Postcards from the road…
…And horror stories from public ed
Let’s start with the good news.
Education excellence is alive and well in so many places, in every sector. The trick is how do we bottle it, distribute it and expand it for more students!
So we embarked on a Roadshow -- the Roadshow for Opportunity, to visit the places that have demonstrated they know how to innovate and excel in transformational ways.
Our first 2024 STOP for Education: the 2023 Yass Prize-winning educator, Valiant Cross Academy. There, Anthony Brock and his team educate to excellence 210 young men of color… with more planned to come.
This begs the question, if they can do it, why are there record low proficiency rates in most urban public schools? But more about that later.
On the ground with Black Pastors United for Education: Pastor Josh Robertson of Rock Church and Rock City Learning Centers explains how he helps pupils reach their potential and achieve their goals, ensuring along the way that they are “...seen, heard, valued, and challenged.”
“The kids… They feel successful and they get rewarded. Nothing is given. Everything is earned.”
We found an ‘Almost Heaven’ for education opportunity and innovation at West Virginia Academy. The students and faculty at the Yass Prize-winning public charter school – the first, in fact, of its kind to open in the state - continue to fight the to ensure every student has what they need to succeed.
They are all focussed on the children, but some are…
Not for the Children
You got that right, Charlie. Charlie Chieppo, that is. He’s the writer of an extraordinary piece in the Boston Herald pointing out that the now 12-day teacher’s strike in Newton, MA is “not for the children.”
This is just the latest in a series of illegal teacher strikes, he points out.
“If, as union leaders assure us, the strikes are ‘for the children,’ their timing sure is curious.
“The educational damage done to Massachusetts students during the COVID-19 pandemic was immeasurable, and some of it is likely irreversible to the young people who just experienced it. The commonwealth was among the hardest-hit states.
“In addition to learning loss, the teacher strikes come as students are dealing with lingering mental health impacts from the pandemic, as demonstrated by increased student absenteeism.
“As if sent directly from central casting, enter Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) President Max Page, who weaves a narrative of powerless educators desperately trying to get the attention of fat-cat school committees. It’s an appealing pitch, if a little short on truth.”
Education media watchdog Alexander Russo of the Grade says the Newton “strike is a national story.”
“What makes this the big story isn’t its specifics — a strike is a strike — but rather the emerging pattern of post-pandemic school shutdowns in Democratic-controlled communities. They represent polarization among Democrats and economic and class tensions between different groups of workers that’s important to understand.”
Read the piece for yourself, and weep for those kids. Then ask yourself, where is the national outrage on this. And then do something about it.
Courtesy of the Burbio Tracker, the most accurate, objective and up-to-date source of education spending anywhere, we learn that 38.5% of federal COVID funding in 23 states has yet to be spent! That’s over $40 billion!! And…
“Over 2,700 districts in the states report having over 40% ESSER funds unspent as of the reporting date. The cumulative percentage of students in those districts is 37.5%.”
Are those kids likely to get taught anytime soon to make up for learning loss?
Nope. Here’s just one example.
What do districts do if they have excess funds sitting around and don’t know how to close the learning gap?
You don’t give it to parents to decide how to educate their kids, right? You don’t send it back to the taxpayers.
No, you spend it on things like Woke Kindergarten, which has only served to push test scores and student performance rates lower.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “A Hayward elementary school struggling to boost low test scores and dismal student attendance is spending $250,000 in federal money for an organization called Woke Kindergarten to train teachers to confront white supremacy, disrupt racism and oppression and remove those barriers to learning.
“…The sessions are funded through a federal program meant to help the country’s lowest-performing schools boost student achievement.
“But two years into the three-year contract with Woke Kindergarten, a for-profit company, student achievement at Glassbrook has fallen, prompting some teachers to question whether the money was well spent given the needs of the students, who are predominantly low-income. Two-thirds of the students are English learners and more than 80% are Hispanic/Latino.”
I’m so glad we know and can see the evidence of the thousands of educators and providers who actually know how to spend education dollars.
For the kids - Jeanne