Do Charter Schools Provide Trump an “In” to Latino Families?

With a little over a year until the presidential election, it’s likely time for President Donald J. Trump to begin to expand on his base of 40 percent, particularly as the 20-some Democratic candidates try to find their path to the White House.

And while Trump has shown little, if any, interest in education issues these past three years, it is possible that the issue of school choice could provide the President the opportunity to have a meaningful discussion with Latino families about educational opportunities and pathways to success.

How so? Give a listen to the latest episode of TrumpEd on the BAM! Radio Network, where we explain the issue in some depth.

Dear ol’ Eduflack is also excited by the redesign and relaunch of the BAM! Radio Network earlier this month, and looks forward to a wealth of new edu-topics and a debates that will be had on TrumpEd over the next 13-plus months as we head into the November 2020 election. Happy listening!

 

 

Do We NEED a Teacher in Chief?

In her pursuit of the White House and the teachers unions endorsements to get there, US Senator Elizabeth Warren recently pledged that, when elected, she would insist that her US Education Secretary would be a union teacher.

It makes for good politics with union teachers, but is such a pledge good policy? Are the skills needed to be an effective educator the same skills needed to successfully manage a multi billion dollar federal agency that has the highest percentage of political appointments in the government?

We explore this topic on the most recent episode of TrumpEd on the BAM! Radio Network, noting that one of the most effective EdSecs in history (Dick Riley) was not a teacher, while one of the most disappointing EdSecs (Rod Paige) brought just the experience Senator Warren is promising. Give us a listen!

In Search of a Political Home

With the 2020 presidential campaign gearing up, dear ol’ Eduflack is feeling a little lost. The intensity of identity politics has me hearing we must be for free college for all, we must reject the notion of charter schools and school choice, and we must condemn communities like those in West Virginia where I graduated from high school. Not doing so simply shows we are part of the problem that is preventing progressive ideals from taking control of our representative democracy.

Over at Medium, my latest explores the complexity of my political and social views, and my hope that there are millions like me that are starting to grow tired of the increasing number of litmus tests that are being applied to demonstrate we belong in our political tribes. As I write:

As an education advocate fighting for equity and school improvement, those on the left attacked me for being a “neo-liberal” who was seeking to privatize and profit from the public schools. When I insisted that school improvement was about far more than just charter schools and school choice, those on the right and those in the reform movement accused me of not being a true believer, of being too sympathetic to both the teachers unions and the neighborhood public schools that educated me and my children.

Give it a read. Let me know what you think. Let me know if I am indeed a solo man without an island.

 

 

When It Comes to Higher Ed, President Trump is Absolutely … Correct

Since the 1960s, we’ve seen college campuses as ground zero for free speech. We expect students to find their voice while at college, taking a major step forward in becoming productive members of our civil society.

So it is disturbing that too many campuses are now looking to shut down free speech, looking to control political rhetoric to keep all calm and to ensure that fringe or dissenting ideas aren’t heard in the public square. Instead of free speech, we are exercising socially acceptable speech, teaching today’s college students that silencing opposing voices is more important than debating and disproving them.

Whether standing for right wing speech or free speech, President Donald Trump is absolutely correct to call out, and use the power of the executive, to encourage debate, not squelch it.

We explore this important topic on the most recent episode of TrumpEd on the BAM! Radio Network. Give it a listen. We won’t be silenced. 😀

Federally Subsidized Teachers?

There is little question that public school teachers deserve to be paid better than most are. After all, the job is more demanding than it has ever been, and we are asking more and more of educators each and every year.

Today, we expect teachers to be instructors, counselors, nurses, and psychometricians. And we do so as we increase classroom sizes and cut back on other school supports.

So it is no surprise that when someone like US Senator and presidential aspirant Kampala Harris calls for significant teacher pay raises funded by billions in new federal funding, we take notice.

But before we go embracing the latest plan, let’s consider it for a second. For decades, we have insisted that education policy was to be made at the state and local level, now we want greater federal involvement. And at a time when the US Congress has never been more dysfunctional, we now want teacher pay to be part of the annual federal budget process?

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

Basic Skills for Teachers?

For years (and years and years) now, we have been hearing horror stories about the teacher pipeline and an inability to get good educators in the classroom, particularly in those classrooms that need them the most.

There are almost a many ideas for addressing the pipeline issue as there are Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination. Dear ol’ Eduflack has been involved on several of them, including the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship program, an effort that had transformed teacher preparation in six states and at 31 universities, and the creation of a new, competency-based graduate school of education focused on teaching mastery.

With efforts like these, the focus has been raising standards, hiking expectations, and ensuring aspiring teachers are spending as much time as possible in k-12 classrooms. At no point did we consider eliminating accountability or dropping the bar.

Yet that seems to be what Florida is currently looking at, as the state legislature explores eliminating the basic skills test for teachers to be. <insert shaking head and face palm here>

As Jeffrey Solochek reports in today’s Tampa Times:

Patrick Riccards, chief strategy officer for the New Jersey-based Woodrow Wilson Foundation, a nonprofit organization that offers several teaching fellowships, found it ironic that Florida would consider lowering its criteria to become a teacher at the same time it touts its efforts to fill classrooms with the “best and brightest.”

In Texas, he said, some teacher preparation programs have become adept at reducing expectations as a way to find more educators. The problem, Riccards said, is those new teachers don’t always last very long. 

Then schools have to go look again.

Teachers want to be treated as professionals, he added. Not passing a basic skills test doesn’t seem to match up with that goal.

Give the full article a read. And let’s share a collective weep for the future of teacher education in the Sunshine State.

Trump’s EduBudget … Not Again!

Another federal budget proposal, another attempt from President Donald Trump and his administration to dramatically cut the budget of the US Department of Education.

The two previous years have shown us that Trump’s edu-budget is nothing more than bad theater, with virtually no chance of proposal becoming law. But the annual effort to slash ED tells a disturbing story.

And what is that story? We try to tell it on the latest episode of TrumpEd on the BAM! Radio Network. Give it a listen here.