ICYMI: Best education news of the week

All the best education news & analysis in one place!

Ron Brown HS teachers Schalette Gudger (left) and Shaka Green (right) star in this week’s episode of Raising Kings. Image via EdWeek.

If you thought last week’s episode of Raising Kings was good, I’m here to tell you that this week’s was better. If only they made it easier to share tidbits around. (A transcript, GIFs, and/or audiograms would help, right?)

I’m hot and cold about the two-host format, featuring reporters Cory Turner (NPR) and Kavitha Cardoza (EdWeek) along with Code Switch hosts Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji. Sometimes it’s too RadioLab for me. Other times it’s a nice break/change of tone when they alternate.

One of the big moments for me from the NPR/EdWeek/Code Switch collaboration was when math teacher Shaka Green talked about how present-focused the kids are, when they really need to be future-focused:

“It’s the lethargy, it’s the dragging. And I’m like ‘Come on, we gotta go.’ You should be moving faster. We should be moving faster.”

That passive-aggressive slow-walking thing that kids do is familiar to anyone who’s been in a school, but I’ve never heard it described.What was your favorite moment from Episode 2?


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 NYT: Some Puerto Rico Schools Reopen, Making Do Without Power – https://t.co/HU0CFj20fc

 Washington Post: The Education Department phased out 72 policy documents for disabled students. Here’s why. https://t.co/pvtMtBHyFg EdWeek: What’s Behind the Plateau in Test Scores? http://ow.ly/Objq30g94WM

 NPR: Two Years After ‘Opt Out,’ Are Students Taking Fewer Tests? https://t.co/82ikCe33NL Chalkbeat: Unable to reinvent itself, Black Alliance for Educational Options [BAEO] to shut down after nearly 20 years https://t.co/enLYRGyaC7. [See also The 74.]



 In today’s social media environment, education journalists need to beware bots & avoid passing along fake news.

 That’s the main thrust of this week’s column, called Spot the Bot, which features a review and update on PJNET, the conservative botnet that came to dominate Common Core conversation on Twitter (but has just gotten reined in), reflections from USA Today education reporter Greg Toppo about interactions he may have had with bots (who knows?), and news that a Twitter account now known to be part of a Russian-controlled disinformation effort tweeted out support for Betsy DeVos speaking at Bethune-Cookman.Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cFwNOb Facebook: http://ow.ly/1PcN30g7SRn Twitter: @thegrade_ Web: http://ow.ly/cS9z30g7SK3


 Kudos to Chalkbeat and the NYT for reporting the DeVos work schedule published by AltGov2 — and to the DeVos folks for actually adhering to FOIA. (All my attempts to obtain Arne Duncan’s work schedule during the Obama administration were basically ignored.)

 HuffPost’s Amanda Terkel took a great story idea (how DeVos became a progressive boogeyman) and turned it into a lengthy but extremely lackluster attempt to deepen our understanding. There’s no insight into union efforts to turn DeVos into a lightning rod, the potential downsides of focusing massive attention on DeVos (instead of Sessions or others), or the role of attention-hungry journalists fanning the flames. Reform advocate Peter Cook dug up information purporting to show that Capital & Main, a California based outlet whose work has been published in The Atlantic, Slate, and other mainstream news sites, does not disclose its close financial ties with labor on its own site or when it partners with others.

 In CJR, a UPenn professor warns education reporters covering free speech debate against “taking marginal events and shining a spotlight on them, and in this way viralizing them.” Least necessary study / media coverage of the week: UCLA’s report on teachers saying that their students are stressed-out. Stories by NewsweekNPRLA Times.


From Spotlight.

 Great to hear that Zahira Torres has become the second woman and the first Latina to lead the El Paso Times. She’s written tons about education.

 Not to be outdone by EdWeek or anyone else, the Miami Herald sent reporter Kyra Gurney to cover hurricane recovery efforts from Puerto Rico.

 Meet Mel Leonor (@MelLeonor_), who now covers education at Politico. She arrives via the Naples Daily News and Miami Herald.Nikole Hannah-Jones is still everywhere, including Vox this week and the National Public Education Network conference last week in Oakland. (Meantime, Quartz reports, “For black South African students, the odds of graduating were better during apartheid.”)

Big thanks to journalist and social media wizard Alexandra Baumhardt, who’s helped the Grade tremendously over the past few months. She’s off to a full-time producer job at American Public Media. Yes, I’m still looking for a replacement.

 RIP, Jeffrey Weiss, of the Dallas Morning News. From EWA: “He was well known for his insightful questions, keen wit, and genuine good nature.” We should all be so lucky to be remembered like that.


CNN’s Liz Stark: “Overseen in the Senate hallway: a kid dressed as the Bill from Schoolhouse Rock.”

Columbus Dispatch: School district seeks to use eminent domain to take Delaware County couple’s ‘haunted house’ https://t.co/Y9LCtRifuF

Washington Post: How a holiday tombstone with Trump’s name on it made this elementary school a target of conservative ire https://t.co/9KFBIr0OQ3

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cFwNOb Facebook: http://ow.ly/1PcN30g7SRn Twitter: @thegrade_ Web: http://ow.ly/cS9z30g7SK3

ALEXANDER RUSSO (@alexanderrusso) is editor of The Grade.

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