Saturday, January 11, 2020

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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

Bob Shepherd Reviews “SLAYING GOLIATH”

Bob Shepherd is a polymath, a man of remarkable learning, an author, a scholar, and at the capstone of his career, a classroom teacher. Regular readers of this blog know him as a frequent contributor and a source of wisdom and humor. Here is his review of my new book, SLAYING GOLIATH: THE PASSIONATE RESISTAMCE TO PRIVATIZATION AND THE FIGHT TO SAVE AMERICA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS , which will be release
Wisconsin: Taxpayers Angry About Supporting Two School Systems

The Eau Claire County Board was asked to endorse a resolution saluting “School Choice Week,” but homeowners turned out to denounce the loss of money from their public schools that was sent to voucher schools. One after another, homeowners asked why they were supporting two school systems, why the money intended for their public schools was being diverted to religious schools, why their taxes were


Washington Post Fact-Checks Trump’s 2-Hour Rally in Michigan and Reports that 67% of His Claims Were Untrue

The Washington Post fact-checker reports on the “Moby Dick” of all assignments : Fact-checking Trump’s marathon rally in Michigan a few weeks ago. He spoke off the cuff for two hours, and it seems he wants to be the Fidel Castro of American politics. Fidel used to rant for hours at a time. So you think your job is hard; try fact-checking a Trump speech. Hats off to the Washington Post and Salvado
Massachusetts: A Parent Thanks a State Official Who Exposed Dark Money

One of the very exciting episodes in my new book SLAYING GOLIATH describes the struggle in Massachusetts surrounding a 2016 referendum to expand the number of charter schools in the state. The referendum was called Question 2. Yes on 2 received funding from billionaires (the Waltons and Bloomberg), DFER (hedge fund managers), and out-of-state groups whose donors were unknown. The last group is ca
Ohio: Should States Subsidize Private and Religious Education by Subtracting Money from Public Schools?

Jan Resseger asks the ultimate cost about vouchers , in response to the Ohio legislature’s recent decision to expand vouchers to two-thirds of all school districts in the state, including high-performing districts. Should public money be subtracted from public schools to underwrite vouchers for private and religious schools? The state’s public schools will be hit hard by the voucher law. And sinc
North Carolina: I Endorse Jen Mangrum for State Superintendent of Schools

I am happy to give my personal endorsement to Dr. Jennifer (Jen) Mangrum, who is running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in North Carolina. Jen has already been endorsed by the Network for Public Education, which concluded that she is far and away the most qualified candidate in the race. Jen is a career educator who understands the importance of restoring the integrity of public e
Sue Legg: The Dark $ide of $chool Choice in Florida

What happens when Florida’s biggest for-profit charter chain takes over three low-performing public schools? Follow the money. Ka-Ching! Sue Legg of the Florida League of Women Voters guides you through a path paved with greenbacks. Here is her summary: The whole sordid affair was orchestrated by the current Senate Ed. Committee Chair. Millions of dollars were poured into the K12 consolidated sch
The Two Most Horrifying Stories about Standardized Testing in the Past Decade

Valerie Strauss wrote a column in her Answer Sheet blog at the Washington Post about the two most horrifying stories in the past decade of high-stakes standardized testing. Both occurred in Florida, a state where standardized testing is treated as an unerring and essential metric, except for students who use state money to attend religious schools, which are exempt from the state’s testing regime

JAN 09

Teresa Hanafin: Trump Reduces More Environmental Regulations, While Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Hides Trump’s Travel Expenses

I fear we are becoming insensitive to shock in the Trump era. And the very concept of “government ethics” seems to be an oxymoron in this era. Here are two shocking reports by Teresa Hanafin, who writes the Fast Forward commentary of the Boston Globe: Trump holds another campaign rally tonight, this time in Toledo. Earlier in the day, he’s scheduled to announce some proposed National Environmenta
Newark: Superintendent Wants to Close Four Charters and Limit New Ones

Roger Léon, superintendent of Newark schools, wants to close four charter schools and ban most new ones. Patrick Wall of Chalkbeat reports: The head of the Newark school system is calling for the closure of four local charter schools and a ban on most new charter schools, a clear signal that the district hopes to rein in the city’s fast-growing charter sector. The schools — M.E.T.S., People’s Pre
I Endorse Andy Saultz for State Legislature in Oregon

Andrew (Andy) Saultz is running for the Oregon State Legislature in District 33 (Northwest Portland). I am pleased to endorse his candidacy. The legislature will be fortunate to have Andy Saultz, an experienced and knowledgeable educator, among its members. Education is the most important of every state’s responsibilities. Nothing matters more than making sure that the children and young people o
Jan Resseger: The Empowering and Hopeful Message of “SLAYING GOLIATH”

In this post, Jan Resseger reviews my new book SLAYING GOLIATH: THE PASSIONATE RESISTANCE TO PRIVATIZATION AND THE FIGHT TO SAVE AMERICA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Jan is an expert on the damage imposed by so-called “reformers.” Several years ago, when I was in Cleveland, she took me on a tour of devastated neighborhoods. Ohio legislators and local leaders responded to growing poverty by creating charters
Daniel Koretz: American Students Are Not Getting Smarter, and Test-Based “Reforms” Are to Blame

Daniel Koretz is one of the leading authorities on testing in the United States. A professor at Harvard University, he has written two important books about testing–its uses and misuses. The first was Measuring Up: What Educational Testing Really Tells Us. His latest is The Testing Charade: Pretending to Make Schools Better. He recently wrote an article about how the federal government’s demand f
Texas: State Judge Temporarily Blocks State Takeover of Houston Schools

A state judge in Texas blocked the state takeover of the Houston Independent School District until she issues a final order in June. A state judge Wednesday evening immediately blocked Texas from taking over the Houston Independent School District until she issues a final ruling on the case, complicating the state’s plan to oust the district’s school board by March. In doing so, Travis County Dis

JAN 08

Louisiana: John White Submits His Resignation

Uber-reformer John White announced that he is resigning as superintendent of Louisiana. He has sterling disrupter credentials. Teach for America. Broad Academy. Joel Klein’s inner circle. Briefly leader of New Orleans’ charter district. Mercedes Schneider has the story here . She thinks the next state superintendent might actually be an experienced educator. Under White’s leadership, Louisiana dr
Bernie Sanders Calls for an End to Annual Standardized Testing

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was one of the few members of the U.S. Senate to vote against No Child Left Behind when it was approved by Congress in 2001. Today is the anniversary of the signing of that law. Sanders writes that the federal mandate for annual testing in grades 3-8 has been an expensive failure. In this article in USA Today, Sanders calls for an end to the NCLB mandate, whi
NCLB Was Signed into Law By President George W.Bush on This Day in 2002

On January 8, 2002, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind law. Thus began an unprecedented federal intrusion into state and local education. The law was sweeping in imposing federally mandated annual tests from grades 3-8. No high-performing nation in the world tests every child every year. The law mandated that every school must achieve 100% proficiency by 2014 or face increas
North Carolina: State Officials Are Embarrassed by Facts about their Charter Sector

Peter Greene writes that state officials in North Carolina keep getting embarrassed by the facts about their charter schools. In 2016, when the first report came out, the state sent it back to have the data massaged because it turned out that charters were effectively resegregating the students in the state. This year, a similar problem arose when it was time to release the annual report. The cha
A Personal Message to Bill & Melinda Gates

Hi, Bill and Melinda, We have never met but I feel that I know you because I am so familiar with your education projects. I have tried in the past to meet you and have a candid conversation but have never had any luck. You were always too busy or out of town. But I am trying again. I will be in Seattle on February 3-4. I arrive on the afternoon of the 3rd and am speaking at a public event on Febr
Steven Singer: Economists Ate My School

Steven Singer writes here about how economic thinking has distorted the purposes of schooling and is wrecking our society by turning everything into a transaction. Here is an excerpt, in which he defines the transactional view of teaching: The input is your salary. The output is learning. These are distinctly measurable phenomena. One is calculated in dollars and cents. The other in academic outc
Gary Rubinstein: That Misleading KIPP Research about College Completion

Gary Rubinstein has a deep aversion to hypocrisy, hypes, and propaganda. He read a widely publicized report saying “research shows” that graduates of KIPP have higher college completion rates than their peers. But then he discovered that the research shows no significant difference between KIPP students and their peers in college completion rates. His post debunks Richard Whitmire’s erroneous cla

JAN 07

Today is Zora Neale Hurston’s Birthday

Zora Neale Hurston is one of my favorite writers. I read in Garrison Keillor’s “A Writer’s Almanac” that today is her birthday. A reader wrote me offline to criticize my reference to Keillor’s work because many women credibly accused him of making sexual advances. I am aware of that. I think everyone has a chance to redeem themselves. In the meanwhile, I will continue to post whatever interests m
Mike Bloomberg Announces Centerpiece of His Education Agenda: Charter Schools Galore!

It was a curious fact that when billionaire Michael Bloomberg was mayor of New York City for 12 years, he had complete control of the public schools yet did not have any fresh ideas about how to improve them. This should not be surprising, because he was never an educator. He hired another non-educator–Joel Klein–to be his chancellor. The two of them relied heavily on McKinsey and other consultan
California: Lawmaker Proposes Regulations for “Home School” Charter Industry

California claims to have tightened up its charter school law, but huge loopholes remain. For example, state money goes to charters that offer religious education to home school students, as well as to private businesses. Patrick O’Donnell, chair of the Assembly Education Committee, thinks that oversight is needed. Private businesses and religious organizations have been getting public school dol
Opting Out: The Story of the Parents’ Grassroots Movement to Achieve Whole-Child Public Schools

This is a book you will want to read if you are a parent, a teacher, a teacher educator. Opting Out: The Story of the Parents’ Grassroots Movement to Achieve Whole-Child Schools is an essential addition to your bookshelf. It was written by Professor David Hursh of the University of Rochester and parents leaders of the New York Opt Out movement Jeanette Deutermann, Lisa Rudley, and Hursh’s graduat
North Carolina: A Cash Cow for Investors, a Headache for Taxpayers

During the Clinton administration, Congress enacted a program called EB-5, which promised green cards to foreign investors who put their money into job-creating projects. One of those designated projects for foreign investors was charter schools. Give a lot of money, invest in charter school construction, get a green card. The middle-men quickly figured out how to make this exchange pay off in pr
Audrey Watters: Is There a Good Side to Ed Tech?

Let me confess that I have a mad crush on Audrey Watters although I have never met her. I love her fearlessness, her keen intelligence, and her unapologetic humanity. I wrote a few days ago that her recent post on the 100 Biggest Worst Ed-Tech Debacles was the best post I had read in the last decade. She got a lot of feedback to that zinger of a post, and some readers asked her if she could name

JAN 06

Trump Has a Busy Week Ahead, According to Politico

Ah, t he burdens of the presidency! THE PRESIDENT’S WEEK: Monday: TRUMP will participate in a ceremony for new ambassadors to D.C., and he’ll have lunch with the vice president. Tuesday: THE PRESIDENT will host the prime minister of Greece. Thursday: THE PRESIDENT will have a political rally in Toledo, Ohio. Lots of executive time for watching Fox & Friends and tweeting. Since it is a slow week,
Peter Greene: The Indispensable Glossary to Corporate School Reform

In this post, Peter Greene reviews Edspeak and Doubletalk , the glossary co-written by me and Nancy Bailey. This is the book you need, the scorecard, to identify the players in the fast-moving world of reform propaganda and over-hyped programs. This resulting book, Edspeak and Doubletalk: A Glossary to Decipher Hypocrisy and Save Public Schooling , is exceptionally useful as a quick-reference res
Charlotte, N.C.: Voucher School Abruptly Closes Mid-Year

The Legacy Prep School in Charlotte, North Carolina, closed its doors at the end of the holidays, leaving parents and students on their own to find a school. Legacy Prep was a private school that relied on vouchers from the state. Parents were stunned. “ Yes, 100% caught off-guard,” said Jackie Davis, whose son attends Legacy Prep. On Friday, she and other parents whose children were enjoying hol
Stuart Egan: A Decade of Disastrous Policies in North Carolina

Stuart Egan is an National Board Certified Teacher in North Carolina. He writes here about the horrible policies imposed on public schools in North Carolina since Tea Party Republicans took over the state’s General Assembly. North Carolina was once considered the most progressive state in the South, for its dedication to improving public schools and honoring fine teachers. It had the highest prop
Nancy Bailey: How Corporate Reform Is Wrecking Suburban Schools Too

Nancy Bailey is an experienced classroom teacher who is now retired. She and I co-authored a glossary to explain the duplicity of today’s phony school “reforms,” called Edspeak and Doublespeak. We discovered that we shared the same disdain for hypocrisy and hype. Nancy posted a letter here by a teacher in a suburban school about how corporate reform is ruining education in her district. Here is a
Betsy DeVos Defends Her Indifference towards Defrauded Students

Last month, Betsy DeVos testified to Congress about her role in the student loan program. Her Department hounded students to pay back loans instead of canceling them because their for-profit college defrauded them. A federal judge ordered the Department to stop harassing the students, then fined the Department $100,000 for violating the court order. Rep. Josh Harder of California grilled her for

JAN 05

Jeff Bryant: Has the Democratic Party Really Reversed Course on the Failed Agenda of Charters and Testing?

Jeff Bryant attended the Presidential Forum for Democratic candidates in Pittsburgh, and he watched to see how the candidates reacted to the Bush-Obama-Duncan agenda. Michael Bennett was the only one to endorse it, and he got a tepid reception. The others spoke of their love for public schools, their desire to raise funding, etc, but barely mentioned charters or testing unless pushed. Duncan’s na
Los Angeles: Charters Are Proliferating Where They Aren’t Needed

Earlier this year, LAUSD board member Scott Schmerelson revealed that 82% of the charter schools in Los Angeles have empty seats (no waiting lists). Yet because of California’s charter-friendly environment, the privately managed schools continue to open. A report in 2017 found that charters in Los Angeles are proliferating where they are not needed. The report points out that traditional school d
Indiana: State Graduation Rate is 87%, but for Charters, It is 40%

Why do the Disrupters continue to insist that charter schools will “save poor kids from failing schools,” when the evidence continues to accumulate that this is simply not true. According to the latest state data for Indiana, the graduation rate is about 87%, with variations among different groups of students. For charter schools, the graduation rate is 40%. Indiana’s high school graduation rate
Former Ohio Superintendent: Lies, Lies, Lies! Enough!

Former superintendent Tom Dunn wrote a blistering critique of federal and state interventions into education that were lies, all lies. And the promises and lies continue despite the failure of all the previous promises. He writes: As a former school superintendent, one of my most important, difficult, and frustrating responsibilities was trying to stay abreast of state and federal laws governing
Providence: First, Fire All the Teachers!

This is the most curious news story of the week, written by the GoLocalProv News Team.”* It says that the fate of the reform of the Providence public schools lies in the hands of the Providence Teachers Union, led by Maribeth Calabro; she, the story warns, may be able to veto the new state commissioner’s plans to transform the Providence public schools. It does not mention that the state commissi

JAN 04

Carol Burris: Joe Roy, a Hero of Public Education

Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, writes here about Superintendent Joe Roy, a champion for students and public schools. I add him now to the honor roll of the blog. Superintendent Joe Roy is a fearless fighter for better opportunities for the students that attend his small city school district of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. His district is diverse, and about 60% r
Jan Resseger: Eli Broad and the $100 Million He Paid to Re-Brand His Faux-Leadership Center

Jan Resseger reviews the story of Eli Broad and his leadership program , whose graduates have brought top-down management ideas and disruption wherever they go. To keep the program alive, despite its long history of failure, Broad gave Yale University $100 million. The Broad Leadership Institute is accredited (I have repeatedly called in unaccredited, but a reader pointed out to me that it was ac
A Teacher and a Parent: Why Charter Reform Is Needed

Liat Olenick was a charter school teacher. Fatima Geidi was a parent of a charter student. They write in a joint article that proposals by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren should not be controversial. Charter advocates have reacted fiercely against any effort to regulate the privately-run schools. But, say the authors, charters will improve if they are both accountable and transparent, as Sand
John Thompson: Why Is Tulsa in Crisis?

John Thompson is a historian and a retired teacher, who blogs often, here and on other blogs. He has keen insight into what’s happening in Oklahoma. He writes: Since 2015, the Tulsa Public Schools have cut $22 million from its budget, even dipping into its reserve fund to balance the books. Now it must cut another $20 million. Given the huge support for the TPS by local and national edu-philanthr

Audrey Watters: Don’t Believe the Techno-Pundits and Don’t Put a Ring Camera in Your Home

Audrey Watters may be our most articulate critic of tech obsession. I enjoy her regular posts, and her ability to connect birds with events. Open this link to see what I mean. She begins every post with a bird and finds a way to connect it to 

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