*** Three You/Gov/ More in Common surveys found that most of us, both Democrats and Republicans, want history instruction to include “both the triumphs and the dark chapters of American history.” However, there’s a “perception gap,” meaning “the difference between what Dems and Republicans think members of the other party believe and what members of that other group actually do believe.” For instance:

  • Just 35% of surveyed Democrats thought Republicans would say that “Americans have a responsibility to learn from our past and fix our mistakes.” Actually, 93% of responding Republicans agreed with that statement.
  • Meanwhile, 45% of Republicans thought Democrats want students “to learn about how the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution advanced freedom and equality.” Actually, 92% of Democrats said students should learn this.

*** When it comes to civics classes, a RAND Corporation study of K-12 teachers found that:

  • 68% believe one of its top three goals is to promote critical, independent thinking.
  • Less than 50% said it’s “promoting knowledge of citizens’ rights and responsibilities.”
  • 40% said it’s “promoting knowledge of citizens’ rights and responsibilities.”
  • 27% cited “promoting environmental activism.”
  • 23% believe it’s “promoting knowledge of social, political, and civic institutions. “
  • 20% said it’s “anti-racism.”
  • 11% said it’s “developing students’ capacity to defend their point of view.”
  • 5% said “preparing students for future political engagement.”

*** Undetectable by both parents and teachers, the newest kind of artificial intelligence machine learning systems are “optimized for cheating on school and university papers… that’s difficult, if not, outright impossible to catch. Put in a prompt, hit return, and get back one-of-a-kind paragraphs. It can also spit out essays, blogposts, poetry, op-eds, lyrics, and even computer code.”

*** While many states have lowered their standards for teachers given the many shortages, the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that special education teachers must “be appropriately and adequately prepared and trained… and have the content knowledge and skills to serve these children.”

*** School dress codes have been coming under scrutiny of late…

  • 90% of these codes affect girls with bans on “halters and strapless tops,” “skirts or shorts shorter than mid-thigh and yoga pants or any type of skin-tight attire.”
  • Boy-related codes are associated with such items as “muscle tees” and “sagging pants.”

*** About 70% of high school principals report “substantial political conflict over such issues as race, LGBTQ student rights, access to books in libraries, and social-emotional learning.” They also say that tensions are growing in their buildings.

And so it goes this holiday season…

With thanks and happiness wishes, Carol