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Saturday, June 27, 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

Harley Litzelman: Cops Don’t Keep Kids Safe at School
Harvey Litzelman, a teacher in California, explains why police don’t make schools safe. When he first entered teaching, before he ever got any lessons about teaching, he was shown a video about how to handle a school shooter. The video was called “Run Hide Defend.” It made clear that the teacher was the first line of defense for students. He writes: Having taught in Oakland for several years afte
Pence Puts a Happy Face on Rise in COVID Cases
While other nations such as Spain and Italy have seen an overall decline in new cases of COVID, the US is reporting a new high in the number of those infected. Other nations have followed the advice of public health officials. The US has not. Mike Pence looked for good news in the rising number of COVID cases in the south and west. The spike is only happening in certain counties, he said, and it’
Alexandra Petri: Mike Pence Reassures the People of Troy
Alexandra Petri is the brilliant satirist for The Washington Post. She wrote this column, titled: “ The Greeks Are Gone from Troy, for Sure,” by Mike Pence. “In recent days, the media has taken to sounding the alarm bells over a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus infections. Such panic is overblown. Thanks to the leadership of President Trump and the courage and compassion of the American people, our p
Eugene Robinson on Confederate Statues and Where to Draw the Line
Recently there have been public debates about which statues should be removed, if any, and which should remain. The question naturally arises: where to draw the line? Eugene Robinson, columnist for the Washington Post, addresses that question here. He writes: The solution to the problem of Confederate memorials is simple: Tear them down, all of them. If a few must be left standing for practical r
Peter Greene: Trump Supports DeVos’ Efforts to Punish Students Who Were Scammed
Peter Greene explains here how Trump came to Betsy DeVos’ rescue when Congress tried to stop her from punishing students who had been scammed by predatory colleges. DeVos wanted to withdraw an Obama-era program that helped students who incurred debts to fraudulent colleges. A court intervened to stop her. DeVos considers the students buried by debt to be free-loaders. Congress rebuked DeVos in a
Memphis: Two KIPP Charters Close Suddenly, Stranding Students
David Pettiette is a CPA who volunteered at a KIPP elementary school in Memphis. He was shocked when two KIPP schools suddenly closed their doors and left their families scrambling for a new school. He wrote: In April, it was announced that KIPP Memphis Preparatory Elementary and KIPP Memphis Preparatory Middle on Corry Road would be permanently closing without notice. Between the two schools, ov
Trump Administration Seeks to Toss Out Obamacare
In the midst of the pandemic, with Americans subject to a deadly disease, the Trump regime filed yet another court effort to invalidate Obamacare. This would strip millions of people of health insurance. How cruel. Do Trump voters know?

JUN 25

Trump: Testing for COVID is Cause of Surge in Cases
Trump is the biggest fool ever to be elected president. He says stupid things proudly. The number of coronavirus cases detected is surging, mostly in the south and west, and Trump says it’s because there’s is more testing. Other nations are testing and seeing a decline in cases. Trump said in Wisconsin today: “If we didn’t test, we wouldn’t have cases,” he said later at a shipyard in Marinette, W
Michigan: Join This Virtual Town Hall on Racial Equity
Media Advisory June 25, 2020 Contact: Pamela L. Pugh 989-992-6353 Prominent Civil Rights Attorneys, Political Pundit, Public Education Advocates and Activists to Hold Education Justice Virtual Town Hall Amid National Uprising in Support of Racial Equity WHAT: A virtual town hall about the state of public education and a call to end systemic racism and inequities in
National Education Policy Center: Thumbs Down for Summit Learning
The National Education Policy Center reviewed Summit Learning Program, which has been heavily subsidized by the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative and the Gates Foundation, is spreading, but careful review shows no evidence for its success. The Summit Learning Program: Big Promises, Lots of Money, Little Evidence of Success Key Takeaway: Despite a lack of evidence that it is effective, the Summit Learnin
David Berliner: The Value of a College Education in the Humanities
David Berliner is one of the nation’s most eminent researchers of education. I am delighted that he sends original posts to me. I have informed him that “mi casa es su casa,” and he is always welcome here. Why Universities Need Support, Need to Stay Open, and Need to Have Their Students on Campus David C. Berliner Regents Professor Emeritus, Mary Lou Fulton College of Education, Arizona State Uni
Marilee Coles-Ritchie: The Anti-Racist Policies and Practices We Need Now
Marilee Coles-Ritchie is a teacher educator in Utah. She wrote this advice for her fellow educators and other concerned citizens in Utah but it is good advice for everyone. Here are her recommendations: 1. Decrease standardized tests. They harm students who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. 2. Increase the numbers of teachers from these groups across the schools. 3. Eliminate all police
My Advice to Joe Biden: Run a “Front-Porch Campaign”
I have been watching the polls, and Joe Biden is ahead in all of them. He is ahead in all of the battleground states, except North Carolina. Biden leads in Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Trump went berserk when CNN reported that Biden had a 14-point lead on June 5, and he assailed CNN reporters as fakes and frauds, etc. But then FOX News reported that Biden has a 12-point lead, a

JUN 24

New York: Jamaal Bowman Scores Upset Victory
While many primary races are too close to call, due to large numbers of uncounted absentee ballots, Jamaal Bowman scored a decisive upset in his race to replace veteran Cingresman Elliot Engel, chair of the House Foreigh affairs Committee. Jamaal is/was a middle school principal who was active in the opt out movement. He received the endorsement of AOC, Sanders, Warren, and many others, including
Tulsa School Board Extends Gist Contract One Week Before School Board Election
The Tulsa school board went into executive session and talked until 1 am, then voted to extend Deborah Gist’s contract for two years. Two board members voted no. The vote occurred one week before an election runoff for two board seats. Gist is a member of Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change, which supports charters, vouchers, and high-stakes testing. As State Superintendent in Rhode Island a decade ago,
Providence: State Releases Plan to Make Schools High-Performing in Five Years
After Johns Hopkins University wrote a scathing critique of the Providence public schools, Governor Gina Raimondo and her new Commissioner of Education took control of the city’s schools. They just announced their turnaround plan and predicted that the low-performing schools of Providence would be on par with the top 25% of schools in the state in five years. Among the major points of the plan: I
New York City: Mayor De Blasio Inexplicably Invites Pitbull to Speak to 2020 Graduates
Mayor De Blasio—or someone in his Department of Education—invited the foul-mouthed, misogynistic rapper Pitbull to join luminaries who will speak to the graduating class of 2020. Here is the city’s announcement: Dear Students and Families, To celebrate the end of a school year like none before, please join us for a graduation celebration like none before the evening of Tuesday, June 30! We will b
New Orleans: Most Charters Are Double-Dipping into Federal Funds
Della Hasselle of the New Orleans Times-Picayune describes how charter schools in New Orleans have collected coronavirus relief funds from money meant for public schools as well as federal funds meant for small private businesses. Most received money from the Payroll Protection Program, up to $5.1 million for a single school, even though they have suffered no loss of revenues. More than two-third
Nancy Bailey: Reimagine Education by Prioritizing the Arts in School
We have heard many ideas for what schools should look like after the pandemic, or if they reopen while the pandemic is still around. Most of those ideas are centered on distance learning. Nancy Bailey has a different concept: Bring back the arts education that was sacrificed to high-stakes testing. She writes: Teachers teach remotely, and parents are helping students at home. Hopefully, children
What Trump Said About COVID-19 in Arizona
Trump spoke in Phoenix yesterday to some 3,000 Students for Trump in a megachurch. Most of the students, packed in close quarters, were maskless, like Trump. The Arizona Republic noted that most recent polls have shown Biden leading Trump. Trump arrived as hospitalizations and deaths from the coronavirus were spiking. Some local physicians were unhappy about the rally: Two Arizona doctors told Th

JUN 23

Success Academy Spokesperson Resigns to Protest “Racist and Abusive” Practices
Alex Zimmerman of Chalkbeat wrote today that a spokesperson for Success Academy , New Tork City’s largest charter chain, resigned to protest “abusive” practices at the schools. A spokesperson for New York City’s largest charter network resigned in protest, stating she can no longer defend Success Academy’s “racist and abusive practices” that are “detrimental to the emotional well being” of its st
Today: The Introduction of the SAT in 1926 as an Experiment
Garrison Keillor’s “The Writers’ Almanac” reports that today the very first SAT was administered on a trial basis. It was created by Professor Carl C. Brigham of Princeton, one of the founding psychologists of the IQ test. Brigham wrote one of the most notoriously racist, anti-immigrant books of the 1920s. Brigham asserted that wide scale IQ testing demonstrated that whites from Northern Europe w
Michael Klonsky: The Return of General Tata
Do you remember General Tata? After a career in the military, retired Brigadier General Anthony Tata entered the Broad Academy in 2009, launching a new career. He was soon hired as Chief Operating Officer of the District of Columbia Public Schools, when Michelle Rhee was chancellor. Then on to become Superintendent of Schools in Wake County, North Carolina, where a new school board hired him to d
Jesse Hagopian: Why Seattle Educators Demand Cut to Police Budget
Jesse Hagopian is a high school teacher and social justice activist in Seattle. He has been a leading force on behalf of Black Lives Matter Movement. He wrote this opinion article for the Seattle Times to explain why Seattle educators want money redirected from policing to social services. He writes: Seattle’s Education Association representative assembly — the union body that represents Seattle’
Jan Resseger: High-Stakes Standardized Testing Brings a Punitive Regime
Jan Resseger read Valerie Strauss’s hopeful column about a possible end to America’s obsession with standardized testing, and wrote about how this testing has warped American education into a punishing regime , rather than an environment of nurturing , growth, caring, compassion, and human development. Jan reviews some of the most important ways in which test scores have been used to punish stude
Valerie Strauss: Is the Obsession with Standardized Testing Ending?
Standardized testing has been used in American schools for a century, though never on the scale of the past twenty years. It first was introduced into some schools as IQ tests, which were used (wrongly) to judge students’ innate ability and to assign them to different tracks, which then determined their life outcomes. I wrote about the IQ tests in my 2000 book “Left Back: A Century of Battles Ove

JUN 22

Gary Rubinstein on Citizen Stewart and Eva Moskowitz
Gary Rubinstein writes here about podcasts in which Chris Stewart of Education Post interviews Robert Pondiscio and Eva Moskowitz. Gary has made a practice of scrutinizing the data that is available from the Success Academy charter chain, noting the high attrition rate from those who enter in the early grades to those who remain to graduate high school. There is attrition even in the final year o
Florida: Police Arrest 6-Year-Old at Charter School
Video was recently released of a police officer arresting a 6-year-old girl at her charter school in Orlando. Clearly the school called the police after the child engaged in unruly behavior. The charter school has 89 students and five teachers P. The students are 89% African American. This is “no excuses” at its worst. Newly released police body-camera video shows an officer in Orlando, Florida,
Julian Vasquez Heilig on Community-Based Schooling
I recently had a conversation with Julian Vasquez Heilig , the dean of the College of Education at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Heilig discusses his own background, a trajectory that took him from Michigan to Stanford, then to Texas, California, and now Kentucky. He is a scholar and an activist who now seeks to lead a new conversation about education in a Kentucky, bringing the community into
Mike Klonsky’s Father Was a Real Anti-Fascist
Yesterday, on Father’s Day, Mike Klonsky posted a tribute to his father , Max Robert Klonsky, who went to Spain in 1937 to fight fascism as part of the legendary Lincoln Brigade. He was a “premature anti-fascist,” the saying at the time. The Spanish Civil War was a rehearsal for World War II. Only genuine leftists understood that Franco and Hitler were preparing for a wider attack on the democrac
Virtual Charter Industry Expecting Big Growth and Profits Due to Pandemic
The virtual charter industry is anticipating growth in enrollments and profits, thanks to the pandemic. The largest of the virtual charters is the K12 Inc. virtual charter chain, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, whose revenues exceeded $1 billion this year. Executives haul in big salaries (one of K12’s founders, Ron Packard, was paid $5 million a year but has since moved on to lead other ch
Trump Predicted 1 Million Fans in Tulsa. Fewer than 6,200 Appeared.
Donald Trump intended to restart his campaign in Tulsa with a spectacular event. He confidently claimed that one million people had requested tickets for the event. It would be incredible! The plan was for Trump and Pence to speak at an outdoor rally for 40,000 people, then move indoors to the BOK Arena to speak to a packed house of 19,000 people. But the outdoor rally was canceled when only a fe

JUN 21

Indiana: Can the State Afford Vouchers?
Karen Francisco, editor of the editorial page of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, is grateful that Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb will not cut the budget of the state’s schools, but wonders whether the state can afford to maintain more than one system of publicly-funded schools. She might well have also asked whether the state can afford a third system of privately-managed charter schools. Currentl
Paul Horton: Violence Against Blacks During Reconstruction
In response to the murder of George Floyd, as well as the murders of other African Americans in recent months, the media, historians, teachers, and others are reviewing the long history of vicious racism in this country and calling for structural changes. The challenge of our time is to look deeply into our institutions and not let this moment of reckoning with our racist attitudes and institutio
Victor Ray and Alan Aja: Education Won’t Save Us from Racism
Victor Ray and Alan Aja argue in this article that appeared in the Washington Post that racism can’t be “fixed” by more education. Plenty of highly educated people are racist. The root of racism, they argue, is systematic inequality of resources and access to power. Prescribing education as the cure for racism often confuses individual bigotry with a system of domination. As a system of dominatio
North Carolina: Join Jen Mangrum on June 25 to Learn About Her Campaign to Become State Chief
Please join Jen Mangrum in her important campaign for state superintendent of education in North Carolina, a post that has been held by an ineffectual Republican supporter of charters, vouchers, and other Tea Party policies for the past four years. Jen is an experienced educator and a woman with guts. She ran against state Senator Phil Berger, the most powerful politician in the state in the last

JUN 20

Harold Meyerson: Trump as the Nosferatu of Our Time
In this brilliant column, Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect compares Trump to Nosferatu, the terrifying central figure in a silent German film of that name. Death—meaning Trump—stalks Tulsa, bringing with him terror, disease, racism, and chaos. Hallmarks of this man. Meyerson writes: Tonight, the presidency of Donald Trump reaches its apotheosis with the president’s first 2020 campaign ral
A Podcast with a Conservative Economist about SLAYING GOLIATH
This is an interview with Russ Roberts of the Hoover Institution about SLAYING GOLIATH. The Hoover Institution has a huge endowment, and it is committed to free markets. Its funders do not like public schools. They disparage them as “government schools.” They like vouchers and charters. Russ is a nice guy, and he believes in choice and charter schools. We disagreed. You might enjoy this podcast.
“America” from the Cast of Hamilton
This is a wonderful song and dance performed by the cast of HAMILTON in 2016. There is a bonus: Lin-Manuel Miranda performing “Alexander Hamilton” at the Obama White House in 2015. It’s perfect for the moment.
Federal Judge Denies Trump-Barr Request to Block Publication of Bolton Book
A federal judge in D.C. denied the Trump administration effort to block publication of John Bolton’s book. The book will be officially published on Tuesday. The publisher has already shipped hundreds of thousands of copies. The judge said he would hold more hearings, to what purpose it is unclear. The main effect of the effort to squelch the book will be to sell more copies. Censorship usually ba
G.F. Brandenburg: The U.S. Has Surrendered to COVID-19
G.F. Brandenburg writes in this post about the apparent abandonment of the fight against the global pandemic. Trump has completely lost interest. No good headlines for him, so he has ignored the pandemic altogether. His attitude—and his stubborn refusal to wear a mask—signals that the danger is past. He has made clear that the stock market means more to him than death rates, so no more attention
Virginia Heffernan: Trump’s Rally is a Really Bad Idea
Virginia Heffernan is a regular columnist for the Los Angeles Times, where this article appeared. President Trump’s zeal for rally mode is rising almost as steeply as coronavirus cases in Tulsa, Okla., where his campaign plans to hold a little get-together on Saturday. The weather in Tulsa is expected to be muggy and nearly 90 degrees, with a high chance of thunder and lightning. You don’t say. “
John Thompson: Trump in Tulsa: Come for the Racism, Stay for the Plague
John Thompson, retired teacher and historian in Oklahoma, is keeping a close watch on the Trump rally and its risks to public health. He reports from the front lines of a city that’s about to dare COVID-19 to show its stuff at 
Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all