New Columbia-affiliated Nonprofit Tackles Education Journalism

Joining ProPubica, The Texas Tribune, and other pioneers in the brave new world of nonprofit analysis-heavy journalism is the Hechinger Report, a new education-centered site from the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, a part of Columbia University's Teachers College.

Among its first offerings is a Q&A with Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers. The conversation focuses on the perception (and basically accepted fact) that teachers find themselves in the crosshairs of everyone with a stake in education reform.

Weingarten argues on behalf of teachers, as well as her union's practices, with some of her go-to defenses: Race to the Top applications are successful when state officials work with local unions. Charters are not the silver bullet for our education woes—some have proven to be very effective, but most are equivalent to standard public schools (or worse). And, what's missing from all of the reform hoopla is a reasonable system for training and evaluating teachers.

What struck me, however, was that she hit a note that echoed of the Newsweek column I blogged about last week. In it, Sharon Begley reported that poor research on teaching may be submarining teachers by sticking them with curricula that demand they conduct their classes using less effective methods.
Should we be doing more in terms of ensuring that every teacher is effective? Of course; that is what the union is trying to do, but we can’t do it alone. It’s also about what the curriculum looks like. In Finland and Japan, teachers can really work on their lessons and differentiate instruction for all children. We don’t have time for that here, so teachers ask for the tools they know they need, but instead of giving them the tools, [teachers] get vilified. Teachers want the conditions to do their jobs.

I sense that Weingarten has probably been saying a version of this point the entire time. Coupled with the findings reported by Begley, the argument hits a lot harder.

[via Romenesko]

Photo via.

via Barry Schapiro / Twitter

The phrase "stay in your lane" is usually lobbed at celebrities who talk about politics on Twitter by people who disagree with them. People in the sports world will often get a "stick to sports" when they try to have an opinion that lies outside of the field of play.

Keep Reading

The Free the Nipple movement is trying to remove the stigma on women's breasts by making it culturally acceptable and legal for women to go topless in public. But it turns out, Free the Nipple might be fighting on the wrong front and should be focusing on freeing the nipple in a place you'd never expect. Your own home.

A woman in Utah is facing criminal charges for not wearing a shirt in her house, with prosecutors arguing that women's chests are culturally considered lewd.

Keep Reading

In August, the Recording Academy hired their first female CEO, Deborah Dugan. Ten days before the Grammys, Dugan was placed on administrative leave for misconduct allegations after a female employee said Dugan was "abusive" and created a "toxic and intolerable" work environment. However, Dugan says she was actually removed from her position for complaining to human resources about sexual harassment, pay disparities, and conflicts of interest in the award show's nomination process.

Just five days before the Grammys, Dugan filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and her claims are many. Dugan says she was paid less than former CEO Neil Portnow. In 2018, Portnow received criticism for saying women need to "step up" when only two female acts won Grammys. Portnow decided to not renew his contract shortly after. Dugan says she was also asked to hire Portnow as a consultant for $750,000 a year, which she refused to do.

Keep Reading