Corporate Education "Reform"

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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Don’t Extend Kids’ School Day; Shorten Parents’ Work Week – Education Article

It’s rough being the parent of an American school student.You often leave for work before your kids have even made it to school yet – and you get home long after they’ve returned.When exactly are you supposed to parent?   Your kids have to get themselves to school. They have to get themselves home. And helping with homework, talking about their days, even setting a good example are all luxuries you have to pay dearly for with an ever-shrinking amount…

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Gov. Wolf Proposes Saving $280 Million a Year in PA With Charter School Reform – Education Article

    Charter schools waste taxpayer money.   Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf proposes we stop wasting that money by holding charter schools as accountable as the state’s authentic public schools.   The Democratic governor made his most recent proposal yesterday as part of his 2020-21 budget address.   It’s a common sense proposal that only seems revolutionary because officials have been so blinded with school privatization fantasies.   Charter schools are funded with tax dollars but can be run by…

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The Ongoing Study of How and When Teachers Should Praise Students – Education Article

    Should teachers praise their students?     It’s a simple question with a multiplicity of answers.     A 2020 study published in the journal Educational Psychology concludes that teachers who use praise see a 30% increase in good behavior from their classes.     Meanwhile, reprimands actually increase misbehavior and unwillingness to comply with instruction.     Researches suggest a 3:1 or 4:1 praise-to-reprimand ratio. So for every one reprimand, a teacher should provide three or four…

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Did Rosa Parks Really Support Charter Schools? – Education Article

  They say history is written by the victors.   But fortunes change, and sometimes you can even reclaim a figure from the past who the last round of winners had cast in an unlikely role.   Take Rosa Parks.   She is universally hailed as a hero of the civil rights movement because of her part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.   Everyone knows the story. Parks, a black seamstress in Alabama, refused to give up her seat to…

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Who Will Protect My Right NOT to Pay for Your Child’s Religious Education? – Education Article

    When I was a kid back in middle school, I had a crush on this girl, let’s call her Patty.     She wasn’t the most popular or beautiful girl in class, but I kinda’ liked her.       Of course, she had no idea I was alive.     Or so I thought, until one day she walked straight up to my desk and started rubbing my hair.     I was shocked at first, but…

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Trump Administration’s “Junk Food Loophole” is Symptomatic of School Privatization – Education Article

  Who wants children to eat more junk food?     Apparently the Trump administration does.     This seemed to be the Department of Agriculture’s concern when it announced plans last week to further reduce regulations for healthy meals at the nation’s public schools.   The Department’s new scheme would change the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 to include what critics call a “junk food loophole” in meals offered at public schools – usually breakfasts and lunches.  …

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AstroTurf Alert: National Parents Union is Thinly Veiled Union Busting Backed by Billionaire Cash – Education Article

 How do you do something disgusting without hurting your image?     If you’re the Walton Family, you hide behind a mask.     That’s what their latest AstroTurf front group is – the so-called National Parents Union (NPU).     It’s a way to bust teachers unions, destroy public schools and profit off of students behind the guise of a friendly parents organization.     Oh, it’s all funded with oodles of cash from the Walton family and other…

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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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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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