Ferlazzo teaches English and social studies at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento. He has written nine books on education, writes a teacher advice blog for Education Week Teacher and has a popular resource-sharing blog.
By Larry Ferlazzo
Some of these predictions are educated guesses, some pipe dreams, and some I desperately hope don’t come true. Check them out, let me know which ones are off-base, and share your own!
* Betsy DeVos will be fired as U.S. secretary of education. As President Trump’s poll numbers fall even further through the floor as special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation continues to reveal damaging information, he will make a desperate attempts to “stem the bleeding.” Since DeVos is perhaps the least popular member of his Cabinet, she — among others — will be jettisoned.
* Teachers unions will begin to lose members overall as a result of the Janus Supreme Court decision. However, they will begin to add new ones as more and more educators in charter schools across the country begin to recognize that they are not being treated fairly and vote to unionize.
* Public education advocates will renew a push for increased school funding in many parts of the country where they were not successful in the November 2018 election. And in places where teachers are even stronger than before, they will initiate new efforts to gain more resources. Unfortunately, though, the first obvious signs of a new recession will begin to hit in August, and the bad news will short-circuit many of those efforts.
* Who isn’t tired of savior (generally white savior) teacher movies? Well, a different kind of educator will be featured in the upcoming “Wrong Answer” movie, directed by Ryan Coogler, starring Michael B. Jordan and with a script written by Ta-Nehisi Coates . It should finally be filmed and released in 2019 to widespread acclaim — in the education community and beyond. It is based on a 2014 New Yorker article by Rachel Aviv about the Atlanta test-cheating scandal. The movie will spur discussion about the use and misuse of standardized testing for teacher and school accountability.
* With new Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh in place, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule that the Trump administration can end the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, putting hundreds of thousands of students (and teachers) at risk of deportation. That decision will come around the same time as the final report of the Mueller investigation reveals bombshells that put Trump into a political tailspin. In another effort to rescue his presidency, he will quickly cut a deal with Congress to pass a bill reestablishing DACA similar to its present form, plus with a road to citizenship.
* The small numbers of teachers of color is an outrage, and our students are suffering because of it. This will be the year that at least one major foundation and at least one state will put big money behind providing direct economic support to large numbers of aspiring teachers of color and finance the development of longer-term strategies for schools of education and Districts to recruit and support many more. I will go further and predict that those efforts will be so successful that even more funders and more states will replicate those efforts in 2020.
* “Personalized learning” has been the buzzword in education, with funding such as the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative pouring gazillions of dollars into technology as the key tool for making it happen. In 2019, more studies will come out concluding that tech is not the way to go to achieve “personalized learning.” Instead, the pendulum will swing toward personalization through smaller class sizes and additional aides to provide more individualized tutoring.
* Last year, I predicted that hate crimes would increase, and I was unfortunately correct. I’m sorry to say that we need to be prepared for them to increase again in the coming year. Teachers and schools will be stepping up again to support students and their families.
* The National Study of Learning Mindsets, led by the biggest names in Social Emotional Learning research, will have the final version of its initial results released. It will show that small and simple interventions to teach students about a growth mind-set results in small, but significant, gains in academic achievement. These results should put the kibosh on naysayers who question its effectiveness.
* I borrow this last one from educator Bill Ivey every year. He predicts that “each and every school day will bring tens of thousands of reasons to celebrate in schools across the country.” That sure sounds good to me. …