtual Learning Through Quarantine Will Leave Poor and Disabled Students Behind – Education Article

    In the wake of the coronavirus crisis with most people self quarantined at home, schools across the country are shut down.   Some offer (or are considering offering) distance learning over the Internet.   However, this poses problems.   Not all student services can be provided via computer.   And not all students even have a computer, online compatible device or Internet access.   Should our nation’s public schools soldier on anyway and provide some kind of learning…

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Top 10 Things I Want My Students to do During the Coronavirus Quarantine – Education Article

      Dear Students,   A schoolteacher without a classroom is kind of like a firefighter without a fire.   Or a police officer without crime.   But here we are – self-quarantined at home.   Our classroom sits empty, and everyday this week we sit here at home wondering what to do.   I want you to know that I’ve been thinking about all of you.   I hope you’re doing alright during this unprecedented moment in history.…

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Public Schools Can Recover from the COVID-19 Quarantine by Skipping High Stakes Tests – Education Article

 There is one plus from being sick during a global pandemic.   You get perspective.   While all the schools in Pennsylvania are closed for at least the next two weeks to help stop the spread of COVID-19 (colloquially known as the Coronavirus), I self-quarantined a day early.   No, I don’t think I have the virus, but I’m not taking any chances.   Still, sitting here at my laptop with a steaming mug of tea, I’m filled with optimism.…

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The Coronavirus Could Be A Big Moneymaker for EdTech Companies – Education Article

 There is a special place in Hell for people who cash in on tragedy.   But that place is reserved for the super rich – and that’s all that matters in Donald Trump’s America.   Federal officials are urging schools to prepare for possible disruptions due to the coronavirus – a disease that originated in China last month and has affected more than 77,000 people worldwide (of which more than 2,600 have died).   Only 14 people have been infected…

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Robots Will Never Replace Teachers. They Can Only Displace Us – Education Article

 My favorite movie of all time is “2001: A Space Odyssey.”     And my favorite character is the computer HAL 9000.   In the future (now past) of the movie, HAL is paradoxically the most human personality. Tasked with running the day-to-day operations of a spaceship, HAL becomes strained to the breaking point when he’s given a command to lie about the mission’s true objectives. He ends up having a psychotic break and killing most of the people he…

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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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Classroom Teachers are the Real Scholastic Experts – Not Education Journalists – Education Article

  When you want an expert on health, you go to a doctor.   When you want an expert on law, you go to a lawyer.   So why is it that when the news media wants an expert on education they go to… themselves!?   That’s right. Education journalists are talking up a storm about schools and learning.   You’ll find them writing policy briefs, editorials and news articles. You’ll find them being interviewed about topics like class size,…

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