Yes, America, We Are Suffering from Learning Loss

How do we make up the “lag” for special education students, struggling learners who have experienced years of growing lags that were only being addressed by IEPs and 504s that took years to win? How is the latest lag addressed as school districts suspend many of those IDEA-protected rights because of virtual school, the very rights fought for because of school district failures to address other learning losses?

How do we make up the learning “lag” for English language learners who are now isolated in a plastic bubble in the classroom or in their own kitchens at home? How do we make it up for the 14 percent of k-12 students who do not have internet access at home? Or for those who lack the hardware to join virtual classes? Or even for those who lack the motivation to study in a virtual or hybrid environment when social engagement and interaction is essential to their academic development?

From dear ol’ Eduflack’s latest for Project Forever Free (which has been reposted on New Jersey Left Behind.

The full piece can be found here: https://projectforeverfree.org/call-it-like-it-is-we-are-experiencing-learning-loss/

No, Public Education is Not Equal

A recent survey has provided yet another “duh” moment, as the majority of Americans say the know public education is “unequal” in the United States. Yes, we know not all children have access to a high-quality public education. The question we should all be asking is what we can and should do to remedy it.

I explore the topic on the BAM Radio Network.

Give it a listen at https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/are-we-really-committed-to-equal-education/

Campaigning is the Easy Part …

It’s very easy to focus civic engagement and civic education on voting. As such, we could take real satisfaction that the hard work is over, what with the 2020 elections behind us.

But the real work is must beginning. Now educators must focus on what comes next and who best to keep students engaged.

We explore the topic on TrumpEd for the BAM! Radio Network. Give it a listen here – https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/the-election-is-the-easy-part-the-challenge-is-what-comes-next/

Casting a Wide Net for EdSec

“Safe choices like Eskelsen Garcia, Hrabowski, or even U.S. House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott of Virginia would all be solid nominees and cabinet secretaries in the Biden Administration. But what if we tabled the safe, solid considerations for a moment and began to consider the bold, the innovative, and the atypical. At such a time of change and uncertainty in both our nation and our educational systems, considering the alternatives may be just what our schools, our educators, and our learners need.”

From Eduflack’s latest on Medium (and also published on Project Forever Free and The Education Post)

Voting Is The Easy Part …

Election Day 2020 is officially over. Now, all that is left is the counting and the waiting. We are doing, barring the unforeseen, with the speeches, the commercials, the emails, the texts, the fundraising, and the angst that comes with an election year.

So as we wait for the remainder of ballots to be counted, it is essential that we teach that voting is the bare minimum we should expect from our citizenry. True civic education only began yesterday. Now the hard work must continue.

I discuss it further on the latest episode of TrumpEd on the BAM! Radio Network. Give it a listen!  

What We Have Is a Failure to Communicate Civics

In recent years, we’ve seen that “civic education” is the new hot topic in public ed. With politically diverse states from Massachusetts to Florida now requiring civics instruction, many are seeing civics as the new STEM.

But with all of the talk about civics, and all of the dollars spent by philanthropy on civic education, we are seeing very little when it comes to concrete actions and measurable outcomes. Not only do we not know how to measure progress, but we likely see funder interest in the subject shrinking if the 2020 elections turn out a certain way. After all, then the voters may have addressed the need themselves.

Why are we struggling so with this supposedly important topic? One major reason may be our collective inability to define what civic education actually is. To some, it is government and politics. To others, civic activism. And to others, a watered-down version of history light.

Over on the BAM! Radio Network, we discuss the topic and how we need a common understanding if we are to take the subject seriously. Give it a listen here – https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/are-we-paying-enough-attention-to-civic-education-should-we-care/.

Rethinking Teacher PD

“No, this isn’t rocket science. We all know that a well-prepared, well-supported, empowered teacher will be more effective. We know that ongoing, content-based PD can have a direct impact on teacher quality and student achievement. We know teaching can’t improve through a drive-by workshop at the start of the school year or a half-day seminar offered twice a year following a half-day of teaching. We know we can do it, we know some are already doing it, we just need to figure out how to package it and deliver it to all.”

From Eduflack’s latest with The Faculty, Improving Teachers Through Improved Teacher Development

It’s Patriotic

This fall, President Donald J. Trump callee for a return to “patriotic” education when it comes to teaching history, civics, and government.

While many were quick to attack POTUS for it, he isn’t entirely wrong. Particularly if we truly consider what it means to be “patriotic.” Over on the BAM! Radio Network, I explore how patriotism can be found in much historic learning, including those instances we often don’t teach in the classroom.

Give it a listen here – https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/patriotic-education-accurately-teaching-what-america-was-is-and-can-be/

No, “Balanced Literacy” Doesn’t Work

“No, we don’t need to rebalance balanced literacy. Whole language was discredited because it didn’t work. It was a philosophy, an approach, to literacy that lacked a proven curriculum that actually taught kids to read. Rebranding it as balanced literacy may have ensured sales and boosted the number of school districts enrolling their teachers in workshops, but it has similarly done nothing to teach kids to read. Balanced literacy needs to be cast aside, not rebalanced.

“With all we know about research and cognitive science, with all of the data we now hold on effective teaching and learning, with what we know about learning disabilities and English language learning, it borders on educational malpractice if we are focusing classroom instruction on approaches that lack evidence. Too much is at stake – for both our learners and our society – to waste our time and instructional dollars on snake oil and well-intentioned, yet unsuccessful, philosophies or beliefs.”

From Eduflack’s latest for Project Forever Free, Lucy, We Told You So