Friday, July 21, 2017

The Colors of Summer Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all

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

The Colors of Summer Diane Ravitch's blog
A site to discuss better education for all

The New Republic: We Are Veering Closer to a Constitutional Crisis
Brian Beutler, an editor at The New Republic, warns that we are approaching “an authoritarian crisis.” I call it a constitutional crisis because there is nothing in our Constitution that deals with the actions of a Trump. What if the president and his immediate family have colluded with a foreign power to influence the preside
Los Angeles: Court Rules that Rafe Esquith May Sue LAUSD for Discriminating Against Him
Rafe Esquith, a teacher of fifth-grade students at the Hobart Elementary School in Los Angeles who gained national attention for his Hobart Shakespeareans, won the right to sue the Los Angeles Unified School District for firing him in 2015. Esquith was accused of sexual improprieties, which he denied. A state appellate court panel Thursday upheld a trial judge’s ruling that a former Los Angeles U
Billionaire Elon Musk Knows What Schools Need to Do–and They Are Already Doing It
Elon Musk, tech billionaire, says he has the solution for schools: teach children to ask why. Engage them in constructing things to learn how they work.

How to Follow the Creeping Privatization of Public Services

There is an organization that tracks the privatization of public services–in cities, states, nationally and internationally. It is called “ In the Public Interest.” I urge you to sign up for its online newsletter and reports. You can stay informed about 

New York City: Most Teachers Evaluated Using Test Scores of Students They Don’t Teach

This practice of evaluating teachers by the scores of students they never taught in subjects they don’t teach is absurd. In New York City, more than half of all teachers are judged based on work they didn’t do. Teachers in Florida went to 

Rachel M. Cohen: Is VAM Dying? A Review of the Evidence

It is called VAM. Value-added-measurement, or value-added-modeling. It means measuring the effectiveness of teachers by the rise or fall of the test scores of their students. Rachel M. Cohen, writing in The American Prospect, documents 

Randi Weingarten: The Fight Before Us Against DeVos and Privatization

Randi Weingarten gave a major address to the AFT Teach Conference yesterday, in which she explained why she took Betsy DeVos to Van Wert, Ohio, and she called out the forces of destruction now targeting public schools in America. It is time, she says, to resist. To resist privatization by charters and vouchers; to resist the attacks on the teaching profession; to fight racial segregation; to resi
School Choice: Grounded in Racism, Reinvented by the Radical Right

Rick Hess makes a valiant but unsuccessful effort to provide a new origin story to the idea of school choice, attributing it to Thomas Paine and John Stuart Mill. That’s quite a stretch, because Thomas Paine lived before there were any public schools in the United States, and Mill, of course, never had any contact with the American idea of free, universal, democratic public schooling. In my exper
Jennifer Berkshire: The Public Rejects DeVos-ALEC Agenda

Jennifer Berkshire asks a crucial question: Just how far right can Betsy DeVos go before the public rises up to quash her extremist agenda? Never in modern history has there been a more unpopular, more polarizing Cabinet member. She is unpopular because her goal of defunding public education and showering public funds on religious and private schools is unpopular. To understand what DeVos wants,


Valerie Strauss: Betsy DeVos Allies Herself with Margaret Thatcher

Betsy DeVos: our very own Iron Lady! Valerie Strauss parses DeVos’s speech to ALEC. She is the only Secretary of Education who has made it her mission to promote charters, vouchers, and any other alternative to public schools. She is the first Secretary to tell the public that our public schools are filled with self-serving teachers and administrators who care about themselves, not about children
Jack Covey Analyzes Betsy DeVos’s Speech to ALEC

Jack Covey (pseudonym) teaches in Los Angeles and frequently comments on this blog: x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x BETSY DEVOS: “Through (ALEC’s) leadership, your respective states have truly become the laboratories of democracy our Founders intended. Thank you for putting their vision into practice.” x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x Yeah let’s go back to the late 1700’s …
Betsy DeVos’s Speech to the Far-Right ALEC Organization

Delve into the mind of Betsy DeVos. She is the first Secretary of Education ever to address the American Legislative Exchange Council, the secretive far-right organization funded by the Koch brothers, the DeVos family, and major corporations, with the intent of getting rid of unions, standards for teachers, environmental regulations, and anything that gets in the way of corporations. Here is the
Jeannie Kaplan: Denver Activists Mobilized to Say a Loud NO to DeVos, Corporate Greed, and Privatization

Jeannie Kaplan, who served on the Denver school board for two terms, has been a sharp critic of the district’s devotion to charters and high-stakes testing. She has documented time and again that ten years of “reform” has produced nothing positive for students. Presently, the school board’s seven members are all corporate reformers. She hopes that this will change as parents and educators join to
Denver: Protestors Slam DeVos Before Her ALEC Speech

NPR wrote about the protest awaiting Betsy DeVos in Denver. Apparently she is speaking today, although that fact is on neither the ALEC agenda nor the Department of Education website. She is the first Secretary of Education to address this extremist group. The Koch brothers and Dezvos family foundations are among the funders of this anti-government group. Curiously, NPR described the protestors a
Bill Moyers’ Website on Trump’s Nutty Interview

Other news outlets focused on Trump’s regret about appointing Jeff Sessions. Or his slap at Rod Rosenstein, Comey and others. But this is what Moyers’ website loved: “If you’ve been away from the news for the past 18 hours or so, the New York Times interview in which Trump rages against Jeff Sessions, Jim Comey, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and maybe the White House
Arthur Goldstein Refutes Attack on Teachers by Campbell Brown and WSJ

Arthur Goldstein teaches English language learners at Frabis Lewis High School in New York City. In this post, he refutes attacks on teachers by Campbell Brown and the Wall Street Journal. New York City has something called the Absent Teacher Reserve pool, consisting mostly of teachers whose jobs disappeared when their school was closed, through no fault of theirs. The ATR pool was created during
Kansas: Court Hammers State Lawyers Over Latest School Funding Plan

The great puzzle in Kansas is how the State got such a thoughtful Supreme Court, one that actually cares about education. Kansas is in a deep budget hole because Governor Sam Brownback cut taxes repeatedly, in the belief that low taxes would produce economic growth. Only it didn’t, and the schools are in big trouble. The court has repeatedly ordered the state legislature to produce a school fundi
Indiana Legislators Don’t Care About Negative Results of Vouchers

Indiana finally got a research study of its voucher program, and the results were lackluster at best. The study showed that students who used vouchers saw their scores go down; after a few years, those who persisted caught up with their public school peers, but the lowest-scoring students dropped out and returned to public schools. Indiana has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on vouchers. Le
Florida: Palm Beach Post Urges School Board to Join the Lawsuit Against Horrendous HB 7069

Florida parents and educators opposed HB 7069, a bill which hurts public schools and enriches charter schools (private contractor schools), but the legislature didn’t listen. (Key legislators have financial ties to the charter industry.) They urged Governor Rick Scott to veto it but he didn’t listen. Now school boards, led by the one in Broward County, are suing to block the law and have it decla
Afghan Girls at Robotics Competition: “This Is the Way the World Should Be”

The Afghan girls’ robotics team had difficulties entering the United State (ya know, they might be terrorists) but when they finally arrived at the international competition in Washington , they stole the show. Their robot was named “Better Idea of Afghan Girls.” ““I am so happy and so tired,” Alireza Mehraban, an Afghan software engineer who is the team’s mentor, said after the competition concl
Gary Sasso: Why Don’t the Billionaires Help the Schools That Most Children Attend?

Gary Sasso, dean of education at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, asks a simple question : if billionaires like Bill Gates and Eli Broad care about our nation’s future, why don’t they help the public schools, which enroll 85% of America’s children? Sasso wrote in Salon: “Obscured by the rancor of the school reform debate is this fact: Socio-economic status is the most relevant determinant of st

A Wonderful Story to Add to Our Knowledge of African-American History

S. Allen Counter led an eventful life. He was a pathbreaking neurologist at Harvard Medical School. His life’s passion, however, was to bring deserved recognition to the life and achievements of Matthew Henson, the explorer who 
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