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/.

Getting All Kids Reading

“So how do we do it? What are the core components of the ghosts of research-provide literacy programs past that redouble our national commitment to ensuring every student is equipped with the literacy skills to read at grade level, particularly by fourth grade? How do we ensure that every child –regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or neighborhood — becomes a skilled, able reader?”

From Eduflack’s latest for Educate

Teaching in a Post-Insurrection World

Following the 2020 election and the riot on Capitol Hill on January 6, is it prudent to teach current events in today’s social studies classes? Or is it safer to stay away from the the realities of modern history?

Today, I spent nearly an hour with Larry Jacobs and the American Consortium for Equity in Education, discussing this and other topics related to improving the teaching and learning of American history.

Give it a listen here: https://ace-ed.org/teaching-history-and-civics-in-a-post-insurrection-world/

Happy listening!

Investing In Teacher Development

Does The Flat World and Education provide all of the answers? No, and it shouldn’t. This book provides some important lines of inquiry and thinking that should be front and center as we discuss implementation of new funding streams as we recover from Covid and as we look at new investments that will come in Title I. As Cardona and his team look to completely reinvent Title II (both under ESEA and, likely, the Higher Education Act), Darling-Hammond’s data and conclusions on teacher induction and ongoing teacher support need to be central to the discussion. They may not be adopted whole cloth (and probably shouldn’t) but if they aren’t part of the debate, we are missing a central point to meaningful education improvement. We have ignored or avoided these discussions for too long. But if we are going to emphasize the science, then we should be looking to the data and the real-life case studies that can be pointed to to demonstrate true impact.

From Eduflack’s latest over on Medium, where I explore lessons we can learn today from the book penned by Linda Darling-Hammond more than a decade ago.

Better Reading Teacher Prep in NJ

“If we can all agree on the importance of following the science when it comes to reopening our schools, why does New Jersey so solidly reject the idea of following the science when it comes to teaching our youngest learners to read? Why do we reject the science when it comes to doing what is proven effective in equipping virtually all students with the literacy skills necessary to succeed in middle school, high school, post secondary, and life?”

Eduflack’s latest for the NJ Education Report

Teaching The Capitol Riot

I was honored to be a part of this important panel discussion on the BAM Radio Network, as we discussed how educators can, should, must discuss the Capitol riot in their classrooms.

Dear ol’ Eduflack gets that many parents want to keep politics out of the classroom. And I understand that many teachers worry their administrators won’t have their backs on such controversial issues. But our kids don’t live in a bubble. They will learn of such ugly issues, whether we teach them or not.

Case in point. On the day of the siege, my 13-year-old daughter came into my office late in the afternoon, wanting me to explain what was happening. When I asked how she knew, she simply said the issue was blowing up her TikTok feed. Our kids know.

So give it a listen here. It’ll be worth the time — https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/special-report-eight-educators-share-thoughts-on-discussing-sedition-in-the-classroom/

It Is Time for an American History Ed Czar

“Look at 2020 to understand how important a history education czar is to improving K-12 and post-secondary education.

“We’ve witnessed history happening before our eyes, from how the world addressed a global health pandemic to how our nation addressed the call of Black Lives Matter. We’ve seen the first woman and woman of color elected to the second-highest office. And we’ve watched this wondering that no matter how significant, how history-making, how will we effectively teach about 2020 in the future?”

From dear ol’ Eduflack’s latest in the Stamford (CT) Advocate, calling for the Biden Administration to establish an American history education czar.

Making What is “Boring” Interesting Again

“If as an adult the lesson makes you a little nervous, content-wise, then it has the potential to connect with learners. The best thing the Driving Force Institute is doing is using provocative videos that have students asking why they hadn’t learned it before and what else have they not been taught.”

From a Twinkl exploration on how make unpopular academic subjects more exciting, discussing Eduflack’s Untold History initiative

Changing How We Teach History

This week, dear ol’ Eduflack was fortunate enough to join Larry Jacobs on Education Talk Radio to discuss how we can improve the teaching and learning of American history.

We talked about the need to be provocative, to better relate to young people, and to embrace discussions of current conflicts and issues in order to better connect to the past.

You can give the full half-hour program a listen here – https://ace-ed.org/on-changing-the-way-we-teach-history-and-government/