Saturday, October 19, 2013

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New York Commissioner King and Regents Plan 16 Meetings to Sell Common Core But Skip One City
Having been thoroughly embarrassed by his haughty showing in Poughkeepsie, where parents booed him as he lectured them and brushed off their questions, Commissioner John King and the State Board of Regents want to prove they are not afraid to meet parents. They have scheduled 16 meetings across the state. With only one exception: there are no meetings scheduled in New York City, where 1/3 of the

New York Regent: We Will Not Fire John King
The New York Board of Regents has demonstrated that they are out of touch with the elope they serve. One of the few independent-minded Regents, Harry Phillips of Westchester, said recently that the Regents would not fireccommissioner John King despite his arrogant, dismissive treatment of parents at a community forum in Poughkeepsie. Leave arise for the moment that nearly half the principals in

Why School “Reform” Fails
A reader attended my presentation last night at Politics& Prose, a great DC bookstore that regularly hosts authors p. y The reader explains that the reform movement ignores science, which dooms it to failure: “Dear Diane, As a loyal follower of your blog I enjoyed your last evening’s visit to Politics and Prose in D.C. I would like to add, because I am a Professor of Neurology, Pediatrics and

When Should Students Use Calculators?
Far be it from me to reignite the Math Wars of the early 1990s, but I found this article–and the underlying debate–so interesting that I decided to share it. The question is, when should children use calculators for solving math problems? Thoughtful people are on opposing sides. On one side are those who say that students learn to do the calculations themselves, without the aid of a device, or t

Elaine Weiss: Rhee vs. Ravitch
Elaine Weiss of he Broader Bolder Approach appraises the dichotomous views of Michelle Rhee and me. Which is fact and which is fiction? Come to the Economic Policy Institute in D.C. this Friday at noon to hear these issues discussed. I will be there with Elaine Weiss and Randi Weingarten. 41.320597 -72.592994

Did Laporshia Massey Die Because of Pennsylvania’s Budget Cuts?
This post is a letter written to Governor Tom Corbett’s wife. Corbett is the governor of Pennsylvania. A 12-year-old child died of an asthma attack because there was no school nurse that day; the school has a nurse only two days a week, due to the state budget cuts. The letter begins: ““Dear Susan Corbett, I hope this note finds you doing well in the governor’s mansion you share with your husband,

What Public Schools Do for Communities
A reader explains why public schools matter to the life of communities: “Public schools are not panaceas for poverty or crime or any of the other ills of our society, but they can provide a place for a community to come together, to learn to get along with each other, to watch out for each other. They can create a sense of security and predictability for our children. Privatization of our schools
WSJ Writer Opposes Early Childhood Education, Almost Alone
To certain ideologues, evidence doesn’t matter. The overwhelming scientific consensus supports high-quality early childhood education. It would be hard to find an expert in the field of child development who opposes it. Yet the Wall Street Journal managed to find a non-expert to speak out SgAinst this evidence- based policy, apparently because Néw York City Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio sup
Edward Berger’s Moving Analysis of “Reign of Error”
Edward Berger is a blogger who lives in the southwest and is passionate about preserving public education and democracy. In this post, he writes an eloquent tribute to “Reign of Error” and expresses his u dear standing of the organic connection between communities and their public schools, an insight that seems to elude those who call themselves “reformers.” He writes: “American communities are


Disgrace in Indiana
One of the few certainties to emerge from the intense effort to privatize public education is that giving A-F letter grades to schools is incoherent, punitive, and does nothing to help schools. Former superintendent Tony Bennett, a hard-right ideologue out to destroy public education in Indiana, imported the A-F grading system from his mentor Jeb Bush. No matter where it came from, it is useless.
Disgrace in Indiana
One of the few certainties to emerge from the intense effort to privatize public education is that giving A-F letter grades to schools is incoherent, punitive, and does nothing to help schools. Former superintendent Tony Bennett, a hard-right ideologue out to destroy public education in Indiana, imported the A-F grading system from his mentor Jeb Bush. No matter where it came from, it is useless.
Cody: Common Core Is Failing Because Developers Ignored Democratic Process
Anthony Codybexplains here why the Common Core standards lack legitimacy. The developers were in a hurry. They ignored the democratic process. They took shortcuts. Consequently, they lack buy-in and legitimacy. The democratic process is slow and messy but it works better in the long run than authoritarianism. It gains the consent of the governed. Without the consent of the governed, there is coe
EduShyster Academy Offers Degrees in Excellence
Here is your chance to get a graduate degree from an outstanding faculty that contains no scholars at all. That is the very best sort of university these days. Read the qualifications and see if your belong at EduShyster Academy. If Massachusetts and New York can allow new universities to be accredited without any faculty members who hold a Ph.D., without any faculty members with a record of schol
See You in Cambridge on October 24
You might even meet the brilliant, beautiful, elusive EduShyster! CPS Presents Diane Ravitch in Cambridge, Oct. 24 Citizens for Public Schools is proud to present Diane Ravitch, speaking on her new book, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools. Reign of Error picks up where Diane left off with her ground-breaking book, The Death and Life of
Can You Advise This Parent?
I received the following comment this morning. I don’t have the answer to everything, and I am not sure what I would do in her place, but this is my advice. Organize the other parents of kindergarten children. Go as a group to the superintendent and tell him this is wrong. Get parents of children in first grade and second grade to join you. Others may as well. Speak on behalf of your child and oth
TFA Scores Big Win in Federal Debt Deal
One of the provisions of No Child Left Behind was a requirement that the neediest children would have “highly qualified teachers.” Most people would interpret that language to mean that poor kids would get teachers who are well-prepared and experienced. But through its political connections on Capitol Hill, Teach for America managed to get a special exemption carved out for their corps members wh
Who Raised Over A Quarter Million Dollars for Local School Board Races?
Jersey Jazzman has been digging and discovering a small number of people who are dropping large sums of money into local school board races. The catch is that these are not races where the donors reside. Somehow, they are finding relatively obscure races where a gift of $10,000 or $25,000 makes a huge difference. Why are out-of-towners and out-of-staters so eager to affect school board races dista
A Broadie Wreaks Havoc in Montclair, New Jersey
Starting in 2002, the unaccredited Broad Superintendents “Academy” has produced graduates who supposedly learned the management techniques to turn the nation’s schools around. The Academy consists of six weekends over a ten-month session, where aspiring leaders are immersed in Billionaire Eli Broad’s management philosophy, which apparently means top-down mandates, high-stakes testing, close school

OCT 17

John King: The Object of Righteous Anger
A parent in Poughkeepsie writes about the infamous meeting where John King lectured for 1 hour and 40 minutes and was then hooted by parents and teachers:   On October 10, 2013, SED Commissioner John King spoke at the Spackenkill School District in Poughkeepsie, NY.  This was the first of several forums on the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) that NYS adopted on July 19, 2010.  It has been wi
Newsflash: 800 EdReformers Meet in Boston Today
This news item appeared in ED REFORMERS MEET IN BOSTON – More than 800 state legislators, school chiefs and policy wonks of every description will convene today in Boston for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s annual National Summit on Education Reform. The two-day conference will feature several big-name speakers, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and a mystery guest
Naison: Do Not Watch This Video!
Mark NAISON, professor of African-American studies at Fordham University, co-founded the BATs. BATs are everywhere. They think high-stakes testing is child abuse. They think that evaluating teachers in relation to student test scores is nonsense. Mark Naison here posts a hilarious parody of New York’s educator evaluation system, untested, being built in mid-air, that old airplane cliche. If you
Letter from a Disillusioned Charter Teacher
This came to my personal email. The writer requested anonymity: “Hello, Ms. Ravitch, “My name is —- ——-, and I am a big fan of your scholarship, specifically that around charter school efficacy. “I spent my first 2 years in education as an ELA teacher at a KIPP school in New Orleans while also taking classes as part of a post-bac teacher certification program at one of the best universities in the
Who Owns Public Education in Los Angeles?
Recently I posted David Sirota’s article about the super-wealthy who are taking children as “hostages” in their big to take over public education itself. Sirota looked at events in Denver, Los Angeles, and New York City. That article prompted this response from Los Angeles:     David Sirota’s article couldn’t be more apt for what has happened in LA. We were blitzkrieged by this outside financing t
This is the Parent Who Broke Up John King’s Meeting
Dear Diane, I’m the parent in the video who raised the point about Montessori school…  (Spackenkill High School. PTA Sponsored Meeting about the Common Core). I hope to set the record straight on my comments. Sincerely, Mikey Jackson As I Was Saying… Last Thursday evening, I travelled up to Spackenkill High School in Poughkeepsie to attend the PTA-sponsored Common Core t
A Teacher in Hawaii Reviews “Reign of Error”
Diane Aoki felt that something was wrong, terribly wrong, as No Child Left Behind changed the schools. It felt even worse when Race to the Top came in. Everyone told her, “don’t worry, this too will pass,” but it only got worse every year. When she read “Reign of Error,” it all made sense to her. She understood that “reform” was not about reform at all. Things are bad, she knew, but “Reign of Erro
A Mother Writes to the New York Board of Regents
This comment was posted and signed by a mother of a ten-year-old child who doesn’t want to go to school. Ever.   This is the message I recently sent to the Board of Regents and my state representatives: I have been very vocal about my concerns regarding the implementation of the Common Core Standards, testing, and curriculum in NYS. I have written letters and emails to my NYS representatives and m
Sirota and Taibbi: Is the Pension Crisis Real?
Two of the nation’s toughest investigative journalists–David Sirota and Matt Taibbi–join forces to examine the widespread effort to pin the nation’s economic word on public workers’ pensions. If the critics have their way, who wins? One guess.

OCT 16

EduShyster: John King’s Gift to the Opt-Out Movement
EduShyster has a guest blogger who graduated from the fine public schools of New Jersey, then went on to excel in the nation’s finest universities. In this post, Sue Altman thinks that John King is the best thing that ever happened to the opt-out movement. The more he talks, the more he angers parents. She thinks he canceled his planned visit to Long Island because the parents and the students are
Reader: A Motto for Mr. Pitbull’s Charter School?
Yesterday, I posted a story about a charter school in Miami founded by a rapper known as Pitbull. This fellow was lauded by NPR for his philanthropy in founding a charter school. The fact that he has no qualifications to run or create a school is of no matter. He is known for his vulgar language and his contempt for women. The school will be managed by a for-profit corporation that has become very
Why Does the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Love Common Core?
I got a letter in my email today (cited below) from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, telling me how the future prosperity of our nation depends on adoption of the Common Core standards. I wonder how many members of the Chamber have ever seen a copy of the Common Core standards? Why do they think they will produce miraculous changes in test scores? What evidence do they have about the validity of thes
Professor: Do Not Write Recommendation Letters for TFA
This professor urges her colleagues not to write letters of recommendation for TFA. In this post, she explains why. Ironically, she is a TFA alum, yet she thinks that TFA has become part of the neoliberal attack on the public sector. She writes to her colleagues in higher education: “I encourage each of you to stand with me in refusing to write letters of recommendation for students who are applyi
Letitia James Rocks the PEP: “Save Your Emails”
I can’t begin to summarize the emotional impact of this 4 minute speech by Letitia James, who will soon be the Public Advocate of New York City. She recently won a run-off election to be the #2 ranked official in the city. Her election in November is a foregone conclusion. As you will see in the video, she is a fierce advocate for public schools and for children with special needs. She is a powerf
America’s Student Revolutionaries
This article was posted today on Huffington Post. They gave it a wonderful title, better than mine: “Our Kids Today: The Greatest Generation?”     The members of the Providence Student Union are the most creative and best informed critics of high-stakes testing in the nation. They can run rings around the public officials in Rhode Island when they explain the damage done by high-stakes testing. Th
A NY Parent Objects to Commissioner King’s Cancellation of Parent Meetings
John King, Commissioner of New York’s education system, was booed repeatedly when he held his first parent meeting in upstate New York. The parents expressed their low opinion of his policies, his mandates, the Common Core, the Pearson testing, and the contempt King shows for teachers, principals, and public schools. He opted out. He canceled all future public meetings with parents. This Long Isla
De Blasio Vs. Lhota: Are Charter Co-Locations Fair?
A report from an insider at the New York City Department of Education, in response to the first debate between Democratic candidate Bill di Blasio and Republican candidate Joe Lhota: New York City last night was treated to two starkly different visions of public schools. We had a mayoral debate in which a progressive candidate who believes in voice for parents and communities battled a candidate i
News from Wisconsin: “Reign of Error” Puts Voucher Advocates on Defensive
A progressive Wisconsin newspaper reports that “Reign of Error” has thrown voucher advocates onto the f Defensive. Despite the obvious failure of vouchers in Milwaukee, Governor Scott Walker has expanded the voucher program to a larger geographical area and lifted the income limits for participants. His goal becomes clear: he has no interest in saving poor children from “failing public schools,” b
Denver: Fight the Testing Madness on Saturday
Hi SOS Supporters, On October 19th, there are two actions against high stakes testing in Denver. Please join or support them in whatever way you can.  If you enjoy dressing as a Zombie, join the Zombie crawl and protest turning our students into testing zombies.  Visit the tumblr to learn more. Also, they are specifically looking for volunteers at the followin
Haimson: How Charter Co-Locations Hurt Public School Children
Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters explains here in shocking detail how charter co-locations harm New York City’s neediest children. Here is a sample: “These proposals will uniformly disadvantage the children in the existing schools, cause even more overcrowding and larger classes, and push disabled students out of the spaces they need for special services. Some of the examples have been descr
Politico: Vouchers Are $1 Billion Waste of Taxpayer Dollars
Stephanie Simon, one of the nation’s best investigative education journalists, reports that vouchers are a costly failure. In every case where they were adopted, voucher advocates claimed they would “save poor kids from failing public schools,” but nowhere has the promise been true. Voucher advocates insist that they are supporting the “right” of children to attend a private or religious school wi
A Terrifying Report about Child Abuse in Texas Schools–and in Your State Too
At the request of the author, this post was briefly taken down in order to obscure the name of the school and of one student. Do students have the right not to be subjected to emotional and psychological abuse? If pressure and chronic stress raise test scores, are they acceptable? A group of mental health professionals prepared the following report. It is long. It is painful to read. This is what
Will the Reformers Kill Common Core?
Jeff Bryant at the Education Opportunity Network is not a critic of Common Core. He is a thoughtful observer. In this brilliant post, he shows that the worst enemies of Common Core are its advocates. Why are kindergarten children given standardized tests? Why are teachers compelled to follow scripted curricula? Why are teachers and parents’ voices disregarded? Why the rush? Why the gloating over

OCT 15

NPR Lauds Pitbull’s Charter Money Pit
I never thought I would see the day when NPR ran a story complimenting a misogynist rapper for opening a charter school. This rapper, who calls himself Pitbull, writes lyrics that are too filthy to repeat on NPR or on this blog. But there is Claudio Sanchez, reporting on the charming phenomenon that celebrities who are not educators and who apparently have no education themselves are opening chart
Mother to John King: I Have a “Special Interest”: My Son
This letter was distributed to every member of the New York State Board of Regents, along with many elected officials in New York State. Dear Distinguished Elected Officials, I am the parent of two children one presently enrolled in the Spackenkill school district, the other is a junior in college studying computer science, much to my chagrin. I have an advanced degree and have practiced in the
NPR Lauds Pitbull’s Charter Money Pit
I never thought I would see the day when NPR ran a story complimenting a misogynist rapper for opening a charter school. This rapper, who calls himself Pitbull, writes lyrics that are too filthy to repeat on NPR or on this blog. But there is Claudio Sanchez, reporting on the charming phenomenon that celebrities who are not educators and who apparently have no education themselves are opening chart
What You Need to Know About New York City’s Charter Schools
New York City’s charter schools are often held up as exemplary, which is the spin that the Bloomberg administration has fed the media for a dozen years. This insider says the spin is wrong. He writes: The current mayoral election in New York City has brought long overdue debate and discussion to the real outcomes of corporate-style management of public schools. No longer are New Yorkers compelled
Parent: I Was at the Poughkeepsie Meeting
This comment came from a mother who attended the infamous meeting where State Commissioner John King announced his intention to have a dialogue with parents, then lectured the audience for over an hour, and interrupted those who disagreed with him. Having announced five such meetings, he canceled the other four, claiming that “special interests” had manipulated the parents. This parent says she w
Which Is the Most Corrupt State? This Reader Says Arizona
A comment from a reader in Arizona who read the earlier report about the private schools for children with disabilities that fleece New Jersey taxpayers. The reader writes: “AZ has just as much, if not more, corruption. The administrators for BASIS schools (a charter school, most likely invading your area) make six figures and created a for profit corporation to run their schools, so now no one
The Charter School Bubble in New York City
In case you had not noticed, there is a mayoral election going on in New York City. The Democratic candidate, Bill de Blasio, is the front-runner, currently about 40 points ahead of his Republican challenger Joe Lhota. De Blasio has made clear that he will strengthen the traditional schools that enroll 95% of the city’s public school students. Charter school advocates are outraged that he would sh
John Thompson Asks Whether I Hurt Reformers’ Feelings
In his review of Reign of Error in Schools Matter, historian and teacher John Thompson contemplates the urgent issue of whether I hurt reformers’ feelings. To be precise, the question posed by his review is “Should Diane Ravitch Be More Careful to Not Hurt Reformers’ Feelings?” This is an interesting question that I have pondered these past few weeks, indeed, for the past few years. It is true. I
Brock Cohen: Schools That Fell into the Rabbit Hole
Brock Cohen taught for a dozen years in the public schools and is now pursuing a graduate degree. Here he tries to explain the madness of local, state, and federal mandates that crush teachers, principals and schools as they labor under the burden of being labeled a “failing school.” Here is a sample of how these mandates destroy schools instead of helping them: “Most of my 12-plus years as a high
Russ Walsh Writes a Delightful Review of “Reign of Error”
Russ Walsh, who works at Rider University in Pennsylvania, asks a simple question: What if Chicken Little had 70 billion dollars? Would his comical error in believing the sky is falling have been dismissed so quickly? Would the acorn of truth have been discovered and Chicken Little disgraced? Instead of making Chicken Little the laughingstock of the barnyard, would we instead be drawing up plans f
CarolinaCAN Deserves an F Minus for Hurting Children
Lately, the organization 50CAN has spread from state to state, bringing bad ideas that hurt children and promote corporate control of public schools (aka privatization). The CAN strategy always begins with grading and labeling schools, so that those at the bottom are demoralized and feel like failures, no matter how hard they try. North Carolina has CarolinaCAN, which is grading schools as the fi
John King Is Unfit for His Position as State Commissioner
Arthur Goldstein, who teaches at Frances Lewis High School in Queens, New York, observed the video in which John King was completely unable to maintain order when faced with an audience of angry parents. He condescended to them, which seems to be his default mode, and they responded angrily. He could not control the class. He probably wanted to expel them, but he couldn’t. They were not “bad stude

OCT 14

Mercedes Schneider: Who Created the Common Core? How Did It Happen?
Mercedes Schneider follows an interesting story. How did it happen that “the states” agreed to create common standards? What was the federal role? Who led this effort? How did it work? Was it really led by the states? How did it happen that the United States has national standards that so few people are aware of? If this a good thing?  
Parent Groups in New York Call for Commissioner John King to Resign
Commissioner John King made the mistake of treating parents with disrespect. He doesn’t listen. He cannot lead. He was hired to serve the public. He can’t and he won’t. A statement just released by parent groups in New York: New York State Allies for Public Education Calls for the Resignation of NYS Commissioner of Education John King Billed as an opportunity to “gather information, ask questions
Aaron Pallas Rates NY Commissioner John King: Zero
Aaron Pallas, one of our best sociologists of education, looks at the terrible scores of teachers in Syracuse. “The summary evaluations reported by Superintendent Contreras [of Syracuse] were striking: Just two percent of Syracuse teachers were rated highly effective, and an additional 58 percent were deemed effective. Seven percent were classified as ineffective, and 33 percent as developing, ca
John King: My Charter Schools Don’t Need My Invalid Evaluations
State Commissioner John King of Néw York has created an educator evaluation system that is untested, one if those planes built in mid-air by uncertified mechanics and unlicensed engineers. If the plane crashes, too bad. But not every teacher will be subject to King’s burden of paperwork and test-based evaluation! If you happen to work on the boot-camp no-excuses charter chain that King founded, k
EduShyster Interviews Joanne Barkan About Plutocrats
We previously posted Joanne Barkan’s stunning article about the way our plutocrat philanthropists are undermining democracy. In this post, EduShyster interviews Barkan about her central theme of plutocrats-gone-wild. An excerpt. EduShyster asks whether the billionaires–surrounded by sycophants– understand that they are not getting much ROI [return on investment] from their failed ventures, and Bar
NAISON: Time for Commissioner King to Resign
When John King was booed at his first parent meeting, he got angry. He expected parents to listen to his wisdom, gleaned from his three years in a no-excuses charter school that is known for kicking out non-conforming students. Most state superintendents understand that they are public servants, meaning they serve the public. John King thinks he was chosen to give orders to schools, teachers, prin
New Jersey Taxpayers Underwrite Nepotism, Profiteering in Private Schools for Disabled Students
New Jersey has 180 private schools that receive public funding for students with disabilities. They operate with little or no state oversight. Governor Chris Christie and his State Commissioner Chris Cerf are big supporters of privatization. They rant about the high salaries of public school superintendents, but say it is none of their business if the publicly-funded private schools have even high
Bruce Baker: Should Economists Be Paid by Their Hair Color?
Bruce Baker continues to be one of our most valuable academic scholars of educational madness. In this post, he explores and explodes the claim by certain economists that teachers should not get a pay increase for anything except higher test scores. This is the only value that they ever add to a school. On the basis of this absurd claim, states are now passing laws to deny teachers any salary incr
States Don’t Want to Pay Teachers for Earning Masters’ Degrees
This article appeared in the Wall Street Journal. It reports a trend among states to pay teachers for “performance,” meaning student test scores, not for masters’ degrees. So a history teacher who wants to get a degree in history gets no salary increment. The science teacher who wants to learn more about science will get no salary increment. The message to teachers: More education doesn’t make you

OCT 13

David Sirota: Who Is Holding School Children Hostage?
Crack investigative journalist David Sirota takes a close look at the gangster tactics that billionaires are using in New York City, D.C, and Denver. This article will be “unlocked” on its website for only 9 hours more. Please read it NOW. Consider subscribing to NSFWCORP, which specializes in investigative reporting.   Hostage-Taking In The Classroom By David Sirota Dispatch unlocked: Subscrib
Carol Burris: Commissioner John King Has Lost All Moral Authority
In this post, award-winning Long Island principal Carol Burris catalogues the disasters associated with the New York State Department of Education. The recent disastrous appearance of Commissioner John King in Poughkeepsie, where he first lectured the audience, and then was shocked when parents had opinions of their own, put his own lack of moral authority and lack of leadership skills on display.
Terrific Review of “Reign of Error” in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Eleanor Chute, who covers education in Pittsburgh, wrote an excellent review of “Reign of Error” in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. With the rise and dominance of the Internet, there are ever fewer cities and towns with newspapers, and book review sections have almost died out. Even the New York Times book review seems to have half as many pages as it did a decade ago. So given the limited amount of
How New York City Department of Education Dumps Low-Performing Students into Struggling Schools
Here is a link to the report of the Annenberg institute of School Reform, which documents that the New York City Department of Education has systematically steered students with the highest needs to the lowest-performing schools. This guarantees that the students will not get the services they need, and guarantees that the struggling school will fail and close. It is shameful.
Why John King Canceled All Future PTA Meetings: “Special Interests” Took Over
New York State Commissioner John King’s office issued a statement, explaining that the parents who booed and ridiculed him were being “manipulated” by “special interests.” Who are these “special interests” that have the power to befuddle parents about what is in the best interest of their children? Presumably, he meant the teachers’ union. Maybe he forgot that the AFT and NEA are big supporters of
Jesse Hagopian: Yes, Resistance is Growing Across the Nation!
Jesse Hagopian brought a rate moment of truth to the corporate-dominated Education Nation show when he spoke on behalf of his colleagues at Garfield High in Seattle. He instantly became the voice and face of the movement to stop pointless and punitive high-stakes testing. Imagine: a real classroom teacher sitting among the CEOs and governors. They speak Reformy platitudes, he is the voice of exper
Resmovits: Texas Gets NCLB Waiver, But–Gasp!–Obama Goals Equally Impossible
I confess I have not followed all the twists and turns of the proposals to reauthorize the failed No Child Left Behind law. Almost everyone except its original sponsors agrees that it failed, yet Congress is locked into the same stale assumption that the federal government is supposed to find a magical formula to measure test scores and punish teachers, principals, and schools. Congress, in its wi
The Bush-Obama Era: Built on Ignorance by Non-Educators
A reader writes: “What I would really like to see is Arnie Duncan in a seventh period class, of whatever subject he could be certified in, implementing his signature policies. Only someone who has never taught in a public school could with a straight face implement race to the top. Should add, it would be a good idea if he took a tests-and-measurement class that might help understand the fundamen
Dr. Joseph Ricciotti: How CCSS Ruins Kindergarten
Dear Diane, As an outgrowth of reading your new book, “Reign of Error” and reading your blog, I have written the op-ed piece below to the Connecticut Post. Thank you for all you do in your support of public education. Regards, Joe Ricciotti The Developmental Inappropriateness of the CCSS for Kindergarten Children Ricciotti, Joseph To: To the Editor, I recently had an opportunity to
VAM Is a Sham in Florida
A comment from a reader in Florida: “I went to an Orange County Florida school board meeting and afterwards told a couple members “I am the world expert on the VAM -potentially” I smiled. They had not even looked at the equation. No one in that room or probably in the administrative building for 180,000 students had even looked at this. What had they almost passed the last meeting? Flunking, then

OCT 12

Anthony Cody Explains Why New York Parents Booed Commissioner John King
Few people have been more enthusiastic about the Common Core as StateCommissioner John King. King brooks no dissent. When he held the first of his meetings with PTAs in upstate New York, he lectured for over an hour, then encountered a hostile reception from parents. Why? Read Anthony Cody’s account and watch the videos. John King has canceled all other scheduled PTA meetings. The public is no
Jonathan Lovell Channels John Keats While Reading “Reign of Error”
Jonathan Lovell teaches writing at San Jose State in California. A few weeks ago, he sent me a couplet from Alexander Pope to steel me when angry critics lash out. These were the lines: “Yes, I am proud; I must be proud to see Men, not afraid of God, afraid of me.”  I met Jonathan in Berkeley last week and signed his book. He wrote a few days later that he had been reading the book aloud to his wi
Larry Lee Reviews “Reign of Error”
Larry Lee is a native Alabamian who has been writing about education in his home state for many years. He has been writing about rural schools, in particular, which are often forgotten and greatly in need. This is his review of “Reign of Error.” It appeared in the Anniston Star. His study, “Lessons Learned from Rural Schools,” is a powerful testament to the children, families, communities, and edu
COW Charter May Close Due to Low Enrollment
The charter chain called Citizens of the World opened in Brooklyn, hoping to attract a white affluent crowd. Despite intense community opposition, the school opened with room for 126 students. Only 65 showed up. The school may be forced to close due to its low enrollment. No waiting list. Only three children from the neighborhood enrolled.
Parents Boo NY Commissioner John King and Boo the Common Core Too
New York Commissioner John King thought it would be a good idea to hold a series of town halls with parent groups around the state. No doubt he expected to be showered with praise for his leadership in quickly implementing the Common Core. He was in for a big surprise. He was met with outrage by parents who do not like the Common Core, hate the testing, and despise the State Education Department
Ka-Ching! For-Profits Dominate Teacher Education
In its relentless quest to improve education in the United States, corporate reformers are turning teacher education into an online, for-profit business. Advocates say it is very successful because future teachers can beam into the classroom from their homes. Not much interaction with peers. Not much opportunity to practice teach in classes with living children, but who needs living children when
Lubic: The Cozy Nepotism in Los Angeles
Might Makes Right When Viewing LAUSD and California Nepotism…..or does it? By Ellen Lubic, Educator and angry taxpayer Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times printed two stories that affect public school education, and those who ‘dabble’ in it. One was by journalist Howard Blume on the Billion Dollar iPad scandal at LAUSD, and the other was written as an op-ed team by Eli Broad and Richard Riordan, two
Reader: Some Miss the Good Old Days of Academic and Racial Segregation
Yes, we do know the secret of getting high test scores! Exclude the kids who might get low scores. Kick out the kids who do get low scores. Only strivers need apply. Only strivers will be admitted. It is the formula for a miracle school! All children get high scores! All children (who weren’t kicked out) graduate and go to college! This s the golden dream of Race to the Top. Cull the best, f
Did ACT Scores Go Up in Dallas Because of Data Manipulation?
A reader sent the following comment. I can’t vouch for its authenticity but urge reporters in Dallas to do so:   A newly exposed DISD controversy involves claims that college readiness improved in 2012/13 under Mike Miles. This claim is on page 218 of the “Data Packet for 2013/14 Planning,” online at . It shows the average ACT score as having