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.…

Read More

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.…

Read More

Top 10 Reasons to Vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 General Election – Education Article

 With Bernie Sanders dropping out of the 2020 Democratic Primary, I can think of only these 10 reasons to vote for Joe Biden in the November general election:   10) He’s not Donald Trump. 9) He’s not Donald Trump. 8) He’s not Donald Trump. 7) He’s not Donald Trump. 6) He’s not Donald Trump. 5) He’s not Donald Trump. 4) He’s not Donald Trump. 3) He’s not Donald Trump. 2) He’s not Donald Trump. 1) He’s not Donald Trump.  …

Read More

There Are No Bernie Bros, Just Diverse Supporters Being Made Into What They’re Not – Education Article

 It’s time to call the whole “Bernie Bros” phenomenon exactly what it is – racist, sexist, homophobic propaganda.     I don’t mean that Bernie Sanders’ supporters are any of those things.     I mean that the term used to lump us all together is.     There is no monolithic group of angry straight men backing the Vermont Senator’s bid for the Democratic nomination for President in 2020. Nor was there in 2016.    A substantial portion of…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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,…

Read More

Why is Accountability Too Much to Ask of Charter Schools? – Education Article

NOTE: Not an exact quote but Allen wrote a book “Charting a New Course The Case for Freedom, Flexibility & Opportunity Through Charter Schools” that proposes just this idea.  If you hire someone to buy your groceries, you’ll probably ask for a receipt.   That’s really all education advocates want from the charter school industry.   Charter schools are bankrolled with tax dollars but often run by private businesses.   Is it too much to ask these businesses to account…

Read More

Top 10 Lessons From the 2020 Public Education Forum – Education Article

The school bell chimed and the class shuffled home.   But the students weren’t little children.   They were Democratic Presidential candidates!   And boy-oh-boy did they get sent packing with a ton of homework!   Teachers, students, parents and community members from all over the country sat them down with instructions on how to improve the public education system.   Kudos to the candidates for agreeing to listen.   It was billed as the MSNBC “Public Education Forum 2020:…

Read More

Not Light But Fire How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversation – Education Article

Not Light, But Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the ClassroomBy Matthew R. Kay(Stenhouse, 2018 – Learn more) Reviewed by Nicole Warchol “Why don’t we have teachers of color in our building?” one of my 7th graders asked me. Even though I am a faculty member on our high school student-run Race Matters Alliance group, I was caught off guard by this question during class and not unprepared to answer it. Conversations about racial inequity are happening: in our students’…

Read More

White Billionaires Cannot Buy the Charter School Debate – Education Article

    Betsy DeVos is not woke.    Bill Gates has not been to the mountaintop.    Nor is the Walton Family Foundation concerned with promoting civil rights.    So when white billionaires pour cash to charter school lobbying groups – as the Walton’s did Thursday for charter school protestors at an Elizabeth Warren rally – it isn’t exactly convincing.    Speaking at the historically black college Clark Atlanta University, Warren, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for President in…

Read More

The Stink of Segregation Needs to End in Steel Valley Schools – Education Article

 I am a teacher at Steel Valley Schools.   I am also an education blogger.   In order to belong to both worlds, I’ve had to abide by one ironclad rule that I’m about to break:   Never write about my home district.   Oh, I write about issues affecting my district. I write about charter schools, standardized testing, child poverty, etc. But I rarely mention how these things directly impact my school, my classroom, or my students.   I…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More