May 24, 2017

Aldeman V. Weingarten On Pension Policy Barely Goes Past Round 1, Pink Eagles Rule, School Transportation, Personalized Cautions, Tenure Debates, Early Childhood Hiring, Interesting Lawsuits, Knuckleballers And More!

By Bellwether

Share this article

The American Federation of Teachers responded to Chad Aldeman and Kelly Robson’s recent pension analysis. Their response, with Chad’s annotated response to it, can be found here. It’s worth reading if you follow this debate and worth reflecting on why the AFT is so out of alignment with what’s best for teachers here? They are – literally as the kids say – supporting policies that make it harder for teachers to earn retirement benefits. Also worth pointing out that if you come after Chad you probably want to have your facts straight first, but you probably already knew this. Somehow the AFT staff didn’t.

Andrew Rayner on a Chicago firing and his own experience at a Chicago private school. 

School Transportation News takes a look at the recent Bellwether school transportation analysis. Also, school buses and school attendance.

Go Pink Eagles!

Cynthia Tucker on the charter school debate. Trigger warning: If you’re good with magnets for your kids but down on charters for others don’t read this, it will make you feel all awkward.  Or it probably won’t but should.

Credit where it’s due. President Trump has united much of the education community – in opposition to his budget request for the next fiscal year. Betsy DeVos will be on the Hill defending it today in what should be an interesting hearing. A lot of organized pushback already. Thankfully, even with unified Republican control of Congress and the executive branch you’re more likely to get hit by a meteor than see that budget enacted. But it still matters because there are a lot of important government services on the block and it shows that Trump is pivoting from a broad based populist appeal to a more narrow focus on what’s good for America’s super-wealthy. That will have implications.

Smart caution on personalized learning from Matt Barnum that includes this gem:

“What I see … is people imagining that if we just design the school with new models we will be able to satisfy the needs of the future,” said Ben Riley, head of the group Deans for Impact and former New Schools staff member. “The graveyard of people thinking they could successfully predict the future and then finding out that they were wrong about that has a lot of tombstones.”

Personalized has a lot of promise but it’s hard to miss some of the same problems (lack of focus on what it means for equity, capacity of the system to deliver quality at scale, what we actually know about learning, etc..etc…) being wished away here. And the really good providers are very intentional about how they do things. What’s different this time, it seems to me, is even more people urging caution. It’s unclear though the difference that will make.

Chester Finn says teacher tenure is on its way out in higher education and K-12. It does seem that K-12 could use some reform to how it approaches tenure – and human resources / human capital more generally. But I’m more skeptical of jettisoning it for higher education where academic freedom is a much greater concern (K-12 teachers don’t have the same academic freedom and operate in a more directed environment) and is being threatened in some cases today. Yes, it would be helpful if professors didn’t use academic freedom as a get out of jail free card to say whatever crazy thing you want – e.g. holocaust denying – but it’s an important safeguard and I’ll trade some inefficiency for free inquiry.

Interesting though not entirely surprising findings on experience and early-childhood hiring. Racial bias but also adverse effects of experience.

Today in interesting lawsuits.   2017 Fishman Prize winners. Urban Institute relaunching its education program.

Can this knuckleballer follow in the footsteps of Jacoby Ellsbury and Chris Davis?

More from this topic

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.