Saturday, April 3, 2021

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

A site to discuss better education for all

Robert Skeels Beats Charter Industry in Court—Twice
Robert Skeels was a public education advocate in Los Angeles who decided to become a lawyer to fight the powerful corporate charter industry. After receiving his BA in classical civilizations at UCLA, Skeels spent years as an activist, inspired by Paulo Freire, then earned his law degree in 2019. This is the only instance to my knowledge where a charter critic decided that he had to get a law deg


Illinois Restores Chicago Teachers’ Bargaining Rights
Governor Pritzker (D) of Illinois signed legislation restoring the collective bargaining rights of the Chicago Teachers Union, which had been suspended since 1995 by a Republican Governor and Legislature. CTU President Jesse Sharkey sent out this announcement: After a decades-long struggle, today Governor Pritzker signed HB 2275, fully restoring our bargaining rights. The repeal of the despised 1
Florida: Inside the Dark, Dirty Secrets of Florida’s Jeb Crow Schools of “Choice”
Billy Townsend was a school board member in Polk County, Florida. He saw up close and personal how charters were sucking the high-scoring students out of public schools and excluding the students with disabilities. He saw up close and personal how the state’s voucher program was serving as a refuge from high-stakes testing and enabling the restoration of racial segregation. Billy believes, as I d
Rhode Island: Teachers Demand End to State Takeover of Providence Schools
Rhode Island is a mess. Two years ago, the state took control of the Providence public schools. The Governor, Gina Raymond, is a former hedge funder and not a friend of public schools. She loves charter schools and welcomed them to her state. She is now Biden’s Commerce Secretary and has been succeeded by her Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee, who is also a privatizer. The relatively new State Commis
San Diego: Cindy Marten Is a Great Education Leader
San Diego Superintendent Cindy Marten was tapped by the Biden administration to be Deputy Secretary of Education, the #2 job in the Department of Education. The corporate reform lobby was not happy with this choice, and they began making insidious charges that she was uniquely unqualified and didn’t care about equity. All of this was nonsense, of course. When she was interviewed by the Senate com

APR 01

John Merrow: The “Learning Loss” Pandemic and Its Cures
John Merrow has written a spoof of learning loss laments and diatribes . Perfect for April 1. He writes: “Learning Loss” is mutating, and today an astounding 16 different and uniquely challenging manifestations have been identified. To save their students, our teachers will need to acquire a specific skill set that will enable them to identify, diagnose, and treat this dizzying array of “Learning
Oklahoma: A Sick Joke on the Public
You may recall that the Oklahoma State Board of Education recently voted 4-3 to allow charter schools to share in local tax revenues , over the opposition of State Commissioner Joy Hofmeister, who said that the decision might violate state law. You may also recall that the virtual charter school in Oklahoma called EPIC has been embroiled in scandal after scandal (just google “Oklahoma EPIC scanda
The Smartest Horse Ever?
This is not an April Fools Day joke. It is just a great story. While searching for something on the web, I came across this intriguing story. It’s the story of a remarkable horse named Beautiful Jim Key, raised and trained by a man named Bill Key, who was born into slavery and became a free and very successful man. The story is told by David Hoffman, who bears a slight resemblance to Bernie Sande
Kevin Welner: Parents Thrilled with Return of Testing!
Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center and professor of education at the University of Colorado in Boulder, writes here about the “testing pods” created by enthusiastic parents. Welner recently published a book of satirical essays called Potential Grizzlies. Parents Rush to Form “Testing Pods” Throughout the nation, anxious parents are worried that the pandemic will preven

MAR 31

Texas: Senate Education Committee Guts Local Control of Schools
The Texas Senate Education Committee bowed to the wishes of the powerful charter lobby and granted sole power to the State Commissioner (appointed by the Governor) to approve charter schools. His decisions can be vetoed only by a supermajority of the State Board of Education. The State Commissioner of Education is Mike Morath. He is not an educator. He is a software executive who served on the Da
Please Complete This Survey on Opting Out of Standardized Testing
Researchers at Teachers College, Columbia University, are conducting a survey on opting out of standardized tests. You can help them by completing their survey. I am writing to ask for your help in promoting the 2021 National Survey on Opting Out. Thanks again for all your feedback and help with our research project. Over the past five years, our research team at Teachers College, Columbia Univer
Peter Greene: Is Your Charter School a Public School?
I like this post by Peter Greene a lot because it clears up confusion about what defines a public school. Many people think that charter schools are public schools because most state laws define them as “public charter schools.” The charter industry wrote the state laws, and they desperately wanted to be considered “public schools” so they could qualify for the same funding as public schools (in
Angie Sullivan: Nevada Gives Tax Breaks for Business, Shortchanges Kids
Angie Sullivan is a teacher in a Title 1 elementary school in Las Vegas, a city with free-flowing funds for casinos and entertainment but underfunded schools. She frequently writes members of the legislature about their distorted priorities. Angie writes: Remember when the world mocked us because Nevada gave away the family farm to TESLA and RAIDERS? Raise your hand if you rushed to Carson City i
How Students Pay for Corporate Tax Abatements
Good Jobs First entered the national scene when it produced documentation that the CARES Act was being used to funnel billions of dollars to private schools and charter schools . The charter schools were double-dipping, first taking money allotted to public schools, then getting millions more from the Paycheck Protection Program, which excluded public schools. Now, Good Jobs First has released a

MAR 30

Justice for George Floyd
This editorial was written by the editorial board of the Washington Post. It expresses my views. THE FIRST witness the prosecution called in the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd was a 911 dispatcher who watched the arrest unfold in real time on a surveillance camera. So long did the restraint go on that she wondered if the camera feed had froz
Joel Westheimer: Three Essential Lessons That COVID Taught Us About Education
Joel Westheimer is a professor of education at the University of Ottawa. He wrote this article for The Ottawa Citizen and shared it with me. This is a good time for me to mention that I strongly believe in content. In the mid-1980s, I was involved with a large committee that wrote the California K-12 History-Social Studies Framework. We realized that whatever we wrote had to be feasible from the
A Bold Idea for Testing: Opt-In
The Ossining, New York, school district has a creative response to the federal mandate to administer tests at a time when children’s lives have been disrupted by the pandemic. The superintendent has asked parents to write a letter asking for their child to be tested, that is, to “opt in” to testing. Gary Stern of the Lower Hudson news (Lohud) reports : At a time when many school districts are pee

MAR 29

Maurice Cunningham: How Did Ordinary Moms in Rhode Island Get the Money to Pay for a Poll? Hint: Dark Money
Maurice Cunningham is a professor political science at the University of Massachusetts who has developed a unique talent for exposing the workings of Dark Money in education. The usual source of Dark Money is the multi-billionaire Walton Family, but they are not alone. In this post, he reviews the remarkable story told by the media in Rhode Island. A group of ordinary moms got together to demand
Florida: League of Women Voters Exposes Voucher Boondoggle As Big Business
The Florida League of Women Voters has long been wary about the state’s rush to privatize public school funding through charters and vouchers. It has previously published reports on the conflicts of interests, the politics, and the money in the charter sector. In this report, it investigates the organization created to hand out money for vouchers, called “Step Up for Students.” I am posting only
Ezra Klein Interviews Bernie Sanders
Ezra Klein of the New York Times interviewed Senator Bernie Sanders for his podcast, “The Ezra Klein Show.” Listen to “The Ezra Klein Show”: Apple Podcasts , Pocket Casts , Spotify , Google Podcasts , Stitcher ( How to Listen ) Bernie Sanders didn’t win the 2020 election. But he may have won its aftermath. If you look back at Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders’s careers, the $1.9 trillion stimulus pack

MAR 28

Oklahoma: State Board, by 4-3, Gives Charter Schools Access to Local Tax Revenues
Over the opposition of Joy Hofmeister, the state superintendent, the Oklahoma State Board of Education voted 4-3 to allow charter schools to have a share in property taxes and motor vehicle taxes that previously were reserved for public schools. A groundbreaking settlement will fundamentally change the way charter schools are funded in Oklahoma, despite vehement opposition from the state’s top ed
Election Reform: Now and Twenty Years Ago, A Personal Story
Republican-controlled legislatures across the nation are planning to enact legislation that would have the effect of suppressing the vote. Georgia passed a law to restrict access to voting, known by its critics as the Jim Crow law. More states in Republican hands will do the same. Republicans in the Senate are likely to block a bill passed by the House to protect voting rights. Why are Republican
New Yorker: Union Vote in Bessemer Is Crucial to Revival of Labor and the Fairness of the Economy
Benjamin Wallace-Wells writes in the New Yorker about the importance of the vote on whether to unionize at an Amazon facility in Bessemer, Alabama. The workers are paid $15 an hour. They are organizing against a behemoth corporation owned by the richest man in the world over working conditions, pay too. The vote concludes Monday. Six thousand workers will define the future for millions of others.

MAR 27

Marion Brady: Free Courses of Study to Think Differently
Marion Brady is a progressive educator who has never given up the fight to make education a lively and engaging experience. He wrote the following to me: Diane,The courses of study I give away were developed for Prentice-Hall over a period of seven years, working with dozens of middle school teachers nationwide. They taught every lesson, providing feedback and suggestions, and those that P-H thou
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

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