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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No-Excuses Expansion – Urban Education Mixtape – Education Article

If you’re looking for a place to find an honest conversation about all things education, Steven Singer’s (not the Philly jeweler) blog gadflyonthewallblog is a good place. Mr. Singer speaks truth to power ranging from race and poverty in education to school privatization. One of Mr. Singer’s latest entries speaks of a study, authored by Sarah Cohodes of Columbia University’s Teachers College, suggesting a way to reduce the Black-White achievement gap. She argues that highly-effective charter school practices – from…

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Charter Schools Are Quietly Gobbling Up My Public School District
 – Education Article

  I work in a little suburban school district just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that is slowly being destroyed by privatization.   Steel Valley Schools have a proud history.   We’re located (in part) in Homestead – the home of the historic steel strike of 1892.   But today it isn’t private security agents and industrial business magnates against whom we’re struggling.   It’s charter schools, voucher schools and the pro-corporate policies that enable them to pocket tax dollars meant…

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Pittsburgh School Board Candidate Anna Batista Takes Big Money From Special Interests – Education Article

  Meanwhile, her opponent Pam Harbin, a public school watchdog, is supported almost exclusively by grassroots donations.     Both candidates are running for District 4, which serves parts of Squirrel Hill, Point Breeze, Shadyside and North Oakland. Since they’ve cross filed and will appear on both the Republican and Democratic primary ballots, the seat should be decided in the May 21 primary.   Batista and Harbin have raised similar amounts for their campaigns. Harbin has $33,412.95 while Batista has…

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Learn How To Organize Student Data with eduCLIMBER – Education Article

It’s always exciting to come across EdTech tools created by educators. Classroom perspective and experience working with students, can spark ideas that turn into websites and apps for the world to use. This year I connected with the team at eduCLIMBER, and I’m excited to tell you about their interactive tool for educators. eduCLIMBER is an EdTech tool to help educators organize student data. Created for educators by educators, eduCLIMBER’s goal is to make data analysis more efficient and accurate…

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What Happened to 2018 As The Year of the Teacher? – Education Article

  This year teachers took their mission way beyond the classroom.   Starting in West Virginia, we staged half-a-dozen walkouts in red states across the country demanding a better investment in children’s educations and often getting it.   Then we took that momentum and stormed our state capitals and Washington, DC, with thousands of grassroots campaigns that translated into seats in government.   It was so effective and unprecedented that the story began circulating that 2018 would be known as…

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A Gadfly’s Dozen: Top 13 Education Articles of 2018 (By Me) – Education Article

    I’m not going to mince words.   This year, 2018, has been a monster.   We’ve been fighting the dumbest and most corrupt President of our lives – Donald Trump. And we’ve been making progress.   Thanks to the midterm election blue wave in the U.S. House, Trump will finally have a check on his power.   We have more black and brown representatives, more women, more nationalities, ethnicities and faiths in the halls of power than ever…

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How can we tell if our integration with NWEA is successful? – Wowzers Blog – Education Article

Wowzers partnered with NWEA to meet students where they are and determine where they need to go. Student needs are identified and paired with engaging content to teach students “what they need to know when they need to know it.” NWEA MAP Growth RIT scores are imported to the Wowzers’ K-8 standards-based content. This new feature automatically builds a personalized curriculum for each student based on their MAP Growth test results. It examines goal-level RIT scores and NWEA norms to…

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How Many Decisions Do Teachers Make Every Day? – Education Article

  Teaching is an exhausting job.   If you’re a parent, you know how tiring it is with just one or two kids.   Imagine having a room full of them — Twenty to thirty children, each demanding your attention, each requiring your urgent help – every minute, every day, for hours at a time.     Back in the late 1980s, before education became totally absorbed by standardized testing and school privatization, we used to wonder about the effects…

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