Public Relationists Ascendant! Please Sir, May I Have Some Policy…Sara Mead Is Going To Clean You Out! Biddle With Rights Talk, Aldeman Talks Pensions (Pensions Are The Plumbing), Life Advice From Tilson, Whistleblowing Or Bullying? Bellwether In Rock Videos.

Quick primer to understanding most education debates. If you look at them from the perspective of, “is this good or bad for kids, or does this matter to kids?” you’ll constantly be baffled by what is going down. If, by contrast, you look at it through the lens of public relations – is this good for the “system” as it currently exists, vested interests or stakeholders (and those can include reform interests), or various political interests then there is a logic to most of this.  We’ve discussed this before but as debates about ESSA accountability break out good to bear in mind.

RiShawn Biddle and Jeremy Lott call for right to teach laws. They pinpoint some real problems but I think I’d prefer ‘right to hire’ as the framing. The problem now is people think teachers have a right to teach, rather than it being an important earned trust. I’ve literally heard public officials says, “but that person who really wants to teach, who are we to say they can’t.” I don’t think anyone has a right to teach – it’s an important job! School administrators should have more latitude about who to hire for that important job – especially considering the convergence of research around the finding that there are greater differences within various routes into teaching than between them. But, that’s a right to hire, not a right to teach.

May we have some policy please? Just a little…please…The wonks asked plaintively…

First Sara Mead came for your mortgage interest deduction. And you said nothing because you don’t have a mortgage interest deduction. Then she came for your entitlements….

Think education is expensive? Try ignorance. No, wait, I mean try retirement costs. But that’s a crappy bumper sticker. Also pension lawsuit action  in New Jersey:

The court on Thursday delivered a victory Christie when it ruled New Jersey does not owe public-sector retirees cost-of-living payments suspended under a 2011 law. It effectively keeps the state from having its unfunded liability grow by about $17.5 billion.

The case reaches back to a nearly 5-year-old law passed by a Democrat-led Legislature and signed by Christie that suspended cost-of-living adjustments.

This Kansas school finance situation is something else.  Students speak on STEM. Dogs and STEM. Pension action in PA.

Paul Hill on finance comparability. Robin Lake on discipline and autonomy. Steve Robinson is back teaching…about ESSA! Here’s an ESSA implementation tool from CCSSO (pdf). Tom Edsall on economic mobility.

Vote for Smarick!

Whitney Tilson’s life advice to a graduating class of students:

“I’ve thrown a lot at you here, so let me quickly summarize: defense wins championships, work hard, and be nice. If you do these things, I promise you that you’ll lead a long and rewarding life, filled with love, laughter and happiness. It’s yours for the taking.”

Today in confirmation bias: There are a lot of factors in play as to why the teaching force in New Orleans has the demographics it does. But people tend to find the narrative they want and stay with it. That’s why it’s not surprising that a story about the composition of New Orleans’ post-Katrina teaching force devotes one sentence to the role pension policy plays. It’s a big issue, too! Here’s one recruiter active at the time:

A big piece of the “outsider” narrative is, of course, the firing of New Orleans’ teachers in the wake of the flood. There were few alternatives for a school district with no money, few schools and a student (and teacher) population scattered across the south. It was a terrible yet necessary choice and the pot-stirring and political myth-making obscures some hard realities. Subtler factors impacted teachers after the storm as well. One was Louisiana’s teacher pension system. Most charter schools did not participate in the state pension plan – it made no fiscal sense for them to do so. It likewise made little sense for a teacher already covered by the system to move to a nonparticipating school because they would stop earning toward their pension. “If they asked about the pension, I was almost certain to lose the hire” one person involved in staffing new schools after the storm says.

“I still remember a teacher who came in, she had grown up in St. Bernard [Parish], had been a teacher for a number of years and gave a killer sample lesson,” this person recounts. “I would put her in the top 5 percent of teachers I interviewed. I gave her an offer on the spot and she showed immediate excitement. When I followed up with the benefits package she was confused that there was no information about the pension. I watched as her face dropped and her entire demeanor changed when I told her. I knew I had lost her.”

We do a lot of work on the pensions issue but I’m not saying that fixing pensions is some sort of cure-all or even close in NOLA or more generally. Rather, even getting those policies right would leave a lot of important issues unaddressed. But, issues like pensions are the basic plumbing of the sector and when they’re misaligned from larger goals those goals won’t be addressed and the lack of attention to the plumbing is startling.

Whistleblowing or bullying? A lawsuit to figure that question out.

There is a Bellwether team member in this Poison video.

Outsourced Friday Fish Porn.

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