Odds & Ends: Springtime For Testing? Liberals, Anti-Racism, & Ed, Harvard Ed In The Dock?

I haven’t seen a really good tick tok on how the testing wavier plan came about, but if you have access this Bloomberg Government “Biden ‘Middle Ground’ on School Testing Fails to Please Everyone” article is a useful review of the bidding. Short version: Frustration from those who wanted a blanket waiver, some skepticism about how the actual waivers will go down from education civil rights groups. Cynics worry this is the easy victory and the waivers will be messy when no one is looking. Given how this could have gone, though, seems OK to be a little pleased?

Matt Ygelsias in Washington Post Outlook, I assume this coming weekend, on liberalism and anti-racism. Has education community implications. Gets at the complicated contradiction between the idea that racism is a key element of broad social problems and the idea that we should constrict how we think about and talk about racism:

By all means, let’s dispense with the frustrating and at times hypocritical meta-debate about “free speech” (in the context of racism) and “cancel culture.” But the newly fashionable anti-racist thinking contains a mix of good ideas and bad ones — including some that are dangerously counterproductive for the people they are intended to help. Bland agreement that “racism is bad” does not suffice when racism is reconceptualized as an abstract attribute of policies and systems, as opposed to bigoted individual behaviors. Understanding complicated social phenomena is difficult. Solving social problems, almost all of which involve race, is contentious. Liberals can’t respond by ceding huge swaths of the political landscape to the hardcore right — or to whichever activist happens to have most loudly proclaimed their own anti-racism.

Popular Harvard education class cancelled and put on new rotation:

Given that Harvard undergrads tend to lean wealthy (and may consequently have blind spots on these issues), removing this opportunity to probe the socioeconomic disparities plaguing public education is disastrous.