When I started this blog, I would do a weekly round-up of what I was reading around the Web. Given the plethora of ed politics and policy news this week, it seemed like a good time to bring that back. Here are some of the stories I’ve been reading:
First up, Bill Gates and his foundation hit the news in a big way. Here are three links:
- The Business of Giving | Lancet questions Gates Foundation’s health spending priorities | Seattle Times Newspaper
This article was about problems that are Gates Foundation money is creating in their quest for a cure for malaria. I think it’s important because it points up the many of the same problems that his ventures in education have; lack of objectivity, lack of expertise, and the tendency to apply technocratic solutions in places where there are known and effective non-technical solutions. As my friend Larry Ferlazzo likes to say, when the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.
- Behind Grass-Roots School Advocacy, Bill Gates – NYTimes.com
The coup de grace though is this gem of a piece in the New York times showing how Gates money, prevalent in education, is being used to create “astro-turf” advocacy for the policy changes he’d like in education. @KenMLibbey helped comb through Foundation tax records that make up the backbone of this story, and can be found here: Annotated Excerpts of the Gates Foundation 990 Form 2009 – Document – NYTimes.com
I know we’ve it’s been a couple weeks since Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s letter to teachers, but this response caught my eye:
Topeka KS : Mr. Duncan, you are a shining example
Since discussions about the reality of public education seems to be a reality-free zone, I recommend this short piece,
Five myths about America’s schools – The Washington Post
Since zombies seem to the be subject of the day I had to share David Orphal post on how the public may be getting the wrong impression about the number of “bad teachers”,
Learning 2030: Zombie Horde of Bad Teachers
Valerie Strauss shares this letter from assessment experts that was given to the NY Board of Regents, then ignored when they implemented a teacher evaluation system, with 40% based on student test scores.
The letter from assessment experts the N.Y. Regents ignored – The Answer Sheet – The Washington Post
We got the opposite news in California this week, when Anthony Cody’s digging revealed that as part of Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposal, funding for expansion of the student data system (which would facilitate VAM or similar systems) has been “iced”.
California Governor Puts the Testing Juggernaut On Ice – Living in Dialogue – Education Week Teacher
California readers, this could still be “reinserted” into the budget by the legislature. I strongly urge you to contact your state representative and ask them to adopt the Governor’s recommendations for funding of CALPADS and CALTIDES. The reasons that Anthony shares from the Governor’s budget are the best arguments for this that I’ve seen, so use them.
What Standardized Tests Miss | Mother Jones is a really accessible piece on the shortcomings of standardized tests. I recommend it for sharing with non-educators.
I’ll just share two articles that came out his week about my work on state of Emergency last week: