March 14, 2016

Give The People What They Want! Bryce Harper’s Education Lesson, Education And The White House Race, Boom And Bust In School Finance, Blacklists, Fried Potatoes, And SEL Gold!

By Bellwether

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The Times on Oakland and Broad:

While the teachers’ union and some parent groups worry that district-run public schools will ultimately be eviscerated by competition from charters, other parents are voting with their feet, sending their children to the newer schools.

This is really the problem facing public schools in a nutshell. In the short term you can bottle those parents up politically. In the long-run you can’t. Listening to them and giving them what they want is key to keeping public education robust. In other words, the people who think they’re saving public education are slowly killing it.

It’s Spring Training, lots of dreams, so please stop saying stuff like this!

Career day, Harney Middle School, Las Vegas. A nice lady stands in front of a sixth-grade classroom to discuss professions with the boys and girls seated in front of her. Each student is asked to declare a career, and it’s a rundown of the usual suspects: firefighter, doctor, veterinarian. The nice lady’s enthusiastic reaction to those last two answers triggers a chain reaction; even the kids who didn’t have the slightest clue what they want to be figure they can’t go wrong with one of those. Around the room it goes. Doctor. Veterinarian. Sure, why not?

When it winds around to the biggest kid in the room, Bryce Harper says, “I want to be a professional baseball player.”

“Well,” the lady says, a jagged shard of disapproval seeping into her tone, “I think maybe you should pick a new profession. You know that doesn’t happen very often.”

Harper looks at her with a stony silence. The words he wants to say are right there – You’ve got no clue teed up in his mind like a BP fastball — but instead he says, “Yeah, well, that’s just my dream.”

Chauncey, seated a desk away from Harper, can’t let it end there. This woman needs to know. It’s an act of kindness, even mercy, on his part.

“No, you don’t understand,” Chauncey says. “He really is going to be a professional baseball player. He’s the best 12-year-old in the country.”

As you probably know, Harper became the youngest unanimous MVP last year. I know a woman who was told she should maybe try community college but not four-year college. Today, she manages a high-end professional services firm. Another guy who was told his best path was going to be GED and entry-level work. He commanded a Navy ship. Many people have stories like that. Perhaps let people set their own limits?

The other day I made an observation on dropouts and the discount rate on information they get. Reader Mike G. makes an interesting observation about it here.

Campbell Brown on education and the 2016 White House race. Hillary Clinton and education in The New Yorker. Fact checking Trump and Senator Cruz on education. Education pieces in Trump demographics. And it can always be worse…

Mass market version of To Kill A Mockingbird in jeopardy. Price point implications for schools. The boom and bust world of fossil fuel based school finance schemes. Michelle Obama versus a deep fried Texas potato!

Today in why we can’t have nice things in this sector: Call for enrolling all teachers in Social Security and point out that only about one in five teachers actually get a full pension and you wind up on a “blacklist.”

There’s gold in them SEL hills!

This person has a bright future in the education debate. Lumbersexual political ecology.

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