The Educator's Notebook

A weekly collection of education-related news from around the web.

Educator’s Notebook #445 (May 5, 2024)


  • An extraordinary week!

    First, it’s teacher appreciation week! Get the week started by exploring Gallup’s research around the value of showing appreciation for teachers. And then appreciate your teachers and colleagues!

    Also, and unavoidably: campuses nationwide were roiled this week by growing protests against the war in Gaza. Amidst this backdrop, the E. E. Ford Foundation’s publication of a framework for institutional nonpartisanship takes on particular resonance. It was started well before October 7, but seems especially timely amidst discussions of the role of schools today. See this second feature this week as a part of broader coverage of student protests in the diversity and inclusion section.

    Also this week: find (more) growing calls for phone-free learning environments, the lowest COVID numbers since the start of the pandemic, and an extraordinary study about the “decisive decade” and how what happens from age 14-24 has ripple effects through life.

    This week’s AI Update is also full education related updates, including several helpful resources for educators by Leon Furze.

    These and more, enjoy!


    Image by DALL-E 3, including the extra P…




    Read this issue and all back issues online at

    • Edward E. Ford Foundation
    • 05/01/24

    “The framework rests on a simple assumption: that schools are, first and foremost, places of inquiry and exploration, preparing students for the freedom, rights, and responsibilities they will enjoy as adults. Teaching and learning are distinct from advocacy and activism, and nonpartisan teaching is vital to creating an intellectual climate within schools that promotes, sustains, and deepens courageous inquiry. Avoiding political entanglements that exceed a school’s reach and resources will help foster a climate of intellectual exploration free from political tilt or ideological bias, support student autonomy and self-formation, and provide educators with an invaluable design principle against which program, instruction, and curriculum can be assessed.”

    • Gallup
    • 04/29/24

    “Recognition isn't just about feeling good. Gallup research shows that consistent recognition for doing good work has a direct influence on the key performance measures that we use to evaluate our schools. Teachers who receive regular recognition and praise: are more productive, are more engaged at work, are more likely to stay with their school, are more likely to receive higher satisfaction scores from students and parents.”



    • Brookings
    • 04/26/24

    “How adolescents and young adults navigate education, work, and family will shape the rest of their lives… Passing key milestones between the ages of 14 and 24 increases the chances of passing subsequent milestones in a timely manner, but there is no single path to success… While missing a milestone does not lock in later-in-life outcomes, the clear relationship between early progress and later success illustrates the importance of investing in young adults early.”


    • New York Times
    • 05/03/24

    “In a word, the university’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the university community to be offensive, unwise, immoral or wrong-headed,” that declaration said. But the statement also describes clear limits, including a right to prohibit illegal activities and speech “that constitutes a genuine threat or harassment.”

    • Inside Higher Ed
    • 05/03/24

    “Those interviewed by Inside Higher Ed had somewhat differing definitions of what academic freedom should protect. The AAUP’s own 1940 statement on academic freedom contains qualifications in its definition. It says faculty members “are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties,” and are also “entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.” …On the other hand, free speech is the concept that everyone, not just faculty members, has the right to speak, whether that speech is well-reasoned or not, inoffensive or offensive. The First Amendment protects free speech at public institutions, but not private ones.”

    • Chronicle of Higher Ed
    • 05/01/24




    • Chronicle of Higher Ed
    • 04/30/24

    “Navigating personal biases while also standing up for what you believe in can be difficult in a course like this, where everyone is passionate about the issue or has a personal stake in what is going on,” Arusa Malik, a sophomore who is studying international relations, and who is Muslim, wrote in an email. “Knowing when to supplement your arguments with lived experiences, statistics, or textual evidence is a tricky skill to master but one this course encourages.”




    • New Republic
    • 04/22/24

    “But not very far into Baron’s Who Wrote This?, I realized I was being defensive—that I was arguing for a special exemption for writing and language because I consider them such immutable aspects of the mind, and of being human. Baron, with the dry eyes of an actuary, sets about deromanticizing writing.”





A.I. Update


  • Several excellent posts for teachers this week:

    In this week’s features, find a link to Leon Furze’s ebook on how we can rethink assessment in a time of GenAI. Collecting many of his most helpful posts on assessment, Furze’s ebook gathers up much of today’s thinking about assessment and packages it in one file for helpful reference. It requires an email address, but is free and well worth it. Also in the features, check out Dan Meyer’s address at ASU GSV making the case for skepticism about today’s AI boom.

    Also this week, find more information LAUSD’s chatbot for students and families, explore the growing risks of deepfakes, and see several of Leon Furze’s shorter posts on relevant topics for schools: a faculty strategy for your AI work, a (much) abbreviated post on assessment, and three part framework for engaging with AI as a creator, consumer, and critic.

    Last, don’t miss Ethan Mollick’s humorous conversation with Claude about garlic bread.

    These and more, enjoy!


    AI and Garlic Bread
    Image by


    • Leon Furze
    • 05/05/24

    “Rethinking Assessment for GenAI is a free 60 page eBook which covers everything from ways to update assessments, to the reasons I advise against AI detection tools.”

    • Dan Meyer
    • 05/01/24

    “The ASU+GSV organizers invited a bunch of us there to give 20-minute talks on a stage that was adjacent to all the AI edtech vendors. Naturally, I thought the appropriate thing to do in that context was criticize AI edtech vendors, specifically criticizing them for selling an image of classroom teaching and student learning that is pure fantasy.”


    • The Verge
    • 05/04/24

    “Aaron is one of many young users who have discovered the double-edged sword of AI companions. Many users like Aaron describe finding the chatbots helpful, entertaining, and even supportive. But they also describe feeling addicted to chatbots, a complication which researchers and experts have been sounding the alarm on… For many Character.AI users, having a space to vent about their emotions or discuss psychological issues with someone outside of their social circle is a large part of what draws them to the chatbots. “I have a couple mental issues, which I don’t really feel like unloading on my friends, so I kind of use my bots like free therapy,” said Frankie, a 15-year-old Character.AI user from California who spends about one hour a day on the platform. For Frankie, chatbots provide the opportunity “to rant without actually talking to people, and without the worry of being judged,” he said.”

    • Leon Furze
    • 05/03/24

    “At the core of all these suggestions is a simple premise: GenAI didn’t ‘break’ assessment, and we, as educators and institutions, set the boundaries around what constitutes ‘academic misconduct’.”

    • EdSurge
    • 05/02/24

    “These models aren’t very good at keeping up with the latest slang,” he acknowledged. “So we get a human being involved to make that determination” if an interaction is in doubt. Moderators monitor the software, he says, and they can see a dashboard where interactions are coded red if they need to be reviewed right away. “Even the green ones, we review,” he said.”

    • Inside Higher Ed
    • 05/02/24
    • Leon Furze
    • 05/01/24

    “This first post lays out a general strategic framework that any faculty leader can adapt to bring discussions of this technology into their domain. In subsequent posts, I will be inviting faculty leaders from across a range of disciplines to contribute ideas on how AI can be used in their disciplines.”

    • EdWeek
    • 04/26/24
    • Association Of Research Libraries
    • 04/01/24







Every week I send out articles I encounter from around the web. Subject matter ranges from hard knowledge about teaching to research about creativity and cognitive science to stories from other industries that, by analogy, inform what we do as educators. This breadth helps us see our work in new ways.

Readers include teachers, school leaders, university overseers, conference organizers, think tank workers, startup founders, nonprofit leaders, and people who are simply interested in what’s happening in education. They say it helps them keep tabs on what matters most in the conversation surrounding schools, teaching, learning, and more.

Peter Nilsson


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