Education Opportunity Network

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9/3/2014 – The Education Conversation ‘Reformers’ Want Versus The One They Get

THIS WEEK: Hating Teachers … Grit Not So Good … Music Lessons Help Disadvantaged Kids … Never-Ending Testing … Fox News Lauds Arming Teachers


The Education Conversation ‘Reformers’ Want Versus The One They Get

By Jeff Bryant

“Recent calls for more “civility” in discussions about education and for taking ‘the politics’ and ‘partisanship’ out of policy debates are suddenly all the rage among the edu-policy crowd gravitating around Washington, D.C. There are reasons why Beltway-inspired education wonks are calling out the tone police – but it’s got very little to do with honesty and ‘facts.’ Instead, read a little more deeply into these calls for taking ‘the politics’ out of the debate, and what you find is itself a rather political agenda.”
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Why Do Americans Love To Blame Teachers?

The Atlantic

In reviewing Dana Goldstein’s new book The Teacher Wars, Noah Berlatsky writes, “Discussions of education in the U.S. have repeatedly been framed in terms of moral panics. A moral panic, she says, occurs when ‘policymakers and the media focus on a single class of people … as emblems of a large, complex social problem’ … That helps to explain the otherwise mystifying path that current school reform has taken … The dream… seems to be that if only our schools could get rid of the career educators and install angels instead, the millennium would arrive … Our education system has many problems, but one of the biggest is that we define those problems in terms of ‘teacher wars’ – and then try to solve them through a war on teachers.”
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‘Grit’ May Not Spur Creative Success, Scholars Say

Education Week

“Studies … have found that a person’s ‘grit’ – a measure of conscientiousness and perseverance – could predict everything from graduation rates at West Point to National Spelling Bee champions. Those findings have sparked intense interest among educators in nurturing student motivation … Two separate analyses … found that neither grit nor two related characteristics of consistency and perseverance predicted a student’s success in various types of creative endeavors, including visual and performing art, writing, scientific ingenuity, or even creativeness in everyday problem-solving … A student’s openness to new experiences was most closely associated with his or her likelihood of accomplishing creative works.”
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Music Lessons Enhance Brain Function in Disadvantaged Kids

Pacific Standard

“New research finds one important aspect of neural functioning is gradually strengthened when underprivileged children engage in a challenging but fun activity: Music lessons … ‘Community music programs can literally remodel children’s brains in a way that improves sound processing, which could lead to better learning and language skills,’ reports lead author Nina Kraus … Researchers found this particular benefit of music education doesn’t kick in until after two full years of training. A few lessons won’t do it … It all adds to the mass of evidence … that music training impacts young brains in ways that go far beyond aesthetic appreciation.”
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In Miami-Dade Schools, Testing Doesn’t End

Miami Herald

In the nation’s 5th largest school district, “Out of the 180-day academic year, Miami-Dade County schools will administer standardized tests on every day but eight. Though not every student will take every test, the number and consequences of testing are facing a growing backlash from parents, teachers and even some district officials … Bound by state and federal rules, Dade officials say they have little control over how many tests they have to give, and when they have to give them … In Florida, standardized test scores can mean the difference between a student’s passing or failing a grade. For teachers, student test results can lead to a raise or a pink slip. Schools can face closure if students consistently under-perform.”
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As Children Go Back To School, Fox News Hosts Push Discredited Plan To Arm Teachers


“The hosts of Fox & Friends roundly endorsed a Texas school district that allows teachers to carry guns, even though security experts reject the idea of armed teachers and civilians with concealed guns have not stopped past mass shooting incidents … There is no evidence that teachers carrying guns will prevent future school shooting incidents … Mass shootings at schools have even occurred where schools have armed guards … Programs that arm teachers are opposed by the National Education Association … School safety expert Bill Bond, who works for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, has also noted that the responsibility of carrying a gun would distract teachers from their prerogative to educate students.”
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Category: EON Newsletters

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