April 24, 2017

School Transportation, Schooling In DC, Protest And Results, Homeless Girl Scouts, Massachusetts, Tampa Class Assignment, School Choice Still Popular, The Education Debate Explained, More!

By Bellwether

Share this article

Scroll down the main page for edujobs. Don’t miss this event on school transportation in D.C. next week. It will even feature school bus rides!

Sara Mead looks at a decade of school reform work in D.C. and some lessons learned.

Even if you don’t live in Massachusetts this Stig Leschly discussion of college there is worth checking out, issues not unique. Whole series on these issues from Stig here.

Better than cookies. Here’s a sweet Girl Scout story.

We can certainly do better with both the quality and availability of gifted education and also ensuring that children have equitable chances to participate in those programs (e.g. universal screening). But the idea of Americans “turning on smart kids” just isn’t supported by the structure of today’s education system. And in the U.S. context, a bigger problem seems to be all the “smart kids” who get overlooked because of their zip code.  Also, apparently gifted kids are more “sexually conservative.” I had not heard that, but what a universally handy narrative to have around! Makes everyone feel better about themselves and parents worry less.

Cass Sunstein cuts to the quick on a lot of campus protest today,

Previous generations of student activists contributed immeasurably to the civil-rights movement and the fight against sex discrimination. On the right, they helped create the Federalist Society, which has transformed how judges and lawyers think about the Constitution. On the left, they have given life to the movement for LGBT rights.

In the current era, student activists would do well to think much less about how to express their values and instead to focus insistently on a single question: If I succeed, how many people will I actually be helping?

I agree, and you can probably extend the indictment to a lot of activism more generally today, which seems more exhibitionist than results oriented. But, student activists have made stands, taken risks, and changed things – and those exceptions can teach us a lot. (Perhaps because of the elite bias in a lot of these conversations, when people think of campus unrest they might be too quick to think of the Bahn mi at Oberlin or the student paper at Wellesley rather than, say, the football team at the University of Missouri.)

No matter how much people wish it away there is a lot of support for school choice.  From California:

About 60% of adults and 66% of public-school parents in a new poll said they favored vouchers that parents could use for their children’s education at any public, private, or parochial school. Republicans (67%) were more likely than independents (56%) and far more likely than Democrats (46%) to hold that view. Across racial and ethnic groups, 73% of African Americans, 69% of Latinos, 56% of Asians and 51% of whites supported vouchers.

Here are two interesting articles about how we organize ourselves, both with education implications. Don Hirsch cautions on toxic nationalism versus useful civic binding and shared values and political culture. Lynn Paramore says we’re structurally becoming a developing country for many Americans.

And then there is this article on poverty. Interesting, though I don’t know anyone who thinks this,

…the blind belief that the poor have failed to seize the opportunities that the market or globalization has created.

The debate you usually hear is about just how much of this is structural and then what we can do about it – and do about it without making things even worse. Obviously a big role for education there.

Two thoughts on this St. Petersburg student assignment situation where a school principal said in an email to assign all the white students to one class. OK, three thoughts. But “wait, what?” doesn’t seem to really count. So, first, they mention her implicit bias training apparently not kicking in. But in her defense, doesn’t this seem more like the kind of thing they’d cover in the explicit bias training?

Second, this actually points up a very real issue that is too infrequently discussed: When analyzing school assignment and integration the school is not an adequate unit of analysis. What happens to students inside the school via class assignment, course taking for older students, tracks and pullout enrichment programs, etc…is where the real experience of students plays out. Integrated classes not just integrated schools should be the standard. In this instance, I have a hunch this was less this principal’s idea (you really don’t see a lot of workshops on this at conferences…) than what some parents wanted and what she was told, tacitly or explicitly, to do in order to keep them happy and keep the school “integrated.”

A lot of theory of action work in the education sector is BS. But I feel like this is some of the strongest work to date with the most analytic purchase to really describe how change happens.

More from this topic

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