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MY FAVORITE BLOG POST OF THE YEAR: by SOMEONE ELSE
The Success of America's Public Schools
U.S. Public Schools Are NOT Failing. They’re Among the Best in the World
In which Steven Singer teaches us how well our public schools are doing. Facts matter.
From Steven Singer
...America’s public schools are NOT failing. They are among the best in the world. Really!
Here’s why: the United States educates everyone. Most other countries do not.
We have made a commitment to every single child regardless of what their parents can afford to pay, regardless of their access to transportation, regardless of whether they can afford uniforms, lunch or even if they have a home. Heck! We even provide education to children who are here illegally.
FAVORITE BLOG POSTS: MINE
My Own Favorite Blog Post of the Year
The Myth of America's Failing Public Schools
I follow Steven Singer's post with one of my own about the amazing success of America's public schools.
When she looks at the U.S. international test scores, Secretary DeVos, and other policy makers see "failing schools." This is wrong. The low average scores, and the even lower scores aggregated for low income students, indicate that economic inequity is overwhelming the infrastructure of our public school systems. Instead of blaming public schools, politicians and policy makers must take responsibility for ending the shameful rate of child poverty and inequity in America.
My Most Popular Blog Post of the Year
Kill the Teaching Profession: Indiana and Wisconsin Show How It's Done
This post about how Indiana and Wisconsin are destroying the teaching profession, received the most attention of anything I wrote this year, picking up several thousand hits.
From Live Long and Prosper
...in order to offset the loss of teaching staff in the state, rules for becoming a teacher have been relaxed...
...because nothing says increased achievement more than hiring under qualified personnel.
Trump fires Lady Liberty.
Retired Chicago-area teacher Fred Klonsky provides an editorial comment about the nation's immigration policy. This sums up the year accurately...
From Fred Klonsky
FAVORITE ED PODCAST
Have you Heard: Truth in Edvertising
With a "market-based" education economy comes advertising. Jennifer Berkshire, Jack Schneider, and their guest, Sarah Butler Jessen, discuss "edvertising". If you are at all concerned about the privatization of public education you owe it to yourself to listen to this.
From Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider
...in schooling certainly there is a private good aspect to it. But schooling is also a public good. It's something that benefits our society, our neighborhoods, our communities. It benefits the most advantaged, but it also benefits the least advantaged at least theoretically. So when we acting as consumers, we're only acting in alignment with the private good aspect of education.FAVORITE QUOTABLES
So think for instance, buying an alarm for your house versus trying to cultivate safer cities or safer neighborhoods. Whereas one of those is an inherently private good. The alarm is only going to protect me and my family. The public good is going to benefit everyone in the community and that's not something I can promote via shopping.
My favorite quotes from the year...from actual, real-life educators.
The Hypocrisy of "Choice"
Testing Opt Out: Parent Wants Conference; School Calls Police *Just in Case*
From Mercedes Schneider
One of the great contradictions within corporate ed reform is the promoting of a “parental choice” that stops short of the parent’s choice to opt his or her children out of federal- and state-mandated standardized testing.
School Choice Opponents and the Status Quo
From Russ Walsh
Those of us who continue to point out that poverty is the real issue in education are accused of using poverty as an excuse to do nothing. Right up front let me say I am against the status quo and I have spent a lifetime in education trying to improve teacher instruction and educational opportunities for the struggling readers and writers I have worked with. To point out the obvious, that poverty is the number one cause of educational inequity, does not make me a champion for the status quo. It simply means that I will not fall prey to the false promise of super-teachers, standardized test driven accountability, merit pay, charter schools, and vouchers, all of which are futile efforts to put a thumb in the overflowing dyke that is systematic discrimination, segregation, income inequity, and, yes, poverty.
2 School Districts, 1 Ugly Truth
From John Kuhn
Educational malpractice doesn't happen in the classroom. The greatest educational malpractice in the Unites States happens in the statehouse not the school house.
If we truly cared about how our students end up, we would have shared accountability, where everyone whose fingerprints are on these students of ours, has to answer for the choices that they make.
MOST IMPORTANT BOOK I READ IN 2017
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century
We need to learn from history.
By Timothy Snyder
Lesson 10: Believe in Truth: To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.Publisher's Description
The Founding Fathers tried to protect us from the threat they knew, the tyranny that overcame ancient democracy. Today, our political order faces new threats, not unlike the totalitarianism of the twentieth century. We are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience.Here's a video of Timothy Snyder talking about his book, HERE.
2018 TO-READ BOOK LIST
Books I hope to get to in 2018...
The Testing Charade: Pretending to Make Schools Better, by Daniel Koretz
Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America, by Nancy MacLean
These Schools Belong to You and Me: Why We Can't Afford to Abandon Our Public Schools, by Deborah Meier and Emily Gasoi
Addicted to Reform: A 12-Step Program to Rescue Public Education, by John Merrow
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, by Richard Rothstein