Sunday, February 5, 2017

Try to Keep Up - Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all

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

Try to Keep Up - Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education

Aaron Pallas Reviews Betsy DeVos’ Performance and Responses
Aaron Pallas of Teachers College, Columbia University, reviewed Betsy DeVos in The Hechinger Report. In her testimony and in her written responses, he found her to be largely evasive and misleading. In the matter of graduation rates, her answer was simply untrue. Although there were more bright spots in the relatively polished written testimony than in her awkward oral testimony, DeVos remained e
Europe’s Comedy Shows create Videos to Trump!
You will enjoy these videos. The Netherlands did it first: they created a video and said if America is first, we should be second! Then other countries did their response, and the results are hilarious! Enjoy!


Another Billionaire Weighs in Against DeVos
Yesterday it was Eli Broad, the Los Angeles billionaire, who turned against Betsy DeVos. Today, it is Arthur Rock, a Silicon Valley billionaire who is one of the biggest supporters of Teach for America. They are troubled by DeVos, maybe because she is a religious zealot, maybe because vouchers might force them to compete, maybe because her brand of reform taints theirs. Whatever it is, the reform
“Buy Pat Toomey’s Vote” Campaign Goes Viral, Raises Over $64,000
Take a look at the GoFundMe page to “Buy Pat Toomey’s Vote.” When I googled, I found articles from many sources about the campaign, and a profile of the educator who started it. She says to the few critics and skeptics who have complained, all the money raised will go to three charities: Betsy DeVos has donated $55,800 to the campaign of United States Senator Pat Toomey. Incidentally, despite all
Mercedes Schneider: What Betsy DeVos Told the Senators about Special Education
Mercedes Schneider has been reading the written responses that Betsy DeVos gave to the Senate Committee’s questions. One question was whether all schools receiving federal funds should be required services for children with disabilities. Her answer, in many words, can be boiled down to one word: no.
Andy Borowitz: Betsy DeVos Taught Him Everything He Knows about Frederick Douglass
Andy Borowitz, humorist, wrote about Trump’s comments about Frederick Douglass, in which he referred to Douglass in the present tense. Trump rattled off a few names of distinguished African Americans in tribute to Black History Month. Borowitz says that Betsy DeVos wrote the names down on a piece of paper for him.
David Frum: How to Build an Autocracy
When large numbers of people send me the same article, I know that it has struck a chord. This article, by David Frum, describes the fears that many people share about Trump’s lack of respect for the norms of democracy. Frum is a conservative: he was a speechwriter for George W. Bush. He is now a senior editor at The Atlantic. He did not vote for Trump because he sensed that Trump was neither a R
North Carolina: Public School Advocates Start Campaign to “Buy” Senator Burr’s Vote
Following on the great success of the campaign to “buy” Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey’s vote (it raised $60,000 in three days, which will be donated to charities for children in the state), a similar GoFundMe campaign has been launched in North Carolina. It is a great consciousness-raising activity. The funds will go to an organization that supports public schools. “Durham, N.C., February 3, 20
Jim Hall: Arizona Charter Operator Makes Millions by Real Estate Deals with Taxpayer Money
Jim Hall, whom I wrote about in the previous post, has uncovered many charter scams in Arizona. Here is his latest report. Open the link to read his attachments and documentation. Arizonans for Charter School Accountability 602-343-3021 The Consequences of Unregulated Charter Schools: The Leona Group LLC Reaps Millions in Real Estate Profits While Arizona Taxpayers (and Stud
Retired Educator Creates “Arizonans for Charter School Accountability,” Exposes Frauds and Scams
Jim Hall retired after three decades in education. He founded Arizonans for Charter School Accountability. He explains here: I retired in June after over 30 years in education and 23 years as a school principal. One day I happened to find my research on charter school financing that was to be my dissertation for a PhD I never completed. I did a little research into one of the charter school compa
Capitol & Main: How Betsy DeVos Crushes Moderate Republicans Who Get in Her Way
Danny Feingold writes in Capitol & Main about Betsy DeVos’ hardline education ideology and the ruthless way she uses her family money to smash those who don’t go along with her wishes. DeVos wants choice. She loves vouchers but thus far has been able to impose them in Mic
Rachel Maddow on Betsy DeVos: Must Watch
This is the Rachel Maddow Show on Betsy DeVos and the historic uprising against her. Senate phone lines crashed.
Politico: Opposition to DeVos “Snowballs into an Avalanche”
Politico reports that the offices of Republican Senators are overwhelmed with letters, emails, and faxes opposing Betsy DeVos, according to Politico. She is the most controversial and unpopular cabinet choice of Trump, and Senators have been overwhelmed by negative comments. Most of them have gone into hiding. Their phone lines are jammed or off the hook. The reasons for the avalanche of oppositi
Gary Rubinstein: Lying about Detroit and Muskegon Heights and Michigan
In the debate about the appointment of Betsy DeVos, the failure of her brand of reform in Michigan has not gotten enough attention. Would you hire a plumber whose previous jobs were all failures? Would you trust your car to an auto mechanic who was known to be incompetent? Would you go to a doctor who lost his medical license for malpractice? DeVos’s allies have been beating the drums about a Det

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Update on GoFundMe Campaign to Buy Pat Toomey’s Vote: Success!
A teacher in Pennsylvania named Kate Fritz created the GoFundMe campaign to buy Senator Pat Toomey’s vote, hoping she could persuade him to vote NO on DeVos by raising as much money as DeVos has given him ($55,800). Tonight her campaign was featured on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.
Cleveland Plain-Dealer to Senator Rob Portman: Vote NO on DeVos
Senator Rob Portman of Ohio announced that he would vote for DeVos but the Cleveland Plain-Dealer urges him to take a stand and vote no. “Sen. Rob Portman, who just got a huge vote of confidence from the people of Ohio for his re-election, now owes it to the citizens of this state to do the right thing and vote
Is Betsy DeVos a Victim of Gender Bias?
Anya Kamenetz, who reports on education for NPR, said that Betsy DeVos is the most controversial of Trump’s nominees, and she wonders why. Some people don’t like her live of privatization, charters, and vouchers. Some people say she is unqualified but then so is Dr. Ben Carson, and he hasn’t generated so much opposition. Some say the unions are stirring up opposition. Some people want to protect
“Lawyers for the Good” Summarize Trump’s First Week in Office
This is a useful record of the extraordinary steps taken by Trump during his first days in office. During the campaign, we learned that it was difficult to react to an outrageous statement because it was quickly succeeded by yet another one. Now, we find that each outrageous executive action is followed by yet another one. It is hard to protest on so many different fronts. Yet we must.
Trump Administration Mulling Religious Exemptions to Permit Discrimination against LGBT
The Washington Post (and also The Nation) obtained a leaked draft of a plan to allow individuals, organizations, and businesses to opt out of federal regulations on religious grounds. Critics say this would permit discrimination against LGBT persons. This would implement the controversial “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” that Mike Pence tried to enact in Indiana and was forced to withdraw when
Cedar Riener: Should There Be Limits to Free Speech?
Cedar Riener is a professor of psychology at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia. In this post , he debates the dilemmas of free speech. What stance do you take when confronting fascists? Do you ignore those who bully the vulnerable in public? He uses the example of a rightwing provocateu r who humiliates a transgender student at the University of Wisconsin by displaying photographs of her as part
Phyllis Bush: The Expensive Hoax of Vouchers
Phyllis Bush is a retired educator and a member of the board of the Network for Public Education who lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She writes here about the hidden cost of vouchers, which are a gift of public dollars to private schools with no accountability. Here is an excerpt: Vouchers drain state tax dollars from the entire education funding pot. This often causes district budgeting deficits a
Senate Agrees to Move Forward on DeVos Vote, Despite Unprecedented Public Opposition
The Senate agreed by a vote of 52-48 to move to a vote on the DeVos nomination. Two Republican senators will vote against her. Unless one Republican breaks ranks, the vote will be 50-50, and VP Pence will cast a tie-breaking vote for her. Public reaction has been intense and negative. Senator Toomey’s office received 8,000 faxes against DeVos in one hour. Read Senator Patti Murray’s comment in th
Texas Tribune: Vouchers Are Not About Kids, They are About Money
Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune reviews the upcoming voucher battle in Texas . The voucher fight is not about kids. It is not about education. It is about who gets the public money. “While it seems to be a fight about education, it’s really a fight about money — about whether taxpayers should foot some or all of the tuition bill for private elementary and secondary education.” Lt. Gov. Dan Patri
Great News from Oklahoma! Pastors Are Organizing to Support Kids and Public Schools!
As the forces of reaction gather for an assault on public education in Oklahoma, pastors across the state have joined in an organization called Pastors for Oklahoma Kids. They have an alliance with the dynamic Pastors for Texas Children, which anticipates growing its membership in other states. They 
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