Saturday, March 15, 2014

LISTEN TO DIANE RAVITCH ALL WEEK LONG Diane Ravitch's blog 3-15-14 #thankateacher #EDCHAT #P2

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Matt Haney, a member of the San Francisco local school board, here responds to Reed Hastings’ proposal that local school boards should be replaced by charter schools. School boards are part of our democratic concept of education. They are elected by the public to serve the public. They can be thrown out of office if they don’t serve the public. Charter schools, by contrast, are run by private bo

Bill Gates lectured the Nationally Board Certified Teachers on Friday about the joys of Common Core and why standardization unlocks creativity. Not being a NBCT, I was not there to hear him, but this teacher was there. She writes: “As a high school English teacher, one of the first things I taught my 11th grade students was to know their audience when speaking and writing; knowing about the exper

Washington State Rejects Arne’s Junk Science Mandate, Will Be Punished
Washington State legislators refused to accept Arne Duncan’s demand that teachers be evaluated by a flawed and erroneous method, and the state seems certain to lose its NCLB waiver. “That would mean that, starting in 2014-2015, school districts throughout the state would lose control over roughly $38 million in Title I funds designed to help low-income students. “Loss of the waiver would also mea
Big Business Fights Tea Party in Support of Common Core, with Questions
Stephanie Simon reports at that big business is launching a major campaign to counter Tea Party opposition to the Common Core standards. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable have endorsed a major advertising and public relations campaign on behalf of the Common Core. Within days, Indiana will very likely become the first state to officially scrap the standards, tho
Mercedes Schneider Takes Bill Gates to the Woodshed
Mercedes Schneider was not at all pleased that Bill Gates lectured teachers at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards annual conference. He has never taught but he thinks he knows how to teach. Messing with education is his hobby. Why was he invited. Schneider thinks he bought the platform by donating millions to the NBPTS. She takes him to the woodshed and gives him a talking to
Sara Stevenson, Fearless Librarian
At the meeting in Austin of the Network for Public Education, I singled out a large number of people and groups who are turning the tide on behalf of the public good. One of them was Austin’s own Sara Stevenson, a librarian at a middle school. Sara reads the editorials in the Wall Street Journal and responds whenever they lash out at teachers or public schools. This keeps Sara very busy, because p
Dr. Yohuru Williams: Everything I Need to Know about Corporate Reform I Learned in Kindergarten
Dr. Yohuru Williams teaches history at Fairfield University in Connecticut. In this post, he condenses the lessons of the best-seller All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, reducing sixteen lessons to only six. They are on point and hilarious. These are six rules to live by and to learn by. School would be a far better place for learning if everyone took Dr. Williams’ good advice. He

An Innocent/Guilty Pleasure
A couple of years ago, I read an article in The New Yorker about the federal government’s efforts to shut down health-food cooperatives that sell raw milk. The story focused on California, where SWAT teams descended on sellers of raw milk and locked them up. What is “raw milk,” I wondered. It is milk as it comes from the cow, not pasteurized, not homogenized. Sounded frightening. I remember in hea
A Teacher in L.A: Who Is John Deasy?
A teacher in Los Angeles has a gripe about his superintendent, John Deasy: he says Deasy is an uninspiring technocrat, not an educator. He has no educational vision. The LAUSD board recently extended Deasy’s contract to 2016, despite the fiasco in which Deasy committed to spend $1 billion on iPads while laying off arts teachers, closing libraries, increasing class sizes, and neglecting school repa
A Reader Comments: Will Changes in the SAT Matter?
A frequent contributor to the blog’s discussions calls himself or herself “Democracy.” Here is the comment left by this reader in response to the announcement about changes that will be made to the SAT: ****************** “Democracy” writes: I’ve noted this point multiple times on this blog but it bears repeating. College enrollment specialists say that their research finds the SAT predicts betwee


What Bill Gates Told National Board for Professional Teaching Standards about Common Core (Oops, Link added)
Bill Gates released an advance copy of his speech to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and as reported in the Huffington Post, he defended the Common Core standards as the key to creativity in the classroom. The article says that the Gates Foundation had spent $75 million on the standards, but we know from Mercedes Schneider’s study of the Gates’ website that the foundation h
Parent Groups Blast Cuomo and New York Legislature
The New York State Senate legislation to protect charter schools is not limited in its reach to charters in New York City. According to the press release cited below, school districts across New York State will have to provide free facilities or public school space for charter schools that wish to open and will then have no jurisdiction over their own space. This is nothing but a brazen power grab
When I Spoke at the Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh, North Carolina
This is a video of my speech at the Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh, North Carolina, on February 11, 2014. This was an important challenge because I strongly believe that the state is on the wrong path. Its governor and legislature are far to the right of the Tea Party. They are a government that doesn’t like public education or teachers. They seem to want to drive teachers away. They don’t want
North Carolina: How to Lower Standards While Pretending to Improve Education
The legislature in North Carolina, apparently joined at the hip with ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council), passed legislation establishing charter schools a few months ago. Buried in the bill is a stipulation that only 50% of teachers in charter schools need to hold a teaching license (see page 7 of the bill). In public schools, ALL teachers must be licensed. Apparently in the minds of
Jersey Jazzman: Star-Ledger in NJ Compliments Charter with Very Few Poor Kids
Jersey Jazzman calls out New Jersey’s leading newspaper for making really surprising comments about a charter school in Hoboken. The Hola charter school is innovative, and parents are lining up to get their kids in. It gets high test scores, and only 11% of its students are poor in a district where 72% of the kids are poor. JJ writes: Let’s recap: there’s a charter school that takes far fewer kids
Andrew Cuomo: Why He Loves Charters and Despises Public Schools
You can’t say this often enough. Money matters in politics. Forget principle. Think money. Andrew Cuomo wants to be re-elected Governor of New York with a large majority. He has raised $33 million. One of his biggest sources of money is Wall Street. Wall Street loves charter schools. Wall Street doesn’t love public schools. The fact that only 3% of students in New York State attend charter
NYC Protest Today at Noon Against “Protect Eva Act” and Gubernatorial Control
Parents and other supporters of public schools will rally today against Governor Cuomo’s attempt to wrest control of the New York City public schools for the benefit of his campaign contributors. Dan Morris. 917.952.8920. Julian Vinocur. 212.328.9268. Media Advisory for Fri. March 14, Noon, Cuomo’s Midtown Office Rally Against Quid Pro Cuomo State Budget Deal and Gubernatorial Control of NYC Scho
How Testing Regime Drives Out Our Best Teachers
Wherever I go, I hear stories about the exodus of teachers from the profession. The same story is told everywhere: I am sick of the non-stop testing. I didn’t become a teacher to administer tests, I became a teacher to make a difference in the lives of children, I became a teacher because I love history and want to share my love. The testing regime is crushing my kids and crushing me too. Our nati
NYC Judge Rules That State May Not Audit Eva’s Charters
In a stunning decision, a judge in Manhattan ruled that the State Comptroller may not audit Eva Moskowitz’s charter schools or any other charter schools because they are “not units of the state.” In other words, they are not public schools. If they were public schools, they would be “units of the state” and could be audited by the State Comptroller. As private contractors, they audit themselves.
Charter School Magnate Wants to End Local School Boards: Democracy is the Problem
Reed Hastings, the founder and CEO of Netflix, is a major player in the corporate reform movement. He is on the board of various charter schools and charter chains, including Rocketship and KIPP. The organization fighting the proliferation of Rocketship charters forwarded his address to the California Charter School Association: Watch the 2 minute synopsis video. Get the story and the full keynote
Will Sheldon Silver Stop the “Protect Eva” Act?
In New York state, the Assembly is led by Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the Assembly. In this interview, he expressed opposition to the State Senate’s bill to protect Eva Moskowitz and to assure that all of New York City’s nearly 200 charters get rent-free space in public school buildings. Eva has a chain of 22 charters. Mayor de Blasio just agreed to give her five more, but turned down three propose
Charters Rule: New York State Senate Proposes to Protect Charters But Not Public Schools
The New York State Senate has drafted a budget proposal to make sure that Eva Moskowitz gets the eight charters she wants, not just the five that Mayor Bill de Blasio approved. This is how big money talks. Under the proposal, Eva can kick the special education kids out of their school to make way for her new middle school, which has no high-needs special education students. Furthermore, the propos
Julian Vasquez Heilig: How Billionaires Co-Opt Minorities to Promote Corporate Reform
Half a century ago, as the civil rights movement grew in strength and intensity, “school choice” was understood to e a synonym for segregation. Leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., fought for a democratic and equitable public school system. But, oh, how times have changed. Now there are organizations led by African Americans who want vouchers and charters to escape the public schools. No matt

MAR 13

Charter Disgrace: NY State Senate Writes Blank Check for Charter Schools
The New York State Senate has written a budget bill that opens the public coffers to charter schools and guts mayoral control in New York City. If the Republican-controlled Senate has its way, the charters will get more money, will not pay rent, will get new slots for pre-K, and will be protected against any effort by Mayor de Blasio to reverse decisions made by the lame-duck Bloomberg administrat
Money Rules: Cuomo Seeks Gubernatorial Control of Charter Funding and Co-Locations
Governor Cuomo has received about $800,000 from charter supporters in the financial and real estate sectors. To protect their favorite hobby, the governor now proposes to take control of funding charter construction and co-locations. This would effectively nullify mayoral control in New York City and assure that Cuomo’s sponsors in the charter sector can expand at will into other people’s public s
Full YouTube video for Dr. David Hursh on Neoliberalim and “Reform”
I earlier posted a five-minute video presentation in New Zealand by Dr. David Hursh. Here is the full presentation.
My Interview with Salon about Education Reform Today
This is a wide-ranging interview with Salon that started as a discussion of the Network for Public Education, then went on to discuss budget cuts, high-stakes testing, Common Core, Race to the Top, privatization, and much more.
New Survey: North Carolina Parents Oppose Legislature’s Attacks on Teachers and Public Schools
Professors Robert Scott and Scott Imig of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington released a new survey showing strong parent opposition to recent legislation affecting public schools and teachers. They found that over 94% said that education was headed. In the wrong direction. Over 94% think that teachers should be paid more. 96% disagreed with removing extra pay for getting a master’s
Teachers in Connecticut Perplexed by NY’s First Grade Common Core Modules
For reasons unknown, Connecticut appears poised to endorse New York state’s odd lesson plans for Common Core. This Connecticut blogger pulls apart the first grade lessons, previously discussed on this blog. The blogger refers to a small portion of what first graders are supposed to learn (subjects that might well fit better in high school and/or college, that is, if one expects depth of understa
Report from D.C.: When Test Scores Are Not Enough
David Tansey and Elaine Weiss collaborated to write this very insightful article about what happens to young black men in the District of Columbia public schools. Tansey learned how to connect with his students on a human level, to talk about the issues that matter in their lives, to discuss the purpose of education. With all the boasting about test score gains in D.C., the article reminds us that
Meet the Néw Undersecretary of Education!
Ted Mitchell, CEO of the NewSchools Venture Fund, was selected by the Obama administration to hold the #2 job at the U.S. Department of Education. Mitchell is a strong proponent of privatization. The NewSchools Venture Fund exists to promote privatization. Of course, we should not be surprised that Arne Duncan chose the CEO of NSVF for the second most important job in the Department. After all, he
David Hursh: How Corporations and Neoliberals Use the Education Issue
Professor David Hursh of the University of Rochester visited New Zealand, where he explained so-called “education reform” in the United States. He very bluntly describes the bipartisan agenda that is proving to be harmful to students, teachers, and public education. Hursh met with educators in Australia and New Zealand over a five-week period, encouraging them to resist the high-stakes testing mo
Deasy Gets Amended Contract, Néw Goals
The board of Los Angeles Unified School District amended the contract of Superintendent John Deasy and set new goals. “Deasy originally accepted the job in 2009 with the understanding that he would be able to advance his own aggressive reforms. These included revamping teacher evaluations to include student test scores as one measure of effectiveness. Deasy also has pushed, with limited success, t
Ohio: a Contrast Between Charter Schools and Public Schools
Bill Phillis of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy here contrasts the governing structure of public schools and charter schools. The implicit questions: how transparent is their governing structure? How “public” are charter schools? “Governance of school districts compared to governance of charter schools. “School district board members are visible and scrutinized when they run for a seat
A Great New Blogger Disagrees with Corporate Reform–and with Me Too
This new blogger dissects Gerald Graff’s defense of the Common Core standards,and his second post says that I can learn a lot from Saul Alinsky. The writer is a former high school teacher, who taught for many years in the Chicago public s hools. Among other trenchant comments, he writes about Graff: “Graff reduces education reform to a set of standards, but he’s not alone in doing so. He’s in go
Paul Thomas: The SAT Redesign Is Nonsense, All Nonsense
Paul Thomas is not impressed by the ballyhoo over the redesign of the SAT. He predicts that it will continue to be a test that stratifies students by family income and that means far less than the students’ grade point average. He says that the SAT is “possibly the oldest and longest running education scam.” He writes: “…this reboot is just another publicity move by the College Board/SAT that fa

MAR 12

Bipartisan Bill Proposes Curbing Federal Testing Mandates
Two Congressmen–a Democrat and a Republican–proposed legislation to cut back on federally mandated testing. This is great news! The legislation was immediately endorsed by the NEA. “Today the National Education Association endorsed HR-4172, introduced last week by Reps. Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). The bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to chang
United Opt Out Will Meet in Denver March 28-30: Join Them!
If you want to learn about the growing movement to opt students out of mandated state and federal testing, go to this meeting in Denver. Parents, scholars, and educators will convene in one of the nation’s most test-driven, test-obsessed cities and states, where the fate of teachers, principals, and schools depends on standardized test scores, a law foolishly enacted without any evidence at all in
NC Charter with Only 33 Students Gets Waiver from Law
Baker Mitchell opened a new K-2 for-profit charter in North Carolina that projected enrollment of 225. Only 33 students are enrolled. The law requires that any school enrolling less than 65 must close. The state’s charter advisory board unanimously gave the school a waiver so it can have more time to find students. Baker Mitchell is a member of that board. He recused himself from the decision but
Philly Schools Offer Parents a Choice: Go Charter or Stay in Schools with No Resources
The Philadelphia public school district is being aggressively starved of resources by Governor Corbett and the Legislature, and its Broad-trained superintendent now proposes to shrink the district still farther to save money. He is offering parents a choice of converting to charter status or remaining in the district, where they cannot count on having a library, a school nurse, reasonable class si
Peter Greene: When Good People Love Bad Standards
Peter Greene here respectfully disagrees with an advocate for the Commin Core. He shares the same goals: to have students actively engaged, to encourage creativity and innovation, to promote “nuance, individuality and freedom,” to downplay bubble tests, etc., but Greene says that Common Core will advance none of these goals. Are standards good in and of themselves? Greene says it depends. Read
Kansas High Court Rules in Favor of Funding Public Schools
Sometimes it seems that the purpose of the false reform movement is to keep us diverted from the center ring, where America’s public schools are being starved of the resources they need while expected to do more and produce ever higher test scores. While we battle rearguard actions to stop the attack on teachers and the escalating demands for more testing, elected officials defend privatization a
Fact-Checking Eva’s Claims on National Television
This article, which I co-wrote with Avi Blaustein, an independent education researcher, was cross-posted on Huffington Post. It explains that Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charters do not serve the most disadvantaged students in New York City; that her school in Harlem (Success Academy 4) that will not expand is NOT the highest scoring school in the state; and that her schools have few, if any,
FairTest Reports Growing Movement Against Excessive Testing
Across the nation, parents and teachers are resisting the testing mania imposed by the U.S. Department of Education and Congress. It is a good time to remember that education is not mentioned in the Constitution, and that it is traditionally considered a state and local function. The federal government provides only 10% of the funding. Here is FairTest’s roundup of the latest resistance to high-s
North Carolina to Pearson: We Want Our Money Back!
North Carolina officials are trying to get a refund from Pearson because of flaws in the data system that Pearson is running for the state. Pearson is charging the state $7.1 million for its information system but it doesn’t work. Here are some of the problems with Pearson’s PowerSchool: CMS POWERSCHOOL WOES At the Observer’s request, CMS produced a summary of ongoing problems with PowerSchool.
Noah Gotbaum: Who Are the Real Victims of Eva Moskowitz’s “Success Academies”?
In an article in the New York Daily News, which has been an outspoken champion of charter schools and Eva Moskowitz’s attacks on Mayor Bill de Blasio, Noah Gotbaum explains why Eva’s schools are “successful”: they leave out the neediest students.  Gotbaum is a public school parent and has children with special needs. Gotbaum writes: Eva Moskowitz is up in arms. Her schools are being “closed,” she
Jersey Jazzman: New Jersey’s Teacher Evaluation AKA “Operation Hindenburg”
Jersey Jazzman warns that New Jersey’s new teacher evaluation plan is expensive, wasteful, inaccurate, and has no basis in research whatever. Other than that….it stinks. In short, he calls it Operation Hindenburg, and if you don’t know about the Hindenburg, I suggest you google it. (Watch out, as the data miners will start offering you bargain deals on used blimps.) New Jersey’s new teacher evalua
Big Money Pushing for Vouchers in Florida
Once upon a time there was a sturdy American tradition known as separation of church and state. Most Americans thought it was a bad idea to send public dollars to religious schools, because doing so would mean the death of the common school, the public schools that have been a foundation stone of our democracy. Once we begin subsidizing schools run by religious denominations, the very idea of publ
Marc Tucker on the Failure of Test-Based Accountability
This is one of the best columns I have ever read by Marc Tucker. He writes what everyone knows other than President Obama, Secretary Duncan, Governor Cuomo, and a few dozen other governors. Tucker writes that test-based accountability is a failed policy. “In my last blog, I pointed to the data that shows that, after 10 years of federal education policies based on test-based accountability, there

MAR 11

Cuomo Panel Urges End to inBloom Data Project
Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed a panel to study the state’s botched implementation of the Common Core standards and tests. In its report, the panel recommended that the state halt its relationship with inBloom, the data collection project created by the Gates Foundation and Carnegie Cotporation at a cost of $100 million. It would have collected confidential and personally identifiable data about
Better Living Through Mathematics: How Moskowitz Plays Moneyball with Students
This blogger–Better Living Through Mathematics–has a problem with the games played by charters, specifically by Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy. Not one willing to suspend his disbelief, he wrote that he has a problem with charters in general and was mightily disappointed by Governor Cuomo standing up for the 6% of children in New York City who attend them (and the 3% in New York State): What’s my
Robert Shepherd: Here is FUD in Education
In an earlier post today, I described the use of FUD (fear, uncertainty,and doubt) to destroy public confidence in public education and thus pave the way for privatization. The vendors of FUD say our education system, which made this country great, is failing; that it is obsolete; that we are losing the global race. It is a massive hoax, a fraud, a lie. They want to frighten the public and open th
Wendy Lecker: Arne Duncan and David Coleman Are Wrong About Standards
Civil rights lawyer Wendy Lecker writes that Arne Duncan has sold the American public a bill of goods, a false narrative. He and David Colemn think that national standards will fix all the problems of American education. She says they are wrong. Their bad ideas are the problem. They are wrong. She writes: “Before the Common Core, according to Duncan, high school success was a “lie” — it certainly
Who is the #1 Enemy of Public Education?
Bill Phillis, the leader of the Ohio Coalition for Education & Adequacy is a tireless crusader for equitable funding of public schools. He is a retired after serving as assistant state superintendent of schools. He writes: Public education enemy #1 The Gates, Walton Family and Broad Foundations have federated with the U. S. Department of Education to eliminate the public common school system.
Under State Control, Children of Detroit Lose More Ground
The Detroit Data and Democracy Project reports that the children of Detroit have seen deteriorating results since the state takeover of their public schools in 2009.   Dr. Thomas C. Pedroni of Wayne State University reported that the manipulation of statistics has been a defining characteristic of state control of the schools:   He writes:   One year ago this month I watched in disbelief as the Em
Anthony Cody on “March Madness”: Time to Stop Teaching, Time for Test Prep
Anthony Cody makes clear how teaching has been redefined and degraded by No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. March is the month when teaching ends and test prep begins. Federal education policy is a disaster. The Bush-Obama agenda has de skilled teachers and made testing the most important aspect of US education. Cody quotes teachers at length. One says: “I wish you could hear my collea
NC Charter Warned Due to Low Enrollments
A charter run by politically connected Baker Mitchell was warned that it may have to close due to low enrollment. Mitchell is a close associate of state budget director Art Pope, a multimillionaire who founded the libertarian John Locke Foundation and whose campaign contributions pushed the legislature far to the right. Mitchell is on the board of the John Locke Foundation Mitchell runs three cha
Understanding the Propaganda Campaign Against Public Education
A few years ago, when I was blogging at Education Week with Deborah Meier, a reader introduced the term FUD. I had never heard of it. It is a marketing technique used in business and politics to harm your competition. The term and its history can be found on Wikipedia. FUD stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. The reader said that those who were trying to create a market-based system to replace
Schneider to Florida Parents: The Jeb Bush “Miracle” Is a Sham
Good news for Florida parents: Mercedes Schneider has written a brief fact sheet to show that Jeb’s “miracle” didn’t happen. One example: Alabama has a higher graduation rate than Florida. “Florida’s graduation rate has been among the lowest for years. In 2001-02, Florida’s graduation rate was among the bottom five states. In 2010-11, it was among the bottom seven (three states did not have rates
What EduShyster Learned in Austin about David and Goliath
EduShyster went to the first national conference of the Network for Public Education, and it reminded her of the Biblical story of David and Goliath. Our Goliath is the giant billionaire who only talks to people who agree with him. When he first encounters puny David, his first thought is, “Who is paying him? Must be the teachers’ union.” Goliath loves money so much that he cannot imagine anyone

MAR 10

The Smear Campaign Against Mayor Bill de Blasio
I cross-posted this article on Huffington Post, to reach a wider audience beyond the blog. The moral of the story is that it is very risky to tangle with the charter school lobby. They are very rich, they are very powerful, and they are accustomed to opening their boutique charters in public space without paying rent. They are also accustomed to pushing aside the children already enrolled in the p
This is the Man Behind the Curtain Who Loves Standardized Testing
A reader (identified by her Twitter handle as mimi@zombienation15) responds to an earlier post called “Who Loves Standardized Testing?,” where I described a panel in Austin at SXSW where both Randi Weingarten and Peter Cunningham, Arne Duncan’s former Assistant Secretary of Education for communications, agreed that it was time for a Congressional investigation of the abuses, misuses, and cost of s
Michelle Gundersen: Why Is CPS Harassing Parents and Children Who Opt Out of Testing?
Michelle Gundersen, a veteran teacher in the Chicago Public Schools, here describes how the school system is harassing parents and children who try to opt out of unnecessary state testing. Her own son, without her prompting, said he wanted to opt out of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT), a test that will soon be phased out and replaced by a Common Core test. But it was not so easy for
Jere Hochman: What the Federal Government MUST Do
Jere Hochman, superintendent of the Bedford Central School District in Westchester County, New York, points out the single biggest failure of the federal government: Congress mandated special-education services but has never paid the costs of its mandate. Consequently, it is the children who are neediest who are most often neglected and left behind. He writes: “The word “education” does not app
Breaking News: Randi Says AFT Will No Longer Accept Funding from Gates Foundation for Innovation Fund
This exclusive news appeared this morning on’s education site. When Randi spoke at the Network for Public Education conference in Austin, she told the audience for the Common Core panel that she would ask the AFT executive board for permission to do exactly what is described here. She understands that many members of the AFT do not trust the Gates Foundation, do not like Bill Gates’ p
Slate: Parent Creates Mild Hysteria in Colorado by Opting Her Daughter Out of State Tests
Lisa T. McElroy, a law professor, decided that her children would not take the state tests during the year the family spent in Colorado. She checked and found it was legal. That is when the trouble began, and McElroy found out how much this idea frightened the school staff. After many phone calls, emails, and meetings with desperate administrators, she had to decide. “Do I stand on my principles,
Will California Elect an Educator or an Investment Banker as State Superintendent of Education?
California is in the midst of a crucial election for State Superintendent. This article by Gary Cohn describes the players and the context. On one side is experienced educator Tom Torlakson, who is running for re-election. On the other side is Marshall Tuck, graduate of Harvard Business School, investment banker, former leader of Green Dot charter schools. He is a strong supporter of privatizati
Sirota: How the 1% Finds Liberals to Create the Illusion of Bipartisanship
David Sirota has aptly nailed a phenomenon of our times: liberal-washing. In this article in Salon, he explains how conservatives and corporations find a friendly liberal organization or liberal politician to give it a patina of bipartisanship or to mask its goals. Sirota writes: The most reliable way to liberal-wash something is to get a famous Democrat to support it. This is because even though
New Study Finds That Colleges Don’t Need the SAT or the ACT
A major new study by the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) looked at the college performance of eight cohorts of students from 33 colleges and universities. These 33 institutions do not require students to submit standardized test scores for admission. Like many previous studies, this one found that high school grades are better predictors of college success than scores

MAR 09

NYC: A Rally to Support Students With Disabilities and Mayor de Blasio
One of the charter schools turned down by Mayor de Blasio was an effort by Eva Moskowitz to expand her Succes Academy elementary school into a middle school in Harlem. This would have displaced students with disabilities, on the theory that students with high scores should get preference over students with disabilities. Here is a press release about a rally on Monday at 4 pm. Which kids are really
Murdoch Salutes Cuomo for Defending the 3% in Charters, Slams de Blasio
As reported earlier, Rupert Murdoch is pulling out all the stops to tear down New York City’s new Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio okayed 36 of the 45 co-locations he inherited from Bloomberg; he approved 14 of the 17 charter proposals. But Murdoch insists de Blasio is closing charters and throwing minority kids out on the street. In fact, Murdoch’s favorite charter operator Eva Moskowitz won five
Leading Educators Support Chicago Test Boycott
Press Release Date: March 9, 2014   Contact:  Jesse Hagopian, Teacher, 206-962-1685 Brian Jones, Teacher and Doctoral Student, 646-554-8592 Wayne Au, Professor of Education, 425-352-3797   LEADING EDUCATORS SUPPORT TEST BOYCOTT   In a public petition released today, more than fifty educators and researchers, including some of
Burris: Will New York Legislature Choose New Members for State Board of Regents?
The New York Legislature will decide whether to reappoint four members of the New York Regents on Tuesday. All four have passively supported the botched implementation of the Common Core and CC testing. They should be replaced. A message from award-winning Long Island principal Carol Burris:   This Tuesday, the NY legislature will vote yea or nay on the re-appointment of the 4 incumbent Regents. 
Mother Crusader Explains Hoboken: Separate and Unequal
Darcie Cimarusti (aka Mother Crusader) dives into the racially charged politics of Hoboken, where charter schools have become a refuge for those who don’t want to go to the public schools, which have an enrollment that is most poor and minority. While many people think that charters are “saving poor minority kids from failing public schools,” charters in Hoboken are a means of encouraging gentrif
Leon Botstein: The SAT Is “Part Hoax and Part Fraud, Albeit a Profitable One”
In a scathing essay in TIME magazine, Leon Botstein, president of Bard College, lacerates the SAT. The recently announced changes, he writes, are “too little, too late,” and are motivated mainly by the competition between the SAT and the ACT, which now tests more students than the SAT. What Botstein makes clear is that the hoops and hurdles of the SAT are archaic and have little, if anything, to d
Myra Blackmon on the Corporate Takeover of American Education
Myra Blackmon, who writes regularly for the Athens Banner-Herald in Georgia, returned from the Network for Public Education conference in Austin ready to write about what she learned and how it applied to Georgia. She realized that the Common Core is just a symptom of a larger problem. She writes: My “a-ha moment” came when I realized CCSS and testing aren’t the real problems. They’re symptoms of
What Voucher Schools Are Teaching
The spread of vouchers in recent years is alarming. Anywhere from 15-20 states have passed legislation to allow children to use public funds to attend religious schools. In two states that passed voucher laws–North Carolina and Louisiana–the state courts have blocked the diversion of public funds to religious schools (in North Carolina, at least temporarily). Note that vouchers have never been app
A Mother, Saved by Her Teachers, Writes Obama
A reader writes. Be sure to read the last lines: Dear President Obama, Let’s face it. Race to the Top is an epic fail just like No child Left Behind. Our children should not be the pawn of politics. Left or right, both have not gotten it right about education reform and it’s time we put that in the forefront. I’m so tired of talking points. Some theories sound great on paper not in practice and th
Murdoch’s WSJ Lashes Out at Sirota: Billionaires Rule!
Rupert Murdoch definitely does not like David Sirota. Sirota is the journalist who broke the story about the Arnold Foundation funding PBS’ pension series. Arnold thinks all those greedy pensioners are bankrupting the country. Can’t have that! Murdoch rushed to denounce Sirota and defend his fellow billionaire. What is it with these billionaires? It is ok for them to live in luxury, right? Why d
Peter Greene: Brookings Institution Wins the Gold for “Most Clueless” CCSS Defense
Peter Greene, high school teacher and blogger in Pennsylvania, is a master analyst of rhetoric. He particularly excels at spotting vapid commentary by non-educators who want to tell him how to conduct his classroom. Fortunately or unfortunately, this might well be a full-time job since there is an education industry of non-educators fully prepared to tell him how to teach. In this post, he select

MAR 08

Katie Lapham: The Failure of Common Core Testing in New York=Child Abuse
Katie Lapham, a teacher in New York City, here recounts the disaster of Common Core testing in New York state.  She wonders why children who don’t speak English are supposed to pass a high-stakes exam, with only one exemption. She wonders why she, their teacher, will get no information about student performance except a score–no information about what her students learned and what they did not lea
Christie Administration Threatens to Suspend Democracy in Newark
Frustrated by the appointments made by the mayor who replaced Cory Booker, the Chris Christie administration is now considering a complete takeover of the finances of the city of Newark. Newark’s schools have been under state control since 1995. David Giambusso of the Star-Ledger reports: After a months-long cold war over Newark Mayor Luis Quintana’s hiring practices and his approach to city budge
On Chris Hayes: The SAT Accurately Measures Family Income
This was a good panel discussion on Chris Hayes’ show on MSNBC about the redesign of the SAT. What came through clearly is that the SAT–like all standardized tests–favors those who are the haves of society, those who have family income and family education. Chris refers to a recent study (which I will say more about on Monday) showing that the kids who took the SAT or ACT did no better in college
Jan Resseger on Mike Rose’s “Why School?”
Jan Resseger writes of her delight in discovering that Mike Rose has released a revised edition of “Why School?” Resseger writes: “In the 2014 edition, Rose has revised, updated, and expanded Why School? It now addresses the impact of President Obama’s Race to the Top program and other federal programs that have emerged since 2009—including problems with the waivers now being granted to address t
Parent to the President: Why Don’t Private Schools Adopt Your High-Stakes Testing Policies?
Bertis Downs is a great supporter of public education who lives in Athens, Georgia, and sends his daughter to Clarke Central High School. He is also a valued director of the Network for Public Education. In this post, he thanks President Obama for recognizing the great things happening in his local high school. But he invites the President to visit Athens and see what his policies are doing to th
Erin Osborne: Keep Profiteers Out of the Classroom!
Erin Osborne warns in this powerful article at that the profiteers are invading the classroom. They aren’t just selling pencils and textbooks. They are creating business ventures to make millions from controlling and directing the curriculum and testing, supplying the software and hardware that the new curriculum and testing requires. Tellingly, she titles her article: “Keep Fox News Out
College Student: How TFA Used Me and Disappointed Me
Emma Gulley is a student at one of America’s finest colleges, Bryn Mawr. She was intrigued by the mystique of Teach for America, and she agreed to represent TFA on campus. But the more she worked for them, the more she realized that she was not fulfilling her dream of “giving back” and “social justice,” but servicing a powerful and ambitious organization. This is the story of her disillusionment.
The Abject Failure of Michigan’s Educational Achievement Authority
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s pet project is the Educational Achievement Authority, where the lowest-performing districts are clustered in a single entity managed by Superintendent John Covington, a Broad Academy graduate. The EAA has been funded not only by taxpayers but by the Broad Foundation and many Detroit philanthropists. For reasons documented amply by Eclectablog, the EAA has failed to
Researcher: Most “Common Core-Aligned” Textbooks Are Shams
Professor Bill Schmidt of Michigan State University told the Education Writers Association that most textbooks claiming o be aligned to the Common Core are not. The publishers slapped a sticker on the book and changed very little or nothing. Most textbooks he reviewed were a “sham,” sold by “snake oil salesmen.” “Hoping to boost their share of a $9 billion annual market, many publishers now boast
FairTest Gathers the News on Growing Resistance to Testing Mania
Guy Brandenburg here reproduces the listing of anti-testing news from FairTest, an organization that has been ringing the alarm bells about standardized testing for years. If you want to see the explosion of test boycotts, opt outs, and rollbacks, read the FairTest update.