See whether you agree with his assessment. You can find links to his lists from past years at the bottom of this post.
As usual, I don’t presume to say this compilation is all-encompassing, so I hope you’ll take time to share your own choices. I’ll list the ones I think are the best first, followed by the worst. It’s too hard to rank them within those categories, so I’m not listing them in any order.
The Best Education News Of 2018
* The November elections brought lots of good news:
* The teacher strikes that hit across the United States in the first part of the year — and the public support they received — won some concrete improvements for teachers and schools. Beginning in West Virginia and then spreading to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona and other areas, #RedForEd brought attention to the teacher compensation crisis, along with the need for increased overall education funding.
* There have been several important and positive developments in the field of education research.
- A misleading “graph that never dies” is often used by opponents of school funding to supposedly show that, despite evidence, additional education moneys do not help students. At long last, two education journalists published accessible explanations about how that graph, and other versions of it, are wrong. You can read Matt Barnum’s article here and Matthew Di Carlo’s here.
- In addition, education researcher C. Kirabo Jackson co-authored a study finding something that all teachers know many critics appear to not understand: reduced school funding results in reduced student academic achievement. One would hope that this fact might dissuade some from ranting about us teachers “needing to do more with less.”
- Kirabo also authored another important study that found “the impact of teachers on behavior is 10 times more predictive of whether they increase students' high school completion than their impacts on test scores.”
* The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation admitted that, after spending $575 million on pushing teacher evaluation efforts, the policies they were pushing didn’t work. The good news isn’t that they wasted their money. Instead, the good news might be that a failure of that magnitude might reduce their level of hubris going forward. Though I’m holding my breath, it would be nice if newer education mega-funders would learn the same lesson a bit sooner.
* School dress codes can be problematic in many ways, including often being sexist and racist. However, thanks to student and community input, and more reflection on the part of educators, there appears to be momentum toward making dress codes more equitable.
* New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has initiated an effort to make the city’s specialized high schools more diverse. A similar effort is going on in our Sacramento school district. We can only hope that these are just tips of the iceberg, and that schools around the country will create initiatives to increase the number of students of color in academically advanced programs/schools.
* Millions of students had great learning experiences in their schools this year.
The Worst Education News Of 2018
* The Trump administration considered another bad idea (one of many). This one was to merge the Education and Labor Departments. It didn’t go anywhere. And speaking of bad ideas, DeVos proposed eliminating the federal office supervising English Language Learners. After all, there are only 5 million ELLs in our nation’s schools — why should there be a federal office looking out for them?
* DeVos did not make millions of students and their families feel safe when she initially said that it was up to individual schools if they wanted to report undocumented students to immigration authorities. She finally admitted that she was wrong, but it’s not as if immigrant families need more reasons to feel insecure. President Trump added fuel to the fire when he proposed ending birthright citizenship. How many of us teachers are going to have our students asking us, “Am I still going to be a citizen?” Of course, he didn’t stop there as he continued demonizing immigrants by attacking the thousands of Central Americans in migrant caravans, including many families, fleeing violence in their countries.
* The K-12 T.M. Landry School in Louisiana — the source for all those viral videos of African American students learning they were accepted at Ivy League schools — was exposed for fraudulent academic records and child abuse. It was just the latest “miracle” school that has had the curtain ripped off it. When will the public, and reporters, learn that when a school sounds too good to be true, it probably is?
* Millions of students should have gotten a better education than they did this year.
You might also be interested in previous editions of this list: