"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." – Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Listen to this - 2020 #5


The End of Public Schools Would Mean the End of the Common Good

What is the purpose of public education? Is it a "factory for human capital" or a place to raise citizens in a democracy?

The "business model" of education supported by many "reformers," focuses on churning out workers from the public schools. The idea that public education is a Common Good like libraries, roads, and municipal water systems, seems to be ignored by those who have tried to make a profit on public education.

From Jon Shelton in Jacobin Magazine
If education is nothing but the “capital” that helps one get a job, then the argument to make it a private commodity is far too convincing. If we want to save our schools, then we have to stop looking at them as factories for human capital and instead as serving to educate our kids to be citizens in a democracy with expectations for better lives. When we talk about the purpose of education, we have to see it as only one part of a broader series of social-democratic rights that includes the right to a secure job, good housing, and quality health care — no matter what kind of education credential you have.


The Foundational Fallacy Of Charter Schools

Do we save the public money with charter schools or do we duplicate services and spend more of our communities' resources?

The idea that we need charter schools as "competition" for public schools implies that teachers and schools aren't putting forth the effort to educate their students -- and competition makes everything better (spoiler: it doesn't). Higher achievement is frequently promised by education "reformers," most of whom have little or no educational experience, but rarely delivered. Research into charters show that some do better than public schools, some do worse, and most do about the same.

One thing is for sure...duplicating services doesn't save money.

From Peter Greene in Forbes

You cannot run multiple school districts for the same amount of money you used to spend to operate just one.

This really should not come as a surprise to anyone. When was the last time you heard of a business of any sort saying, "The money is getting tight, and we need to tighten our belts. So let's open up some new facilities."

Opening up charter schools can only drive up the total cost of educating students within a system, for several reasons.

Let's imagine a school district that serves 1,000 students. Five charters open up in the district, so that now the public system serves 500 students, and each of the charters enrolls 100.


Does Your School Suffer From Advanced Testivitis

An interesting question from Peter Greene: Do standardized tests serve the needs of students, or the needs of schools to "prove" themselves?

From Peter Greene at Curmudgucation
...a school in the grip of testivitis is upside down. It is not run to serve the needs of students; it is run to get the students to serve the school's need for certain scores. And it will beat on those students like test-taking pinatas in an attempt to get the "right" scores to fall out. This apparently includes considering actions like requiring students to break pandemic distancing in order to come to school and take the test.


Teaching in the Pandemic: ‘This Is Not Sustainable’

Teachers have faced challenges since the nation-wide shut-downs in March 2020. The conflict is between keeping schools open, which we know is better for students, going to hybrid teaching, which essentially doubles teachers' workload, or going completely virtual which contributes to other issues such as keeping students on task and the difficulties for parents who work outside the home. All the research into COVID-19 up to now has shown that children are generally not as susceptible to the effects of the disease as are adults, but schools aren't just where children learn. They are also places where adults work. Schools have to weigh the difference between the dangers their students and staff face in meeting in person against the difficulties in distance learning.

Because of COVID-19, teachers are leaving the profession in higher numbers than ever, exacerbating the already severe teacher shortage the nation is faced with. When the pandemic ends, when vaccines have given the nation herd-immunity, who will be left to staff the nation's classrooms?

From Natasha Singer in the New York Times
“Three years ago, we started to learn how to run from armed intruders,” said Amanda Kaupp, a high school psychology teacher in St. Louis. “Last year we learned how to pack bullet wounds. This year, we’re trying to figure out how to bring back learning in a pandemic.”

700 Epidemiologists Were Surveyed. This Many Were Sending Their Kids Back To School.

Interesting fact for teachers, parents, and policy-makers.

From Stu Egan at Caffeinated Rage
"...only one-quarter of epidemiologists surveyed say they would send kids to school, or even on outdoor playdates."

Ten Things I Used to Think

As usual, teachers are to blame because they are lazy, only in it for the money, selfish, or they hate children. Because we know that all teachers go into the field because of the huge salaries, all the free time, and they love to hang out with the children they can't stand. [/sarcasm]

From Nancy Flanagan at Teacher in a Strange Land
I used to think that teachers, in spite of their lousy pay and lack of control over their own work, were regarded as community heroes and helpers. But now—there’s this. This. This. And thousands more. Today, I read an outrage-inducing piece claiming that yeah, teachers are getting sick and dying (isn’t everyone?) but there’s no way to prove they actually caught the coronavirus at school—so hey, everybody into the water. The negative repercussions on this entitled attitude—teachers are so selfish when it comes to their own health!—will last for decades.


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