October 16, 2015

Brooks On Content, School Finance Shenanigans, Guns In Texas, Tarheels And Underwear, Media And Research, Eva Colen Is Going To Bring It! Kacey Musgraves And Rheinhold Messner

By Bellwether

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It’s October 16. On this date in 1986 legendary alpinist Rheinhold Messner was summiting Lhotse, a massive mountain that faces Mount Everest. When he reached the summit he became the first person to climb all fourteen peaks on earth that are higher than 8000 meters – and he did it without supplemental oxygen. He later went into politics as a Green Party politician in Germany. In the dictionary next to iconoclast there should be a picture of him.

On a less inspirational note, a favored tactic of school district leadership is to blame unpopular choices on unpopular policies.  For instance if you’re canceling field trips because gas prices are high then why not say it’s because of No Child Left Behind instead. It works! Now a district in Tennessee is saying that it’s closing schools because of ObamaCare. I expect it will be a different group of people rushing to debunk the claim than those who embraced the NCLB gambit but it’s basically the same tactic .

From Texas it’s something that rhymes with Glocks versus Glocks.  In Arizona a right-wing opt-out movement is clashing with state law.

Love is a battlefield. So is the interaction of education reporters and education research. But, while there is a lot of sloppiness around this is also harder than it looks.

Tarheels, get your big girl underwear out.

Race and school choice. Race and school choice. Both worth a read.

New education advocacy fellows via 50CAN. Selected from more than 800 applicants.

David Brooks speaks up for content. This one has people buzzing. “21st Century Skills” in the crosshairs again. With the caveats that (a) I haven’t been to High Tech High in a few years (b) I haven’t seen the film, Larry Rosenstock, the school’s founder, wasn’t anti-content as the school was ramping up. He’s the archetype of smart left-leaning reformer (and a terrific guy). And, people have a lot of agendas here so I don’t necessarily trust a filmmaker to present the complexity Brooks gets at with regard to any school. But, project-based learning is easy to talk about, really hard to do in a rigorous way. Each “side” in that debate fixates on half of that equation. But it can be done. I was recently looking at some student work from a school in New Zealand where elementary school aged kids were doing more rigorous work that we often expect from kids much older in a thematic project based approach. But this school has its act together on execution.

Up the coast a bit here is a much more troubling story from Los Angeles.

Ending on a happy note: Got a chance to see Kacey Musgraves play in Virginia this week. Highly recommended if you like live music. Great show and her band is solid. She gets some pushback because she’s pushing. Good stuff.

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