Saturday, November 9, 2019

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

A site to discuss better education for all

Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America's Public Schools

Nancy Bailey: If Only Students Could Sue Betsy DeVos and the Corporate Reformers for the Damage They Have Done

Nancy Bailey writes here about the long-term damage that corporate reformers (the Disruption movement) have inflicted on two generations of students. If only students could sue them for ruining their schools! If only teachers could sue them for ruining their profession! If only the public could sue them to disruption their schools and communities! She begins: Frustrated by public schools? Look no


Good News! New Hampshire Legislators Table Federal Grant for New Charters

Betsy DeVos gave New Hampshire $46 million to. Double the number of charter schools. The state commissioner of education said, illogically, that adding charter schools was a good way to handle declining student enrollment. If that doesn’t make sense, It is because it’s nonsense. Adding new charters is sure to accelerate enrollment declines. The legislature’s fiscal committee voted on party lines
DeVos Faces Possible Subpoena for Refusal to Testify

Politico Morning Education says Betsy D won’t testify. Trump officials ignore Congress: DEVOS AT RISK OF SUBPOENA: The committee is now reviewing options, “including a subpoena,” after DeVos declined to testify, a committee aide told POLITICO Thursday night. Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) had given DeVos until Thursday at 6 p.m. to respond to his request that she appear. — House Democrats are sched
A Blatant Trump Lie

Thanks to the efforts of the New York State Attorney General, Trump was forced to close down his “foundation,” which he had used to pay debts for his businesses and to buy a $10,000 painting of himself. This week, a judge ordered Trump to pay a fine of $2 million for failing to carry out his fiduciary duty for faithful administration of the foundation funds. Trump responded by lying. But in a sta
Cincinnati: New School Board Member Has Conflict of Interest

Our reader Laura Chapman wrote about a newly elected member of the school board in Cincinnati. He is a local executive for TFA. The board on which he will serve pays TFA $100,000 to supply inexperienced teachers. He should resign his TFA position or resign from the board. At the very least, he should recuse himself from any discussions of contracts for his employer. Chapman wrote: Some details on
Jeannie Kaplan: Denver Voters Give “Reform” an F

Jeannie Kaplan served two terms on the Denver school board. She spotted “reform” as a hoax from the beginning. For ten years, she has urged her fellow citizens to reject the regime of “test-punish-close schools-privatize.” Today she feels vindicated. Over the past 10 years millions of dollars from outside Denver have been spent to prop up a failed educational experiment. And failed it is. But a n
Tom Ultican: The “Denver Miracle!” Voters Eliminate Billionaire-Backed Corporate Reformers

Tom Ultican shares a delightful and very satisfying story of what happened in Denver, where voters chose three non-corporate reformers to fill out a majority of five on the district’s seven-member school board. Denver has had a solid decade of corporate reform (or as I call it, Disruption) control. Schools opened and closed; charter schools opened; students shuffled around. Apparently, the voters
G.F.Brandenburg Invites You to Spot the “Miracles” in Florida, Michigan, D.C., and Mississippi

Guy Brandenburg offers a graph of 8th Grade scores on NAEP from 1992-2019 for four jurisdiction and invites you to find a miracle , if you can.
New Hampshire: Betsy DeVos Wants to Double the Number of Charter Schools! Stop Her Now!

Betsy DeVos is using the federal Charter Schools Program as her personal slush fund. She recently dumped $46 million into New Hampshire in hopes of doubling the number of charters schools in that small state. The Governor Chris Sununu is a rightwing school choice zealot. The State Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut homeschooled his children and is eager to eliminate public schools. The legi
Kentucky: Angry Teachers Elected Andy Beshear

This story in the Washington Post makes clear that Republican Governor Matt Bevin list because of his mean-spirited attacks on teachers, who are respected members of their communities. It was no accident that Bevin’s Democratic opponent Andy Beshear selected a teacher as his running mate. When they marched on the statehouse in Frankfort, Ky., in the midst of a spring snowstorm and a political fir

NOV 07

Houston: The Double Standard That Favors Charters

W. J. Gumbert left the following comment about the state takeover of Houston, based on the low test scores of one high school. For the uninitiated, Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick hate public schools. John Arnold is a billionaire who made his money as an energy trader at Enron and now campaigns against public sector pensions and in favor of charter schools. Gumbert writes: Let’s rem
Houston: Shame on the Texas Education Agency for Attacking Local Democratic Control of Public Schools!

I am a K-12 graduate of the Houston Independent School District. I am appalled that Texas officials would dare to strip Houston citizens of their elected board because of ONE LOW-PERFORMING HIGH SCHOOL. Wheatley High School happens to have a high concentration of students who live in poverty (88%), don’t speak English, and have special needs (19%). The Texas Education Agency and Commissioner Mike
Denver Area: Teacher-Backed Candidates Sweep All But One School Board Races

Candidates backed by teachers for local school boards in the Denver area (including Denver) won all but one race. Candidates supported by the teachers’ unions swept school board elections in Denver, Aurora, Douglas County, Littleton, Adams County, Cherry Creek, and Jeffco. The only candidate to lose was in Jeffco. The “reformers” bold experiment in teacher-bashing has come to an end, at least for
Democrat from CAP Joins DeVos Team

I am speechless. Wordless. How could anyone who cares about their reputation join the most shameless department in the most shameless administration in history? DeVos showed her colors when she harassed 16,000 students to pay debts for their time at the closed for-profit Corinthian Colleges when the debts would have been cancelled. She has repeatedly shown her views: her contempt for public schoo
Steven Singer: Why NAEP Scores Do Not Matter

I am not sure that I agree with Steven Singer’s point here, that NAEP scores tell us nothing other than that students from affluent homes have higher test scores than students who live in poverty. His main point is undeniable. All standardized test scores are highly correlated with family income. We could use income and poverty data to learn what the test scores tell us, without wasting billions
Angie Sullivan: Nevada’s Well-Funded Failing Charter Schools

Angie Sullivan teaches in an underfunded Title 1 school in Las Vegas where many students are impoverished and don’t speak English. She frequently writes blast emails to Nevada legislators and journalists. Margaret Raymond once joked that Nevada has the worst charter sector in the nation . From Valerie Strauss’s Answer Sheet blog in 2015: “Be very glad that you have Nevada, so you are not the wors
Bill Phillis: Beware the Privatizers Running for Local School Board Seats

Imagine a brand new nonprofit organization starting with more than $200 million. The usual group of billionaires has funded an organization called the City Fund, whose main purpose seems to be to buy local school board elections. Thus far, they have targeted Atlanta, Indianapolis, Newark, Denver, San Antonio, St. Louis, and Nashville, but they may have added or subtracted other sites. The City Fu
Bring Back Handwriting: It’s Good for Your Brain (But Not Mine!)

When I was in the early grades in the Houston public schools, we learned penmanship. At the time, we dipped our quill pens into an inkwell. It was messy, at least for me. At some point we switched to pens that had ink reserves, and you filled them up and wrote with ink. That was better than dipping the quill. Then a new writing technology came along, called the “ballpoint pen.” No messy inkwells
OUTRAGE: State Plans to Take Control of Houston District Due to 1 “Failing” School

Jacob Carpenter, reporter for the Houston Chronicle, tweeted that the state education department plans to strip the Houston school board of its authority because of the persistently low scores of one school. @ChronJacob BREAKING: Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath has notified Houston ISD that he plans to strip power from the district’s elected board and appoint a new governance team, the r

NOV 06

Public Education Won Big Last Night!

Candidates for Public office endorsed by NPE Action won big. We didn’t give them money. We gave them our valued Seal of Approval, demonstrating that they are the real deal, genuine supporters of public schools. We also celebrate the apparent victory in Kentucky of Andy Bashear and the apparent defeat of Governor Matt Bevin, who mistreated teachers and sought Betsy DeVos’s approval. Kentucky has a
Jim Hood: Don’t Give Up on Mississippi

Jim Hood lost the race for governor in Mississippi but he gave it all he has. He gives hope that Mississippi might one day not be a taken-for-granted good-ole-white-boy state. He gives hope that people will one day vote for their own best interest, for the common good, not just thoughtlessly vote for those who don’t care about them or anyone else. This is the letter he sent to supporters (I made
Denver: Corporate Reform Candidates Lose in All Three Races for School Board CORRECTION!!!!

Denver is one of the jewels of the Corporate Reform/Disruption crowd where outside the state money has purchased board seats in the past. This election, however, three seats were up for grabs and the corporate reformers were defeated in all three races. In their place, candidates who are skeptical of charters, school closing, and high-stakes testing were elected with the support of the Denver Cla
Why the Brits Don’t Like Trump

This is one of the best descriptions of Trump— ever—by a British writer. Someone on Quora asked “Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?” Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England wrote the following response: A few things spring to mind. Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem. For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibili
Chicago: The Teachers’ Strike Brings a Sea-Change in Education Policy

Craig’s Chicago Business acknowledges that the children in Chicago public schools need what the Chicago Teachers Union won in their contract negotiations. But still, they wonder, are taxpayers willing to pay the price? Now that financial details of the pact are starting to trickle out, it’s clear that the mayor was telling the truth—that is, for the teachers. And that truth raises a very signific
John Thompson: Why School Integration Matters

John Thompson, historian and retired teacher in Oklahoma, reviews an important recent book. It is ironic that the evidence for the value of integration grows at the same pace as resegregation. Surely we can agree with Malcolm Forbes on one thing: schools should nurture “the art of thinking individually together.” Can we agree that the path to such a goal requires school integration? Children of t
ACT Scores Drop to a Record Low

The 2019 ACT scores, which are supposed to measure “college readiness,” dropped to a record low. This follows nine years after the release of the Common Core State Standards, which were supposed to promote “college and career readiness.” Nick Anderson of the Washington Post writes: ACT scores for the high school Class of 2019 show that rates of college readiness in English and math have sunk to r

NOV 05

Virginia: Democrats Sweep Control of Both Houses of the Legislature!

In a major setback for Republicans in Virginia, Democrats swept control of both houses of the state legislature! Trump has no shirttails. This election and the election in Kentucky should send a message to the a Republican majority in the Senate. Will Democrats sweep both houses of Congress next year as Mitch McConnell and every other Republican Senator stick by Trump to the bitter end?
Fantastic News! Beshear Beats Bevin for Governor of Kentucky!!

Democrat Andy Beshear, Attorney General of Kentucky, defeated hard-right Republican Governor Matt Bevin! Hooray! Bevin made war on public schools and teachers and threatened teachers’ pensions. He allied himself with Trump and Betsy DeVos. Bevin threatened to cut healthcare insurance. Teachers in Kentucky walked out and demonstrated at the state capitol to oppose Benin’s efforts to destroy their
It Is #GivingTuesday. Give to NPE!

Help the Network for Public Education stay strong for America’s public school students, teachers, and schools! Be generous ! We depend on you!
Florida County Refuses to Pay for A Subscription to the New York Times for Its Public Library: “Fake News”

The county leaders in Citrus County, Florida, rejected the library’s request for a subscription to the New York Times. The Times, they said, was “fake news.” They don’t want the local citizens to hear any point of view that contradicts the Dear Leader. This is the quintessence of ignorance. Do they also censor every cable news station except FOX? By Antonia Noori Farzan / The Washington Post Post
John Merrow: What Would Dewey, Montessori, and Aristotle Say About NAEP?

Count on John Merrow to find a totally fresh way of looking at the 2019 NAEP scores! He asks: What would John Dewey, Maria Montessori, and Aristotle say? The scores were disappointing but the responses were predictable: The responses from the Administration , the center-righ t, and the left were not surprising. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos labelled it a ‘student achievement crisis’ and issu
Wisconsin: Did Foxconn Fool Scott Walker?

Foxconn is the giant Taiwanese tech company that manufactures electronic products for major tech companies around the world. They are known for poor working conditions and long hours, also for employee suicides on the job. When Scott Walker was governor of Wisconsin, his great coup (or so he thought) was to woo Foxconn to open five “innovation centers” in the state. This was supposed to create jo
Wendy Lecker: Philanthopy Is No Substitute for Equitable Public Financing of Public Schools

Wendy Lecker is a civil rights attorney who writes frequently for the Stamford (CT) Advocate . In this article, she takes issue with a public-private partnership that fails to address the state’s woefully School finance system. Ray Dalio, a billionaire who wants to do good, has created a partnership with the state government that will operate outside public scrutiny. Dalio and the state will each
Alabama: Fired Principal of Charter School Sues Board for Excluding Students with Disabilities, Plus Nepotism, and Cronyism

The board of Alabama’s first charter school, LEAD Academy, fired its principal, Nicole Ivey, and she is retaliating with a lawsuit that airs the school’s dirty laundry. Those named in the suit include Charlotte Meadows, the school’s founder and board president who is also running for the Alabama Legislature ; Soner Tarim; owner of Unity School Services, an education service provider; Unity School

NOV 04

Bill Barr Went Looking for Dirt in London

The Independent newspaper reports that Attorney General William Barr showed up in London with requests that one British official said “is like nothing we have come across before, they are basically asking, in quite robust terms, for help in doing a hatchet job on their own intelligence services.” Barr and Trump want to find evidence that the CIA and FBI were wrong about Russian hacking of the 201
Trump Asks Republicans to Lie for Him: Are You Surprised?

Greg Sergeant wrote this morning in the Washington Post : President Trump is now openly calling on his Republican allies to produce doctored transcripts of witness testimony that will exonerate him. Trump did not put it quite that directly, of course. But given all the known facts — and given everything we’ve seen from Trump over the past few years — there is simply no other way to read them. It’
Audrey Watters: They Are Watching Your Children. Are You Helping Them Watch?

Audrey Watters is one of the leading voices among those who are concerned about student privacy. I n this post , she notes the growing attention to surveillance of children but observes that some parents are purchasing devices that facilitate surveillance. Do you want your child to be surveilled by unknown persons and corporations?
Mercedes Schneider: The Failure of “Reform” In Louisiana

Mercedes Schneider teaches high school English in Louisiana. She has been a close observer of the corporate reforms (the Disruption movement) under State Superintendent John White. White has been in charge since 2012. He has had the authority to pursue his own agenda, with the unwavering support of a state board elected by out-of-state money. Schneider lays out his record, based on NAEP scores an
Gary Rubinstein: The Reformers’ Desperate Effort to Find Hope in the NAEP Scores

Gary Rubinstein, math teacher at Stuyvesant High School, is a skilled myth buster. He frequently unmasks “miracle” stories. In this post , he demolishes the claim that Louisiana has improved faster in 8th grade math than other states. This is the last gasp of the Disruption movement, which has controlled federal and state policy for 20 years but has little to show for it. As Rubinstein shows, Arn
Kentucky Parent: Why Voters Tomorrow Should Oust Privatizer Matt Bevin and Save Our Public Schools

Gay Adelmann, the mother of a recent graduate of the Jefferson County Public Schools, writes here to explain why voters in Kentucky should get rid of Matt Bevin and elect Andy Beshear as Governor. She writes: “During Kentucky’s past two legislative sessions, Gov. Matt Bevin lashed out at the record numbers of teachers descending upon Frankfort. But teachers are not the only ones who have been sho

NOV 03

This is Why I Support the Southern Poverty Law Center

I received an e-mail from SPLC: Tella Barnett fears she’ll end up behind bars again if she gets behind on her payments. She’s one of thousands of people in Alabama who pay to stay out of prison. One day last March, she paid a $30 monitoring fee as well as a $40 supervision fee. She paid $40 in drug testing fees and $30 in “rescheduling fees.” “Oh, my goodness, I can barely afford to eat,” said Ba
Peter Greene: DeVos Honored for Her Service to God

Do not read this post by Peter Greene unless you are a Christian . Do not read it unless you are a Dominionist and believe in the battle to advance God’s kingdom on this earth. You see, our Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos just won an award for her work on behalf of God. Peter Greene writes: “Dominionism argues that the US should be a literal Christian nation, its government run by Christians.
Do You Want Your Child to Attend a Mark Zuckerberg School?

The Coalition for Student Privacy writes here about a new book by Dianne Tavenner, who leads the Chan-Zuckerberg-funded Summit Charter Schools. The Summit approach is based heavily on screen time, and it has encountered student and parent protests in numerous cities. Tavenner’s new book is called Prepared: What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life. The book will be launched at an event funded by the fa
Arthur Camins: Take Back Our Government. Start with Public Schools.

Arthur Camins retired after a career as a teacher, aprofessor, a scientist, and director of a lab in charge of innovation. In this post , he lays out the great mission of our era: take back our government, restore our democracy of the people. Start with public schools. An excerpt: Public schools are the bedrocks of democracy and equity. They are a great place to start reclaiming government becaus

NOV 02

G.F. Brandenburg Rebukes Betsy DeVos on NAEP

Former D.C. math teacher Guy Brandenburg attended the NAEP press conference in D.C. where Betsy DeVos explained what lessons the nation can lean from the NAEP results. DeVos thinks the rest of the nation should learn from D.C., which has the largest racial gaps of any urban district tested by NAEP; Or Florida, where test scores went down; or Mississippi, where scores rose even though it is at the
Ron Chernow: Alexander Hamilton Would Support Impeachment

Ron Chernow, author of Hamilton , wrote in the Washington Post that Trump is the populist demagogue that Alexander Hamilton feared and warned about in The Federalist Papers. He wrote: There seems little doubt, given his writings on the presidency, that Hamilton would have been aghast at Trump’s behavior and appalled by his invitation to foreign actors to meddle in our elections. As a result, he w
The New Unionism: Bargaining for the Common Good

The Chicago teachers’ strike is over but it performed a valuable service that reaches far beyond Chicago and its educators. In recent years, the union movement was recoiling from blow after blow as its adversaries attempted to destroy it by passing right-to-work laws in the states, attacking it in state courts with challenges to due process, and winning a Supreme Court victory (Janus) that was in

Jan Resseger: The History and Context of the Chicago Teachers Strike 2019

Jan Resseger explains the history and context of the truly historic teachers’ strike in Chicago t hat recently ended. She explains it with clarity, as only Jan can do. This was not a strike for higher salaries. The mayor offered a 16% 

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