Watch some snippets from a Chicago play about a closing school that seems to take place in a teachers' lounger (The Last Days of a Chicago Public School) via WNYC.
I didn't hate finale of "Togetherness" as much as some folks -- or for the same reasons -- but the show certainly was a reminder that we should all be careful for what we wish for.
With "Togetherness," I think I may have finally learned my lesson.
For years, I've been hectoring my friends about the need for more and better depictions of schools in popular media, and celebrating the appearance of education wherever it might show up ("Parenthood," anyone?).
But Season Two of "Togetherness" got deeply into the issue as a major plotline, and it was disappointing to see how superficial and unrealistic the result turned out to be.
In Salon (The empty charter school dream), Sonia Saraiya traces the show from Season One to Season Two in ways that I find familiar. "For a show that can be so self-aware about marital dynamics and Hollywood culture, the charter school subplot is a glaring blind spot, one that is given more and more screentime as the season progresses."
There were moments during Season Two that rang true: the uncomfortably fancy charter school fundraiser, the hilariously cliche'd curriculum (except it should have been a "forest" school , no?), the over-educated and clueless white parents thinking that creating and running a school is a lot easier than it is.
But this recap (Everything Changes) makes clear how ridiculous things get by the end: "Michelle gets an idea to save the school: an educational theater show that is built by the kids. All they need to do is … tear everything down and rebuild it under the guidance of Sophie. Cut to the construction montage."
At least a couple of folks found an AFT #RIPPrince tweet objectionable.
"Are you kidding? Exploiting #RIPPrince for political gains? Wow," wrote former MinnPost reporter Beth Hawkins (now with EdPost). And later: "You hear Prince & think "Hate use of data in education?"
After a couple of attempts to explain itself, @AFTTeach (one of several AFT-related Twitter handles) wrote last night "apologies no offense or joke intended."
To be fair, there was no shortage of #RIPPrince abuse going on yesterday, including Broadway shows with mid-performance Prince homages and a Spike Lee block party.
If there was something truly objectionable coming out of the AFT yesterday, it might have been AFT head Randi Weingarten's plea for leniency on behalf of disgraced New York politico Sheldon Silver.
She was joined in writing the court by former NYC Mayor David Dinkins.
Skip to the 6:00' mark to watch Prince teach class to the tune of Starfish and Coffee. It's pretty fun.
Or, go to this EdWeek story about an education project Prince's former wife started to help low-income kids in Minneapolis. h/t Kathleen Mazno. Anyone know what became of it?
More than 1 million kids lack a home of their own -- many doubled up with other families. Via Ben Spielberg & the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
WNYC's Beth Fertig was at the performance (as was NYC schools head Carmen Farina) and Fertig's piece about the student performances on Broadway is running on NPR this morning: "Broadway's 'Hamilton' Makes Its Way Into NYC's High School Curriculum" ow.ly/10EAor
"Two years ago, Alex Hribal, a student at Franklin Regional High School near Pittsburgh, wanted to honor the Columbine killers, but school wasn’t in session April 20. He struck on Eric Harris’ birthday — April 9 — and stabbed 20 people." via Washington Post (The strange seasonality of violence: Why April is ‘the beginning of the killing season’)
The questions are simple: 1. Two plus two equals what? 2. Describe a major theme of “The Old Man and the Sea.” 3. H2O is the chemical symbol for what compound? It's the answers that are brilliant (The New Yorker).
It’s not really O.K., but it’s something you have to live with. It’s called life. As you grow older, you’ll understand it. The campaigns can be very vicious, just like life can be very vicious. But you have to figure it out and overcome it.
- Donald Trump responding to 11 year old student reporter in USA Today (For kid reporters covering Trump's presidential bid, safety now a factor)
This is the longest version I've been able to find of Detroit-raised motivational speaker Eric Thomas talking at Vashon High School in St. Louis that's been going around. The whole thing is worth watching, but the key moment for me was this: "I work in any other school and they’re like, “There go ET, we taking notes.” I come home — you talking. You capping jokes. You think something funny. Look how we’re living. There ain’t nothing funny. Ain’t nothing funny y’all." (TheBlaze.com)
I admire Bernie Sanders and will support him if he is the party's nominee... I admire Hillary's guts... If she is the party's nominee, I will support her.... [When the primaries are over] I will not sit home. I will not vote for a third party candidate... No matter how disappointed I have been in Obama's education policy, there is more at stake: the Supreme Court; the economy; foreign policy, and other issues. We can't allow an extremist or a demagogue to win the presidency.
-- DDiane Ravitch (Why I Will Not Endorse a Candidate in the Primaries)
The world can look a whole lot different with these glasses on. (via Chicago Theological Seminary)Posted by Upworthy on Monday, March 14, 2016
Here's a fun if super simplistic look at what it'd be like if there were glasses that would help white folks see the world as if they were someone who wasn't white.
Other favorites in this genre include Leave No Privilege Behind (2015), Vox's explainer video What Is Privilege?, Educators & Advocates Need Authentic Conversations About Race, Too, and of course LL Bean's Invisible Backpack of White Privilege.
There's already some use of Yelp for schools (see screengrab above). And now the Nieman Journalism Lab reports that ProPublica is teaming up with Yelp to make it easier to find good local health care services:
"ProPublica is collaborating with the recommendation app to help provide better health care information on medical facilities and other providers. The idea is that finding a good doctor, nursing home, or dialysis clinic in your neighborhood will now be as easy as finding a reliable taco joint."
"Instead of noting whether a place has wifi and if it’s good for kids, the health care data notes a provider’s wait time, noise level in patient rooms, and how well a doctor communicates with patients."
Sounds good, right?
To be sure, there are other sites that try and do the same kinds of things -- GreatSchools, SchoolBook, InsideSchools, etc.
And some will argue that rating schools is different from rating restaurants or even doctor's offices.
But give credit to Yelp for democratizing information about businesses and trends that otherwise would have been limited to a small set of people who are in the know, and note also that none of the existing sites has the ease of use, user base, and mobile options that Yelp provides.
Related posts: A Yelp (Or Facebook) For Schools? (2012); Young Joins GreatSchools [Plus Unsolicited Advice] (2014).
"Our favorite [crossing guard] is an energetic lady who spins around and sings to herself in the middle of the street, luring and halting traffic with graceful pirouettes that make it look as if she’s controlling the cars as part of some larger, secret ballet. However, she can turn on the cars just as easily: we’ve seen her scream at disobeying drivers, smacking her stop sign on the pavement with rage."
Want to laugh and be terrified/outraged at the same time? Watch this Samantha Bee segment on how, in the absence of any political willingness to take on the gun lobby, schools are preparing kids and teachers for active shooters -- with pencils and schoolbooks. Then go read this helpful/ridiculous Washington Post guide about what to do if a gunman opens fire in your building.
PBS NewsHour: "On Saturday, college hopefuls took a brand new SAT, marking the first time in over a decade the test curriculum has undergone major changes. While scores will still be submitted with many an application, there is growing skepticism of their value as predictors of college success." (As the SAT evolves, so do opinions on its value)
Hidden in the news that author Pat Conroy passed away recently was the reminder that the popular author started out as a one-room schoolhouse teacher and wrote "The Water Is Wide," a book about his experience that was turned into a feature film and then a TV special.
From thePost and Courier: "Conroy took work as a teacher in the Beaufort County School District, where he was assigned a one-room schoolhouse on Daufuskie Island. He soon came to realize he was expected to be nothing more than a baby sitter to an island full of underprivileged black children. He made it his mission to give them a good education. His unorthodox methods and ambitious plans led to his dismissal."
According to Wikipedia, The Water Is Wide came out in 1972 and "details Conroy's efforts to communicate with the islanders, who are nearly all directly descended from slaves and who have had little contact with the mainland or its people."
"A film adaptation, titled Conrack, was created in 1974, starring Jon Voight. A Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie titled The Water Is Wide, starring Jeff Hephner and Alfre Woodard, was made in 2006."
Hillary Clinton: Teachers Are Often 'Scapegoats' for Low-Performing Schools PK12: Clinton said she'd like to create an "education SWAT team" at the U.S. Department of Education to help intervene in Detroit's struggling schools, as well as steer federal money to repairing and modernizing schools.
'Just Say No' anti-drug campaign was Nancy Reagan's most memorable achievement LA Times: Drugs already had a strong grip in Compton High School when Maple Cornwell became assistant principal in 1983. Crack cocaine was just making its debut. Educators had few tools to fight what would quickly turn into an epidemic. Into this void came the voice of Nancy Reagan, with a message for children around the nation: "Just Say No."
States seek to stymie hiring suspected sex-predator teachers AP: A school suspects a teacher of sexual misconduct and forces the teacher out to protect the students. But that person can still get a new job in a new school, sometimes with a glowing recommendation....
Charter schools rethink discipline after focus on tough consequences ChalkbeatNY: Parallel shifts are happening across New York City, as some charter school leaders take a second look at discipline policies they put in place when they opened. Those policies, connected to a broader set of ideas referred to as “no excuses,” combine teachers’ high academic expectations for students with strict behavior rules meant to ensure an orderly learning environment.
Officer in School Beating Probe Was Fired Deputy AP: A Baltimore public school police officer under investigation for slapping and kicking a teenager at a school was fired by the city sheriff's department in 2003
Connecticut Approves New School Accountability System State EdWatch: The new accountability system ranks schools based on 12 indicators, including college access and physical fitness, in addition to test scores and expanded ways of measuring graduation.
Judge: Plaintiffs may still access complete California student database, but with tightened security KPCC: A massive database that includes sensitive information on every student who attended California public schools since 2008 will no longer be handed over in its entirety to a small team of experts and lawyers who've filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Education.
Guard at Pennsylvania school stabbings dies of heart attack AP: A security guard wounded trying to stop a student who had just stabbed 20 others at a western Pennsylvania high school has died....
Mo Canady of the National Association of School Resource Officers in The Seventy Four (Video of Baltimore Cop Slapping Student Reignites Big Questions About Child Training for School Cops)
"Michelle Obama casually jaunted into a classroom at John Burroughs Elementary School in Northeast Washington wearing a three-quarters sleeved baseball-style blouse." (She also learns that modern-day kids in some schools are taught to snap when they approve of something.)
Here's a review of a book that sounds really interesting and timely:
"Many saw the 2008 election of Barack Obama as a sign that America had moved past the issue of race, that a colorblind society was finally within reach.
"But as Marianne Modica reveals in Race Among Friends, attempts to be colorblind do not end racism—in fact, ignoring race increases the likelihood that racism will occur in our schools and in society.
"Modica finds that even in an environment where students of all racial backgrounds work and play together harmoniously, race affects the daily experiences of students and teachers in profound but unexamined ways.
"In the end, the school’s friendly environment did not promote—and may have hindered—serious discussion of race and racial inequity. The desire to ignore race in favor of a “colorblind society,” Modica writes, has become an entrenched part of American culture. But as Race Among Friends shows, when race becomes a taboo subject, it has serious ramifications for students and teachers of all ethnic origins."
You can listen to an interview she did on WNYC in December.
Related posts: New Yorker Writer's Year Embedded In High School English; Ta-Nehesi Coates' New Book On Race (& Schooling) In America; 'Confessions Of A Headmaster'; Teacher Perceptions Of Autonomy Vary By Race; Educators & Advocates Need Authentic Conversations About Race, Too.
"The commercial has a "paper" student show up to school to face a group of mean-mugging "scissors" to find even the fellow "papers" have turned on him. It eventually takes a "scissors" and a "paper" — both sworn enemies according to the rules of the game — to befriend the lonely rock and break away from the schoolyard cruelty." via Mashable.
For children like Dasani, school is not just a place to cultivate a hungry mind. It is a refuge. The right school can provide routine, nourishment and the guiding hand of responsible adults. But school also had its perils.
- Andrea Elliott in the NYT (Invisible Child: Dasani’s Homeless Life)
Yep, that's Laurene Powell Jobs in the latest issue of Vogue, talking about how 10,000 proposal teams are trying to make it to the finalist list of about 400 and then 5 actual XQ awardees. Click the link if the Facebook embed doesn't render properly. #typepadsocreaky
The best teachers don’t just say, ‘I have a good way of communicating or connecting with the students.’ They also change what they’re communicating. They think of a new curriculum that they know the student will be excited about.
-- BuzzFeed's Jonah Peretti in Fast Company (Building A 100-Year Media Company) via Chalkbeat.
This video trailer from Chicago's Kartemquin documentary filmmakers comes from a "documentary project in progress" connecting the 1963 Chicago Public School Boycott to today's education struggles.
In 1963, roughly 200,000 Chicagoans marched to protest the policies of then-CPS superintendent Benjamin Willis. (A year later, there was a 500,000-person protest against school segregation in New York City.)
So far, nobody's identified footage of a young Bernie Sanders at the event, but who knows... it could happen.
NBC News segment about so-called "nature" or "forest" schools. Click here if the video doesn't load properly.
It's sad but not surprising when tent cities that have been popping up around the nation include not only students but also school staff.
"Deja-Lynn Rombawa-Quarles, a 24-year-old woman who works part time at an elementary school as a group leader, sits in her tent at a homeless encampment in the Kakaako district of Honolulu on August 26, 2015. Rombawa-Quarles is one of a growing number of working poor in Honolulu who, through a combination of high housing costs, a dearth of affordable housing, and bad circumstances, wound up living on the street."
This comes from Atlantic Magazine via Knowledge Alliance.
Here are some pictures I took from some of the #TFA20 receptions 5 years ago. Or take a look at the official TFA20 photo album (remember Flickr?).
Here's a #TFA25 panel moderated by the NYT's Nikole Hannah-Jones, who starts out expressing a view that the term "diversity" is cute but "integration" is an imperative. (Intentionally Diverse Learning Communities). Panelists include Kriste Dragon, Bill Kurtz, Jeremy Chiappetta, Julie Goldstein. 90 minutes.
"My school in Aleppo in Syria got bombed.” –10-yr-old refugee, from the ruins of a classroom recreated in London: https://t.co/loM6vfHnQy— AJ+ (@ajplus) February 9, 2016
It's a recreation -- not the real school in Aleppo -- but it's still pretty vivid, and connects us to schools and kids which is what this site is all about.
"If you wonder how such a change could be brought about, take a look at this video (26 min long), and see what you think about the ways in which its educators transformed the teaching and learning climate at their school." (This is how you move a school from crisis to calm via Sam Chaltain).
"Students at the Montesorri School pratice yoga to help clear their minds of the violence that surrounds their lives," reports Al Jazeera America (Yoga To Help Kids Cope With Violence in Chicago).
See also: Why Schools Are Embracing Yoga (featuring NYC, Detroit, Litchfield, Minn, and Encenitas, CA).
A Here's a new Reason.com video segment about the perils of residential assignment of kids to schools. (Brownstone Brooklyn's Racial Divide).
"Some 61 percent of black Americans and 55 percent of Hispanic Americans said they think the government should take steps to increase school diversity. Only 28 percent of white Americans said the same." Via HuffPost (Surprise! White People Don't Really Care About School Diversity)
Or, on a much more serious topic, listen to this new Macklemore & Ryan song, White Privilege II, which includes the repeated line:"We take all we want from black culture, but will we show up for Black lives?"
Concerns about insufficient numbers of speakers and panelists of color at conferences, the need to talk more directly about racism, and "handing over the microphone" in general have been big issues this past year in education circles, media newsrooms, and the broader society.
Both Arne Duncan and Randi Weingarten participated in #BlackLivesMatter events (Duncan Wasn't The Only One At Last Weekend's Protests).
I wrote about the BLM-education connection in Scholastic earlier this year (#BlackLivesMatter, Deray McKesson, & Education Reform).
And we all remember last year's Yale Education Summit where an all-white, all-male panel followed a Bruce Fuller speech on race in education? (6 Ways To Diversify That Conference Or Panel).
And so it was a feel-good moment a few days ago when Stephen Colbert had Deray McKesson on his show, talked about white privilege and structural racism, and even switched seats momentarily with the #BlackLivesMatter leader. (Click this link if the video doesn't render properly.)
Historically, Colbert has arguably done better than others booking guests of color in the past, including a memorable 2008 segment with Roland Fryer. And he even wore a BLM wristband on the air at one point.
What didn't get addressed in the segment with Deray-- baby steps, right? -- are Colbert (and other late-night hosts') guest lists and staffing patterns. Women and persons of color are notoriously ill-represented in comedy writing rooms. It's not clear that Colbert's is any different -- and Deray missed the chance (or was holding back) when he didn't bring that issue up in response to Colbert's invitation to help him unpack white privilege.
For Twitter commentary on the appearance start here.
Related posts: 6 Ways To Diversify That Conference Or Panel (ie, "Pass The Mic")*; Whatever Happened To Roland Fryer (& Cash Incentives For School)?; Where #BlackLivesMatter Meets Education (Reform); "I Thought I Knew How To Listen To People".
We've all seen the big novelty check being handed over from the lottery director to the state secretary of education.The question is, are the effects on education as good as advertised?
-- College of Holy Cross economics professor Victor Matheson in VICE (What Happens to the Billions of Powerball Dollars That Nobody Wins)