Underneath this political back and forth about whether the Obama discipline guidance contributed to the Parkland shooting – best I can tell the fact of that episode are a poor fit with the idea that guidance contributed – there is a serious conversation about discipline, the guidance, and a complicated basket of issues. Thoughtful Times look at that via Erica Green.
The “danger” is that the SAT or ACT will distort teachers’ priorities, driving them to “water down” high school math content or “narrowly focus on a limited range of skills” in English language arts, Achieve said.
Let me save you some time, don’t mess with Chad Aldeman on pension issues. In fact, he’s a super nice guy, very friendly, even-handed, and eager to be helpful. So if you’re not a pension expert, before you sound off you might want to check in with him so this doesn’t happen.
By the way, the Tinker case has come in for special abuse this week as it’s been twisted in all manner of ways to make various points. It’s about student rights to free expression but with limits, including on disruptive behavior. That’s why schools that punished students in excess of normal discipline for skipping out of class would be violating students’ rights but are on firm ground enforcing whatever their policies happen to be. (The courts also tend to frown on policies that are vague or made up after the fact). There are some cases after Tinker that have further defined limits on student rights but Tinker is an interesting case and a fast read to get up to speed.
“[Trump] did ask me about Common Core. I kept trying to disclose, ‘I’m a Hillary supporter. I’m a liberal Democrat.’ And I said, ‘Oh, and I believe in Common Core,’ because I thought that would lead me to the door. And he said he said, ‘I believe in Common Core.’ And I said, ‘No, you don’t.’ On that level, it was very strange.”
I take look at guns and schools in The 74. Most people would agree we have a gun violence problem in this country, but the schools are actually pretty safe and we shouldn’t lose sight of that and turn our schools into fortresses or scare the kids in them:
Our debate about guns in schools, by contrast, seems increasingly fueled by panic rather than measured thinking and may have unintended consequences as a result. This week, again and again, we heard that 7,000 kids have been killed in school since Sandy Hook. That’s a staggering statistic — and major publications echoed it. It’s also a false one. That figure is an estimate of overall youth homicide by firearms — a horrific number that policymakers ought to do something about — but not a school statistic…
I’m excited about today’s student protests. The content is secondary, I just get excited when young people get engaged. But I do worry about the adults. Do we really want school districts and universities proactively sanctioning protests? That seems like a fraught business and one that conditions kids to look for activism to be pre-approved by the authorities. I take a look at that in The 74 today:
It’s an apt illustration of the times and an inversion of Scooby-Doo — the kids are about to do something and the adults are poised to screw it up with their meddling…
Today is Pi Day! I’ve long maintained there are three kinds of people in the world, those who are good at math and those who are not. Today’s the day to celebrate math people. Once at a bar I saw 19 get in a fight with 20. 21.
I knew a rancher who counted his cows daily out in the field, he had 99. But when he finally rounded them up, turns out he had a 100.
Math can be hard and even scary for people. I know someone who is quite terrified of negative numbers, will stop at nothing to avoid them.
Of course an argument has broken out over whether the Obama Administration’s discipline guidance contributed to the Parkland shooting.
Here’s your periodic reminder that like all interest groups the NRA probably does some stuff you like and some stuff you don’t like (although probably not in equal measure). Their gun safety programs are pretty good, though, just for instance and they do a lot with schools. That’s why an effort to disrupt the landscape rather than a frontal assault is probably more durable over time if the goal is to change gun politics in this country.
Definitely not a soft profile and covers a lot of ground for a 13 minute segment. I may have a scale that has too many shaky performances baked into it. It certainly wasn’t great but as these things go and given that Stahl was coming hard it didn’t seem to be the disaster the news clips today are making it out to be (by tomorrow it will be worst interview ever!).
Look, DeVos doesn’t give good interviews. And she should be more conversant on some issues – more on that in a second. And maybe I have that general rockiness baked into my assessment too much. But, this did not seem to standout to me. Generically bad, not epically bad. And in her defense, going back to Bush I, Dick Riley, John King, and Margaret Spellings are the only secretaries I can think of who didn’t mangle facts and evidence with some regularity or give answers that would not withstand scrutiny. And most of them were not asked hard questions very much anyway. Presentism is a powerful thing right now.
Anyway, a few things jumped out to me. 60 is usually pretty solid on the evidence but they do the typical throw your hands up on school choice and say who knows? It’s complicated! Yes, it is, but whether vouchers or charters there are some pretty clear inferences one can draw about what’s working and not working on a macro level and in specific places. That would be good to push DeVos on more than the generalities Stahl went with (and as we saw with the infamous Franken episode on value added at her confirmation, just because DeVos is out of her depth doesn’t mean her questioners are not as well).
On choice DeVos is right on Florida and what the research shows about the impact on other schools, she should have stayed on that point and not taken Stahl’s bait. And obviously at this point she ought to have a crisper answer about Michigan given that it’s going to keep coming up – and all the evidence there doesn’t cut against her case! Inexplicable that she doesn’t. It’s not some random state, it’s her home state and one where she has wielded some influence.
We also got a bit of DeVos derangement syndrome. Last week DeVos improved all the state ESSA plans in just 120 hours. This week she’s doing wonders for aggregate school quality. Pre-DeVos the faddish argument was that all this reform had led to nothing, NCLB, Obama, all of that. But presto! All DeVos has to do is criticize schools and suddenly everyone is talking up all the improvement of the last 25 years and how test scores have been going up! (It’s true, they have but you were not hearing a lot of that…).
The story also gives airtime to the idea that DeVos might personally profit from her public service. That’s a waste of precious screen time when we could have been talking about substance. In practice, the opposite is actually true given what she had to do to take the office. That’s kind of interesting! Plus, in case you haven’t noticed, there are opportunities, sure, but for the most part the education business is a great way to turn billions into millions. There is a lot of money in education but most of it is not up for grabs and the politics suck.
They didn’t ask her about her brother or it didn’t make the screen.
And despite today’s chatter it didn’t seem to me she was really pushed on her vision for education beyond gotchas on what schools she visits. That was good TV but while I get that she wants more choices anyone awake gets that, would it kill an interviewer to ask her how that will play out against concerns about equity, what we know about the unevenness of choice in some places, and the fiscal reality of her ideas beyond the typical ‘choice takes money from other schools’ because it’s more complicated than that in practice? I guess Stahl was trying but seemed to go with the easier made for TV questions than real probing stuff on the complexities here. In Stahl’s defense, complicated multipart questions make lousy TV.
Finally, the story mentions the ongoing debate about changing the Title IX sexual assault standards on campus. She should have been better on the false accusation issue – there is actual evidence there, too.* But, a really great 60 story would be about the colleges that are quietly working with her behind the scenes on that because of the due process problems those standards created, including racial inequities – but that don’t want anyone to know they support the change given the politics. There are also federal lawsuits in play. That’s a story that’s pretty illustrative of the nature of our times…
*On that as with all the questions, we don’t know what’s in the outtakes but what made it to the screen is not great. I’m not implying 60 was biased, just that editing these things is complicated and harder than it looks from the cheap seats.
At least week’s Caps – Leafs game at the USNA the gold medal winning Olympic Women’s Hockey Team was honored for their achievement. At the game goalie Alex Rigsby and I talked about hockey, girls and sports, and her mentoring work with Classroom Champions, an organization I’m on the board of.
The strike in West Virginia is ending – for real this time. The teachers unions are in an interesting spot: One the one hand their backs are against the wall with the Janus case that is going to disrupt their financial model, moderately or severely depending how the case comes down and how they respond. On the other, these mass strikes, Chicago a few years ago and now West Virginia are breathing some new life into their efforts. Small strikes don’t work, big ones seem to. That’s not lost on anyone. At a minimum Randi Weingarten will have to get arrested with more frequency to keep up with the theater – but this seems likely to affect union politics and education politics more generally.
Toppo seems skeptical that video games contribute to our youth violence problems. I get the general frustration that people want to talk about everything except guns in the gun debate – but that doesn’t axiomatically mean that the adjacent issues are not legitimate. The military, for instance, has long had an interest in video games. And the idea that a marketplace flooded with games that celebrate and habituate violence – especially first person shooter games – would have no effect at all on our culture is a curious one. Maybe not a definite link, but definitely something worth looking at and discussing.
Speaking of reflexive reactions – there was general agreement in Washington that state ESSA plans were not very good. Then earlier this week Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said state ESSA plans were not very good. So now…
For years the ed field has said teachers are disempowered, then a few months ago DeVos said it and suddenly it was a taboo thing to say…if she really wanted to advance school choice DeVos should probably just give a speech saying that school districts are the only way to do schools. Someone would launch “Teachers for Vouchers” that afternoon.
On ESSA, every version of ESEA has its little land mines or the water that gets in the cracks, freezes, and causes some trouble. Clever provisions put in by clever policymakers that move the field forward in ways that don’t immediately grab headlines. In NCLB it was the data genie that was let out of the bottle and isn’t going back in. In ESSA it might be the provisions around fiscal transparency. Here’s a look at that.
Something works! It’s weird. If you focus on execution and quality kids learn more.
Leading with the core belief that adults across multiple sectors bear a shared responsibility for student success, Raise DC spurs citywide action to improve educational outcomes for Washington, DC, children and youth, from birth through age 24. The organization convenes public, private, nonprofit, and philanthropic leaders and uses data to guide effective practices that ensure every child has opportunities to succeed, from cradle to career. Raise DC is a partner of the collective impact network StriveTogether, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Greater Washington Community Foundation serves as Raise DC’s backbone organization, supporting daily operations with human capital and infrastructure.
Here’s how they describe the role:
Raise DC is seeking an Executive Director who can lead the organization through continued growth by ensuring a strong backbone, fostering meaningful connections, and championing progress toward improved outcomes. The Executive Director is tasked with building authentic, effective relationships across a multitude of sectors, including with the philanthropic community, to support Raise DC’s growing operations; distilling complex information into clear ideas that move stakeholders to act; managing a dynamic team of programmatic and data-driven staff in progressing toward its education-focused goals; and designing and implementing an expanded array of interventions to drive greater impact.
Are active shooter drills doing more harm than good for kids? I tend to think so and wish we provided more training or adults on the variety of situations, including non-gun ones, they may encounter and spun up the kids a little less.