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

A site to discuss better education for all

Dana Milbank: Disney Should Leave Florida and DeSantis Should Create His Own Theme Park of White Supremacy
Ever since Governor Ron DeSantis punished the Disney Corporation for opposing his “Don’t Say Gay” law, I’ve been wishing that the Magic Kingdom would pull up stakes and move to another state. It’s one of Florida’s biggest employers and attracts millions of tourists every year. Surely it would be welcome in any other state, especially one that does not insult and humiliate any of its employees. Tu
New Business Offers Advice (for a Price) from Jeb Bush Acolytes
Mercedes Schneider describes a new consulting team that is selling its services to states and districts. Most of its partners are protégés of Jeb Bush and learned his strategies of high-stakes testing, school choice, test-based accountability, and harsh treatment of teachers. She writes: Need help with your public or private business venture? Well, NY- and DC-based Ridge-Lane Limited Partners (LP
Advice from a Teacher: How to Avoid Burnout
Mamie Krupczak Allegretti is a regular reader and commenter to the blog. She wrote the following comment, which is good advice from a veteran to new and experienced teachers. Anytime a person is burned out, demoralized and ready to quit his/her job, something is wrong. It’s not just that something is wrong with the way the institution is run (which there are many), but there can also be something

MAY 05

Texas: Gov. Abbott Wants to Revoke State’s Obligation to Educate All Children, Taking Aim at Children of Immigrants
Texas Governor Gregg Abbott is in a competition with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to see who is meanest. He wants to relitigate a 1982 Supreme Court decision that requires the state to provide a free public education to all children, especially the children of undocumented persons. In the wake of the leaked Roe decision, he assumes the Court might agree with him that children whose parents are n
Love the Unborn, Neglect the Born
Caitlin Huey-Burns writes for CBS News that the states most likely to ban abortion are the states LEAST likely to provide resources for children. Their politicians love the unborn. The born and living, not so much. The expectation that Supreme Court is about to scrap decades of federal protections of abortion rights is highlighting another issue: the lack of resources and support available for wo
Love the Unborn, Neglect the Born
The expectation that Supreme Court is about to scrap decades of federal protections of abortion rights is highlighting another issue: the lack of resources and support available for women to have and raise children. More women living in states without abortion access, should Roe v. Wade be overturned, will likely carry to term. Yet, not one of the two dozen states with laws on the books restricti
Economic Policy Institute: The Case for Raising Teachers’ Pay and Ending Staff Shortages
Teachers are receiving apples, donuts, and lovely notes to thank them for their service. But that’s not enough. Many states are reporting severe shortages of teachers and support staff. This means larger class sizes and curtailed curricula. This means denial of a good education to millions of children. The Economic Policy Institute lays out the problems and the solution in this post: Raise wages.
Virginia: New Secretary of Education Says Top Goal Is Job Readiness
Virginia’s new education leader avoids the press and the public, but she is accessible to rightwing think tanks. She recently spoke at the American Engerprise Institute, where she outlined her goal for the state’s students: job readiness. Aimee Guidera comes from the Gates-funded Data Quality Campaign. She did not speak about preparing students for citizenship in a democracy. She did not speak ab

MAY 04

North Carolina: State Auditor Faults Charter School for Inflating Enrollment, Misusing State $$$
The NC Pulse reports that another charter school in North Carolina bit the dust under a cloud of financial improprieties. Office of the State Auditor found that Bridges Academy in Wilkes County falsified student enrollment records, misused charter school money to support a preschool and failed to submit required tax forms in 2019. State Auditor Beth Wood released the audit of the K-8 school on We
The Beauty of Music When It Seems Impossible
Our friend Bob Shepherd shared this wonderful video of a musical group whose instruments (at least the strings) were made from garbage collected at a landfill in Paraguay. And the group is called the LandFillHarmonic. Here is another. Be sure to watch!
Tennessee: Why Did the Education Commissioner Forget to Mention Her Husband in Her Disclosure Statement?
The Tennessee Holler asks a pertinent question: Why did Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn fail to mention her husband’s employer in her disclosure statement? The Holler wrote: This week some eagle-eyed Hollerers pointed out TN Ed Commissioner Penny Schwinn left TNTP, the company where her husband works, off of her source of income disclosure. She listed it last year, but not this year, desp

MAY 03

California: Charter School Enrollment Drops for First Time in Three Decades
The persistent charter school boasting looks empty after years of turmoil. Schools opening and closing, high teacher turnover, unfulfilled promises. Result: California saw a decline in charter enrollment for the first time in three decades. It’s not for a lack of money to promote charters. The big money is still there. The California Charter Schools Association is still a wealthy and powerful org
Oakland Board Plans to Close Beloved Community Schools; Board Member Resigns in Response to Community Outrage
Jeff Bryant writes here about the decision by the Oakland, California, school board to close a number of schools because of a budget shortfall. Some of these schools were popular Community schools, offering services that benefited children, families, and the community. Bryant shows that the closure of these schools would not solve the budget shortfall. Many readers of this blog used a Zoom link p
Mercedes Schneider: D.C. Fires 2 Experienced Educators for Refusing to Adopt “No Excuses” Program
Mercedes Schneider writes here about the plight of two experienced Black educators who were fired by District of Columbia officials for refusing to adopt a scripted “no excuses” program developed by the Relay “Graduate School of Education.” I put scare quotes around the last four words because Relay is not really a graduate school of any kinds. It was created by a group of charter chains to teach
U.S. Supreme Court Set to Overturn Roe v. Wade
It has been widely reported in the media that the Supreme Court intends to overturn Roe v. Wade. A draft decision written by Justice Samuel Alito claims that the 50-year-old decision was wrongly decided. The implications of this decision—if it stands as written—are profound. The Supreme Court decided in 1973 that women had a right to decide what happens to their bodies. This Court is poised to sa

MAY 02

Michael Hiltzik: Bad News for American Workers
Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times writes here about the defeat of one of President Biden’s most important nominees for the U.S. Labor Department and why it is very bad news indeed for American workers. David Weil withdrew his name as head of the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division on April 7 when it became clear that he would never be confirmed. He was nominated almost a year earlier
Michael Hiltzik: Why Starbucks Is the Target of the New Unionism
Michael Hiltzik, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, reviews the context of the drive for unions at Starbucks. it’s CEO, billionaire Howard Schultz, wants to portray the far-flung coffee shop empire as worker-friendly, and he is flatly opposed to unions. He insists that the unions bring an adversarial edge and downplays the likelihood that unions would mean higher wages and benefits at the cos
Starbucks’ Workers Continue to Organize Across the Country
Matthew Cunningham-Cook of The Lever reports that workers at Starbucks are voting to join unions. The Lever is a blog launched by David Sirota, co-author of “Don’t Look Up” and former speechwriter for Senator Bernie Sanders. Big events continue to happen on the Starbucks Workers United front. On Tuesday, five Starbucks stores in greater Richmond, Virginia, voted to unionize. On Thursday , they wo
Jennifer Abruzzo Asks NLRB Board to Ban “Captive Audience” Meetings in Workplace
Harold Meyerson writes here about Jennifer Abruzzo’s request to the National Labor Relations Board to ban “captive audience” meetings, in which employers lecture their employees about the dangers of joining a union. Abruzzo is the recently appointed general counsel of the agency, where she has worked for many years. She is in a hurry to restore the original purpose of the NLRB, which was to creat
Jennifer Abruzzo: Can She Save the Labor Movement?
There was a time—more than half a century ago—when labor unions promised to guarantee fair wages, decent working hours, and secure benefits for American workers. Unions raised many people from poverty to the middle class. Yet today, unions—especially in the private sector—are at a low point, due to anti-union activities by corporate America. But recent organizing efforts at two of the nation’s la

MAY 01

Florida: Bond Ratings Agency Warns State that Uncertainty Over Disney Debt Will Harm State’s Rating
Fitch, the credit rating agency, warned the state of Florida that its swift decision to dissolve Disney’s special district may lead to the downgrading of the credit of other districts in the state. This would raise the cost of borrowing and cast doubt on the state’s creditworthiness. Maybe DeSantis and the legislature should have matters through more carefully. One of the nation’s leading bond ra
Valerie Strauss: Gov. DeSantis’ War on Public Education
Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post recently summarized the efforts by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to destroy public schools in his state. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has been fighting with the Walt Disney Co. for weeks now since it angered him by criticizing a law he championed that limits discussions of gender issues in public school classrooms. But his attacks on public school districts
NPR: New Poll Shows that Most Parents Like Their Public Schools and Teachers
NPR released a new poll showing that, despite the loud mouths attacking public schools, most parents like their public schools and teachers. They like their schools despite the hundreds of millions, if not billions, invested in promoting school choice, charter schools, vouchers, and privatization. This poll suggests that Democrats should go after people like Ron DeSantis and other politicians try

APR 30

San Antonio: IDEA Charter School Vice Proncipal Arrested for Punching 5-Year-Old
The vice principal of an IDEA charter school in San Antonio was arrested for punching a 5-year-old child. Betsy DeVos, when U.S .Secretary of Education, gave the IDEA chain more than $200 million from the federal Charter Schools Program to expand. SAN ANTONIO – An area elementary school vice principal is in custody and charged with assault after she “lost control” and attacked a 5-year-old studen
Sweden: Teachers Speak Out Against “Marketization” of Schools
I received the following statement by hundreds of Swedish teachers, protesting against the odious effects of privatization in education. They signed this post. We teachers do not want to have it like this anymore Published 28 Apr 2022 at 06.00 Filippa Mannerheim, high school teacher, Stockholm. HP Tran, primary school teacher, Gothenburg. Sara Persson, primary school teacher, Västervik.Photo: Sar
Peter Greene: I Am Not Going to Defend SEL
In case you wondered, Peter Greene is not a fan of SEL (social-emotional learning) . Just because the loathsome Florida Governor Ron DeSantis doesn’t like it is no reason to embrace it. He feels the way about SEL that I always felt about character education. Character education should not be a course or a program; it should implicitly permeate everything you do in teaching honesty, integrity. res

APR 29

Australia: Teachers Plan to Strike on May 4
Teachers in New South Wales, Australia, plan to strike on May 4 to protest working conditions, especially understaffing and low salaries. A letter to public school parents Every day across NSW, children are missing out because of a lack of teachers. It’s an unacceptable situation affecting public and private schools. Children can’t put their education on hold and wait for this to be fixed. They h
Florida: Man Demands Ban on Bible and Dictionary in Schools
Chaz Stevens, a 57-year-old tech wizard, noticed that Florida made it easier to challenge books used in schools and housed in school libraries. The law doesn’t take effect until July 1, but Stevens couldn’t wait that long. So he immediately launched a complaint about the Bible and the Oxford English Dictionary and requested that they be banned. As of Wednesday, he has filed near-identical petitio
Florida: School District Bans “Everywhere Babies”
The book-banning and censorship are reaching absurd proportions. A school district in Florida just banned a beloved children’s book, “Everywhere Babies.” Caitlin Gibson wrote about it in the Washington Post. what’s next? “Goodnight Moon”? Some think it’s atheist because the little bunny doesn’t say its prayers. “Harold and the Purple Craton”? Why “purple? Is Harold gay? These censors don’t realiz
Beware the Gay Penguins! The Sensitive Ferdinand! The Heterosexual Ducklings!
Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, the authors of a popular—and frequently challenged—children’s book “And Tango Makes Three,” warn in this article that Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law threatens every book that deals with “gender identity.” They wrote in The Washington Post: Dear K-3 teachers of Florida, Thank you for your kind messages! Please don’t feel bad. We totally understand why you have t

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