Archives for category: Curriculum

Mercedes Schneider writes here about the plight of two experienced Black educators who were fired by District of Columbia officials for refusing to adopt a scripted “no excuses” program developed by the Relay “Graduate School of Education.” I put scare quotes around the last four words because Relay is not really a graduate school of any kinds. It was created by a group of charter chains to teach the methods favored by charter schools—strict discipline, no-excuses, and the pedagogical strategies to raise test scores. Unlike real graduate schools, it has no campus, no library, no faculty with earned doctorates, no programs in research and the social sciences.

The educators—one of them a veteran principal—objected to the Relay approach and thought it contributed to the school-to-prison pipeline. They were fired, and they are suing, all out of their own pockets. I will help them as best I can. Tom Ultican write about them here.

Schneider wrote:

Below are excerpts fron a lawsuit put forth by two former employees of DC’s Boone Elementary School, who took issue with DC Public Schools (DCPS) higher admin wishing to impose controversial scripted and harsh practices at the direction of the so-named Relay Graduate School of Education (“graduate school” as a brand name and worth as much as my legally changing my own name to “Mercedes Schneider, MD” to deceptively promote the idea that I practice medicine).

Former Boone principal, Carolyn Jackson-King, repeatedly voiced her concerns about DCPS pooling lower-income, predominately Black schools under the jurisdiction of Relay and the fact that the administrator overseeing this requirement was formerly with “no excuses” KIPP schools (as in highly-scripted conformity at the expense of developing critical thinking and self-value for low-income students). Jackson-King even collected data to support no need for this concocted “Relay remediation” plan for Boone students, to no avail. Within one year, she was brought from being a principal deemed worthy of mentoring others to one released from her duties as principal and given the lowest rating of her career.

Fellow Boone employee and director of strategy and logistics, Marlon Ray, was arguably singled out and punitively required to work in person throughout the pre-vaccination period of COVID and later terminated due to “reduction in force” after he filed a 2020 whistleblower suit with the Office of Inspector General (OIG) about Relay, including contracts and payments under two distinct codings and that did not line up.

Jackson-King and Ray are suing DCPS and requesting a jury trial “to remedy the effects of the illegal conduct described [in the suit]” and to “award damages for back pay and other monetary losses” incurred by DCPS “[having] violated the provisions of District of Columbia law recited [in the suit].”

The lawsuit itself is 35 pages long and is posted at the end of this piece. I wish I could post the entire document as I believe it is worth a full read for its value on many fronts, including how those in education reform are able to all-too-quickly position themselves in upper administration and through their connections promote other entites selling ill-informed ideas that are contrary to sound educational practice; how such education businesses are often particularly positioned to prey on lower income students and students of color; how genuinely concerned, career-invested stakeholders are often wrongfully punished for voicing their concerns and seeking remedy (including being told that the issue should be kept “in house,” a strategy also often employed by domestic abusers), and how the underdog often has to pay out of pocket to seek relief in the courts.

Please continue reading. The educators acted ethically. The district punished them for acting ethically.

I received the following statement by hundreds of Swedish teachers, protesting against the odious effects of privatization in education. They signed this post.

We teachers do not want to have it like this anymore

Published 28 Apr 2022 at 06.00

Filippa Mannerheim, high school teacher, Stockholm.

HP Tran, primary school teacher, Gothenburg.

Sara Persson, primary school teacher, Västervik.Photo: Sara Winsnes

Marcus Erhagen, high school teacher, Örebro.

Per Edberg, preschool teacher, Umeå.

We teachers demand a change. We demand that you politicians make sure to fix the institutionalized, corruption-promoting defects you yourself have built into the school system so that we teachers can focus on teaching Sweden’s children, 285 teachers write in a call against the marketized school.

This is a debate article. It is the writer who stands for the opinions in the text.

DEBATE. We who write this article do so even though we do not really have the time or energy. We write it even though it is not our job. We write it even though it should not have been needed and had not been needed in any other country than Sweden.

But as things stand now, we feel we have no choice.

We in Sweden today have large, commercial school groups that expand at the expense of the municipal school and make a profit through lower teacher density, fewer qualified teachers, fewer costly students and lower teacher salaries than municipal schools. Group schools receive permission from the Swedish Schools Inspectorate to start in municipalities even though the municipalities themselves say no and there is no need.

We do not want it like this.

Today, through the free right of establishment and the unregulated offer, a school can be opened anywhere and look any way. A teaching position can be anything for anyone. Nothing on the school grounds is regulated. Nothing is planned based on society’s needs.

We do not want it this way.

In the past, independent schools had lower school fees because the municipality must ensure that all students can go to a school close to home. The municipality can not choose the organization that is cheapest, it can independent schools. The municipality can not put students in line, it can independent schools. The municipality can not profile its schools so that some students feel that the school is not suitable for them, independent schools can. The municipality’s assignments are larger and more expensive, but the tuition fees are just as large. A majority of the Riksdag’s parties refuse to change this.

We do not want it this way.

The revolving doors between politicians and independent school companies are freshly blown and the close ties that exist between politicians, lobbyists and the business community are becoming increasingly tighter when former politicians take seats in school management or continue their careers as lobbyists.

It’s time to listen to the voters. It’s time to listen to us teachers. It is time to climb out of the school market swamp and act as elected politicians again.

Public opinion in Sweden is clearly against the private gains made in welfare and school. Nevertheless, this is not reflected in the Riksdag decisions that are made.

We do not want it this way.

School companies and large real estate companies today buy school properties so that the companies can make money at school even if politicians decide on a profit ban. They want to be able to move money from profits in school to profits in real estate companies. Instead of hiring teachers, the school fees are used for the real estate companies’ return requirements.

We do not want it this way.

We have politicians who drum up “freedom of choice” as a mantra as soon as criticism is directed at the system, but the free choice they defend is in fact the school groups, which through targeted marketing to parents with high-performing children, have the choice to only give school to the “cheapest The students. Everything is as it should be in the best of worlds, the majority of our parliamentary parties believe.

But we do not want it this way.

The Swedish school once made class trips possible. The school was good at getting the majority of students to succeed – even children without a study background. Today, Sweden has the most unequal school of all the Nordic countries. Swedish school torn apart.

Instead of a cohesive compensatory school, we now have listed company schools, groups with fake coats of arms, schools that call themselves international and that have teaching in a language other than Swedish. We have religious schools with dubious values.

We teachers do not want it like this anymore. We demand a change. We demand that you politicians make sure to remedy the institutionalized, corruption-promoting defects you yourself have built into the school system so that we teachers can focus on teaching Sweden’s children. And avoid writing articles like this in the future.

It’s time to listen to the voters. It’s time to listen to us teachers. It is time to climb out of the school market swamp and act as elected politicians again.

We teachers do not want it like this anymore.

Rolf Wallander, subject teacher years 4-6, Haninge 

Miranda Chang, F-6 teacher, Gislaved 

HP Tran, primary school teacher, Gothenburg 

Helena Tarras-Wahlberg, teacher, Ängelholm

Anna Bränström, high school teacher, Sundbyberg municipality

Maria Karlsson, high school teacher, Knivsta 

Jonas Linderoth, Professor of Pedagogy University of Gothenburg 

Pia Ennemuist, elementary school teacher, leisure educator, Värmdö 

Therese Wikström, high school teacher, Ale 

Erik Winerö, high school teacher / doctoral student educational science, Lerum

Alexander Nilsson, high school teacher, Trelleborg

Marie Pettersson, special educator, Skövde

Therese Andersson, elementary school teacher, Örebro 

teacher , Stockholm

Magnus Svensson, university lecturer, teacher educator, Eskilstuna. 

Ann-Christine Norman, upper secondary school teacher, Boden

Daniel Runhage, primary school teacher, Malmö 

Per Edberg, preschool teacher, Umeå

Filippa Mannerheim, upper secondary school teacher, Stockholm 

Anton Ek, primary school teacher. Falun

Felix Björk, music teacher student, Stockholm

Aron Ihse Trägårdh, elementary teacher student, Malmö 

Anthon Brunzell, subject teacher student, Lund

Björn Dahlman, teacher, Ekerö

Terese Crona Lindström, teacher in after-school center, Ängelholm 

Simon Kvassman, subject teacher and teacher student, Örebro

Birch Petter 

MagnusBäcklund, teacher Hörby

Jenny Winberg, teacher, Västerås

Edvin Jensen, high school teacher, Linköping 

Maria Olsson, retired high school teacher, Ale

Martin Ahlstedt, high school teacher, Gothenburg

Pernilla Wallgren, elementary school teacher, Stockholm 

Lena Karlsson Saranpää, elementary school teacher, Motala

Maja Anselius, Special educator 

, , primary school teacher, Stockholm 

Erika Tidblom, teacher, Norrköping

Magnus Dahlström, high school teacher, Malmö

Tilde Jansson, high school teacher, Stockholm 

Lena Danelius, high school teacher, Lund

Daniel Lund, high school teacher, Norrköping

Rasmus Hardeström, teacher, Linköping

Maria Hals, high school teacher, Danderyd

Joel Larsson, High school, Danderyd

Maria Jarlsdotte r former principal, Ängelholm 

Per Johansson, high school teacher, Ängelholm

Karl Engqvist, primary school teacher, Arvika. 

Olof Persson, High school teacher, Strömsund

Lotta Lindvall, preschool teacher in preschool class, Motala

Birgitta Hultkrantz, Municipal adult teacher Stockholm

Jonas Hemström, deputy principal, Stockholm

Andreas Olofsson, high school teacher, Ljungby 

Petter Cronberg, teacher, Nyhamnsläge

, elementary school teacher, elementary school

NyborgDanderyd

Kristina Lundin, high school teacher, Köping

Ulla Åkerström, leg. teachers who left school, Gothenburg

Johanna Verme, high school teacher student, Lerum

Jesper Berglund, high school teacher, Gothenburg

Lisa Göland, high school teacher, Linköping

Petra Särnhammar, school librarian and high school teacher, Linköping

Linda Odén, high school teacher, Gråbo

Lars Ljunggren, high school teacher, Falun

Åsa Tadell, high school teacher

Maria Gustavson, teacher, Västerås 

Fredrik Sandström, teacher, Arboga

Tom Bergström, vocational teacher, Sala 

Petra Lindström, teacher, Gnesta

Pontus Bierich, Teacher, Kungälv

Linnea Argårds, teacher, Örebro

Martin Viklund, teacher, Hudiksvall

Gunnar Wike, primary school teacher, Västerås

Anders Törnlund , teacher, Huddinge

Jan Kjellin, preschool teacher, Falun

Fredrik Björkman, high school teacher, Malmö

Elisabeth Ahrent, teacher Simrishamn

Johan Carlsson, high school teacher, Upplands Väsby 

Fredrik Törnqvist, high school teacher, Stockholm

Magnus Almström, high school teacher, Borås

Helena Edvardsson, elementary school teacher, Gothenburg

Christoffer Eriksson, high school teacher , Uppsala

Kari Nilsson, teacher, Malmö 

Elin Persson, after-school center teacher, Danderyd

Anna Östman, primary school teacher, Huddinge

Rickard Himre, upper secondary school teacher, Stockholm  

Fredrik Clausson, upper secondary school teacher, Lund

Nils Rickdorff Lahrin, upper secondary school teacher, Uppsala 

Björn Johannesson, primary school teacher, Gothenburg

Maryna Grip, primary school teacher, Söderhamn

Jan Magnusson,

Lotta Gedik-Cederberg, primary school teacher, Malmö

Jenny Vide, primary school teacher, Uppsala

Mathias Israelsson, primary school teacher, Gothenburg

Lilian Birath, high school teacher, Svedala 

Anna Heimer, preschool teacher, Partille

Patrik Unné, special educator 

Margareta Melin, primary school teacher, Kungälv

Jonas Fried, Gothenburg primary school

teacher , elementary school teacher, Ryd

Sara Persson, elementary school teacher, Västervik 

Maria Himre, high school teacher, Stockholm

Marie Karlsson, elementary school teacher, Svedala

Olof Loklint, elementary school teacher, Västerås 

Niclas Djupström, high school teacher, Skövde

Gunnel Alm, high school teacher, Norrköping

Bodil Ejwertz, teacher, Tylyl

, teacher , Sundbyberg

Helen a Svanängen, university lecturer, Jönköping

Isabella Åkerlund, teacher, Karlstad

Maria Hilber, preschool teacher, Huddinge

Isabella Verner, high school teacher, Stockholm

Malin Ahlgren, high school teacher, Stockholm

Elinor Löfstaf, teacher, Västerås 

Peter Sjöde IDH teacher Jönköping

Svensson Gothenburg

MånsPettersson, high school teacher, Stockholm 

Anders Lindborg, high school teacher Varberg

Karin Berg, high school teacher, Gothenburg 

Peter Alm, high school teacher, Uppsala 

Marina Nordin, teacher, Stockholm 

Calle Andén, primary school teacher, Gotland

Niclas Ländin, deputy principal, Sollentuna 

Hedvig Bolmgren, special teacher / special educator,

Östhammar Rosenberg, primary school teacher, Klippan 

Fredrik Hornegård, teacher, Stockholm 

EwaLiz Larsson, primary school teacher, Karlskrona 

Tobias Nilsson, special teacher, Lund 

Anna Nylander, high school teacher, Lysekil. 

Marika Lindholm, teacher, former. principal, Stockholm

Emma Sjödin, high school teacher, Stockholm 

Shpetim Ademi, high school teacher, Kristianstad. 

Johanna Andersson, high school teacher, Malmö

Bernt Andersson, leg. teacher of music and English, SiS in Lidköping

Magnus Karlberg Teacher / leisure educator Stockholm

Ellinor Brantås, elementary school teacher, Järfälla 

Johanna Ramstedt, elementary school teacher, Stockholm

Linda Bäckström, high school teacher, Gothenburg

Niklas Aronsson, high school teacher Gothenburg

Hjalmar Holgersson, high school teacher, Gothenburg

Pelle Flemark, high school 

Eva Söderberg, certified teacher of handicrafts / Swedish, Gothenburg

Kedikova, high school teacher, Norrköping

Anna Lundin, music teacher, Västerås 

Helene Johansson, elementary / high school teacher, Uddevalla 

Jakob Winnberg, high school teacher, Växjö

Solveig Ivarsson, elementary school teacher, Svenljunga

Jan Gustavsson, Norrman Lotman,

Zumi, elementary school teacher, Ulricehamn 

Anna Klingström, high school teacher, Sala

Fredrik Månsson, high school teacher, Norrköping

Christina W. Källström, high school teacher, Katrineholm

Emma Solum Holst, high school teacher, Borlänge 

Alexandra Georgieva, elementary school teacher, Gothenburg

Carina Lindström, music teacher in elementary school, 

Södertarje high school Lina teacher, Stockholm

Helena Wessel, school secretary former high school teacher, Stockholm

Katarina Hjärpe, school librarian, Malmö 

Mattias Forsberg, high school teacher, Arvika

Henrik Estvik, high school teacher, Stockholm

Maria Ruukel, elementary school teacher, Valdemarsvik 

Åsa Andersson, elementary school teacher, Västerås

Jonathan Wikström, elementary school teacher,

L primary school teacher, Stockholm

Staffan Lindström, music teacher in primary school, Södertälje

Carin Hammarström, teacher, Malmö

Hans-Uno Karlsson, retired primary school teacher, Hajom

Jennie Gudmundsson, leg. teacher ma / bi 7–9, Ängelholm

Ragnar Suneson retired language teacher 7–9, Tranås

Cecilia Ekdahl Schewenius, subject teacher / assistant professor, Kungshamn 

Jan Wärmegård, primary school teacher, Stockholm

Cecilia F. Kroon, teacher, Staffanstorp 

Gunilla Martinsson, teacher Falkenberg

Maria Henriksson, language teacher Mora 

Anna Liljekvist, teacher, Nacka

Cecilia Svensson, teacher F-3, Sundsvall 

Inga-Lill Lagerlöf, retired teacher, Tierp

Hanna Wallinder, teacher, Malmö 

Helén Enqvist, language teacher years 6–9, Botkyrka 

Annette Säterberg, high school teacher, Kungsbacka

Ingemar Abrahamsson, handicraft teacher, Gothenburg

Lotta Carlson, subject teacher Ma / No, Kungsbacka 

Carola Svensson, adult teacher, Norrköping

Marie Wislander, teacher, Tjörn

Maria Jansson, special teacher, Stockholm

Jonny Wester, music teacher, Hylte 

Miriam Järlebark, teacher SFI, Örebro

Film Katja 

Roselli Åsell, teacher, Hofors

Jan Gustavsson, Municipal adult teacher, Norrköping

Helen Egardt, high school teacher, Lidingö

Thomas Bergström, high school teacher Ludvika

Mikael Winblad, teacher e, Strängnäs

Ann-Sofie Johansson, high school teacher, Västerås 

Pia Brodersen, special educator, Stockholm

Ulla Sunden, teacher, Gothenburg

Mirjam Cameron Sedwall, teacher, Stockholm

Linda Söderberg, teacher, Timrå 

Robert Warrebäck, teacher, Stockholm

Jenny Vad-Schütt, teacher, Täby 

Johan Thorssell, high school teacher, Gothenburg 

Cecilia Rosenqvist, subject teacher, Simrishamn

Rebecka Beijer, high school teacher, Eskilstuna

Jaana Vilén, special teacher, Karlskoga

Carola Sjöstrand, teacher, Jönköping

Elisabeth Broman, former elementary school teacher, Österåker

Sabina Granstrand, teacher Frida, Samstad

4-6 Gothenburg

Louise Halldin, high school teacher, Gothenburg

Birgitta Jensen, deputy principal, Emmaboda

Pia Thomasson, 7 – 9 teachers, Ängelholm

Sanna Dabolins, high school teacher, Gothenburg 

Linda Gunnarsson, teacher, Härryda 

Bengt Johansson, teacher, Nacka 

Malin Hökby, high school teacher, Nacka 

Anna Näslund War, primary school teacher 4–6, Karlskrona

Ingela Bursjöö, teacher, Gothenburg

Hasse Annerbo, primary school teacher 1–7 Falun 

Åsa Hartzell, upper secondary school teacher, Stockholm

Jessica Andersson Sjöstrand, upper secondary school teacher, Växjö 

Marie Rehnström, middle school teacher, Härryda

Johanna Stigmark, SFI teacher, Södertälje

Maria Knutsson-Torvaldsen, primary school teacher, Ockelbo 

Frida Lotfi, upper secondary school teacher, Danderyd

Kenneth Pilström, retired teacher, Kil

Anders teacher, Norrköping

Cecilia Rehnqvist, teacher, Malmö 

Petter Träff, high school teacher, Malmö

Maria Trulsson, teacher, Gothenburg

Kristina Broberg, elementary school teacher, Uddevalla

Nilla Wikberg, special educator, Uppsala

Elin Jonasson, teacher student, Mönsterås

Robert Alexandersson, middle school teacher, Kristinehamn

high school teacher Micke Hjalmarsson Motala

David Reljanovic, high school teacher, Borås

Edith Marelli, high school teacher, Malmö

Sophia Ivanovic, teacher Nässjö

Robert Svensson, teacher Trollhättan

Sara Berggren, teacher, Sundsvall 

Nicklas Ivarsson, teacher, Trelleborg

Per Olov Nordin, philosophy Master, retired, Söderhamn

Susanne Lindgren, speci Luleå

Anna Svensson, high school e-teacher, Skara

Magdalena Gyllenlood, high school teacher, Nacka

Marie Sandström, high school teacher, Vara

Maria Sköld, teacher, Haninge

Amanda Terlevic, high school teacher, Gothenburg

Kerstin Meurling, teacher, Kulturskolan, Sundsvall

Maria L. Persson, teacher, Varberg

Susanne Lärkeryd, teacher,

Skellefte Utter, upper secondary school teacher, Gothenburg

Elin Bergström, leisure teacher, Sundsvall 

Nicolas Micic, teacher, Huddinge

Jennie Frisk, primary school teacher, Uppsala 

Åsa Fondin, special teacher, Landskrona

Stina Carlsson, primary school teacher ma / NO 1-7, Dalsed

Johanna Leinås, teacher, Täby 

Christer Hällkvist, high school teacher, Linköping 

Susan Persson-Payne, teacher, Eskilstuna

Jenny Svensson, high school teacher, Halmstad

Johan Fransson, high school teacher, Linköping

Staffan Melin, primary school teacher, Gothenburg

Karin Wilsson, principal, Mark municipality

Majlis Seppänen, teacher, Boden

Niclas Skott, teacher, Gothenburg

Anton Svensson , teacher, Växjö

Klas Holmgren, teacher, Borlänge

My Landberg, teacher, Järfälla

Joakim Lindström, teacher, Huddinge

Josefine Forsberg, primary school teacher, Umeå

Kerstin Rödén, special educator, Östersund

Helena Eidenson, primary school teacher, Sigtuna

Rolf Back, mathematics teacher, Falun

Lars Persson, technology teacher, Sölvesborg

Ola Lindholm, teacher, Karlstad

Marcus Erhagen, high school teacher, Örebro

Göteborg Hjertén, teacher 

Finnhigh school teacher, Uppsala

Jenny Dahlin, high school teacher, Mark municipality

Eva Almestad, preschool teacher, Sundsvall

Olof Dahl, fil. dr, high school teacher, Mölndal

Åsa Marmebro, teacher, Kungälv

Ulrihca Malmberg, high school teacher, Stockholm

Sara Fransson, high school teacher, Huddinge 

Debora Påhlsson, teacher, Båstad 

Birgitta Olsson, teacher, Karlskrona

Karin Linderyd, high school teacher, Motala 

Allie Pitchon of The Miami Herald reported that state officials told some publishers of math textbooks why the state would not buy their books. The initial announcement said that some math books were too “woke,” contained “critical race theory,” or included concepts from Common Core, which Governor Ron DeSantis turned against because former President Obama endorsed it. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the conservative education guru, also championed Common Core, but that did not mollify DeSantis’s rejection of it.

Publishers were left in the dark about why their math books offended DeSantis, and yesterday the state provided some details. The state informed publishers what had to make changed to get on the state approved list and gave them two weeks to resubmit.

The state posted a few examples on its website.

One example: A colored bar chart showing how levels of racial bias can vary by age group. It is part of a mathematical brain teaser involving polynomial models and is nestled on the bottom right-hand corner of page 56 in a pre-calculus online textbook consisting of more than 1,000 pages. The book is not identified on the state’s website

Two other examples that originated with public complaints make reference to Social Emotional Learning (SEL), a methodology wherein students try to get in touch with their emotions and demonstrate empathy for others.

Here is the woke bar graph:

Publishers were well aware, the Department of Education said, that their books would be rejected if they had even a trace of “critical race theory” or “social-emotional learning” or Common Core.

The press release provided a withering quote from Gov. Ron DeSantis: “It seems some publishers attempted to slap a coat of paint on an old house built on the foundation of Common Core, and indoctrinating concepts like race essentialism, especially, bizarrely, for elementary school students.”

Education Secretary Richard Corcoran chimed in, stating Florida was “focusing on providing … children with a world-class education without the fear of indoctrination or exposure to dangerous and divisive concepts in our classrooms.”

In a tweet, Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary, went further, while addressing those who take issue with “book banning”: “The state declining to purchase certain textbooks isn’t banning them. If you want to teach your kid Woke Math, where “2+2=4” is white supremacy, you’re free to buy any CRT math textbook you want. You just cannot force Florida taxpayers to subsidize this indoctrination.” She’s right that local school districts can allocate at least part of their book buying budget toward textbooks not on the state’s approved list.

Read more at: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/education/article260639257.html#storylink=cpy

The Miami Herald says that districts have the final say over which textbooks are used in their classrooms. However, Governor Ron DeSantis is trying to compel all districts to adopt only the textbooks approved by the state.

Sommer Brugal writes that under current law, the districts will decide.

Despite the chatter among district leaders about the announcement, and confusion about why certain titles were omitted from the state’s approved list, however, Florida’s law remains clear: Individual school boards — not state officials — ultimately have the responsibility for selecting instructional materials. Furthermore, a district may spend up to 50% of its state funds for books that are not on the department’s list of recommended titles.

Rachel Thomas, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Education, on Wednesday doubled-down on the notion: “The department does not dictate curriculum decisions,” she said in a statement. “But we hope those decisions are made by all states and districts in consultation with parents around the issues their children are actually facing.”

In other words, regardless if a book or curriculum is on or off the state’s list of approved materials, a school board still has the authority to purchase it for the district. (The list is the “initial adoption list,” according to the state education department, and has yet to be finalized.)

Earlier this month, district staff presented to the School Board the recommended textbooks, which a review committee had selected. The list included K-5 math books from publishers such as Big Ideas Learning and Savaas Learning Company, neither of which are included on the state’s approved list…

In other counties, such as Orange and Pinellas counties, the list of unapproved texts is important because they’ve already selected their new math books for the 2022-23 school year. None of the books either district picked for elementary math classes were on the state-approved list.

Read more at: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/education/article260563017.html#storylink=cpy

Florida is spinning downward into a pit of political ignorance.

The state rejected 54 math texts on grounds that some contained critical race theory, others referred to Common Core concepts.

The rejected books make up a record 41% of the 132 books submitted for review, the Florida Department of Education said in a statement.

Of them, 28 were rejected because they “incorporate prohibited topics or unsolicited strategies, including [critical race theory],” the statement said.

Critical race theory has been described by scholars as an examination of racism and its impact through systems, such as legal, housing and education. However, it is typically not taught in K-12.

Twelve books were rejected because they did not meet Florida’s benchmark standards, while 14 books were rejected because they both included prohibited topics and failed to meet curriculum standards.

The names of the rejected books were not included.

Since the names of the rejected books were not revealed, no one can judge how dreadful or how innocuous the content is.

State House Member Anna Eskamani said, “I get it. The goal of math is to solve problems which the Republican Party of Florida doesn’t like to do.”

Among grade levels, 70% of the math materials for kindergarten through fifth grades were rejected. Twenty percent of the materials for grades 6-8 were rejected, and 35% of materials for grades 9-12 were rejected.

Many state legislatures have passed laws banning the teaching of “critical race theory,” even though most legislators don’t know what it is. Many have banned the use of “The 1619 Project,” which puts the African-American experience at the center of U.S. history. Many have prohibited teaching “divisive concepts,” which presumably means anything controversial. The people passing these laws say they want “patriotic history,” the kind they learned as children, where America was the land of the free and brave, where nothing bad ever happened and all the heroes were white men.

History, think the Neanderthals, is a list of facts and battles and names to be memorized and recited.

But, writes Peter Greene, that’s not history at all. History, he writes, is a conversation.

Last week, I reported a poll in Educatuon Week, which found that half the public thinks that schools should not teach about racism today. With opinion polls, the results are influenced by many factors, including how the questions are worded. A poll by CBS got very different results.

Greg Sergeant writes in the Washington Post that Democrats should take heart from a CBS News poll: Most Americans oppose book banning. Democrats should stop being defensive.

He writes:

As Democrats debate the GOP’s all-culture-war-all-the-time campaign strategy, here’s a maxim worth remembering: If you’re wasting political bandwidth denying lies about yourselves, you’re losing.

A new CBS News poll offers data that should prod Democrats into rethinking these culture-war battles. It finds that surprisingly large majorities oppose banning books on history or race — and importantly, this is partly because teaching about our racial past makes students more understanding of others’ historical experiences.

The poll finds that 83 percent of Americans say books should never be banned for criticizing U.S. history; 85 percent oppose banning them for airing ideas you disagree with; and 87 percent oppose banning them for discussing race or depicting slavery.

What’s more, 76 percent of Americans say schools should be allowed to teach ideas and historical events that “might make some students uncomfortable.” And 68 percent say such teachings make people more understanding of what others went through, while 58 percent believe racism is still a serious problem today.

Finally, 66 percent say public schools either teach too little about the history of Black Americans (42 percent) or teach the right amount (24 percent). Yet 59 percent say we’ve made “a lot of real progress getting rid of racial discrimination” since the 1960s.

This hints at a way forward for Democrats. Notably, large majorities think both that we’ve made a good deal of racial progress and that we should be forthrightly confronting hard racial truths about our past and present, even if it makes students uncomfortable.

Culture warriors in the Republican Party want to ban all teaching about racism, in the past or present. They pass vague laws that are meant to intimidate teachers.

Their rhetorical game works this way: If you focus too much on the persistence of racial disparities in the present, you’re denying the racial progress that has taken place. You’re telling children that race still matters. You’re not telling a positive or uplifting story about our country. You’re saying America is irredeemable. You’re trying to make children hate our country, each other and themselves.

But this polling suggests many Americans doesn’t necessarily see things this way. Place proper emphasis on the idea that racial progress has been made, and it’s fine to highlight the problems that remain, even if it creates feelings of discomfort. It’s possible to tell a story that is in some ways about progress but also doesn’t whitewash our past.

Bob Shepherd, a frequent contributor to the blog, is an education polymath. He has authored textbooks, written assessments, developed curriculum, and was most recently a classroom teacher in Florida. He has a long history in the education industry.

He explains here why standardized testing today is neither valid nor reliable.

He begins:

The dirty secret of the standardized testing industry is the breathtakingly low quality of the tests themselves. I worked in the educational publishing industry at very high levels for more than twenty years. I have produced materials for all the major textbook publishers and most of the standardized test publishers, and I know from experience that quality control processes in the standardized testing industry have dropped to such low levels that the tests, these days, are typically extraordinarily sloppy and neither reliable nor valid. They typically have not been subjected to anything like the validation and standardization procedures used, in the past, with intelligence tests, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and so on. The mathematics tests are marginally better than are the tests in ELA, US History, and Science, but they are not great. The tests in English Language Arts are truly appalling…

The Common Core tests, he says, are especially useless.

They are almost entirely content free. They don’t assess what students ought to know. Instead, they test, supposedly, a lot of abstract “skills”–the stuff on the Gates/Coleman Common [sic] Core [sic] bullet list, but as we shall see below, they don’t even do that.

Open the link and read on. This is a very important exposé by an expert.

Stephen Sawchuk wrote in Education Week about the ways that public controversy about “critical race theory” is affecting the drafting and revision of state history standards. He looks closely at three states that revised their history standards in 2021: Louisiana, New Mexico, and South Dakota.

For months, GOP officials and FOX news kept up a steady and alarming drumbeat, falsely claiming that public schools were indoctrinating white students to hate America and to be ashamed of their race. This weird notion was suddenly discovered in the last year of the Trump regime, when beating up on public schools became a cultural wedge issue. The governor’s race in Virginia showed that the campaign against CRT was effective in rousing people’s fears.

As Sawchuk shows, the effort to twist U.S. history to leave out anything bad that happened in the past is working its way into state standards. Message from the GOP, FOX News, and Chris Rufo: Teach lies about U.S. history!

He writes:

Spiked drafts. Allegations of political interference. Confusing terminology. And thousands of angry comments: The volatile debate over how to teach about America’s racist past is wreaking havoc on states’ processes for deciding what students will learn about history and social studies.

In state after state, commentators and politicians contended that proposed expectations for social studies embedded “critical race theory”—even as the educators sitting on the panels writing the new standards defended them for providing an honest, if sometimes challenging, view of America.

Education Week reviewed hundreds of standards and thousands of pages of public comment relating to the standards-writing processes in South Dakota, Louisiana, and New Mexico, all of which took up revisions in 2021, and interviewed writers, educators, and state officials. Across the three states, we found:

  • None of the three states’ drafts mentioned the term critical race theory, but in written comments, people attacked dozens of standards in Louisiana’s and New Mexico’s drafts for purportedly embedding it.
  • In South Dakota, state officials removed about 20 references to Native Americans from the draft submitted by the standards-writing panel—then scotched the draft altogether.
  • The critiques about CRT in Louisiana led the writers to recast some standards and to delete others. And public comment protocols in Louisiana were changed out of fear for the writers’ physical safety.
  • The teaching method of having students take civic action to address classroom and local problems—an approach some conservatives contend is indoctrination—was mysteriously cut from both Louisiana’s and South Dakota’s drafts.
  • About 1 in 10 of some 2,900 pages of comments on the New Mexico standards referenced CRT, often citing language in the draft about “social justice,” “group identity,” and “critical consciousness.” Those terms also attracted confusion from district leaders wondering how those tenets should be taught.

The findings illustrate how the fallout from the confusing and often misleading debate about CRT stands to alter history education in U.S. schools through subtle—but material—changes to day-to-day teaching expectations.

“Standards provide teachers with cover to teach hard things—controversial things,” noted Lynn Walters-Rauenhorst, an instructor and student-teaching supervisor at the University of New Orleans, who was among the writers of Louisiana’s draft. “If we don’t have standards that support deep inquiry about things that may not be the easy topics to cover, then teachers aren’t going to do it.”

And the discord stands as another testament to how the country’s polarization has affected K-12 policymaking at large.

“The uncivil discourse centering around these issues is detrimental not only to the process, but really, it’s also detrimental to these embedded ideas in our constitutional democracy of compromise, of listening to each other, not always agreeing,” said Tammy Waller, the director for K-12 social studies at the Arizona education department.

Arizonans, she noted, faced some controversies over topics like civil rights and the LGBTQ movement when completing the state’s 2018 social studies revisions, but ultimately officials were able to complete a set everyone could live with. That is getting harder.

“In the past I feel like we could have disagreements, and even really intense disagreements, but in the end, it wasn’t a zero-sum game,” Waller said. “We felt like we had something bigger that we were responsible for.”


Critical race theory—originally an academic tool for analyzing how racism manifests in public policy—has morphed into a catch-all term wielded by critics of districts’ efforts to rid schools of systemic racism.

Since the topic exploded in the national discourse last year, a media frenzy has focused on sensational incidents, like reductive diversity trainings for administrators on “white supremacy culture”; a handful of fired teachers and principals who led controversial lessons about racism; and, most recently, on the removal of books written by Black authors from school libraries dealing with themes of racism.

Those are important stories. But states’ revisions to history standards have attracted far less attention, even though they stand to affect millions more students.

Unlike education expectations in reading, science, or math, history standards serve a unique civic function. They are the starting point for textbooks—the narratives that make up most students’ first, and often only, introduction to the American story. In theory, the discipline also gives students an introduction to the tools historians use to interrogate, question, and revise those narratives.

Crafting these K-12 standards is by definition a normative process. It demands that states reach consensus about what students should know. And implicitly, the standards either help tee up—or elide—the difficult and subjective question about the extent to which our country’s practices have matched its ideals.

That question is especially relevant for K-12 students, who are now 54 percent Asian, Black, Latino, and Native American. Where—and how—are these students reflected in this complex story? What does their inclusion or erasure mean for their understanding of who they are as Americans? To what extent should K-12 teaching reflect academic scholarship, which has produced increasingly rich insights over the past three decades about cultural history, especially the experiences of women, Black Americans, and immigrants?

States update teaching standards—the key guide for the content and skills that teachers must cover—about once every seven years. Teachers are legally and professionally obligated to cover these standards, which are usually drafted by panels of teachers, content experts, and lay people. The public also offers feedback before final versions are adopted by state boards of education. …Read more

To illustrate these complex issues, take one representative standard currently under debate in Louisiana in grade 7. The standard, a broad one, directs teachers to explain events and ideas in U.S. history between 1789 and 1877, “including, but not limited to, the Whiskey Rebellion, Indian Removal Act, Fugitive Slavery [sic] Act, Reconstruction amendments.”

As currently written, the standard highlights uneven progress towards true participation in the American democratic experiment. But several commentators in the state suggested replacing those examples with touchstones emphasizing expansion and enfranchisement, though mainly of white Americans: “Jacksonian democracy, Texan independence, Manifest Destiny, and Reconstruction,” they wrote.

What the state standards address also has huge implications for the type of instruction teachers deliver. The current political climate means few teachers are likely to put their careers on the line to go beyond the text of the standards. In some 14 states, officials have passed vaguely worded laws or regulations that constrain how teachers can talk about race and gender. Administrators have largely advised frightened and confused teachers by the mantra: Keep to the standards.

“Teachers are not going to stick their neck out to teach something they think they ethically should talk about, but isn’t going to be assessed,” said Walters-Rauenhorst. “There’s no upside for them.”

EdWeek selected the three states—Louisiana, South Dakota, and New Mexico—for analysis because all three issued at least one draft set of standards in 2021, and received public feedback on that draft.

Other states in the beginning of rewriting their standards are already starting to see the same sort of contention. Minnesota, midway through its own process, has faced tensions over an ethnic-studies portion of its standards; in Mississippi, legislators filed a bill in November to outlaw critical race theory just weeks before the state education department posted a history draft for review….


LOUISIANA: A CRT Reckoning Awaits

Image of a proposed Louisiana standard.

One by one, the commentators stood up at a June public meeting, one of three that the standards-writing committee held to present updates. And one by one, they condemned the state’s draft history standards for purportedly including critical race theory or indoctrinating students.

A typical example: “There is no reason to make students feel guilty,” one speaker said. “We should teach the good things about this country.”

Another: “If you want to continue to talk about slavery, [you should] go to China now…”

Now it’s unclear what will happen to the draft, which is set to be taken up by the state board of education in March.

“I went to law school; I learned critical race theory in law school; I have a Ph.D. This is not something we use in K-12,” said Belinda Cambre, a social studies instructor at a lab school located at Louisiana State University who contributed to the draft. “Really the whole issue saddened me more than anything else, that it could be so weaponized to turn people against talk of diversity.”

The criticism took its toll. Even before the Louisiana department opened up an online public-comment portal, the writers had made significant changes in response to the bruising June feedback.

By August, they had removed the word “equitable” from one kindergarten standard. (That word, along with “equity,” is considered shorthand by some critics for critical race theory.)

Some revisions reframed a standard in a more optimistic way: One in the high school civics course originally called for students to “examine issues of inequity in the United States with respect to traditionally marginalized groups.” In its rewritten form, it calls on them to “analyze the progression and expansion of civil rights, liberties, social and economic equality, and opportunities for groups experiencing discrimination.”

By far, the most substantive revision to the draft was the deletion of one of the overarching skills for students—meant to be embedded across the grade levels and courses—called “taking informed action.”

This thread aimed to get students to take civic action to address classroom, school, and community problems—they might, for example, brainstorm ways to reduce waste or prevent bullying at school. Now, the entire practice has been removed—an irony, given the robust civic participation by those Louisianans who showed up to critique the draft at the June meeting….

Louisiana’s board-appointed State Superintendent Cade Brumley, a former social studies teacher, wrote in a July op-ed that the standards should strike a balance between critique and patriotism, but should not include critical race theory, which he defined as “suggest[ing] America was intentionally founded on racism, oppression, supremacy.” By October, he said that he could not recommend the draft as written.

Paul Waldman is an opinion columnist for The Washington Post. In this article, he criticizes Democrats for failing to stand up to Republican slanders and lies about public schools. He raises an important point: Why aren’t Democrats fighting Republican lies about the schools? Why aren’t the billionaires who claim to be liberal speaking out against this vicious campaign to destroy our public schools? One reason for the silence of the Democrats: Arne Duncan derided and insulted public schools and their teachers as often as Republicans.

Waldman wrote recently:

For the last year or so, Republicans have used the “issue” of education as a cudgel against Democrats, whipping up fear and anger to motivate their voters and seize power at all levels of government.

Isn’t it about time Democrats fought back?
Republicans have moved from hyping the boogeyman of critical race theory to taking practical steps to criminalize honest classroom discussions and ban books, turning their manufactured race and sex panic into profound political and educational change. Meanwhile, Democrats have done almost nothing about it, watching it all with a kind of paralyzed confusion.

Look no further than Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is pushing legislation with the colorful name of the Stop Woke Act. As the Republican governor told Fox News this weekend, we need to allow people to sue schools over their curriculums, not only because of CRT but also because “there’s a lot of other inappropriate content that can be smuggled in by public schools.”

If you liked the Texas bill that effectively banned abortion in the state, you’re in luck. Republicans apparently want to use a version of that bill’s tactic — putting enforcement in the hands of private vigilantes — to make teachers and school administrators live under the same fear as abortion providers.

It’s happening elsewhere, too. A bill in Indiana allows the same kind of lawsuits. And last week, during a hearing on the bill, a GOP state senator got in trouble for saying that “I believe that we’ve gone too far when we take a position” on things like Nazism, because in the classroom, “we need to be impartial.” The state senator, Scott Baldwin, previously attracted attention when it was revealed that he made a contribution to the far-right Oath Keepers (though he claims he has no real connection to the extremist group).

Everywhere you look, Republicans are trying to outdo one another with state laws forcing teachers to parrot far-right propaganda to students. A Republican bill in Oklahoma would ban teachers from saying that “one race is the unique oppressor” or “victim” when teaching the history of slavery in America; its sponsor says that would bring the appropriate “balance” to the subject.

So ask yourself: What are Democrats telling the public about schools? If you vote for Democrats, what are you supposed to be achieving on this issue? If any voters know, it would be a surprise.
We’re seeing another iteration of a common Republican strategy: Wait for some liberal somewhere to voice an idea that will sound too extreme to many voters if presented without context and in the most inflammatory way possible, inflate that idea way beyond its actual importance, claim it constitutes the entirety of the Democratic agenda and play on people’s fears to gin up a backlash.

That was the model on “defund the police.” Now it’s being used on schools, which Republicans have decided is the issue that can generate sufficient rage to bring victory at the polls.
Devoted as they are to facts and rational argumentation, liberals can’t help themselves from responding to Republican attacks first and foremost with refutation, which allows Republicans to set the terms of debate. So their response to the charge that critical race theory is infecting our schools is something like this: “No, no, that has nothing to do with public education. It’s a scholarly theory taught mostly to graduate students.”

But that doesn’t allow for this response: “Republicans want to subject our kids to fascist indoctrination. Why do they want to teach our kids that slavery wasn’t bad? Why are they trying to ban books? Who’s writing their education policy, David Duke? Don’t let them destroy your schools!”


That, of course, would be an unfair exaggeration of what most Republicans actually want. Is a state senator who worries that public school teachers might be biased against Nazism really representative of the whole Republican Party? Let’s try to be reasonable here.

Or maybe being reasonable isn’t the best place to start when you’re being overrun. Maybe Democrats need to begin not with a response to Republican lies about what happens in the classroom, but an attack on what Republicans are trying to do to American education.

After Glenn Youngkin won the Virginia governorship with a campaign largely focused on schools, Republicans everywhere decided that nurturing a CRT-based White backlash is the path to victory. That is their plan, whether Democrats like it or not.

This isn’t just coming from national Republicans. At the state and local level, far-right extremists are taking over education policy, leaving teachers terrified that if they communicate the wrong idea to students — like, apparently, being too critical of Nazis — they might get sued.

The implications of the GOP war on schools and teachers are horrifying, and with some exceptions, Democrats are watching it happen without anything resembling a plan to do anything about it. It might be time for all the party’s clever strategists to give it some thought.