American Families Plan Is Lacking, Education Wise

In looking at the American Families proposal offered by President Joe Biden last week, there is much to be happy about. Even when it comes to education, one can get excited by major investments in PreK and free community college.

And yes, there is value to extending the 13-year public education continuum to 17 years, ensuring early childhood education and post secondary to all learners.

But what message are we sending when we don’t add any additional dollars to k12? Sure, we have pumped hundreds of billions in recent months for HVAC and Covid testing and other immediate, tactical needs to reopen our classrooms. We are falling short, though, in investing in improved teaching and learning in those same classrooms.

One has to ask, for instance, if PreK is truly the secret sauce when two-thirds of fourth graders are reading at below proficient levels AND we have school districts fighting in federal courts that literacy isn’t a civil or constitutional right.

We explore this issue over at the Soul of Education on the BAM! Radio Network this week. Give it a listen here – https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/i-dont-want-to-sound-ungrateful-but-public-education-needs-more/.

Why Won’t NJ Congressional Leaders Prioritize Ed?

There once was a time when education policy could rise above identity politics and the red-blue divide. A time when, despite our differences, we could all agree that all learners – regardless of race, income, or zip code – were entitled to a high-quality public education. That time, though, seems to have passed us by.

Today, we are demanding that all public schools be fully reopened for physical instruction without addressing the hundreds of operational, logistical, instructional, and strategic questions those leading our school districts have asked. Today, we are pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into K-12 relief and support, without any real guidance to ensure those dollars are being used for little more than to pay off the past-due bills payable to Covid. And today, we are calling for trillions of new dollars to build our communities back better, but leaders in our New Jersey congressional delegation are promoting priorities that don’t even mention the words K-12 education.

From Eduflack’s latest for the NJ Education Report, asking why the Congressional Progressive Caucus fails to emphasize – or even discuss – education as part of a massive investment with the American Jobs plan.

Investing in the Future – or Past – of Education?

With President Biden’s Build Back Better initiative, we are looking at more than $100 billion in investments in k-12 education. And that’s in addition to the dollars the Feds typically send to schools in a annual basis.

For many decision makers, that means buckets of money to make up for the unplanned expenses of a Covid school year. For cleaning classrooms and new HVAC and learning devices and expanded wifi hookups. All dollars designed to ease the way back to school as we once knew it.

But what if, instead, we used those dollars to begin to build k-13 for the future. What if we looked to public education as it can be in 2050, and not as it was delivered in the 1950s?

We explore the topic over on the Soul of Education program on the BAM! Radio Network. Give it a listen here – https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/129-billion-dollars-for-education-will-we-spend-this-money-on-the-future-or-the-past/.

$10B for Covid Testing in Schools?

Yes, it is essential that Covid relief dollars be directed at our public school classrooms and their reopening. But after all the last year has taught us, does it really make the most sense to spend $10 billion on school-based Covid testing, with impact as short-lived as the spit in the vial?

Or so we try to spend these much-needed resources on preparing our schools for the future?

We explore the topic on the Soul of Education, over on the BAM! Radio Network. Give it a listen here – https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/opinion-is-10-billion-dollars-for-covid-19-testing-in-schools-the-best-use-of-funds/.

More than Covid Reopening …

Yes, it is important that we get all our k-12 public schools open and ready to educate all of our kids. But reopening cannot be the sole focus of the US Department of Education, particularly now. There is just too much that can, should, and must be done.

Over at the BAM! Radio Network, we explore how the time is now to multitask and set a real agenda with real goals.

Give it a listen here — https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/vaccinations-state-testing-school-reopening-sel-getting-ready-for-the-classroom-ahead/.

Did We Learn? Do We Care?

The last year of public school has been an exercise on crisis learning. Yes, it made sense not to administer state tests last spring, as so many learners moved into a virtual setting for the first time. But this spring, our states, districts, schools, and educators need real data to understand the impact of our Covid year.

In the latest episode of Soul of Education on the BAM! Radio Network, dear ol’ Eduflack opines on why it was so important for the Biden Administration to declare testing will resume this spring, virus be damned.

Give it a listen here: https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/what-did-your-students-learn-this-year-how-do-we-know/

“Soul of Education”

I’ve been honored to be a voice on the BAM Radio Network for a decade now. For the past four years, I hosted TrumpEd, which looked at education policy in the Trump Administration. Today, I can proudly announce I’m hosting a new program, Soul of Education, which will look at education policy in the Biden Administration.

The weekly program kicks off today. Give it a listen. And send me segment ideas, please!

What Will It Take to Restore Teaching, Learning, and the Soul of K-12 Education?