April 19, 2018

Candy Land Is Hell. Plus Pension Stories, Financial Literacy, Gun Anxiety, Jeb On NAEP, More!

We could all do with more financial literacy – Max Marchitello with the teacher angle on that.

The 74’s Bev Weintraub on Tammie Jo Shults: Good pilots are calm under pressure, she’s a very good pilot.

Pew with some troubling data on how scared kids are about gun violence at school. Troubling in no small part because it’s a level of anxiety entirely disproportionate to the threat. You might be surprised at the many things, from the too common – cancer and car accidents – to the unusual – becoming a child bride – that are more likely to happen to young people than being shot in school. It’s terrifying when it happens, yes, and we should improve policy here, yes, but we shouldn’t let that cloud our judgement in how we present this to kids.

Here’s an interesting analysis of boundary patterns and enrollment in DC schools.

Jeb Bush on NAEP and Florida.

Mike Antonucci takes a dimmer view of the Oklahoma strike. He’s right in terms of the facts on the ground – which were not well reported in many media accounts. But I’d argue the unions were in a heads they win, tails their opponents lose situation. There may be some momentary frustration but they were playing a longer game here.

These kinds of pension stories about outliers and weird spikes are hard to lay off of, so they get headlines and illustrate that pension plans are a lot more arbitrary than people think. But they’re not the core problem – the core problem in education is that traditional pensions are just a poor fit for the labor market today and need some updating.

Candy Land is hell. How to cheat at games with your kids.

Here is a SEAL seal with a knife.

April 17, 2018

High-Potential/Low-Income Students, Voucher Irony, Use The Quiet Car! More….

High-potential but low-income students are getting lost in the crowd, Tim Daly on that.

Times ethicist sums up the school choice debate:

If you just think the voucher program is bad policy, then join the campaign against it. That’s the right way to voice your judgments about the merits of educational policy. You don’t want to sacrifice your son’s education to abstract principle, especially given that you’re not going to end the voucher program by failing to make use of it.

This would make a great Peggy Noonan column: When you can’t even plot strategy in the First Class car on Acela without people eavesdropping on your call then all of our social norms are truly gone. 

“Crowd out” from pension and benefit costs is a real issue – but if it becomes partisan that’s going to make it even harder to solve.

Wasted and Rolling.  Office lizard.

April 16, 2018

Portable Pensions, Early Literacy App, Dems Dilemma, Statue Of Limitations On School Writing, Ed Pluralism, More!

Max Marchitello on why teachers would benefit from more portable retirement.

Janus inoculation. Look for more of this as well as additional legal wrangling in the wake of the Janus decision – assuming it goes against the union, which seems a safe bet given that the court took the case.

Ashley Brenner on educational pluralism. Worth watching. The kind of questions that don’t get enough air in the back and forth about education today.

Check out this new early literacy app.

The Democratic Party has a structural problem on education – its activist class opposes ideas that the people Democrats claim to want to help support. Short term outcome is stuff like this. Longer term outcome, TBD. It’s not tenable over time. The Dems definitely have one asset going for them though that cannot be overvalued in the current moment: The Republicans.

David Osborne and Emily Langhorne on Texas.

College writing and confirmation hearings.

This is a pretty heavy hitting group of backup singers.

Posted on Apr 16, 2018 @ 4:41pm

April 13, 2018

21st Century Skills, Discipline, Education Media Bias, College Debate, School Names, And Has Reform Worked? More!

For a while education has been animated by the idea that with all this technology around us who needs to know “mere” facts. You can just look stuff up. That ignores how people learn, but more troubling it may lead to things like this: A startling number of millennials don’t know some of the basic dynamics of the Holocaust.

Also leads to this:


Here’s a content analysis of education coverage and partisan lean, both national and trade coverage.

An analysis of Newark’s school enrollment system.

This article is about the ongoing debate about Broward school discipline / Parkland shooting, but this line is something to keep an eye on:

“Teachers come to me and tell me, ‘My principal’s making me feel like it’s my fault when students misbehave,’ and ‘I’m asking for help, and they’re still putting it on me,’ ” Anna Fusco, the Broward County teachers’ union president, tells me the following day. We are at a downtown café between sessions in the all-day school board meeting, and she is describing a form of negligence that doesn’t show up in any documents. “Management denies it,” she says, but hundreds of teachers have complained to her about the district’s “unspoken” rule to avoid referrals.

Marc Tucker on the “has reform worked?” question/debate.

Area successful college-educated man questions benefits of college.

Cornell fire cold case. Engaging read.

Even accounting for the dislike hardcore “lost cause” types have for the cavalry officer, it seems weird that it’s easier to rename schools named after J.E.B. Stuart than Jeff Davis. But here we are. Anyway,  J.E.B. Stuart High School has a new look as Justice High (but same achievement gaps unfortunately). Debate continuing elsewhere about what to do about Confederate-themed schools. (Spelling updated via a very good tweet).

Love child.

April 12, 2018

Is Teacher Prep Improving? Plus Pearson, Chu, NCTQ, & Anderson. More!

Some education types on this list of women changing Silicon Valley – including New Schools alums Wayee Chu and Jennifer Carolan of Reach Capital. 

ICYMI – concerns about the NAEP modality with the shift to digital. NAGB says they’re on top of it, a lot of skepticism out there that goes beyond just state chiefs complaining.

Pearson efficacy reports out.

Cami Anderson on the discipline debate. Here she is with Soledad O’Brien on the same issue.

Noah Smith on why education matters beyond the credential.

NCTQ’s Teacher Prep Review is updated with new data.

David Crane on pension crowd out. That’s a debate coming to more places soon.

A lot of Nation at Risk remembrances going on – and some revisionist history.  I’d recommend checking out the relevant parts of Lou Cannon’s Reagan bio for a good take of how it happened at the time.

No cellphones in school? No problem. Go vinyl.

April 11, 2018

NAEP! Teacher Pay, Charter Facilities, Goodbyes, Good Dogs, More!

Chad Aldeman on teacher salary and teacher benefits and why it’s essential to understand the distinctions. And Kirsten Schmitz with an equal pay day mash up of Kentucky, teacher pay, and gender.


Jamie Davis O’Leary farewell note.

New charter facilities funds.

You’ve got walkouts…and then you have this.

Dog chases Google car.

April 10, 2018

Posted on Apr 10, 2018 @ 12:19pm

April 9, 2018

Denver 2008 V. Denver 2018, Plus Lots Of Finance: Pensions, State Spending, Omnibus Bill. And The Great 8 DIY’s, New Line, Sup’t Searches, Food Searches, More!

Edujobs below, scroll down the main page.

Kirsten Schmitz with some background and context on pensions and the teacher walkouts. Chad Aldeman on pension reform in Kentucky.

This is a smart take on the geezer war and what it means for debates over teacher pay. I’ve been doing this work for a couple of decades and the relative shift in state spending on Medicaid and schools is one of the most pronounced changes over that time.

Speaking of money, don’t miss this webinar on the federal omnibus led by Whiteboard’s David DeSchryver. Thursday at 2pm.

Help wanted.

Denver innovation 2008. Denver innovation 2018.

This EverFi initiative is interesting. And I think Alexander Ovechkin writes his own quotes.

New issue of The Line is out.

I was wondering when someone was going to write this story – school gun clubs are pretty popular and pretty widely ignored in a debate about guns and schools that’s mostly coastal.

Today in pensions: Don’t do this.

“I think there are a lot of wealthy, lazy kids that don’t want to go down the elevator to pick up food,” he said.

Wild elephant. Wild Horses.

April 5, 2018

The Teachers Union Strike Strategy Is A Smart One, GAO On Discipline, White On Reading, Free Range Parenting, More!

The teacher strike in Oklahoma is ongoing. There is some chatter that this is a bad play for the teachers unions. I disagree. Yes, if history is any guide, it’s a safe bet at some point they’ll overplay their hand, but for now this works for them and is a smart strategy for four reasons.

First, they’ve got some legit grievances. Teachers are underpaid in some places (variance is the real story on teacher pay) and health care costs are effectively creating pay problems in others. Pension costs also create a crowd out effect on school finance but don’t look for them to take the lead on that. In general though these are not off the wall issues. Plus, because when these strikes end teachers usually get made whole for lost wages while they were on strike – yes that’s usually how it works even though you don’t hear about that in the media – it’s a low-risk strategy internally.

Second, they’re picking their spots well. They’re getting people in red states fired up about teachers and these issues and it’s also a smart play in advance of the 2018 midterm election where expanding the field will be key to Democratic success. And red state public finance is creating pressure they can seize on. Yes, with all these mass strikes it feels like we are living in France some days, but it’s a good moment for them. 

Third, making themselves sympathetic and highlighting these issues in advance of what’s likely to be an adverse ruling for them in the Janus case later this spring at the Supreme Court is smart. These strikes are putting pay first and foremost in people’s minds, not collective bargaining by teachers, which is less sympathetic and splits even Democrats. I mean seriously, look at press like this.

Fourth, these big strikes work for them when done right. Karen Lewis showed that in Chicago and these recent ones follow suit. And the unions are stronger when they’re on offense about things like this than defense over personnel polices and issues like that. Plus, it obscures other issues that case friction within the union. For instance misalignment between national leadership and the rank and file over hot button issues like discipline takes a back seat to the immediacy of stuff like this.

John White: 

While Washington investigates Facebook data and Russian bots, the best shield most Americans have to fight off propaganda is our capacity to make sense of what we read. A literate citizenry is a matter of national defense.

The GAO has weighed in on school discipline disparities.

Utah now has a free range parenting law – will other states do the same thing?

Robin Lake – who is something of an ed policy superhero herself, tells LAUSD to stop looking for one.

NGA’s Stephen Parker on governors’ role on ESSA going forward.

Howard University students continue pushing back on their administration.

New leader at Data Quality Campaign.

Check out KIPP’s alumni survey. More here.

Amazon dropping TenMarks.

Tim Shriver, Terry MacAuliffe, and Karen Pittman at Aspen Institute on Friday to talk SEL.  Live event and webcast.

Everyone can relate to this bear wanting to get a few more winks in.