Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday Morning Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all

Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all:

Sunday Morning Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all



Laura H. Chapman Has a Dialogue with Senator Rob Portman of Ohio (Fake Dialogue ALERT)



Everyone who wrote to their Republican Senator urging them not to vote for Betsy DeVos got a form letter explaining why she was an excellent choice, blah blah blah. None of them referred to the fact that hers was the most contested Cabinet nomination in history, requiring the Vice-President to cast a tie-breaking vote.
Laura Chapman, our perspicacious reader and commenter, decided to annotate the canned response she got from her Senator.
She writes:
Like thousand of others, I called and wrote to my senators in an effort to stop the nomination of Betsy Devos. Here is the last reply I received from Ohio’s Senator Rob Portman. He has dual loyalties. One is to Donald Trump. The other is to Ohio’s Governor, John Kasich who has little use for public education unless it boosts the economy of Ohio.
My reply to Senator Portman follows each of his “reasons” for supporting DeVos and his reasoning about public education in Ohio.
Rob Portman says:
Dear Laura,
Thank you for contacting me to express your views on Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of the United States Department of Education. I appreciate you taking the time to contact me. I supported Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education because during the confirmation process she committed to strongly support public education and because of her support for local control, instead of having the federal government dictate education policy at the state and local level.
Sir: Betsy DeVos did not voluntarily indicate that she has a commitment to public education. Anything resembling an expression of “commitment” had to be extracted from her and it was “voiced” only after she tried to save face. She needed to save face, having made ridiculous statements about guns for schools threatened by grizzly bears and by saying IDEA could be left up to the states. There is nothing in her resume that reflects a commitment to public education. She is the champion of for-profit education and tax-subsidized religious schools.
Portman says: I look forward to working with her to improve our K-12 public education system, make college more affordable, stand up for children with disabilities, and close the skills gap by promoting Career and Technical Education (CTE) to give young people more opportunities to succeed.
Sir: There is no evidence that she has any knowledge of what “improvement” looks like. She could not offer a coherent response to the difference between proficiency and “growth.” There is no evidence that she will stand up for children with disabilities. The school policies and practices she has promoted in Michigan allow schools to refuse enrollments of students with special needs. DeVos’s policy agenda for “Choice” means schools get to choose their students.
College affordability is an issue but there is not a clue in her testimony about how she might address that.
You imply that “promoting CTE” should be on the federal agenda and that CTE gives “young people more opportunities to succeed.” Can you cite any DeVos testimony that indicates she is knowledgeable about CTE “career pathways,” or specific skills gaps? Did she give testimony that offers a reason to believe she understands information on labor markets from the Bureau of Labor Statistics?
Portman says: “In addition, I do give some deference to the President choosing his cabinet, as I did when supporting President Obama’s nominees.”
Sir: In my judgment, deference should never override informed judgment about the qualifications of the nominee. DeVos is not just unqualified, she is hostile to public education.
Portman says: In the 21st century economy, a high quality education is critical to the social and economic well-being of our nation. I believe that the most important role in educating tomorrow’s workforce is played by parents, teachers, mentors, and community leaders at the state and local level. At a time when young people are leaving our state, we must work collaboratively in our communities to give students the tools necessary to compete in high demand fields in Ohio.
Sir: I respectfully disagree with your view of the purposes of public education. You have also conflated voting for DeVos and your apparent loyalty to John Kasich’s “Ohio First” educational policies (except his policies on school financing).
You restate Kasich’s parochial view that the major purpose of public education in Ohio is job preparation for “high demand fields in Ohio.” Of course, many students who are educated in Ohio will not spend the rest of their lives in Ohio. Do you regard these “leavers” as free-loaders? Will you blame educators if graduates of Ohio schools leave Ohio?
Should public education be tethered to workforce preparation for Ohio? I do not think so, especially since the economy is increasingly globalized and corporations show no loyalty to Ohio without some tax breaks. Those tax breaks do not help the budgets of public schools.
Among the many people whom you cite as having an important role in educating “tomorrow’s workforce” you omit yourself and other elected officials. You give lip-service to Ohio’s “social well being” as a purpose of education, but clearly want public education in Ohio to be tethered to workforce preparation for Ohio.
You say not a word about the most important mission of public education in the United States: preparing each generation to participate in a democratic society, especially being an informed voter.
Thank you for the form letter explaining your reason for supporting Devos as Secretary of Education and your views about the purposes of education.
I will be working to defeat you in the next election cycle.
Sincerely,
Laura H. Chapman
Laura H. Chapman Has a Dialogue with Senator Rob Portman of Ohio (Fake Dialogue ALERT) | Diane Ravitch's blog - http://wp.me/p2odLa-gsR


Today I Achieved a Lifetime Dream!
Monday I spoke in Commerce, Texas. Thursday I spoke to CalState leaders at San Diego State. Mary joined me after being delayed 24 hours by the snowstorm in New York. Today was a day to relax. With San Diego Superintendent Cindy Marten as our guide, we toured San Diego. She drove us to the Torrey Pines area, where there are stunning cliffs. We got out of the car to watch the paragliders. I had to
Why Trump’s Travel Ban Lost in Court
The Washington Post editorial board explained why Trump’s travel ban lost in court. If he takes it to the Supreme Court, he will lose there too because his Justice Department argued that his executive order is “unreviewable.” The courts don’t agree. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-9th-circuit-makes-the-right-call-on-trumps-travel-ban/2017/02/10/22ca40e4-efbb-11e6-9662-6eedf1627882_sto
Steve Nelson: An Obituary for the United States of America, 1776-2016
Steve Nelson posted an obituary for the great, idealistic and progressive nation we strived to be, with periods of struggle and backsliding. Remember, America the Beautiful, “with liberty and justice for all?” He rules the death a homicide. He includes a list of seven organizations to which contributions may be sent in lieu of flowers. I add: the Network for Public Education.
GOP Town Halls Need Police Protection Because of Public Anger
Report from the Washington Post: Republican elected officials need security at town hall meetings in their district as voters express outrage over ACA and DeVos https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/swarming-crowds-and-hostile-questions-are-the-new-normal-at-gop-town-halls/2017/02/10/376ddf7c-efcc-11e6-b4ff-ac2cf509efe5_story.html?utm_term=.9faa32d0544b&wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1 Vote them out!
While You Weren’t Looking, Congress Abolished Ban on Dumping Coal Waste into Streams
This is an astonishing story that flew under the radar. Trump keeps us enraged and entertained with his tweets and offhand comments, and while we are distracted by stories about Ivanka and Melania, Congress abolished a regulation that prevents coal mining companies from dumping waste into streams. Don’t people in coal country want to fish and swim in the streams? Do they want polluted waters?
Masha Gessen: Rules for Surviving Autocracy
Masha Gessen is a Russian-American dissident who writes for the New York Times and the New York Review of Books. She wrote this article right after the election, on November 10. This consists of her six rules for surviving an autocracy. Here are a few excerpts: “Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerat
Commonweal: This Isn’t Normal
The editors of the Catholic magazine Commonweal remind us that this new era is not normal . We must not forget that. Every day brings new outrages or misdeeds. Any of the stories flitting across our screens might have been enough to dominate the news for days or weeks during previous presidencies: continuing investigations into Russian interference in the election, shameless lies by the White Hou
Jeff Bryant: How DeVos Strengthened Progressive Forces in Education
Jeff Bryant pulls together persuasive evidence that Betsy DeVos energized a movement that was previously scattered and disconnected. People who had no idea that the privatization of public schools is a genuine threat became informed. Groups began forming at the grassroots level to defend their community’s public schools. Supposedly “progressive” Democrats supported privatization by charters becau

FEB 10

Trump Calls Senator Warren “Pocahontas” and Repeats Claims of Voter Fraud
In a closed door meeting with 10 Republican senators on Thursday, Trump derided Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas,” a term he used often during the campaign. He also claimed that he lost New Hampshire because thousands of Massachusetts residents were bused to New Hampshire to vote illegally. According to Politico , there was an embarrassed silence as Trump went into his rant about voter fra
Stymied By Court on Muslim Ban, Trump Steps Up Deportations
A Mexican woman with two American-born children, who had lived in this country for two decades, was deported immediately when she checked in with immigration offices for her annual visit. This is the result of Trump’s executive order to deport undocumented immigrants who have committed a crime. The crime in this case was that she once used a fake social security card. We can all rest easier tonig
Protestors Block DeVos from Entering DC Public School
Protestors blocked Betsy DeVos from entering a public middle school in DC. Protesters block Betsy DeVos from entering public school in Washington http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/10/politics/devos-protest-at-washington-school/index.html I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I was thinking of planning a “Betsy, bar the door” campaign, because of her well-documented contempt for public schools.
What I Said in Texas
On Monday, I was in Commerce, Texas, to speak at Texas A&M’s campus there. I met some wonderful Texans and was treated royally by President Ray Keck and Vice President Noah Nelson. I had a Q&A with the education faculty, then had an interview with the local NPR station, then lectured to the campus community. The big issue in Texas right now is that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing for vouchers. I
A Closer Look at the Appeals Court Ruling Freezing Trump’s Immigration Ban
This is a very informative article about the 29-page opinion handed down yesterday by a unanimous three-judge panel. This decision was meant to let Trump know that we have a government in which the President does not have unlimited power. No imperial presidency. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/02/09/the-9th-circuit-deals-a-blow-to-the-imperial-and-incompetent-president/ Th
Barbara Miner: If You Care about Public Schools and Democracy, Beware of DeVos’ Vouchers
Barbara Miner is a veteran journalist based in Milwaukee, where she writes often about the stat’s disastrous voucher plan. In 2013, she published a book called “Lessons from the Heartland: A Turbulent Half-Century of Public Education in an Iconic American City.” In this article in the Los Angeles Times, Miner warns that the public must keep watch on DeVos because her goal is to legitimize voucher
Holy Mackerel! Rosie O’Donnell Looks Just Like Steve Bannon
Just got this. http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/rosie-o-donnell-morphs-steve-bannon-new-profile-picture-article-1.2969051 Now don’t suggest she can walk into the White House and sit in on the next meeting of the National Security Coucil.
Trump’s False Claims About Crime Are Harmful to Our Society
Trump has made a series of statements about crime and violence in America that are demonstrably false, starting with his reference to “American carnage” in his inaugural speech. Stirring up fear about crime is a tactic to pour resources into policing and into “get tough” policies that make Americans fearful and afraid to venture out at night, if they believe our national fabulist. Just for the re
Peter Greene: Here Comes Another Union-Busting Lawsuit
Peter Greene writes about the filing of another lawsuit in California whose purpose is to defund teachers’ unions. http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-new-friedrichs-anti-union-
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