Guidera To Virginia…Plus Bad Lessons, Bad Birds, And Microschools…

ICYMI – here’s the Eduwonk ‘In and Out’ List. 

Aimee Guidera is the new Secretary of Education in Virginia. This is significant on a few levels. She’s not an ideologue, so it suggests that the narrative about Youngkin and education may need some refinement. And she’s a reformer who believes in data-informed policymaking. The quality of the talent seeking this role is a good sign as well.

I didn’t vote for Youngkin. But there is a lot of work to be done on Virginia’s schools on a few fronts, including accountability and choice for parents, and Guidera is not the kind of person you appoint if you’re not trying to do that work in a serious and bipartisan way. Great pick.

Julie Squire on microschools.

During the pandemic, many parents in New York City turned to microschools and learning pods. Policy conditions, however, are inhospitable to sustaining them for the long term. Without reforms, they are unlikely to play a robust role in NYC’s education landscape.

I mean…just don’t do stuff like this. C’mon…

A Watkins Elementary School staff member told third-graders in library class to reenact scenes from the Holocaust, directing them to dig their classmates’ mass graves and simulate shooting the victims, according to an email from the school’s principal. The instructor was placed on leave Friday.

She allegedly assigned specific roles to students. She cast one student as Adolf Hitler, according to an email from Watkins Elementary School Principal MScott Berkowitz to the third-graders’ parents.

Not surprisingly,

….the child instructed to portray Hitler is “not doing well at all” and other kids are struggling as well, based on conversations she has had with other parents.

Apparently the educator involved is not some random, rather she’s a library specialist and an AFT delegate.

We talk around here sometimes about how teachers need better training and more support. But this…this is not about training or curriculum. Seems like there is something you could ask during hiring to ascertain basic judgement (and also background check better, apparently this person previously lost their license in a different state).

Friends are important, we’ve discussed that around here. A look, via UVA, at  friends wrt to adolescents:

Allen’s advice to parents is to look to the quality of their teen’s friendships. If they are good and stable friendships, even if there is conflict in the household, “that really matters.”

The time to be concerned is when the opposite is happening.

“If you’re getting along well with them, but they don’t really have friendships, or their friendships never last more than a month or two and there’s lots of conflict, that’s actually a reason to be concerned, even though it seems like they’re getting along just fine at home. What’s going on outside the home is critical,” he said.

This barely counts as an education story but close enough: A foul (fowl?) mouthed bird showed up at a school,

Imel said the bird wasn’t aggressive at all and seemed to love the kids.

“It landed on some people’s heads,” she said.

And, she added, it spoke. The bird could say, “What’s up?” and “I’m fine” and “a lot of swear words.”

Blue Christmas.