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George Will on Society Run Amok

27/01/2016   |   1 Comment

I happened on a commentary in the paper written by George Will the other day, “The collapse of judgment in government.” In it, he talks about our now upside-down society and cites such incidents as New York’s City Council honoring of Ethel Rosenberg, a traitor who spied for Stalin, and the University of Georgia’s defining of sexual consent as, among other descriptors, “voluntary and creative, honest and imaginative.” Ah, the new order of things…

Later on, he talks about what’s happening in our public schools…

“A 9-year-old Florida fourth grader was threatened with sexual harassment charges if he continued to write love notes telling the apple of his eye that her eyes sparkle ‘like diamonds.’ A Texas 9-year-old was suspended for saying his magic ring could make people disappear. A young girl was sent home with a censorious note from her school because her Wonder Woman lunchbox violated the school ban on depictions of ‘violent characters.’ An Oregon eighth grader, whose brother served in Iraq, was suspended for wearing a T-shirt that depicted an empty pair of boots representing soldiers killed in action…

He went on with more examples and finally came to this: “A suburban Washington high school promoted self-esteem by naming 177 valedictorians out of a class of 457. He kept going, finally ending with this for his last paragraph: “The list of 2015 ludicrousness could be lengthened indefinitely, but enough already. The common thread is the collapse of judgment in, and the infantilization of society by, government. Happier new year.”

You’ve got to be a true optimist if you think such nonsense will come to an end any time soon.

Newsworthy Education Facts

26/01/2016   |   1 Comment

1) The newly passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) takes up 1,016 pages, whereas the original Elementary & Secondary Art of 1965 was just 32 pages long.

2) When asked how optimistic ASCD readers are that ESSA will help failing schools and help close the achievement gap, 38% said they’re not very optimistic, 24% are not at all optimistic, and 20% are only somewhat optimistic.

3) The U.S. Department of Education, formed back in 1980, now has 4,400 employees and a $68 billion budget!

4) Only about 50% of schools that received money in the third round of Obama’s School Improvement Grant program improved; the other 50% expereienced unchanged achievement results or actually worse oucomes. SIG started out with a $3 billion budget from his American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009, aka the Stimulus.

5) When asked how best to encourage great principals to stay in their jobs longer, 34% of ASCD readers said, “provide more time for teacher observations and feedback; 27% said “provide professional networks to engage with like practitioners; and 27% said providing “ongoing transformative development.”