Tag Archives: news

The “Homework Gap” and the Flipped Classroom–Redux

Here’s something I just cannot let pass.

Last year about this time, I published this blog post on the pedagogical fad of the “flipped classroom.” The theory of the flipped classroom was presented at a professional development meeting as a fait accompli several months earlier in the school in which I served. When I asked in this session about students living in homeless shelters, or in other circumstances where broadband internet is unavailable, and therefore the various videos on which the flipped classroom depends, the presenter and his administrative enablers had no answer.

So, I am not at all surprised to find in Google headlines this morning this report on the homework gap and its relation to students’ struggle in school. The culprit?  Why it is none other than the absence of a reliable internet connection. My reaction? Roll “Theme from ‘The Vindicators'” by The Fleshtones.

Follow Up: Better Late than Never for Justice

Readers of Mark’s Text Terminal may recall that I posted this this item earlier this year about a particularly egregious incident of police violence in the dismal school in which I have worked this year.

I’m pleased to report that  justice prevailed

In this instance, I hope Dr. King was right: “Let us remember the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Betsy DeVos as Clickbait

[May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and during themed history months I endeavor to keep the focus on pedagogical materials related to the history of the group whose achievements and culture are observed. That said, occasionally a blog post comes along, such as the one below, that are simply too important to let pass. Jan Resseger has written cogently–I’m hard-pressed, frankly, to imagine how this case could be summarized more cogently, and I envy Ms. Resseger’s talent as a prose stylist–about the disaster that is Betsy DeVos. I believe her policies, particularly where the kinds of struggling learners I have served throughout my career are concerned, have already found a home in some schools. Indeed, the school in which I currently serve has a well-established track record of ignoring the special needs students who have enrolled in it.]

janresseger

It surprised me to hear the word “clickbait” in Betsy DeVos’s working vocabulary.  I wonder if it wasn’t put into her speech—on Monday in Baltimore at the Education Writers Association’s annual meeting—by one of her more with-it staffers.  I confess that as a retired person, I was slow several years ago to grasp the meaning of the term, but as a blogger I know I paid attention, even before I knew the word, to the number of people who click on posts about particular topics.  I realize, of course, that my purpose is to do justice, not to pay attention to the number of clicks on different subjects, but like all writers who post on-line, I notice.  And I grieve about the paucity of clicks on worthy topics.

As you have, no doubt, heard by now, Betsy DeVos went to the Education Writers Association and asked the nation’s education journalists…

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Low Salaries, High Rents, Poor Teaching Conditions Create Widespread Shortage of Qualified Teachers

[As a nation, we ignore this development at our peril]

janresseger

You’d have to be pretty out of touch to have missed that teachers, who have been striking all year from West Virginia to Kentucky to Oklahoma to California, have been showing us their pay is inadequate and their working conditions are horrible. Schools in too many places feature huge classes (too few teachers) and an absence of counselors, social workers, librarians and nurses. All this ultimately signals a school finance problem stemming from the Great Recession a decade ago and state legislatures and governors determined to cut taxes.

All this is well documented in academic research. Emma Garcia and Elaine Weiss recently released the first in a series of studies from the Economic Policy Institute, a report they summarize in a short, policy piece: “In our report we argue that when issues such as teacher qualifications and equity across communities are taken into consideration, shortages are more concerning than we…

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Bob Shepherd at Praxis

As I have repeated ad nauseam in these pages, Mark’s Text Terminal is not a political or educational policy blog. Any number of reasons suffice to explain this, but I always return to the most salient of them: there are quite a few smart and well-informed people, many of whose websites can be found in the right margin of this site under the heading Blogs Followed at Mark’s Text Terminal, covering those topics. That said, I intend in the coming months to highlight several of these blogs.

The assault on public education has now reached a stage where I can no long remain completely silent. Fortunately, as I say, there are plenty of people speaking and perceptively, and buttressing their arguments with evidence, something that happens less and less in public discourse, about educational policy.

Starting out, I want to highlight the work of Bob Shepherd, who blogs under the heading Praxis. Bob is, as Diane Ravitch noted recently, a polymath. I originally made his acquaintance in the comments forum of Dr. Ravitch’s blog, where I occasionally presume to comment on topics of the day. Bob is an acutely perspicacious and wide-ranging commentator on educational policy, particularly where privatization of public schools and the scandals that often ensue are concerned.

That said, Bob covers a lot of other ground in Praxis. He recently posted a lengthy discourse on the physical and philosophical nature of time, a topic I find abstruse (I dropped Lester Mazor’s “Perspectives on Time” seminar at Hampshire College in the fall of 1994 because I didn’t have the intellectual stamina to keep up with it and plan my honors thesis) and fascinating at the same time. I guess I like to imagine that in another life, Bob and I would be an Intellectual History department of two at some small, lively, and innovative liberal arts college.

If you’re at all interested in issues and problems in educational policy—or to quote briefly from his “About” page, “curriculum design…,linguistics…, hermeneutics…, philosophy…, classical and jazz guitar…, history of ideas…, heuristics for innovation,” (and I’ve enumerated only about one-quarter of this list), then you should by all means point your browser at Praxis.

Please Consider Signing This…

It is time for Betsy DeVos to go. Please consider signing this petition from the Network for Public Education.

DeVos Wants to Defund Special Olympics, Boost Funding for School Choice

[This is disgraceful. I don’t believe this smug, pampered heiress has a decent bone in her body.]

Diane Ravitch's blog

Betsy DeVos was grilled yesterday in Congressional hearings about her budget proposals. She was repeatedly questioned about her desire to increase charter school funding from $440 million to $500 million a year. The Network for Public Education report on the waste, fraud, and abuse in this program was cited.

While increasing the charter budget, DeVos wants to cut $18 million from the Special Olympics, which benefits 272,000 children with disabilities. 

To put it mildly, her priorities are wacky. She wants to cut the budget of a successful and valuable program while heaping money on charters that are likely to never open or quickly close.

DeVos said the philanthropic community already funds the Special Olympics. The same is true of charters. Billionaires and Wall Street heap hundreds of millions on charters. The Waltons alone have spent more than a billion on charters. Why does the Federal government add hundreds of millions more?

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