Destroying Special Ed: Sliding Backwards in Time

Serious changes are occurring when it comes to special education. This post is an attempt to tie recent events together.

Source: Destroying Special Ed: Sliding Backwards in Time

Stop For-Profit Charter Money Grab

Action needed from parents, educators to stop SB 574

Parents, community members and educators need to take action to stop legislation giving for-profit charter schools a cut of millages that voters approve to supplement funding for neighborhood public schools.

SB 574 would require money from regional enhancement millages to be given to charter and virtual schools located in the communities that approve the additional taxes. Enhancement millages are regional tax levies approved by voters within a region and administered by intermediate school districts.

Under SB 574, the money raised would have to be split with charter schools that exist in the region and virtual schools that are headquartered within its boundaries. Six regions currently have enhancement millages through these ISD’s: Wayne-RESA, Kalamazoo, Kent, Midland, Monroe, and Muskegon.

The bill passed the State Senate this week and now heads to the House for further consideration and debate. State Representatives need to hear now from constituents – especially parents – to oppose this new money grab being pushed by for-profit charter and cyber schools.

Source: Stop For-Profit Charter Money Grab

Bill Gates has a(nother) plan for K-12 public education. The others didn’t go so well. – The Washington Post

Bill Gates has a(nother) plan for K-12 public education. The others didn’t go so well, but the man, if anything, is persistent.

…Gates is an innovator, and innovators like to try things and move on if something doesn’t work. In business, that can work well, but it is hard to negotiate in education, where children are the focus and experimentation can be difficult and result in unintended consequences that can be harmful.

Source: Bill Gates has a(nother) plan for K-12 public education. The others didn’t go so well. – The Washington Post

Russ on Reading: Knowledge, Belief, and the Professional Educator

I imagine that most of those who read this blog accept climate change and the human impact on climate change as settled science. We’ve seen the evidence; we’ve heard from the experts and we have reached an informed conclusion. This is a good thing and one that most Americans not in the White House or in denial for economic and political reasons also accept. It is not a matter of believing or disbelieving climate science; it is a matter of rigorous academic inquiry.

Now I would ask all teachers and teacher leaders to apply the same academic rigor to instructional practice. That is we must make our instructional decisions on what we know works – based on research.

Unfortunately as I have talked to teachers over the years about instructional practice, I have heard a lot of faith-based language.

  • “I don’t believe in homework.”
  • “I believe in phonics.”
  • “I don’t believe in teaching to the test.”
  • “I believe in independent reading.”
  • “I believe in using round robin and popcorn reading.”
For about 2,000 years doctors “believed” that blood-letting was an effective treatment for a wide variety of ailments. Today, I would bet if you encountered a doctor who recommended blood-letting for your flu symptoms, you would run, not walk, out the office door screaming. Science, and mounting numbers of dead patients, caught up with blood-letting. So, as professionals, we need to hold ourselves to the same standards. We need to follow the science and stop talking about our beliefs and start talking about the scientific research behind our instructional decision making.
Now I know applying the rules of scientific inquiry to education is more difficult and more elusive than the study of climate. Climate exists in the physical world, education in the human world. Working with the mind is messier than working with weather patterns. And yes, teaching is as much art as it is science.

Source: Russ on Reading: Knowledge, Belief, and the Professional Educator

What Are We Doing to Our Children? Pressure, Competition, Anxiety, Broken Spirits | Diane Ravitch’s blog

This is a powerful and very disturbing article about the teenagers who crack under the pressure to succeed. Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?

Source: What Are We Doing to Our Children? Pressure, Competition, Anxiety, Broken Spirits | Diane Ravitch’s blog