Monday, May 1, 2017

Just TRY to Catch Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all

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

Just TRY to Catch Diane Ravitch's blog
A site to discuss better education for all






How Trump “Got Rolled” in His First Budget Negotiation
It is probably not a good idea to brag that you are the world’s best negotiator when your only experience was in the real estate world. Apparently those skills do not transfer to government, where you have to deal with wily veterans of both parties and a complex set of procedural rules that you do not know. Democrats and Republicans agreed on a budget to avert a shutdown, and Trump didn’t get any
Write a Letter to Your Representative in Congress to Protect Federal Education Funding!
Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters, sent out the following bulletin: It was just revealed that Congress is due to vote on an education budget early this week which would cut Title IIA funds by $300 million. President Trump’s budget would eliminate these funds altogether for the following year. Please write Congress today: Urge them NOT to cut Title IIA funds – which many dis
Budget Deal for Funding Federal Programs Ignores Trump’s Requests for Deep Cuts and School Choice
This is funny. The Republicans control both houses of Congress. Trump asked them to slash the federal education budget by billions and to create a multi-billion fund to support school choice. The new budget for education ignores both requests. According to Education Week, there will be increases for Title I and special education. There will be no new spending on school choice. The only federal pr
Christine Langhoff: The Corporate Reformers Are in Control of Massachusetts Public Schools
Christine Langhoff teaches in Massachusetts and is a member of the Network for Public Education. She writes: Massachusetts public education is being run by a cabal of reformsters, many of them affiliated with a local thinkster tank, The Pioneer Institute. Jim Peyser, state Secretary of Education, is a former director of The NewSchools Venture Fund, having run the Pioneer Institute from 1993-2000.
Will Birmingham Be the Next New Orleans?
Public education activists in Birmingham are afraid that their school board is getting ready to appoint a Broadie–or worse–to be the next superintendent of schools. They fear that the plan is to deliberate this crucial decision in complete 


Teacher: Why You Should Opt Out

In response to a post where I explained the uselessness of the state tests, their lack of any information to help students or teachers, a teacher sent this comment: “It isn’t just ENd-of-Year exams. It is also the beginning of the school 


Mercedes Schneider: The Management Company That Owns the #1 High School in the Nation is in Deep Trouble

Mercedes Schneider has done a deep dive into the financials of the BASIS Schools . It is an eye-opener. BASIS charter schools won the top spots in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of the nation’s high schools. BASIS Scottsdale was rated number 1 in the nation. If you were thinking of sending your son or daughter there, think twice. This is not a typical American high school. It is focused to
Missouri: Legislature Likely to Pass a School Choice Bill, Despite State Constitution

Legislators in Missouri are about to pass an expansive school choice bill that paves the way for vouchers and privatization of public education. Here is the language of the Missouri state constitution: “Section 5. The proceeds of all certificates of indebtedness due the state school fund, and all moneys, bonds, lands, and other property belonging to or donated to any state fund for public school

YESTERDAY

Your Comment May Have Been Trapped in the Spam Folder

After learning that several regular commenters were unable to post comments, I contacted WordPress Support and told them of the problem. The two people I identified were, he told me, in the Spam folder. That was Ellen Lipubic and Artsegal. I realized I would have to review every item in the Spam folder to see if anyone else had been stranded there. There were about 3,000 items in the Spam folder,
DeVos Cancels Charter School Visit to Los Angeles! Sad!

Only hours after the U.S. Department of Education put out a press release announcing Betsy DeVos’ visit to the Schwarzenegger Charter School, the visit was suddenly canceled. Wonder why? The L.A. school board election is coming up soon. California doesn’t like Trump or DeVos. Would her appearance create a problem for the pro-charter candidate Nick Melvoin and the California Charter School Associa
When Trump Met with the Teachers of the Year

Valerie Strauss describes the scene as Trump met with the teachers of the year in the Oval Office and invited them to sing “Happy Birthday” to Melania. Nothing was said about his plans to cut the education budget.
Peter Greene: Arne Duncan’s New Job

Peter Greene reports that Arne Duncan has landed a fat cushy gig at a huge investment firm, based on his smashing accomplishments as superintendent of the Chicago public schools and as Secretary of Education, where he reformed the American school system. Fact check: the Chicago public schools are in deep trouble; the only federal evaluation of Race to the Top said it was a flop. Is this the way t
DeVos Will Visit a Charter School in California Tomorrow: May Day!

Betsy DeVos will visit a charter school in Woodland Hills tomorrow. On Monday, DeVos is slated to tour the CHIME Institute’s Schwarzenegger Community School, a charter school in Woodland Hills. Monday also happens to be May Day, and labor and community groups throughout the region are planning major protests. Alex Caputo-Pearl, head of the Los Angeles teachers union, put out this statement: “The
Which School is the Best High School in Buffalo? The One with Selective Admissions or…?

I am really steamed up about the utter absurdity of the U.S. News & World Report’s listing of the “best” high schools in the nation. The more selective the school is, the higher its ranking. The “best” school is the one that enrolls the “best” students. But what about the schools that take all students and help them become the best they can be? Are they inferior to the school that excludes those
Peter Goodman: How Would We Assess Students Without Standardized Tests?

Peter Goodman takes up the challenge that I put down a while back in a post about why we need standardized testing in every grade for every child. It is worth noting that to my knowledge we are the only nation in the world that insists on testing every child from grade 3-8, and we have very little to show for it. Even if test scores went up, that wouldn’t mean that children are better educated. I
Julian Vasquez Heilig: The Eight Questions Betsy DeVos Will Never Answer About Vouchers

Julian Vasquez Heilig dissects the claims about vouchers by posing eight questions about vouchers that Betsy DeVos cannot or will not ever answer. First is, where did the idea come from? Well, there is that famous essay by libertarian economist Milton Friedman in 1955, but there is also the advocacy of Southern politicians following the Brown decision. Friedman had the idealistic belief that pare
Russ Walsh: No, Betsy, Choice Is Not Always a Good Thing

Russ Walsh posted this column earlier this year. I am reposting it now because it is an insightful critique of DeVos’s ideology that choice is always good. Walsh points out that there are many choices we used to have that we don’t have any more. We are not free to smoke where we want. He remembers the thick smoke in the teachers’ lounge. I remember the smokers on the commercial airplanes. He reme
Los Angeles: Celerity Charter Schools Under Federal Investigation

The Los Angeles Times has written extensively about the Celerity charter schools and their record of financial mismanagement, self-dealing, and possible conflicts of interest. In this expose, the Times revealed that the founder of the charter chain was paid $471,000 a year, 35% more than the superintendent of the Los Angeles public school system. The article also documented use of the schools’ cr

APR 29

Trump’s First 100 Days

The marker of the first 100 days of a presidency was set during the first administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR started office with plans, advisors, and legislation. He called Congress into session and passed monumental legislation. Like Trump, Roosevelt had a Congress controlled by his own party. The circumstances that Roosevelt faced were unique. Banks were shutting down. Depositors
EdTech Envisioning Profits by Jumping into School Marketplace: “Don’t Call It Philanthropy”

While teachers continue to struggle for a decent middle-income salary, the edtech entrepreneurs are salivating about their success in the ed marketplace. Listen to the audio to hear the sound of happy money-makers. Some people are getting very rich indeed by investing in technology to replace teachers and to call it “personalization.” When there is no teacher involved, it is “depersonalization.”
Ohio: Kucinich Blasts Charter Frauds and Scams

Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who may be thinking of a run for Governor of Ohio, launched a four-city speaking tour across the state, castigating the corruption in the charter industry at every stop. Kucinich understands that every dollar that goes to a charter is taken away from a public school. He is the first politician who understands the shell game. Defund public schools while funding
California: Time to Reform the “Reformers”!

The California Teachers Association has assembled a large coalition of groups to support the reform of charter schools. The press release calls it a “Broad Coalition” but in California that is a double entendre. (Do they mean a coalition funded by billionaire Eli Broad? No!). Broad Coalition of Legislators, Educators and Parents Back 3 Bills to Stop Waste, Fraud and Abuse, Ensure Equal Access for
Florida’s Retention Policy: Is It Working?

Sue Legg of the Florida League of Voters wonders whether Florida’s policy of holding back third grade students who don’t pass the reading test is working. It certainly boosts fourth grade reading scores. But she notes a strange anomaly: Why does the number of high-scoring students decline from fourth grade to eighth grade? She also notes that the biggest improvement in fourth grade reading scores
Preston Green: Will Charter School Fraud Be the New Enron?

Preston Green III is a scholar at the University of Connecticut who studies the legal and political issues associated with school choice. He fears that school choice, unregulated and unaccountable, will be the new Enron, a financial scandal of massive proportions. Professor Green says: “ As school choice champions like Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos push to make charter schools a larger part


Gary Rubinstein: The 4th Best High School in New York State Doesn’t Exist

Gary Rubinstein wrote a post about the curiosity of the KIPP high school in New York City that was ranked one of the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, even though it had only 58 students and the three other KIPP high schools had zero students who took and passed AP exams. The name of the 
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