Saturday, November 20, 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

Billy Townsend: Voucher Grifters, Take Mary McLeod Bethune’s Good Name Out of Your Mouths
Billy Townsend is outraged that the Florida’s voucher industry has the nerve to name its new super voucher program after one of the nation’s (and Florida’s) greatest civil rights leaders. He writes that Mary McLeod Bethune: …would look at Florida’s corrupt, failed, and yet lavishly-funded low income school voucher programs with disgust. She would marvel and protest the squandered voucher billions

NOV 18

NH: “Moms for Liberty” Offer Cash for Catching a Teacher Teaching “Divisive Concepts”
Yes, you read that right. The astroturf Koch-funded “Moms for Liberty” is offering a $500 reward to anyone who catches a teacher teaching “divisive concepts,” which is against state law. What is a divisive concept? Maybe teaching about the First Amendment is one. Teaching about the horrors of war is another. Teaching about the effects of climate change, for sure. Teaching that vaccines save lives
Oklahoma: Gov. Stitt Commutes Death Sentence of Julius Jones
You probably have seen the news. Governor Stitt released the following statement regarding his decision: “After prayerful consideration and reviewing materials presented by all sides of this case, I have determined to commute Julius Jones’ sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.” Article 6, Section 10 of the Oklahoma Constitution gives the Governor power to grant commutat
Oklahoma: Is Gov. Stitt Pro-Life or Pro-Death?
At 4 pm today, Julius Jones will be executed unless Governor Kevin Stitt commutes his sentence . Jones insists he is innocent. The state parole board voted 3-1 to commute his sentence to life in prison. Our friend John Thompson, historian and former teacher, was Jones’ teacher. He strongly believes he is innocent. Whether guilty or innocent, Jones’ faces either death or life in prison. Governor S
California: Big Districts Dropping Traditional Grading System
The Los Angeles Times reports that the public schools of Los Angeles and San Diego are changing the way students are graded. Critics will undoubtedly claim that this is a lowering of standards and a dumbing down of expectations, but the explanation sounds reasonable. The article began: A few years ago, high school teacher Joshua Moreno got fed up with his grading system, which had become a points
Garrison Keillor: Our House Is on Fire, Time to Act
I subscribe to Garrison Keillor’s blog and find him to be consistently interesting and often entertaining. T his column is dead serious. It reminds us that we face a serious crisis that endangers us all. Human activity and negligence endangers our environment, on which we all depend . He says in his title that it’s time to talk. I say it’s time to act. Garrison Keillor writes: My generation, the

NOV 17

Los Angeles: Board Will Hear Presentation from Controversial Advocate
On Thursday, the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District will hear a presentation by Margaret Roza about innovative ways to cut costs. Roza was for many years a fellow at the Center for Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington, a pro-school choice think tank. Now she is director of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University, offering advice and analyses about school f
Olivia Little: Unmasking “Moms for Liberty”
Olivia Little of MediaMatters for America investigated a rightwing group called “Moms for Liberty” and posted her findings online. She writes: Moms for Liberty, a nonprofit claiming to advocate for “parental rights,” appears to be using parents as pawns to advance a far-right agenda. The group — which has quickly gained substantial media attention, becoming a right-wing sweetheart and mainstream
Anya Kamenetz: School Board Madness About Masks, Vaccines, and Race
Anya Kamenetz of NPR describes the chaos and rage enveloping many school boards as they are besieged by angry protestors. The protestors may represent a small minority of parents but their intimidating presence at school board meetings gives them an outsized voice. It’s actually astonishing that parents would shout and organize protests against public health measures meant to protect their childr

NOV 16

St. Louis: Business Leaders Press for Charter School Expansion, While Public Schools Lose Students and Resources
An organization of business leaders in St. Louis issued a demand for more “high quality schools” (by which they mean privately managed charter schools). But it’s not clear that charters are synonymous with “high quality schools.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the University of Missouri-St. Louis, which manages seven charter schools in the city, is likely to close one of them. The Arch
Charles Foster Johnson: Texas Governor Abbott Declares War on Public Schools and Teachers
Governor Gregg Abbott wants to win the competition to be the most immoral, dishonest, loathsome, and extremist Governor in the nation. Pastor Charles Foster Johnson, leader of Pastors for Texas Children, called out Abbott for his latest, most disgusting ploy. Pastor Johnson writes: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued not one but two letters this month calling for Texas public schools to “ensure no chil
Study: How Foundations Engage in Advocacy by Funding Ideas They Like
Sarah Reckhow of Michigan State University University and Megan Tompkins-Stange of the University of Michigan studied the ways in which foundations fund research that advances policies they believe in. They use the issue of teacher quality, specifically, to demonstrate how the Gates Foundation and the Broad Foundation underwrote research that provided evidence for evaluating teachers by the test
Los Angeles: A Growing Movement for Community Schools
Jack Ross writes in California-based Capital & Main about the role of Los Angeles in developing community schools, a model that has been successful in New York City and that involves democratic cooperation among parents, teachers, students, and staff. He begins: In the winter of 2019, two oddities swept Los Angeles: rain and a teachers’ strike. When the storm cleared, United Teachers Los Angeles

NOV 15

Updates to Recent Posts
1. You read this post by Peter Greene. His twin sons tested negative for COVID. 2. You read the post yesterday about the disastrous performance by Travis Scott in Houston. A tenth person—a 9-year-old child—died, trampled at the Travis Scott show. CNN)The 9-year-old boy who was injured at the Astroworld Festival died Sunday, according to family attorney Ben Crump. The death toll from the chaotic c
Peter Greene: What I Dont Want to Hear About the Pandemic
Peter Greene fills in his readers about the pandemic-related news and other topics like staff shortages, but there is one point of view, one perspective he definitely does not not want to hear right now. open the link to learn what it is and why.
Reader: Racism Explains the Youngkin Victory in Virginia
A reader who signs in as “Democracy” posted the following comment in response to Jennifer Berkshire’s article in The Nation . Berkshire argued that Terry McAuliffe lost the governor’s race in Virginia because he is a corporate Democrat who doesn’t understand or value public education and couldn’t defend it against Glenn Youngkin’s attacks. Democracy wrote: I’ll agree with Jennifer Berkshire that

NOV 14

Who Is Travis Scott? Why Did 9 of His Fans Die?
The tragedy at the Travis Scott performance in Houston shocked entertainers, fans, and parents. Nine young people died at the arena concert, trampled by a crowd of 50,000 fans who surged to get closer to the stage where Scott was performing. I confess that I am completely out of touch with the music of Travis Scott and his contemporaries. I love the music of other eras, from about 1600-1975, whic
Low-Performing For-Profit Charter Chain in Ohio Set to Launch Charter Schools in West Virginia
The following post by Bill Phillis of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy details the outsized role that Ron Packard’s for-profit charter chain will have in starting charter schools in West Virginia. Packard was one of the founders of the low-performing but highly profitable K12 Inc. virtual charter chain (where he was paid $5 million a year). He left to start another charter chain, called

NOV 13

Do You Want to Hear Nikole Hannah-Jones Discuss “The 1619 Project”?
I just received an invitation from the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem to a virtual book launch of Nikole Hannah-Jones’ super-controversial book The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story. I will share the invitation with you because you might want to hear the story of the book and its reception. I bought a ticket to the event and the book. To get a ticket, you must buy the book from certain booksell
Nancy Bailey: America Cannot Build Back Better if It Ignores Crumbling, Dangerous Schools
Nancy Bailey, expert blogger and retired teacher, was outraged that the Biden infrastructure plan omitted the $100 billion that was promised to renovate and repair school buildings. She writes: Our public schools should be safe, welcoming places, that support the work of teachers, cherish students, and provide a climate and atmosphere conducive for learning. Our public schools should be the pride
Jan Resseger: Biden’s “Build Back Better Program” Would Lift Millions of Children Out of Poverty
Jan Resseger, one of our best informed bloggers and social justice advocates, lauds President Biden’s Build Back Better program for its benefits for children. It would end decades of policies that punish poor children. Our nation has dramatically reduced poverty among the elderly, but neglected our children. She writes: The U.S. House of Representatives finally passed President Biden’s infrastruc

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