History is happening this moment. A country is defining itself. Authentic, inspiring patriotism is surging through the Ukrainian people. Whatever happens next, President Volodymyr Zelensky personifies patriotism, honor, courage, dedication. If Ukraine survives as an independent nation, as the U. S. Secretary of State promises, 2022 will ring for decades, probably centuries, as Ukraine’s greatest historical moment.
As Covid enters its Omicron phase, common sense is beginning to creep in. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have cut quarantine time to five days from ten days not because new research has suddenly produced a new magic number but because a ten-day interval is disrupting the country’s transport systems, restaurants, health provider networks, and economy as a whole.
We need new rules for the new omicron variant of COVID-19 to have a happy, normal school year in 2022. The new rules should be much the same as those my mom’s generation followed many years ago. Here are six key ones:
In Janus v. AFSCME, the Supreme Court strikes down agency fees. The unions have said that the case is a corporate attack on teacher interests. Eric Heins, the President of the California Teachers Association, insists that “corporate CEOS, the wealthiest one percent, and politicians who do their bidding” launched the lawsuit. “They want to use the Supreme Court to take away the freedom of working people to join together in strong unions,” he says.
But a majority of the public—and of teachers themselves, don’t see it that way.
D minus. That’s the generous grade to give the Obama Administration—based on student test performances in math and reading over the eight years it held office (2009-2017). Its final grade became apparent just this week when the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the official report card for U. S. schools nationwide, released the 2017 results. Student gains registered over the Obama years were trivial at best, far short of those accomplished during what must now be referred to as the halcyon days of the George W. Bush Administration.
There’s no denying political climate change. The past 18 months have seen an enormous swing in the Washington power balance, a shift that has heightened the polarization that has characterized our public life for more than a decade now. How has this divisive political climate influenced public opinion on education policy and reform? And how much, if at all, has the new president swayed the public’s views?
Of all the 48 continental states, the Grizzly Bear State, as it was originally known, has the hottest, driest valley (Death Valley), the highest hill (Mt. Whitney), the largest living tree (Sequoia), the most people, and the greatest number of domestically raised turkeys living outside the state capital (Sacramento). But when it comes to K-12 education, are the views of Californians any different from those living elsewhere across the United States?
In its 10th annual survey of American public opinion, conducted in May and June of 2016, Education Next finds that the demise of school reform has been greatly exaggerated. Public support remains as high as ever for federally mandated testing, charter schools, tax credits to support private school choice, merit pay for teachers, and teacher tenure reform. However, backing for the Common Core State Standards and school vouchers fell to new lows in 2016.
With Donald Trump set to enter the Oval Office, Vice President-elect Michael Pence seems likely to shape the federal role in education for the next four years. As a former governor who made school reform a top priority, Pence will interpret the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as a barrier to federal oversight of state and local decisions. Testing will continue but how to respond to test results will be left to the states. The lowest-performing schools will be identified but the federal government will be reluctant to instruct states as to the steps that need to be taken to improve them.
Throughout this campaign season, Democrats have feigned confusion about why disaffected Republicans have not embraced Hillary Clinton, given Donald Trump’s character defects. But the K-12 education plank in the Democratic Party platform does a lot to explain the hesitance. The party’s promises seem designed to satisfy teachers unions rather than to appeal to ordinary Democrats, much less opposition moderates.
As the United States entered the 21st century it was trying to come to grips with a serious education crisis. The country lagged behind its international peers, and its half-century effort to erode racial disparities in student achievement had made little headway. Many people expected action from the federal government.
Americans have generally wanted much the same things taught in their public schools. Elementary students should learn three “R’s”—reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic. In high school, it’s time to prepare for college or a career by studying core subjects, such as English, history, algebra, biology, and a foreign language. That basic understanding has not prevented political spats over school spending and school attendance boundaries. But the core operations of schools have usually been left undisturbed.
n 2014 the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice, acting together, sent every school district a letter asking local officials to avoid racial bias when suspending or expelling students.
Will 2013 come to be known as the year of presidential decree? The year the president ignored Congress, changed the rules of government, and put into place whatever policies he saw fit? The year the United States ended what has been called its “obsession” with its Constitution?
This book explores the application of Scalia’s textualism and originalism to education law and reflects upon Scalia’s teachings and his pedagogy. Education law may seem to be an odd vehicle for considering Scalia’s constitutional approach, but thinking about schools requires attention to political fundamentals—freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, federalism, and the proper role of the expert. Legal scholars, philosophers, and political scientists provide both critiques and apologies for Scalia’s approach.