Saturday, July 6, 2013

LISTEN TO DIANE RAVITCH ALL WEEK LONG Diane Ravitch's blog 7-6-13 #thankateacher #EDCHAT #P2

Diane Ravitch's blog


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Setting Goals by Race, Etc.: Everyone Does It, and It’s Wrong
In a recent post, I criticized Alabama for setting goals based on race, ethnicity, and disability status. I said it was unAmerican. Our goal as a society is equality of educational opportunity. There is something repulsive, to me at least, in saying that schools will set targets based on the color of children’s skin, their parents’ income, or other factors. We know that not all kids will end up at
My Message to the Badass Association of Teachers
I was uneasy with the name , but I got over it. The reality is that the Badass Association of Teachers fills a need. Teachers have been beaten up in the media, and have seen state after state strip away their academic freedom, their rights, their status in the community. I was invited to join and to write an “ address to the BAT. This is it.


Will Extremes of Inequality Create a New Movement for Change?
One of our regular readers and commenters Is a Tea Party activist who likes to joust with anyone who dares to express compassion for those whose lives are blighted by poverty. He scoffs at the idea that there is such a thing as communal responsibility. In his world, it is always nasty and brutish, and it is each one for himself. So here is a story that appeared in the New York Times on July 2. It
NOLA Times-Picayune: Voucher $$ for New Living Word School Was Waste of Taxpayer Dollars
Remember last year when Governor Bobby Jindal rammed through his voucher proposal, whereby more than half the state’s children were eligible for a voucher to attend any private or religious or entrepreneurial school? Remember that critics said that Superintendent John White gave out vouchers without due diligence and that the school that got the most vouchers had no classrooms, no teachers, and no
Louisiana Breaks New Ground
With all the education reforms taking place in Louisiana, it’s clear that Governor Bobby Jindal wants to be a national leader in what is now called the “education reform” movement. Louisiana is leading the nation in the race to the bottom, having adopted every bad idea in ALEC’s catalogue of ways to tear up your public school system. The Louisiana law was saluted by Indiana’s  state superintendent
In Defense of Paul Vallas
Many who post and comment on this blog have been critical of Paul Vallas. All have their own reasons, but much criticism has focused on the tales of “saving” Chicago, Philadelphia, and Néw Orleans. The latter two turned privatization into a “reform” strategy. But there is another side to Vallas, which came as a comment by a reader: As we know, nothing in life is black or white which is how I view
Paul Thomas Invites You to Help Compile Arne Duncan’s Reading List
Paul Thomas has invited his fellow educators to help compile The Arne Duncan Reader. This would be a reading list for Secretary Duncan of books, even articles and essays, that he could read during his summer vacation. Given his devotion to testing, data, choice, competition, and charters, what should he read to broaden his understanding of children and education? What would you add to Secretary
Teacher: Charter School Bans African-American Hair
A reader describes a problem at a Gulen-related charter school: Diane check out this letter a friend wrote to her school admin, Horizons Science Academy. Expressing concern over their new discriminatory hair policy in the student handbook that prohibits natural African-American hair textures in students. I guess we don’t deserve an education at their school unless our hair is “fried, dyed, and lai
It Is Here: Reformy-to-English Dictionary
A reader shares the great new dictionaries of Reformy rhetoric, where language is turned inside out to disguise reality. Volumes 1, 2 and 3 are out!
What Do All Those School Rankings Really Demonstrate?
Scott Waldman writes thoughtfully about education for the Albany Times-Union newspaper in upstate New York. In this article, he demonstrates what most educators know and what ought to be common sense for everyone else: The schools rankings in affluent districts have the highest rankings, and the schools in districts with high levels of poverty have the lowest rankings. Some people don’t seem to kn
Teacher: NCTQ Is Wrong About My University
Rob Powers is a high school teacher of social studies in Massachusetts. He read the report of the National Council on Teacher Quality and saw that it gave a low rating to his alma mater, Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, and he was shocked. PSU, he wrote, “has been preparing teachers since 1871, a tradition that few schools can match. The institution is fully accredited by the National C
Robert Shepherd: Common Core Requires Teaching Abstract Skills, Not Content
Robert Shepherd, experienced writer, textbook developer, curriculum designer, and loyal reader posted some interesting critiques of the way a Common Core will affect teaching and teaching materials: He writes: The fact that the “standards” are entirely highly abstract descriptions of skills to be demonstrated, that they are content free, will be ENORMOUSLY distorting in their effects on curriculum
An English Teacher Responds to Common Core
A comment from a reader: I have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in English Lit, and I find the Common Core to be only tangentially related to the teaching and learning of literature, culture, history, etc. If one knows literature or history or whatever the subject, there is a richness in the material that cannot be turned into formulaic lessons and checklists. Furthermore, it is turning
Indiana Governor Picks Charter Leader as His Advisor
Newly elected Indiana State Superintendent Glenda Ritz won a smashing victory last fall, collecting even more votes than Governor Mike Pence. Since taking office, she has been an effective leader. However, those hoping for a slowdown of the attacks on public education in Indiana were disappointed to learn that Givernor Pence had selected the executive director of the state charter school board as

JUL 04

Mercedes Schneider: Why I Am Glad to Be an American
Mercedes Schneider is a teacher. She is also a tireless researcher and writer. She has maxing courage and is fearless in calling out the foibles and corruption of those who make decisions in her home state of Louisiana. She is one of a group of intrepid bloggers who keep intellectual freedom alive in Louisiana. Schneider here shares her reflections on what it means to be an American. What it means
Jersey Jazzman on the National Anthem
Jersey Jazzman reviews the many songs that have been contenders for our national anthem. God Bless America? This Land Is Your Land? America the Beautiful? My Country ‘Tis of Thee? And more. Seems we will stick with The Star Spangled Banner, even though many can’t remember the lyrics or hit the noted.
Remembering Martin Niemoller
Keith Gamache, an art teacher at South Side High School in Rockville Center, Long Island, New York, ran for school board and lost. He plans to run again. He wrote the following, drawing on the inspiration of anti-Nazi theologian Martin Niemöller: First they came for the large, inner city public schools, and I did not speak out Because I did not live in the city Then they came for the poor and rura
A Fight to Save the Public Sector
In city after city, state after state, the privatization movement is seeking to take control of public sector institutions and to turn a profit. They begin by attacking the public sector as costly, wasteful, and inefficient. This is the classic use of FUD (look up the term in wikipedia, it has a long history in public relations as a way to destroy your competition): Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. In th
Ohio: Privatization Is a Challenge to Our Democracy
Bill Phillis of the Ohio Coalition for Education and Adequacy writes the following description of the assault on public education in that state:   FY2014-FY2015 State Budget Proposal:  Assault on school districts and boards of education July 1, 2013 The state is responsible for a thorough and efficient system of public common schools.  School district boards of education are responsible for delive
More on the Purpose of Education in a Democracy
More from a reader who calls himself “Democracy”: As I continue to point out, the U.S. already IS internationally competitive. The World Economic Forum ranks nations each year on competitiveness. It uses “a highly comprehensive index” of the “many factors” that enable “national economies to achieve sustained economic growth and long-term prosperity.” The U.S. is usually in the top five (if not 1
Reflections on the Purpose of Education and the Manufactured Crisis
A reader who signs in as “democracy” posted this comment: Education in a democratic republic has a special place and purpose. At least it’s supposed to, and public education’s purpose is most certainly NOT to make a society “more competitive.” Aristotle argued for a system of public education in ancient Athens, noting that “each government has a peculiar character…the character of democracy create
July 4 and Edward Snowden
July 4 is a day when we celebrate our independence, our freedom, and our liberties, guaranteed by our great Constitution and Bill of Rights. It is also a good day to ponder the continuing growth of the national security state. This state demands the power to watch our every move. It says that it keeps us safe by having the ability to read our emails and monitor our phone calls. It sets up hidden c
Dreier and Flacks on Progressive Patriotism
Peter Dreier and Dick Flacks review the iconic songs and speeches of U.S. history and remind us that those whose words we recall today spoke of justice, liberty, equality, and freedom for all. We do not celebrate the 1%. We do not celebrate the income inequality that mars our land. We sing of brotherhood and sisterhood, from sea to shining sea.
America, the Beautiful
Katherine Lee Bates taught English literature at my alma mater, Wellesley College. She wrote the words to this song in 1893, when she was teaching for that summer at Colorado College in ColoradoSprings. Over the years, some have suggested this songt should replace “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem, because it is easier to sing, and the lyrics are more beautiful. But the idea never
David Saville Muzzey’s Advice for Us Today
David Saville Muzzey was widely recognized for most of the twentieth century as the greatest writer of U.S. history textbooks in the nation. He was a historian at Barnard College, Columbia University, and he was a gifted storyteller. His books read as the work of a single writer, vigorous, thoughtful, and opinionated, but not in a partisan sense. He knew history and he knew how to write the great
Alabama Sets Un-American Goals for Students
I am posting this on the 4th of July because it is about one of the most offensive state policies I have seen in many years. According to the Tuscaloosa News, Alabama has created “Plan 2020,” which sets different goals and academic accountability standards based on race, disability, and economic status. This is in contrast to the unrealistic goals of No Child Left Behind, which demanded that all c

JUL 03

NBC Station in Philly Echoes Corbett Line
Journalist Dabiel Denvir calls out Philadelphia’s local NBC station. Its coverage parroted Governor Tom Corbett!’s claims without doing a fact check. Denvir shows how little investigative reporting the local media does. When they say that the teachers’ union is not “sacrificing enough, ” what they mean is that the union should okay the layoffs of teachers of the arts, sports, counselors, security
Thanks, Mother Crusader, for Listening to Pitbull
I am grateful to Darcie Cimarusti, an activist public school mom in New Jersey who blogs as Mother Crusader. I am grateful that she listened to Pitbull’s speech at the national charter school conference. The other keynotes were delivered by Arne Duncan and Joel Klein. I am grateful she listened because now I don’t have to. You too can read her blog and watch the video or just her summary. She ha
That Crucial LAUSD Board Meeting: A New Day
It seems like only yesterday that Mayor Villaraigosa was trying to take control of the Los Angeles public schools. Now there is a new mayor, and he clearly had little influence over the choice of a new school board president. The vote for Dr. Richard Vladovic was a decisive 5-2. Monica Ratliff was sworn in by her mother, in both Spanish and English. Ratliff was elected despite beaten vastly outs
Arne Duncan’s Speech to the National Charter School Conference
Valerie Strauss posted Secretary Duncan’s speech to the charter schools conference, without comment. This is the same conference where the foul-mouthed, misogynistic rapper Pitbull was also a keynote speaker. I am tempted to raise many questions–about the predatory practices of some charters, about the very concept of “chain” schools, about the racial segregation that charters accept as routine, a
Camika Royal Tells the Truth to TFA Recruits
In this remarkable speech to a large gathering of Teach for America recruits, Dr. Camika Royal laid out the details of the disaster in Philadelphia and laid the blame on the state, where it belongs. She told the recruits that Philadelphia is a microcosm for urban districts across the nation, where public schools are under attack and are folding. She questioned why young people lie those in her aud
Georgia Teachers Salute BAT
A reader comments from Georgia: “Mr. Norreese Haynes and I of the Metro Association of Classroom Educators (MACE) here in Georgia are putting together a book that we have written, decrying the fact that the Socialistic Left and the Capitalistic Right have joined together to take the teaching profession hostage. Classroom Educators are used as Levitical scapegoats for all of the ills in public educ
Anthony Cody: The Nine Most Terrifying Words in the English Language
Anthony Cody explains that the nine most terrifying words in the English language to an educator are, “I’m from Big Business, and I’m here to help.” Business ideas about competition and incentives, he says, don’t work in schools. Profit-driven reforms don’t work either. Businesses and schools have different bottom lines. As he concludes: “The market system demands winners and losers, and the big
Is Eli Broad Abandoning TFA?
In an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad heaps praise on the much-maligned report of the National Council on Teacher Quality. For a foundation that claims to care most of all about performance, not inputs, Broad is surprisingly willing to endorse a report based solely on a review of course readings and catalogues, not results. That is probably because his foundati
The Origins of BAT: When Reason Doesn’t Work
Mark Naison, one of the founders and leaders of the Badass Association of Teachers, explains why BAT became necessary, and why its numbers have grown so dramatically:   When Reason Doesn’t Work: Another Explanation for “The Rise of the BATs” Many people have criticized the “Badass Teachers Association” for its unprofessional sounding name and in your face image, but the meteoric rise of this group
In Search of a Metaphor for “Reform”
Over recent years, I have heard many metaphors used to explain what is happening–what is being done to–the nation’s public schools. In New York City, parents often use the phrase “the emperor has no clothes.” Others may have different metaphors to suggest. In this post, reader Joanna Best thinks that the story of Hansel and Gretel best explains what is happening across the nation:   So, as I have
Voice, Not Choice, Improves Public Schools
Steve Hinnefeld writes a terrific blog in Indiana. In this one, he explains that public schools get better when parents become active and use their voice. They do not become better when parents vote with their feet and exit the door to a charter school, a  private school, or something else. I am going to be watching this blogger. He understands how our public schools are being wrecked by misguided
They Closed My School, But It Will Always Be in My Heart
Teacher Hector Solon is heart-broken. He was proud to work at Albion High School. He loved the kids. The kids were the best. So was the staff. But they closed the school. It hurts him to think about it, to talk about it, to write it. “I may be gone from AHS, but a piece of my heart will always be there, hidden away in room 121, where magic happened, students learned and grew, and lives were chan
How The Privatization Movement Is Destroying Public Education
In this post, Richard Eskow describes the manipulation of public opinion by people who call themselves reformers. The attack on public duration, he writes, is an attack on children and our nation’s future. The playbook has been carefully planned and orchestrated. And the media fell for it, with few exceptions. Instead of calling them “reformers,” he says, they should be known as “demolishes.” H
Katie Osgood to New TFA Recruits: Quit
In this post, Katie Osgood writes an open letter to the young people who are entering Teach for America as new recruits. She knows they are idealistic and believe they are serving a noble cause. They think they are working to reduce inequality. They think they are activists in a progressive organization. Nothing could be farther from the truth, she writes. They will enter the classrooms of poor

JUL 02

Duncan Urges Pennsylvania Officials to Act to Save Philly Schools
Secretary Arne Duncan publicly urged Pennsylvania officials to take action to save the public schools of Philadelphia.    
Breaking News: Deasy Critic Wins L.A. Board Presidency
In a changing of the regime, the leadership of the Los Angeles school board changed hands. Six-term president Monica Garcia is out. Dr. Richard Vladovic was elected as president, with Steve Zimmer as vice-president. Garcia was a close ally of Mayor Villaraigosa.
Why Is TFA Replacing the Mississippi Teacher Corps?
In response to news that the Walton Family Foundation awarded $4.3 million to Teach for America to send its ill-trained recruits to the Delta, a reader sent this comment: What upset me most about this award was that the Mississippi Delta is served by our own Mississippi Teacher Corps, which provides more summer training than TFA and a lot more support during the school year. It also requires that
Governor Corbett to Public Schools: Sorry.
Governor Tom Corbett passed a budget that shows his disdain for public education, I.e., the future of the state. Philadelphia got the back of his hand. The burden of paying down the debt created by the state’s own School Reform Commission (which reforms nothing) will be placed on the working class, while big corporations skip away with no responsibility. One plan, says columnist Will Bunch, is t
The Empire Strikes Back Against Kids Who Opt Out Of State Tests
The New York City Department of Education is treating students who boycott state tests as failures and requiring them to go to summer school if they hope to be promoted. Even if their teacher recommends them for promotion, they will be punished. There are consequences for those who defy the DOE.
Three Dozen People Rally to Support Vallas
In a surging groundswell of support, about three dozen people rallied for ousted Bridgeport superintendent Paul Vallas. The meeting was held in a church led by the president of the Board that appointed Vallas. The mayor of the city, Vallas’ strongest supporter, spoke on his behalf. Mayor Finch is hoping that Vallas will do for Bridgeport what he did for Chicago, Philadelphia, and Néw Orleans.
Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst Fundraising Falls Flat
When Michelle Rhee announced on “Oprah” the creation of her group called “StudentsFirst,” she said she would raise $1 billion in one year. Then she backtracked and said she would raise that amount in five years. Joy Resmovits of Huffington Post got copies of the group’s tax forms (which are made public), and Rhee is far short of her goal. “In the fiscal year starting August 1, 2011 and ending Ju
Joel Klein Interves in NYC Mayor Race to Defend Record
Joel Klein lambasted the Democratic candidates in the race to succeed Mayor Bloomberg for their criticism of his policies. Klein defended the policy of giving free public space to charters, even though many of the charters have billionaires on their boards. He also defended his record of closing schools with low test scores even though many of the replacement schools exclude low-scoring students.
Anthony Cody: Accountability Begins at the Top
In another great post, Anthony Cody explains why he is fed up with all the mud being thrown at teachers by politicians, foundation heads, corporations, and pundits. He asks, why no accountability for the banks and rating systems that lied and hid data and caused millions of people to lose their homes? Why no accountability for the big corporations that greedily soak up tax cuts while refusing to p
Bloomberg DOE Hurries to Privatize As Many Schools As Possible Before He Leaves Office
This is an alarming account of the frenzied efforts by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Department of Education to cement his “legacy” of opening privately managed charter schools while abandoning the public schools for which he is responsible. The high school named for the famed Socialist Norman Thomas will be closed and set aside as space for privately managed charters. This is a way of spitting on the
Arthur Camins: Why the Debate Over Standards Flounders
Arthur Camins has written an insightful critique of the current debate over standards. As he puts it, “the past gets in our eyes.” Camins begins: “The Common Core State Standards for Reading and Mathematics appear to be simultaneouslyunstoppable trains and under siege, making strange bedfellows of both supporters and opponents. Two issues cloud the debate about their validity, value and efficacy:
Letter from a Pennsylvania Student: Stop the Keystones!
A reader sent this letter written by her 14-year-old daughter. She should become active in the opt-out movement. She should contact Tim Slekar and Shaun Johnson “At the Chalkface.” Mother and daughter: resist. Join with others. Don’t let them destroy your education in the name of “accountability.” Hold the Mindless Testing Fanatics accountable. She writes: “Thank you for speaking up about these hi
Susan Ohanian Joins the Honor Roll
Susan Ohanian has been speaking, blogging, and agitating against bad education ideas for many years. Her writing is informed by a finely tuned sense of humanism–that is, she cares about people, especially children, more than big ideas and grand policies that treat people like widgets. She speaks with honesty, candor, courage, and integrity. She is tireless. She is the real deal. She has taught ev
TFA Wins Another $4.3 Million from Walton Family Foundation
Just when Teach for America was down to only $300 million in assets, the Walton Family Foundation awarded it another $4.3 million to send ill-trained young college graduates to spend two years teaching in the Delta. It seems like only yesterday, maybe two years ago, that the foundation gave TFA $49.5 million. Surely the brand new TFA recruits in the Delta will do no harm, and maybe do some good,
Fairfax County Teacher: Why I Quit
Ron Maggiano taught history and social studies in the Fairfax County (Virginia) public schools for 33 years. Along the way, he picked up many awards for his excellent teaching. Here he reflects on why he quit a career he loved. “Now more than three decades later, I have just spent my last day as a teacher. I resigned my teaching position because I can no longer cooperate with the standardized test
The Onion: A Bold and Innovative Charter School
Please read this. THE ONION GETS IT! When you become a joke in THE ONION, the end of school deform is in sight. The article begins: “ATLANTA—One year into its founding as the purported “bold next step in education reform,” administrators on Monday sang the praises of Forest Gates Academy, a progressive new charter school that practices an innovative philosophy of not admitting any students. “We’v

JUL 01

A BAT Teacher’s Dream
Want to know why the Badass Association of Teachers were created. It is because of stories like this one. Amanda wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember. She loved teaching. She was laid off. Thousands of other teachers could tell the same story. Does anyone care? Teachers care. They know that they could be next. That’s why the BAT gathered more than 20,000 members in only two we
Pelto: The Vallas Saga Continues
Jonathan Pelto reports that Paul Vallas and his allies are determined to fight the court ruling that ousted him from his job as superintendent of schools in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Ironically, the law he violated was written to make it easier to gain approval for him, despite his lack of the legally required qualifications. As Pelto writes: “The facts are simple enough; Thanks to Governor Malloy,
Corbett to Philadelphia: Fix Your Own Schools
Governor Tom Corbett’s poll numbers have been sinking, and based on his latest budget, he doesn’t deserve another term as governor. His budget abandons the desperate Philadelphia public school system, which has been under state control for a decade. The governor has no trouble building new prisons or cutting corporate taxes, but his message to Philadelphia is simple: Tough luck! As Daniel Denvir
Crenshaw High in Los Angeles: Deasy Targets Veteran Teachers
At Superintendent John Deasy’s urging, the Los Angeles school board last spring voted to restructure Crenshaw High because of its low test scores. The school will be divided into magnets. All of the staff had to reapply for their jobs. Curiously, the veteran teachers who were most outspoken in their criticism of the restructuring were not rehired.
Louisiana’s Largest Voucher School Kicked Out of Program
Last year, when Governor Bobby Jindal persuaded the Louisiana legislature to pass the nation’s most sweeping voucher program, the school that was selected to receive the largest number of voucher students was the New Living Word Church school. Although it lacked the facilities, the teachers, or the curriculum to triple its enrollment, Superintendent John White approved the school to enroll 193 vou
Matt Di Carlo on the New CREDO Study of Charters
Matt Di Carlo here reviews the new national CREDO study of charters. The findings are not much different from those of 2009, mainly, that charters vary widely in their ability to produce higher test scores and that on the whole the test scores of students in charters are not significantly better than students in public schools. Ever the patient social scientist, Di Carlo is impressed that the char
Idaho Has a Problem
Idaho has a problem, and it may not be unique to Idaho. One of the most powerful families in the state is the Albertson family, which runs the Albertson Foundation. It seems that one of the family heirs has made millions of dollars by investing in the online charter company K12, and now the Albertson Foundation thinks the whole state should get behind the for-profit corporation and put their kids
Robert Shepherd Sends Birthday Greetings
Aw, shucks. Robert Shepherd writes: “To Diane on Her 75th Birthday, July 1, 2013 “She is our Boadicea, our warrior queen, our courage grubber and prod, our fierce maternal spirit, the one who shelters the humane heart of our teaching from the heedless technocrats and rapacious profiteers. Under her withering gaze, the lords and would-be lords of the land, and the puffed-up toadies who serve them,
TeacherKen: BAT Has a Website: Join Us
TeacherKen reports that the Badass Teachers Association has enrolled more than 20,000 members in only two weeks. It has a new website, so you can join without going to Facebook. TeacherKen has the link. That’s great news for those of us who are not on FB. Keep it going. You don’t have to be a teacher to join. You have to be mad as hell at the mess the corporations, the foundations, and the feder
Robert Rendo: What Would Jesus’ VAM Score Be?
Robert Rendo posted this astute observation: “The reformers could only measure Jesus by the number of loaves baked and fish caught in a single year and see if that number increased the following year. Jesus’s VAM would be waived if he pulled any miracles, which would result in an arrest on charges of cheating . . . . .”
Randi and I to Arne: Please Intervene to Save Public Schools in Philadelphia
Last Friday, Randi Weingarten and I wrote a letter to Secretary Arne Duncan, urging his immediate, public intervention to save public education in Philadelphia and to protect the children from massive budget cuts. We hope and believe that the Secretary’s actions might persuade Governor Corbett and the legislature to do what most Pennsylvanians want them to do: save the schools and save the childre
My Second Grade Class at Montrose Elementary School
Last week, I invited the advisory committee of the Network for Public Education to hold its first face-to-face meeting at my home in New York City. After an all-day discussion, I invited everyone to do a walk-through of the house, which is a wonderful old brownstone in a landmark neighborhood. In my fourth-floor office, I pointed out old family and professional photos. Julian Vasquez Heilig asked
$$$$$$$: the Outrageous Story of Pitbull’s Charters
Hold on to your hat, sit down, then open this link, a bombshell post by Jersey Jazzman. You will learn why Pitbull is a keynote speaker at the National Charter Schools Conference. It is not because he is a rapper who insults women. You will learn that he and his family have perfected the art of using charters to become very rich. You will learn about the sleazy deals that he and his family made

JUN 30

Badass Teachers Website Is Activated
A message from Mark NAISON: Here’s the link to our new website! SUNDAY MASSIVE LAUNCH PARTY!! OFFICIAL WEBSITE IS UP AND RUNNING! A BADASS THANK YOU TO REBEKAH CORDOVA AND TEAM FOR ALL THEIR AMAZING WORK!! Mark D Naison Professor of African American Studies and History Fordham University “If you Want to Save America’s Public Schools: Replace Secretary of Education A
Ed Fuller Gives F to NCTQ Report on Teacher Prep
Ed Fuller has been conducting research on education policies in Texas, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere for many years. His published work is careful and peer-reviewed. Here he analyzes the recent report of the National Council on Teacher Quality and finds it woefully weak. To begin with, it looked only at inputs (catalogs and syllabi), not outputs like whether teachers got jobs as teachers and how lo
Secretary Duncan: Skip This Conference
Jersey Jazzman reported yesterday that the three keynote speakers at the National Charter Schools Conference are Joel Klein, rapper Pitbull, and Arne Duncan. Blogger Mother Crusader did some research and found that Pitbull is a flamboyant misogynist. Would Secretary Duncan speak at a conference where another featured speaker was flamboyantly racist? Or homophobic? Or anti-immigrant? Or anti- any
Your Gift for Today: A Favorite Poem
This poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of my all-time favorites. I first read it in college and decided to memorize it. When I was feeling down, I would take walks around Lake Waban and recite it out loud. I don’t know if it made me feel better, but it was my ritual. This poem is about death and life, fear and hope. Is this “informational text”? Spring & Fall: to a young child Margaret, are
The Vallas Record in Philadelphia, Revisited
Although Paul Vallas is often credited by the mainstream media as having “saved” Chicago, Philadelphia, and New Orleans, these districts remain unsaved. Of the three, Philadelphia is in the worst shape today, its finances in shambles, desperately underfunded, neatly 4,000 teachers and other staff laid off, schools under threat of closure or privatization, students with little or no access to the a
Rachel Levy: To Opt Out or Not?
I am a few days late posting this good essay by Rachel Levy. Here she debates whether to opt out her children from Virginia’s state testing. Levy has a terrific blog, and you should read it whenever possible or subscribe. She is one of our best thinkers today writing about education issues. She knows that everyone is caught up in the same snare, and she doesn’t want to cause problems for her child
Chicago Schools Get Good Coverage in UK, Not in Chicago
An article in the Guardian, a British newspaper, sympathetically explains the plight of students, parents, and communities that are adversely affected by the mass closings of dozens of elementary schools in Chicago. One of the schools to be closed is Mahalia Jackson, which has a program for hearing-impaired children. When the school is closed, students will be sent to a school that is more than an
A Teacher’s Plea to Bill and Melinda Gates
This teacher hopes that Bill and Melinda read this comment: Dear Bill and Melinda, I truly believe you started with good intentions. As mature adults who make mistakes, it is time to recant your initial perspective. I’ve taught 4th and 5th graders in an inner city school for the past 17 years. What fun we used to have. Back then…. before the NCLB and RTT…. my students flourished in literature gr
The BTA Launches New Media Today
Having sprouted nearly 20,000 members in barely two weeks, the distinguished Badass Teachers Association prepares for the long haul. Mark NAISON writes: “Today, with the Official Launch Party for the group Logo, the youtube channel, and the opening of the BAT Store, members of the Badass Teachers Association will see how hard the administrators of this group have worked to create an organizational

JUN 29

Sexist Rapper Will Speak at National Charter School Meet
If you were a rapper who made millions by insulting women with vulgar lyrics and treating them as sex objects, what’s your next logical move? Why, open a charter school! It is easy if you live in Florida, where anyone can open a charter. And then you will be invited to be a keynote speaker at the national charter schools conference! I can’t reprint any of the lyrics on this blog because they are
What Happened at Vallas’ Trial
When the trial was conducted of whether Paul Vallas had the necessary credentials to serve as superintendent of schools in Bridgeport, the attorney for the plaintiffs said he was a “drive-by superintendent.” The state commissioner of education Stefan Pryor, who picked Vallas, said he was impressed by his work in New Orleans, where he oversaw the near total privatization of the public schools. The
Teaching Is Not What I Expected
A teacher responds to the rankings by the NCTQ: Ok. I have a degree in accounting. I was an accountant for 15 years. I switched to teaching in 2008 and was thoroughly shocked that teaching was so different than I imagined and also that it was so difficult. When I was an accountant, I remembered thinking that getting off at 4pm sounded like a dream since I worked until 6pm as a general rule. Howeve
A Slick Campaign for Privatization
The forces advocating privatization of public schools are well-funded and relentless. They cloak their goals in high-flown rhetoric about “saving kids from failing schools.” Or they cynically claim the mantle of the civil rights movement as they seek to disrupt communities and replace public control with private ownership. As the public gets wise, resistance grows. This comment came from a reader:
Diana Senechal Has Fun with the Danielson Rubric
Satire alert! Diana Senechal tries her hand at satirizing the Danielson rubric, which seems to have taken the nation’s schools by storm. Join her as she ventures into the Low Inference Room.
The Academic Credentials Problem: Vallas and Deasy
A reader from Los Angeles raises questions about Dr. Deasy’s credentials and his backers. I cannot verify all his claims but could verify this and thisand this: The reader writes: “In Los Angeles, “Dr.” (a term L.A. teachers sneer at) John Deasy got his PhD from the University of Louisville after six months attendance and nine units of coursework from a “Professor” (another loose term) Felner whom
Jon Pelto: A Historic Victory Over the Education-Industrial Reformers
In this post, Jonathan Pelto assembles a timeline of the stunning court decision to remove Paul Vallas as superintendent of schools of Bridgeport, Connecticut. He includes Vallas’ tenure as superintendent of schools in Chicago, where he was hailed for “saving” the schools and in Philadelphia, where he installed the nation’s most sweeping privatization plan (to that point). Philadelphia and Chicago
Oklahoma Educators: Throw Out the 2013 Tests
Oklahoma education leaders proposed that the state should invalidate the state tests because of computer breakdowns. “The Oklahoma Education Association stated in a release on their website that CTB/McGraw-Hill was “grossly deficient in its ability to meet the needs of Oklahoma schools and students.” This was after schools reported numerous issues with standardized tests this past spring.” Will St
Gary Rubinstein: Another Miracle School Bites the Dust
The New York Daily News found another of those “miracle” schools that, on examination, isn’t. Gary Rubinstein is a master debunker of miracle schools, and his antennae went up when he read about a charter school in the South Bronx where almost every student graduates. The Daily News wrote: “Of the 66 12th graders at Hyde Leadership Charter School, 62 graduated — a 95% rate that crushes the citywid