It’s DeVos! Lecture Your Relatives, Donate To Your School, Pearson! Spec Ed, NC Chief Race, Trump’s MO? Happy Thanksgiving!

In U.S. News I offer a Thanksgiving thought counter to the ‘go lecture your backwards relatives or ignore them altogether’ sentiment swirling on social media. People vote for lots of reasons, a lot of people are frustrated and hurting, so maybe go easy? And for all the talk of checking privilege, check yours. Besides, politics is core to how we organize ourselves but there is still so much more to life than politics. Still want to lecture your relatives? OK, do what you want, I offer talking points.

An Opportunity Culture teacher reflects on personalized learning.

Personnel Department: Antwan Wilson coming to DC to be schools CEO. Leaves a big hole in Oakland. Betsy DeVos is very pro-school choice so it’s going to make everyone bonkers but in the big scheme of things pretty establishment pick if she becomes Secretary of Education – as is being reported. I was hoping for Nina Rees, both because she’s talented and because it would be fun to watch the alt-right lose their minds over it. But they might meltdown a bit over DeVos anyway. (Update: DeVos already tamping down the Common Core stuff. She may not have formal political experience but clearly a fast learner!)  More Secretary of Ed news further down.

And we still have a current Secretary of Education! On many issues I can get multiple perspectives and various arguments but honestly one I don’t is corporal punishment in school. I simply cannot wrap my head around willingly consenting for someone else to lay a hand on my child. Yet here we are. John King tries to prod action on that issue with a letter this week. I’m sure this is just more Obama overreach or something…but seriously, hitting kids?

David Leonhardt on Delaware Governor Jack Markell and education.

In some communities “voluntary” school donations are in practice not all that voluntary. The voluntary nature is mentioned just in passing before the request goes out or you get a yard sign or other signal when you contribute. The NYT Ethicist looks at that question. These donations stem from a few causes, including force of habit and poorly designed school finance schemes that underfund schools, cause workarounds in some communities, or leave too little discretionary dollars for teachers or principals. But it’s worth pausing and reflecting on how various approaches to this might be experienced by families struggling to make ends meet – either temporarily because of a life event or as an ongoing situation.

This story conflates standards and test but overall is a pretty straightforward look at Pearson and its North American situation, challenges, opportunities. Not sure why it’s being hailed as a hit piece, pretty pedestrian business story.

This story tries to make sense of Donald Trump’s education plans. Ha ha ha ha ha. It’s just too soon to tell beyond some broad directional signals (pdf).

Here’s an interesting amicus brief (pdf) in the upcoming special education case. North Carolina schools chief election fallout.

Two things are true at once: Better integration of schools is an important goal, but it’s complicated and the idea that parents are just clamoring for it is misleading of the complicated realities.

“Corporate education reformer” is a term that makes no sense when you unpack it but has sort of stuck. Welcome to the age of Trump, I guess. Here CNN just deploys it like an official title when discussing Michelle Rhee. Could make for a fun correction, “the previous version of this story referred to Rhee as corporate education reformer. There is no such thing…”

Conor Wililams is worried about Donald Trump. A big debate has broken out in the Democratic part of the education world about the rightness or wrongness of working for the administration of Donald Trump. DFER came down hard in the “no” camp but Michelle Rhee said that while she wasn’t pursuing a role “wishing for [Trump’s] failure is wanting for the failure of millions of American children.”

It seems like two ideas are getting conflated in this debate:

1) Arguing against the President-elect’s policies or rhetoric, or any presidents proposals or rhetoric, is patriotic. Dissent and debate is core to the American political tradition. It might be especially important now.

2) Wishing the president’s failure though, which has become something of the norm the past few decades as politics has become more of a rooting sport than battle of ideas, seems decidedly less patriotic. The speculation about what possible policy debacle might be most advantageous for Democrats in the next few years (“let’s hope he privatizes Medicaid!”) has the same sour flavor as Republican jubilation about how health care might get all screwed up under President Obama. In all these cases actual people are hurt as Washington’s factions vie for an edge. Should’t we want all our presidents to succeed – in the create shared progress way – regardless of our personal taste for them and however vigorously we might oppose some of their various policies and ideas?

In other words, if you’re not a Trump supporter then perhaps skepticism or deep concern about Trump should be balanced with a quiet hope to be genuinely surprised.

So should Democrats go work in a Trump Administration? That’s not so straightforward. Seems like everyone has to decide for themselves and different conclusions are justifiable. (The arguments are pretty obvious on both sides and will change few minds.) On education, it is hard to square some of what Trump has suggested he wants to do related to education with progressivism or liberalism. On the other hand, per above, who knows? My basic sense is that Trump is a real estate developer, many real estate developers fly by the seat of the pants, Trump flies by the seat of his pants in politics so far, too. Earlier this month Trump’s supporters were chanting “look her up” now they’re going after him for protecting Secretary Clinton. It’s a weird time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

One Reply to “It’s DeVos! Lecture Your Relatives, Donate To Your School, Pearson! Spec Ed, NC Chief Race, Trump’s MO? Happy Thanksgiving!”

  1. As an Oakland resident, I’m disappointed to see Antwan leave although not quite surprised to be honest. Superintendent in Oakland is a very challenging job and now he can move into a role where he answers to a single person rather than a Board.

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