March 26th, 2017

First up this morning, Trevor Timm on Everyone loves Bernie Sanders. Except, it seems, the Democratic party. My takeaway:

In other words, [the DNC elite are] doubling down on the exact same failing strategy that Clinton used in the final months of the campaign. Sanders himself put it this way in his usual blunt style in an interview with New York magazine this week – when asked about whether the Democrats can adapt to the political reality, he said: “There are some people in the Democratic Party who want to maintain the status quo. They would rather go down with the Titanic so long as they have first-class seats.”

Next, Russ Feingold says that If Gorsuch is confirmed, the legitimacy of the US supreme court won’t recover. The problem is not Gorsuch (GOR such) but rather the high-jacking of the confirmation process by Senate Republicans:

Never before has Senate leadership so openly and intentionally played political games with our highest court. Already, the legitimacy of the supreme court has taken a severe blow because of it. But, if Gorsuch is confirmed, it would lock in a dangerous precedent from which the legitimacy of our highest court might never recover.

Senate Democrats, led by Bernie Sanders, will not go down with out a fight.

Third on my list this morning is Russel Berman’s The Republicans Fold on Health Care where this quote nails the problem:

As the prospect of a loss became more real on Friday, the frustrations of GOP lawmakers loyal to the leadership began to boil over. “I’ve been in this job eight years, and I’m wracking my brain to think of one thing our party has done that’s been something positive, that’s been something other than stopping something else from happening,” Representative Tom Rooney of Florida said in an interview. “We need to start having victories as a party. And if we can’t, then it’s hard to justify why we should be back here.”

Turning to one of my top three journalists, Matt Taibbi writing in Trump The Destroyer, I liked:

During the election, Trump exploded every idea we ever had about how politics is supposed to work. The easiest marks in his con-artist conquest of the system were the people who kept trying to measure him according to conventional standards of candidate behavior. You remember the Beltway priests who said no one could ever win the White House by insulting women, the disabled, veterans, Hispanics, “the blacks,” by using a Charlie Chan voice to talk about Asians, etc.

Now he’s in office and we’re again facing the trap of conventional assumptions. Surely Trump wants to rule? It couldn’t be that the presidency is just a puppy Trump never intended to care for, could it?

Mmmm, could be!

Fourth and fifth on my list are two pieces from The Atlantic’s Educational Eden series focusing on the when and what students learn. I start with Fixing America’s Broken School Calendar by Hayley Glatter, Emily DeRuy, and Alia Wong. Continuing to structure school calendars based on a 19th century agricultural schedule is madness. This is what a 21st century school calendar should look like:

Students will be in school year round, with the equivalent of eight weeks of vacation distributed throughout the year—two weeks every season. This will diminish the frequency and extent of summer learning loss, reduce the need to review at the start of the school year for certain subjects, and provide more time and opportunities to go into more depth in the curriculum. Summer will not be a time for parents to worry about what they are doing with their children, especially for elementary- and middle-school students, as it will be no different from the fall, winter, or spring.

Finally, as to the question of what, the trio asked educators to imagine their classroom utopia and recorded the responses in Schools Aren’t Teaching Students What They Need to Know. My best find was this:

Sure, there’s a baseline of what kids should know before graduating. Every student will be able to read and think critically. Every student will understand enough math and science to navigate the world around them. Every student will be exposed to the arts and to strategies that address their well-being, both physically and emotionally.

And of course, while high standards aligned with what kids need to know and do are important, we will ensure that kids are learning to love learning, [Emphasis mine, JH] not merely to recite facts. That requires giving them space to explore, play, and find out about themselves and each other.

What do you think I ought to be reading…?


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