Latest News and Comment from Education

Saturday, June 13, 2020

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

School Funding in the COVID-19 Era
The coronavirus has caused incalculable harm to millions of people. Two million people have been infected. More than 100,000 have died. The death toll increases daily. The scientific response to the pandemic—close down the economy—caused additional harm, with most economic activity halted, millions of people out of work, businesses Closed, livelihoods lost. The economic shutdown caused a dramatic


Shopping Smart Means Paying Less—Here's How
If you aren't using this tool when you shop online, you're probably wasting money.
New York Times Endorses Jamaal Bowman for Congress!
Every candidate hopes to win the endorsement of the New York Times. The Times just published its Congressional endorsements in New York City, and the big news is that it endorsed educator Jamaal Bowman, a steadfast champion of equity, social justice, and public schools over the 16-term incumbent. Jamaal will be a breath of fresh air if he is elected, and one of the very few members of Congress wh
Dana Milbank: Crises Multiply, But Republicans in Senate Are Investigating…the 2016 Election!
Forget about the fact that we are in the dst of a global pandemic. Forget about the fact that Trump refuses to wear a protective face mask. Forget about the national and international protests against racism and police brutality. What are Senate Republicans investigating? Wait for this: Lindsay Graham wants to know who in the FBI and CIA started the investigation of Russian interference in the 20
Trump and DeVos Push School Choice, No $ for Undocumented
Politico Morning Education reports : DEVOS’ INTERIM FINAL RULE: The rule carries out DeVos’ policy, first announced in April, that is being challenged by two lawsuits for restricting which students can receive CARES Act (H.R. 748 ) grants. It will take effect immediately after publication in the Federal Register, which the department said would happen on June 15. — DeVos said in a statement that
Trump vs. Congress and the Military re Renaming Bases
Trump tweeted that he absolutely opposed renaming military bases named to honor Confederate heroes. The renaming was proposed by military leaders and the Defense Department. Hours later, the Republican Senate Armed Services Committee voted to rename the bases. The Democratic Appropriations Committee Will attach a requirement to the $740 billion defense budget that the bases must be renamed. Will
Federal Appeals Court Rules: No Right to Education
A federal appeals court overturned a landmark ruling that affirmed the right to an education. Education is necessary for full citizenship, so voters can be fully informed. However the appeals court did not agree. In April, a 3-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a landmark decision in the Detroit literacy case, Gary B. v. Whitmer, holding that there is a “fundame
Doyle and Sahlberg: Reopen Schools with a Golden Age of Play!
William Doyle and Pasi Sahlberg have reimagined the school: Let the children play! They are the authors of a new book with that title . They write in an article for CNN: When the novel coronavirus is no longer as great a threat and schools finally reopen, we should give children the one thing they will need most after enduring months of isolation, stress, physical restraint and woefully inadequat
Join Me and Julian Vasquez Heilig in a Zoom Conversation on June 17
Please join me in a zoom discussion with Julian Vasquez Heilig , dean of the College of Education at the University of Kentucky. We are talking On June 17 at 7:30 pm. Julian Vasquez Heilig is a brilliant researcher and champion of equity. JVH had a stellar academic career at California State University, where he also served as chair of the education committee of the state NAACP. He was recently c
Harold Meyerson: If Biden Wants to Be Like FDR, He Should Dump Summers and Rahm
Now that Joe Biden is assured the Democratic nomination, lots of advisors will clamor to get his ear. As Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect warns, he should be careful about from whom he takes advice. If he cares about rebuilding America’s public schools, he should avoid anyone connected to Race to the Top, which was a hyper-version of George W. Bush’ failed No Child Left Behind. He should
Michael Tomasky on Biden’s Shift To the Left
Veteran political journalist reflects on the leftward turn of Biden’s thinking. In this article, which appeared in The New York Review of Books, he says that Biden is no longer dreaming of restoring the Obama administration, but looking instead to FDR as a model of activism in the midst of crisis. He informs us that Biden and Sanders were communicating during the final days of the Democratic prim
Trump Will Address GOP on “Axhandle Saturday”
At Trump’s insistence, the Republican Party has moved its convention from North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida. The reason: North Carolina imposes health restrictions due to the pandemic. Twenty thousand people in an arena did not seem like a good idea to state health officials, especially since it seemed likely that many would follow Trump’s model and refuse to wear a face mask. The rate of c

JUN 11

In Case You Missed This Great Conversation with Amy Frogge
Last night, I had a Zoom talk with Amy Frogge, who has served for eight years on the Metro Nashville school board. We talked about charters, vouchers, the Dark Money that infiltrated school board races, and the promising things happening in Nashville. She is soon leaving the board to become executive director of Pastors for Tennessee Children. Amy is one of the heroes featured in my book SLAYING
Jan Resseger: Time to Stop Using Armed Police in Schools
Jan Resseger writes here about the decision by Minneapolis and other school districts to remove police from the schools. She begins: In the aftermath of the tragic police killing of George Floyd and the widespread protests of police brutality that have followed, the Schott Foundation for Public Education comments: “We want to lift up one ray of hope in this dark moment: The Minneapolis Board of E
Mercedes Schneider Interviews an ex-TFA of SPED in Chicago
In this post, Mercedes Schneider interviews Annie Tan , who joined Teach for America in 2011, and, with inadequate training, was assigned be a teacher of special education in Chicago. Her experience was, she says, a disaster. One of Tan’s responses: Tan: I will never forget the first day when we had our celebration, and the CEO of Chicago Public Schools came and made a speech to us. It felt very
Alabama: A Charter is Closed Before It Opens
The Alabama Charter School Commission decided to revoke the charter of Woodland Prep, which had not yet opened. Blogger Larry Lee has the inside scoop. He wrote: In the end, it was as much a story about a very rural community that simply refused to quit fighting and standing up for what it believed in strongly. It was about a community that takes pride in its public schools and refused to be bull
Tom Ultican: The NewSchools Venture Fund, Masters of Disruption
This is one of the most important posts you will read today, this week, this month. If you want to understand the hoax of so-called “education reform,” read this post. Share it with your friends. Tweet it. Put it in Facebook. It rips the veil away from the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Thomas Ultican has found the beating heart of the Disruption movement, the organization where plans are hatched and

JUN 10

Dana Milbank: Trump Speaks Out on Race–Word for Word
Dana Milbank knows that Trump is preparing to give a speech on the subject of race, but he has anticipated what he will say by summarizing what he has already said on the subject. His article has many links, which you can find if you google the article. The article contains many links to original sources, which you can find if you open the article. I hope it is not behind a paywall. President Tru
Happy Birthday, Saul Bellow!
Garrison Keillor writes today in “A Writer’s Almanac” about Saul Bellow: It’s the birthday of Saul Bellow, (books by this author) born Solomon Bellows in Lachine, Quebec, in 1915, two years after his parents emigrated from Russia. He was born in Canada, but when he was young he was smuggled across the border into Chicago, and so he grew up as an illegal immigrant. His dad was an onion importer an
Gates-Funded Fordham Institute Says New Florida Standards Are No Good
The rightwing Thomas B. Fordham Institute has rejected Florida’s effort to replace the Common Core standards, which were wholly funded by the Gates Foundation. When the Common Core was released a decade ago, Gates paid millions to Fordham to evaluate them. Politico Morning Education reports: GATES FOUNDATION-BACKED INSTITUTE CALLS FLORIDA’S NEW K-12 STANDARDS ‘WEAK’: The Fordham Institute said th
Watters: Toward a Future Of Humanity, Caring, and Grace
Audrey Watters gave a talk at the Academic Technology Institute. I am always interested in her writing because she is truly an original thinker. She sees the future of surveillance, control, and loss of human agency. She is our Cassandra. Some things never change. Some things seem to change despite our efforts. Audrey gives up hope in a desperate time that we can still stop the machines that seek
Audrey Watters: From Grief to Resistance
Audrey Watters summarizes the present crisis that grips the nation. Uncontainable. Inconsolable. Over the past few months, we have all experienced the grotesque failures of the state, and we’ve all lost something to the pandemic — directly or indirectly from the disease. But racism and white supremacy are the scourge that have destroyed so much more, for so much longer. “America Is Giving Up on t
Arkansas: Preparing to Sell the Children to Tech Entrepreneurs
Cathy Frye is a veteran journalist who worked for the Arkansas Public School Resource Center, then quit when she decided she could no longer stomach being part of the Walton Goubdation machine. She writes here about the plan to outsource schooling this fall to a tech corporation that is under investigation. She writes: I got curious and took a little gander today at the Arkansas Public School Cen
Pennsylvania: Charter Leader Steps Down After Writing that Floyd Protestors “Disgust” Her
The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools [sic] announced that its executive director had stepped down. This followed the controversy that erupted after she wrote on her Facebook page that the protests over George Floyd’s brutal killing disgusted her, then removed the post. Too late.

JUN 09

Trump’s Goofiest Lie
Trump is desperate to justify his threat to send the military to “dominate” America’s cities. He is also shaken by his declining poll numbers. So he tweeted that the 75-year-old Buffalo man who was roughly shoved to the ground by police officers and got a bad head wound was actually part of an ANTIFA (“anti-fascist”) group of provocateurs, and he staged his own mishap, perhaps as a publicity stun
DeVos Insists on Denying Federal CARES Aid to Undocumented Students
In another act of gratuitous cruelty, Betsy DeVos insists that undocumented students should get no emergency aid, although Congress did not pass such a restriction. Politico reports: DEVOS SEEKS TO ENFORCE RESTRICTIONS ON PANDEMIC RELIEF GRANTS THROUGH REGULATION: The Trump administration will roll out a new regulation this week that restricts which college students may receive emergency grants t
Trump Unilaterally Pulls Significant Number of U.S. Troops Out of Germany, to Spite Angela Merkel
The editorial board of the Washington Post denounced Trump for abruptly withdrawing one-third of American troops from Germany, in retaliation for Chancellor Merkel’s rejection of his invitation to have a snap summit. IN A transparent attempt to boost his sagging political fortunes, President Trump proposed to stage a summit meeting of the Group of Seven nations in Washington this month, with Vlad
Jamaal Bowman for Congress in the Bronx!
I have known Jamaal Bowman as an enlightened educator and a fighter for social justice. Right now, he is running for Congress against a senior Democrat, Elliot Engel. Engel is a 16-term member of Congress and chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Most people think of Jamaal as a long shot. But the times are changing. Jamaal has raised nearly $1 million. He was endorsed by AOC. He is young and e
Boston: “Here’s Monica, with a Sea of People Behind Her”
This is a story of a community organizer, Monica Cannon-Grant, who has used her character, determination, and passion to create a force on behalf of the black community of Boston. She is relentless. She demonstrates the power of one person to make change. She makes real the quote attributed to Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: i
Colin Powell, GW Bush, Other GOP Leaderrs Will Not Vote for Trump
Trump is losing the support of prominent Republican figures and military leaders. They can’t support the re-election of a man who is systematically destroying the country. WASHINGTON — It was one thing in 2016 for top Republicans to take a stand against Donald J. Trump for president: He wasn’t likely to win anyway, the thinking went, and there was no ongoing conservative governing agenda that wou
DeVos Illegally Seizes $2.2 Billion from Indebted College Students
Just when you think Betsy DeVos, like Trump, has hit rock bottom, she does another utterly vile deed to harm vulnerable students. Get this: in the middle of a global pandemic and an economic meltdown, with millions of people out of work, the DeVos Department of Education ilegally seized $2.2 billion from students who were in debt. Adam S. Minsky wrote in Forbes: In response to a class action laws
Insult of the Day in the Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal, which has a teacher-bashing, union-hating pro-privatization editorial board, published an editorial warning about the dangers of policing the police. The editorial included these sentences. “There’s a case for police reforms, in particular more public transparency about offenses by individual officers. Union rules negotiated under collective bargaining make it hard to pun

JUN 08

Please Join Amy Frogge and Me on Wednesday!
Amy Frogge has been in the trenches in Nashville, leading the fight for better schools for all. She is a mother of children in Nashville public schools, a lawyer, and a member of the Metro Nashvillle school board. She has been a leader in the resistance to charters and vouchers. We will have an open Zoom chat on Wednesday. Join us! Let’s talk!
The Lowdown on Trump’s Photo Op
Received from a friend: D: Here is a fabulous summary of the Trump-bible photo-op from ‪Robert Hendrickson, rector, Saint Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church, Tucson, describing a photo of Trump holding a Bible while standing in front of St. John’s Church in DC.: “This is an awful man, waving a book he hasn’t read, in front of a church he doesn’t attend, invoking laws he doesn’t understand, ag
Bob Shepherd on Don the Con
Bob Shepherd is a skilled writer, editor, teacher, assessment developer, curriculum developer, and polymath. He has contributed frequently to this blog, and his comments are always brilliant. Here is his latest musing on the man who sits in the White House and plays the role of president: The Loneliness of the Teflon Trumpkin, Film Excerpt INT. OVAL OFFICE – DAY Trump sitting behind the Resolute
A Classic: John Oliver on Charter Schools
In 2016, John Oliver presented a shocking episode about charter schools. It has been viewed by 12 million people. Oliver was the first and possibly the only major media figure to discover that charter schools had some serious problems. Some close in the middle of the year. Watch his clip with John Kasich comparing education to getting more pepperoni on a slice of pizza. Watch his clip of a charte
Randy Rainbow Explains Trump’s Latest Tactic
Randy Rainbow explains Trump’s latest Tweet-storm. It’s all about distraction. He doesn’t want you to think about the pandemic. He doesn’t want you to dwell on 100,000 deaths. The biggest scandal of our era, he says, is Obamagate. What does that mean? No one knows.
Video: Watch Bill Gates Defend His Decision to Fund the Common Core
This is a fascinating interview of Bill Gates in 2014 by Washington Post reporter Lyndsey Layton. Layton wrote a comprehensive account of how the Common Core was funded single-handed by Gates. Gates engineered a “swift revolution,” a near coup, by subsidizing and promulgating the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), with cheerleading by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. CCSS may have been the bi
Did Erik Prince’s Private Militia Infiltrate Peaceful Protests?
A reader posted this article, which was published a year ago, and wondered whether Erik Prince and his right wing militia may have infiltrated peaceful demonstrations in order to create violence and discredit them. I have no idea. If the FBI had not been captured and controlled by Trump, it would have kept a close watch but its safe to assume it is not surveilling Betsy DeVos’ brother and his cla
Bob Shepherd: Racism and Mass Incarceration
Bob Shephered commented: A few notes about “the land of the free,” from the NAACP: Between 1980 and 2015, the number of people incarcerated in America increased from roughly 500,000 to over 2.2 million. Today, the United States makes up about 5% of the world’s population and has 21% of the world’s prisoners. 1 in every 37 adults in the United States, or 2.7% of the adult population, is under some
What Bill Barr Did in 1968
Politico writes here about Bill Barr’s role in the Columbia University student protests of 1968. Radical students occupied several buildings to protest Columbia’s ties to the defense industry and the construction of a new gym in Morningside Park that would be closed to the local black community. The confrontations on campus were tense, and the administration called in the police (which many provo
Arthur Camins: Don’t Be Silent!
Arthur Camins offers sage advice: Don’t be silent in the face of injustice. Our nation is controlled by bullies who are looting the wealth produced by others and using State power to instill fear and maintain control. Protest, march, write, call, email, strike. Do whatever you can. Just do not be silent. I have a visceral reaction to bullies. A few guys in my junior high school found self-worth i

JUN 07

Randy Rainbow on “The Bunker Boy”
When the protests and demonstrations became loud in D.C., Donald Trump took shelter in the secure bunker under the White House. Although this was widely reported, Trump denied it, claiming that was merely “inspecting” the bunker. Randy Rainbow didn’t believe him.
John Thompson: Save My Former Student
John Thompson writes about his former student, who is scheduled to die: As the nation wrestles with the latest police killings and Black Lives Matter protests, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board must decide whether to allow the execution of my former student, Julius Jones. Julius’ request for commutation has gained the support of the Congressional Black Caucus; criminal justice expert, Bryan St
Watch Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich
I just finished the four-part series streaming on Netflix titled “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich.” It is an engrossing program, and it rightly focuses on the voices of the survivors (the women who speak out clearly prefer to be known as “survivors,” not “victims.”) The indictment of Epstein is powerful. He lured scores of young, underage girls to his mansion in Palm Beach for his sexual pleasure. S
G.F. Brandenburg: How to Be an Anti-Fascist Without Breaking a Sweat
G.F. Brandenburg reposts an essay by Talia Levin abou t how she infiltrated various far-right extremist groups by join8ngbthem under an alias and joined their website. She describes how she created Facebook pages with false identities to insinuate herself into far-right networks. She writes: I use a fake Facebook account, which I’ve used dozens of times for this and similar purposes. The name is
Larry Ferlazzo: Students Will Be Okay This Year, But Not If They Stay Online Next Year
Larry Ferlazzo, teacher blogger, concludes that students will be okay this year—they had already finished most of the academic year when schools closed. But another year of distance learning would be toxic. The harm will be most significant for the most vulnerable students. Ferlazzo wisely understands that remote learning is a poor substitute for real face-to-face interactions in a classroom with
The Lincoln Project Lacerates Trump—Again
The Lincoln Project is a group of prominent Republicans who have concluded that Donald Trump is an incompetent and dangerous President. It has produced a series of commercials attacking Trump and places them on FOX News and other conservative media platforms. Here is their latest anti-Trump ad. One of the leading figures supporting the Lincoln Project is George T. Conway III, husband of Trump’s s

JUN 06

No, the Unemployment Rate Did Not Tumble
A number of informed observers noted that the U.S. unemployment rate did not fall precipitously. During the campaign of 2016, Trump insisted that the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was a hoax. The data may not be a hoax, but they are wrong. Robert J. Shapiro explained in the Washington Monthly that the data were wrong. The Washington Post reported a “misclassification error ” that reduc
What Do We Know About Online Education and Virtual Charter Schools?
A group of scholars recently published a peer-reviewed study of online schooling and virtual charter schools. The authors are Brian Fitzpatrick, Mark Berends, Joseph J.Ferrare, and R. Joseph Waddington. The University of Kentucky College of Education, where Waddington is a professor, summed up the findings: Online Schooling’s Impact on Student Achievement Online schooling quickly became the new n
Pennsylvania Charter Leader: Protesters “Disgust Me”
The leader of an influential charter advocacy group in Pennsylvania’s wrote on Facebook that the people protesting the murder of George Floyd “disgust me.” Ana Meyers, head of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, posted — and then deleted — a statement on her personal Facebook page in which she called the protests spurred by the killing of George Floyd “not okay.” Maybe she didn’
As Europe Reopens, COVID Remains Under Control
Many medical experts expressed concern about what might happen when restrictions were relaxed and the ecomony reopened. The experience in Europe offers hope that it is possible to restart the economy without triggering a new wave of the COVID. THE Washington Post reports : ROME — When Italy ended its lockdown one month ago, Angelo Pan, an infectious-disease doctor, was worried. His hospital, at t
89 Former Defense Officials: The Military Must Never Be Used to Violate Constitutional Rights
The Washington Post published a statement endorsed by 89 individuals who served in the U.S. Department of Defense. President Trump continues to use inflammatory language as many Americans protest the unlawful death of George Floyd and the unjust treatment of black Americans by our justice system. As the protests have grown, so has the intensity of the president’s rhetoric. He has gone so far as t

JUN 05

Trump Claims that the New Jobs Data Made George Floyd Happy. Is He Insane?
Dana Milbank writes a regular opinion column for the Washington Post. Today, he lacerated Trump for what must be a new low , a speech so disgusting that it is incomprehensible that any sane person would say what Trump proudly said. While the nation is reeling and convulsed by protests because of the murder of George Floyd while in police custody, Trump claimed that the new jobs number made the re
Randi on Jobs and Racism
The AFT issued this statement: Statement by AFT President Randi Weingarten on Jobs Report WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after the U.S. jobs report showed the loss of more than half a million additional public sector layoffs amid a rebound in private sector jobs: “The jobs report out today confirms what we already know: The CAR
A Conversation with Jitu Brown, Leader of Journey for Justice Alliance, About Racism and Action
The Network for Public Education has sponsored a series of weekly ZOOM conversations in which I interview someone who has important things to say. On Wednesday, I interviewed Jitu Brown, a prominent community organizer in Chicago and leader of the Journey for Justice Alliance, which has organizations in thirty cities. When we set up the discussion, we thought we would talk mostly about privatizat
Jan Resseger: The Best Post-Pandemic Strategy May Be Community Schools
Jan Resseger explains here why community schools may be the best post-pandemic strategy for reopening schools. Jeff Bryant recently profiled Mary Parr-Sanchez , the current president of the National Education Association’s New Mexico affiliate, speaking about what education will be like after the pandemic: “‘I think we’re all going to be different after this… When I first learned of the community
An Explosion of Police Brutality, Encouraged by Trump
Anyone who follows Twitter or other social media platforms has seen the sickening videos of police using excessive force to attack peaceful protestors. We are witnessing in public the brutal tactics that people of color have long experienced. And we are seeing the effects of Trump’s advice to officials to “dominate” the streets even when people are exercising Constitutionally protected rights. Yo
Jeff Bryant: The Future of the School Is Not Online. It’s in New Mexico.
Jeff Bryant writes here about promising developments in New Mexico . where educators are reimagine the future of schools. Not many people would think of New Mexico as an educational paradigm. Its test scores and very low, and 
Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all