Saturday, April 13, 2019

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

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

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

Bob Shepherd: Life As a Teacher in the Age of the Deformers

Bob Shepherd is teaching in Florida after a career in education publishing. He left this comment on the blog about his teaching experience in Florida. His contributions to the blog are consistently brilliant. On a personal note, Bob reached out to me and offered to edit my new book. We have never met. Knowing how amazing he is, I happily accepted his offer. For weeks, Bob and I exchanged chapters
Katie Porter: A Freshman Hero in Congress

Katie Porter is a freshman in Congress. She ran for Congress in the 45th District in California, which has not elected a Democrat since the District was created in 1953. Porter was born in Iowa and had an elite education, studying at Phillips Academy, Yale University, and Harvard Law School (where Elizabeth Warren was one of her professors). She is a consumer advocate and a master of complex fina


New York State Education Department: Students Have a Right to Opt Out

After months of threats and bribes and warnings, the New York State Education Department released a statement affirming that students have the right to opt out of state testing. This is a victory for the Opt Out movement, the parents, superintendents, principals, and teachers who have said that the exams are flawed and of novalue to students. This is the statement: As students in grades 3 through
Larry Lee: The Rape of Washington County, Alabama

Larry Lee is a native Alabamian who is an expert on rural schools. A few years ago, he wrote an excellent report about the rural schools of the state and how communities help them, take care of them, treasure them. When he learned that the state charter officials granted a charter to a Gulen school in Washington County, he did some checking and this is what he found. “If you are looking for peace
Alabama: Why Did a Rural County Get a Gulen Charter with a Pricey CEO?

The Gulenists must think that people in Alabama are easy marks. They proposed to open a charter school in a rural county with good schools that didn’t want a charter school. Everyone warned Alabama officials to reject the proposal, even the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, hired by the state for $100,000 to vet charters. Not only did Alabama approve the charter, but the guy bro
Jeff Bryant: Stop Federal Funding of Charter Schools

Jeff Bryant was co-author of the Report by the Network for Public Education’s on waste, fraud, and abuse in the $440 million federal Charter Schools Program. It is titled “ Asleep At the Wheel: How the Federal Charter Schools Program Recklessly Takes Taxpayers and Students for a Ride.” The report found that nearly $1 billion had been wasted in the past 25 years on charter schools that never opene
Florida: The Graveyard of American Public Education

Florida has the worst education policies of any state in the nation, and it is about to get even more destructive, more ignorant, more backward. Read this alarming article and remember that Betsy DeVos points to Florida as a model . A model, yes. A model of how religious extremists, rightwing ideologues, and uneducated political hacks can destroy public education, drive away teachers, and fund “s
Bernie Sanders’ Staff Called Me to Talk About Education Policy

I got an e-mail recently from Senator Bernie Sanders’s education advisor. She said she reads the blog and wondered if we could talk. I said sure but I was not ready to endorse anyone in the Democratic primaries. I asked for and got her permission to share that this conversation occurred. As everyone knows who ever gave me confidential information, I never write or speak about what I was told in c

APR 11

NYC: Faced with Charter Pressure, DeBlasio Backs Down

When Joel Klein was chancellor of the NYC schools in 2006, he agreed to give the charter industry access to the names and addresses of public school students at the urging of his good friend Eva Moskowitz, who wanted to give the appearance of high demand for her schools. To this day, NYC is the only city that voluntarily turns over the names and addresses of its students to charters, which are th
Laura Chapman: Did Betsy DeVos Violate the Law?

Laura Chapman read the post about the U.S. Department of Education threatening to cut off $340 million in Title 1 funding from Arizona unless all high school students took the same test—either the state test or the SAT or the ACT. She pored through the Every Student Succeeds Act and could find no legal basis for this threat. Laura Chapman writes: I have spent several hours looking at ESSA. I coul
Pearson Invests in the Business of Education

The British giant Pearson announced that it was creating a venture capital fund to invest in new technologies to transform education. Yuch! More tech trash on the way! Protect your child from tech capitalization and monetization! Press release: “We are launching Pearson Ventures, a fund to invest in growth stage start-ups that are building the future of education and employment. Pearson Ventures
Fresno: Low Scores, Great Students!

The boys’ volleyball team at Kepler Neighborhood School, mostly 7th and 8th graders, went for a run over a bridge near the school. They spotted a woman attempting suicide, dangling from the bridge. They raced to ask their coach what to do. He said, “Tell her that her life matters,” as he dialed 911. The boys ran to the woman and told her again and again that her life matters, that people care abo
Bill Phillis: Ohio and Indiana Race to the Bottom to Waste Money on Cybercharters

Bill Phillis, retired deputy superintendent of the Ohio Department of Education, writes here about a sector with a reputation for providing a lossy Education but high profits, this ripping off taxpayers: Indiana and Ohio are in a tight race to the bottom in the online charter industry Whether in Ohio or Indiana, the online charter fraud seems to continue unabated. Some entrepreneurs can smell a d
Tennessee: Showdown Over Vouchers

Governor Bill Lee has proposed a voucher program. Teachers and parents are outraged. —but not enough of them. When the bill moved from the House to the Senate, the number of vouchers were doubled to 30,000. The money for vouchers will be subtracted from public schools, which educate 90% of the children of Tennessee. Expect more segregation, more bigotry, more children taught by uncertified teache
NYC: Charters Complain That City Will Stop Sharing Names of Students in Public Schools for Their Recruiting

Charters in New York City are angry that the DeBlasio administration intends to stop sharing the names and addresses of public school students, which the charters need for marketing and recruitment. The Mayor is responding to complaints by public school parents, who object to the city sharing their children’s personal information with the charters. Wait! What happened to those long waiting lists?

APR 10

The Boston Globe Today on Our Bought Politics

I subscribe to the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Denver Post, the Arizona Republic, the Orlando Sentinel, and a few other newspapers. I want to keep journalism alive. One of my favorite features is a daily summary in the Boston Globe called Fast Forward by Teresa Hanifin. This is an excerpt from this morning’s Fast Forward. “ Trump heads to Texa
#Red4Ed Keeps Moving On: North Carolina and Oregon

Teachers in North Carolina are planning a mass action for May 1 according to this email from high school teacher Stuart Egan. “We have already closed down six systems for that day and more will be announcing soon. “The numbers we have so far are much more than last year’s march at this time and far more organized. “Five specific issues. Provide $15 minimum wage for all school personnel, 5% raise
New York: Computer Foul-Ups Delay State Testing—Again

Numerous studies have shown that students do better on paper and pencil tests than on computer tests. For the record, the tests are a massive waste of time. But students often get lost online. They scroll up and down. They lose their place and their train of thought. Online testing is so flawed as to be useless. Some states, like Tennessee, have had computer testing ruin the whole testing process
DeVos Continues D.C.’s Mad Obsession with Standardized Testing

Betsy DeVos’ team warned Arizona that it could lose $340 million in federal funding if it persists in offering options to students taking standardized tests. The state has to pick one test for high school students—either the state test, SAT or ACT-or it may lose Title 1 funding for disadvantaged students. Leave aside the fact that the SAT and the ACT are designed for college admission, not as a h
Anthony Cody Reviews “Wisdom and Wit”

Garn Press published a collection of my most significant essays. The book brings together essays that would otherwise have been lost to posterity. It contains many of the articles I wrote for Huffington Post Articles from 2010 to 2018; many articles that were published in T he New York Review of Books and NYR Daily ; several articles that appeared in widely disparate publications, including The W
California: Palo Alto Superintendent Offers Bribes to Students to Reduce Opt Out Rate

“ Last year, a majority of juniors at Palo Alto High School did not take the state tests. State law protects the right of students to opt out. The tests have no value other than to prop up the testing regime. Now the district superintendent, in an all-Out effort to break the opt out, is pulling out all the stops and offering prizes and awards to students who take the tests. “All juniors at Palo A
Albany Times-Union: Save the Pep Rallies for What Really Matters, Not for Testing

The editorial board of the Albany Times-Union editorial board is one of the wisest in the nation. It understands, as few other editorial boards do, that the annual standardized tests are a waste of instructional time that do nothing to help students. Their only error in this editorial is to assume that the tests measure school performance. They don’t. They measure school demographics, which can b

APR 09

An Oxymoron: “Diverse” Online Charter Schools

A paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in Toronto reported on the extent to which online charter schools have racial diversity. Benjamin Herold wrote about the paper in Education Week. This struck me as an odd finding, because online instruction by definition is delivered by computer tostudents at home. There is little, if any, face to face contac
Washington Post: White House Photos Show Trump in a White Male World

David Nakamura wrote in the Washington Post about the regular release of photos by the White House showing Trump surrounded only by white people. He should have added, only by white men. Trump’s only black cabinet member, Ben Carson, rarely appears in White House photos. Seldom is there a woman in the informal gatherings. The monochromatic gatherings are a stark contrast to the increased and incr
Tim Slekar: A Podcast about Survivors of School Shootings

Tim Slekar produced a podcast about school shootings and their aftermath. Two survivors of the Parkland mass shooting committed suicide, as did the father of one of the children killed at Sandy Hook. Tim describes the podcast: “Parkland, FL mother Rosemarie Jensen. Rosemarie’s son survived the Stoneman Douglas school shooting and talked to us last year about that day. In this interview Rosemarie
The Real Crime in Higher Education: Not Gaming Admissions but Underinvestment in Public Universities

Alan Aja, Joseph Entin, and Jeanne Theoharis identify the true crime in higher education: the abandonment of public higher education by the states and the federal government. The three authors are professors at Brooklyn College, which is part of the City University of New York (CUNY). They write: The biggest scandal in American higher education today is the staggering disinvestment in public univ
Julian Vasquez Heilig Advises Berkeley Chancellor About Wendy Kopp, TFA, and Free Sppech

Julian Vasquez Heilig considers the protest against Wendy Kopp’s selection to give the commencement address at Berkeley. The chancellor of Berkeley responded to protest by saying that the institution does not disinvite controversial speakers. Heilig points out that the legislature is currently considering a proposal to ban TFA’s inexperienced teachers from schools that enroll low-income students.
Jeff Bryant: What is the U.S. Department of Education Hiding?

Jeff Bryant was co-author, with NPE executive director Carol Burris, of the report “Asleep at the Wheel: How the Federal Charter Schools Program Recklessly Takes Taxpayers and Students for a Ride.” In this post, he asks why the U.S. Department of Education can’t answer three straightforward questions. The DeVos Department of Education stonewalled his questions, giving no answers. This non-respons

APR 08

Jaime Franchi: Joe Biden Touched Me, and I Was Not Annoyed at All

Jaime Franchi, a journalist, met Joe Biden at a political event on Long Island, New York. He touched her. He touched almost everyone in the room, either with a handshake, a pat on the back, a hug, or a story. She was not at all offended. She compares her warm experience in meeting Joe Biden with what she saw of Trump on the infamous Access Hollywood tape, where he talked about grabbing women, swa
Vice News: The “Illegal” Teachers’ Strikes Revived the Labor Movement

Vice News says that the labor movement, which was declining, is bouncing back to life, thanks to teachers, who organized walkouts in states where strikes are illegal. The number of workers participating in strike actions and walkouts is rising. “The nation is paying attention to labor again, and for that America has one profession to thank more than any other: the public school teacher. “In 2018,
Nellie Bowles: “Human Contact is Now a Luxury Good”

Nellie Bowles is a technology reporter for the NewYork Times. I really like reading whatever she writes. She does not shill for the tech industry. She takes their claims with a large heaping of salt. She understands that her job is to report the whole story, the good and the bad, the advances that improve the human condition and the dark forces we don’t understand and can’t control unless we stop
Betsy DeVos: “Cut My Department’s Budget, Please!”

Usually, members of the President’s Cabinet go before Congress to defend their department’s budget and to explain the good works the department is doing. Not Secretary DeVos! She went to a Congressional heading to ask the Appropriations Committee to cut her budget. Much has been made of her plea to zero out federal support for the Special Olympics, which backfired. Not only were the families of 2
Nancy Bailey: What Is an “Educator”?

Nancy E. Bailey asks an important question at a time when all sorts of people who have never been in a classroom since they were students call themselves “educators.” What is an educator? She writes: Define educator for America’s schools. It’s critical to nail this down during a teacher shortage and when there are attempts to privatize public schools. We don’t want people with inappropriate or no

APR 07

Houston: Charter School Superintendent and IT Specialist Charged with Embezzlement

The superintendent of a Houston charter school and a school employee have been charged with embezzling more than $250,000 from the school’s bank account. The head of a Houston-area charter school and another school employee have been indicted on federal embezzlement charges, accused of siphoning more than $250,000 from the school for themselves and using some of the money to buy a car and condomi
Chalkbeat: Attending a Selective High School Does NOT Confer Advantage

This is a story that made me happy. I graduated from a non-selective, open admissions public high school in Houston. It was untracked (but unfortunately it was racially segregated like all schools in Houston because I graduated in 1956). I never heard of selective admissions until I came to New York City. Or tracking or magnet schools (which were originally designed to promote racial integration,
St. Louis Regains Elected Board, But TFA Snags Two Open Seats

We learned just last July that the Billionaire Reformers had created another organization to disrupt public education, called The City Fund. This is a ragtag collection of guys who had disrupted public education in several cities and had pooled their talents to collect an initial downpayment of $200 million from their sponsors. They shook the money tree and $200 million dropped down. Who is behin
Missouri: Why Fund More Charter Failures?

The editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a powerful editorial in opposition to the expansion of charters into the suburbs. They are currently limited to Missouri’s two biggest cities, St. Louis and Kansas City. The editorial warns that the introduction of charters would threaten the quality and viability of some of the state’s best public school districts. The Republican-spons
Bill Phillis: One-Half of Ohio’s Authorized Charter Schools Either Closed Or Never Opened

Bill Phillis reports that one – half of Ohio’s authorized charter schools either never opened or closed. This is not a sound use of limited public funds. See the database here . He writes: Of the 600 charters that were authorized by the state to operate, 291 either didn’t open or have closed. The good news is that half of the charters that were authorized are out of business. The bad news is thou

APR 06

NPE Grassroots Newsletter: Join Us!

The Network for Public Education is very fortunate to have successfully persuaded Marla Kilfoyle, former national executive director of the BATS, to join us as our national coordinator of grassroots activities. This is the first newsletter of our grassroots groups, created by Marla. If your group wants to join, please contact Marla, so she can list your activities. The link is in the newsletter.
New Mexico: New Democratic Governor Eliminates A-F School Grades

One of Jeb Bush’s signature initiatives–and possibly the stupidest–was giving schools letter grades of A-F. Schools are complex institutions with many individuals engaged in their work, some doing better jobs than others, some essential, some not. No complex institution should be graded A-F. No individual child should be graded with a single letter, A-F. Imagine if your child came home with a rep
Julia Keleher: The Destroyer of Public Schools in Puerto Rico

Julia Keleher will one day have engraved on her tombstone: “She Destroyed the Public Schools in Puerto Rico.” She joins the blog’s Wall of Shame for her shameless assault on public schools, the teachers’ union, and the students of Puerto Rico. Keleher r esigned her position as Puerto Rico’s Secretary of State earlier this week . Her resignation comes after two years of top down education reform.
Lisa Haver: How Many Lawyers Does It Take to Close Down a Failing Charter School?

Lisa Haver is a public school activist in Philadelphia. Here she writes about the long, drawn-out and very expensive proceedings to close down a failing charter school in that city. She writes: When the School District of Philadelphia targeted Germantown High School for closure just one year before its 100th anniversary, there was no legal recourse for students or families. No law required the Di

Bombshell Report About Copycat Legislation Written by ALEC but Adopted by Your State

Democracy is under attack, not only in D.C., but in the state capitols. To understand just how serious this attack is, how insidious it is, how well-funded it is, please open the link . This new USA Today/Arizona Republic/Center for 

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