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Friday, March 9, 2018

NPE: Parent's Guide To Online Learning

The Network for Public Education has released a new guide, "Online Learning: What Every Parent Should Know." At twenty pages, it's not exactly a quick skim, but for folks who are trying to sort through the basic issues of the online delivery of education-flavored product, this is a good place to start.

After an introductory overview from NPE head Carol Burris, the guidebook looks quickly at how we arrived here (spoiler alert: both Obama and Trump administrations like online education just fine). Then we break down some other issues.

The Different Flavors

Online learning is now part of several different products being sold to the public, so NPE breaks it down:

Virtual schools aka cyber-schools refer to a set-up in which the student logs on full-time for "school." Course content is delivered on line, often with the student at home. Blended/hybrid learning is when students are in a bricks-and-mortar school, but get a significant amount of their instruction via computer. You'll also hear "competency based" and "personalized" in reference to online schools, emphasizing the mastery of specific skills and adaptive software that supposedly adjusts what it delivers to the student next based on the work that the student just did.

I Can Haz Money

NPE notes that for-profit educational management organizations (EMO) make a squatload of money. Note my own state, where the cyber-schools are paid based on the cost-per-pupil of the sending district and not based on the actual cost of providing virtual school. And it could get even more profitable outfits like blended learning schools are allowed to ignore any and all class size rules.

How Many On Line Students Are There?

We don't know. Next?

How Do Online Students Perform Compared To Their Meat Widget Peers?

Short answer: poorly.

Long answer: Here are a bunch of different studies, each of which has its own special problems (including, and this is me talking, that many of them use test scores as a proxy for student achievement despite the fact that test scores have not been proven to be a useful or accurate proxy).

But the report does break down studies and results as they relate to the different types of online learning listed above.

The results from full-time on line learning are lousy. Nobody thinks cyber-schools actually work, except, apparently, the various legislators who have enjoyed that sweet, sweet lobbying support.

A study of blended personalized [sic] learning seems to show some positive results there, but that study has enough holes in it to swallow a fleet of semis. But NPE looks at that RAND study in some detail.

So Let's Look At Some Specific Blended Learning Models in Action

NPE takes a look at particular businesses. Like our old friend Rocketship Charter Schools, a blended learning model that was going to revolutionize education, except that it pretty much hasn't. Not even a little.

There's also a blended learning model strictly for math called Schools of One (from way back in 2009 in NYC) that, while backed by the usual gang of pseudo-edu-philanthropists, never generated any real positive results except for some good positive PR. It eventually changed its name but, unsurprisingly, rebranding did not result in new awesomeness.

And there's the Summit platform, the Facebook-backed platform that is currently hot and has spread widely. Summit is notable for waving a huge number of red flags regarding the privacy and ownership of student data.

If This Stuff Doesn't Work All That Well, Why Hasn't It Gone Away

Short answer: because money.

Long answer: Many for-profit companies have a big stake in this business, and the money they spend lobbying for favorable rules is a mountainous thing, indeed. They are also well-connected by groups like ALEC, which like the idea of chipping away at public schools. NPE offers a couple of instructive examples, like the way that lobbying and what we used to call bribery opened up Maine and turned it into a playground for the personalized education biz.

What Else Do We Have To Watch Out For?

NPE talks about some other players in the cyber-sandbox of education flavored businesses.

There's I-Ready and the ever-lovin' MAP exams, examples of online tests that are used to shape and direct instruction in public schools. There's credit recovery, which in this context refers to products that let a student log on, do some work (or have somebody do some work) and get credit for courses they failed.

And, in some ways the most creepy, behavior management apps like Class Dojo, which both allow teachers to track student behavior data and also store that data to be shared with heaven-only-knows-who.

Man of these products are piloted and financed by people who are from the world of venture capital and business, and not education. It's also worth remembering that when programs like these are free, that's a red flag. Remember the old on-line adage-- if you aren't paying for the program, then you are the product.

Yeah, What About Privacy Protections, Anyway?

NPE gets into a lot of specifics and detail here, which is useful because parents should understand just how minimal the privacy protections. are. Really minimal.

Also (and I'm not quite sure why NPE slips this point in here), parents should also be aware that just because these are computer programs, that doesn't mean they aren't loaded with bias. Every "personalized" program involves predictive software, and the research suggests that those predictive algorithms are just loaded with bias and prejudice.

How Can A Parent Tell Whether a Particular Program Is Bunk?

NPE spends a page and a half on this, and while the rest of the report suggests elements for parents to consider, they crystalize some of that advice here.

First, cyber-schools are bunk. Don't put your child in one.

Consider class size and teacher-student ration. Consider how much time your child will interact with a real, live human teacher. How much time will you have to spend as a parent monitoring and supporting your child. What is the program's track record-- how many students are passed or retained. How freaking boring is it (you van collect this info from your child). How much screen time will be involved (because more screen time is not a good thing). What is the program's purpose, and can the vendors provide any evidence that it actually works (studies that the company performed themselves don't really count here). Can you talk to schools that already use the product.

There's more, but you get the idea.

And That Brings Us To The End of the Report

If you are reading this blog, you probably know much of what is included in the report, but if you know a parent who's trying to sort this all out, this report can be an excellent resource to pass along. It's well-sourced with plenty of links and references, and it lays things out pretty clearly, with both a big-picture look at the issues and some very specific ideas for parents who are starting to navigate this world.

Parents need to understand that slick glossy ad copy coupled with high-powered hype does not equal quality educational material. This report is a good primer for cutting past the shiny fog.

Save the link and pass it along to someone who needs to see just what the problems with online learning are.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The DeVosian Dilemma

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has a problem.

Okay, she has several problems, but one problem exists at the intersection of all her larger problems in the office.

Earlier this week, DeVos wagged her federal finger at the Council of Chief State School Officers. She wanted to deliver some "tough love" to the states, scolding them for producing new ambition-free  education plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that were "more focused on compliance than innovation."

Just because a plan complies with the law doesn’t mean it does what’s best for students. Whatever the reasons, I see too many plans that only meet the bare minimum required by the law. Sure, they may pass muster around conference tables in Washington, but the bare minimum won’t pass muster around kitchen tables.

Yes, I'm holding a big box of nothing, right here
There's more of this in her speech (after searching for her official voice at the start of her tenure, DeVos seems to be settling into a sort of folksy Midwestern-ness that masks her ignorance of public education and her billionaire pedigree with homespun grandma style). She wants the states to stop just doing the bare minimum and start showing the initiative to "innovate and improve."

Who told the states they could get away with doing just the bare minimum going-through-the-motions compliance? Well, that's part of her problem-- Betsy DeVos told them that.

On numerous occasions, DeVos has made it clear that she thinks that DC should keep their nose out of this. It's not her job as United States Secretary of Education to tell states how best to obey the laws that are enforced by the United States Department of Education.

This is extra problematic because the law is, at many points, exceptionally unclear. Lawmakers peppered it with words like "ambitious" and "challenging" and left the Department to figure out what they actually mean. Only DeVos is of the opinion that the Department has no business telling anybody what anything means. And at the same time, Betsy DeVos has a pretty good idea what those words should mean.

We've seen her use this approach in other places. Going all the way back to her confirmation hearing, we can see that, on the one hand, she thinks certain sorts of discrimination shouldn't happen, but on the other hand, she can't imagine a situation where she would use the power of the Department to tell a school to stop practicing any of those sorts of discrimination.

This oversight issue has been the issue that folks, particularly conservative folks, have been watching all along. Once DeVos got her hands on the wheels of power, would she use them? The answer seems to be no, she won't. She'll just make a frowny face if she doesn't like what's happening.

This dilemma plays into several of her key weaknesses as an education secretary.

First, as a lifelong Very Rich Person, one who has never held a job outside of the family business, DeVos has little knowledge of how things get done outside her rich person bubble. Inside the bubble, a frowny face is probably more than enough to get the wheels turning and people hopping. She's never had to play the game by anything but DeVos rules.  But outside the bubble, there are plenty of people who don't care if she's frowning because they didn't go her idea of an extra mile.

Second, she lacks both the experience and the heft to wield the bully pulpit. Yes, she has worked as an activist and lobbyist-- but always with a checkbook and political connections in hand. When a legislator in Michigan wouldn't choose to do the right thing, the DeVos way was to threaten him with a primary challenge that would end his career. She has no such leverage against the governors. If she wants to speak on matters of public education policy, she speaks with no more expertise than any random person pulled off the street. Imagine someone who has worked for decades in education saying, "Well, if DeVos thinks that's a good idea, maybe there's something to it."

The bully pulpit does not automatically bestow attention, wisdom, and heft on whoever steps up to it. If you want people to pay heed, you have to bring something with you, and DeVos does not.

Third, she has no reserve of trust to build on. Her experience with public education is in trying to dismantle it, and that doesn't exactly inspire trust. One of her few clear policy directions is favor the interests of businesses (like loan companies and for-profit colleges) over the interests of students. She has a long history of calling public education names (like dead end). And she would really like to see public money financing private schools. None of that inspires trust.

Fourth, DeVos is lousy at articulating her vision for schools. She just made a trip to Parkland and the school that was the scene of the terrible murder of seventeen students and teachers; afterwards, she held a press conference at which she sort-of-answered-ish five questions, and then zipped off without even saying goodbye. Or look at her recent stock photo tweet in which she tried to make the point that public schools haven't changed in 100 years, but instead made the point that she doesn't know what the inside of a modern classroom looks like. If she has a strong vision of what she wants US education to look like, she either can't or won't articulate it either in broad strokes or sharp details.

At times it looks as if DeVos really wants to be a leader, but after a lifetime of being followed and obeyed, she doesn't seem to know how to lead in a situation where her wealth and connections don't do her any good. She's been given the actual power attached to the USED-- but she doesn't believe in using it. She won't use the levers she has, and she doesn't have access to the levers she has preferred to use in the past.

Just as her boss has destroyed US "soft power," the power to persuade and cajole without resorting to threats and sabre rattling and big martial parades, DeVos has acquired no "soft power" to operate in her office. She's got formal power that she doesn't want to use, and a bully pulpit that she's incapable of using. She's stuck between the power she doesn't want, and the power she doesn't have.

What could DeVos do to move forward?

Well, she could go ahead and flex her federal muscles and make states bring her ESSA plans that she actually likes. She could find ways to leverage the power of her office to get states to do what she wants them to do. But she doesn't seem to want that, and honestly, I don't want her to do it-- other than to protect the rights of people who don't have protection of their rights and interests on any other level.

Barring that, DeVos could attempt to build soft power. She could make an honest effort to get out into public schools-- lots of public schools-- and get a look at what is actually going on. And she could pair that "eyes and ears" tour with a moratorium on saying stupid things that broadcast how little she knows about public education in 2018. She could hire some top people to help her run the department instead of hiring corporate reformsters whose main interest is to loot and grab. She could articulate-- no, honestly, I don't know how she fixes this, unless it turns out she's not after the policies she has indicated she's after. Her goals, as nearly as they can be deduced, are complete anathema to a robust public education system. She really has no business being Secretary of Education-- and I say that not because I think she's a terrible awful person, but because when you're in charge of an enterprise which has goals and values diametrically opposed to your own, it's not good for anybody. Certainly not education, the country, the taxpayers, and probably not even DeVos herself.

There she sits in DC, unable (and unwilling) to use the department to effectively pursue her own policy goals, and unwilling (and unable) to use the department to support public education in this country. The DeVosian dilemma is that everybody loses, and public education in America loses extra hard. Of course, since this comes on the heels of the King Katastrophe, the Duncan Disaster and a string running all the way back to the Paige Pee-down-his-Pants-leg, we may need to take a hard look at the Department of Education. But that's a conversation for another day. In the meantime, we'll just have to watch DeVos struggle between the lever and the pulpit, like a fish flopping sadly on the dry beach of a frozen Great Lake.

Bad Administrators in Toxic Times

A good manager in any enterprise is one who makes it possible for her people to do their best possible work. Her job is to make sure they have the resources, the encouragement, the support and the space to do their best work.

But in toxic times like ours, administrators take on another responsibility-- to run interference and keep the institution focused.

For today's analogy, let's say that teachers are surgeons in a hospital, and principals and superintendents are the chiefs of surgery.

So what happens if the Powers That Be send down an edict-- surgery must now be performed with rusty shovels instead of clean scalpels?

Appendectomy, pleasde
A good manager will fight back. She might advocate, loud and strong, for the proper use of the proper tools in surgery. She might stand up for her people And if her advocacy is unsuccessful, she may move on to guerrilla warfare. In the operating room, she might instruct the surgeons to keep on using the tools and techniques that they know work best, while she grabs a shovel and prances around in front of them so that the Powers That Be will think their directive is being followed.

Bad managers come in many types.

There are the Kool-Aid drinkers, the ones who proclaim loudly, "This shovel-based surgery will be the best ever. It works great! It saves patients! Anyone who says otherwise is not a team player, and we need to weed those people out."

There are the rose-colored hopers. "We'll go ahead and use the shovels for surgery, and if we just do our best, things will probably work out, somehow."

But perhaps the most reprehensible bad leadership comes from those who recognize what's wrong, but shrug and refuse to stand up against it.

Doctor: You know that if we operate with rusty shovels, that will be bad for the patient. right? You know this is bad and wrong, don't you?

Boss: Yes, but it's what the Powers That Be say we have to do.

Doctor: The scalpels are still sitting right there. I know how to use them. Just let me use them.

Boss: The Powers That Be have been really clear about what they expect.

Doctor: But we're being set up to fail. We'll use the rusty shovels and patients will get sick and die and the Powers That Be will use it as an excuse to shut us down, or to open more charter surgical centers across the street.

Boss: Yes, I think you're right.

Doctor: We know that what they want us to do is wrong. We know how to do the right thing, and we even have the tools to do the right thing. So let's just do the right thing before we do more irreparable damage to our patients. Shovel surgery is bad for them. Bad! We have to stop.

Boss: Oh, I know, I know. But the Powers That Be have laid out the rules, so we're just going to have to follow them.

This is a terrible form of leadership. It replaces the values and purpose of the institution with a subservience and compliance that is damaging to the institution and to the people the institution is meant to serve. And it sends a clear message to staff-- when times get tough, and you're worried about choosing between your professional ethics and your professional future, we will not help you make the right choice, and if you do make the right choice, we will not have your back.

This is one of the long-term side effects of modern reform. Test-centered education, soaked in Vam sauce and steeped in Common Core, is education's rusty shovel; it has created a toxic environment in which teachers find their ethics tested and their morale eroded. Modern reform has changed the requirements for being a good school administrator, and many are not fully prepared to meet the challenge.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

CBE vs. Traditional Straw Man School

The folks at KnowledgeWorks are committed personalizing education in a competency-based kind of way, and by "personalizing" I mean "getting rid of teachers so students can be instructed by highly lucrative software programs." A while back they created a lovely graphic that really captures how much better their imaginary version of Competency-Based Learning (aka Competency-Based Education, aka Personalized Learning, aka Outcome-Based Education) than an imaginary version of public education.

This is the sales pitch that these folks are using to stump for the destruction of traditional schools. Let's break it down.

School Culture

In traditional education, they say, learning happens inside a classroom with "little or no accommodation of student interests or learning styles." I don't know-- maybe the comparison is meant to show that CBL in the present would be better than taking a time machine back to a public school classroom in 1935. Because I went to teacher school in the late seventies, and by then the idea of trying to accommodate each individual student in your classroom was already conventional wisdom.

But in CBL students have "a wide range of learning experiences at school, online or in the community." This triumvirate is important, because it allows just about anyone to get in on the education tax dollar money grab, and it renders traditional schools irrelevant. Just go learn from your neighbor, or a software bundle, or a charter school, or a mini-charter (that only teaches one subject) or a church school, or just home school. "Diverse partners" are the key, allowing students to get education from anywhere-- you don't need any special qualifications to edumacate the children.

Learning Continuum

At a public school, "students are expected to master grade level college and career ready standards." But CBL wants them to "master competencies" connected to the standards with "clear, transferable learning objectives." So that's... it's.... I don't know. Students are expected to do something rather than know something. I'll confess-- when you add the checklist education minimalism of CBE to the amateur-hour bad standards of Common Core--er, college and career readiness, you get a kind of nothing soup.

Learning Pace

"Students advance at educator's pace regardless of mastery or needing additional time." Yup. When I set a pace in my classroom, I set it strictly based on my own preferences, and not based on professional expertise and experience from decades of working at my craft. But CBL students "advance upon mastery of learning targets" and not because of some time requirement. Plus they get customized support both in school and out of school "to ensure they stay on track."

Wait a minute. If they meet the learning targets at their own pace in their own way, then what is this "track" we are ensuring they stay on. I thought the whole point was that there is no track? Either some professional educator is setting a pace and set of targets, or the student is just going as she will. Or, I suppose, the targets and pace could be set by amateurs based on whatever they feel like.


In public schools, "every classroom has one teacher who designs and delivers instructional program with very little differentiation." But in CBL, "educators" work "collaboratively with community partners and students to develop flexible learning environments, grouping strategies, and extended opportunities to support a unique learning plan for every student."

This is the heart of the CBL pitch-- traditional public schools are run by those professional educators with their fancy "training" and "experience" and they're just so uptight and think they know it all, but if we put some amateur education entrepreneurs together with these students' future employers and just did whatever we thought was cool, school would be awesome. Also, we will replace the "wheel" with a fancy round disc that turns on an axle and helps wagons roll.

The notion that teachers don't differentiate is laughable, and the offhand dismissal of the idea that instructional programs should be designed and delivered by trained professionals is silly. As is the idea that flexible learning environments, grouping, and extra support are cool new ideas that these folks just thought up.

But part of the underlying philosophy is that schools are not turning out properly trained worker bees, and if we would just cooperate with the future employers of these drones, we could come up with a system more carefully focused on vocational training (of course, children of the upper classes will never, ever be subjected to CBE-style education).

Assessment System

Public schools offer assessments "at set times to evaluate and classify students." Well, yes. "One opportunity to take the summative assessment at the end of the year." Well, no. Sort of, in some states.

But CBL offers a "comprehensive assessment system" in which "formative assessments guide daily instruction" and whenever the students wants to, they can take a summative assessment as many times as they want, to show mastery. So, all testing, all the time.

Grading Policies

According to KnowledgeWorks, in traditional public schools, "grades are norm-referenced, reflect course standards, are typically based on weighted quarters and final exam." I don't know whether KnowledgeWorks is ignorant of what happens in a public school, or if they are just making shit up in order to make public schools look bad. I do know that it's incorrect to say that public schools use norm-referenced grades (which would mean that we're all grading on the curve, a practice that went out of educational fashion around 1978). Nor is the use of a final exam universal by any stretch of the imagination.

In CBL "scores reflect the level of mastery within a learning target," which is extraordinarily unlikely. That's because CBL mastery style learning requires students to check off "mastery" of a skill on the big list, and mastery is mastery. One of the problems with a CBE system is that it's basically binary-- you either "passed" the mastery assessment or you didn't, and if the student has done well enough to meet the minimum mastery requirement, there's no real reason for that student to press on to achieve a higher level of mastery. It's pass-fail. Once you've passed, what reason is there to try to pass harder? (That lack of differentiation of achievement is in fact one of the complaints about the CBL system being rolled out in Maine.)

"Course credit is earned when students master identified learning targets." The goal, in other words, is not to see just how excellent you can become, but how quickly you can score a Good Enough To Get By on the assessment. In Maine, students are "graded" on a scale of 1-4. This does not exactly lend itself to a nuanced picture of student achievement.

This is the CBL/CBE/PBL pitch. It depends on a studied vagueness about how it works (because "students sit a computers and take standardized tests and testlets and quizzes every day" doesn't really sing) as well as a careful misrepresentation of what happens in public school. This is not how we make education better.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

We don't have to do this, you know

Whether it's policy makers crafting the latest education policy to govern, regulate or otherwise keep teachers in line, or whether it's a school board negotiating a contract, or even a charter operator unilaterally setting the terms of employment for their teaching staff, you sometimes get the feeling that those folks believe that teachers must be teachers.

It's like they think they're a video game boss, standing on a narrow digital bridge over a lake of digital lava, and teachers are the hero game player who have no choice but to cross that bridge to get to the final goal. They park themselves on that bridge, secure in the knowledge that we absolutely must go through them, that some teacher gene decreed at birth that we would have to enroll in a college education program, that we would have to pursue a teaching job, that we would have to stay in that job until retirement, or maybe death, no matter what obstacles they put in our way.

This is confused thinking.

We do not have to do this, you know.

Students attending college can choose from a wide variety of majors, including very many that are not related to teaching.

Grown adults with college degrees can pursue a wide variety of jobs, including jobs that are not teaching.

Not every profession suffers from this problem. Lawyers, business executives, CEOs, athletes-- all benefit from a system in which the People in Charge routinely say, "We'd better make sure he's happy, or else he'll just walk away. Quick-- let's throw piles of money and benefits at him so he'll stay."

But teachers (and nurses and some other choice professions) suffer from the managerial assumption that they will never walk away, that they don't have any other options to consider, that we can squeeze them and squeeze them and squeeze them and it just won't matter.

This is foolish thinking.

We do not have to do this.

I once joined a former student while she was dining out with friends in North Carolina. There were eight people at the table, and I believe five of them were people who had started out as teachers and left the profession. People leave teaching all the time. Young people choose professions other than teaching all the time.

We do not have a teacher shortage. We have a shortage of states and districts willing to make the job attractive enough to recruit and retain teachers.

Teachers do not always help their own case. When we talk about teaching being a "calling" or "all we ever wanted to do" or "what we were born to do," we may be telling the truth, but we are also like the person walking onto a used car lot and introducing ourselves by saying, "Hi there! I'm shopping for a car and I'm going to pay fifty grand for it."

Of course, there are some people in power who kind of understand that people have other choices, that teachers don't have to teach. There are people in power who know all that, and they just don't care. Their disrespect for the work is so great that they believe teachers are as easily replaced as fast food fry cooks, and like fast food fry cooks, teachers don't really have other options. And, of course, teachers are mostly women, anyway, so it's not like they deserve to be paid a professional family-supporting wage.

But no. We do not have to do this. We could be doing something else.

If people designing education policy and negotiating contracts could just absorb that idea. Imagine what policy would look like, what teaching contracts would look like, if our policy movers and shakers were sitting in their office thinking, "We need to really make an effort to make these jobs attractive, because these folks we want to become teachers could choose to do something else, and then we'd lose them, and that would suck. So let's concentrate on keeping recruiting and retaining them."

But no. In places like West Virginia and Oklahoma and too many other places we get, "Well, I'm sure we'll get this whole pay thing fixed in a few years or so. In the meanwhile, we're sure you're not going anywhere, and if we never do pay you a living wage, well, that won't affect your career choices, right?" Well, not just that. We also get this kind of crap:

Because teachers really shouldn't be paid at all. They should just do their jobs just because.

No. We don't have to do this.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Some Tech Reformsters Don't Even Try

You know that a pop music trend is played out when the material starts to sound like a parody of itself. For example, when Eve 6 filled "Inside Out" with lines like "Want to put my tender heart in a blender, watch it spin around to a beautiful oblivion," it became clear that a certain brand of uber-sensitive thrashy pop had played itself out.

I felt the same way reading the New York Times profile of one more tech executive who thinks she knows how to create a new education revolution.

"Why This Tech Executive Says Her Plan to Disrupt Education Is Different," is a well-framed title, as if even the reform-friendly times knows this woman is blowing some serious recycled smoke.

Yes, all the feelings.
Susan Wu, the NYT notes, has been called "one of the most influential women in technology." The NYT does not note that Wu earned that title in 2010 for launching Ohai, a social MMO gaming biz that Wu said would be making money selling "virtual goods" (aka "things that only exist on line and not in the real world"). Wu, a former professional Quake 2 gamer, actually launched the company in 2008. In 2009 Ohai was "the next big thing." By 2011, they were "also-rans," Wu was no longer the CEO, and the company was up for sale. Since then, she's been entrepreneuring about Silicon Valley on things like Stripe, the tech company that lets folks accept payment over the internet.

All of which clearly qualifies her to disrupt education.

She's picked Australia as her launch point, perhaps because one would have to travel to another continent to make any of her rhetoric about the venture sound fresh.

Ms. Wu and her team believe they are starting an education revolution. They say they have created a new model for teaching children, called Luminaria, that promises to prepare them to become the architects of — rather than mere participants in — a future world.

If you are playing Ed Reform Bingo, you'll want to dig out your card, because Wu has mastered every single reform cliché out there.

At the school ("Lumineer"), "there is no homework. There are no classrooms, uniforms or traditional grades," but there are “creator spaces,” “blue-sky thinking” sessions and “pitch decks.” The school is  "furnished like a start-up with whiteboards and beanbag chairs" and of course, this "revolutionary" is needed because "Our current school models were built 100-plus years ago." The school's classrooms have been "rebranded" “studios.” Instead of desks there are "couches, beanbag chairs and tables to stand at while working." They have STEM. They work on emotional intelligence. They are founded on "first principles" a concept borrowed from physics "in which ideas are reduced to their purest form, unencumbered by assumptions, analogies, or biases." Because that's a thing you can do in education when dealing with tiny humans. And teachers will be lured to Lumineer "with a promise of freedom from strict curriculums."

And if you visit the school site, the hits just keep coming. Lifelong learners. Growth mindset. Critical thought. Holistic synthesis. Authentic.

I'll give NYT writer Adam Baidawi bonus points for this simile:

Critics, however, see Lumineer Academy as another in a series of attempts by Silicon Valley to apply the same techniques used to churn out successful apps to instead turn out successful children.

Baidawi also notes that, well, tech entrepreneurs starting revolutionary private schools is not exactly a new thing (though having one of these projects turn out to be a big success would be). He particularly notes the failure to meet expectations of AltSchool, the Zuckerberg backed Silicon Valley wunderskool (though I think we might characterize that as a pivot to a more lucrative business model). But Wu says she's different, because of her model and location and team.

Wu does have some partners with education background. Sophie Fenton is an Australian-- well, she taught at some point, but a lot of her career seems tied up in the bureaucratic side of things. Amanda Tawhai has worked as a teacher at the Australia Department for Education.

But mostly this just seems like the same old, same old. Baidawi gets bonus points for getting a quote from Audrey Watters (Hack Education), who nicely sums up perhaps the only unique feature of Luminaria:

I was kind of impressed with the number of clichés and buzzwords that they packed into a short amount of marketing copy. In the case of Luminaria, they have everything, they have all the buzzwords: social and emotional learning, mind-sets, grit, S.T.E.M., mindfulness, authentic learning, global consciousness. I mean, pick two of those.

The Australian system is a bit different from ours, so I suppose we'll see how Wu's project manages to fit in and/or disrupt things. But despite the repeated insistence that they're shaking things up with bold new revolutionary ideas, it's getting harder not to think that these tech entrepreneurs are all reading from the same dog-eared handbook for revolutionary education amateurs. I look forward to the announcement about the next Tender Heart in a Blender Academy.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

ICYMI: Technical Difficulties Edition (3/4)

Technology is great, except when it isn't. All I can say is, the next time I need to replace or upgrade equipment, I think I may finally be ready to convert to a Mac.

Meanwhile, here's some reading for the week.

Palantir Predictive Policing Tool

If you want to take a look at how frighteningly Big Brothery data mining can become, take a look at this predictive system for high-tech profiling and pre-policing (a la Minority Report) that is already here.

Why Hardening Schools Hasn't Stopped School Shootings

Some folks keep talking as if school security still looks like 1965, when in fact, schools have ben "hardening" since Columbine. Here's a look at why it hasn't helped.

Proficiency-Based Education Is Failing Maine Students

Not from an education blogger, but from a mainstream outlet. Maine has ben set up to be an experimental proof of concept for PBE (or CBE or whatever you want to call it this week). It's not working.

Six Things My Students Have Taught Me

It's a good list.

New Report on California Charter Waste

Jan Ressenger with a quick look at a new report on just how bad the charter picture is in California.

WV Teacher Strike

This story just keeps going, as the state legislature decided they would go ahead and trim the deal that the governor made. Keep watching this state.

What's Behind the NY End Run around Teacher Certification?

A deeper look at SUNY's attempt to lower standards for charter teachers.


News archive

  Monday 07 April 2014  

  • Wages are growing at the fastest rate for nearly seven years for workers taking on new jobs
  • 'Wonder woman' Diggins swaps the jersey for the dress despite being told female basketball players 'weren't marketable'
  • Even Diana's designer can't stop Kate's skirt blowing up: Duchess flashes thigh as she's caught out by gust of wind on arrival in New Zealand
  • An underage lover, a crazy ex - but it was flirting with Stalin that really ruined Chaplin: Star accused of being a communist after saying 'purges' were 'wonderful' while he was harassed by former partner
  • Could an energy shield protect cities from earthquakes? French experiment proves energy could be diverted away
  • Glowing Kristin Cavallari shows off baby bump in short blue dress as she prepares to welcome her second son next month
  • Putting vanity aside! Barefaced Jennifer Aniston displays deep scars on her face as she films Cake with Sam Worthington and Anna Kendrick
  • QUENTIN LETTS: Mr Mann's point was as welcome as a sneeze in a space helmet...
  • Britain's definitely Got Talent! Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden up the glamour in new promotional shots for official launch of returning talent show
  • Canadian convicted of murder seen through webcam
  • 'Promising lead' emerges in hunt for Flight 370
  • Executed man WAS guilty insists Texas as state denies pardon for father put to death for burning three kids to death in fire
  • Biker chic: Ricki-Lee Coulter attends Bec and Bridge at Fashion Week in edgy monochrome ensemble
  • Jennifer Hawkins skips the fashion circuit and posts a blissful intimate snap of her curled up in hotel bed
  • Is this the story that proves blood IS thicker than water? Her adoring adoptive parents gave her an idyllic childhood. Yet Kayleigh's rejected them for the mother who's found her on Facebook
  • Mrs Miller hardly ever visited 'main home': Ex aide insists minister misled MPs over £90,000 expense claim
  • Carissa Walford keeps up with the fashion pack in belly-baring ensemble
  • Taarabt stunner shows QPR and Fulham what they're missing as Milan make it three wins on the trot
  • Pensions pose latest challenge for Chicago mayor
  • Arkansas AG asks court to reconsider drug ruling
  • Always putting it off? Blame mum and dad! Scientists say procrastination is in the genes
  • At 89, London Marathon's oldest competitor vows to carry on running for another two years so he can compete with his grandson
  • 'Mountain Man' pleads guilty to federal charges
  • Police probe Smart car vandalism in San Francisco
  • Eye of the tiger! Coleen Rooney dons fierce animal-print jacket and skinny leather trousers as she heads to Justin Timberlake concert
  • Kylie Jenner bundles up in sweater and flowing coat despite balmy weather as she steps out with a friend
  • MATCH REPORT: Unlucky Dortmund out despite Reus double as Madrid squeeze through to last four
  • Lost Hancock's Half Hour episodes to be created: New cast to re-record material from scripts to mark 60th anniversary of show's first transmission
  • How wild child turned earth mother Peaches never got over losing Paula at 11
  • Alaska to sue for road through wildlife refuge
  • 'The girl of my dreams!' Men At Work star David Krumholtz shares first snap of his newborn daughter Pemma Mae
  • Sweet reprieve! New mother Holly Candy lets her hair down for a night off baby duty as she joins Strictly alumni at gala night
  • EXCLUSIVE - A tearful last message of love to the wife 'he was kept from' and a vicious family war over his cash: The wretched last days of screen legend Mickey Rooney who died 'choking on his food'
  • The animated maps that reveal in 60 seconds how cities have exploded in size over the last 130 years
  • Vanessa Hudgens 'being paid $15K by McDonald's to attend Coachella Music Festival'
  • Part-time actor found guilty of rape and murder of Chinese student as her boyfriend watched in horror on SKYPE from Beijing
  • Chelsea 2-0 PSG (3-3 agg) match report - Ba's late winner sends Blues to semi-finals
  • La. Senate refuses to protect 'chicken boxing'
  • Venezuelan TV journalist kidnapped by armed men
  • Parents rally around high school wrestling coach placed on leave for fighting with student after trying to 'confiscate pot' in scuffle captured on video
  • Police union in crisis as top two bosses quit after Mail reveals lavish spending and 'guerrilla' war on ministers
  • Probe launched after Sheffield Half Marathon cancelled minutes before start... because there's no water!
  • Just half of seven-year-olds get regular exercise: Lack of activity in childhood could be responsible for one in five premature deaths
  • Fulham 3-2 Reading (agg 5-4): Dembele hat-trick sends Cottagers into first FA Youth Cup final
  • Eriksen tricks Adebayor by untying his laces during celebration... but Sherwood's Spurs avoid slip up in 5-1 win
  • Barcelona will sign players this summer despite transfer ban, claims vice president Arroyo
  • Trouble in paradise: Alex Mytton forced to address infidelity rumours with Binky Felstead as Made In Chelsea returns with a bang
  • Academy staff at school that posted some of the worst GCSE results in England in 2012 lost £1m in simple email scam when they replied with full account details
  • Emma Roberts displays her slender frame in high-waisted jeans during luxury shopping spree in Beverly Hills
  • Defense rests case in Texas shoe stabbing trial
  • Tony Abbott's daughters dress like twinsies to show their support for favourite designer
  • Woman athlete suffers head injuries after 'hackers took control of drone filming race and made it crash'
  • Mamma Mia: ABBA mark 40 years since breakthrough
  • Selena Gomez stalker is charged with felony after he is arrested twice in one week at star's home
  • She's lovin' it! The shocking moment a crazed topless woman DESTROYS a McDonald's before pausing to enjoy an ice cream cone
  • Slow start for NY town using birth control on deer
  • 'It gives you chills to see patriotism like this': Military kids spontaneously stand and break out into National Anthem in Spanish cinema after seeing moving movie clip
  • Angered by Iran pick, Senate OKs denying visas
  • Uber gets on its bike: Controversial car firm set to offer package deliveries in New York
  • Senate OKs jobless bill; House prospects slimmer
  • You're killing people, not splatting bugs': Giant poster showing Pakistani girl who lost her parents in drone attack aims to make remote aircraft operators think before they bomb
  • House committee: Possible crimes by IRS official
  • Rare Hermes purses set to fetch up to $80,000 EACH at major auction of heritage handbags
  • Punch-drunk Rangers must rise to occasion in Scottish Cup after Raith shocker
  • Grass is greener here, gaffer! Brown insists success will keep Lennon at Parkhead
  • In blind test, soloists like new violins over old
  • Obama urges House to take up Senate's jobless bill
  • La. congressman asks for forgiveness after video
  • TV chef sued for wrongful termination after FIRING a man who took leave to care for his dying wife
  • He looks in good elf! Hobbit star Orlando Bloom shows off his tan and megawatt smile as he dashes through LAX
  • Rashida Jones shows off her spring style in a pretty blue dress but keeps warm with a jacket slung over her shoulders
  • Peaches Geldof dies unexpectedly at age 25
  • Model mummy-to-be! Pregnant Erin O’Connor showcases her baby bump in a cute checked shirt dress as she attends fashion event
  • Baby it's cold outside! Katy Perry shivers her way through filming for her new single
  • Roadside bomb kills 15 people in Afghanistan
  • 'Deal with it': Australia's Next Top Model star Cassi Van Den Dungen hits back at critics after sparking skinny row with gaunt catwalk appearance
  • Crews work to clear Great Lakes shipping pathways
  • Charlotte, NC, has new mayor after bribery scandal
  • Rights group: No justice in C. African Republic
  • 'I wasn't there to protect her': Real Housewives star Kenya Moore devastated at the death of her beloved pet dog Velvet
  • Google takes aim at the living room with Android TV in battle with Amazon and Apple
  • Miami pastor 'peddled fake paintings of Turner prize-winning artist Damien Hirst for three years before being caught by undercover cop posing as buyer'
  • AP president: Journalists 'under attack' worldwide
  • Army: Fort Hood suspect had requested leave
  • Don't convict MP of rape to ease regrets of gay accuser, QC tells trial
  • There's no disguising that bump! David Arquette and his very pregnant girlfriend Christina McLarty pick up goodies in Malibu
  • Katherine Heigl and her mother take a big risk as they drive through New York with children sitting on their laps
  • Doubts over Wenger's Arsenal future increase as backroom staff are left in the dark over Frenchman's new contract
  • Lindsay Lohan swaps floral ensemble for pin-baring Ashish piano frock on The Late Show with David Letterman
  • 'Grumpy' Mourinho is chasing the great escape... but Cruyff claims he could lose the dressing room again like he did at Real
  • Fort Hood shooter 'wanted a transfer because he was being bullied by other soldiers' claims official
  • Hearts now on 'road to recovery' claims MP after showdown meeting in Lithuania
  • The reservoir dogged by broken promises: How Meira Kumar's constituency has waited 40 years for vital water project
  • NCAA finalists illustrate many ways to make a run
  • Government hikes Medicare Advantage pay estimate
  • VISUAL EDIT: Global warming: India isn't the culprit it's made out to be
  • Cuba slashes more than 100,000 health care jobs
  • Game Of Thrones renewed for TWO more seasons after smash hit return
  • 'Human Barbie' Valeria Lukyanova claims interracial couples are behind a rise in plastic surgery because they are 'making the human race uglier'
  • Cochran runs ads against 'powerful interests'
  • Kicked out! Sherwood will go in the summer despite Spurs' five-star victory as Levy lines up Van Gaal
  • Father and son, eight, drown during family fishing trip after dad tries to teach 10-year-old to drive but boy loses control and crashes into a canal
  • Vietnam dissident released, arrives in US
  • Charged in 30 seconds: Israeli firm claims battery breakthrough that could change the way we power phones and laptops
  • Shares in GlaxoSmithKline slide after the firm is hit with fresh allegations over a bribery scandal
  • Joe Biden boasts about how he 'sleeps with a college professor every night'
  • Hindi proverbs and an angry buffalo: AAP wages poster war on Modi Sarkar
  • Woman admits dressing up as a nurse and kidnapping a newborn baby from a hospital in her HANDBAG
  • Institute: Water woes endanger NKorea reactor
  • Is Pacquiao all talk? Unbeaten Bradley thinks so as he seeks public redemption in grudge Vegas rematch
  • Sherwood watch: To be replaced in the summer, argued with supporters, saluted Adebayor and watched Spurs stuff Sunderland.... all this in a day!
  • RAISINA TATTLE: BJP manifesto gets an Italian twist
  • Ripping their style! January Jones jumps on Kardashian torn jeans trend while out with her son Xander
  • Sir Tom Hunter faces legal woes over House of Fraser stake sale to Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley
  • Bump hits the town! Radiant Kimberley Walsh puts her pregnancy curves on display in an elegant blue lace pencil dress
  • Obama, VFW head discuss Fort Hood, mental health
  • Honeymoon slaying suspect extradited to S Africa
  • Revealed: Obama's friend and civil rights firebrand Rev. Al Sharpton was a paid FBI informant who wore wire to trap Genovese, Gambino family wiseguys
  • Education Writers Association honors top scribes
  • R Prasad on... Rahul's Snoopgate revival
  • Campaign of hate: UP candidates turn to communal vitriol in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar
  • Monday, April 7, 2014
  • BJP unveils Modi-festo: Poll promises echo Gujarat CM's mantras for good governance as Hindutva stance is relegated
  • NY rail crash engineer had sleep woes, felt dazed
  • Iconic Hollywood actor Mickey Rooney dies at 93
  • Medical Assn won't stop Medicare doc data release
  • WORLD OF GOLF: No surprise if in-form Aussies dominate at Augusta just as they have been doing on PGA Tour this year
  • Stocks slump, extending decline from last week
  • End of Windows XP support spells trouble for some
  • Trans-Dniester leader wants independence
  • British jobs under threat as Lafarge and Holcim, the world's biggest cement makers, announce £25bn merger
  • US health secretary: Nations cannot ignore disease
  • Air travel: Late flights are up, complaints down
  • White Hart Pain! Brown and Kane bloodied and bruised after clash of heads
  • Ow, Canada: US retailers get the cold shoulder
  • Missing man's car found NINE YEARS later in a canal behind his Florida home with skeletal remains inside
  • 2 more arrested in Detroit mob beating of driver
  • Modi vows he has no 'bad intent' after BJP was attacked over Shah's 'revenge' comments
  • 'This is the best physical evidence we've had': Trucker named possible suspect in 1990 cold case of 18-year-old girl's murder after evidence is re-examined
  • It's war in the Capital: Here's how battlelines are drawn in Delhi's constituencies
  • Aunt says baby rescued at sea recovering on meds
  • From your TV to your smartphone: BT set to shake-up mobile phone business with quad play bundles
  • Women take their kids shoplifting and hide over $1,000 in merchandise in car seat with baby
  • He's barred! Justin Bieber 'not welcome' at the big Miami nightclubs after his DUI and drag racing arrest
  • Holmes attorneys ask judge to move his trial
  • Mom gets 23-year sentence in daughter's slaying
  • 'Are you done now?': Sailor who had to be rescued by Navy with family after girl, one, fell sick faces grilling from his mother on his return
  • Erratic B.B. King performance makes fans blue
  • The Electric Boulevard: Plans unveiled for new high street on the site of old Battersea Power Station
  • A look at pension problems in major US cities
  • If it's not baroque... don't fix it! Cameron Diaz steals the show from Kate Upton in opulent gold mini dress as The Other Woman premieres Munich
  • Adichie, Lahiri on women's fiction prize shortlist
  • Arrest in fire that critically injured 2 officers
  • Mommy's little model! Christina Milian turns photographer for a day at the beach with adorable daughter Violet
  • Costs spurred Kansas school policy changes
  • McDonnell judge: No brief by 5 former Va. AGs
  • Road ministry to scrap trucks and buses more than eight years old to combat air pollution
  • Return of the Wookiee! Peter Mayhew to reprise Chewbacca role in new Star Wars movie, as Disney chairman reveals filming is already underway
  • NBC chief says traditional TV season outdated
  • MARTIN KEOWN: Forget Eto'o, Torres can be trusted against PSG to get Chelsea through... and Lampard should partner Luiz in midfield
  • Supreme Court rejects appeal over gay bias case
  • 'Ponzi scammer' Bhangoo defended as 'kind-hearted Messiah' by neighbours
  • 'We're looking forward to more laughter in the house': American Idol star James Durbin and wife expecting second child
  • MARKET REPORT: 'Bored multi-millionaire' investor snaps up millions of shares in iodine specialist Iofina
  • Liberian police say 5 dead after boat overturns
  • Liechtenstein manhunt seeks shooter at bank
  • Chili's nixes autism event after backlash
  • Farewell to the fat lady: Hundreds turn out to mourn sidecar-riding TV chef Clarissa Dickson Wright as she is buried with her favourite ingredients
  • Bode Miller's son 'didn't recognize his own mother because the Olympic skier has had custody of the boy for the past 5 weeks'
  • Modi brands Congress's legacy 'damaad power' as he slams Robert Vadra's land deals
  • Kuwait gives $249.5 million to Syrian relief aid
  • Moyes watches on as Man United starlet Wilson scores another stunner and Evans returns to action
  • U.S. airlines post their best ratings ever DESPITE more flights being late and more bags being mishandled
  • Deal voted down in Rhode Island pension overhaul
  • NBC boss isn't worried about Letterman successor
  • Bangladesh to play maiden Test in India this year
  • They certainly saw sparks! Couple escape fiery air balloon crash just moments after she says yes to his proposal
  • Are you partial to an eggnog latte? Then you're probably from Portland: Favorite Starbucks drinks in each U.S. state revealed
  • When an itch wrecks your life - and NOTHING can get rid of it
  • 'I'm asking for forgiveness': Married Christian lawmaker apologizes after he's caught on video kissing 33-year-old female staffer (who is also the wife of his childhood friend)
  • How to get a bottom like Beyonce: Secrets of an A-list body
  • Rio Tinto bows to pressure and pulls out of Pebble gold and copper mining project in Alaska
  • India cricket fans vent their rage as Yuvraj Singh's house is pelted with stones
  • Ana Tijoux's hip-hop goes back to Chilean roots
  • Appeals court: Texas execution back on
  • US sailors sue Japanese utility over radiation
  • Jacko a thriller for football museum after Jol's £20,000 statue offer falls through
  • Blonde ambition! Cheryl Cole sizzles in a smouldering shoot as she stars in new campaign for L’Oréal Paris
  • Whitey Bulger backs man's efforts at freedom
  • GP who says checking your breasts for lumps can do more harm than good
  • Over a quarter of middle school students have been the victim of sexual violence on school grounds, researchers find
  • 'Some beauty procedures are downright dangerous': Photographer's surreal series critiques society's need for women to be polished to perfection
  • Health department inspectors found HUNDREDS of mouse droppings at New York's Cronut bakery
  • The real Sleeping Beauty! Heidi Klum shares photos of herself passed out on America's Got Talent set
  • Yuvraj Singh's painful display raises questions over batsman's future
  • Mega-blasts of radiotherapy save prostate patients weeks of treatment
  • EXCLUSIVE: Disabled Chelsea fan recalls her ordeal after having coins, bottles and chewing gum thrown at them at PSG
  • NJ fire that could be smelled in NYC is contained
  • Workers, security guards clash at Rio Olympic Park
  • S&P 500 posts longest losing streak since January
  • RUTH SUNDERLAND: Too many financial advisers are not clear about their fees, warns FCA
  • Some airlines drop limes from beverage service
  • How eating pudding for breakfast and dropping your fat friends can keep you slim
  • Salvadoran govt: Gang truce hasn't worked
  • Peaches Geldof's husband Thomas Cohen vows 'to keep her in their sons' hearts forever' as he pays tribute to late wife
  • CO's Udall reports $2 million in first quarter
  • Biden swears in new head of small business agency
  • 'I've never had serious depression, but just every morning until the inner voices subside': Under the microscope with Dominic West
  • BJD's Hikaka says Maoist abduction has spurred him on in fight to be MP
  • Iran ambassador dispute unites Dem, GOP senators
  • Newly blonde Maggie Gyllenhaal trades high heels for sensible sandals while in France due to foot injury... but still looks trés chic
  • If you've got it, flaunt it! Amy Willerton strips off to reveal stunning beach body while holidaying with a friend
  • 2 UN workers killed by gunmen in Somalia
  • Number of Americans without medical insurance hits recent low, Gallup claims -- but quickly BACKS OFF claim Obamacare is 'accomplishing its goal'
  • ASK THE DOCTOR: Can I stop my nightly splitting headaches?
  • The magic of Mr Martinez: How prizes for the best trainers, masterclasses in tactics and smiles for the tea ladies have helped transform Everton this season
  • 'Voting for Congress is a betrayal of Islam': Leading cleric Jawwad urges Muslims to keep UPA out of power 'at any cost'
  • Breaking and entering... hospital: Thief calls 911 during home break-in after falling off ladder through skylight and fracturing his leg
  • Man renounces sovereign ideals, gets probation
  • Samantha would not wear THAT! Kim Cattrall spoils her green goddess look with leather gloves and bum bag in Cannes
  • Egypt court upholds sentence for 3 activists
  • Are GPs putting patients at risk by diagnosing them on the phone?
  • Bridal games! Jennifer Lawrence stars as a beautiful bridesmaid in a real life Martha Stewart wedding
  • Rio Tinto to give away Pebble Mine project shares
  • Perfume baron Ajmal sniffs out votes in 'secret pact with Assam Chief Minister'
  • Earnhardt Jr. out of Texas race after fiery wreck
  • Naturally thin Yale student 'forced to stuff her face with Cheetos and ice cream' because school officials who thought she had eating disorder threatened to expel her over 90lbs frame
  • A capital city! London is crowned the top destination in the UK (and the third best in the world)
  • A life in pictures: Peaches Geldof 1989-2014
  • Gerrard has scored 10 penalties for Liverpool this season... but how many should have been given?
  • Athens mayor candidates split on mosque referendum
  • Benefits cheat who swindled £38,000 while running filthy Man vs Food-style kitchen serving food ‘unfit for human consumption’ walks free from court
  • She looks even better without make-up! Zoe Saldana shows off her radiant complexion in bare-faced selfie
  • 'I am not about to let my sons down, not for anyone or anything': Peaches Geldof's haunting last interview - less than a month before she was found dead
  • EXCLUSIVE: The brat is back! Spoiled cheerleader Rachel Canning pictured partying weeks after moving back home - with the very boyfriend her parents banned her from seeing
  • Over 90 faulty EVMs replaced in Assam after failing on Day One of polls
  • Latvia, Lithuania ban Russian state TV broadcasts
  • Wheel-y bad idea! Teen vandals run amok tipping Smart cars in San Francisco
  • How does she stay so slim? Kylie Jenner carries box of sugary Lucky Charms cereal while on vacation
  • On Twitter and video, Biden steps up role for Dems
  • It's not only grannies with varicose veins - just ask Miss England!
  • Grand poll party kicks off in Assam and Tripura
  • Made in the USA: America's last surviving textile factories are captured in mesmerizing behind-the-scenes photo series
  • US consumer borrowing up $16.5 billion in February
  • PUNJABI TADKA: Politicians seek Dera blessings to win votes
  • Dems slam CIA ex-boss over Feinstein criticism
  • Softer image helps far-right's gains in Hungary
  • How tragic Peaches Geldof, the original wild child turned doting mum, spent her life fighting the demons of her fractured childhood
  • Burns splits with trainer Nelson as Scot looks towards reclaiming world title
  • Pictured: Honor student, 13, who plunged to his death from Florida hotel balcony while his mother checked out
  • More heartbreak for Gwyneth Paltrow as her grandmother Dorothy dies while actress is on vacation
  • Vatican ex-sex crimes prosecutor heads to Scotland
  • Texas parole board denies pardon for executed man
  • 2016 campaign checklist: Paul
  • US women's soccer coach Tom Sermanni fired
  • Rob Lowe complains about being too good looking, saying there's an 'unbelievable bias' against attractive actors
  • WHIPLASH: Selectors should now bench Yuvraj
  • 'Got Talent' TV talent format sets Guinness record
  • Extraaa Innings glam brigade return to the small screen for new IPL season
  • Jennifer Lopez lets boyfriend Casper Smart take on daddy duty to her twins during family outing in Beverly Hills
  • Pace of presidential prep picks up
  • No new inquiry into 1974 Birmingham pub bombing – but the investigation is still open, insists head of West Midlands Police
  • Teacher gives her son a lesson in honesty after finding $11,000 and handing it in to police (once they had taken a selfie with wads of cash)
  • Steve Jobs biographer writing about digital age
  • Mourinho urges Chelsea to seize the moment as outsiders and produce one of the great European comebacks against PSG
  • Egypt arrests a top aide to al-Qaida chief
  • 'This is my do-over': Julianne Hough to return to Dancing With The Stars as guest judge... months after pro Mark Ballas labelled her 'hypocritical'
  • T.C. Boyle ends three-decade run with publisher
  • Young Utah gay couple become face of gay marriage
  • The future of Indo-US ties now lies squarely on America's shoulders
  • A helping hand: Jon Hamm, Naomi Watts and Meg Ryan join forces for Bvlgari's new Save the Children campaign
  • Hatch your plan for Easter: Ten cracking family-friendly short breaks and outings
  • Peaches' tragic last Instagram photo: Socialite is found dead just hours after posting this image of herself with mother Paula Yates who died of overdose 13 years ago
  • Woman complains to police about marijuana quality
  • Can we take him home? Dolly clutches onto the Easter bunny as she shops with mum Chantelle
  • Supreme Court panel blames states for thriving female foeticide
  • Bekele throws down the gauntlet as Farah's big rival sends out message with Paris win
  • 5 memorable movie roles of Mickey Rooney
  • Kerry to meet with top diplomats on Ukraine
  • It's not about 450 squats in the gym... it's about putting the ball in the hole! McIlroy worries that Tiger is pushing body too far
  • 'Eighty percent of his audience doesn't give a s*** about the music': Rob Lowe tells Oprah he has 'tremendous empathy' for Justin Bieber
  • Do you smell what the Scot is cooking? Murray shakes off Italy defeat with wrestling competition ahead of clay-court campaign
  • Ancelotti sweats over Ronaldo fitness after superstar leaves Real Madrid training early ahead of Dortmund showdown
  • Well-wishers donate more than $90k to homeless mom arrested after she left her son, two, and baby in 100F car whilst she went for a job interview
  • Suspended lawyer 'sets his girlfriend on fire after dousing her with hairspray and nail polish leaving her without an ear'
  • It's Kommander Kris! Momager Jenner comes over all military in a green jumpsuit as she directs her daughters on Thai break
  • Tottenham 5-1 Sunderland: Adebayor scores twice as Black Cats move closer to the drop
  • Harper Beckham named most stylish child closely followed by Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz (well, they do have a fashion designer for a mother!)
  • Lily Allen leads the way as Twitter reacts to the shocking death of Peaches Geldof, aged 25
  • I'm not done wig you! The many disguises woman wore to spy on ex-lover who owes her $1.6m after 20 YEARS
  • 'What a beautiful child': Sir Bob Geldof pays emotional tribute to his 'wildest, funniest, cleverest of us all' daughter Peaches
  • House Democrats unveil budget plan with tax hikes
  • UN climate panel chair calls for 'enlightenment'
  • Rodriguez blow for England after Saints striker ruled out of World Cup by knee injury
  • Tell weirdo O'Neill to let me go! Agent uses text message from McCann in Bolton case
  • Britney Spears' ex-husband Kevin Federline welcomes baby number SIX as wife Victoria Prince delivers a girl
  • Could you soon be filling up with SEAWATER? US Navy reveals 'game changing' fuel created from water
  • BLOGS OF THE DAY: 'Mental athlete' takes on Alzheimer's
  • Celtic launch investigation into apparent 'racist chanting' by striker Griffiths
  • Thousands of Jerusalem Arabs without water
  • Scientists pinpoint part of the brain linked to gambling addiction: Overactive insula causes people to chase their losses
  • We're not scared to attack Chelsea, insists PSG boss Blanc ahead of Stamford Bridge showdown
  • Cavendish forced to pull out of Scheldeprijs one-day race due to illness
  • 'Don't call me ScarJo!' Scarlett Johansson calls her nickname tacky and insulting as she graces the cover of Glamour magazine
  • Hamilton to study Rosberg data as he bids to beat Mercedes team-mate in title battle
  • Obama to headline civil rights summit in Texas
  • Football coach jailed for 18 years after stabbing man to death in mass brawl sparked by thrown yoghurt pot
  • Man agrees to restitution in vandalism at monument
  • Au revoir! Istanbul and Rome knock Paris and New York off top spots of 10 best destinations in the world (and London scoops third place)
  • Touching moment Air Force father surprised his daughter by coming home early and appearing in her school contest
  • Ted Kennedy Jr will make his first foray into public life by announcing his bid for a spot in Connecticut's state Senate
  • The twins which aren’t poles apart: Nela and Nobby the polar bears love nothing more than a roll on the grass in their enclosure
  • Teen who killed herself 'over cyberbullying' had a history of cutting herself, hospital committal and was worried about her parents' constant fighting, case file reveals
  • No kidding! Man, 24, caught smuggling 7lbs of cocaine inside frozen GOAT meat into U.S.
  • Palestinians ready to widen global recognition bid
  • Next year's high-skilled visas snapped up in days
  • 'No drugs and no suicide note,' Police say death of Peaches Geldof at 25 is not suspicious as father Bob pays heart-breaking tribute to 'the wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest and the most bonkers of us all'
  • Is it all just a fiddle? World's leading violinists CAN'T tell the difference between a Stradavarius worth millions of pounds and a modern instrument
  • Yahoo and Microsoft to produce their own TV shows in battle for the living room with Hulu, Amazon and Netflix
  • Fargo 6th-graders mop up against college investors
  • Two killed filming zombie movie's 'explosive airplane finale' after engine stalls and plane nose dives
  • Coronation Street's Brooke Vincent slips into leggings and trainers after glamorous appearance at castmate's wedding
  • The moment a football coach dad is caught throwing his daughter's prom date a disproving glance in hilarious photo
  • Sam Turner's tips: All the best bets for Tuesday, April 8
  • Mom jailed for 23 years after stabbing her eight-year-old daughter to death despite child services discovering 'chronic abuse'
  • Ford recalls nearly 435,000 vehicles
  • Tough love from my mum turned me into a star, admits Toronto striker Defoe
  • Long arm of the lawn: Police issue official tweet telling residents to trim their HEDGES
  • Tax proposal to help live theater brings out stars
  • Court rejects early appeal of surveillance ruling
  • Dressed to impress: Rochelle Humes stuns fans as she arrives at ITV studios to perform on This Morning
  • Pensioner killed when she was hit by car on a dark country road after trying to 'shoo’ away an injured goose
  • Free inside tomorrow’s Daily Mail , a magical souvenir pull-out . . .
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  • Quiet on set! Robson Green sports period costume as Cambridge street gets 1953 makeover for forthcoming crime drama Grantchester
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  • Baby giraffe with terminal birth defect to undergo groundbreaking surgery never before performed on her species
  • Mobile phone salesman, 35, downloaded sexually-explicit images of women customers who had asked for his help in transferring data
  • From the gun which almost killed him to the Bible he read in his last days: inside the new museum to Pope John Paul II
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  • She's off! Kourtney Kardashian's 20-month-old Penelope walks along beside her mother in matching plaid shirt
  • Pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale resigns
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  • 'Miliband is praying the economy doesn't recover': Clegg pins blame on last Labour government for the cost of living crisis
  • Woman pleads guilty in newborn hospital kidnapping
  • Mother in drowning case found mentally incompetent
  • They said I wasn't marketable - now I'm in Vogue: Basketball star Skylar Diggins opens up about proving her critics wrong


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