Saturday, November 6, 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

Anti-CRT Stance Helps Republicans Win School Board Races
After the election, I posted an article from the Charlotte News-Observer/AP that suggested that attacks on critical race theory was not a decisive factor in many local school board races. But since there are thousands of local school boards, no one knows for sure whether the issue changed minds and votes. Axios reports that the anti-CRT crowd made many gains in their effort to win school board ra
Texas: The Smell of Burning Books is in the Air
The heated debate over “critical race theory,” “indoctrination” and “socialism” in the schools, and attacks on teachers for teaching books like Beloved has unleashed the native fascism that usually hides under a rock. We saw it in Virginia, where the Republican winner in the election played on these issues in his campaign and vowed that he would pass a law to allow parents to opt their children o

NOV 04

Boston: Voters Overwhelmingly Support Return to Elected School Board
Boston has had mayoral control of the schools since 1992. On November 2, the voters went to the polls and overwhelmingly supported the return of an elected school board. Mayoral control was sold as a “reform” panacea that would lead to higher achievement. It didn’t. Boston joins Chicago as cities where the public wants to abandon autocratic rule of the schools. The vote in Boston to restore an el
Pro-Public School Candidates Lost in Virginia, But Captured Some School Board Races Elsewhere
The media focused its attention on Virginia, where the gubernatorial race was centered on education issues, especially whether parents had a right to control what their children read. A parent led a crusade against Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning Beloved for years. The Republican winner, Glenn Youngkin, featured Mrs. Murphy’s decade-old campaign against Beloved in a TV ad. So, many journal
Virginia: The Fraud Behind Glen Youngkin’s Attack on “Critical Race Theory
Glenn Youngkin, the Republican who won the race for governor in Virginia, centered his campaign on education, specifically on his insistence that parents should have the right to determine what their children learn and on his promise to ban “critical race theory” in the state’s public schools. The second part of the promise should be easy, because Virginia public schools do not teach “critical ra

NOV 03

Bruce Lesley: Why Public Schools? Because They Are Essential to Democracy
Bruce Lesley, child advocate, explains in this article in Medium why a democratic society needs public schools. It’s an excellent article and it reviews the current attacks on public schools and even their right to exist. Did you know that one candidate for U.S. Senate has called for the abolition of public schools; he thinks every child should attend a religious school. Does every parent want th
Marty Levine: Does the Arc of the Moral Universe Really Bend Toward Justice?
Marty Levine recalls the famous saying by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice. He read a new book about police killings of Black men and w onders if Dr. King was overly o ptimistic. Consider this to be a validation of critical race theory. He begins: In 1968, shortly before he was murdered, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, was still giving us hope that w

NOV 02

Three States Enact Laws Protecting Drivers Who Ram Their Cars into Protestors
Alternet recapitulates a Boston Globe investigation of a new phenomen: drivers who use their car as a weapon to drive into protestors. Three Republican-led states have passed laws to protect the drivers who ran into protestors: Iowa, Oklahoma, and Florida. On Monday, the Boston Globe reported on a “Back the Blue Act” signed by Iowa’s Republican governor, Kim Reynolds. The bill took the side of dr
Jennifer González: What Teachers Need Now to Survive
There have been many reports in the media of teachers quitting their classrooms because of stress. This may be the hope of the groups funded by Charles Koch and other rightwingers, who would like to destroy public education and open new opportunities for private and charter schools. Here is some sound advice from a retired teacher about how to restore teachers’ morale. Jennifer González writes in
Kevin Ohlandt: Listen to Teachers Before They Burn Out
Kevin Ohlandt is a blogger in Delaware. In a recent post on his blog ”Exceptional Delaware, ” he reported on the testimony of a teacher who was nearing the brink of his endurance for teaching conditions. Ohlandt wrote: Last night, a teacher named Steve Fackenthall gave public comment to the Red Clay Consolidated School District’s Board of Education. It echoed what most American teachers are going

NOV 01

Bob Shepherd: The Absurdity of Reading Instruction Today
Bob Shepherd wrote this essay about reading instruction in 2019. It has aged well. It is a long discussion about the futility of the “reading wars.” Shepherd explains how useless and counterproductive the current emphasis on “reading strategies” is. It is well worth your time to sit down and read it through.
Illinois: The Right to Play
When I was a child in Houston many, many moons ago, my public school had recess every day. It was unstructured play, and it was an integral part of the school day, like art, reading, writing, math, and music. We took tests that our teachers wrote and graded, but no standardized tests. That was long ago. Twenty years ago, Congress passed the No Child Left Behind act based on the belief that standa

OCT 31

Bill Phillis: Ohio’s Slick and Dirty Trick
Bill Phillis is a retired state deputy commissioner of education who is dedicated to the preservation and improvement of public schools in Ohio. He has dedicated his retirement years to publicizing the harm that vouchers and charters do to public schools. He founded the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy. The Ohio State Constitution guarantees a uniform system of public schools, a commitment
Alexandra Petri: The New Virginia “Reading” List
Alexandra Petri writes humorous articles for the Washington Post. She wrote this column in response to a furor in the governor’s race in Virginia. Democratic candidate Terry MacAuliffe asserted that parents should not tell teachers what to teach, and Republicans are outraged by his statement. They say that parents should have that power. Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin released a commercial f

OCT 30

North Carolina: Vote to Save Your Public Schools!
Check the candidates’ bona fides carefully. Don’t be fooled! People in the North Carolina Chapel Hill Carrboro School District should vote for these three pro-public school candidates in this order: 1. Riza Jenkins 2. George Griffin 3. Mike Sharp This is very important. Read why here.
New Hampshire: How Libertarians Captured the Republican Party in the State
New Hampshire’s state motto is ”Live Free or Die.” For reasons explained in this article, New Hampshire became a magnet for libertarians whose goal was to abolish government. Last year, The New Republic published a delightful article by Patrick Blanchfield about Grafton, New Hampshire, a town that went libertarian and was soon overrun by a hungry and bold bear population. Certain conveniences are
Illinois: Parent Groups Sue to Remove COVID Safety Measures
Organized parent groups in Illinois are suing school boards, the state board of education and the Governor to remove mask mandates and other safety measures from the schools. They want their children to be unprotected from the coronavirus. They don’t want the pandemic to end. This is the latest from Illinois Families for Public Schools. The overwhelming majority of lawsuits against public health

OCT 29

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Overturn Maine Vaccine Mandate That Excludes Religious Exemption
In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court refused to overturn a vaccine mandate in Maine that does not allow religious exemptions. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch voted in the minority, contending that Maine’s failure to offer a religious exemption was based on religious bias. In two previous cases, from anti-vaxxers at Indiana University and public school teachers in New York
West Virginia: Privatizers Control New State Charter School Board
A regular commenter on the blog, known as Chiara, reports the composition of West Virginia’s new board for authorizing charter schools. The legislature endorsed new charter schools in a state that has never had them. Several of them will be for-profits. Two will be virtual charters. There are three other entities that can authorize the privately run schools that are publicly funded. Chiara wrote:
Naftuli Moster: Yeshivas Must Be Brought into the 21st Century
Naftuli Moster is the Founder and Executive Director of YAFFED, a nonprofit organization focused on improving secular education in ultra-Orthodox yeshivas. He is a graduate of a New York yeshiva, and he became convinced after he finished that he had been denied a full education. He blames officials