February 21, 2017

DeVos, It’s Always DeVos, Plus Bellwether On Rural Education, DACA Policy, Teacher Mobility, Mastery, Labor’s Fortunes, Arnold’s Fortune, Charter Growth, Ed Politics, And More! Plus Raccoon Rides And Old Books

By Bellwether

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Bellwether did a set of interviews and focus groups about rural education in Oklahoma with stakeholders there. Interesting and important perspectives. State media here.

And, Bellwether is hiring, scroll down the main page for details and other edujobs.

Some real life from Bitter Southerner:

At their core, Southerners are defined by a fierce loyalty to family. This bond is unwavering and — supposedly — unconditional. But time and again, sexual and gender identity tear Southern families apart.

Thousands of young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer are kicked out of the house every year by their families. LGBTQ youth make up an estimated 40 percent of the total homeless youth population.The consequences of family rejection and discrimination are often deadly.

As expected White House immigration policy will include a cut out to protect DACA students.  Support for that from all over the political spectrum and even adding together people who didn’t like the Obama executive actions with those who don’t like the policy probably doesn’t land anywhere near enough votes right now.

The 74 takes a look at teacher certification and geographically mobile teachers. It’s an issue and there are some misaligned policies. The article mentions though, and this is key, that the opposite problem also exists. Namely, blanket policies that exist in some states and create backdoor ways in that don’t account for quality or past performance. The bottom line is an old story: A heavily labor-dependent field is not very good at doing HR.

Also in The 74 a really interesting and don’t miss look at Mastery in Philadelphia and some of the complexities of leading edge work today.

It’s going to be a long few years….We’ve heard for decades that the secret to improving school is just to empower teachers rather than have administrators or others dictate to them. More recently there are websites and Facebook pages dedicated to the idea, public relations campaigns from advocacy groups, and it’s a common talking point for teachers union leaders. It’s also a reasonable sentiment even if some of the issues like curriculum, standards, and preparation and professional development are more complicated in practice. In any event, new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited a school last week and basically made this exact same point and it, of course, set of a firestorm. It was an ill-considered thing to say given how she clumsily phrased it, but that’s besides the point with these kinds of things. DeVos is off to a rough start that leaves plenty of reasons to be concerned and there are plenty of unforced errors from her team but still…the velocity is a bit much and everyone might take a deep breath.

We recently discussed briefly a Rich Yelelson take on labor’s challenges with President Trump. Here’s another look at the machinations within organized labor about how to deal with or engage with Trumpism:

Some unions that have opposed Mr. Trump are finding occasions to thread the needle — like the Communications Workers of America, the union involved in the Momentive strike and a onetime backer of Senator Bernie Sanders’s progressive presidential campaign. It repeatedly denounced Mr. Puzder’s nomination, but in a continuing dispute with AT&T Wireless, it has echoed Mr. Trump’s call not to ship jobs overseas.

Unions in the public and service sectors, on the other hand, lack economic interests that would provide common ground with the new administration, and their membership is increasingly urban, African-American and Hispanic — easily alienated by Mr. Trump’s pronouncements on race and immigration. The Service Employees International Union, a leading service-sector force, has taken a largely oppositional stand.

Many union leaders are at a loss to explain how Richard L. Trumka, the head of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the nation’s pre-eminent labor federation, will navigate these crosscurrents in the coming months.

Mr. Trumka’s answer for the moment is to proceed gingerly. In an interview, he said that he had a productive meeting with Mr. Trump during the transition, and that the president deserved praise for killing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. But he has vigorously protested other policies, like Mr. Trump’s immigration restrictions.

“We’re going to call balls and strikes,” he said.

Robin Lake on charter growth. Legal win for Washington charters.

Last week I mentioned Tom Kane’s Ed Next essay on evidence and education. Michael Barber and Nathan Martin respond to Kane.

John Arnold profile.

Sandy Kress on the coming edu debate.

What’s up with online preschool?

Today in elections have consequences:

Since Election Day, for-profit college companies have been on a hot streak. DeVry Education Group’s stock has leapt more than 40 percent. Strayer’s jumped 35 percent and Grand Canyon Education’s more than 28 percent.

You do not need an M.B.A. to figure out why. Top officials in Washington who spearheaded a relentless crackdown on the multibillion-dollar industry have been replaced by others who have profited from it.

New class of Pahara Next Gen fellows, including Bellwether’s Jason Weeby, are ready to face the Jedi trials!

Teaching, song, and dance via the NEA Foundation.

New homes for old books. And in case you missed it, a trash truck riding raccoon.

*Disclosures: Bellwether has worked with Pahara, NEA Foundation, and Mastery. Our pension research and policy work is supported in part by the Arnold Foundation. And standing disclosure, I am a senior editor at 74.

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