Says high school English teacher Alice Dominguez: “No matter the data or intention, no packaged curriculum can offer space to reflect as a community and respond to the unique needs of each school. If school leaders can resist the promises made by ed tech companies, perhaps teachers can once again reacquaint themselves with the tools and resources they had before the proliferation of ed tech curricular offerings: building relationships with students, creating a supportive classroom community, and designing lessons that prompt students to ask important questions of themselves and their peers.”

Agree? Disagree?

Also to consider and another sign of the times, Merriam-Webster’s word of the year: gaslighting, “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage.”

The top three runners-up:

  • Cancel culture
  • Oligarch
  • Omicron

And this week, Oxford Dictionary is out with its word of the year, and it, too reflects where we are nowadays. For the first time ever, the choice was left up to the public, and they chose goblin mode, as in “go to goblin mode,” or “in goblin mode.” This slang term describes “a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.”

The two runners-up:

  • Metaverse
  • #IStandWith

Applauding? Worrying?

Meanwhile, in our schools:

*** 3 million students are not now enrolled/not attending school.

*** To stem the tide of ongoing teacher shortages, a YouGov August poll found that 48% of respondents strongly support paying educators more; 25% somewhat support salary increases.

*** In 2020, the FCC sent our public schools and libraries $855.10 million to secure online networks and expand internet access. BUT, recipients have wasted $62.2 million of it, amounting to 7%.

*** In March 2021, the government’s American Rescue Plan sent schools $122 billion to reopen, tackle mental health issues, and support academically struggling students. However, districts spent less than 15% of those tax dollars during the 2021-22 school year.

*** As reported in Education Week, schools will need about $500 billion more than the $190 billion already provided by the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund (ESSER) to recover from the pandemic-caused damage to academics.

*** Reportedly, most of our public schools “saw historic declines on the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka the nation’s report card, but not our nation’s military schools. Their scores either held steady or improved.

*** Having students who don’t read proficiently by the end of third grade repeat the grade is currently on the books in 25 states and D.C. However, while many favor the policy, others say it has negative ramifications going forward.

And that’s the way it is these days…

With thanks and good holiday wishes, Carol