education reform and the monsters it fights
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Hey Girl, Friday Ed Bites

February 3rd, 2012 | Posted by KC in friday ed bites

I’d like to start this week’s Ed Bites with a few things for teachers: a New Yorker cartoon that perhaps sounds a bit too familiar. And, the best thing ever, a Ryan Gosling tumblr that compliments teachers on their hard work.

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Moving on, Philadelphia Public Schools have had a rough. . . last few decades. In the fall of 2011, Arlene Ackerman, former superintendent, was bought out of her multi-year just-renewed contract with a $900,000 severance package. Then, news hit that she was applying for unemployment. And now, the follow-up — she was denied! Sadly, that doesn’t fix the problem. Philadelphia public schools were told that they need to cut spending by $400,000 a day. EEK! Conversely, I appreciated this article on superintendents who are offering to change their position to part-time in an effort to save their districts money. Stands in stark contrast to Ackerman’s unemployment benefits request.

Did you hear about the Yale professor who shrunk his class and moved its location so that the students wouldn’t have access to wi-fi? Zing! Seriously though, I don’t understand how students can feel good about wasting time on the internet during class. In the words of Stephanie Tanner from Full House, HOW RUDE! There’s also the one about the college student who ordered a textbook from the internet only to find a bag of cocaine inside. (Fun fact: the book was called Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, Issues.) And lastly, did you hear the one about the Alabama state senator who believes that low teacher salaries are biblically mandated? I can’t even.

The interblag is still reeling over President Obama’s SOTU last Tuesday. Diane Ravitch wrote a piece that criticizes the paradoxical nature of Obama’s stated beliefs about education and the action he takes with Race to the Top and other initiatives.  Basically, RttT encourages more testing — it even encourages tying teachers’ pay to students’ performance on standardized tests — yet, he talks endlessly about his hatred of standardized tests. There is also this (long) piece on The Quick & the Ed which examines the history of campus-based aid programs. It’s worth the read, as it contextualizes Obama’s calls for reform.

Jay Matthews on the Class Struggle blog of the Washington Post put forward five of the biggest myths in college admission. In my own experience, when applying to a selective college, the first four “myths” are not just true, but also crucial to the admission decision — especially if you are financial aid student. I much prefer the five myths that Andrew Rotherham put forward on his Time blog. Getting rejected from somewhere means absolutely nothing about your quality as a student. This becomes even more true as the school in question becomes more selective.

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That’s it for today. I could share cute pictures of my roommate’s cat and dog with you, but this is an education blog. Or, I could share anyway:


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