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

A site to discuss better education for all

Florina Rodov: Inside the Charter School Hype and Hoax
Fiorina Rodov wanted to teach, and, as she writes, she believed the glowing claims about charter schools as beacons of hope for the neediest students. She saw “Waiting for ‘Superman'” and cheered for the kids who wanted to get into a charter. She believed the movie’s hype about the magic of charters. So she got in 2016 a job teaching in a charter school in Los Angeles. There she learned the truth
Economic Policy Institute: As Unions Decline, Income Inequality Grows
The Economic Policy Institute is one of the very few think tanks in Washington, D.C., that is not funded by Bill Gates or the Waltons. It is openly on the side of working people. It does valuable research. During the pandemic, unionized workers fared slightly better than non-union workers. This study shows dramatically that as unions decline, income inequality grows. Figure B in this article show


Gary Rubinstein: How to Pretend to Reform Schools
Gary Rubinstein revisits the past decade of failed reforms and notes how frequently the “reformers” made promises and then failed to keep them. Michelle Rhee came on the national scene, appearing on the cover of TIME, then disappeared after helping to sink the mayor of D.C. who hired her. Michael Bloomberg and Joel Klein claimed that under their leadership, there was a “miracle” in New York City,
Tom Loveless: Why Common Core Failed
Tom Loveless is an experienced education researcher who taught sixth grade in California. He has long been skeptical of top-down solutions to classroom-level problems. In this post, he explains why Common Core failed. The theory of standards-based reform is that if everyone has the same curriculum and the same instruction, no one will fall behind. Thirty years ago, I wrongly believed that, and I
Leonie Haimson: NYC Squandered Millions on Charter Rentals
Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matter, closely watches the spending of the New York City Department of Education. Unlike any other city, NYC is required by state law to provide either free space for charter schools or to pay their rent for private facilities. This law was passed by the Legislature at the urging of Governor Cuomo, who called himself “a champion for charter school

MAR 25

Tim Slekar: A Survey of Teachers
If you are a teacher, you are invited to participate in a survey. Tim Slekar is writing a book about teachers and their working conditions. He would be grateful to teachers who agree to take the attached survey and return it to him. His email is
Darcie Cimarusti: K12 Inc. and Charter Lobby Pushes for $$$ in Iowa
Darcie Cimarusti, communications director for the Network for Public Education, reports on the assault on public school funding in Iowa. K12 Inc., the for-profit virtual charter chain, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is noted for high attrition rates, low graduation rates, low test scores, and high profits. Its top executives are each paid millions of dollars. In multiple states across the
Unions and the Future of Democracy
The following essay was written by Michael Podhorzer, Senior Advisor to the president of the AFL-CIO. I totally agree that the key to building a strong middle class is the expansion of unions. The plutocrats have done a great job of demonizing them and destroying the ladder into the middle class that unions offer. Right now, Amazon workers are deciding whether to form a union in Bessemer, Alabama

MAR 24

Kentucky Governor Vetoes Voucher Bill and Pension Bill
Democrat Andy Beshear vetoed school bills passed by the Republican-dominated legislature of Kentucky. Beshear campaigned as a friend of public schools, and he came through for students, parents, teachers, and communities in Kentucky. Blogger Fred Klonsky has the story from the Louisville Courier Journal by Olivia Krauth: Calling them a “direct attack” on Kentucky’s public schools, Gov. Andy Beshe
Pennsylvania: Why Charter Schools Get Less Funding Than Public Schools
The Keystone Center for Charter Change reports on issues involving charter schools in Pennsylvania. The site is managed by Lawrence Feinberg, who is a school board member. In some states like Texas, charter schools get more funding than public schools. In Pennsylvania, they get less, and Feinberg says this is the way it should be because public schools have more expenses than charter schools. Do
Maurice Cunningham: The Marketing of the “National Parents Union”
Maurice Cunningham watches the flow of “Dark Money” into the privatization of public funding for schools. A professor of political science, he has recently followed the money trail of the “National Parents Union,” which he points out is neither “national,” nor “parents,” nor a “union.” NPU markets itself as if it were a “grassroots” group, but it is funded by the Walton Family Foundation and Char
Texas: Legislature Debates Whether to Make It Easier to Open Charter Schools
The charter industry is turning its lobbyists loose in Texas. Despite the large number of charters in the state (more than 800), the lobbyists want more. More. More. $$$. The Legislature is now debating changes in state law to remove obstacles to charter entrepreneurs and corporations that want more locations. Texas doesn’t need more charters: Charters in Texas are regularly outperformed by publi
Peter Greene: How a Non-Profit Charter School Can be Run for Profit
Peter Greene reviewed the Network for Public Education’s report on for-profit charter school s in Forbes, where he is a regular columnist. He writes: It has become cliche for politicians and policy makers to oppose “for profit” charter schools. It’s also a safe stance, because most people agree they’re a bad idea; for-profit charter schools are not legal in almost all states. But charter school p

MAR 23

Montana: Charter Industry Targets Rural State
The charter industry has set its sights on Montana. This is an odd decision, since the state has no big cities and is almost 90% white. The African American population is less than 1%. The biggest city is Billings, with about 110,000 residents; the second largest is Missoula, which has about 75,000 residents. Montana ranks above the national averages on NAEP. Montana has two existing charter scho
Florida Voucher School Hires Unqualified Teachers, Ex-Con, State Doesn’t Care
The Orlando Sentinel has been covering scandal after scandal in the voucher schools of Florida, but the Legislature doesn’t care about their scandals and is planning to take even more money from public schools to fund more private voucher schools. The Sentinel published a story about one troubled voucher school that has received over $5 million from the state since 2015 despite the fact that it h
Valerie Strauss on the NPE Report on For-Profit Charters
Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post reviews the Network for Public Education report on for-profit charters, which explains how such money-grabbers function in states where they are supposedly illegal. Arizona is the only state where for-profit charters are legal, yet the report says they operate in 26 states and D.C. In Florida and Michigan, the majority of charters are run by for-profit compa

MAR 22

NEPC: Another Useless Report from NCTQ
The National Education Policy Center frequently engages independent scholars to review think tank reports, which are often advocacy reports. In this report , the NEPC scholars review the latest report from the National Center on Teacher Quality, which was formed about 20 years ago to take down teachers’ colleges. See this post. NEPC Review: 2020 Teacher Prep Review: Clinical Practice and Classroo
Pasi Sahlberg and William Doyle: In Finland, Education is a Basic Civil Right
In this post, Pasi Sahlberg and William Doyle respond to a recent article that pitted civil rights groups against advocates for the Finnish model of education. They found the dichotomy puzzling. They wrote this article for this blog. They write: Two decades ago, Finland made big news in international education circles. Against all odds it became a top-performer in OECD’s first PISA (Programme for

MAR 21

Brookings: The Battle for a Union at Amazon in Bessemer, Alabama
The struggle now occurring in Bessemer, Alabama, to form a union at an Amazon warehouse could have a dramatic effect on the future of organized labor. The pandemic made Amazon’s owner, Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world with a fortune approaching $200 billion. But his workers are fighting for higher wages and decent working conditions. A group of scholars at the Brookings Institution, led b
Richard P. Phelps Looks Back on D.C. Reform, Part 2
Richard P. Phelps was hired by D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee to oversee testing, which was a crucial element in her plans to “reform” the district and raise test scores. During his time there, outsiders raised questions about whether there was widespread cheating on tests. Phelps addresses those questions in this post. He begins: Ten years ago, I worked as the director of assessments for
Richard P. Phelps: The D.C. Reform Hoax, Part 1
Richard P. Phelps recounts his experiences as the director of assessment for Michelle Rhee, chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools. Phelps was expected to expand the notorious IMPACT testing program, meant to evaluate teachers. Phelps visited hundreds of administrators and teachers and asked their advice about how to make the program better. They gave him good ideas, and he passed

MAR 20

New Hampshire: Republicans Move Forward with Largest Voucher Program in Nation
New Hampshire Republicans are determined to use their new majority in both houses to jam through a generous voucher bill that would offer public money for students to attend any school they wanted, including religious schools, private schools, and homeschooling. Down party lines, the Senate approved an expansive school voucher bill Thursday that would allow parents to use state education aid for
Jan Resseger: How to Wreck Your State’s Public Schools
I said I would not reproduce blogs, with rare exceptions. Jan Resseger is that one rare exception. In this post, she explains how the costs of vouchers are destroying and defunding Ohio’s public schools.
Theresa Thayer Snyder: What Shall We Do With the Children After the Pandemic?
I originally posted this commentary in December 2020. It has since been opened by readers more than 600,000 times. It struck a chord with teachers and parents. It still does. In recent months, we have heard a crescendo of recommendations for what to do with the children. “Test them!” “Quantify the

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