Saturday, January 29, 2022

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

A site to discuss better education for all

Washington Post: Russian Invasion Would Disrupt Global Economy
Anthony Faiola writes in the Washington Post that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would cause global disruption of food and fuel supplies. More than 100,000 Russian troops are massed near Ukraine amid a flurry of diplomatic efforts to defuse the prospect of conflict . Should peace not prevail, western-gazing Ukrainians would pay the highest price. But in a worst-case scenario, the cost of a major R
Virginia: More Than Half of School Districts Defying Youngkin Ban on Mask Mandates
The Washington Post reports that more than half the school districts in Virginia are defying Governor Youngkin’s order to eliminate mask mandates. Youngkin boasted on a conservative radio program that only a small percentage of districts were not complying with his belief that masks should be optional. But a Washington Post analysis shows that the majority of Virginia public school districts — en
Texas District Removes Challenged Books from School Library
You may recall that a Texas state legislator named Matt Krause released a list of some 850 books that he thought should be removed from school libraries. Even public libraries are under pressure to clear their shelves of the books that Krause identified. The books are about race, racism, sex education, anything related to LGBT, student legal rights, and gender. This link includes the full list of
Tennessee School Board Bans Pulitzer-Prize Graphic Novel About the Holocaust
The school board in McMinn County, Tennessee, voted 10-0 to ban the Pulitzer-Prize winning graphic novel Maus from its schools. Board members complained about unacceptable language (“God damn”) and nudity (nude mice). The book by Art Spiegelman is about his father’s brutal experiences during the Holocaust. Presumably, the board wants the story of genocide told in a pleasant, inoffensive way. Teac

JAN 27

Today Is Holocaust Remembrance Day
The Holocaust is personal to me. My mother and grandmother left Balti, Bessarabia, and arrived in the United States in 1917. My grandfather came before the war. Most of the family stayed in Europe. My father’s parents came in the 19th century from Lomza, Poland. Most of their family stayed in Poland. Not one member of my family survived the war. All perished in the Holocaust. Inappropriate compar
Michael Hiltzik: The Sheer Absurdity of Copyright Law
Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times explains why American copyright law benefits major corporations, not the creators of original works. In 2022, he says, there will be a bumper crop of well-known titles that will enter the public domain, including Winnie the Pooh , Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises , poetry collections by Dorothy Parker and Langston Hughes, and first novels by William F
Peter Greene: How to Report Your Teacher to Governor Youngkin’s Stasi
Governor Youngkin invited parents to report the names of teachers who are violating the state’s vague and ill-defined law banning the teaching of “divisive concepts,” critical race theory, and anything else any parents object to. Peter Greene describes the creative responses of respondents. Responses to an email address can come from anywhere, not just Virginia. You too can write to Youngkin’s St
Youngkin Sends His Children to Elite Private Schools That Teach Critical Race Theory
Glenn Youngkin’s campaign for Governor of Virginia was fueled in large part by attacks on public schools. Youngkin said that the state’s public schools were indoctrinating students with critical race theory. He pledged to put an end to it. After he took office, he continued his rant against CRT; he even set up an email site where parents can complain about teachers. And to add to his rightwing cr

JAN 26

Gary Rubinstein: Success Academy Attrition Rate Still 75%
Gary Rubinstein has followed the progress of the much-lauded Success Academy charter chain, supposedly the most successful in the nation. He has noted that SA graduates only a small fraction of those it admits. He estimates that about 75% are gone before graduation. Success Academy has argued that a 75% attrition rate isn’t so bad because it is about a 11% attrition per year, compounded, which, t
Charleston, South Carolina: The Collapse of a Federally-Funded Teacher Incentive Plan
When I was writing The Death and Life of the Great American School System : How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (2010), I researched the history of merit pay. I learned that it has been tried again and again for a century, and it has always failed. Business-minded people think that the lure of a bonus will force teachers to work harder and get better results. But merit pay doesn’t wo

JAN 25

British Secretary of Defense: Russia Should Not Invade Ukraine; Don’t Believe Their Excuses If They Do
In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine and took control of the Crimean Peninsula, which was then absorbed into Russia. Presently, Putin has stationed at least 100,000 troops on Ukrainian borders, and leaders in the West are fearful that he intends to invade and seize control of all Ukraine. Ukraine has a long and terrible history under Russian control. In the late 1920s and 1930s, Stalin collectivized U
Join Nancy MacLean and Me to Talk About Privatization of Our Nation’s Public Schools
I am delighted to invite you to join a webinar where the eminent Duke historian Nancy MacLean and I will discuss “Public Education in Chains,” on February 3 at 3 pm EST. To register, open the link and sign up. The event is sponsored by Public Funds Public Schools and the Network for Public Education. Dr. MacLean is author of the brilliant book Democracy in Chains , which documents the Koch brothe
Peter Greene on the Diversification of the Koch(topus) Brand
Peter Greene explains how the Koch machine is creating new brands to hide its identity from the unsuspecting. The billionaires Charles and his late brother David were infamous for funneling Dark Money through front groups whose names sounded innocuous or inspiring. Now Charles Koch is reaching out to a new generation, attempting to pour his rancid wine into new bottles. One of the most insidious

JAN 24

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You Are Invited to Join Illinois Families for Public Schools to Discuss School Board Disruptions
On January 27 at 7 p.m. (Central Time), Illinois Families for Public Schools and other groups will sponsor a Zoom meeting on the subject, “ Confronting the Rise of School Board Disruptions.” Throughout the country and in Illinois, we have seen the rise of well-funded disinformation campaigns targeting school boards and educators. This event will cover: Who’s behind the disinformation campaign aro
North Carolina: The End of an Experiment
North Carolina has been in the forefront of destructive education policies ever since the Tea Party won control of the state’s General Assembly (legislature) in 2010. Charters, vouchers, TFA, high-stakes testing, hostile indifference to teachers, etc. But the rightwingers in NC wanted more. They wanted their own version of the Tennessee Achievement School District. They knew that Tennessee lawmak
Arthur Camins: Stop Filling the Potholes in Education and Healthcare
Arthur Camins, scientist and technologist, warns that public policy in both education and healthcare is deeply flawed and cannot be fixed with patches. No matter how many potholes are fixed, the underlying problems go untouched and unchanged. Our flawed policy is the result of deeply ingrained flawed thinking. The United States, he writes, is the victim of a combination of forty years of skeptici

JAN 23

A Conspiracy Behind the January 6 Insurrection
This is a remarkable document in the New York Times. It details the planning and coordination for violent action that began as soon as the results of the 2020 were clear. The Oathkeepers, extremists who refused to accept Trump’s loss, started their efforts to stockpile weapons and convene in D.C. on January 6. Of course, other groups and unaffiliated individuals joined them. This account directly
Heather Cox Richardson Assesses Biden’s First Year
Heather Cox Richardson is an American historian who teaches at Boston College. She writes a blog called “Letters from an American,” in which she brings historical perspective to current events. She posted this column yesterday about Joe Biden’s first year as President. Joe Biden’s presidency is just over a year old. Biden has embraced the old idea, established by the Democrats under President Fra
Maurice Cunningham: The “National Parents Union” Is Not What You Think
Retired professor of political science Maurice Cunningham recently read an article about Randi Weingarten that quoted Kelli Rodrigues as leader of the National Parents Union, and presumably a spokesperson for American parents. Cunningham decided to inform Michelle Goldberg, the author of the article in the New York Times, that Ms. Rodrigues is not exactly a representative parent leader. He wrote:
Gary Rubinstein: The Incredible Shrinking and Failing KIPP Schools in Tennessee
Gary Rubinstein began his career as a Teach for America recruit in 1991 and got to know many of the key figures in the corporate reform movement. He is currently a career high school teacher of mathematics in a New York City public school. Over time, he became disillusioned with the phony promises of TFA and charter schools and became one of the most tenacious critics of their hypocrisy. KIPP, he

JAN 22

High School Students Excel in National Science Competition
The mainstream media loves to write negative stories about public schools. Here is a story featured in local news but mostly ignored by the national media. The Society for Science and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals selected 40 high school seniors as finalists in their national science competition. Eighteen hundred students applied. Each of the finalists wins a prize of $25,000. The top ten winners wil
Robert Kuttner: Look Up!
Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect reviews the Netflix movie Don’t Look Up! “Appreciate the brilliance of the season’s most profound, category-busting movie.” Don’t Look Up is described as a parody of Trumpism and climate denial. It is elegantly that. But more importantly, the movie is a dead-on satire of the interconnected debasement of America’s politics, pop culture, conventional media, s
Nancy Bailey: There is No Need to Give NAEP Tests in Kindergarten!
Experienced teacher Nancy Bailey opposes Michael Petrilli’s proposal to give NAEP tests to kindergartners. Petrilli, who is president of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute made this proposal in Education Next. Petrilli recognizes that the typical 5-year-old can’t read and probably can’t hold a pencil but thinks there is value in online visual tests. He argues that it’s a mistake to dela

JAN 21

Paul Waldman: Republicans Are Vilifying America’s Schools. When Will Democrats Fight Back?
Paul Waldman is an opinion columnist for The Washington Post. In this article, he criticizes Democrats for failing to stand up to Republican slanders and lies about public schools. He raises an important point: Why aren’t Democrats fighting Republican lies about the schools? Why aren’t the billionaires who claim to be liberal speaking out against this vicious campaign to destroy our public school
Billy Townsend: The DeSantis-Corcoran Scandal Grows Uglier
Billy Townsend digs into the burgeoning scandal surrounding Governor DeSantis and state commissioner of education Richard Corcoran. The Tampa Bay Tribune-Miami Herald reported that the two top officials tried to steer a multi-million dollar contract to a firm led by a friend of Corcoran. (The link is in Billy’s post). Townsend notes that the top lobbyist for the Florida charter school association

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