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    March 17, 2013 by Tunya

    Today freedom has different enemies.

    It must be fought for in different ways.

    It will take very different qualities of mind and heart to save it.

                                                   – John Holt (1923-1985 home education pioneer)


  2. Education Groupthink — Who Needs It ?

    July 24, 2016 by Tunya

    GROUPTHINK In School Reform — Who Needs It?

    Two leading American education analysts — Rick Hess and Robert Pondiscio — have experienced searing experiences around the issues of groupthink.

    Hess, with the American Enterprise Institute, wrote (Jn 15’16) that the Ed Reform community is as loaded today with groupthink as the Teacher Ed Colleges have been for so long. The progressive orthodoxy rules: “Dissenters, whether students or faculty, were dismissed as troublemakers.” Outside the faculties, Ed Reformers critical of the dominant reform movements have no place to “look for refuge”.

    Hess, in an earlier article (Jn 1’16) figured that “90% of ‘school reform’ land” is progressive and that their “’by any means necessary’ ethos” is a method that does not square with conservatives. He figures that the general population outside schools is an even 50/50 split between conservatives and progressives.

    Pondiscio, of the Thomas Fordham Institute, wrote (May 25’16) about “The Left's drive to push conservatives out of education reform”. The comments section to the article was suspended because they were “getting unnecessarily acrimonious and threatening. ”

    If critics in the education communities are complaining of being squeezed out in education discussions, where does that leave the “consumers” — general public, students, parents, taxpayers? This goes way beyond “producer capture” and “rent-seekers’ dominion”, doesn’t it? That’s one good reason that “uber” ideas are taking hold — education savings accounts, charter schools, online learning, home education, etc. Anything to avoid the nastiness!

    [published in Filling The Pail ]

  3. Education — parent choice or totalitarian coercion?

    July 23, 2016 by Tunya

    Should Parents Be Able To Choose Their Children’s Schools ?

    In traditional school format let’s look at these two items and COMPARE AND CONTRAST, then express your OPINION in 250 words or less:

    √ #1 Donald Trump Jr speech to Republican National Convention 22 July 2016

    “The other party gave us public schools that far too often fail our students, especially those who have no options. Growing up, my siblings and I we were truly fortunate to have choices and options that others don’t have. We want all Americans to have those same opportunities.

    Our schools used to be an elevator to the middle class, now they’re stalled on the ground floor. They’re like Soviet-era department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers, for the teachers and the administrators and not the students.

    You know why other countries do better on K through 12? They let parents choose where to send their own children to school. That’s called competition. It’s called the free market. And it’s what the other party fears. They fear it because they’re more concerned about protecting the jobs of tenured teachers than serving the students in desperate need of a good education. They want to run everything top-down from Washington. They tell us they’re the experts and they know what’s best.”

    √ #2 Fraser Institute’s Report Card on Alberta’s High Schools 2016, July 23, 2016

    The Report Card on Alberta’s High Schools 2016 rates 307 public, private, separate and charter schools based on five academic indicators generated from grade 12 provincewide testing, grade-to-grade transition and graduation rates. “Alberta parents want the best for their families and having the ability to compare school performance helps them make a more informed decision about the school their children attend,” said Peter Cowley, Fraser Institute director of school performance studies.

    Taking into account the last five years, Alberta’s two charter high schools achieved the highest average rating of 8.3 (out of 10), followed by private schools (8.1), separate schools (6.3) and public schools (6.0). In addition to the rankings, the Report Card illustrates which specific schools are improving or falling behind in academics. The data suggests that every school is capable of improvement . . .

    “When parents see the Report Card’s objective evidence that a school’s results are consistently low or declining, they often become very effective advocates for improvement,” Cowley said. “Every year, every school in the province should find ways to improve student results—it’s as simple as that.”

    [posted to SQE — ]

    Making An Informed Choice On High Schools In Alberta ?

    See the latest Report on ACADEMIC results on AB HSs

    Read the news release

    Read full FI reports on AB, BC, ON Elementary and High Schools, QC HS

    NOTE: FI Reports deal with the ACADEMIC side of schools, generally SKILLS of reading, writing, arithmetic and reasoning — what parents generally expect, and which can be measured by standardized testing. In contrast, educators are seen to be shifting to the AFFECTIVE domain, the COMPETENCIES, (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, character, culture and computer technology) and which are hard to measure (and compare) against understood and acceptable standards. These differences need to be appreciated to see how the issues in education are stacking up regarding accountability, choice, parental vs establishment authority, international comparisons, etc.

    [posted as part of my FB 20160723 on above SQE content and with additional comment.]

  4. Education & Accountability at all levels!

    June 29, 2016 by Tunya

    Tunya Audain says:
    June 29, 2016 at 11:23 pm
    Well, What Are The Avenues to Correct Journalist Errors?

    Jay Greene’s report of the “hatchet job” by the New York Times on Detroit charter schools clearly asserts that it’s “journalistic malpractice”.

    Now it’s Matthew Ladner and George Mitchell who elaborate on the misrepresentation and errors.

    Are there not any steps to challenge this front-page story, which casts such a dark and untruthful picture on Detroit charter schools? Any codes that govern journalistic ethics? Any NYT Editorial Board to review complaints?

    Since this author (Kate Zernike) aims to be educational on this subject, and the subject itself is about education, I would propose that even the Biblical enjoinder against misteaching could be invoked: “Taming the Tongue — Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. James 3:1”

    I am reminded of the UK story where a father took the teaching of Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth”, to court and received a favorable ruling.

    The Judge (2007) did not forbid the showing of the film, but provided legal guidelines for continued showings:
    – It is understood the film is a political work and promotes only one side of the argument
    – If teachers do not make this clear they are in breach of Section 406 of the School Act and guilty of political indoctrination
    – Nine inaccuracies have to be specifically drawn to the attention of students when the film is shown.
    See “Anti-indoctrination guidelines for schools”


    Published in Jay P Greene's blog,

  5. Education Negligence A Consideration

    May 27, 2016 by Tunya

    Restless Parents Are A Sign Of Growing Concern About Education

    It’s not about “underfunding” that parents gathered for recently in Richmond. It was about underperformance of Math, in particular. The presentations outlined the issues — How Discovery Teaching Fails Elementary Math — How Parents Can Ensure A Math Foundation for their Child — Important Topics Removed From HS Math — The Myth of Math Disability.

    There is a growing consciousness amongst some parents (and a few students) that the new curriculum, already rolled out in some areas, is just a further step to “deeper dumbing-down”. The international mantra-speak about this 21st Century Transformative Learning always uses a string of words like “collaboration, communication, critical thinking”. Have you noticed?

    Parents, by law, still need to be informed in quantitative terms whether their children are acquiring the basic skills. Also, they want to know if they have achieved expectations they are capable of. The topic of “educational negligence” is not far from the thoughts of a few hard-nosed parents. They are aware of the growing legal opportunities that may be open to them for remedies. See —


    [to Globe & Mail  Provincial Exams scaled back and Vancouver Sun — Province reduces number of exams required for graduation — ]

  6. “reading wars” continue their damage

    May 25, 2016 by Tunya

    Tunya Audain says:
    May 25, 2016 at 4:29 pm
    Reading Wars Do Immense Damage !

    It is FLABBERGASTING — a) that teacher-training faculties DO NOT teach HOW TO TEACH READING; and b) that discredited reading programs still proliferate.

    I just heard today that there was a recent workshop in “balanced literacy” filling three conference rooms in my province of British Columbia, Canada. We must be some kind of backwoods because this is a program that pretends to use phonics in early years, but only as a last resort. We still have Reading Recovery, which is an expensive remedial program feeding off the “failures” of the “balanced literacy” or “whole-language” approaches. The byword still seems to be that reading is “caught” not “taught”.

    This is so sad because reading is a BASIC SKILL. If not reading by end of Grade Three, students might start acquiring the Matthew Effect and start sliding backwards to failure and poor self-esteem.

    The “sight words” part of these discredited programs (discredited via quantitative research) were actually a successful way to teach DEAF children to read, but then this was generalized for other children who principally use auditory cues to first learn to sound out the alphabet and words, a phonetic approach.

    This is a disaster soon to be played out in developing countries where an Early Grade Reading Assessment program (EGRA) under some UN and other auspices is to be mounted as a serious initiative. Right in their literature they forecast trouble — “The reading ‘wars’ are alive and well in many low-income countries, often miring ministries of education and teaching centers in seemingly endless debates between the ‘whole-language’ and ’phonics-based’ approaches.”

    Heaven help us!. Why should it be LUCK if some kids learn to read properly and systematically while others still do it by “guessing”?

    [comment to Joanne Jacobs blog  — ]