Friday, June 9, 2017

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

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

Friday Lessons Diane Ravitch's blog
A site to discuss better education for all

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Time for Democracy in the Public Schools of Philadelphia
A reader responds to Lisa Haver’s post about the urgency of abolishing the authoritarian and unaccountable School Reform Commission, and also corrects my statement about “restoring democratic control.” An elected board could not do any worse than the appointed SRC, which has run the public schools into the ground and led the way to their demolition. “I used to teach in Philadelphia, before my mov
Cory Booker Joins Republicans* to Block Import of Cheaper Prescription Drugs from Canada
Senator Bernie Sanders introduced legislation to allow Americans to buy prescription drugs from Canada, where they are cheaper even though some are made in America. Senator Cory Booker, the faux-progressive, voted with the 

Steve Zimmer’s Chief of Staff Speaks Out About the Complex Issues in LAUSD

Claudia Vizcarra’s statement was posted as a comment. Steve Zimmer fought against the Billionaires Boy Club twice, and lost the second time. I strongly supported Steve. It was only after the election that I wrote that I wished he had fought harder against charters and drawn the lines more sharply against privatization. To Steve’s credit, he is a thoughtful, reasonable, open-minded person. If he h
Lisa Haver: It Is Time to Restore Democratic Control of Philadelphia’s Public Schools

For many years, the public schools of Philadelphia have been drastically underfunded by the state of Pennsylvania. This created a series of fiscal crises, which should have produced equitable funding, but instead gave cause for a state takeover, thus blaming the city for the state’s failures. The state established the appointed School Reform Commission in 2001. The SRC appointed Paul Vallas to ru
Join Me at the Skinny Awards Dinner in NYC on June 20

Please join me at the Skinny Awards to benefit Class Size Matters on June 20. Meet your fellow fighters for public schools! If you need partial aid to attend, let Leonie 

Indiana Okays Failing Private Schools to Receive Voucher Students

The fraud of school choice continues. “The Indiana State Board of Education approved four private schools with a history of low performance and academic failure to accept publicly funded vouchers to cover tuition for incoming students during a meeting Wednesday. “The schools had lost their ability to enroll new students in the Choice Scholarship Program because they had been rated a D or F on the
Arkansas: State Board Renews Failing Charter School But Won’t RestoreLocal Control to Little Rock Public Schools

This is a shocking story , by Max Brantley, one of the leading journalists in Arkansas and an outspoken critic of the Waltons, who use their billions to dominate the state and the University of Arkansas. Get this: the State Board of Education just renewed a charter school that has failed to meet standards for nine years in a row. But the state board refuses to relinquish its takeover of the Littl
The True Meaning of Kindergarten: The Children’s Garden

The current absurd obsession with test scores is destroying schooling and childhood. Nowhere is the devastation more visible than in state and local policies turning kindergarten and nursery school into academically rigorous boot camps. Pre-K is supposed to get children ready for kindergarten. Kindergarten is a time to learn reading and writing and math. Kindergarten prepares the child for first


Ken Bernstein in Virginia Makes a Tough Choice in the Democratic Primary for Governor

I feel better about supporting Ralph Northam for Governor after reading the views of Ken Bernstein, a teacher advocate whose judgment I trust. Ken has spent time with both men. He will vote for the winner. He is voting for Northam because of his commitment to public schools and his state and local experience. His wife, he adds, is voting for Periello. Whoever wins, I hope he keeps the privatizers
Karen Wolfe: Why the Billionaire Boys Club Won the Los Angeles Election

Karen Wolfe is a parent activist and blogger in Los Angeles. She interviewed several of the leading figures in the recent school board elections and shares her thoughts about why the board president Steve Zimmer lost and his billionaire-backed challenger Nick Melvoin won. [Sorry for original error; Freudian slip.] Back in the distant past, a person could raise $30-50,000 and run for school board.
On June 13, Virginia Will Pick a Democrat to Run as Governor: Public Schools Matter

Virginia is one of the few states that has held the line on charter schools. Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed efforts to loosen restrictions on new charters. The state has only 9 charters, and new ones can’t open without the endorsement of the local school board. Two Democrats will be in a run-off on June 13: Lt-Governor Ralph Northam and former Congressman Tom Periello. Northam, a physician, has
California Legislator: For-Profit Charters Are Ripping Off Taxpayers

Kevin McCarthy, State Assemblyman from Sacramento, published a terrific article in the Sacramento Bee with Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers, explaining what a rip-off for-profit charters are. The last time the Legislature tried to prohibit for-profit charters, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed it. Let’s hope that as more legislators understand the frauds in both for-
BREAKING: New Mexico Commissioner Skandera Resigns

Mercedes Schneider has the story. Slanders is stepping down. Will she join Betsy DeVos in D.C.? Skanndera is close to Jeb Bush and akin to DeVos in ideology.
Mike Petrilli and I Find Common Ground: Depersonalized Learning is Neither Nutritious nor Genuinely Educational

After Mike Petrilli of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute read my post yesterday, he wrote to say that it appears we have some common ground. He wonders whether the contrast between real teaching and machine teaching is comparable to organic food vs. processed food. Yes! Fortunately, Mike has two sons the same age as my grandsons, so children are not a theoretical construct to him. Pers

How the Trump Family Used a Fundraiser for Children with Cancer to Enrich Themselves

Bill Moyers’ website pointed me to this shocking story by Dan Alexander in Forbes. As Moyers’ website asked, how low can you go? LIKE AUTUMN LEAVES, sponsored Cadillacs, Ferraris and Maseratis descend on the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York, in September for the Eric Trump 
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