Co-Opted Language: Decoding Ed Reform’s New Sales Pitch

This is a glossary of Ed Reforms vocabulary and what it truly means.

Wrench in the Gears

The words used to promote “future ready” public education do not mean to reformers what they mean to you. This post is intended to pull back the curtain and expose the truth behind venture capital’s shiny promises of “personalized” tech-centered, data-driven learning. The list below features vocabulary that should be on everyone’s radar. Short definitions link to more detailed descriptions written from the point of view of the reformers-if they had to tell the truth about their plans to swap neighborhood schools for learning ecosystems. Complete list of long form definitions available here. One-page PDF handout for sharing available here.

1:1 Devices: A program where each child has their own data-gathering device for “anywhere learning.” More

Anytime, Anywhere Learning: A push to disconnect education from “constraints” of buildings and teachers. More

Assessment Reform: Punitive end of year tests exchanged for perpetual monitoring of online learning. More

Brain Breaks:

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Is Your District Changing its Grading Policy? Here’s the Real Reason Why.

Please read and understand what will be happening…

Emily Talmage Blog

All across the country, teachers are suddenly learning that their grading practices are rubbish.

“What does a 72 even mean?” they are asked in PowerPoint presentations delivered by well-paid consultants fromGates and Nellie Mae-sponsored nonprofits. “The problem is that it doesn’t mean anything.

Then they find out that it’s actually even worse than that. Teachers, the consultants explain to the teachers, have been factoring behavior into the grades they assignand it is damaging children irreparably. (Of course, you should be grading behavior, they say – all that social emotional stuff is very valuable data- but you must keep it separate.)

Finally, teachers are told that the real issue at hand is ethics. Our current practice of assigning A’s and B’s is simply wrong. (Just ask grading “expert” Douglas Reeves – and be sure to overlook his own history of significant ethical breaches.)

Teachers, of course, who…

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Paterson, New Jersey: A City of Forgotten Children and Abused Techers

I teach nearby Paterson and the state control is only concerned about lining the pockets of friends who are in administration. Teachers are treated unprofessionally and what is worse the lack of consideration for the students and their needs.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Bruce Lowry, an editorial writer for The Record in New Jersey, writes here about the neglected public schools of Paterson, which have been under state control for more than 25 years.

Paterson is one of the state’s Abbott districts, an impoverished district that the courts ruled must get extra funding.

But layoffs have become an annual ritual, and no teacher knows how long her job will last.

The former state commissioner has announced he will work part-time in the district for $95 an hour. Nice.

Meanwhile, the consultants and overseers come and go, and the district has gained nothing from its long period of state control.

New Jersey has proved the futility of state control.

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An Open Letter To All Teachers Opting Out Of Your Union.

Please read this excellent post!

Issues in Education

An Open Letter to All Teachers Who Have Opted out of Your Union.

I know you have opted out of the Union, and since if I knew you personally, I would most likely respect you as an educator, I wanted to share my take on this situation. I don’t know what your reasons for your actions are, and don’t expect that you need to share them with me.  But I know that many of you,

  1. feel you just can’t afford the dues.  Perhaps you feel  

  2. the Union doesn’t do anything for you anyway.  Maybe you feel

  3. Unions have outgrown their usefulness.

Suffice it to say this long standing, well-funded and very carefully orchestrated attack on organized labor is not something I didn’t see coming.  I have been watching it evolve since President Reagan busted the Air Traffic Controllers Union (PATCO) in 1981. When organized labor allowed that to happen…

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Here are the Federal Programs DeVos Wants to Cut or Eliminate

This is a must read!

Diane Ravitch's blog

Valerie Strauss has created a useful guide to the major budget cuts in the U.S. Department of Education programs, in the budget proposed by the Trump administration.

A total of $10.6 billion will be cut from existing programs, with a share of those “savings” invested in school choice.

The rationale is given for each cut:

Here are some details that aren’t in the story. First is a list in the budget documents of proposed discretionary programs targeted for elimination, which the documents say will save $5.9 billion, and following that are the given justifications for each. They were targeted, the documents say, because they “achieved their original purpose, duplicate other programs, are narrowly focused, or are unable to demonstrate effectiveness.”

If failure to “demonstrate effectiveness” is reason for the cuts, then charters and vouchers should be on the list. Neither has demonstrated their superiority to public schools. Many evaluations show…

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Trump’s Proposed Title I Intrusion Plan: FOCUS

Please read this!

deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog

According to Reuters, the White House is supposed to release its proposed 2018 budget on May 23, 2017.

On May 17, 2017, the Washington Post purportedly received advance notification of Trump’s proposed 2018 federal education budget.

One of the items in that proposed ed budget is a new program called Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS). As the Washington Post reports:

The administration would devote $1 billion in Title I dollars meant for poor children to a new grant program (called Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success, or FOCUS) for school districts that agree to allow students to choose which public school they attend — and take their federal, state and local dollars with them.

The goal is to do away with neighborhood attendance zones that the administration says trap needy kids in struggling schools. …

But the notion of allowing Title I dollars to follow the student…

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Stop! Don’t opt out. Read this first.

Wrench in the Gears


Schools in every state are buzzing this year with talk of “personalized” learning and 21st century assessments for kids as young as kindergarten. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and its innovative pilot programs are already changing the ways schools instruct and assess, in ways that are clearly harmful to our kids. Ed-tech companies, chambers of commerce, ALEC, neoliberal foundations, telecommunications companies, and the government are working diligently to turn our public schools into lean, efficient laboratories of data-driven, digital learning.

In the near future, learning eco-systems of cyber education mixed with a smattering of community-based learning opportunities (ELOs) will “optimize” a child’s personal learning pathway to college and career readiness.

Opt out families are being set up as pawns in this fake “assessment reform” movement. I began to realize this a year ago when our dysfunctional, Broad Superintendent-led school district was suddenly almost eager to help us inform parents…

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