Saturday, November 2, 2013

LISTEN TO DIANE RAVITCH ALL WEEK LONG Diane Ravitch's blog 11-2-13 -13 #thankateacher #EDCHAT #P2

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Watch the School Board Race in Houston
This letter came from a high school teacher in Houston who requested anonymity. The usual reasons: intimidation, fear of losing his job. It is way too soon to declare victory, but it is nonetheless encouraging to know that the insurgents who fight the status quo are feeling fearless and working to overturn policies that hurt kids and destroy communities. He writes: Dear Ms. Ravitch,   I wanted t

Will Public Education Die in Douglas County, Colorado?
Investigative reporter Stephanie Simon of Politico reports on the most bizarre school board race in the nation: Douglas County, Colorado. There, a powerful coalition of rightwing extremists has gained control of the school board and is determined to turn education into a free market, where competition and choice replace public education. They want vouchers, charter schools, and differentiated pay
Is the Denver School Board for Sale?
This is a depressingly familiar story. There are two slates running for the Denver school board. One slate is overwhelmingly outspent by the other. Out-of-state donors are pouring huge sums of money into the race from donors hoping to determine the outcome. They are helping only one side, the one associated with corporate reform (charter schools, privatization, high-stakes testing, demoralizing te
An Intelligence Test for Rhode Islanders
An opinion article by an employee of the voucher-loving Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice argues that it is time for Rhode Island to adopt vouchers. The article is a jumble of mis-statements. For example, it claims that the people of Rhode Island want vouchers, but never admits that vouchers have never (NEVER) won the support of any public referendum in any state. The latest Gallup/Phi De

Charters in Buffalo: The Return of Segregation
Charter schools were created twenty years ago to address problems that public schools could not solve and to collaborate with public schools, sharing their best ideas. They were not intended to compete with public schools, but to support them. Today, however, many charter schools (especially the chains)  see themselves as antagonists to public schools. eager to take their funding and their space.

“Reform” is Destroying Humane Values, Creating a Hatred for School
Raymond Gerson of Austin Community College sent this article, which expresses a growing recognition across the nation that federal and state education policies are ruining children’s lives and crushing the love of learning. Gerson writes: Scarcity of Humane Values in Educational Policies By Raymond Gerson Frequent high stakes testing, hours of test prep drills, large classes and reduction or eli

What Do Philadelphia Students Want?
A high school student wrote this letter to Mark NAISON of the BATS, who sent it to me: Mr Naison: Hello, my name is Madeline Clapier. I am a senior at Constitution High School which is a school in Philadelphia that focuses on law and history. Currently, we as a school are facing massive budget cuts and our student government is attempting to rally against the cuts. We have put together seven poin
A High-Stakes Exam for the People of Indiana
Cindi Pastore created this multiple-choice exam for the people of Infiana. It illustrates the current crazy situation there. Glenda Ritz won a startling upset victory last fall, winning more votes than Governor Pence. Yet Governor Pence has worked unceasingly to dilute Ritz’s authority and render her powerless to carry out her official duties. He and the unelected state board are thwarting her so


L.A. Rolls Back Half a Century of Civil Rights
Los Angeles has decided that the best way to improve the language skills of students who don’t speak English is to segregate them with others who don’t speak Emglish. A group of 17 principals objected to the plan to segregate English learners, Many teachers also opposed segregating the students by language. Thousands of educators and parents oppose the new policy. “In recent weeks, a group of sout
Can Super-Rich Buy Seattle School Board Race?
Sue Peters, an activist parent running for the local school board in Seattle, has been targeted for defeat by some of the wealthiest people in Seattle. She has raised $31,000. She has been a public school parent for 10 years. Her opponent has raised over $100,00. In addition, some of the wealthiest people in the state created a PAC and added another $100,000 to the campaign chest of Sue’s opponen
Schneider Debunks the “New Orleans Miracle,” Again
By now, we should all have learned that numbers, data, statistics, can be distorted to present any narrative that is wanted. In this post, Mercedes Schneider shows how the hucksters for the “Néw Orleans Miracle” are back to their old tricks.
Common Core Ratings: “Hunger Games” More Complex Than “Grapes of Wrath”?
An article by Blaine Greteman in The New Republic reports that “lexile ratings” have been assigned to various novels by the Common Core standards. Greteman is an English professor at the University of Iowa. Lexile ratings score readings according to their difficulty level. This is too absurd to be true, yet The New Republic is not known for publishing satire. According to the article, “Sports Illu
Lloyd Lofthouse, Crazy Normal, Discovers “Reign of Error”
Lloyd Lofthouse is a Vietnam veteran who taught school in a barrio ruled by violent street gangs for thirty years. From his blog, which he calls Crazy Normal, I would say that he is disgusted with those who take pot shots at teachers. He just discovered my existence and ordered Reign of Error. I can’t wait to read his reaction.  
Albany Releases Charter School Audit
Thanks to Leonie Haimson for posting this information about the New York State Comptroller’s audit of charter schools in Albany. The links are a must-read. When you read the links, you will understand why the New York Charter Association fought all efforts to permit the State Comptroller to audit the charters; the charters won in court, but the legislature revised the law, allowing the audits to p
Mark Naison Explains How He Became an Activist
Mark Naison, a co-founder of the Badass Teachers Association, explains how he became an education activist. He was trained as a historian, and he became increasingly interested in recovering the history of African-Americans in the Bronx. He worked in many schools and saw the power of community history, how it awakened students’ interest in study and research and digging deeper. But along came No C

OCT 31

LA Times Editorialists Delighted That Deasy’s Job Is Safe, Teachers Have Other Ideas
The power elites of Los Angeles won again. Read this editorial in the Los Angeles Times. even his strongest supporters are concerned about his ill-planned $1 billion commitment to buy iPads whose content is unfinished. But to really get the story at ground level, read the comments.
Race to the Top=A Pig in a Poke
When states won millions in Race to the Top funding, they found themselves required to spend more than they received from the federal government. One careful study reported that school districts in New York had to spend almost $11 million, in exchange for $400,000 from the federal government. School districts are spending billions to offer and test the Common Core standards, which have until rece
Red Queen in LA: Who Attended LAUSD Circus?
This blogger writes about the well-orchestrated circus at the crucial LAUSD board meeting. This carrying daisies–a symbol of allegiance to the leader–were well represented and gained preference to speak. Who was missing? Teachers and administrators: they were at work. Parents: who cares what they think?
Our Kids, Under Constant Surveillance?
Parents and school districts are beginning to understand that student information will no longer be private. The Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Foundation created something called the Shared Learning Collsborative, now called inBloom. They have a contract to Wireless Generation, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, to create the software to collect massive amounts of data. InBloom will
Links to The Daily Show!
Yesterday was  my third appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (2003, 2010, 2013). I love being on his show because he is not only funny but a truly kind and decent person. He always comes in for a friendly chat before the interview, to make  a personal connection. He is real. I gave him a pair of green laces for his sneakers (they came from a group called “Lace to the Top,” and I explained
Michelle Rhee and I Will Debate on Feb 6 at Lehigh University
Last March, Lehigh University invited Michelle Rhee and me to debate on its campus in Pennsylvania. We both accepted. After agreeing, Michelle said we should both have a second on our team, not a 1:1 debate. I agreed. Months went by, and she said she preferred to have a third on both teams, and I agreed. I think we have finally reached an agreement. I have my second and third lined up. I assume sh
Common Sense from Robert Shepherd
Ever since the Nation at Risk report, we’ve had a reform narrative in this country that begins with the premise that our schools are failing (despite the fact that when one corrects for the socioeconomic level of students taking the international tests on which this claim is based, our students consistently perform at the top or very near the top). Then, the Gates Foundation decided that the “prob
L.A. Teacher Asks: Will Deasy’s iPad Deal Bankrupt Los Angeles Schools?
Superintendent John Deasy made a deal to buy an iPad for every student in the district, at a cost of $1 billion. The money will mostly be drawn from a 25-year construction bond issue approved by the voters on the assumption that the money would be used to repair the city’s schools. The iPads will be obsolete in 2 or 3 years, but voters will be paying the cost for 25 years. The iPads are loaded w
Students at Elite HS in NYC Boycott Tests
Students at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, a school that accepts only students that have high scores on their entry examinations, boycotted the latest tests to protest their purpose. The students knew that the tests had no purpose other than to evaluate their teachers, and they thought the tests were not only a waste of students’ time but unfair to their teachers. Geoff Decker of Gotham
Child Psychotherapist: How Common Core Is Ruining Childhood
Katie Hurley, who is a psychotherapist who works with children and adolescents, writes at Huffington Post that Common Core is having a harmful effect on students. Her first discovery was seeing what happened to her own daughter: “My daughter has four tests this week. Week after week she has at least four tests, one of them a high-pressure timed math factor test. If she gets more than one answer
Why Should Teaching Be a Hazardous Profession?
Jake Miller is a teacher who wrote an article for the UK Guardian as a tribute to two teachers who were recently murdered by students. He was stunned by the tone of the comments that came from many who read his article. They were vicious and anti-teacher. He couldn’t understand it. Why so much anti-teacher sentiment? He wrote to ask for my advice. I urged him to keep writing. Help the public und

OCT 30

More New York Districts Drop Out of Race to Top to Protect Student Privacy
Four districts have announced their intention to withdraw from Race to the Top, hoping to protect confidential student data.  More are thinking of joining them. They are upset that the state demands they hand over 400 points of student data that can be transferred to inBloom, the Gates-funded project for data mining. The State Education Department is totally unsympathetic to their concerns. Its sp
My Speaking Schedule for Fall
I will be in Atlanta November 1 to speak to United Way Women’s Leadership Breakfast at 7:30 am at Georgia Tech Conference Center On November 4, I will speak twice in Princeton, New Jersey. At 4 pm, at Princeton High School: open to the public, all welcome. At 8 pm, at Princeton University, McCosh Hall, please call to ask about access. On November 12, I will speak to the NYC Council of Supervisors
I Speak November 1 in Atlanta at 7:30 AM
I will be speaking on November 1 to the Women’s Leadership Breakfast of United Way at the Georgia Tech Conference Center. The event begins at 7:30 am. I will deliver brief remarks, then there will be conversation.  
Montclair Prepares for Test Score Decline under “”Reform” Leader
Jersey Jazzman describes the new era of creative disruption in Montclair, New Jersey, under its Broad-trained superintendent. Montclair was, until now, one of the best districts in a high performing state. Expect the crisis narrative to begin any day now as a prelude to charters and school closings. Unless, that is, the parents rebel. Suburban parents don’t like to be shoved around, and don’t li
Will John King Destroy Common Core in New York By Alienating Parents?
Peter Goodman, long an insider in New York city and state education policies, here reviews the parlous state of the Common Core and its testing regime in that state. John King has approached parents with an attitude of inflexibility. He has made it clear that he will sit through hearings if he must, but any changes will be inconsequential. He will not be dissuaded. The reformer wagon is losing its
Montessori Schools Are Not Same As Common Core
State Commissioner John King sends his own children to a Montessori school, which is his right as a parent. But he insists that his children are getting an education that is similar to the Common Core, which he has mandated across the state. This Montessori teacher disagrees. She writes: Hi Diane, I keep on hearing John King say that Common Core is a lot like Montessori education, but it is actual
A Teacher in LAUSD on the Board’s Decision to Extend Deasy Contract
I am a teacher at LAUSD, and I am extremely disappointed with the LAUSD Board of Education for extending the contract to this abusive, destructive, deceiving superintendent. He truly does not care for the public education of the community he is supposed to serve. Most of the LAUSD teachers and principals, if not all, are aware of this. We see it on a daily basis as his policies and destructive “re
This Reader Was Educated in China
The reader writes: “One thing I have repeated heard in this ‘Ed Reform’ talk is that American kids need to ‘catch up’ with kids from other countries because we are behind in those international tests. I grew up in China, where there is very rigorous curriculum; where frequent testing and ranking of students is part of a student’s life the moment the child walks into a school; where students do per
Shepherd: An Essay Exam for “Reformers”
Robert Shepard, author and curriculum designer, has prepared an essay exam for the corporate reformers who think they know how to redesign American education. He writes: As a member of the Billionaire Boys’ Club, or as one of the paid associates of the BBC, you . . . 1. believe that that extraordinarily complex skills like reading and writing ability can be validly and reliably measured by simple
Julian Vasquez Heilig on TFA’s Rise to Power
Julian Vasquez Heilig has conducted peer-reviewed research on TFA over several years. He is astonished that it has been converted into a political power machine, which makes it even more powerful. Follow the money as TFA expands its base.

OCT 29

Latest from Los Angeles: Deasy Will Stay
I feel as though I am reporting election returns. First, the candidate is up, then he is down, winning, then losing, then the absentee ballots came in….and….. The latest report from Los Angeles is that John Deasy has been offered a new contract that runs through mid-2016. This may be true. It also may be false. This is an unfolding drama worthy of Hollywood, but unworthy of the more than 600,000 c
Deasy Offers to Resign–At Full Salary–Maybe
After days of turmoil–will he or won’t he?–the Los Angeles Times reports that Deasy and the board are negotiating the terms of his resignation. Maybe. If it happens, it will be a very soft landing. Stay tuned.
Tisch Says Blooomberg School Support Networks Have Failed
Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, harshly criticized one of Mayor Bloomberg’s signature initiatives, the school support networks. “Me, if I were going to take over the school system, I would look heavily to change the networks,” Tisch said during a panel discussion hosted by the nonprofit group, PENCIL. “I think the networks have basically failed children who are [En
Links Are Working on All Three Segments of Melissa Harris-Perry Show on Poverty and Privatization
Thanks to the hardworking technical team at MSNBC, and thanks to your alerts, MSNBC now has all three links working again on the great show with Melissa Harris-Perry. Don’t miss the good discussions with me, Pedro Noguera, and MSNBC’s Trymaine Lee.
The Link for Melissa Harris-Perry Show Is Working!!
As many of you have noticed, the link for the Melissa Harris-Perry Show was down for the past three days. It was a technical glitch. It is working again! Here is the link. This segment was followed by a panel discussion and a third segment about poverty. I will post them again too.
Castle Bridge Parents Speak Out Against Standardized Testing
The parents of Castle Bridge Elementary School said no to state testing. They refused to allow their little children in grades K-2 to take a standardized test. The test was canceled. The parents drafted the following statement, which was sent to me by a parent leader, Dao Tran: Statement of Castle Bridge School Parents on New State-Mandated K–2 Testing October 28, 2013 When we first heard in Sep
New York Parent and Educator: Common Core Is Killing My Child’s Love of Learning
I have met the writer of this letter. I know he is real. He requested anonymity. In New York, it is not safe to question authority: “It is time for parents to speak out against the Common Core standards. They are destroying the love of learning in our children. My eight-year old son is in the third grade. He is a very strong student, particularly in Mathematics. Despite that strength, he recently
Virginia School Boards Pass Anti-Testing Resolutions
According to Valerie Strauss, about 30 of Virginia’s 130 local school boards have passed resolutions against excessive testing.  The school boards say “there is “little research” that shows that students “will be better prepared to succeed in their careers and college” by taking the 34 standardized tests the state gives to each child between grades 3-11. The resolutions in Virginia — where there a
I Support Edward Johnson for Atlanta Board of Education
Following the allegations of widespread cheating, the Atlanta Board of Education needs new members and independent thinking. The person who fits the bill is Edward Johnson. I have never met him but I have read many of his emails in which he made sense. He understands that school closings are harmful to the community. He understands the necessity for collaboration, not competition. Here is a good d
The Biggest Obstacle to Punitive “Reforms” Is…
Jonathan Lovell, who teaches writing at San Jose State, believes that it is time to stop the punitive reform train that seeks to crush public education and brand it a failure with phony metrics. The Krytonite of our cause: Passion and Practice. Lovell writes: Please bear with me for a moment as I place our five years of work in producing Passion and Practice within a larger picture. It’s one I
Parent: “These Reforms Are Not About Education”
This parent testified at the state’s public hearing in Portchester, Néw York. She concluded that John King must resign. Read her explanation: “Dear Diane, Last night I attended the Common Core Forum in Port Chester, NY. I was number 6 to speak.It was an incredible feeling to finally be able to look Commissioner King in the eye and say what I have been wanting to say to him for the past 6 months, a
NC: The Great Tablet Mess
A reader in North Carolina updates us on the great tablet fiasco, the recriminations, and the eternal question: who is making a lot of money? Hint: not the teachers. The reader writes: Add to this fiasco ANOTHER one from North Carolina. (Greensboro’s NEWS AND RECORD has created a page for the great Tablet Deal Gone Wrong):
New York Principals: Why the Common Core Tests Failed Our Students and Your Children
This is a very important letter from the New York principals who have led the fight against high-stakes testing and the state’s invalid educator evaluation system. Here is an important excerpt. Read the letter in its entirety.   Here’s what we know: 1)    NYS Testing Has Increased Dramatically: We know that our students are spending more time taking State tests than ever before. Since 2010, the am

OCT 28

A Message to the Los Angeles United School District Board
Dear Board Members, As you are well aware, friends of Superintendent Deasy in the business community and the charter corporate community plan a massive rally to show you how badly L.A. needs Superintendent Deasy. Please do not forget that you were elected by the people of Los Angeles to use your own judgment, not to be swayed by billionaires and their minions. Superintendent Deasy let it be known
A First-Person Report on John King’s Meeting in Portchester, New York
As John King dutifully carries his “listening tour” to a dozen localities in New York state, touting the virtues of Common Core and high-stakes testing, he is running into a problem: No one likes what he is selling. However, as the report below indicates, he doesn’t care. He listens without hearing. It doesn’t matter what parents and educators say. His mind is made up. He is going through the moti
Providence Journal: Analysis of a Hatchet Job on Me
The Providence Journal ran an article by journalist John Hill about my book and my appearance at the University of Rhode Island that was intended to discredit me. It declared that my arguments were “mostly false,” based on the writer’s skewed interpretation of the facts presented in my book, Read it for yourself. As best I can tell, the writer is defending No Child Left Behind, and was deeply affr
Deasy Resignation Drama Diverts Attention from iPad Fiasco
Benjamin Herold of Education Week has written an excellent overview of the confusion surrounding Los Angeles’ iPad purchase for every student in the district. The cost–anticipated ultimately to be in excess of $1 billion–is one concern at a time when classes are overcrowded, and many schools are in need of repair, and thousands of teachers were laid off. The uncertainty about how the iPads will be
Indiana: The Injustice of A-F Grading Systems
Jan Resseger here describes the eloquent case that Fort Wayne’s Mark GiaQuinta made against the A-F grading system. Fort Wayne refuses to grade its schools by A-F because the board, of which GiaQuinta is president, understands that it will stigmatize schools attended by poor children but do nothing to improve them. The A-F system was created to set schools up to fail and be handed over to charter
John King Meets the Public Again
After his fiasco in Poughkeepsie, and his hasty decision to cancel all future public forums, the New York Regents sent John King out on the road again. His next meeting in Portchester was not the disaster of the Poughkeepsie meeting, For starters, he didn’t lecture the audience for over an hour. He showed a certain openness to dialogue, though little evidence that anything he heard would change hi
Who Is Destroying Public Education and the Lives of Chilldren?
I received this letter from a teacher. She speaks fearlessly and is not afraid to publish her name. She must have tenure. In many states, she would be fired instantly for writing what she believes to be true. We live in a time of lies and distractions. Listen to the experts, those who work with children every day. Our poilcymakers–few of whom have ever worked in a school–don’t trust teachers, don’
John Wilson: Top Ten Reasons Not to Contract with TFA
John Wilson explains on his blog on Education Week why states and districts should NOT contract with Teach for America. He writes: “Lately, I have been reading numbers of articles about Teach For America (TFA) written by former participants in the program as well as by researchers and investigative reporters. It appears that there is general consensus that TFA is not the answer to teacher shortag
New Mexico: Parents Organize to Boycott State Tests
Across the nation, parents are organizing to fight the corporate takeover of their children and their schools. The first step: organize to boycott the state tests. Without your child’s data, the machine stops running. As parents, you have the power. The latest report from Néw Mexico: “Hi Diane, As I’m sure you know, New Mexico has one of the masters of Chiefs for Change, Hanna Skandera, in the
Jason Stanford Has News for Arne Duncan
Jason Stanford listened to Arne Duncan’s put down of the “armchair pundits” who oppose Duncan’s obviously brilliant plan to reform American education. How can we forget how Duncan saved the Chicago public schools? But I digress. Stanford, a veteran journalist in Austin, describes himself as an “armchair dad” of children in the public schools of Texas. He has news for Secretary Duncan. Texans are
The Three Segments of the Melissa Harris-Perry Interview and Panel Discussion on MSNBC
From a reader:   The interview and panel discussion were broken into three segments which do not follow one another sequentially online for some reason, so here are the direct links to all three parts. Part 1) The Case Against School Privatization Part 2) How Charter Schools Can Lead to Disparity http
Susan Ochshorn Reviews “Reign of Error”
Susan Ochshorn is an advocate for early childhood education. This is her life, and she is good at it. In this post, she reviews Reign of Error and assesses its stance on the issues that matter most to her. Of course, she is delighted that early childhood education is high on my policy agenda. (She needs to talk to Chris Hayes, who said that there is research on both sides, which puzzled me.) She
Teacher to Parents: Join Us, We Need You, It Is All About Your Children
A teacher left this comment on the blog:   I am a teacher and PARENTS have everything to do with joining the dialogue on education ( ). And the teachers I see day in and day out want to know what parents think, what they see and hear from their children outside the school environment… we desperately want parents to understand what “reforms” are requiring of teachers

OCT 27

L.A.’s Business Community Fights to Save Deasy
A leading member of the bar and a member of the California Board of Regents is urging the Los Angeles school board to retain Superintendent John Deasy, who recently threatened to resign. The letter was signed by George Kieffer, a Schwarzenegger appointee to the state Board of Regents in 2009. Business leaders are working hard to hold on to Deasy, despite his poor relations with the educators of Lo
Los Angeles Parent: Who Runs Our Schools?
As parent activist Karen Wolfe explains here, Los Angeles is in the district of a power struggle over control of its public schools. Wolfe says the voters elected school board members to reflect the will of the people. Superintendent John Deasy has threatened to resign as his way of pressuring the elected board to do what he wants and to get the business community to demand that the board let De
Indiana: Does the Public Have a Right to Know What Public Officials Do?
State Superintendent of Instruction Glenda Ritz is suing because the state board of education, appointed by Governors Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence, took a vote to strip her of any role on reviewing the A-F grading system when she was not present. She is the chair of the board, by law. The decision was made in secret, without an open meeting. Indiana Lesley Weidenbrener says the suit raises import
Will Mark NAISON Run for Governor of Néw York?
Mark Naison, professor of African American studies at Fordham University and co-foundr of the BATS, is considering throwing his hat into the ring as a write-in candidate for Governor of Néw York. I would vote for him! He calls his new party the Restore Recess Party. Here is his platform: From: mnaison
A New Hero for Public Schools in Texas?
A letter from a reader notes a worrisome trend in Texas, where money talks loud: Diane, Maybe we have a new potential hero in Texas, Representative Lon Burnam. I received this Alert this week from his office concerning the proliferation of Charters in Texas and the potential harm to district credit ratings (financing for new construction). I have previously been contacted by a person doing resear
NY Principal: “Reforms” Kill Love of Learning
Tim Farley is a brave man and a fearless educator. He wrote the following letter and he also testified in a similar vein to State a commissioner King. Tim Farley is a principal in New York state and his wife Jessica is a teacher. In addition, they are parents of four school-age children. They have been participants in the most disastrous, mandate-driven, top-down experimentation on students, teach
New York Principal Sounds Off at First of King!s New Listening Tours:
After Commissioner John King had a disastrous meeting with parents in Poughkeepsie, he canceled his remaining five open meetings. But the Board of Regents decided what was needed was even more meetings, so King is now holding more meetings around the state, though so far not in New York City. At his first new round of meetings, one principal got up and spoke fearlessly about what was happening in
Another Perspective on International Test Scores
The Atlantic published a very interesting article about the latest international test scores by Julie Ryan, and the title is significant. It says: “AMERICAN EDUCATION ISNT MEDIOCRE, ITS DEEPLY UNEQUAL.” That’s an apt way of saying that poverty drags down test scores. This is true of every standardized test, whether it is the state tests, the SAT, the ACT, the NAEP or international tests. As I w

OCT 26

Melissa Harris Perry: Fabulous
Friends, I was interviewed this morning on MSNBC by Melissa Harris Perry and was incredibly impressed by her. Unlike most TV journalists, she had actually read the book. She asked smart questions. She really gets it. This was the best conversation I have yet participated in on national TV, including the panel that followed. No “Gotcha” questions, just a thoughtful effort to assess some important
The Common Core in Florida: A Mixed Assessment
This is an interesting and even-handed report by Sarah Carr on the implementation of Common Core in the Florida schools. Clearly, the new standards will be easier for affluent students and harder for disadvantaged students. There is no indication that they will close the achievement gap. Maybe the bright students will arrive in college even better prepared for their English classes. Who knows what
A New Business Opportunity for Entrepreneurs
A reader spots a niche business: “How about the idea of online early childhood? Learning to play with virtual toys with virtual friends?”
Teachers: How to Get a Seat at the Table
Paul Thomas has the advantage of nearly two decades as a high school teacher and now a teacher educator at Furman Uniiversity, one of only four teacher education programs given. High rating by the non -professional National Council on Teacher Quality. Thomas has already called for a moratorium on privileged white men pontificating about race, class, and gender. He previously made this recommenda
Pleasantville Schools Withdraw from Race to Top to Protect Student Privacy
The superintendent of schools in Pleasantville, New York, announced that the district was returning its Race to the Top funding and withdrawing from Race to the Top. The reason: the district wants to protect the privacy of its students. New York is one of the few states that has agreed to turn over all student data to inBloom, the Gates-funded data mining operation whose software was developed by
Albert Shanker on Charters: 1988
In the hagiography of the charter school movement, we often hear that Albert Shanker was one of the original proponents of the idea. Shanker was president of the American Federation of Teachers, and his imprimatur is supposed to persuade people that charters have a progressive patina. This is ironic, because 90% of the nation’s 6,000 charters are non-union and oppose collective bargaining. Some ch
Bill Gates Explains Why His High School Experience Was So Great
All students should have the high school experience that Bill Gates had. A wonderful campus with a rich curriculum, experienced teachers (79% with advanced degrees), small classes, excellent arts programs, great sports activities, up-to-date science laboratories. Everything that makes for success. So why does he say that, for other people’s children, class size doesn’t matter? Why does he suppo
Third Grader Prepares for the Global Economy
A mother sent this comment: “Here is a problem my third-grader brought home (I had to read it 3 times, and it took ME forever to work this–forget an 8 year old): “Easton has been raising vegetables in his garden all summer. He plans to sell some of his vegetables at a local farmer’s market. “He has selected 24 radishes, 30 onions, 16 heads of lettuce and 25 tomatoes to sell. He wants to display t