Saturday, June 29, 2019

KEEP UP/ CATCH UP WITH DIANE RAVITCH'S BLOG A site to discuss better education for all

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


A site to discuss better education for all

Big Education Ape: My New Book Was Just Announced! | Diane Ravitch's blog -

Ann Cronin: This is How to Assess Student Achievement
Veteran educator Ann Cronin offers her plan to assess real student achievement. Skip the standardized tests and assess what students know and can do. She shows how it can be done, saving every state and district millions now wasted on the testing industry.
Another Reformer Organization Pops Up
There seems to be no shortage of money to create new corporate reformer organizations, and they seem to open faster than anyone can keep track of them. Here is a new one: Results for America. You will recognize the names of some prominent figures in the Obama and George W. Bush administrations. Notable among them is Jim Shelton, who worked for Gates, Arne Duncan, and then led the Chan Zuckerberg


Trump Jokes with Putin about Russian Interference in Our Elections
Theresa Hanafin writes a feature each morning in the Boston Globe called “Fast Forward.” It summarizes the latest news and weather. She often starts with a story from the Old Farmers’ Almanac. Today’s anecdote: an editor of the San Francisco Examiner wrote a young Rudyard Kipling in 1889 to tell him that he didn’t know how to use the English language. And here’s another joke: While you were sleep
Benton Harbor: Governor Whitmer Reaches Tentative Deal to Save High School
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer originally offered the Benton Harbor District a desl that relieves them of their debt if they closed their high school. Residents and students rebelled at the idea of closing the high school. Governor Whitmer has reached a tentative deal with the district to save the high school. “ Representatives from the governor’s office and the Department of Treasury had a p
Some Members of the Billionaires Boys & Girls Club Say: “Tax Us”
The New York Times published this story about billionaires who endorse a “moderate wealth tax” on themselves. The financier George Soros is part of a group of wealthy individuals calling for “a moderate wealth tax on the fortunes of the richest one-tenth of the richest 1 percent of Americans — on us. A letter being published online on Monday calls for “a moderate wealth tax on the fortunes of the
Three Sisters Win Emerson Prize from The Concord Review for Their History Essays
Since 1987, The Concord Review (TCR) has sought and published more than 1,300 history research papers by high school students from 41 countries in 121 quarterly issues. Over the course of these many years, Will Fitzhugh, the founder of TCR, has been turned down by every foundation while seeking funding for this worthy endeavor. In their drive for innovation, the nation’s philanthropies d
Bill Phillis: State Takeovers Cause Chaos, Not Improvement
Bill Phillis of Ohio writes: ‌ ‌ ‌ Cleveland Plain Dealer analysis of trends in test scores in HB 70 districts: NO IMPROVEMENT The state takeover of school districts (HB 70 of the 131 st General Assembly) has caused chaos in school communities, fattened the wallets of consultants, but has not demonstrated improved test scores. The federal government, via No Child Left Behind (NCLB), has created c
Help NPE Action Help the Resistance in Every State!
Join the Battle to Save Our Public Schools! The Tide is Turning But We Need Your Help The narrative is shifting. As candidates jockey for position, public education issues are no longer relegated to soundbites. Major media outlets are reaching out to NPE Action to better understand why candidates are backing away from charters schools. Our NPE Action articles about the role of education policy in
Steven Singer: Joy on the Last Day of School!
Open this link to discover the big surprise that Steven Singer’s students gave him on the last day of school. It defines the term “psychic income.” it explains the rewards that teachers may get that are never never never available to lawyers, hedge fund managers, even billionaires. Eli Broad will never win this prize. No member of the Walton Family will ever receive what Steven got from his eight
Shawgi Tell: David Osborne, Neoliberal Privatizer
Shawgi Tell is a professor at Nazareth College in upstate New York who writes frequently about education. David Osborne’s Twisted Logic David Osborne is one of America’s foremost neoliberal demagogues. He is a major representative of the so-called “Third Way,” a clever label for destructive neoliberal aims, policies, and arrangements. His constant attacks on public right can be found at the websi
Missouri: U.S. News Overlooked One of the Nation’s Best High Schools
This is a story about a high school in Missouri that should have been on the U.S. News list of the best high schools in America. The teachers are dedicated. Many of the kids are beating the odds against them. They are hard-working. They have grit and perseverance. They will make great contributions to society. Ray Hartmann of the Riverfront Times tells an inspiring story of students, teachers, an

JUN 27

Ed Johnson: My Personal Fight with Cyberattacks and Competition: A Horror Story
Ed Johnson lives in Atlanta and fights daily against the malignant competition and punishment inflicted on the children of Atlanta by the school board and superintendent. He shares the philosophy of W. Edwards Deming, who taught the importance of collaboration and teamwork. He wrote this post and sent it to the school board: Cyberattacks and competition I have been under cyberattack for nearly a
John Thompson: Did We Ever Disagree? He Says We Did.
John Thompson says we used to disagree, but he has come around . My memory is not what it used to be, but I recall that he took issue with my use of the term “corporate reformers.” He used to think that the “reformers” were trying to help and just needed the hand of friendship extended to them. Now he thinks otherwise. He knows that I tried to meet Bill Gates when I visited Seattle. My requests w
Peter Greene: How to Make a Profit from Non-Profit Charter Schools
We have recently heard from political candidates who claim they oppose “for-profit charter schools” but support “non-profit charter schools.” What they don’t know is that this is a distinction without a difference. Many “non-profit charter schools” are managed by for-profit EMOs (Education Management Organizations). Some are theoretically “non-profit” but pocket big money on their lease agreement
Tom Ultican: How the Billionaires Took Control of an Impoverished District in New Jersey
Tom Ultican writes here about the billionaire takeover of Camden, New Jersey. It was easy. Working with Republican Governor Chris Christie, who was eager to have someone take responsibility for the schools in the state’s poorest district, the billionaires got what they wanted. Camden was their plaything, their Petri dish. Have they ended poverty yet?
Tennessee: Dark Money and Vouchers
Andy Spears explains how the Tennessee Legislature came to pass vouchers, after rejecting them multiple times. There was a popular new governor promoting an unpopular idea. And there was money. DeVos money. Dark Money. Lots of it. And aides to Governor Bill Lee who had previously worked for DeVos’s American Federation for Children (and Vouchers). Now there’s an FBI investigation of the deal that

JUN 26

Ed Johnson: His Summer Reading List
Ed Johnson of Atlanta offers his reading list, to add to mine: In addition to the titles Diane Ravitch lists, below, include these: Andrea Gabor, After the Education Wars: How Smart Schools Upend the Business of Reform Caitlin Rosenthal, Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management Cathy O’Neal, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy Diane Ravitch
Why Standardized Tests Are Worthless for Evaluating Teachers and Students
This is a wonderful article that appeared in Education Week, written by Margaret Pastor, a veteran educator in Maryland. When I started reading, I recoiled at the thought of giving standardized tests to babies in kindergarten. Disgusting. But keep reading, as I did (if you are a subscriber). Many of us in education have deep misgivings about the role standardized tests play in our schools. As a p
My View: How and Why Philanthropists Should Support Public Schools
Readers of this blog are well aware of my views. When I have a chance to share them with others who are not readers, I grab that opportunity. I was recently interviewed by Julia Travers of “Philanthropy Women.” This is the interview .
The Resistance Is Winning! Democrats Abandon Charter Schools!
The biggest battle in the fight against privatization has been to persuade the Democratic Party that it had been hoaxed by Republicans into adopting the Republican agenda. According to this article in The Washington Post, Democratic support for charter schools has evaporated, at least among the candidates. The title of the article is “Democrats abandon charter schools as ‘reform’ agenda falls fro
Mississippi: State Government Is Acting Like the Feds, Trampling Local School Districts
One of my friend’s in Mississippi sent this column by Bill Crawford in Meridian. Crawford says the Governor and Legislature regularly complain about federal mandates, and he agrees with them. But unlike them, he asks why the Governor and Legislator passed a law for charter schools that takes tax money away local districts without their consent. Isn’t this what they complain about when Washington
How Walton Money Influences Charter School Debate
This article was published in the Detroit Free Press on a day when not many people were paying attention, December 25, 2018, but it should have been national news. The Waltons, heirs to the anti-union Walmart empire, have been investing in black organizations to spread their views about charter schools. The fact that the NAACP and Black Lives Matter have stood up to the bully billionaire behemoth
My List of Books for Summer Reading
In no particular order. These are books I enjoyed and learned from. Anand Giridharadas, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World Rucker Johnson, Children of the Dream: Why Integration Works Noliwe Rooks, Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America Gord
Helen Gym is Philly’s AOC
Helen Gym is a firebrand member of Philadelphia’s City Council . She leads the way on progressive issues. She got her start as a parent advocate fighting for public schools. Now there is speculation she will run for Mayor in 2023. Helen will be a keynote speaker at the convention of the Network for Public Education on March 28-29, 2020. Join us in Philadelphia for another great meeting!

JUN 25

Will Donald Trump Be President for Ever and Ever and Ever?
I saw this item first as a Tweet, retweeted by Trump himself. It reminded me of my first visit to the Soviet Union, back in the 1980s. One of the high points was a viewing of Lenin’s Tomb. His body was in a glass casket. The young man showing us around said in a low voice that he had so much was in him that if they put a wick on his head and lit it, he would burn forever. A candle!
Kansas Court to Legislature: Fund the Schools!
Kansas has a State Supreme Court that pays attention to the State Constitution and cares about the future of the state, which rests on the educational opportunities of its children. Isn’t that novel these days! Find us on About Us | More News June 24, 2019 HELP SUPPORT ELC ELC relies on the generous contributions of individuals, corporations and foundations to support our work. RELATED STORIES •
The Billionaires Who Bought the West
The front page of Sunday’s New York Times has a story titled “ Who Owns the West?” A couple of billionaires, that’s who. The U.S. used to be the Land of Opportunity. Now it is the Land of the Oligarchs. IDAHO CITY, Idaho — The Wilks brothers grew up in a goat shed, never finished high school and built a billion-dollar fracking business from scratch. So when the brothers, Dan and Farris, bought a
Father of Boy Killed at Sandy Hook Wins Defamation Suit
The parents of the children massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. have been subject to unending abuse by conspiracy theorists who claim that the massacre was a hoax, that it never happened, that the children and parents were “crisis actors,” and that it was staged by advocates for gun control. The parents have fought back with defamation lawsuits against Alex Jones, the chief
Maurice Cunningham: When “Parent Groups” Are Funded by the Walton Billionaires
In my new book, Slaying Goliath, I focus on heroes of the Resistance. One of them is Professor Maurice Cunningham of the University of Massachusetts. He is a professor of politics and a blogger who believes in “follow the money.” His relentless pursuit of Dark Money in the Massachusetts charter referendum of 2016 (where voters overwhelmingly rejected charter expansion) led to the demise of the bi
Alfie Kohn: Why Can’t Everyone Get An A?
Alfie Kohn has written many books critical of competition and ranking in schools. This article appeared in the New York Times. For a generation now, school reform has meant top-down mandates for what students must be taught, enforced by high-stakes standardized tests and justified by macho rhetoric — “rigor,” “raising the bar,” “tougher standards.” Here’s a thought experiment. Suppose that next y
Chester E. Finn, Jr.: The Persistent Failure of Big Shiny Ideas to “Reinvent” Schools
Checker Finn and I used to be best buddies back in the days when I was on the other side (the wrong side) of big education issues. We became friends in the early 1980s. We created something called the Educational Excellence Network, which circulated a monthly newsletter on events and issues back in the pre-Internet days. I was a member of the board of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, which was c
Carol Burris: Federal Charter School Program is a Slush Fund
Back in March 2019, Carol Burris and Jeff Bryant released a study of the federal Charter Schools Program on behalf of the Network for Public Education.. That study, “Asleep at the Wheel,” found that about a third of the charters that received federal grants in the $440 million program either never opened or closed soon after opening. The amount of money wasted was about $1 billion over several ye

JUN 24

Ohio: State Plan to Make Consultants Great Again
‌ ‌ ‌ Jan Resseger’s digest of the Senator Lehner HB 70-on-steroids plan The Lehner Plan is really a district’s worst nightmare. It would have scores of cooks in the kitchen with no one to be held accountable. It would also be a cash cow for “consulting school improvement organizations.” William L. Phillis | Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding | 614.228.6540 | o hioeanda@sbcglo
Beto O’Rourke Adds High-Ranking Obama ED Official to His Campaign Staff
Beto O’Rourke has beefed up his campaign staff with the addition of Carmel Martin , who was Assistant Secretary for Budget and Policy in the Department of Education during the Obama administration. Martin is a supporter of high-stakes testing and charter schools. When my book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, was published, she joined me on a panel at the Economic Policy In
Peg Tyre: What It’s Like to Be a Teacher in Japan
Veteran journalist Peg Tyre is on a study mission to understand education in certain Asian nations. She has written several reports, some of which were posted here. She has written to tell me that she has enjoyed the feedback from readers of this blog, so keep those emails and reactions to her coming. A teacher in a primary school giving a healthy-living lesson Japanese Teachers Put In Longer Hou
Netroots Nation: Learn How Philadelphia Activists Regained Local Control of Their Schools
Jeff Bryant, a prolific writer about the Resistance to Faux Reform, will moderate a panel at Netroots Nation about how Philadelphia activists fought back and regained democracy. fought back and regained democracy. The session is called “What Philly Taught Us: How Philadelphia Activists Brat SchoolPrivatization to Restore Local Control.” Starts: Thursday, Jul. 11 2:30 PM Ends: Thursday, Jul. 11 3:
Peter Greene: The Writer Who Could Not Answer Standardized Test Questions About Her Poems
Peter Greene writes here about Sara Holbrook, a poet whose poems have been used on standardized tests. Back in 2017, Holbrook wrote an essay for Huffington Post entitled, “ I Can’t Answer These Texas Standardized Test Questions About My Own Poems. ” The writer had discovered that two of her poems were part of the Texas STAAR state assessment tests, and she was a bit startled to discover that she
EdSource: Why California Charter Schools Have Little or No Oversight
Louis Freedberg of EdSource explains here why California charter schools are largely unsupervised, leading to a drumbeat of scandals like the recent indictment of 11 people charged with a theft of $80 million. He writes: As charter school conflicts intensify in California, increasing attention is being focused not only on the schools themselves but on the school boards and other entities that gra

JUN 23

George Conway, Kellyanne’s Husband, Says Republicans Should Believe Trump’s Latest Accuser
There was a news story recently that a New York journalist accused Trump of trying to rape her, back in the 1990s. This sort of accusation now is so common that it tends to be ignored as yet another “he said-she said.” George Conway, husband of Trump’s senior advisor Kellyanne Conway, says that Republicans should believe her because they believed that Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broadderick, who h
Mercedes Schneider: 49% of NOLA Charter “Graduates” Lacked Credits to Graduate
Mercedes Schneider Reports the story of the New Orleans charter school that awarded diplomas to its seniors, but had to revoke 49% of them after a whistleblower pointed out that these students lacked the credits needed to graduate. She writes: Just shy of half of the Class of 2019 at John F. Kennedy High School at Lake Area did not meet graduation requirements and are therefore not eligible to re
DeVos Hires Advocate for For-Profit Colleges to Oversee Higher Education
Add this item to the Department of Unbelievable. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has hired an advocate of for-profit colleges to oversee higher education for the federal government . DeVos, of course, is known to have invested in for-profit education. Depending on whom you ask, Diane Auer Jones has returned to the Education Department with either a mission or a vengeance… Now, as the chief arc
Arizona: Save Our Schools Arizona Scores More Victories!
Beth Lewis wrote this report about the great news from Arizona, where SOS Arizona is staying strong, united, dedicated, and powerful. SOS Arizona won NPE’s first annual Phyllis Bush Award for Grassroots Leadership, presented at the NPE conference last October in Indianapolis. Beth Lewis writes: We have good news from Arizona! Coming off of their huge victory in defeating Proposition 305, which wo
Ann Cronin: What Do We Mean by “Student Achievement”?
Ann Cronin is an educator in Connecticut. In this post , she explains what real achievement is, and it has nothing to do with test scores. There are all kinds of suggestions for improving student achievement – privatize public schools, increase the number of standardized tests that students take, implement national standards, and enforce no-excuses classroom discipline. None of these practices, h
North Carolina: State Superintendent Ignores Professionals and Chooses Tech Tool to Assess Youngest Children
Justin Parmenter, NBCT in North Carolina, writes here about the educational malpractice inflicted on the state’s youngest readers by order of State Superintendent Mark Johnson. A TFA alum, Johnson overruled the recommendations of expert professionals in the state and decided to assess and diagnose children’s reading skill with technology instead of a teacher. As the 2019-20 school year wound down

JUN 22

Michigan: Governor Whitmer Lacks Authority to Take Control of Benton Harbor, Says Tom Pedroni
Thomas Pedroni, a professor at Wayne State University, argues that Governor Whitmer is in over her head in her efforts to direct the future of Benton Harbor schools. She doesn’t even have legal authority to take charge of the district, he writes. He writes: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is in over her head in Benton Harbor Area Schools. Suddenly, though, our fledgling governor is waking up to the reality
Michigan: Governor Whitmer Backing Away from Earlier Ultimata, Trying to Find a Compromise in Benton Harbot
Governor Gretchen Whitmer spent four hours listening to constituents in Benton Harbor. They do not want her to close their high school. She has backed away from earlier deadlines and is seeking a compromise. This shows that she is different from Governor Rick Snyder. She listens. He never did. Late afternoon turned to early evening in the crowded pews of Brotherhood of All Nations Church of God i
Want to Learn More About Privatization Scams? Sign Up to Receive “In the Public Interest” Reports for Free
I receive regular updates from “In the Public Interest” and find them to be very valuable. I learn about privatization of schools, prisons, libraries, and virtually everything else that is usually considered to be public. I urge you to sign up and receive updates. Unlike my blog, their emails are typically once a week or once every two weeks, aggregating many stories from across the nation. In th
Ohio: More Charter Scandals Running on STEAM
Bill Phillis writes about Ohio’s connection to the biggest charter school heist in history (so far): ‌ ‌ ‌ More about the STEAM charters that have connections with the individuals indicted in California for an $80 million charter fraud Five STEAM charters were “licensed” to operate in Ohio. Two of them, sponsored by Ohio Council of Community Schools, closed after a short period (2 years for one a
David Osborne: Of Course, Charter Schools Are Private, That’s Why They Are So Great! (NOT!)
Haha, the charter industry keeps intoning over and over that charter schools are not public schools, but of course they are not. They are private schools that receive public funding and want more of it every year. David Osborne, one of the loudest cheerleaders for charters, wrote in the Washington Post that charter schools are indeed private schools, and that is what makes them so fabulous. It se
UCLA Civil Rights Project: The Broken Promise of Brown
The Brown decision of 1954 marked the beginning of a dramatic transition in American society. I attended segregated public schools in Houston. I remember segregated buses and water fountains marked “white” and “colored.” I remember the social codes that required black peoples to enter through the back door, never the front door. I remember segregated movie theaters, public swimming pools, beaches
EdWeek: Do Children of Color Need Harsh Discipline to Succeed in School?
This article in Education Week by two researchers—Joanne Golann and Mira Debs—ask why leaders of “no-excuses” charter schools think that children of color need harsh discipline. They interview parents and discover what they really want: As researchers who have taught in and studied these schools, we found that parents’ attitudes were not that simple. The Black and Latino parents we interviewed in
Ohio: For-Profit Charters Get Rich Running Non-Profit Charters, Taxpayers and Students Get Stiffed
One of the most valuable sites online is KnowYourCharter in Ohio. This post lays out the waste of taxpayer dollars gobbled up by charters. Time to close the spigot of money going down the drain in Ohio, leeched away from public schools to fatten charter operators. Ohio has long been a hotbed of for-profit charter schools. While Ohio requires that all charter schools be technically non-profit, Ohi
Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all