September 20, 2016

Pensions Aren’t Risky! The Education Divide, Willingham On Editing, Civic Ed, Rashad Turner Speaks, Who Is Advising Trump On Edu? Kolderie Gets Systemic, Buses And Straws

By Bellwether

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This event on college matching, today, looks interesting. CT is appealing the landmark school finance decision there. Rashad Turner in his own words. Trump’s education team.

Schools exploring innovative ways to teach grit, but it’s easy to get carried away.

You may not agree with all of what Ted Kolderie writes here about how to improve the school system but it’s well worth reading:

Good ideas abound for producing better schools. The difficulty has been with the “how” of change. The idea of superintendents changing district schools comprehensively has proved unsuccessful. So, let’s be practical: Try a different “how.”

Successful systems change gradually, as innovation spreads. These are open systems. Someone tries something different. Always there are “early adopters.” Nobody has to adopt the different. More do, as the innovation improves. Some lag. We see this diffusion of innovation all around us…

…We want education to be a successful system. So we should let schools and teachers try things. Use the charter sector to generate new forms of school and new approaches to learning, and encourage districts to adopt these innovations.

Here’s a push on civic education and making it rich and educational. Why not? I’m all for it, worked on the issue, taught civics, and generally who can be against that? But I do think there is a flaw in how many advocates think about this issue and what to expect from improved civic education. Namely many seem to believe that if only people were better educated and had more civic knowledge then they would think, act politically, and vote just like them. In fact, civic ed is not some sort of revealed truth and it’s entirely plausible we could have much better civic education and a country just as discordant politically as it is now. People disagree!

Here’s a story about how education reporters are happy and want to come back to the education beat. That’s good, I like it when people are happy. But isn’t the more interesting story all the reporters who leave the beat to go work in education organizations? Michelle Davis to College Board, Karin Chenoweth to Ed Trust, Richard Whitmire to book writing about reform issues just to name a few. Are they happy? What have they learned. Would they do it again? I’d read that!

Also on that scene do not miss Dan Willingham’s open letter to editors. He takes no prisoners.

Sara Mead on an authorizing lesson from XQ. Here’s The Times on the winners and the prize. Soledad O’Brien did a town hall on high schools and innovation (that at one point turned from metaphorical to literal town hall when a bunch of DC students from Duke Ellington showed up to press their case with Kaya Henderson) I participated in. Facebook video here, on PBS in October.

This 74 story about the Dem ticket and education (and, by the way, this election is not turning on education) is interesting because it points up a pretty profound divide in education:

In late August, she visited the headquarters of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers. There, she disputed GOP nominee Donald Trump’s assertion that city schools were failing children, particularly children of color.

“I will say that [schools are] doing incredible work in some of the most difficult circumstances … Over the last decade we’ve been asking more and more of them and giving them less and less in the way of resources,” she said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

At one level, that’s certainly true. The financing picture is more complicated but schools are clearly asked to do a lot and there are many doing great work in challenging circumstances. But it’s also true that in a lot of cities fewer than one in ten low-income kids gets to and through college by the time they’re 24. Nationally that figure is about 9 percent. You’d hope there would be both agreement and urgency about how profoundly unacceptable that is. Instead,  how people think about that problem really divides the education world into those who see schools as more or less a palliative experience for kids because, really, what are you going to do? And conversely those who see schools as a key lever to dramatically transform that outcome profile. There is actually a lot of agreement on out-of-school factors, where the debate breaks down is over the role of schools. Ironic for an education sector.

Here’s more fallout from the Senate/Department of Education debate over regulatory authority.

Remember kids, pensions are not the risky scheme!

This article has really nothing to do with education but it mentions school buses, and also straws. Have at it!

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