Casey Jones And Schools

That’s the subject of today’s RealClearEducation morning email, which if you subscribe also includes links to some of the top news, commentary, analysis, and reports on the site.  Subscribe here.

Here it is:

Good morning. It’s Friday March 14.

On RealClearEducation today, we have links to news, commentary, and reports from around the education world and we’ll update those throughout the day. We have original commentary by Getting Smart CEO Tom Vander Ark, who lays out problems he sees in the flurry of recent student privacy bills, and the second installment of our Morning Commute with Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO). This time, Polis — still joined by dog Gia — talks about guns in schools and the Common Core.

Today is Pi Day — so like Christmas for math-lovers. It’s also the birthday of Casey Jones, the great railroad man born in 1863. The railroads he rode helped connect this country, close the frontier, and lay the foundation for the country America is today, where people think nothing of flying across the country in just hours.

That connectivity affects education just as it affects everything else. You may have noticed some discussion about the question of whether America needs common standards across all the states. It’s been a national debate since the 1980s and is particularly acute now. Math is math and pi is pi, proponents say. Don’t-tread-on-me local control is a hallmark counter for opponents.

What’s indisputable is that Americans, including teachers, are now more mobile than ever before.* It’s an issue in the standards debate and also matters to teachers. As a new paper by RealClearEducation Executive Editor Andrew Rotherham and Chad Aldeman point out in a new analysis, fewer than one in five teachers now teach in one place and earn a full pension benefit there — important implications for how we think about retirement security for everyone who teaches for just part of their career or moves around.

Legend has it that for a decade after Casey Jones’ famous trainwreck, the imprint of his engine was visible on the embankment it slammed into – a fading reminder of what was. Perhaps it’s worth pausing to think about what aspects of education that seem so immutable today will be largely forgotten tomorrow as the world marches irreversibly forward.

*It is disputable, I should have written it more clearly. As the pension report shows the teacher labor market is changing, the data on all Americans is different.

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