Gary Busey In The DeVos Debate! Plus Mead On Choice, Aldeman On Choice And Pensions, C4C On DACA, College Champions, Microaggressions, Hess On Race And Education, Teaching Quality On Campus, Buses! More!

Sara Mead on inter district choice – and Michigan! Chad Aldeman on the ins and outs of how charter schools interact with teacher retirement systems in the states.

Betsy DeVos is invested in a Gary Busey film about a Christian summer camp (Busey’s character is named Cujo) and she is apparently an oyster cracker mogul. Also YETI coolers. And the Cubs!

Here’s Busey discussing hobbits. Because it’s Friday.

More immediately, with Trump nominees getting through despite various issues and flags DeVos is emerging as a prime target to rough up the new President. The hearing created that opportunity and there is a full court press underway with quite organized opposition. So far the Rs are unified but Vice President Pence should probably stay close to D.C. when they vote.

Chiefs for Change on DACA. 

Higher education teaching and research – what’s the relationship? The always interesting Figlio is on it.

Lit review and construct questions about “microaggressions.

Rick Hess on an event he hosted this week to discuss race in the education sector:

There was a willingness to talk frankly but in measured tones about disagreements. Robert Pondiscio of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute pointed out that, for more than a decade, education reform has been approached as a race-based endeavor and questioned the wisdom and the desirability of this shift. After all, a good chunk of (mostly right-leaning) Americans are opposed to race-based policy. They regard affirmative action and racially targeted programs as divisive and an affront to constitutional guarantees that all citizens will be treated equally. Many others, obviously, think race-conscious policies are essential if “equal protection” is to be more than a hollow phrase. That disagreement frames so much of the current debate in school reform, and we need more blunt, civil, and face-to-face discussion on this score.

Yes. But. Leave aside that the data are pretty clear that while class is an enormous driver of outcomes in American life, race exerts its own independent effects independent of class. More fundamentally, this take offers less analytic leverage on the political problem than it seems.

I’ve worked on equity and achievement gap issues since the 1990s but because I think accountability is necessary in a sprawling $650b sector and that poor people should have more control over their children’s education it’s frequently assumed I’m “conservative” or right-leaning when in fact my politics are mostly left-leaning and/or libertarian. If you support rigorous curriculum like Core Knowledge that’s somehow conservative. But supporting keeping poor kids trapped in crappy schools makes you progressive – a progressive hero if you do it vigorously enough.

I’d also be careful assuming that just because someone is opposed to affirmative action programs, for instance, that they are also opposed to accountability schemes that focus on race or income. President Bush, anyone? Conversely, there are plenty of people in favor of affirmative action who are nonetheless opposed to race-based accountability systems for K-12 schools. And plenty of people’s views seem to change when the politics do. I’m not saying there is not room for principled disagreement and Robert raises useful cautions. But, at the core, it could be that education politics are just a faddish and muddled special-interest driven disaster as much as that there are simply misunderstandings or ideological misalignment here.

Said Howard Fuller at the same event:

Fuller argued that ideological line-drawing frequently misses the mark. To him, our “public school system” is really just a “delivery system” for public education. Fuller said, “Just because I don’t support the traditional delivery system doesn’t mean I’m an enemy of public education.” He elaborated, “I’m not committed to an institutional arrangement, charter schools or any of that. If you do, you become a protector of the status quo. You have to be committed to the purpose, which is educating the public.”

Conservative privatizer!

NAATE on teachers and student-centered design. Here’s a lot of people talking about personalized learning at a recent Pearson conference. 

The College Champions initiative of Classroom Champions* is underway.

School buses and seat belts is a long running and complicated debate.

Today in really big avalanches. Here’s Amanda Shires doing Leonard Cohen on ukulele. Her new album is fantastic, by the way.

*Disc: I’m on the International Board of Directors.

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