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/.

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/

Train Wreck as Teachable Moment

After a week, are we ready to accept that the first presidential debate can indeed be a teachable moment in our classrooms?

On the latest for BAM Radio Network, I explain how the performance was both the personification of our social media world AND a chance to teach how our society just doesn’t agree on basic issues (and that that is OK).

Give it a listen!

https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/time-to-teach-students-and-ourselves-to-accept-that-everyone-doesnt-agree-with-us/

Don’t Call It a Gap Year

In dear ol’ Eduflack’s community, too many parents are willing to write off the 2020-21 school year already, wanting to dub it a gap year and pleading with parents and educators not to expect too much from our learners in such uncertain times.

Writing of the year a few weeks in is essentially educational malpractice. And it reeks of privilege. For every student who is struggling to read, for every ELL student, for every special education learner, a gap year is a lost year … and a year that will never be made up later.

We can’t, and shouldn’t, write off any school year or any school children. I explain why on the latest episode of TrumpEd over at the BAM! Radio Network. Give it a listen here.

Yes, We Need Testing

The voices calling for a pause in student assessments are growing. And why not, what with all of the uncertainty that makes up our new hybrid/virtual/Covid school reality.

Yes, these are uncertain school times. All the more reason why we need to double down and ensure we are assessing student learning and adjusting our teaching to meet new needs.

We explore this important topic over at the BAM! Radio Network. Give it a listen here.

The Inequity of Learning Pods

The public discussions of “learning pods” are growing by the week, as desperate families take to social media to find others to pod with and teachers begin to promote their services as a pod “facilitator” in search of a safer, easier to manage learning environment.

But is the future of public education really found in a model where families are spending, in some instances, thousands of dollars more each month to facilitate online learning in the public schools? And do we really want to say the only way hybrid education works is if parents can be prepared to spend more than their current property taxes to insert their children into learning pods?

We explore the issue on the latest episode of TrumpEd on the BAM! Radio Network. Give it a listen here.

Let’s Spend Our Edu-Virus Dollars Wisely

For most students, school will soon be back in session. Many big city districts have chosen to remain virtual for the start of the year. Some, like New York City, are insisting on going hybrid. But all can agree it is going to be an expensive school year.

Recently, Congress has debated the need for $175B or so in new federal education dollars to make whatever happens happen. But we aren’t debating how to make sure we use those dollars well.

Yes, $175B is a lot of dollars. But when we look at the long-term needs of students, is it best spent on hand sanitizer and disinfectants and plexiglass and nearly empty yellow buses, or is it better spent on teacher professional development and technology and high-speed internet?

We explore the topic on the latest episode of TrumpEd on the BAM! Radio Network. Give it a listen here.

When It Comes To Reopening Schools, There Is No One Answer

President Donald Trump and EdSec Betsy DeVos want brick-and-mortar schools open for business this fall. Teachers, their unions, parents, and many others want to keep them closed, with teaching happening virtually, until their are guarantees on health, safety, and vaccines.

If we know anything, it is that a one-size-fits-all approach to schools just doesn’t work. There are too many variables, too many issues, and too many reasons why we prefer to leave education decisions to states and localities.

On the latest episode of TrumpEd on the BAM! Radio Network, we explore for topic of reopening and why we shouldn’t look to the feds for all the answers. Give it a listen here.

“A Historical Reality Check”

With statues continuing to come down around the nation, the need for understanding the history of why those statues went up in the first place becomes more and more important. One only needs to look at recent actions that tore down a statue of abolitionist  Frederick Douglass as proof of that.

On a recent epidote of TrumpEd on the BAM! Radio Network, we explore how we don’t need to waste too much time lamenting the loss of statues, particularly those honoring Confederate generals, and instead need to focus our efforts on dramatically improving how we teach our nation’s complex history and how we make sure today’s learners and activists understand both what has happened in our history and why.

Give it a listen here.

Literacy as a Constitutional, Civil Right

Earlier this year, the federal courts ruled that learning to read was a Constitutional right. For decades now, those (including dear ol’ Eduflack) who have advocated for scientifically based literacy instruction and who believe that virtually all learners can be taught how to read with proven instructional approaches have discussed literacy skills as a civil right.

With those declarations – and with decades of research clearly articulating how to teach reading and how to learn literacy skills – why are we still struggling to get learners reading at grade level by fourth grade?

On the latest episode of TrumpEd on the BAM! Radio Network, we explore the issue. Give it a listen here!