Saturday, July 6, 2019

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Andrea Gabor: The Slow But Steady Decline of the Charter Industry
Andrea Gabor is one of the most interesting education writers around. She holds the Bloomberg Chair in Business Journalism at Baruch College. Her articles appear on sites read by people in the business world. Yet she has a firm grasp of education issues. Her latest book, After the Education Wars , has the best discussion of New Orleans education issues that I have seen. Her book The Man Who Inven
An Exchange About Destroying a Significant Work of Art That Some Find Offensive
An activist named Julie wrote me on my personal email to explain why it was morally necessary to destroy the painting called “Life of Washington” that is hanging in a San Francisco public high school. The painting is shown here . It is a WPA mural, painted in the 1930s by a prominent Russian immigrant artist. Victor Arnautoff, the Russian immigrant who made the paintings in question, was perhaps


Lloyd Lofthouse: Maybe Partition Is the Best Answer
Lloyd Lofthouse is a writer, a former member of the military, and a faithful reader and contributor to the blog. When I read this comment, I almost fell off my chair laughing. I’m all for these [red] states leaving the union and forming their own country. This new country will call itself Trumplandia. Then Trump will resign as president (to escape all the investigations and legal threats) of the
Is it Just or Patriotic to Paint Over Art That Offends Someone?
Larry Cuban posts here an opinion piece that appeared originally in the New York Times about a decision by the San Francisco School Board to paint over (and thus destroy) a Depression-Era mural that is highly critical of the U.S. The artist Victor Arnautoff was a Russian immigrant and a Communist. His mural “Life of Washington” depicted George Washington and other Founding Fathers in a very negat
Jersey Jazzman: What You Need to Know About Newark
Jersey Jazzman, aka Dr. Mark Weber, teacher, scholar, and blogger, brings the facts about the Newark schools up to date . He does so in part because of Senator Cory Booker’s campaign, which has prompted news stories about the “Newark miracle.” Bottom line: Don’t believe in miracles, at least secular miracles.
Red Queen in LA: Deciphering the Charter Chaos and Shape-Shifting
This is another brilliant post by Sara Roos, known as Red Queen in LA. She read the report of the leaked emails among charter advocates. She notes their double talk, their rhetorical legerdemain, their organizations that pop up like mushrooms, then morph into new organizations. Behind this seeming chaos is a steady purpose: to disrupt and destroy public education. Behind the chaos is the steady f
Los Angeles: Did Austin Beutner Clear His Major Policy Speech with the Charter Lobby?
Blogger MIchael Kohnhaas says that Los Angeles Superintendent Austin Beutner precleared a major policy speech with charter lobbyists. He provides documentation . Critics feared that the charter majority was choosing Beutner to do their bidding. This post suggests they chose well. The story about the secret plan was reported by the Los Angeles Times here . The Plan is to win control of the board,

JUL 04

Charles Foster Johnson: This Land Really Does Belong to You and Me
Charles Foster Johnson, leader of Pastors for Texas Children, reflects on the meaning of citizenship: America is not a geography. Or nationality. Or ethnicity. America is an idea. A truth. That idea, that truth, is this: “That all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Jefferson was right, that i
Teresa Hanafin on Trump’s Parade
The Boston Globe has a daily feature called Fast Forward written by Teresa Hanafin. I enjoy reading whatever she writes. Here she is in Trump’s parade: All I wish on this Fourth of July holiday weekend is that Trump doesn’t embarrass us any more than he already has with his co-opting of the DC celebration for partisan political purposes and a grandiose exercise in self-flattery. Blowing up what h
In Which Fred Klonsky Agrees with Thomas Friedman
Fred Klonsky proclaims his agreements with NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman. “If Democrats can choose a nominee who speaks to our impending challenges, but who doesn’t say irresponsible stuff about immigration or promise free stuff we can’t afford, who defines new ways to work with business and energize job-creators, who treats with dignity the frightened white working-class voters who abandone
Trump Celebrates July 4 with Weapons of War on the Mall
Trump aims to be our very own Il Duce. Having seen (on TV) the great military parades in North Korea, Moscow, and Beijing, where the Maximum Leader commands all attention, Trump wants the same adulation. He has joked about serving a third term because his base won’t let him leave. He has admired the fact that Kim is President for Life. His delusions of his own magnificence are limitless. Any day
A True American Patriot and a Hero of Public Education
Neema Avashia learned that her middle school in Boston was going to close. She decided that she would stand and fight. She did. She is a true patriot. She made a difference. She defeated the powerful. She is a hero of the Resistance. She joins the honor roll of this blog. She writes: My gloves came off the day representatives of my school district told us they would be closing our school . Our st
Steven Singer: American Public Schools Are Great!
Steven Singer wrote this last year, but it remains pertinent and on the money. He says that there is a narrative spun by Disrupters that American schools are in “crisis” and are “failing.” He says this is baloney, or bologna, whichever spelling you prefer. Singer says that American public schools are among the best in the world. He writes: Critics argue that our scores on international tests don’
Linda Lyon: Teachers Are the True Patriots!
Linda Lyon served honorably for many years in the U.S. Air Force. She retired with her wife to Arizona where she became involved in the local school board. A strong and forceful person, she eventually was elected president of the Arizona School Board Association. She is a strong advocate for well-funded public schools. Some weeks ago, she read that the Arizona Chamber of Commerce wanted to hold a

JUL 03

Ex-Governor Rick Snyder Will Not Teach at Harvard, as Backlash Grows Against Him
Michigan Ex-Governor Rick Snyder will not teach at Harvard, The outcry over Snyder’s role in the Flint water crisis made his position at Harvard untenable. Former Gov. Rick Snyder has pulled out of a prestigious fellowship at Harvard University after the Ivy League school faced immense criticism for the governor’s track record in the Flint water crisis. Snyder announced midday Wednesday his decis
Pennsylvania’s Expensive, Ineffective Cyber Charters
From the Keystone State Coalition, administered by Lawrence Feinberg: Started in November 2010, daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 4050 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor’s staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition team m
Michigan: Gov. Whitmer Wants to Impose Deformers on Benton Harbor
Thomas Pedroni of Wayne State University writes that Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to impose corporate reform organizations on Benton Harbor to “save” the underfunded district. A cruel hoax. She is carrying forward the foul legacy of Republican Governor Rick Snyder. Michigan Gov Whitmer Grants Benton Harbor Schools a Trojan Horse-load of School Privatizers Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen
Washington State: “Bold Experiment” with Charters Is Flunking
Give Bill Gates credit for persistence. He wanted charter schools in Washington State and he wouldn’t give up. The state held four referendums about whether to authorize private charter schools, and the idea was defeated time after time after time. Until 2012. Gates and his billionaire buddies raised a multimillion dollar war chest that completely overwhelmed the opposition of the PTAs, the Leagu
Carol Burris Responds to Charter Industry Critique of NPE’s “Asleep At the Wheel”
Last March, the Network for Public Education released a report written and researched by Carol Burris and Jeff Bryant, titled Asleep At the Wheel. It reviewed grants awarded by the federal Charter Schools Program and found that about a third of the grants went to charters that either never opened or closed soon after opening. It also reported that the CSP administrators did not conduct due dilige

JUL 02

Border Patrol Agents: Their Secret Commications
ProPublica posted excerpts from what had been a secret Facebook page where 9,500 border patrol agents exchanged messages. Their contents are disgusting: racist, sexist, cruel, crude. The article begins: Members of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention fa
Larry Lee: What Does Texas Know, But Alabama Does Not Know?
Larry Lee has been following the saga of the Gulen charter that plans to open in a rural county in Alabama. In this post , he notes that the Texas State Board of Education turned down the same charter leader that Alabama’s charter commission approved. He wonders what led a bipartisan majority in Texas to reject the charter application. Texas has many Gulen charters. Why did they reject this one?
Peter Greene: On Reading “Winners Take All,” a Morality Tale for Our Times
Peter Greene read and loved Anand Giridharadas’ Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World. So did I, which is why it is on my short list of books I recommend for summer reading. Peter writes: Every so often you come across a book that unpacks and reframes a part of the universe in a way that you can never unsee. Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas has been a book like that for
Jersey Jazzman: Do Test Scores Go Up When Tests Are Harder?
Jersey Jazzman untangles a simpleminded assertion by New Jersey Reformers: Harder Tests Make kids smarterand Cause scores to go up. We have been hearing this claim since NCLB was enacted. And we must ask, what’s the connection between scores going up and learning more? Test prep can drive scores higher too.
Oklahoma: Teachers Accuse For-Profit Charter Chain of Fraud
Former teachers at for-profit Epic charter chain claim they were compelled to inflate enrollment. Charter spokesperson denies it. Administrators at Epic Charter Schools have been allowing, encouraging or pressuring teachers to manipulate students’ enrollment for years in order to improve employees’ bonus pay, according to at least seven former teachers. Four of the teachers allege the practices i
Gary Rubinstein: This Article is Propaganda for TFA and Charter Schools
Gary Rubinstein writes here about an article he was surprised to read in Chalkbeat. He was surprised because he expects more of Chalkbeat. The article lauds a young TFA teacher who has just finished her first year. He writes: The basic premise is that Angelique Hines a first year TFA teacher placed in a brand new charter school in Tennessee is featured in a series of interviews by Chalkbeat calle
Peter Greene: The Case That Could Shed the Wall of Separation
Peter Greene writes here about a case that could knock down the wall of separation between church and state. With two Trump appointees, the Supreme Court appears poised to rule in favor of state support for religious school tuition. Despite the fact that voters overwhelmingly reject vouchers (when the public is asked to voice its view). Despite the fact that studies consistently show that childre

JUL 01

A Note to Readers
I was traveling in Italy yesterday (birthday) and offline. I just read your lovely comments, and I thank you one and all for your kind words. I am now in a farmhouse in rural Tuscany, and it is as beautiful as represented in the movies. Only moreso.
My Favorite Cause: Please Support NPE and NPE Action
This is my favorite cause. Please join and support if you want to be part of the Resistance. The Network for Public Education began in 2013, founded by Anthony Cody and me. Since its humble beginnings, the Network has grown to 330,000 followers on its mailing lists. NPE led the protest against the appointment of Betsy DeVos, generating over 100,000 emails to the Senate in a matter of days. Since
My Father’s Favorite Singers and Favorite Songs
My father was born in Savannah, Georgia. He was the youngest of a very large family and the only boy. He was called “Cracker” all his life because of his home state. As a teen, he longed to be on the stage, and he dropped out of high school to give it a try. He was briefly in vaudeville, where he teamed up with a tall beautiful brunette from Savannah named Lillian Wise. They had an act called “Th
My All-Time Favorite Movie (and a Few Current Favorites)
My all-time favorite movie is “ Singin’ in the Rain. ” I have lost track of how many times I have seen it. Every time I see it, I enjoy it all over again. Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor are a great singing and dancing team. Nineteen-year-old Debbie Reynolds is beautiful, adorable, fresh, a wonderful ingenue. The music is delightful. TCM has an excellent history of the movie, which is about Hollyw
My Favorite Television Programs
There is something I must explain about my taste in entertainment. I don’t like horror films, and I don’t like graphic violence. That considerably narrows the range of what I watch. I want to be entertained or learn, not to be terrified or depressed by what I choose to see. Having said that, I confess that one of my TV favorites (now an oldie) was “The Wire.” It is a series about the long-running
Today Is My Birthday
I was born 81 years ago in St. Joseph’s Hospital in Houston, Texas, at 12:01 am. Eighty is the new 60. No, the new 50. Or 40. I am third of eight children. My mother was born in Bessarabia and came to this country when she was 9 years old. She was a very proud graduate of the Houston public schools. My grandfather in Houston was a tailor. My father grew up in Savannah. He was a mischievous boy, I

JUN 30

Carol Burris: Who Is Ferdinand Zulueta?
Carol Burris wrote this post on learning that the National Charter Schools Conference was honoring charter chain founder Ferdinand Zulueta. I am dumfounded that Fernando Zulueta is being honored by the National Charter Schools Conference. He and his brother run one of the most notorious for-profit charter management companies in the country, Academica. The Office of Inspector General’s audit of t
National Charter School Conference Honors Its Heroes
One of our readers and frequent commenters—Joe Nathan— was elected to the Charter School Hall of Fame and will be honored at the National Charter Schools Conference. Joe helped to write the first charter law in the nation in Minnesota. He and Ted Kolderie ensured that charters would be deregulated and would not confirm to Albert Shanker’s template on unionized schools approved only by local schoo
Great Britain: School Privatization Run Amok
Thanks to Leonie Haimson for sending along this paper . The “academy” concept began under a Conservative government that believed private enterprise was infinitely wiser than public anything. Corporations and wealthy individuals were encouraged to “buy” control of schools by putting up a large sum. Things seem to going swimmingly for the idea. This is a small excerpt. When I was part of the Koret
Missouri: This is How Much the Legislature Loves Its Suburban Moms!
This is a great opinion article by Tony Messenger, a regular columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which is one of the nation’s great newspapers. It is an Open Letter addressed to Missouri’s Suburban Moms and written in the voice of the state Republican party. This is the party that loves women so much that it voted to eliminate all abortions, even in the case of rape, incest, or a threat to
St. Louis: Can the District Recover After Years of “Oppressive Rule”?
Jeff Bryant writes about the obstacles faced by districts where state control is coming to an end. He takes St. Louis as his prime example., One urban district that faces an especially steep climb out of the abyss of oppressive rule is St. Louis. When I first reported from St. Louis in 2017, I found a school system which had been designed to be the gem of the Midwest had instead been decimated. F
St. Louis: Four New Charters, One Charter Closes
St. Louis will get four new charters, including another KIPP and a private school that turned charter so families would no longer pay tuition. A charter plagued with financial mismanagement and suspicion of inflated enrollment will close. Kairos Academies is enrolling sixth-graders for its personalized learning-themed middle and high school opening in the Marine Villa neighborhood. It’s the only
Maurice Cunningham: A Privatizing Philanthropist Buys Space in the Boston Globe
Maurice Cunningham is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts who writes a blog that”follows the money.” He also happens to be one of the heroes in my new book “Slaying Goliath.” I n this post , he warns that philanthropists are using their vast resources to buy control of the news, in this case, the Boston Globe . You may recall that Eli Broad gave the Los Angeles Times $800,000 a year yo

JUN 29

Peter Greene: DeVos Puts Profits Over Students (Are You Surprised?)
Peter Greene writes here about Betsy DeVos’s recent decision to roll back Obama-era regulations intended to protect students against predatory for-profit colleges. Sadly, this is what we have come to expect from a Secretary of Education who is more interested in protecting the free market than protecting students against fraud. Greene writes that DeVos rolled back the Obama-era requirement that s
FAIR: The NewYork Times Hates Bernie Sanders
Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) reports on the New York Times’ consistently biased reporting about Bernie Sanders. it seems fair to say that the New York Times wants to knock Senator Sanders outif the Race. Why?
Jan Resseger: Florida’s Education Disaster
In this post , Jan Resseger surveys the war against public schools in Florida. Sue Legg summarized the abject failure of Jeb Bush’s A+ Plan here . The drive to privatize public schools was masterminded by Jeb Bush, with the help of Betsy DeVos, a compliant Republican Legislature (including some who own or operate charter schools), and a zest to give public money to entrepreneurs and grifters. Ass
Oklahoma: The Billionaire Who Bought the University of Tulsa and Stifled the Liberal Arts
D Read this sad story. A billionaire with too much money and no vision buys the University of Tulsa. His plan gutted the liberal arts, raised default teaching loads across the university from five courses per year to eight, eliminated all academic departments, created new divisions to house surviving programs (including one called “Humanities and Social Justice”), and established a “Professional
Matt Barnum: Is Laurene Powell Jobs Reinventing the High School?
Let us give credit to Chalkbeat: It is not afraid to give an equivocal review to one of its funders, billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs. Barnum presents the facts about the spotty record of LPJ’s XQ Initiative. Her goal, she said, is to “reinvent” the high school. She has given grants of $10 million to a variety of high schools, each of which has its own plans and ideas. These high schools are suppo
Mercedes Schneider: All Student Records in NOLA Will Be Audited After Scandal
Mercedes Schneider reports a welcome development in New Orleans: in the wake of a grade-fixing scandal, all student records will be audited. As she says, it is about time. After so much boasting from NOLA, it’s time to check the facts. She writes: This is a long time coming. As a result of the grade-fixing scandal at a New Orleans charter high school– a scandal that resulted in 49 percent of the
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 

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