Join Jim and Greg as they chronicle how Princeton University’s self-flagellation over systemic racism launched a federal investigation into whether they should no longer qualify for taxpayer dollars. They also cringe as two swing states (and, yes, Nevada is one of them) create mail-in voting loopholes that erode confidence in the system. And they hammer Joe Biden for claiming to be for and against fracking in the same answer.

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As part of my wellness program, I was asked to state a small step I could take to increase my happiness/serenity. Here’s what I said: “I will learn to laugh at absurdity.” This as opposed to becoming angry, irate, or down-in-the-mouth. Some people are more able to laugh at the news than others. I have […]

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Kelly Smith, founder and CEO of Prenda, a company that helps create flexible learning environments known as microschools. Often described as the “reinvention of the one-room school house,” microschools combine homeschooling, online education, smaller class sizes, mixed age-level groupings, flipped classrooms, and personalized learning. Kelly shares what inspired him to launch Prenda in 2018, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted microschools to fame. They discuss how Prenda ensures teacher preparation in core academic areas, holds teachers accountable for student outcomes, and works to bridge achievement gaps.

Stories of the Week: A new report from Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann projects that school closures could cost the U.S. economy over $14.2 trillion by the end of the century. Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced $150 million in funding to public schools and parents for COVID-19 relief, including direct payments to families for educational materials, devices, and services. In The Atlantic, scholars discuss the pros and cons of families’ increasing propensity to consider alternatives to public schools, as a result of COVID.

Join Jim and Greg for a special 9/11 anniversary edition of the podcast. They both share their indelible memories of that horrific day and why it is vital for us to remember the evil perpetrated against us and how the very best of America rose to the occasion. Then they dive into the three martinis of the day, starting with a GOP voter registration surge in Pennsylvania. They also fume as 31 phones connected to the Mueller special counsel team were wiped clean before the Justice Department could examine them. And they react to the Biden campaign spokesman who was outraged that he would be asked if Joe Biden uses a teleprompter during interviews and other events – but never answered the question.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jay Greene, the Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, and Jason Bedrick, the Director of Policy for EdChoice. They discuss their timely new book, Religious Liberty and Education: A Case Study of Yeshivas vs. New York, about the recent battle between Orthodox Jewish private schools and New York’s state government over the content of instruction. They explain “substantial equivalency” statutes and their potential impact on a wide array of private and religious schools, as well as on parental rights, K-12 education policy, and religious liberty in America. Bedrick and Greene draw comparisons between substantial equivalency regulations and the bigoted, 19th-century Blaine Amendments that were recently weakened as a result of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. They express concerns about growing interference by state departments of education, regardless of the paltry level of funding they distribute to private schools through Title I, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or other programs.

Stories of the Week: In Baltimore, the school district has formed a promising partnership with the Recreation & Parks office to give more than 1,000 students in-person access to their virtual learning lessons, in small cohort groups meeting in schools and rec centers. A New Hampshire town tuitioning program offers financial support to rural families who choose secular private schools for their children – but not to those choosing religious options. In the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, does that distinction still pass constitutional muster?

Join Jim and Greg as they serve up three martinis, including one bad one they think could end up being good. They discuss unions planning walkouts from teachers, truckers, government employees and others to demand things like Medicare for all, free rent, and defunding the police – but see tremendous potential for this tactic to backfire spectacularly. They also unload on Kamala Harris for reversing her position on fracking and noting her blatant pandering to Pennsylvania voters in the process. And they vent in reaction to a California wildfire starting from a pyrotechnic explosion at a gender-reveal party.

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Subconsciously, we know that no one knows everything. Despite this knowledge, we tend to expect this of the people we look up to most, whether it’s our parents, teachers, or the other adults in our lives. We create this idea that they are flawless superheroes, as though they never grapple with much of anything, except […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Who is the Fellow in the Field of Flowers? Hiding in Plain Sight

 

Teachers have been revealed more fully to many parents as radical leftist propagandists, party cadre members rather than the supposedly noble public servants politicians of all stripes venerate. The left is starting to notice and worry that their education allies are overplaying their hand here as the left’s black uniformed militia is on streets across the country. One story jumped out at me in Texas, not because of the teacher and selected student comments, but because of what was not said but shown. I invited others to look at the same picture. We were partially right, but the final answer was: Every Election Matters.

In mid August, the Rutherford County schools told parent not to monitor their children’s virtual classrooms. The administrators lied that this was about protecting privacy of other students, a clear fiction. Everyone knows this was about trying to intimidate parents into not collecting evidence of the ideological poison being poured into their children’s minds. We were treated a week before that to a teacher in another state musing on Twitter about losing the ability to conceal what he was doing in class from parents and saying that he had always had kids agree to keep it from parents. That is a giant red flag.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and guest co-host Kerry McDonald are joined by Michelle Rhee, founder and former CEO of StudentsFirst and prior to that, former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). Michelle shares how her liberal arts background and Teach for America experience prepared her for a career in education leadership. Michelle reflects on the reforms she initiated at DCPS, the challenges she faced navigating notoriously difficult D.C. politics, and the rewards of working with her successor, Kaya Henderson, to implement lasting reforms and deliver great results for kids. She offers recommendations for restructuring K-12 schools, especially in larger, urban districts. They also discuss the ways in which schools and districts are being radically decentralized during COVID-19, with virtual schooling, homeschooling, and pandemic pods.

Stories of the Week: Through pandemic pods, parents without a lot of financial resources or home space are getting creative to set up meaningful learning environments across the country. A study on school responses to COVID-19 that appeared in EducationNext shows that leading charter school networks shifted seamlessly to remote learning, within days of the mid-March shutdowns. How did they succeed, and is it replicable?

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Devery Anderson, the author of Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement. Today, August 28th, marks the 65th anniversary of the brutal murder of 14-year old Emmett Till, a story which is central to understanding America’s ongoing struggle for civil rights and racial justice. Devery recounts the events at Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market in Money, Mississippi, which led to the horrific tragedy, and places it in the wider historical context of the Jim Crow South. They discuss Mamie Till-Mobley’s bold decision to make Emmett’s funeral public, with an open casket, and how the event impacted the Civil Rights Movement and its important figures, from Rosa Parks to the late Congressman John Lewis. They also delve into Till’s murderers, their acquittal and later confession, and their fate. The interview concludes with a reading from The Death of Innocence, the heart-wrenching memoir authored by Emmett Till’s courageous mother.

Stories of the Week: Writing in the USA Today, co-host Gerard Robinson explores new poll results on attitudes toward police officers among Black residents in fragile communities. Offering inspiration to millions of young women in STEM fields, a female MIT professor originally from Maine solved a mathematics problem that had stumped experts for half a century. Education insiders are speculating over who would replace USED Secretary Betsy DeVos should she depart after the presidential election.

Join host Joe Selvaggi as he talks with Hannah Mamuszka, expert in diagnostic science, about the state of COVID-19 testing technology and its implications for a safer return to school and work in the fall.

Hannah Mamuszka is Founder & CEO of ALVA10, a healthcare technology firm. Hannah has spent her 20+ year career in diagnostics – both in pharma and at diagnostics companies, in the lab and on the business side. She believes that the challenges of diagnostic technology fully impacting patient care are more commercial than technical, and conceived of ALVA10 to create a mechanism to pull technology into healthcare by aligning incentives through data. She regularly speaks on issues regarding advancement of technology in healthcare, is on the Board of Directors for two diagnostic companies and writes a column on the value of diagnostics for the Journal of Precision Medicine.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Julia Freeland Fisher, director of education research at the Clayton Christensen Institute. Julia shares how her liberal arts and law school background has informed her career path and views on education reform, and how her work with the late Professor Christensen and Michael Horn on disruptive innovation and education technology have provided fresh insights. Julia discusses the promise and scalability of online learning even prior to COVID-19, and shares her views on the power of professional networks, relationships, and technology for closing what she views as the “social gap,” which is also the topic of her book, Who You Know: Unlocking Innovations That Expand Students’ Networks. Lastly, she offers analysis on digital learning models across the country that are addressing this gap and advancing social mobility.

Stories of the Week: With his party’s anti-charter school platform proposals, is Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden sacrificing the best interests of America’s underprivileged schoolchildren? The EducationNext annual survey results show an interesting linkage between populism and views on education policy; and that an increasing percentage of parents are open to enrolling their child in some online high school courses.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Open the Classrooms

 

More shocking news from the leftist government educational establishment: Parents must agree not to observe their children’s virtual learning.

Here is my proposal. When schools resume in-person classes, all classes should have cameras on the classrooms (especially the teachers), so the parents may tune in in real time or stream at their leisure.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome news of at least one prosecutor willing to file felony charges over rioters tearing down a statue. They also discuss old timer’s night at the Democratic National Convention with a special focus on John Kerry’s dishonest history and Bill Clinton still being invited to speak despite his #MeToo history and yesterday’s Epstein revelations. And they have fun as the woke left even tries to cancel suffragette Susan B. Anthony.

Join Jim and Greg as they hammer New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for referring to COVID as a metaphor and for continuing to portray himself as some sort of disease conqueror when his state suffered far more than any other. They also discuss John Kasich crossing over to endorse Joe Biden and why his arguments that Biden won’t cave in to the far left has already been proven false. And they have fun with Albion College’s insane rule that students have to stay in a 4.5 mile perimeter for the entire semester.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jack McCarthy, president and CEO of AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation and board chair of AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School. Jack shares what animated him to establish this highly innovative early childhood charter public school network that serves the most vulnerable children in Washington, D.C. He discusses AppleTree’s unique early childhood focus, the challenges of educating mostly disadvantaged students, and the innovative partnership they have developed with Nickelodeon to continue educating students during the COVID-19 crisis. Jack offers thoughts on the politics of school reform in Washington, D.C. and the surprising proliferation of school choice options there, as well as ongoing barriers to change that he has navigated to deliver excellent results for poor and minority students.

Stories of the Week: In 15 states around the country, including Massachusetts, districts were authorized to pilot voluntary, in-person schooling over the summer for small groups of students. But can they safely bring to scale the best practices they have learned about health and safety protocols, logistics, and transportation? With uncertainty around school reopening plans, “pods” and microschools are growing in popularity among families seeking other options – will these alternatives foster long-term entrepreneurial thinking in education, and what challenges and opportunities do they raise with regard to school funding?

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Get Children Back in School – Now

 

The COVID school shutdown is a disaster for America’s schoolchildren, especially the young and the poor. America’s undereducated students have had a permanent hole blasted into their educational experience, creating a gap that will never be filled.

It didn’t have to be. It didn’t happen because of the virus or even our perverse reaction to it. The educational shutdown isn’t necessary for the health of our children. It is the result of the selfish intransigence of the teachers’ unions and Democrats ceaselessly searching for ways to make Trump look bad.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why Johnny Can’t Get Ahead

 

I have a theory: American education is great at teaching facts but not much else. What it’s not great at teaching, and what fellow Ricochet member Brandon apparently is great at teaching, is how to think critically. It is such a gift to have teachers who find ways to help students understand that critically analyzing data and rhetoric is more important than mastery of any set of tasks, or any set of skills. Knowing how the war of 1812 started is great factual information and may, at some point down the road, be important to a student. But knowing how to evaluate an author’s biases and explore the depth of his data analyses so as to formulate independent thoughts from those evaluations is far more important. But it isn’t taught. At least, not that I’ve seen. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

I believe that so many schools spend so much time teaching facts because facts can be easily mastered, easily listed, and objective scores determined from this kind of rote memorization. It makes teaching, and more importantly, grading, easier, and less subjective. It also turns students into fact repositories, not thinkers. We need more thinkers. Anyone can repeat facts. It’s the analysis of those facts that is the really important skill that must be learned to obtain success in life.

Join Jim and Greg as they lament the Big Ten Conference reportedly cancelling the 2020 college football season and that puts every other conference on the brink as well. They also unload on Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot as rioters vandalize and loot along the city’s Magnificent Mile and attack and injure more than a dozen police officers. And they discuss former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown publicly urging former mistress Kamala Harris to decline the opportunity to be Joe Biden’s running mate.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Okay, I admit it. I don’t follow college football. I never did follow college football. Not even when I attended California State University at Long Beach. But this latest report of the rebellion of the UCF football players regarding the upcoming season just stuck in my craw. Who do they think they are? Read More View […]

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