Saturday, June 15, 2019

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


A site to discuss better education for all

Big Education Ape: My New Book Was Just Announced! | Diane Ravitch's blog -

Larry Lee: What Matters Most in Education Happens in the Classroom
Larry Lee reminds one and all that what matters most in education is not what happens in the State House or the think tanks or the conferences, but what happens when teachers meet students. He writes: All the battles we wage in the legislature, all the money spent to lobby, all the grand schemes we import from distant think tanks, all the paperwork we choke principals with, all the talk about “da


Surprise! Texas State Board of Education Rejects Gulen School!
In a nail-biter, the Texas State Board of Education turned down a request to authorize a Gulen-affiliated charter school by a vote of 8-5. The applicant was Soner Tarim, who is leader of the Harmony Charter chain and applicant for a charter school called Woodlands Hills Charter School in rural Washington County in Alabama. Gulen charter schools always deny that they are Gulen charter schools but
Flint, Michigan: All Charges Dropped in Case of Lead Poisoning in Water
In Flint, Michigan, all charges were dropped against the state officials who made the disastrous decision to change thesource of the city’s water supply, to save money. The Michigan solicitor general, Fadwa Hammoud, who took control of the investigation in January after the election of a new attorney general, said “all available evidence was not pursued” by the previous team of prosecutors. “This
Statement by Chair of Federal Elections Commission about Accepting Foreign Donations
Opposition research—negative information about one’s political opponent—costs thousands of dollars. It is valuable. President Trump told George Stephanopoulos that he would be willing to listen if a foreign government offered dirt about a political opponent. The law says that such offers should be reported to the FBI at once. Trump seems to be unfamiliar with the law and the Constitution (e.g., f
Citizens for Public Schools: Stand Up for Massachusetts Public Schools!
Citizens for Public Schools needs you now to stand up for public schools in Massachusetts. Three ways you can stand up and speak out for public education today! Take a few minutes today to raise your voice about these three important issues for our schools. 1) Less Testing, More Learning Citizens for Public Schools members will testify at a public hearing before the Joint Education Committee Mond
SPLC: Black Students, Students With Disabilities Most Likely to Be Victims of Corporal Punishment
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 11, 2019 Contact: Owen Kilmer, SPLC // (334) 956-8209 John McDonald, UCLA // (310) 206-0513 Report: Black students, students with disabilities among most likely to be struck in schools practicing corporal punishment Civil rights groups offer new insight into practice banned in majority of states MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Child
California: Summit Charter Schools Fire Three Teachers Who Were Union Organizers
Three teachers at Summit Public Schools (privately managed charter schools calling themselves ”public”) were terminated without cause. The three were trying to organize a union to improve working conditions and had been offered contracts for next year when they were suddenly informed that they were no longer wanted. No teachers other than these three were fired. The Summit charter schools are fun
Colorado: State Turns Over School District to Private Management Corporation
Colorado turned a school district over to a Florida-based management corporation. Adams 14 officials have signed an $8.3 million, four-year contract with Florida-based MGT Consulting, officially becoming the first district in the state to hand over management to a company. The state Board of Education in November ordered the Commerce City-based district of Adams 14 to hire an external manager for

JUN 13

West Sacramento’s Charter Schools Have a Segregation Problem
Bill Raden of Capital & Main writes here about racial segregation in West Sacramento’s charter schools. Capital & Main has done an outstanding job covering the charter industry in California. Raden writes: Representing the newest form of green line in West Sacramento are charter schools — publicly funded but privately operated academies that are free from many of the regulations governing public
Pennsylvania: Governor Wolf Will Veto Expansion of Vouchers
The Republican-controlled Legislature in Pennsylvania passed a bill to expand vouchers for religious schools. Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, announced that he would veto the bill. This is good news for public schools in the Keystone State! Here is a roundup of stories from the Keystone State Education Coalition: HB800: Gov. Wolf to veto $100M private and religious schools bill in Pennsylvania Pos
National Education Policy Center: Phony Voucher Report
The National Education Policy Center published a review of an annual report by EdChoice, an advocacy organization for vouchers. KEY TAKEAWAY: Questionable methodology and misrepresentation of the research result in a misleading report not useful for decision-making or research purposes. BOULDER, CO (June 11, 2019) – A recent report from EdChoice presents itself as a yearly updated list and synthe
Jan Resseger: Ohio’s State Senate Sabotages Repeal of Disastrous State Takeover Bill HB 70
Jan Resseger reports here on the uncertain status of legislation intended to repeal Ohio’s state takeover law, which was shoved through without deliberation or debate. She writes: You will remember that on May 1, 2019, the Ohio House passed HB 154 to repeal Ohio state school takeovers, which have been catastrophic failures in Lorain and Youngstown under HB 70—the law that set up the state seizure

JUN 12

Pennsylvania: Governor Wolf Should Veto Expansion of Voucher Program!
Lawrence A. Feinberg leads a valuable organization called the Keystone State Education Coalition, which reports on education issues in Pennsylvania. The big issue today is whether Democratic Governor Tom Wolf will veto a bill to expand the state’s voucher program by $100 million, a bill passed almost entirely by Republicans in the Legislature. He certainly should veto the measure because it will
Southold, New York: Making Chess More Enjoyable than Video Games!
David Gamberg is superintendent of two adjacent small school districts on Long Island in New York: Southold and Greenport. Gamberg is devoted to a philosophy of whole-child learning, in which play and a healthy body are as important as academics. He is constantly coming up with new ways to engage children’s imagination and creativity. His schools are alive with music, art, gardening, play, and, n
Puerto Rico: Which Hedge Funds Are Profiting from the Island’s Misery?
The Public Accountability Initiative is the place to go to follow the money. The team that produces these reports is called “Little Sis,” the opposite of Big Brother . Little Sis recently posted an eye-opening analysis of the funders of Teach for America. This post identifies the Hedge funders w ho hold large amounts of Puerto Rico’s debt and are demanding a reduction in pensions and public servi
DeVos Did Not Divest from Neurocore Holdings: Conflict of Interest
CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) complained that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos did not give up her family holdings in a “brain enhancement” company called Neurocore. Neurocore operates brain performance centers that offer treatment for children and adults with anxiety, depression, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The company uses unproven “brain

JUN 11

Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools on the State and City’s Floundering Charters
Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools June 5, 2019 For immediate release: Statement of APPS Re CREDO study The CREDO study released today presents more evidence that the charter experiment foisted upon the state’s children has been a resounding failure, especially considering the enormous amount of taxpayer dollars that have been spent on charter schools. For many reasons, comparing charters t
Capital & Main: Charter Teachers Burn Out Faster Than Public School Teachers
Larry Buhl writes in Capital & Main that teacher churn is a serious issue in the charter industry, but high turnover rates may be a feature of the charter business model, because it keeps labor costs low. In Los Angeles, a 2018 study comparing charter- and traditional-school teachers between 2002 and 2009, found that elementary-school charter teachers saw 35 percent higher turnover than their tra
Pennsylvania: Inaction on Cyber Charters Is Not an Option
Cyber Charters in Pennsylvania are low-performing but profitable. The latest CREDO report finds that they continue to exhibit low performance. Their enrollments are growing despite their dismal outcomes. The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board said this: A new report on charter school performance in Pennsylvania raises the latest red flag about cyber charters, showing that this sector of educat
Shawgi Tell: CREDO Study of Pennsylvania Charters Reports Mediocre Results
Shawgi Telll writes that the latest study of charter schools in Pennsylvania by CREDO, the Stanford-based research group, reports unimpressive results. CREDO’s overall conclusion: The analysis shows that in a year’s time, the typical charter school student in Pennsylvania makes similar progress in reading and weaker growth in math compared to the educational gains that the students would have had
A Billionaire Declares: Better Public Schools Won’t Fix America
Nick Hanauer was a big supporter of charter schools. As he explains in this fascinating article, he swallowed the Corporate Reform Dogma whole. He believed that America’s “failing public schools” were the cause of poverty and inequality. Fix the schools and—poof—poverty and inequality will disappear. He writes: Taken with this story line, I embraced education as both a philanthropic cause and a c

JUN 10

Congratulations to Two Outstanding Teachers!
Two teachers won recognition for excellence and a $20,000 stipend. Lynn Shon, who teaches science at M.S. 88 on Seventh Avenue, was given the Muller Award for Professional Influence in Education by the Math for America organization. Gary Rubinstein, a math teacher at Stuyvesant High School also won the award. Gary is well known to every reader of this blog. He is a great teacher, a great blogger,
Congratulations to John Merrow! He Biked 78 Miles for His 78th Birthday!
John Merrow has challenged himself annually to bike the same number of miles as his birthday years. With every passing year, the target gets higher and the body gets older. He turns 78 on June 14. He jumped to a slightly early beginning. He did it! Accompanied by his daughter, he biked 78 miles. He invited his many friends and admirers to contribute $78 or a multiple of 78 to a charity of his cho
NYC: Your Chance to Meet Leonie Haimson and State Attorney General Tish James
Celebrate! Meet Heroes Leonie Haimson and Tish James! Leonie is the CEO of Class Size Matters and Student Privacy Matters. Tish James is Attorney General of the State of New York. She is in charge of legal issues that will affect all of our lives. The event is a fundraiser for Class Size Matters on June 19. Join us!
Detroit: At Graduation Ceremony, Two Top Students Blast Their Charter School
The graduation ceremony at a charter school in Detroit was disrupted when the two top students in the school used their addresses to criticize the school for “an inferior education and a culture of secrecy.” The school said the students being used by adults with an agenda, which is an odd and condescending thing to say about your best students. The pair accused Universal Academy on Detroit’s west
What?! Washington State Charters Closing One After Another
Only Bill Gates knows how many millions he has poured into getting charters authorized and funded by the state in Washington State. There have been four referendums, the last one in 2012, which passed by about one percent, over the opposition of civil rights groups, unions, and PTAs. Gates and friends (Jeff Bezos’ parents, Waltons, and assorted billionaires) outspent the grassroots groups by seve
Bill Phillis: State Audit Finds Possible Fraud at Dayton Charter Chain
Bill Phillis, former State Deputy Superintendent, watches over school spending and misspending in Ohio, in hopes that one day there will be equitable and adequate funding of public schools, instead of the current regime of school choice, waste, fraud, and abuse. ‌ ‌ ‌ Richard Allen Academy charter school audit cites fraud The state audit cited illegal payments to board members and the treasurer,
NBC News: Democrats Turning Against Charters (Link Added)
NBC News ran a story about how Democratic candidates are turning against charter schools. The reasons, says NBC, is DeVos and unions. The safe position for Democrats is to say that he or she opposes for-profit charter schools. Bernie Sanders went further by echoing the national NAACP and Black Lives Matter’s call for a national moratorium on new charters. In the story, everyone plays their expect

JUN 09

Gates Associate Lauds Digital Company That Made USC’s School of Social Work the Largest in the World
James Shelton has a storied history as a reformer. He led the education program at the Gates Foundation. He was East Coast leader of the NewSchools Venture Fund, which underwrites charters. He co-founded a company that was acquired by Edison Learning. He worked for McKinsey. He was Arne Duncan’s Deputy Secretary, where he oversaw the i3 program, which was part of Race to the Top. Then he moved to
Eugene Robinson: If Trump Doesn’t Warrant Impeachment, Who Does?
Eugene Robinson, columnist for the Washington Post, wrote this persuasive commentary: What would a president have to do, hypothetically, to get this Congress to impeach him? Obstruct a Justice Department investigation, perhaps? No, apparently that’s not enough. What about playing footsie with a hostile foreign power? Abusing his office to settle personal grievances? Using instruments of the state
USC Launched the World’s Largest Online Social Work Graduate Program. But Then the Bubble Burst.
I wish you had a subscription to the Los Angeles Times so you could read this article in full. If you do, you should. The University of Southern California had one of the nation’s best graduate social work programs. In search of more revenue, it made a deal with an East Coast digital startup to establish an online degree in social work, and enrollment ballooned from 900 in 2010 to 3,500 in 2016.
John Merrow’s Birthday Bike Challenge
John Merrow has created a challenge for himself. Every year on his birthday, he sets a goal of cycling the same number of miles as his age . This year he turns 78, so his goal is to bike 78 miles. He invites his friends to make a gift of $78 or some multiple of 78 to a recommended charity. This year he includes the Network for Public Education on his list (as he did last year). I just donated $78
Mercedes Schneider: Who Advises Elizabeth Warren on Education?
Mercedes Schneider delved into the experience of Elizabeth Warren’s senior education advisor. He entered teaching through Teach for America. I hear that his linked-in profile has been deleted since this post appeared but you might want to check to see if it has been restored. I have met Elizabeth Warren twice, once in her Senate Office, about 2015, where we had a 30-minute conversation about educ

JUN 08

Bernie Is Right About Charters: Ravitch and Burris
The New York Daily News published an opinion piece attacking Bernie Sander’s call for a moratorium on charter schools, echoing the NAACP and Black Lives Matter. The article claimed that Senator Sanders was hurting children of color. Carol Burris and I published a response in the same publication to the attack, which is included here.
Yohuru Williams and Carol Burris: Where Do Democratic Candidates Stand on K-12 Education?
Yohuru Williams and Carol Burris assess the expressed views of the Democratic candidates—thus far—on K-12 education. One hopes that the other candidates will soon state or clarify their views about privatization, testing, funding, and other important issues that the president can change. They should all be asked at town halls whether they will kill the federal Charter Schools Program slush fund,
Jan Resseger: West Virginia Teachers Keep Fighting Charters and Vouchers
Jan Resseger writes an in-depth account of the ongoing battle by teachers in West Virginia to keep charters and vouchers out of their state. They struck twice and they continue to fight. The Republican majority in the legislature is determined to introduce privatization, despite the poor results in other states. The Republican leadership have added provisions to the pending legislation to prevent
Mary Holden: What Happened When a Veteran High School Teacher Switched to Middle School Teaching
Mary Holden is a teacher in Nashville, Tennessee. I have met Mary on several occasions, usually when I was in Nashville. She spent 15 years teaching high school, then switched to middle school, teaching sixth grade. She wasn’t sure how she would react to the change. In short, she LOVED it! There are many weird things that happen in middle school that I never experienced as a high school teacher.
Michigan: The New State Superintendent Brings Hope for Real Change
Michael Rice, the new State Superintendent in Michigan, is an experienced educator, not an ideologue or a politician. His plans are sensible. He wants to steer the state back to responsible policies. He was most recently 
Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all