Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Here are some interesting articles and opinions from around the web.

We are alerted to some of these articles via Peter Greene's excellent blog, Curmudgucation. However, this first one is about two of our refugee students and their ongoing successes.

This is a feature from the International Rescue Committee's online journal that will touch your heart. Two brothers, Patrick and George Ngalamulume, former Borah students, are enrolled at the University of Idaho. Patrick is a senior and George a freshman. They both are originally from Zambia, and were in the Borah Bridge program. George was one of our designated AVID program speakers at Rotary, IBE, and other organizations. 

Patrick and George are truly ambassadors for refugees and for opportunities that have been made available to them in America. Patrick wants to be an attorney and George a doctor. Their stories are inspirational.

Among quotes from the brothers:

"To have the doors [shut] on refugees will greatly have a negative impact on the United States," George says. “You’ll miss out on so many opportunities. The next Einstein is not going to be here because America closed the doors. You’d miss out on having me as a doctor and [my brother] as a lawyer.”

The Red Queen, by Jennifer Berkshire (Edushyster)

Jennifer Berkshire, an education blogger from Massachusetts, writes as Edushyster. She traveled to Michigan to conduct interviews with a number of people affected by Betsy Devos' efforts to undermine public education in the state. Fascinating read.

"...The real goal of the DeVos family is to crush the state’s teachers unions as a means of undermining the Democratic party, weakening Michigan’s democratic structures along the way. And on this front, our likely next Secretary of Education has enjoyed measurable, even dazzling success."

Time to Eliminate 3rd Grade Reading Retention by Rob Miller (View from the Edge)

Miller is a teacher in the state of Oklahoma, one of a number of states that retain third graders who do not read on grade level. There's plenty of research demonstrating the negative effects of retention, but Miller makes an eloquent argument for providing the resources to help these students succeed instead of punishing them with retention. 

Third grade retention was part of the original reading bill in the 2016 legislature, but was removed after significant outcry. The version of the bill that passed the legislature invests in providing resources to improve reading skills.

Inside Sears' Death Spiral..., by Hayley Peterson (Business Insider)

This one is not directly related to education, but anyone thinking that "running schools like a business" is a good idea should read this post, which details the mismanagement and decline of this venerable company.

Peterson writes, "Interviews with dozens of store-level and corporate employees over the past year yielded a common refrain: (Sears CEO) Lampert is out of touch with reality.

"He refuses to put a dime in updating stores," one former vice president said. "You walk in and you are embarrassed as an employee when the ceilings are leaking and the floors are cracked."

"No one believes in Eddie's vision," this person said. "He has just gone rogue."

Business Insider spoke to several store-level employees who said the stores are severely understaffed, with some operating on fewer than half of the employees they need. That has led to widespread complaints among shoppers that they can't find an employee to check them out, so they end up leaving the store empty-handed."