January 15, 2018


All of this tells us something basic about the interdependence of men and nations. Whether we realize it or not each of us is eternally “in the red.” We are everlasting debtors to known and unknown men and women. We do not finish breakfast without being dependent on more than half of the world. When we arise in the morning, we go into the bathroom where we reach for sponge that is provided for us by a Pacific Islander. We reach for soap that is created for us by a Frenchman. The towel is provide by a Turk. Then at the table we drink coffee which is provided for us by a South American, or tea by a Chinese, or cocoa by a West African. Before we leave for our jobs we are beholden to more than half the world.

In a real sense, all life is interrelated. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.

– Martin Luther King

“The man who was a fool,” 1963

January 12, 2018

Uh…About That Unconference Invite…Opportunity Culture Rocking, Spec Ed Evading, Some Evidence Using? Hailly Korman Talks To Randy Farber, Today In Betsy DeVos, Pot Policy, More!

Scroll down for edujobs at Bellwether and elsewhere.

Not a lot to say about what President Trump said yesterday (and it really doesn’t matter if he was talking about Haiti and Africa or just African countries, that’s not the crux point) other than to note there was a time when even opponents of more liberal immigration policies realized America was a beacon in the world. And, however imperfectly, America has been a place of hope and opportunity and building an unum from e pluribus. Schools, especially public schools, played an imperfect but important role in that, too. Schools will also be impacted by America’s rapidly shrinking role in the world, this isn’t a sideshow.

Hailly Korman talks with Randy Farber about supporting adjudicated students.

ICYMI – I think raw water is the cocktail for our age. And I’m old enough to remember when everyone thought ESSA was great.


The next time you get invited to an unconference, they’re popular in education lately, you might want to ask a few questions first.

There can be this idea that nothing works – and there is plenty to learn in this sector – but we do find things that work a lot – here’s an example from Public Impact’s Opportunity Culture work that’s great to see. The politics in this sector hold things back as much as the lack of knowledge.

One of the things we did at RealClearEducation and now at 74 is a really fun series giving the Opportunity Culture teachers a chance to write about their work and share what they liked and were learning.

Another new report: Results For America on evidence use in ESSA plans. There is at least one example per state, that’s the good or bad news, depending on your perspective.

Texas special education trouble.

Fensterwald breaks down California Governor Brown’s education budget.

The confusing and evolving status of marijuana legalization is going to create a lot of issues for schools. Pot policy and school policy is a sleeper issue that will demand some attention.

Today in Betsy DeVos. Part 1. And Part 2.

Puss N Boots and Neil Young, “Down By The River.”

January 11, 2018

You Say Janus, I Say Jonas…ESSA Stage Setters And NCLB Legacies, No Panic Pondiscio, Iron Mike On ESSA, More!

Scroll down for edujobs, including Development Director at Bellwether.

In The 74 I take a look at ESSA 2018 now that we’re moving from plans to action as the law is implemented. In addition to ESSA you get cameos by Iron Mike, Ike, and various Bellwarians of all stripes.

In the same package Nat Malkus looks at an NCLB legacy that lives on in ESSA – a move away from local control. NCLB is a law that launched a thousand dissertations. But my take has always been that it was better understood as a pull of autonomy away from local school districts and to states than as a state power grab. The law told states to do things but left a lot of the how up to them – that turned out to be one of the law’s flaws. Sandy Kress dissents here.

Here’s a look at public school choice in Philly that ties to NCLB, too.

And here is a straightforward take on Janus.  And here’s a Jonas deep dive on Massachusetts’ reform anniversary.

Robin Lake on charter politics and some upcoming work on that.

Robert Pondiscio:

It should go without saying (alas, in nuance-averse 2018, few assumptions can safely go unsaid) that we ought not be blithe about societal problems or the degree to which the impulse to insulate very young children from very real problems is a form of “privilege.” But neither should we overstate the dangers of the present moment. Mostly I wonder if it’s not worth thinking long and hard about the effects on children of a rapidly growing educational movement that proceeds from the pessimistic assumption that the world is so cracked and broken, that even the very youngest children need tools to make their way in it. At the very least, we might consider the age at which it’s appropriate to introduce these curricula and tools.

Why are our most important teachers paid the least? Short answer, ask Sara Mead. Longer discussion in a Times magazine story people are chattering about.

Congrats to longtime friend of the blog Patrick Gavin!

Guy Davis: Long Train.  Be safe out there.

January 10, 2018

Must-Read Bradford, OER, All About Schmitz, O’Keefe On Early Ed & ESSA, Childress On Innovation In ’18, Scholars Ranked, More!

What does Kirsten Schmitz do all day? Find out here!  Bonnie O’Keefe on early ed and ESSA via this CCSSO brief. Yesterday, off-edu, I wrote about “raw water” for USN.

A lot of pushback on what’s wrong methodologically with the charter segregation argument recently amplified by AP, but Derrell Bradford goes at the core of the question:

…Conversely (and courtesy of the charter segregation lobby) we also see what these folks would have us attack: schools working for black families that exist because those same families have made the affirmative decision to attend them.

Depending on what cocktail parties you attended this holiday season, you likely heard any number of derisive characterizations of today’s modern-day Freedom Schools. Some outright condescending (those families don’t know how to choose a school) to counterintuitive (those schools cream the best families). The latter is particularly destructive because it penalizes black families — some foreign-born, some the home-grown descendants of slaves, but all of whom want a better future for their children — for that quality we value most in every other race and creed in the American patchwork: ambition.

Consider how this same ambition is handled in some of America’s other numerous racial tranches. White urbane families who like cities but still want accelerated education have an entire network of segregated academies within the public schools, most commonly known as gifted and talented, fostered for them. It’s widely known that these programs pass over black kids, but no one seems to care, even as cries for the expansion of these programs continue to grow…

…Black folks are unique in America because we are often asked to sacrifice some notion of personal agency or sovereignty “for the greater good” in manners that other groups are not asked to and would never be expected to.

In my look at the new 529 policy I mentioned that the tax benefits / cost in states is unclear because not all states automatically conform to changes in federal policy and it could set off some debates. More on that via TIME.

Here’s some big news: Researchers have finally found an education spending item that the usual suspects don’t want to spend more money on. More seriously, here’s a CRPE take on this.

New Schools’ Stacey Childress on ed innovation in 2018.

Rick Hess’ scholar rankings are out. University-based folks in the ed world pay more attention to these than you might think.

Tweet of the day:

Hairless bear rescued.

January 9, 2018

Raw Water

“Raw” water is hot now. I take a look at that in U.S. News & World Report today:

In 1970, Gil Scott-Heron penned “Whitey On the Moon” about public investments. Sample line: “No hot water, no toilets, no lights (but Whitey’s on the moon).”

He could have written a doozy about high-priced “raw water.”

Raw water is unfiltered and untreated water – in other words straight from the source. And raw water is hot. That’s the takeaway from a New York Times account of Silicon Valley’s growing interest in the raw water business.

If you’re saying to yourself, “wait, isn’t raw water what kills people all over the world?” you’re on the right track. There are so many things wrong with this from the trivial to deeply symbolic.

For starters, it’s just an awful idea…

You can read the entire thing here. Tweet me your water treatment ideas @arotherham. I definitely don’t want to hear your coffee enema stories, but if you’re trespassing to get raw water I’m game to hear about that. Don’t eat raw chicken, it’s even dumber than raw water and doesn’t even sound good.

January 8, 2018

Odds & Ends, DeVos 60, SAT/ACT & High School, SALT Resistance, College & Public Health, Study Ideas, More!

Here’s an interesting analysis. California’s class size reduction initiative. It’s generally established that it was adverse for poor kids and not a good cost-benefit investment for student learning, but perhaps it was good for property values and shrunk private school market share?

Here is the next chapter in the debate over federal tax deductions for state and local taxes.

Alyson Klein reviews the bidding on SAT/ACT and high school testing.

Is college a public health issue?

This study is about investor – management interactions and information flow but the methodology would be fascinating to replicate on education vendor – public official interactions.

Betsy DeVos turns 60 today, she was toasted, with a cake, at Camp David over the weekend.

January 5, 2018

More ESSA, More Choice? Teacher Tests, Charm City, Campus Politics, Berea, SBAC, More!

Scroll down for a lot of edujobs, including two at Education Forward DC.

Don’t miss Joy Resmovits on San Francisco’s education situation.

Mike McShane with a great lede. And he makes a good point about school choice. But I found that during Obama’s second term everyone in DC was declaring choice dead, and it expanded, so I’d keep an eye on the states more than what’s happening in DC on this issue regardless. And keep an eye on ideas like ESAs and other non-direct spending approaches (which tend to have less in the way of equity but more in the way of political feasibility). Long game or short game, in the American context being against choice is like being against gravity. The questions are how and when, not if.

Ah teacher tests. Teacher tests present something of a dilemma and a lot of tradeoffs. One is about passing scores. On the one hand, a test like the Praxis measures basic education, numeracy, and literacy levels you would want everyone who will be in front of your child during the day to have. On the other hand, what do you do about say a fantastic art teacher who really struggles at math? That issue is arising in Nebraska where the state is trying to create more flexibility without lowering teacher quality. Reasonable people can disagree but it seems inescapable that ineffective or non-existent hiring practices at the school level still drive a need for blunt instruments that no one is especially pleased with. And equally inescapable that it would be great if our schools could produce teachers who can just pass Praxis.

On campus:

But the civil war within the Republican Party is also being waged in campus multipurpose rooms across the country.

Plenty of blame to go around for the Baltimore HVAC situation but it’s tragic and embarrassing.

Checker Finn on 2017 and 2018. More ESSA concerns. Smarick on ESSA reviews.

Does Berea deserve an exception or is taxing endowments a rushed and clumsy policy?

SBAC pushback.

Whoa. Here’s a hell of a story.