Wednesday Reading List: Making Up Data, Special Ed Successes, and Understanding Code

Matt Barnum of Chalkbeat looks into one of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's claims about the future of education and finds ... well:

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made a remarkable claim: “Children starting kindergarten this year face a prospect of having 65 percent of the jobs they will ultimately fill not yet having been created.” This statistic bolsters DeVos’s view that schools need to radically change to accommodate a rapidly evolving economy. But there’s a problem: that number appears to have no basis in fact.
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It's almost as if DeVos and her boss are willing to willfully dismiss data, facts, and the truth in pursuit of an ideological vision. As I mentioned on Monday, this same looseness with the truth led to the rolling back of data collection on racial disparities in suspensions. It is reckless to build policy on a foundation of made up statistics and lies.

In other news, Sarah Butrymowicz of The Hechinger Report has good news from California:

The high dropout rate for students with disabilities is a pressing national problem ... But in the most recent year for which federal data is available, only 65 percent of students with disabilities graduated within four years. That’s lower than the rate for other groups of students that tend to lag behind the general population, such as English language learners and low-income students ... Covina-Valley has seen its efforts pay off. By 2016, the district had reduced its dropout rate for students in special education to fewer than 5 percent and increased the graduation rate to 85 percent.

As is customary for Hechinger, this article contains rich detail on exactly how Covina-Valley achieved these goals. There is some secret sauce here, but the primary theme of their approach seems to be ruthless specialization and differentiation, aimed at customizing instruction according to various students' needs. You can call that "personalization" or whatever fancy label you prefer, but at the end of the day, what they're describing is great instruction.

Damon Young at VSB identifies the ways that powerful white people to say racial slurs without actually saying them:

A white person in power publicly admonishing uppity blacks is chum to Trump’s base (and by “Trump’s base” I mean “America”) and these tweeting sprees are feeding sessions. The language here matters too—specifically the idea of disrespect and the lack of proper reverence for Trump’s big white benevolence. What he is saying is that these black people need to be grateful for what they have—and what he’s specifically given them—but since they’re very obviously not, they need to be reminded, publicly and vehemently, of their place and position. Basically, let’s not forget—and let’s not allow them to forget—that they’re ni**ers.

Young enumerates the other variations of how this linguistic tic works, including an exegesis of the words "thug," "ungrateful," and even "Chicago." If you don't already know, check it out.

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Finally, today, in anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to trot out an article from last year that is still SHOCKINGLY relevant:

Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!