List of Blogs!

From Curmudgucation (Retired English teacher Peter Greene in PA):

(GFB wrote none of this)
The Curmudgureading List
Posted: 27 Jan 2021 11:50 AM PST

I was recently reminded that it has been a while since I’ve done one of these. The edublogging universe has, I think, shrunk a bit in the last year or two, which is not to say that there aren’t still hundreds out there. But lots of folks come and go, and I drop blogs from the list on the side when they’ve gone dormant for more than a few months. There has also been a shift to newsletters and substacks and podcasting, as well as, I think, a loss of more conservative voices in support of public ed.  I’m going to stick to good old fashioned web-based education policy text here, mostly, with blogs, magazine style sites, and a few key organizations. A web presence is not an easy thing to maintain, but here’s what’s out there right now that’s worth reading–or at least, that I know about. 
Recommendations always gratefully accepted.
Let me know what I missed.

Accountabaloney
Florida-centric blog is one of the best-looking blogs around. This duo stays on top of Florida’s education shenanigans, which is no small feat.

Affective Living
Chase Mielke writes this blog that focuses on teacher burnout. Practical and frequently helpful.

Alfie Kohn
Infrequent blogger, but always interesting with plenty of resources, particularly if you’re interested in getting away from grading and testing.

Bellowings
Akil Bello is a testing expert and a good follow on Twitter. While he blogs infrequently, it’s always worthwhile, and this is one of those blogs that’s worth a stroll through the archives, particularly if you’re reading up on big standardized tests.

Big Education Ape
After all these years, still king of the edu-blog aggregators. He’ll give you a taste and a link  and do not discount the value of the art that he adds. 

Bust-ED Pencils 
 One of the few (okay, two podcasts on the list. Passionate and progressive, hosted by Dr. Timothy Slekar. All of the big guns have stopped by at one time or another.

Blue Cereal Education  
Formerly based in OK, he’s now hunkered down in Indiana. Lots of issues covered, but he’s also working his way through Supreme Court cases dealing with church and state separation.

Bright Lights, Small City
Sarah Lahm keeps an eye on Minneapolis schools, policy and politics. It’s yet another regional stage where reformster ideas go for their out of town trial runs.

Caffeinated Rage
North Carolina is the home base for this prolific look at education policy, politics, and public education.

Citizen Teacher
Lisa Eddy taught ELA for 25 years, collected a variety of awards, and just generally worked her buns off. Now she cranks out frequent posts focusing on education and politics

Class Size Matters 
A site devoted to exactly that issue. Loads of good materials here to support the obvious.

Classroom Q&A with Larry Ferlazzo
One of the few remaining blogs at Education Week, Ferlazzo talks about pedagogical practicalities and also policy and politics and ethics in the classroom

Cloaking Inequity
The blog of Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig. Lots of smart, researched info, much of it organized by topic.

 Dad Gone Wild
TC Weber covers Tennessee thoroughly and with sharp wit and pithy quotes. “Nobody reads it. Everybody quotes it.”

DCulberhouse
“Engaging in conversations around education and leadership,” and sometimes getting into some heavy but interesting stuff about systems and complexity. 

Defending the Early Years
Research and advocacy for the littles. I’m a big fan of this organization.

Deutsch29
I call her the indispensable Mercedes Schneider. A research monster and prolific writer, even as she does the classroom work. When you’re looking for facts and the background connections, all roads lead here.

Diane Ravitch
If you read me, you probably read Ravitch, whose blog is like the town square for all the advocates for public education. The sheer volume of posts can be daunting, but because she is so very generous with her platform and audience, there is no better place to “meet” all the people writing about public education .

Eclectablog
The source for Michigan news from a progressive perspective. That includes education in the DeVos stomping grounds. Mitchell Robinson writes for these folks.

Ed in the Apple
All about the intersection of education and politics in New York.

Ed Politics
A web magazine covering te political angles. Good place to find Jeff Bryant, a major independent pro-public ed journalist.

Educolor
“EduColor has been at the forefront of anti-racist, culturally competent, justice-centered conversations since its inception in 2014.” 

Fairtest
The organization advocating to keep testing fair and open and, well, less. 

Finding Common Ground
Another EdWeek blog, this by Peter DeWitt, who takes a tempered and thoughtful approach to the issues of the day.

Fourth Generation Teacher
I don’t go back to this blog often enough, but when I do, I always find thoughtful, insightful pieces about the teaching life.

Fred Klonsky
Politics, unions, and education with a Chicago flavor.

Gadfly on the Wall
Nobody gets more fired up than my fellow Pennsylvanian Steven Singer. Unabashedly progressive, pro-union, pro-teacher and pretty fiery about all of it. 

Gary Rubinstein’s Blog Rubinstein is a math teacher, proof that sometimes Teach for America products grow up to be real teachers. He’s been at the blogging work for a long time. He writes about the craft and occasionally digs into the data to debunk popular reformster ideas.

G F Brandenburg’s Blog
A retired math teacher who collects plenty of good reads from around the web along with his own excellent insights. Another blogger who’s been at this for a while.


Grumpy Old Teache
National education perspectives with the kind of attitude you know I appreciate.

Hack Education
If you have even a passing interest in education technology, Audrey Watters is required reading. Nobody is more knowledgable, more insightful, more adept at connecting the dots, or more willing to call bullshit. Required reading.

Have You Heard
The other podcast on the list (though they always post a transcript as well for us reader types). Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire are great interviewers, and this podcast brings some great people to the mic, along with some excellent insights from the hosts.

In the Public Interes
A site and organization with a wide-ranging public interest, and that includes keeping an eye on the privatization of public education.

Jan RessegerThoughtful, insightful, and always well-sourced look at education policy in the US.

Jersey Jazzman  
Nobody does a better job rendering data (especially financial stuff) in ways that make sense to ordinary mortals.

Just Visiting
Inside Higher Education hosts a variety of bloggers, but John Warner is my only regular read. Warner is particular sharp on the topic of writing.

eystone State Education Coalition
Excellent and thorough roundup of ed policy issues and articles in Pennsylvania.

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice
Well, blog titles don’t come any more accurately descriptive than that.

Larry Lee on Education
Lee is based in Alabama, a state that provides ample opportunity to consider problems in education policy.

Living Dialogue
Anthony Cody’s site has evolved into a far-ranging education magazine covering a wide variety of topics and writers.

Momma Bears
One of the many parent blogs that maintains feisty, skeptical eyes on corporate education reform.

Mr. Fitz
There ought to be more education reality centered comic strips, but at least we have Mr. Fitz

Nancy Bailey’s Education Website
Activist and pro-public school, looking at topics on the national scale. I never miss a post.

National Education Policy Center
Scholarly responses to reformy articles and “papers” and a blog-post-of-the-day. NEPC is just the place to look for solid responses to what you know is wrong.

Network for Public Education
NPE has established itself as a strong advocacy and research group in support of public education. Check out the research papers, or look at the page #AnotherDayAnotherCharterScandal for a catalogue of charter misbehavior.

Notes from the Chalkboard
Justin Parmenter is based in North Carolina, where he periodically ruffles feathers and raises some dust. 

Notes from the Educational Trenches  
“I feel like I’m living in the old fable, ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes.'” Perspective from a classroom teacher.

NYC Educator
He’s been at it a really long time. Sly, snarky and well-versed in the nuts and bolts of education in the city that doesn’t sleep often or well.

Othmar’s Trombone
I couldn’t resist the name. Based in the UK, just so you know some of these issues transcend borders.

Plunderbund
Covering the politics of Ohio, including their crazy-pants ed scene, magazine style.

Politics K-12
EdWeek’s tag team of current ed policy news and the politics attached to it. Always on top of the breaking news.

Public School Shakedown at The Progressive
Remember when every magazine and news organization had an education tab? The Progressive still keeps a stable of quality (education writers (and me)  on tap to write about education.

Radical eyes for equity
Paul Thomas always makes me feel smarter for reading him, but he also knows whart’s what when it comes to comics. 

Rick Hess Straight Up
Another Ed Week blog, this by the education guy from the American Enterprise Institute, so free market ed reform guy, but generally an intellectually honest one. 

School Finance 101
The ins and outs of school finance, with Bruce Baker cutting through the noise. This is where I first learned about how charterization can involve the taxpayers buying the same building multiple times.

School Matters
Longtime observer of the public education scene in Indiana, another hotbed of reformster shenanigans.

Schools Matter
The team of writers here take no prisoners, ever, but they’ve been at this for a while and they do their digging. No sympathy for corporate interests here.

Teacher in a Strange Land
Retired music teacher Nancy Flanagan blogged for years at EdWeek, but a while back decided to strike out on her own so she could write with more freedom. Often personal, always insightful.

Teacher Tom
A pre-school teacher in Seattle offers meditations on education, children, and life. Great look at connections between learning and life’s important lessons.

Tennessee Education Report
Andy Spears knows what’s going on in Tennessee, which is one of the states where ed reformy ideas are road tested. Solid reporting.

The 21st Century Principal
John Robinson has done it all, starting with years as an ELA teacher, so his blog brings together edu-threads from literature to politics to the philosophical underpinnings of the work.

The Answer Sheet
Valerie Strauss’s column at the Washington Post is always on point, and features plenty of good guest stars (Carol Burris often appears). And people answer her emails and phone calls, which means she gets the stuff that most lowly bloggers do not. Plus she’s a pleasantly pro-public school voice at a newspaper that’s not always helpful.

The Jose Vilson
Former NYC math teacher, now grad student, and a heck of a writer. Founding leader of Educolor. What a voice.

The Merrow Report
John Merrow was a leading national education reporter for decades. He’s retired now, but clearly there’s still an itch there.

The Tempered Radical
Bill Ferriter is a teacher and a top-notch PD guy, too. Collaborative teams are his thing, but sometims he just has to speak up about policy and politics.

Tultican
Thomas Ultican sits down and digs deep. In his blog you find many definitive takes that gather everything out there about a particular reformster shenanigans.

When Schools Reopen
This panel of writers is focused on the big issue of the day. When the buildings finally reoppen for good and for real, what could be better?

Wrench in the Gears
Not everybody’s cup of tea, this blog travels way down the global digital data plot, but the research is solid and she often pulls out info you won’t find anywhere else.

VAMboozled
Audrey Amrein-Beardsley is a leading researcher and scholar in the bananas field of VAM. Another blog that rewards deep reading inm the archives.
Published in: on January 28, 2021 at 2:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Democrats Need to Get a Clue About Education!

Peter Greene at Curmudgucation gets it right again, even more when we realize that big business has always been lying about not having enough skilled workers. (see)

Democrats Need A New Theory Of Action
Posted: 28 Dec 2020 07:24 AM PST
For four years, Democrats have had a fairly simple theory of action when it came to education.

Something along the lines of “Good lord, a crazy lady just came into our china shop riding a bull, waving around a flamethrower, and dragging a shark with a head-mounted laser beam; we have to stop her from destroying the place (while pretending that we have a bull and a shark in the back just like hers).” 

Now, of course, that will, thank heavens, no longer fit the circumstances. The Democrats will need a new plan.

Trouble is, the old plan, the one spanning both the Clinton and Obama years, is not a winner. It went, roughly, like this:

The way to fix poverty, racism, injustice, inequity and economic strife is to get a bunch of children to make higher scores on a single narrow standardized test; the best shot at getting this done is to give education amateurs the opportunity to make money doing it.

This was never, ever a good plan.
Ever.
Let me count the ways.
For one thing, education’s ability to fix social injustice is limited. Having a better education will not raise the minimum wage. It will not eradicate poverty. And as we’ve just spent four years having hammered into us, it will not even be sure to make people better thinkers or cleanse them of racism. It will help some people escape the tar pit, but it will not cleanse the pit itself.

And that, of course, is simply talking about education, and that’s not what the Dems theory was about anyway–it was about a mediocre computer-scorable once-a-year test of math and reading. And that was never going to fix a thing. Nobody was going to get a better job because she got a high score on the PARCC. Nobody was ever going to achieve a happier, healthier life just because they’d raised their Big Standardized Test scores by fifty points. Any such score bump was always going to be the result of test prep and test-taker training, and that sort of preparation was always going to come at the expense of real education.

Now, a couple of decades on, all the evidence says that test-centric education didn’t improve society, schools, or the lives of the young humans who passed through the system.

Democrats must also wrestle with the fact that many of the ideas attached to this theory of action were always conservative ideas, always ideas that didn’t belong to traditional Democratic Party stuff at all. 

Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire talk about a “treaty” between Dems and the GOP, and that’s a way to look at how the ed reform movement brought people into each side who weren’t natural fits. The conservative market reform side teamed up with folks who believed choice was a matter of social justice, and that truce held until about four years ago, actually before Trump was elected.

Meanwhile, in Schneider and Berkshire’s telling, Democrats gave up supporting teachers (or at least their unions) while embracing the Thought Leadership of groups like Democrats for Education Reform, a group launched by hedge fund guys who adopted “Democrat” because it seemed like a good way to get the support they needed. Plus (and this seems like it was a thousand years ago) embracing “heroes” like Michelle Rhee, nominally listed as a Democrat, but certainly not acting like one. 

All of this made a perfect soup for feeding neo-liberals. It had the additional effect of seriously muddying the water about what, exactly, Democrats stand for when it comes to public education. The laundry list of ideas now has two problems. One is that they have all been given a long, hard trial, and they’ve failed. The other, which is perhaps worse from a political gamesmanship standpoint, is that they have Trump/DeVos stink all over them. 

But while Dems and the GOP share the problems with the first half of that statement, it’s the Democrats who have to own the second part. The amateur part.

I often complain that the roots of almost all our education woes for the modern reform period come from the empowerment of clueless amateurs, and while it may appear at first glance that both parties are responsible, on closer examination, I’m not so sure.

The GOP position hasn’t been that we need more amateurs and fewer professionals–their stance is that education is being run by the wrong profession. Eli Broad has built his whole edu-brand on the assertion that education doesn’t have education problems, it has business management problems, and that they will best be solved by management professionals.

In some regions, education has been reinterpreted by conservatives as a real estate problem, best solved by real estate professionals. The conservative model calls for education to be properly understood as a business, and as such, run not by elected bozos on a board or by a bunch of teachers, but by visionary CEOs with the power to hire and fire and set the rules and not be tied down by regulations and unions. 

Democrats of the neo-liberal persuasion kind of agree with that last part. And they have taken it a step further by embracing the notion that all it takes to run a school is a vision, with no professional expertise of any sort at all.

I blame Democrats for the whole business of putting un-trained Best and Brightest Ivy Leaguers in classrooms, and the letting them turn around and use their brief classroom visit to establish themselves as “experts” capable of running entire district or even state systems. It takes Democrats to decide that a clueless amateur like David Coleman should be given a chance to impose his vision on the entire nation (and it takes right-tilted folks to see that this is a perfect chance to cash in big time). 

Am I over-simplifying? Sure.

But you get the idea.

Democrats turned their backs on public education and the teaching profession. They decided that virtually every ill in society is caused by teachers with low expectations and lousy standards, and then they jumped on the bandwagon that insisted that somehow all of that could be fixed by making students take a Big Standardized Test and generating a pile of data that could be massaged for any and all purposes (never forget–No Child Left Behind was hailed as a great bi-partisan achievement). I would be far more excited about Biden if at any point in the campaign he had said something along the lines of, “Boy, did we get education policy wrong.”

And I suppose that’s a lot to ask.

But if Democrats are going to launch a new day in education, they have a lot to turn their backs on, along with a pressing need for a new theory of action.
They need to reject the concept of an entire system built on the flawed foundation of a single standardized test. Operating with flawed data is, in fact, worse than no data at all, and for decades ed policy has been driven by folks looking for their car keys under a lamppost hundreds of feet away from where the keys were dropped because “the light’s better over here.”

They need to embrace the notion that teachers are, in fact, the pre-eminent experts in the field of education.

They need to accept that while education can be a powerful engine for pulling against the forces of inequity and injustice, but those forces also shape the environment within which schools must work.

 They need to stop listening to amateurs. Success in other fields does not qualify someone to set education policy. Cruising through a classroom for two years does not make someone an education expert. Everyone who ever went to the doctor is not a medical expert, everyone who ever had their car worked on is not a mechanic, and everyone who ever went to school is not an education expert. Doesn’t mean they can’t add something to the conversation, but they shouldn’t be leading it.

They need to grasp that schools are not businesses. And not only are schools not businesses, but their primary function is not to supply businesses with useful worker bees. If they want to run multiple parallel education systems with charters and vouchers and all the rest, they need to face up to properly funding it. If they won’t do that, then they need to shut up about choicey policies.

“We can run three or four school systems for the cost of one” was always a lie, and it’s time to stop pretending otherwise. Otherwise school choice is just one more unfunded mandate.
They need to accept that privatized school systems have not come up with anything new, revolutionary, or previously undiscovered about education. But they have come up with some clever new ways to waste and make off with taxpayer money.

Listen to teachers. Listen to parents in the community served by the school. Commit to a search for long term solutions instead of quick fixy silver bullets. And maybe become a force for public education slightly more useful than simply fending off a crazy lady with a flamethrower. 



I sure hope Betsy DeVos goes to jail!

Read why at Curmudgucation:

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/ORjvzd/~3/KwKCooM3p8c/devos-and-department-may-face-increased.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email

But I bet she gets off with merely a fine, which she could pay out of change in her sofa. But one would wish that she would actually be imprisoned for helping to defraud thousands of students who ended up owing enormous sums to fraudulent, for-profit universities and trade schools; and for refusing to stop doing so, repeatedly. If she is fined, I bet that #45 finds a way to overturn it or pay for it out of the general treasury — that is, making it so that WE the taxpayers have to pay DeVos’ fine.

 

Curmudgucation on the NAEP rollout

If you’ve noticed, I’m a great admirer of blogger and retired teacher Peter Greene and his column, Curmudgucation. He has a great column today (as he does nearly every day) on the foolishness of Betsy Devos’ statements about the NAEP results. I urge you to read it. He points out that if anything, the current year’s results, which aren’t good, are in great part the responsibility of DeVos herself and her policies!

A couple of excerpts:

“I wasn’t going to write about NAEP for any number of reasons, but then I happened to look at Betsy DeVos’s comments on this year’s results and, well, this whole blood pressure thing happened. So to get my numbers back down, I’m going to talk through the nonsense she issued forth, notable for its disconnection from reality, its devotion to public education bashing, and, most of all, its bizarre display of an amnesia-fueled dismissal of responsibility for any hand in the results of the Nation’s Report Card. …

“[then a quote from DeVos:]… For more than three decades, I—and many others—have said that America’s antiquated approach to education fails too many kids.

“No. For three decades you and many others have used aggressive chicken littling as leverage to remake education in your preferred image. You said, “Let us have our way and NAEP scores will shoot up like daisies in springtime.” Do not even pretend to suggest that you have somehow been hammering fruitlessly on the doors of education, wailing your warnings and being ignored. The current status quo in education is yours. You built it and you own it and you don’t get to pretend that’s not true as a way to avoid accountability for the results.

Peter Greene on Raising Children, Not Meat Widgets

Peter Greene of Curmudgucation is the most down-to-earth and level-headed blogger I know of, and he writes wonderfully. One of his columns today has to do with the beauty and awe of being a parent, watching your children going up and moving out and raising their own kids someday, probably far away from you.

He recently retired from teaching at age 60 or so, and has two 20-month old kids. He is appalled at how billionaires and CEOs and engineers are trying to force kindergarteners to do things that used to be taught in 2nd or 3rd grade.

Read his column.

Why do we need charter schools?

Peter Greene, the Curmudgucator, hits the nail right on the head about why charter schools are necessary.

(Hint: it’s not for making schools better!)

A quote:

So, really– what do we need charters for?

Improvements in quality, choice, innovation, instruction, programs– all of it can be accomplished in a public school system. All of these ideas for improving education could be applied to public schools, which would have the additional advantage of bringing the improvements to ALL students instead of a small group.

Of course, part of the challenge would be that changes and reforms would have to be discussed, debated and deployed publicly. A person who wanted, say, to subject non-wealthy non-white students to boot camp style No Excuses education would have to convince the taxpayers that it was a good idea. It’s possible that only charters can provide an opportunity for one driven visionary to impose his or her ideas on a school without being answerable to anyone. But that would be less like a democratic institution and more like a small-scale dictatorship. It’s not a very admirable goal– and anyway, the invention of mayoral control has once again made it possible to establish small scholastic dictatorships without resorting to charters. This, too, we can accomplish without charter schools.

There isn’t anything on this list of goals that we actually need charter skills to accomplish.

Is there any other goal I’m forgetting to– oh, wait a minute.

Redirecting Tax Dollars

Charter schools do accomplish one goal that can’t be achieved by public schools– they manage to redirect public tax dollars into the pockets of private corporations, charter operating companies, corporate shareholders, and guys who just figured they’d make some money in the charter biz.

(my emphasis – gfb)

The Curmudgeon Cracks Open Some of the Lies and Half-Truths Behind Arne Duncan and Common Core

(Yet another old post from April 2014 that never made it out. By the way, I still think that Peter Greene, who writes ‘Curmudgucation’, has the most original, pithiest, and most right-on-the-money thoughts anywhere on education and social policy that I have read anywhere.)

Read this nuanced treatment of the mendacity and partial truths used by Arne Duncan in defending the so-called Common Core.
http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2014/04/just-how-federal-are-core-standards.html?m=1

Peter Greene of Curmudgucation takes on the Social Justice Argument about Education Reform

Peter Greene may be the best blogger in America. Please read his latest post on how education reform deals with social justice. It’s long but, as always, excellent.

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