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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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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Charter Schools Exploit Children of Color – Education Article

    Go to most impoverished black neighborhoods and you’re bound to find three things in abundance.     Liquor stores, payday lenders and charter schools.     It is no accident.     In the inner city, the underemployed compete for a shortage of minimum wage jobs, healthcare is minimal, public transportation inadequate and the schools are underfunded and short staffed.     But that doesn’t mean money isn’t being made.     In capitalist America, we make sure…

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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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NAEP Test Scores Show How Stupid We Are… To Pay Attention to NAEP Test Scores – Education Article

 Brace yourselves!   America’s NAEP test scores in 2019 stayed pretty much the same as they were in 2018!   And the media typically set its collective hair on fire trying to interpret the data.   Sometimes called the Nations Report Card, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test is given to a random sampling of elementary, middle and high school students in member countries to compare the education systems of nations.   And this year there was one…

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Eight Things I Love About Elizabeth Warren’s Education Plan – And One I Don’t – Education Article

 My daughter had bad news for me yesterday at dinner.   She turned to me with all the seriousness her 10-year-old self could muster and said, “Daddy, I know you love Bernie but I’m voting for Elizabeth.”  “Elizabeth Warren?” I said choking back a laugh.   Her pronouncement had come out of nowhere. We had just been discussing how disgusting the pierogies were in the cafeteria for lunch.  And she nodded with the kind of earnestness you can only have…

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Charter Schools Cherry Pick Students & Call it Choice – PART 1: The “I Didn’t Do It!” Excuse – Education Article

  It takes a certain kind of hypocrite to be a charter school champion.   You have to deny any wrongdoing one minute. And then admit you’re guilty but explain it away with the excuse “Everyone’s doing it!” the next.  Take cherry picking – one of the most common admonishments leveled against the school privatization industry.  Detractors claim that charter schools keep enrollment low and then out of those who apply, they pick and choose which students to accept.  Charters…

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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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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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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 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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The Last Day of School – Education Article

On the last day of school this year, my 8th grade students gave me one of the greatest salutes a teacher can get.   They reenacted the closing scene of “The Dead Poets Society.”   You know. The one where Robin Williams’ Mr. Keating has been fired from a boarding school for teaching his students to embrace life, and as he collects his things and leaves, the students get up on their desks as a testament to his impact and…

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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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