When The Narrative Doesn’t Fit: Trump And Education Reform Or CIA Dogs And Discipline, Internships, Karim Ani On OER And Bryce Harper, Magee, Kingsland, Chalking News, Bears And Unicorns

At U.S. News I take a look at internships, should they all be paid in all sectors of the economy?

Interesting! New Mexico calling out AFT on PARCC ties.* (This does seem like the kind of story the financial press would have a field day with.)

Karim Kai Ani is writing letters to friends on various issues and questions. This one (to me) is about how philanthropy could help get free and open resources to where they need to be on the quality side. Also features Bryce Harper!

Hey kids! No college degree? No problem! Get badged or boot camped or something and head to Silicon Valley. Gates, Zuckerberg, and Jobs didn’t have one! Or, well, maybe that’s not such a hot idea. Turns out they like degrees there, too. Again, when people  start telling  you not to do something that worked for them, at least be suspicious.

Michael Magee on the conversation we should be having in education. (Problem is, you could have basically written this same op-ed in 2006. This isn’t a divorce, it’s the Hundred Years’ War). Neerav Kingsland on his first nine months as a grant maker. At Emory most communication now apparently via chalk. All this can be yours for just $50k a year! We’re not good at teaching sex ed.

Here’s a story about authentic assessment for dogs:

That was one reason the school, which educates nearly 1,700 students in Ashburn, played host to a CIA dog team for a training exercise while students were away for spring break last week, according to the Loudoun County school system. But the choice to go to a public school for the quiet exercise has led to an only-in-Washington embarrassment for the elite spy agency, which left explosive material behind in the engine compartment of a school bus that then shuttled special-needs schoolchildren for two days this week.

A mechanic discovered and removed the explosive putty — which county Supervisor Koran Saines (D-Sterling) said was the demolition explosive C-4 — during a routine bus maintenance check Wednesday.

OK, bonkers. But there is more!

It is unclear what, if any, sanction a CIA employee would face for leaving the explosives behind, and a Loudoun fire department spokeswoman said officials determined that there was no crime involved. But having explosive materials on a school bus or on school grounds normally would lead to serious consequences for a student ora teacher, even if it was an accident, advocates for reforming school discipline policies said.

“If this had been a young person, they probably would have been arrested and most certainly would have been suspended from school — and they would have had their education disrupted substantially,” said Thena Robinson-Mock, a lawyer for the Advancement Project, a national organization that advocates for an end to harsh school discipline policies.

Robinson-Mock pointed to incidents in which students have been arrested even though no crime was committed and no one was in danger, such as when Texas teen Ahmed Mohamed brought a homemade clock to his high school. Other students have been suspended, expelled or arrested for chewing a pastry into the shape of a gun, having a toy gun on a bus and having a knife in a gym bag that was used for equipment maintenance.

“We’re holding young people, particularly children of color, to a very different standard,” Robinson-Mock said.

Yeah, right! Wait, no, what?  Yes, school discipline lacks nuance, needs reform, and there are serious racial disparities in how students are treated. But this is about CIA explosives. If you’re trying to convince a skeptical public about the merits of ideas like restorative justice then you don’t want your ideas and “explosives” in the same sentence. The same paragraph. Really the same article if you can avoid it. We’re talking here about C-4. C-4! In a situation like that yes law enforcement, yes discipline! (Sometimes it’s OK to tell a reporter, “that really isn’t a good example of what I’m talking about” rather than trying to fit the narrative).

And, by the way, shouldn’t the dog be held accountable here too? Supposed to smell that stuff, right?

Robert Pondiscio with an interesting look at education reform in the age of Trump.

But it’s well past time to start thinking seriously about education reform in the Trump era. Even if 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue becomes the one piece of real estate destined never to be festooned with the candidate’s surname, the restive 2016 campaign should serve as a wake-up call. Broad swaths of Americans feel disconnected from public institutions and are convinced policymakers don’t understand or much care about them.

Education policy has done little to bridge that divide. When downwardly mobile white, working-class Americans hear us talking about education reform, it’s a fair bet they don’t think we’re talking about them and their children. And they’re not mistaken. The priorities and language of reformers – achievement gaps, no-excuses schools, social justice and the “civil rights issue of our generation” – betrays a focus on fixing schools attended by urban, low-income families of color.

Cynthia Tucker makes some of the same points.

Sure, I’m all for clever education policy ideas from national candidates. But is this the real issue with Trump voters – or more specifically the swath of Trump voters who are concerned about stagnating wages, dislocation from trade, and that vein of issues? Those people are concerned with effects of various polices now, they’re not interested in what our education system should look like in 10 years, what choices they might have made, or a debate about who should go to college. This has been a problem for years that is now coming to the surface. Policies that carry generalized benefits, for instance trade and immigration, also carry acute costs for some. There has been inattention to those costs, especially from those benefiting most, and the political effect of that is not going to be addressed through a better education reform policy. It’s going to be addressed by dealing with those pain points. Put more bluntly, if your factory moved to Mexico and turned your life upside down you don’t want someone telling you that better education or better policies might have made things different for you – you want some help now.  Again, sometimes the narrative doesn’t fit!

Bears playing in water. My kids really want one of these unicorns.

*BW has consulted for PARCC.

One Reply to “When The Narrative Doesn’t Fit: Trump And Education Reform Or CIA Dogs And Discipline, Internships, Karim Ani On OER And Bryce Harper, Magee, Kingsland, Chalking News, Bears And Unicorns”

  1. Wait until those Trump voters see what happens to their children under the new and improved policies. Someone might pay Hanushek to translate his studies on the economic impact of improved (versus stagnant) NAEP scores into language the folks can understand!

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