“A time of happiness and prosperity. Halcyon in Greek is the word for kingfisher, compounded in hals, “the sea,” and kyo, “to brood on.” The ancient Sicilians believed that the kingfisher laid its eggs and incubated them on the surface of the sea for fourteen days before the winter solstice. During this time the waves of the sea were always unruffled.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.
[Lately, I have been concerned–obsessed might be a better word, frankly–with the abysmally low standards of professionalism in the New York City school in which I serve; now comes this. Yeesh.]
Diane Ravitch's blog
Jan Resseger writes here about Betsy DeVos’s decision to overrule a strong recommendation from Department career staff and resinstate an accrediting agency with a terrible record.
Before the Obama Department of Education put the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) out of business in 2016, ACICS had been instrumental in accrediting a number of unscrupulous, for-profit colleges whose fiscal survival depended on attracting students bringing dollars from federal loans. After ACICS was put out of business by the Obama Department of Education, ACICS filed a lawsuit claiming its record had not been fully examined. In March of this year, a federal judge ruled in favor of the accreditation agency—saying that the Department of Education still needs to consider 36,000 pages of information ACICS submitted that was never considered. On April 3, 2018, after the judge’s ruling, Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos conditionally reapproved ACICS pending further study.
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Keeping up with the various themed history months during the year created something of a backlog on other posts here at Mark’s Text Terminal, including this one, which has lingered as a draft for months. A few years ago my Hampshire College pal Gil Roth interviewed, for his podcast The Virtual Memories Show (and if you visit Gil’s site, you’ll see that he has built up an extraordinary archive of shows), a high school friend of his, Matthew Farber, who wrote a book on using video games in the classroom. Mr. Farber was a middle school social studies teacher in New Jersey at the time of the interview posted here, and evidently a talented one at that. He is now Professor Matthew Farber at the University of Northern Colorado.
If you’re interested in his work, here is a link to Matthew Farber’s interview on how he gamified his classroom and how you can too. If you’re interested in his book itself, you can find it here.
Here in New York City, we teachers are vassals to the educational publishers, the tests they make, and the unimaginative bureaucrats who push them on us. So we have next to no latitude to try innovative educational strategies like those Mr. Farber discusses so articulately and passionately. Indeed, while imagination and innovation get talked about in this school system, they are seldom or never actually deployed in the service of teaching and learning.
[I’ve been waiting for Diane Ravitch to post something on this egregious policy move, and here it is. I don’t know what to say about this, other than Secretary DeVos appears impervious to facts and reasoning–and that’s never a good trait in a cabinet secretary in the federal government.]
Diane Ravitch's blog
Betsy DeVos and her school safety commission (three other Cabinet members) will consider all the possible causes of gun violence in schools, except guns.
Alia Wong writes at The Atlantic:
“What should be on the list of tasks for President Trump’s newly minted school-safety commission, charged with studying what can be done to prevent campus violence?
“Perhaps the commission, chaired by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, should look at mental-health resources and student-discipline practices. And perhaps it should consider the design of campus facilities. One thing that would seemingly be an obvious candidate for the commission’s scrutiny is guns, as guns have been the weapon of choice in every major school-violence incident this year.
“And yet it became clear on Tuesday, as DeVos testified in front of a Senate subcommittee to answer questions about the Education Department’s fiscal year 2019 budget request, that will likely not be the case. Amid…
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[More squalor from the callow heiress who bought herself the Secretary of Education cabinet post, Betsy DeVos.]
Diane Ravitch's blog
Bill Black, a specialist in white-collar crime, discusses Betsy DeVos’ plan to dismantle the U.S. Department of Education team investigating fraud at those predatory for-profit colleges and to staff the Department with veterans of the institutions under investigation. Like many people, I have described her actions as “putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.” Black says it is far worse than that. The right metaphor, he says, is putting the vampire in charge of the blood bank. What is happening now is not just a policy dispute; it is a deliberate program to protect institutional behavior that should be treated as criminal fraud. The victims are college students who are poor and middle-class, who have every right to expect that the government will protect them against fraud, not enable the fraud.
This is only a part of the interview. Open the link and read the rest.
GREGORY WILPERT: It’s…
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[In my 15 years of service to the New York City Department of Education, I have wondered, as teachers are regularly pilloried in the local and national press for being incompetent, but protected by their union from discharge, why incompetent and corrupt school administrators–and God knows I’ve seen my share here–enjoy an apparent immunity from accountability. I hope this blog post from Diane Ravitch, and the report it chronicles, can do something to change that. As a New York City taxpayer and educator, I would like to see principals and assistant principals held responsible for their failures, something I really have not seen in my tenure here.]
Diane Ravitch's blog
Susan Edelman, reporter at the New York Post, often gets scoops, and this one is a doozy.
Several principals have been accused of sexual harassment. Some have caused the city to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars for their misconduct, but they are seldom punished. Instead they are reassigned to headquarters with their pay and pension intact.
When Shaunte Penniston complained that her principal was making sexual demands, the city Department of Education not only failed to investigate, she alleged, but immediately notified the principal — who promptly had her fired.
The teacher then filed a lawsuit, which has dragged on in court for five years, the city fighting it at every step. But even if Penniston wins her case, it’s too late for the DOE to punish her alleged tormentor, Antonio K’tori. Under state law, educators with tenure cannot be brought up on disciplinary charges more than three…
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[If there is a better exposition than this one by Mercedes Schneider of Betsy DeVos’s stupidity and hypocrisy out there, please advise, and I’ll post it here.]
Prepared Remarks by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to Ave Maria University’s 2018 Spring Commencement
As I prepared to be with you today, I reflected on my own graduation from a small Christian college in my favorite corner of the Midwest. Sitting there that day, I never imagined I’d be a commencement speaker someday and I surely did not plan to become a cabinet secretary.
But my perspective then was limited. If there’s anything I’ve learned since, it’s that our horizons should be ever-broadening. We must engage our imaginations, be open to possibilities and be prepared to respond to the unplanned opportunity.
Education Department Unwinds Unit Investigating Fraud at For-Profits
WASHINGTON — Members of a special team at the Education Department that had been investigating widespread abuses by for-profit colleges have been marginalized, reassigned or instructed to focus on other matters, according to current and former employees.
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