Saturday, February 1, 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

A TEACHER Writes a Great Review of SLAYING GOLIATH in the Washington Post!

Melanie McCabe, an English teacher at Yorktown High School in Arlington, Virginia, and an author, wrote this terrific and accurate review of SLAYING GOLIATH. Unlike the reviewer for the New York Times, who is not a teacher and gives no hint of ever having set foot in a classroom since she finished school and college, Melanie McCabe knows full well about the billionaire-funded attacks on public sc


Stephen Dyer: Ohio’s Voucher Crisis in 4 Charte

Ohio’s legislature is determined to wreak havoc on the public schools that most students attend. Vote these vandals out of office! Steve Dyer: Ohio’s school voucher crisis in four charts School choicers won’t be satisfied until each school age kid automatically receives a voucher to be cashed in at any place of “learning” even if it is at Uncle Joe’s Bar and Backroom School. William L. Phillis |
Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn: Who Killed the Knapp Family?

This powerful article appeared recently on the front cover of the New York Times Week in Review section. Nicholas Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn returned to his hometown of Yamhill, Oregon. They discovered that an extraordinary percentage of the hardworking, ordinary working class people Nick grew up with had died an early death. They asked “Who Killed the Knapp Family?” I regret that they in
Bill Phillis: Ohio Charter Owners Lose Appeal for Bonuses

Bill Phillis of the Ohio Coalition for Adequacy and Equity writes: Accel owner Ron Packard is in a tizzy because some of his charters did not qualify for Ohio’s charter bonus fund Patrick O’Donnell’s January 11 Cleveland Plain Dealer article— State avoids “loophole” for charter school money, rejects applications for millions —sheds light on yet another charter loopholes embedded in Ohio law. This
Carol Burris: What Michael Bloomberg Really Wants to Do in Schools

Carol Burris wrote about Michael Bloomberg’s education ideas several years ago when she was a high school principal on Long Island in New York. You have to love New York City’s mayor. Michael Bloomberg speaks his mind, never holding back. While most self-proclaimed school reformers do the Dance of the Seven Veils, slowly revealing their agenda, the mayor jumps up on stage and gives you the ‘full
Education Week: Philanthropists Are Losing Interest in K-12 “Reform” Due to Lack of Results

Christina Samuels of Education Week reports that philanthropists continue to pour a large percentage of their donations into education, but are losing interest in K-12 due to the poor record of their efforts to “reform” the schools. ironically, this is good news because the philanthropic money was used to impose “reforms” that disrupted schools, ranked students based on their test scores, and dem

JAN 30

Dana Milbank: “We Are Lost”

Dana Milbank has been covering the impeachment “process” for the Washington Post. He describes the most brazen assault on our democracy in modern times. The damage this man has done to our society will embolden future presidents to believe that they can do “whatever they want.” The Senate is prepared to abandon its role as an independent branch of government. The Republicans are acting like sycop
Teresa Hanafin on Trump’s “Anything Goes” Defense

Teresa Hanafin writes the “Fast Forward” feature for the Boston Globe: It’s been a little difficult to keep up with the Republicans’ changing defenses of Trump: He did not pressure Ukraine to find dirt on the Bidens. Okay, so he did, but there was no quid pro quo. Okay, so there was a quid pro quo, but that’s not why he held up the military aid. Okay, so that was the reason he held up the aid, bu
Donald Trump is Above the Law

Susan B. Glasser writes in the New Yorker about Alan Dershowitz’s bizarre defense of Trump in the impeachment “process” (not a trial, which has witnesses and evidence). Dershowitz is criminal defense attorney, not a Constitutional lawyer. He also had the dishonor of being in pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s black book of clients, which he denies. His defense is that Trump is above the law. He is like
Robin Lithgow: Shakespeare Had an Education Filled with Joy and Hilarity

Robin Lithgow continues her exploration of the history of the arts in education with this post about Shakespeare’s education. Robin was director of arts education for the Los Angeles Unified School District. This post includes a video of Robin describing her passion for her subject. And it begins: I know, I know—the “whining school-boy…creeping like snail unwillingly to school” and all that—but I
Bill Raden of Capital and Main Interviews Me on the Failure of “Reform”

Bill Raden of Capital & Main, a California-based political journal, interviewed me about the baleful effects of disruption (aka “reform”) on children, communities, schools and education. He asks about the source of the money behind disruption and about what California needs to do to rein in its reckless and feckless charter industry. Naturally I thought about the billionaires and hedge fund manag
John Thompson: An Open Letter About a New School in Oklahoma City

John Thompson, retired teacher and historian in Oklahoma, writes an open letter: Open Letter to Enes Kanter Mr. Kanter, Thank you for your continued support of children, especially low-income and immigrant students in Oklahoma City. And thank you for your opposition to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. I live halfway between Dove Academy, a part of the charter G├╝len chain, and the Raindrop
Bob Shepherd Reviews Annie Murphy Paul’s Review of SLAYING GOLIATH in the “New York Times“

Bob Shepherd has worked as an editor, author, assessment developer, curriculum writer, and most recently a classroom teacher in Florida. In this post, he reviews the review of my book SLAYING GOLIATH, which was written by journalist Annie Murphy Paul and published in the New York Times Book Review. To summarize, he thought the review was uninformed and mean-spirited. He writes: On January 21, 202

JAN 29

Newark: Mayor Baraka Defends Superintendent After Attacks by Anonymous Posters

Superintendent Roger Leon of Newark proposed closing four Newark charter schools. He needs state approval. Suddenly anonymous posters appeared around the city criticizing his decision. Mayor Ras Baraka defended Leon. Mayor Ras Baraka is defending the Newark schools chief after anonymous flyers and posters appeared across the city attacking the superintendent’s call to close four charter schools.
Jan Resseger: Trump’s Economic Policies Are Hurting Our Children

We have all heard Trump’s boasts about our booming economy, but Jan Resseger points out those who are left bond as tax cuts fatten the 1%. She begins: Donald Trump has been at Davos this week exalting the United States’ soaring economy. While Trump brags about more people working, however, he neglects to mention the ongoing collapse of manufacturing and its replacement—gig and temporary employmen
Kentucky: Rightwing Extremists Want to Defund Our Public Schools

Linda Blackford, columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader, describes the long-standing extremist goal of privatizing public school s and shows how Republican legislators are determined to introduce vouchers, which would harm the community public schools that enroll 90% of the state’s students. Fortunately, voters in Kentucky threw out DeVos disciple Matt Bevin and replaced him with Andy Beshear,
California: School Districts Sue JUUL for Vaping Crisis

This is good news from California. A large group of school districts are suing JUUL Labs from the damage that their vaping products are causing to students. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Anaheim Union High School District Files Suit Against JUUL Labs, Inc. for Creating the E-Cigarette Epidemic that Disrupts District-Wide Education Anaheim, California – January 28, 2020 – Today, the Anaheim Union School D
Nancy Flanagan: Who Is Goliath in the Education Debates?

Nancy Flanagan, retired teacher of music for 31 years in the public schools of Michigan, is also a respected blogger. Her blog, Teacher in a Strange Land, has long been a source of wisdom and reality. She writes with the authority acquired from her years in the classroom. In this post , she writes a wonderful review of my new book SLAYING GOLIATH. Better yet, she sets it in the perspective of a d

JAN 28

Ohio GOP Grovels at Feet of Fordham and ALEC

Bill Phillis writes about the GOP’s pusillanimous capitulation to its masters and is prepared to sacrifice its public schools to satisfy DC-based Thomas B. Fordham Institute and ALEC, funded by CharlesKoch, the Waltons, and DeVos. He writes: School choice zealots seem to be driving the state education policy train In spite of the harm being heaped on school districts due to corruption in the char
Trump Picks DeVos as Surrogate for His Campaign

Politico Morning Education writes that Trump has chosen billionaire Betsy DeVos as a campaign surrogate, despite the fact that she is the most disliked member of his Cabinet. No doubt he hopes for DeVos campaign money but also wants to stick his thumb in the eye of teachers and supporters of public schools. DeVos campions charter schools and vouchers. She despises public schools. DEVOS HITS THE C
NYC: Good News about the “Community Schools” Project

I heard from Sarah Jonas, executive director of New York City’s Office of Community Schools, about the good work of community schools. Note that the results refer to engagement in school, not test scores. That’s good news! I asked Jonas for a brief description of the community schools model. She wrote: “ The principal and his/her leadership team (i.e. SLT) formally partner with a community-based
Arthur Camins: Don’t Believe the Destroyers of Hope

Arthur Camins warns us against the prophets of doom and gloom, the pundits who say that we can’t hope for anything better, who try to persuade us not to fight for a better future. He begins: Beware the apostles of dystopia. They come to destroy your hope. There are two sects. One preaches survival-of-the-fittest disdain for any social responsibility. The other preaches defeatism and accommodation
Carol Burris: The Five Biggest Charter Scandals of 2019

Carol Burris reviews here the five biggest charter scandals of 2019. There were many to choose from. Numero uno, of course, was the giant charter scam in California: 1. A3 Education: Eleven are indicted over their involvement in a charter scheme that defrauded California taxpayers of more than $50 million. In May, the California Superior Court for the County of San Diego indicted 11 people on cha
The Ex-Labor Leader Who Now Fights Teachers’ Unions

Andy Stern was once a powerful labor leader as head of the SEIU (Service Employees International Union). Since stepping down, however, he has turned against the movement he once led and is an outspoken foe of teachers’ unions. He even joined the board of the Broad Foundation, which is anti-union and anti-public school. I don’t know Stern, but I have seen one article that describes his change of v
Shawgi Tell: Charter Schools Have No Valid Claim to Public Property

Shawgi Tell is a professor of education at Nazareth University in New York. He has taken note of states where charter schools are given ownership of public property, where they buy property and supplies with public money but keep title to their purchases if their charter should close. He has seen states that require districts to hand over empty buildings to charter owners for $1, which then becom
Book Tour Diary: Early Days

My new book SLAYING GOLIATH was launched in Park Slope, Brooklyn, on January 21. It was a delightful event, with Carol Burris and I discussing the book, talking about the national picture, and explaining the role of the Network for Public Education in pushing back against the Billionaire Combine. It was a lively and engaged crowd, including Lisa Rudley of New York State Allies for Public Educatio

JAN 27

Pennsylvania: Superintendents Form Coalition to Fight Privatization

The Resistance grows! Press Advisory: Thirty Regional School Superintendents To Come Together to Defend Public Education, Joining Public District Leaders from Across the State to Urge Reform of Pennsylvania’s Charter School Law When: Monday, January 27, 2020 10 a.m. Where: Whitehall Elementary, 399 North Whitehall Road Norristown, PA 19403 Leaders Form Coalition and Support a Moratorium on New Ch
Craig Harris: Online Charters Have a Record of Poor Outcomes, Fraud, and Profit

Craig Harris, investigative reporter for the Arizona Republic, wrote about the abysmal record of online charter schools. Despite their poor outcomes, they continue to be very profitable. The biggest of the online charter companies is K12 Inc., whose schools regularly get bad results but whose revenue this year topped $1 billion for the first time. State regulators mouth complaints about the low q
Little Rock: Wear Black on 1/28 for the Death of Democratic Control

Grassroots Arkansas is calling on friends of public education to wear black on January 28 to mark the death of democratic control—of, by, and for all the children of Little Rock, which has been under state control for five years. *** Call to Action*** • Wear black wherever you are and whatever you’re doing on January 28 – and tell people you meet why you’re wearing black today: “It’s the 5th anni
Bill Phillis: Remember ECOT and $1 Billion of Lost School Revenue?

Bill Phillis is a public education activist in Ohio. He retired as Deputy State Superintendent of Education in Ohio several years ago. He writes: December 1, Columbus Dispatch Capitol Insider: Remember ECOT? As the article indicates, most people have forgotten the ECOT debacle. The ECOT Man, William Lager, siphoned one billion dollars from school district budgets for a business plan that was desi
Mercedes Schneider: SLAYING GOLIATH is “A Book About Us”

Mercedes Schneider is a high school teacher in Louisiana. She has been blogging since 2013 about the state and federal government’s determined efforts to force bad ideas on teachers like her. Too often, she writes, she has had to share bad news. But when she read SLAYING GOLIATH, she understood that she was part of a national movement to resist bad policies. She writes: It has been an uphill batt

JAN 26

Craig Harris: How Foreign Investors Get Green Cards by Investing Millions in the Charter School Industry

Thanks to a provision in the tax law, called the EB-5 program, wealthy foreign investors can buy green cards by investing in charter schools. Craig Harris, award-winning investigative reporter for the Arizona Republic, took a close look at this provision in the law that allows foreign citizens to buy visas in exchange for funding charter schools. He visited schools in Arizona and other states. Th
Justin Parmenter: The Rightwing Assault on Public Schools in North Carolina

Justin Parmenter is a National Board Certified Teacher in North Carolina. In this essay, he documents the decade-long effort by Republicans to destroy public education in North Carolina and demoralize teachers. He writes: Out of all the states that have struggled to provide a quality public education over the past decade, perhaps none have seen as precipitous a decline as North Carolina. Once see
Tom Ultican Explains Corporate Education Reform and the Assault on Dallas Public Schools

This is a very engaging video interview of Tom Ultican, an expert on corporate education reform, explaining the federal takeover of public schools via No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. Ultican goes into detail about the corporate assault on public schools in the Dallas Independent School District. He names names, starting with the misguided superintendency of Mike Miles, a Broadie who man
Florida: State Funds Religious Schools Where Bigotry is Just Swell

Leslie Postal and Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel identified nearly 160 religious schools that receive state funding but exclude gay students. Some refuse to enroll students whose parents are gay or hire gay staff. Discrimination is A-OK at these schools. This would not be a problem for Betsy DeVos, whose family has contributed to anti-gay organizations for years. It would not be a problem f

JAN 25

Maryland: Court Allows Lawsuit to Proceed for Baltimore City Funding

The Education Law Center announces good news for equity for children in Baltimore City: About Us News ‌ ‌ January 24, 2020 MARYLAND COURT ALLOWS BALTIMORE CITY PARENTS TO RE-OPEN BRADFORD SCHOOL FUNDING CASE By Wendy Lecker On January 21, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Audrey Carrion paved the way for Maryland’s long-running school funding litigation, Bradford v. Maryland, to proceed. Judge C
Valerie Strauss Posts a Portrait of Nashville Leader Amy Frogge, from SLAYING GOLIATH

Valerie Strauss posted an excerpt from SLAYING GOLIATH about one of its heroes . SLAYING GOLIATH contains many true stories of individuals and groups who took a stand to defend their schools against the assault of well-funded privatizers. Amy Frogge is a lawyer and a public school parent. She decided to run for the Metro Nashville school board. She had no agenda other than to do her part as a cit
AFT Sues Betsy DeVos for Failing to Protect Defrauded Students

Forbes’ education writer Wesley Whistle writes about the lawsuit filed by AFT against Betsy DeVos for her failure to protect the students who were defrauded by colleges and universities, mostly for-profit. DeVos rolled back an Obama-era regulation intended to prevent colleges from loading students with high debts and worthless degrees. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has one more lawsuit to de
John Thompson: How Robert Pondiscio’s Book About the Success Academy Charter Chain Reflects Our Edu-Political Culture

John Thompson used to be a friend of Robert Pondiscio, who is now a vice-president at the rightwing Thomas B. Fordham Institute. A decade ago, Robert was a good friend of mine; he was one of the early readers of Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education . At the time (2010), Robert and I agreed on the importance of public schools and the

Jan Resseger: Ohio Voucher Plunges Public Districts into Fiscal Crisis

Jan Resegger summarizes the disastrous Ohio plan to expand vouchers and how grossly unfair it is to public schools, which enroll nearly 90% of the children in the state. As she points out, most of the children drawing money away from 

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