Ravitch cites Yohuru Williams: Why education privatization is not what Dr. King wanted

January 21, 2015

I can’t improve on this with explanation, really, so I’ll just quote completely the post from Diane Ravitch at her blog.  Ravitch wrote:

Yohuru Williams, professor of history at Fairfield University, has written a brilliant and powerful piece about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the current effort to privatize large sectors of public education, especially in urban districts.

He scoffs at the idea that turning public schools over to private management is “the civil rights issue of our time,” as so many “reformers” say. He cites a number of statements by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that claim the mantle of civil rights for policies that actually exacerbate segregation.

He cites Dr. King at length to show that he would  not have supported the use of standardized testing as a means of “reform.”

Dr. Williams writes:

Dr. Yohuru R. Williams, Professor of History, Fairfield University

Dr. Yohuru R. Williams, Professor of History, Fairfield University

“We must remember,” King warned, “that intelligence is not enough . . . Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” He asserted, “The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.”

King saw the goal of education as more than performance on high-stakes tests or the acquisition of job skills or career competencies. He saw it as the cornerstone of free thought and the use of knowledge in the public interest. For King, the lofty goal of education was not just to make a living but also to make the world a better place by using that production of knowledge for good. “To save man from the morass of propaganda,” King opined, “is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.” The notion that privatization can foster equality is fiction.

Dr. King understood the dangers of privatization, writes Dr. Williams:

King saw how school privatization was used to maintain segregation in Georgia. He witnessed the insidious efforts of Eugene Talmadge’s son, Herman, a distinguished lawyer, who succeeded his father in the governor’s office. Herman Talmadge created what became known as the “private-school plan.” In 1953, before the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, Talmadge proposed an amendment to the Georgia Constitution to empower the general assembly to privatize the state’s public education system. “We can maintain separate schools regardless of the US Supreme Court,” Talmadge advised his colleagues, “by reverting to a private system, subsidizing the child rather than the political subdivision.” The plan was simple. If the Supreme Court decided, as it eventually did in Brown, to mandate desegregation, the state would close the schools and issue vouchers to allowing students to enroll in segregated private schools.

What we are seeing in the name of “reform” today is the same plan with slight modifications: brand schools as low-performing factories of failure, encourage privatization, and leave the vast majority of students in underfunded, highly stigmatized public schools.

This effort will create an America that looks more like the 1967 Kerner Commission’s forecast, two societies separate and unequal, than Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community.

Dr. Williams says that the corporate education reform movement is the opposite of what Dr. King sought:

For King, the Beloved Community was a global vision of human cooperation and understanding where all peoples could share in the abundant resources of the planet. He believed that universal standards of human decency could be used to challenge the existence of poverty, famine, and economic displacement in all of its forms. A celebration of achievement and an appreciation of fraternity would blot out racism, discrimination, and distinctions of any kind that sought to divide rather than elevate people—no matter what race, religion, or test score. The Beloved Community promoted international cooperation over competition. The goal of education should be not to measure our progress against the world but to harness our combined intelligence to triumph over the great social, scientific, humanistic, and environmental issues of our time.

While it seeks to claim the mantle of the movement and Dr. King’s legacy, corporate education reform is rooted in fear, fired by competition and driven by division. It seeks to undermine community rather than build it and, for this reason, it is the ultimate betrayal of the goals and values of the movement.

Real triumph over educational inequalities can only come from a deeper investment in our schools and communities and a true commitment to tackling poverty, segregation, and issues affecting students with special needs and bilingual education. The Beloved Community is to be found not in the segregated citadels of private schools but in a well-funded system of public education, free and open to all—affirming our commitment to democracy and justice and our commitment to the dignity and worth of our greatest resource, our youth.

When President Obama talks about “the long haul,” part of that involves increasing the investment in our public schools.  Are we up for that?

Be sure to check Dr. Ravitch’s blog for comments — she gets more readership than I.  But feel free to comment here!

Dr. Diane Ravitch. Photo by Ed Darrell

Dr. Diane Ravitch. Photo by Ed Darrell


Education blogs: The second hundred most influential

August 30, 2013

Classroom blogs from David Reese Elementary in California -- how many classroom blogs made the lists of 200 most influential education blogs?  I'll guess it was zero.  Am I wrong?

Classroom blogs from David Reese Elementary in California — how many classroom blogs made the lists of 200 most influential education blogs? I’ll guess it was zero. Am I wrong? [Yes, I’m wrong. See Mr. Salsich’s classroom blog, for example.]

Round 2 of influential education blogs, from Onalytical.  Between this list, and the list of the top 100, which of your favorite and influential education blogs are NOT listed?  Numbers 101 to 200:

Further to our ranking of education blogs published last week, here is the list of the top 101 to 200 most influential education blogs, ordered by their Onalytica Influence Index.

Rank Name Influence Popularity Over-Influence
101 Research in Practice 14.2 10.3 1.0
102 Education Intelligence Agency 14.0 6.4 1.2
103 Stump The Teacher 13.8 20.5 0.6
104 Science teacher 13.8 10.3 1.0
105 LEADING IS LEARNING. 13.7 2.6 1.5
106 Educational Technology Guy 13.6 12.8 0.8
107 All Things Education 13.6 7.7 1.1
108 Doug Belshaw 13.4 15.4 0.8
109 English Raven 13.3 14.1 0.8
110 Hooked on Innovation 13.2 7.7 1.0
111 The Edge of Tomorrow 13.2 5.1 1.2
112 happy hooligans 13.1 3.8 1.3
113 Teach Preschool 12.8 5.1 1.2
114 Teach Children Well 12.8 10.3 0.9
115 The 21st Century Principal 12.6 7.7 1.0
116 Ed & Workforce Dems 12.6 5.1 1.2
117 21st Century Fluency Project 12.5 10.3 0.9
118 Fair Languages 12.5 3.8 1.3
119 educationrealist 12.4 6.4 1.1
120 Steve Sailer: iSteve 12.4 5.1 1.2
121 Kirsten Winkler 12.4 6.4 1.1
122 100 Scope Notes 12.4 9.0 0.9
123 leavingcertenglish.net 12.3 1.3 1.5
124 Teach them English 12.3 12.8 0.8
125 The Tech Savvy Educator 12.3 9.0 0.9
126 Bulldog Readers Blog 12.2 11.5 0.8
127 Primary Tech 12.2 14.1 0.7
128 Beyond School 12.2 5.1 1.1
129 edtech digest 12.1 11.5 0.8
130 Sherman Dorn 12.1 9.0 0.9
131 teachbytes 12.1 10.3 0.8
132 eFace Today 12.0 7.7 1.0
133 Anseo! 12.0 2.6 1.3
134 Watch. Connect. Read. 12.0 12.8 0.7
135 My Web 2.0 Journey 12.0 7.7 1.0
136 Successful Teaching 11.9 7.7 1.0
137 The Jose Vilson 11.9 6.4 1.0
138 Bill Boyd – The Literacy Adviser 11.9 1.3 1.5
139 Moturoa  11.9 3.8 1.2
140 PHSdirectorBLOG 11.9 3.8 1.2
141 21st Century Collaborative 11.8 7.7 0.9
142 Donald Clark Plan B 11.8 10.3 0.8
143 Creating Lifelong Learners 11.8 3.8 1.2
144 21k12 11.8 15.4 0.7
145 Education for Everyone 11.7 2.6 1.3
146 Love Learning…. 11.7 7.7 0.9
147 Principals Page 11.7 7.7 0.9
148 The Daily Riff 11.7 5.1 1.1
149 Reflections on Teaching 11.6 6.4 1.0
150 SCC English 11.6 2.6 1.3
151 TechChef 11.5 7.7 0.9
152 The Busy Librarian 11.5 9.0 0.9
153 Learning in Technicolor 11.5 12.8 0.7
154 teach from the heart 11.4 5.1 1.1
155 The Unquiet Librarian 11.3 7.7 0.9
156 Life is not a race to be first finished 11.3 3.8 1.1
157 Ozge Karaoglu’s Blog 11.2 15.4 0.6
158 New Tech Network 11.2 3.8 1.1
159 CristinaSkyBox 11.2 6.4 1.0
160 C-O Connections 11.2 3.8 1.1
161 Dr. Cook’s Blog 11.1 6.4 1.0
162 Blogging through the Fourth Dimension 11.1 15.4 0.6
163 Fearghal’s blog 11.1 3.8 1.1
164 Catlin Tucker 11.1 12.8 0.7
165 The Avery Bunch 11.1 12.8 0.7
166 Mr. Salsich’s Class 11.1 10.3 0.8
167 Venspired 11.1 12.8 0.7
168 The Number Warrior 11.1 10.3 0.8
169 Edukwest 11.0 7.7 0.9
170 kitchen table math, the sequel 11.0 7.7 0.9
171 Shifting Phases 11.0 7.7 0.9
172 An A-Z of ELT 11.0 21.8 0.5
173 Oliver Quinlan 11.0 9.0 0.8
174 Teaching Chemistry 10.9 2.6 1.2
175 #batttuk 10.8 2.6 1.2
176 Burcu Akyol’s BLOG 10.8 9.0 0.8
177 Educator, Learner 10.8 3.8 1.1
178 4C in ELT 10.8 14.1 0.6
179 21 st Century Educational Technology and Learning 10.8 12.8 0.7
180 Labour Teachers 10.7 9.0 0.8
181 Teacher Tom 10.7 9.0 0.8
182 Reading By Example 10.7 7.7 0.9
183 Geeky Mom 10.7 3.8 1.1
184 4KM And 4KJ @ Leopold Primary School 10.7 16.7 0.6
185 Mike Klonsky’s SmallTalk Blog 10.7 7.7 0.8
186 transformED 10.6 9.0 0.8
187 molehills out of mountains 10.6 5.1 1.0
188 West Hunter 10.6 2.6 1.2
189 Local Schools Network 10.6 7.7 0.8
190 Ecology of Education 10.5 3.8 1.1
191 Vicky Loras’s Blog 10.5 21.8 0.5
192 opencontent.org 10.5 7.7 0.8
193 Blogging about the Web 2.0 Connected Classroom 10.4 14.1 0.6
194 Penelope Trunk 10.4 3.8 1.1
195 Drape’s Takes 10.4 6.4 0.9
196 Clouducation 10.4 5.1 1.0
197 Lexical Linguist 10.4 5.1 1.0
198 The Speech Guy 10.4 2.6 1.2
199 speechie apps 10.4 5.1 1.0
200 Teachers At Risk 10.4 2.6 1.2

Posted: 24 June 2013 12:39 • By: Andreea Moldovan


Econ blogs! What about the top education blogs?

August 30, 2013

Turns out Onalytica ranks education blogs, too — in fact, they’ve done it twice, with an update already.

“Education blog” graphic found at Natural by Design

Here are the top 100 education blogs (no surprise; Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub is not among them) — the second hundred, I’ll list in a separate post.

The methodology sounds solid — but isn’t it interesting that they missed so many education blogs in their first cut in January?  I wonder what that means.

Logo for Onalytical Indexes

Logo for Onalytical Indexes

Which of your favorites are not on the list at all?

In a previous post we published a list of the top 100 most influential education blogs, ranked by their Onalytica Influence Index. Six months on, we have made an updated list of the top influential bloggers.

For a detailed explanation of the methodology we refer to our previous post. As before, we report the following metrics: Onalytica Influence Index, Popularity and Over-Influence.

The Influence Index is the impact factor of the blogs, similar to the impact factor of academic journals; Popularity measures how well-known a blog is among other education blogs and Over-Influence seeks to capture how influential a blog is compared to how popular it is.

The movements in the ranking have been caused by a change in the quantity and quality of citations that a blog has received. If a blog has gone up it means that it has been cited by more influential blogs lately and/or has received a higher number of citations. Moreover, there are new influential blogs that we have only recently started monitoring.

Stay tuned for more updates on education blog rankings.

Change In Rank Rank Name Influence Popularity Over-Influence
1 Dan Meyer’s Blog 100.0 82.1 1.6
2 Hack Education 97.4 42.3 2.7
3 ↑ 3 Dangerously Irrelevant 63.7 59.0 1.3
34 ↑ 4 Diane Ravitch’s Blog 61.9 66.7 1.2
2 ↓ 5 The Principal of Change 61.8 56.4 1.3
3 ↑ 6 Free Technology for Teachers 58.2 93.6 0.8
17 ↑ 7 Will Richardson’s Blog 53.5 37.2 1.6
8 ↑ 8 Stephen Downes 48.2 25.6 1.9
New Entry ★ 9 Cool Cat Teacher Blog 47.9 46.2 1.2
New Entry ★ 10 Steve Hargadon’s blog 45.2 30.8 1.6
3 ↓ 11 The Blue Skunk Blog 44.8 33.3 1.5
8 ↓ 12 Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day … 44.2 70.5 0.8
1 ↑ 13 Getting Smart 42.3 34.6 1.4
New Entry ★ 14 for the love of learning 40.8 35.9 1.3
3 ↓ 15 Practical Theory 38.0 30.8 1.3
9 ↓ 16 Ideas and Thoughts 36.7 38.5 1.1
New Entry ★ 17 Computing Education Blog 35.9 9.0 2.7
8 ↑ 18 The Learning Spy 35.1 35.9 1.1
14 ↓ 19 The Learning Network 35.1 34.6 1.1
New Entry ★ 20 On an e-Journey with Generation Y 33.1 7.7 2.6
9 ↑ 21 Shanker Blog 32.4 28.2 1.2
29 ↑ 22 Kevin’s Meandering Mind 32.1 16.7 1.7
New Entry ★ 23 Granted, and…thoughts on education by Grant Wiggins 29.9 33.3 1.0
New Entry ★ 24 The Core Knowledge Blog 29.6 21.8 1.3
New Entry ★ 25 The Education Trust 29.1 11.5 1.9
4 ↓ 26 Around the Corner-Mguhlin.org 28.4 12.8 1.8
New Entry ★ 27 Angela Maiers’ Blog 28.1 34.6 0.9
6 ↑ 28 This Week in Education 27.5 17.9 1.4
14 ↓ 29 Ewan McIntosh’s edu.blogs.com 27.1 21.8 1.2
10 ↓ 30 Moving at the Speed of Creativity 26.9 37.2 0.8
21 ↓ 31 The Thinking Stick 26.3 21.8 1.2
4 ↓ 32 David Warlick 25.6 25.6 1
New Entry ★ 33 Lisa Nielsen – The Innovative Educator 25.1 30.8 0.9
New Entry ★ 34 Tech Transformation 24.8 5.1 2.3
4 ↓ 35 Continuous Everywhere But Differentiable Nowhere 24.7 19.2 1.2
New Entry ★ 36 f(t) 24.4 20.5 1.1
New Entry ★ 37 I Speak Math 24.1 12.8 1.5
20 ↓ 38 Cogdogblog 23.8 20.5 1.1
29 ↑ 39 Action-Reaction 23.8 16.7 1.3
New Entry ★ 40 Math Mistakes 23.7 14.1 1.4
New Entry ★ 41 The Daring Librarian 23.5 23.1 1.0
23 ↓ 42 Open Thinking 23.3 21.8 1.0
New Entry ★ 43 Shawn Cornally’s Blog 23.0 20.5 1.1
New Entry ★ 44 Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice 22.8 34.6 0.7
10 ↓ 45 Nerdy Book Club 22.8 30.8 0.8
New Entry ★ 46 always learning 22.7 14.1 1.3
14 ↓ 47 Learning in Hand 22.3 17.9 1.1
23 ↓ 48 Doug – Off the Record 22.2 16.7 1.2
New Entry ★ 49 Gary Rubinstein’s Blog 22.0 16.7 1.2
New Entry ★ 50 edrethink 21.7 26.9 0.8
New Entry ★ 51 TonyBaldasaro.com 21.6 2.6 2.4
20 ↓ 52 Let’s Play Math! 21.2 9.0 1.6
New Entry ★ 53 Change Agency 20.5 5.1 1.9
New Entry ★ 54 The Edublogger 20.2 100.0 0.3
55 Eduwonk.com 20.0 17.9 1.0
11 ↑ 56 Linking and Thinking on Education 19.9 15.4 1.1
New Entry ★ 57 Daniel Willingham’s blog 19.6 24.4 0.8
New Entry ★ 58 Colossal 19.6 6.4 1.7
2 ↓ 59 The Wejr Board 19.2 15.4 1.1
6 ↓ 60 Jay P. Greene’s Blog 19.2 16.7 1.0
61 My Island View 19.0 29.5 0.7
New Entry ★ 62 Van Meter Library Voice 18.6 15.4 1.0
New Entry ★ 63 Lost in Recursion 18.3 11.5 1.2
New Entry ★ 64 Computer Science Teacher 18.2 7.7 1.5
54 ↓ 65 David Wees 17.8 15.4 1.0
New Entry ★ 66 @theresashafer 17.7 2.6 2.0
New Entry ★ 67 Teachers as Technology Trailblazers 17.7 11.5 1.2
New Entry ★ 68 Digital Leader Network 17.5 2.6 1.9
New Entry ★ 69 Tait Coles @totallywired77 – Punk Learning 17.5 14.1 1.0
New Entry ★ 70 School Finance 101 17.1 19.2 0.8
New Entry ★ 71 Dropout Nation 17.1 11.5 1.1
New Entry ★ 72 Quantum Progress 17.0 15.4 1.0
New Entry ★ 73 Constructing Modern Knowledge 16.7 3.8 1.7
New Entry ★ 74 6D 2012 – 2013 Happy learners blog well 16.6 1.3 2.0
New Entry ★ 75 Remote Access even from here 16.3 7.7 1.3
59 ↓ 76 Annie Murphy Paul 16.3 23.1 0.7
New Entry ★ 77 iLearn Technology 16.3 16.7 0.9
New Entry ★ 78 A Difference 16.2 14.1 1.0
New Entry ★ 79 Bianca Hewes 16.2 6.4 1.4
10 ↓ 80 Marisa Constantinides – TEFL Matters 16.2 17.9 0.8
New Entry ★ 81 Nebraska Change Agent 15.9 9.0 1.2
New Entry ★ 82 Rational Expressions 15.7 11.5 1.0
21 ↓ 83 User Generated Education 15.7 15.4 0.9
48 ↓ 84 Assortedstuff 15.6 10.3 1.1
New Entry ★ 85 Half an Hour 15.7 11.5 1.0
41 ↓ 86 David Truss :: Pair-A-Dime for Your Thoughts 15.3 15.4 0.9
40 ↓ 87 I’m a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here! 15.1 9.0 1.1
New Entry ★ 88 Bob Sprankle’s Blog 14.9 7.7 1.2
New Entry ★ 89 The Doc Is In 14.9 1.3 1.8
32 ↓ 90 NYC Educator 14.9 10.3 1.0
New Entry ★ 91 Culture of Yes 14.8 10.3 1.0
New Entry ★ 92 Mrs. Yollis’ Classroom Blog 14.8 19.2 0.7
New Entry ★ 93 Math Mama Writes… 14.5 12.8 0.9
New Entry ★ 94 The Hum of Language Acquisition 14.5 5.1 1.3
New Entry ★ 95 Always Formative 14.4 12.8 0.9
New Entry ★ 96 Bud the Teacher 14.4 10.3 1.0
New Entry ★ 97 edcetera 14.3 9.0 1.1
New Entry ★ 98 The Fischbowl 14.3 17.9 0.7
28 ↓ 99 Learning in Burlington 14.2 15.4 0.8
New Entry ★ 100 Concrete Classroom 14.2 5.1 1.3

Posted: 18 June 2013 16:32 • By: Andreea Moldovan

Tip of the old scrub brush to Flemming Madsen at Onalytica.


Teachers, looking for help?

May 11, 2013

Try the blogs listed at Teach.com, Teach Make A Difference, in their ranking of teaching blogs. Logo for Teach.com

I’m fascinated at the great teacher resource blogs I don’t see listed; one of the criteria for listing is that at least 50% of the posts must deal with education.

Consequently, it tends to be pedantically-oriented towards classroom technique, with a great diminution of education management and especially policy and politics, which are greater problems in education today, for my money (and lack of money, too).

You will find a lot of useful stuff there.

Was I right? Lots of useful stuff?

A Seussian fable, about how tests ruin school reform

April 7, 2011

Look, you really need to go to TeacherSabrina’s blog, Failing Schools, where she first posted this, and take a look at many of her posts.

But I can’t resist putting the video here, because I know a few old-timers would be confused by the link, and some people will think they don’t have the time to make two clicks instead of one.

So, here, in its Seussian glory and demand for Flash Animation, is TeacherSabrina’s story of D.C.’s late Queen of the Schools, Michelle Rhee, and her desire to get D.C.’s kids to score well on an increasing battery of tests  [Got a good joke about assault and battery we can insert here?]:  “Rhee the Reformer:  A Cautionary Tale.”

Tip of the old scrub brush to Accountable Talk.

EDUSolidarity Day, Part 2: Stanley Fish, formerly opposed to teacher unions, changed his mind — “We’re all badgers now”

March 22, 2011

WordPress was down for a few hours this afternoon, and I had a longish meeting this evening.  I’m running behind.

While I’m gearing up to get my promised comments up, take a look at Stanley Fish’s post at his New York Times blog:

In over 35 years of friendship and conversation, Walter Michaels and I have disagreed on only two things, and one of them was faculty and graduate student unionization. He has always been for and I had always been against. I say “had” because I recently flipped and what flipped me, pure and simple, was Wisconsin.

When I think about the reasons (too honorific a word) for my previous posture I become embarrassed. They are by and large the reasons rehearsed and apparently approved by Naomi Schaefer Riley in her recent op-ed piece “Why unions hurt higher education” (USA Today). The big reason was the feeling — hardly thought through sufficiently to be called a conviction — that someone with an advanced degree and scholarly publications should not be in the same category as factory workers with lunch boxes and hard hats. As Riley points out, even the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) used to be opposed to unionization because of “the commonly held belief that universities were not corporations and faculty were not employees.”

Good discussion from smart guys.  Go see.

EDUSolidarity Day

March 22, 2011

From the EDUSolidarity site:

Throughout the day of March 22, teachers will be sharing posts entitled “Why Teachers Like Us Support Unions”.  For those of you here to share, thank you for doing so.  To submit your posts, click here.

For those of you not sharing, we hope you will take the time to read from an extremely varied and wide variety of teachers across the country and world.  We ask that you read with open minds.  You will read many different reasons for support, some of them contradictory.  What all stories will share though is a desire to serve students.  We all feel that teachers unions give us the best shot to give our students the best possible education.

The full list of posts can be found here.

If you’re a blogger and you want to join us, please do.  Send the link to your post to the EDUSolidarity site — and let us know about it here, in comments.

Teachers in New York City are wearing red in support of union teachers (so are some in Dallas).

Of course, this is a part-time activity for those of us who teach.  I don’t have my post up yet, and may not until the school day is over.

We’re professional teachers, not professional lobbyists.  We don’t have billionaires paying for our political speech, only our hearts and minds.

Other bloggers’ contributions

  1. Rachel Levy at All Things Education
  2. Sarah Puglisi at A Day in the Life
  3. Leo Casey at EdWize
  4. Sherman Dorn
  5. f(t)
  6. Gregg Lundahl at Edwize
  7. Doug Noon – Borderland – Fairbanks, AK.
  8. Jamie JosephsonDontworryteach – Washington, DC.
  9. Kate Nowakf(t) – Syracuse, NY.
  10. Sabrina Stevens Shupe – Failing Schools – Denver, CO.
  11. Jonathan – jd2718 – Bronx, NY.
  12. Anthony Cody – Living in Dialogue – Oakland, CA.
  13. Stephen Lazar – Outside the Cave – Gotham Schools – Bronx, NY.
  14. Nancy Flanagan – Teacher in a Strange Land – Cedar, MI.
  15. Ken Bernstein aka “teacherken”teacherken at Daily Kos – Arlington, VA. teacherken
  16. Jose Vilson – The Jose Vilson – New York, NY. thejlv
  17. Sophie Germain – A Brand New Line – Santa Clara, CA. sophgermain
  18. Sarah PuglisiA Day In the Life – Oxnard, CA.
  19. Jeff Silva-BrownA Passion for Teaching and Opinions – Ukiah, CA. ukiahcoachbrown
  20. Dan Anderson – A Recursive Process – Saratoga Springs, NY. dandersod
  21. Mr. A. TalkAccountable Talk – New York, NY.
  22. Frank Noschese – Action-Reaction – Cross River, NY. fnoschese
  23. Lisa Butler – Adventures with Technology – Harrisburg, PA. SrtaLisa
  24. Rachel Levy – All Things Education – Ashland, VA. RachelAnneLevy
  25. Jason BuellAlways Formative – San Jose, CA. jybuell
  26. The Reflective EducatorAn Urban Teacher’s Education – New York, NY. urbanteachersed
  27. Apple A Day – Apple A Day Project – Boston, MA. appleadayproj
  28. Amy Valens – August to June: Bringing Life to School – New York, NY. augusttojune
  29. Chana – Blogging at the Edge of Democracy – Durham, NC. democracysedge
  30. Bud Hunt – Bud the Teacher – Fort Collins, CO. budtheteacher
  31. ChazChaz’s School Daze – Queens, NY.
  32. Marc Bousquet – Chronicle of Higher Education – Los Gatos, CA.
  33. David Coffey – Delta Scape – Spring Lake, MI. delta_dc
  34. Leo CaseyDissent Magazine – New York, NY.
  35. Brent NyczDon’t Settle – New York, NY. BNiche
  36. Peter – Ed in the Apple – New York, NY.
  37. Norm ScottEducation Notes – Rockaway Beach, NY.
  38. Deven Black – Education on the Plate – New York City, NY. devenkblack
  39. David Andrade – Educational Technology Guy – Bridgeport, CT. daveandcori
  40. educator4WI – educator4WI – Madison, WI.
  41. Francis S. Midy – EduSolidarity Essays – Bronx, NY.
  42. Suzanne Donahue – EduSolidarity Essays – Rockland County, NY.
  43. Eric BrunsellEdutopia – STEM Blog – Appleton, WI. Brunsell
  44. Esther BerksonEdwize – Bronx, NY.
  45. Jason LeibowitzEdwize – New York, NY.
  46. Jessica JacobsEdwize – Staten Island, NY.
  47. Lissette VelazquezEdwize – New York, NY.
  48. Marc KorashanEdwize – New York, NY.
  49. Roseanne McCoshEdwize – Bronx, NY.
  50. JennyElementary, My Dear, or Far From It – Springfield, VA. jenorr
  51. Marie Levey-Pabst – English Teachin’ Vegan – Boston, MA.
  52. Christal WattsFive Feet of Feisty – Fairfield, CA. christal_watts
  53. Jay Bullockfolkbum’s rambles and rants – Milwaukee, WI. folkbum
  54. Fred Klonsky – Fred Klonsky’s Blog – Chicago, IL. fklonsky
  55. Zeno – Halfway There – Northern CA.
  56. Mimi YangI Hope This Old Train Breaks Down… – El Salvador (formerly NYC). untilnextstop
  57. Cathy B – I.M.O. In My Opinion – Detroit, MI. Cathy_Brackett
  58. David B. Cohen – InterACT – Palo Alto, CA. CohenD
  59. Ruben BrosbeIs Our Children Learning? – New York, NY. blogsbe
  60. Lynne Winderbaumjd2718 (friend’s blog) – Rockland County, NY.
  61. Larry Ferlazzo – Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of The Day – Sacramento, CA. larryferlazzo
  62. Julia TsyganLearning (by) Teaching – Stockholm, Sweden.
  63. Kathryn Coffey – Literacy Gurl – Spring Lake, MI. literacygurl
  64. Gregg LundahlLundahl – New York, NY.
  65. Brian CohenMaking the Grade – Philadelphia, PA. bncohen
  66. Mark Anderson – MAnderson’s Bubble – New York, NY. mandercorn
  67. Nick Yates – Maryland Math Madness – Baltimore, MD. nyates314
  68. CurmudgeonMath Curmudgeon – VT.
  69. Chris Hill – Math is a Shovel – Seattle, WA. hillby258
  70. Sue VanHattum – Math Mama Writes – Richmond, CA.
  71. Owen Thomas – MathEdZineBlog – Columbus, OH. vlorbik
  72. John Goldenmathhombre – Grand Haven, MI. mathhombre
  73. Miss Adventure – Miss Adventure’s Adventures – GA.
  74. Michael Dunn – Modern School – San Francisco, CA. ModSchool
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  110. Paul Wagnerzenbassoon at Daily Kos – Hebron, IN. BssnistPaul

Race to the Top: What’s a good job for a great bubble-guesser?

June 22, 2010

Education issues suffered here at the Bathtub over the past several months.  Confession:  I don’t like to write while angry, and thinking about education generally gets me there quickly.  When I write in anger, I like to sit on the stuff and edit when I’m cooled down.  But when I get back to edit, I get angry again.

If you watched the follies from the Texas State Soviet of Education over social studies standards, you might understand some of my anger.  I’m fortunate in some ways that my students don’t track the news more closely — they tended to miss the Soviet’s gutting of Hispanic history from Texas history standards, and so they didn’t get angry.  More than 85% of my students are Hispanic, many related to the Texas heroes dropped from the standards because they were brown (“What’s Hispanic Heritage Month for, anyway?” the Soviet probably wondered.)

Test bubbling, from TweenTeacher

Power of Bubbling -- for a scary story, click on the image and go read it at TweenTeacher

Plus, time for thinking about these issues evaporated during the school year.   Summer isn’t much better, though a bunch of us had eight great days with members of the history department at UT-Arlington focusing on the Gilded Age, Progressive Era, Age of Imperialism . . . even though reminded every day that the Texas Soviet doesn’t want us to teach that period as it is recorded in the history books.  (No, there are not plans for a translation into Texas Soviet Speak, at least not soon.  Teachers will have to make do.)

In one of our (too) many testing/oath-signing sessions this spring, a colleague cynically wondered what would be a good job for a kid who does well on the tests, a kid who has “demonstrated mastery of bubble-guessing.”

Bubble-guessing.  Wow.  Is that an apt description for what many schools teach these days!

I have a few days to put up the periscope and see what is going on out there.  A couple of things I’ve noticed, that you may want to follow:

Yong Zhao noticed that the Race to the Top criteria shouldn’t be etched in stone, and that small changes result in different winners. He’s actually more critical than that — he’s not just saying that the criteria can change.  He’s saying the criteria are lousy.

Education has a new god: data. It is believed to have the power to save American education and thus everything in education must be about data—collect more data about our children, evaluate teachers and administrators based on data, and reward and punish schools using data.

Sound familiar?

Zhao points to serious analyses of the Race to the Top applications and rejections which show, among other things, Pennsylvania was penalized for focusing on early childhood education, instead of collecting data.

Why was it we got into this swamp in the first place, and where did all these alligators come from?

Go read Zhao’s analysis, and maybe cruise around his blog.  It’s worth your while.  He’s a professor at Michigan State — University Distinguished Professor of Education.  (One thing you should read there:  Zhao’s slides from a recent speech.  E-mail the link to your principal.  Somebody find a YouTube version of that speech, please.)  [Checker Finn, do you ever get over to this backwater?  Zhao’s on to something.  Zhao’s on to a lot of things.]

Race to the Top is the worst thing the Obama administration has done, in my opinion.  It is aimed, or mis-aimed to give us a nation of bubble-guessers.  My guess is that aim is unintentional.  But the road to hell, or a Republican majority . . .

While we’re looking around, pay some attention to David Warlick’s 2¢ worth.  That’s where I found the links to Zhao.

Warlick has a couple of points worth pondering today:  First, has the technology train left the station, and so it’s no longer acceptable for teachers to use old tools?  He’s got a rant on trying to figure out if we’re teaching the “right stuff”:

I could have shared some of these new ideas with her, but it would not have helped.  The last time I helped my daughter prepare for a test, it was 8th grade and the unit test on the Civil War.  When she walked into that classroom, she could talk about and write about the reasons for the war, what the North and the South wanted to achieve, the advantages that the North held and those of the South, as well as their disadvantages.  She could tell you who won and who lost and why.

She made a 52 on the test because she couldn’t give the dates of the major battles of the war.

One of our mantras in the old Transportation Consulting Group at Ernst & Young was to understand that “You’re always ready to fight the last war.”  For what we were doing, generally we had to change the technology for each assignment.

That’s doubly true in education, in social studies, I think.  I constantly remind myself that my students don’t need the same things I got in high school.  We shouldn’t equip students to fight the last war, but instead prepare them to understand they need to get ready for the next one.

And what about your tags?  Warlick wonders. No answers, but good wonderings.

Cynthia Dunbar’s sham marriage of God and politics

June 7, 2010

Tony Whitson’s Curricublog has a rather lengthy, and very troubling, post about Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar and her wilder gyrations on the issues of religion in education.  Go read it.  It’s got quotes, it’s got video, and if you don’t find it troubling you’re not paying attention.  There is an astounding smear of  Thomas Jefferson, the Constitution, and the principle of separation of state and church.

There’s a line usually attributed to Euripides, “Whom the gods destroy, they first make mad.”  That’s mad-crazy, not mad-angry.

What’s Dunbar done to upset the gods so?

Teaching Now, new blog

April 29, 2010

It’s from the folks at Education Week and Teacher magazine:  Teaching Now.

You may want to see the entry a couple of days ago about a school who issued cell phones to fifth grade students, and why.

Or note this story that Broward County, Florida, is hacking away at salaries for librarians and teachers of art, music and physical education.

Geography education vs. geography learning

January 29, 2010

Angst over the state of education never goes away:

Much more important is the way we seem to have turned away from the very idea of education that sustains a healthy, vibrant liberal democracy.  As I write this I am conscious of how unfashionable it sounds. However, there has been a steady erosion of the notion that education can and should fuel our individual ability to think critically about the world as we find it – which requires knowledge and understanding of how the world has come to be. We are swamped with a language of targets, skills and 21st century ‘learning to learn’, but have forgotten what it is that distinguishes learning (a word that now seems to carry huge weight and always deemed a good thing in itself, when clearly it is not) from education.  All worthwhile education is, in the end self-education, based on the student’s curiosity, their need to know and readiness to rise to the challenge of finding out. Indeed, offering challenge to young people is one way to motivate them – so different from today’s orthodoxy which says we should make learning accessible, bite-sized and achievable by all.

These guys write from England, however, and they write from the vantage point of teaching geography and having just published their book on how better to teach geography.

See their take on what geography teachers should be teaching about Haiti right now.

Texas social studies standards: Beware the ides of January

January 15, 2010

News reports in Texas this morning said that several of the right-wing, gut-education-standards changes proposed to social studies standards had failed in voting on Thursday, January 14.  But, much more was to be done, and the SBOE adjourned early last night to continue voting today.

In a pattern familiar to education advocates in Texas, board member Don McLeroy (R-Pluto) today proposed a long series of amendments, apparently off-the-cuff, but probably written up in earlier strategy sessions.  These last-minute amendments tend to pass having missed any serious scrutiny.

Will he be able to ruin Texas education for the next decade?  I cannot follow the live webcasts; Steve Schafersman is working to stop the amendments, rather than merely blog about them.  We probably won’t know the extent of the damage for weeks.  McLeroy cherishes his role as a Port-au-Prince-style earthquake to Texas education. (Pure coincidence, I’m sure — Ed Brayton summarizes McLeroy’s politics today.)

Watch that space, and other news sources.  I may provide updates here, as I can get information.

Good education, or right-wing propaganda: War on Education battle in Austin, Texas

January 13, 2010

In a post titled “The Battle Joined,” the Texas Freedom Network repeated for us the press release from their Tuesday press conference at the Texas Education Agency, about the hearings on social studies standards, graduation requirements and other issues in Austin this week.

Watch that space (see also this explanatory piece) and this space, and your non-faux news outlets.

The Texas Freedom Network sent out the following press release after our press conference this morning at the Texas Education Agency:

The state’s leading religious liberties group today joined with clergy and scholars in calling on the State Board of Education to approve new curriculum standards that don’t undermine religious freedom in Texas social studies classrooms.

“Curriculum writers have drafted proposed standards that rightly acknowledge the influence of faith on the Founders and in our nation’s history,” Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said today. “But those writers also respected religious freedom by rejecting political pressure to portray the United States as favoring one faith over all others. Doing otherwise would aid the teaching of bad history and promote something that is fundamentally un-American.”

Miller spoke in advance of a Wednesday public hearing on proposed new social studies curriculum standards. Teachers, academics and community members from around the state have spent the last year crafting the new standards. Publishers will use the standards to write new textbooks scheduled for adoption by Texas in 2011. The state board will debate the standards drafts on Thursday and has scheduled a final vote in March.

Derek Davis, dean of humanities and the graduate school and director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Mary Hardin-Baylor University, a Baptist institution in Belton, called on the board to respect the work of teachers and other experts who helped write the new standards.

“Religious liberty stands as one of our nation’s bedrock principles,” Davis said. “Yet it seems always under siege by those who fail to appreciate the astute thinking of the founding fathers that caused them to write into the Constitution the principle that guarantees religious liberty: the separation of church and state. This distinctly American value continues to set our nation apart from those embroiled in religious conflict in the rest of the world.”

Miller and Davis were joined at a press conference by the Rev. Marcus McFaul of Highland Park Baptist Church in Austin and Steven Green, a professor of law and of history and director of the Willamette Center for Religion at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

“The instruction of religious faith, discipleship, and a life of service and piety is the responsibility of each faith community, whether church, synagogue or mosque,” Rev. McFaul said. “It is the responsibility of parents and parishes, not public schools. We all note – as the curriculum writers did – the role and influence of religion in American history, but not to advance, promote or seek advantage for any particular religion’s point of view.”

The state board has revised curriculum standards for language arts and science over the past two years. In both cases the board either threw out or heavily revised standards crafted by curriculum writing teams that included teachers, curriculum specialists and academic experts. Last year, for example, creationists on the state board pushed through science standards that call into question long-established scientific evidence for evolution.

“This is not a good way to make sound education policy,” Miller said of the board’s habit of rejecting the work of teachers and experts. “It’s past time that state board members stop playing politics with the education of Texas children, respect the hard work teachers and other experts have put into writing standards, and acknowledge that experts – not politicians – know best what our children need to learn.”

Educate somebody else on this issue:

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Getting a great education that the tests can’t measure

December 11, 2009

As I sit with officials from the Texas Education Agency and the Dallas ISD discussing what goes on in our classrooms, I often reflect that the drive to testing frequently pushes education out of the classroom.

One of my favorite education blogs, the Living Classroom, comes out of a the West Seattle Community School where, many days — perhaps most days — education goes on in wonderful ways.  No test could ever capture the progress made.

Latest example:  This boy made this squid.  He had fun doing it.  He learned a lot.  Look at the excitement.

(Somebody get P. Z. Myers’ attention:  P. Z.!  Look at this squid!)

Asher and his amazing squid, The Living Classroom, West Seattle Community School

Asher and his amazing squid, The Living Classroom, West Seattle Community School

It’s pretty colorful, even for a squid, but I’ll wager the kid now knows more about squids than most Texas ninth grade biology students.  Of course, sewing squids is not among the list of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.  What Asher now knows . . . such learning would have to be smuggled into a Texas classroom.

When education is outlawed, only outlaws will have education.

Stu’s Double Jeopardy – classroom quiz tool

January 6, 2009

A few teachers resist technology with everything they have.  Several years ago I ran into a history teacher who had a “Jeopardy” style quiz on PowerPoint, for one chapter of Texas history.  She loved it.

But that one quiz was all she had.  I got a copy of it, did a quiz for the next chapter by simply replacing the questions and answers, and passed it back to her.  She treated me as if I had done some magic incantation and filled the room with smoke.  It had not occurred to her that she had it in her power to use the template to make her own quizzes.

Along comes Stu Hasic, with more computer moxie than I, to create Stu’s Double Jeopardy.  He assumes you want to make your own quizzes, and he’s got a few add-on tools and instructions to make it easier.

Go explore his blog, download the quiz tools, and put them to use.  Will you report back here how it works for you?  Thank you.

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