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Archive for April, 2020

After Feeding at the Trough After Katrina, It’s No Surprise that Charters Are Ca$hing in on Covid

April 27, 2020 Comments off

In the Public Interest is full of articles describing how Charter School profiteers are using the Covid closures to rake in money and seize the opportunity they are presented. This edition offered:

  • an article highlighting 11 warning signs that profiteers are moving into your district,
  • a link to Cashing in on Kids articles describing how the Koch Brothers are promoting articles on The Future of Education that (surprise surprise) see privatization on the horizon;
  • an article that helps readers identify privatization schemes emerging in their community
  • an article describing how charter schools are “cozying up” to the Trump administration— not exactly NEWS but chilling given the opportunity to use the Covid crisis to leverage profits; and
  • a tranche of articles on how profiteers are using Facebook at other venues to lure parents to use their products.

In other times each of these could warrant a stand-alone post…  but in this era of accelerating profiteering I’m putting them all together…

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NPR’s Anya Kamenetz Forecasts 9 Changes in Public Schools… and they are Right On!

April 26, 2020 Comments off

Of all the education writers, I find Anya Kamenetz to be the most insightful and her NPR article with the click-bait title “9 Ways Schools Will Look Different When (And If) They Reopen” offers some nuanced changes as well as some obvious ones.

The obvious changes are that schools will focus on hygiene, will have smaller class sizes, operate on shifts and under a different calendar, and avoid large gatherings or any events that invite the public (including parents) into facilities.

A more subtle idea is that the schools might open first for the youngest children because they are the ones losing the most from remote learning. Ms. Kamenetz notes that schools in Europe are following this pattern and that densely populated cities could do this since most elementary schools are within walking distance of children’s homes.

One element of the “new normal” is that distance learning will continue to play some role. Ms Kamenetz writes:

Every expert NPR spoke with predicted that the need for remote learning would continue because of staggered schedules, schools prepared to close again for future waves of infection, and many students needing remediation. And that means training and support for teachers, and equipment for children.

And that also means the digital divide will have to be addressed and, on a more meta-policy level, internet access will need to be viewed as an essential utility.

The ninth item on the list warrants a complete republication:

9. Social, emotional and practical help for kids

Developmental experts say disruption from the pandemic constitutes an “adverse childhood experience” for every American child. When schools reopen, says Virginia’s James Lane, ameliorating this trauma will be at the core of their mission.

“I also think that there is a need for us to focus on social and emotional learning for students,” Lane says, “and not only how we can provide the academic support, but how can we provide the mental health support and the wraparound supports for students when they come back, to help them recover and bring back that safety net of schools.”

Taken together, these ways schools will look different overlaps with the ideas embedded in the White Paper Reformatting New England Schools found elsewhere on this blog. MAYBE the time is ripe to consider a complete overhaul of what public education looks like.

‘Same Ideas, Every Disaster’: Right-Wing Heritage Foundation Urges Universal School Voucher Program for Coronavirus Recovery

April 25, 2020 Comments off

The aphorism about every problem looking like a nail to someone who only has a hammer applies here as the pro-market-force Heritage Foundation recommends— wait for it— privatization of public education as the best way forward. But to make a bad idea even worse, the Heritage Foundation recommends combining the notion of privatization with the issuance of vouchers AND the deregulation of teacher credentials.

The pandemic has handed the pro-market forces a special bonus too: President Trump’s fumbling response has further eroded taxpayers confidence in the government’s ability to do anything! So in addition to being able to tout the benefits of schooling operated on “business principles” the branding of public schools as “GOVERNMENT schools” will make the notions of deregulation and privatization even more appealing. I expect this “blueprint” to get a lot of favorable play in coming months. It has the elements of an agreeable fantasy that the GOP loves: it’s cheaper, better-managed, and can be implemented far more quickly. Take schools out of the hands of bumbling government bureaucrats and put it in the hands of well run, nimble organizations who have to answer to shareholders. What could go wrong!

Source: ‘Same Ideas, Every Disaster’: Right-Wing Heritage Foundation Urges Universal School Voucher Program for Coronavirus Recovery

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