Saturday, July 25, 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

The Lincoln Project on Trump and Jeffrey Epstein
The Lincoln Project hits hard on a subject that Democrats would not dare to touch : Trump’s sympathy for GHislaine Maxwell and his ties to Jeffrey Epstein. There has been speculation by Prince Andrew that Trump will pardon Maxwell in return for her silence. Epstein has many prominent friends, including Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Alan Dershowitz, and Prince Andrew.
John H. Loflin: Indianapolis Public Schools For Sale
John Harris Loflin assembled the following description of the privatization and takeover of the Indianapolis Public Schools by out-of-state interests, aided by local “reformers.” He writes: Purchasing the 2012, 2014, and 2016 IPS school board elections According to the truly transformative IPS Racial Equity Policy and Black Lives Matter Resolution (REP/BLM), racism is social and institutional pow
Marion Brady: When Face-to-Face Learning Is Impossible
Marion Brady is a veteran educator who has been trying to reform the school curriculum for many years. He persists. He writes: When face-to-face schooling isn’t possible There’s no getting around it. Firsthand experience is the best teacher. If what’s attempting to be taught is worth knowing, it’s going to be complicated. And if it’s complicated, firsthand experience isn’t just the best teacher,
5 Pieces of Dumb Money Advice Most Believe
One way or another, we all sabotage ourselves. It’s the human condition.
Harold Meyerson: The Electoral College is a Shameful Vestige of Slavery
Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect wrote recently that while people are pulling down statues of Confederate leaders, they should also turn to scrapping the Electoral College as a legacy of slave owners that warps our democracy. Meyerson on TAP One More Confederate Monument to Destroy: The Electoral College For anyone who still wonders why Confederate monuments need to come down, let me refe
Mercedes Schneider reviews the current condition of many states and points out that no state has met the conditions described in the CDC guidelines. As of this writing, no state has met the May 2020 Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for moving into Phase 1 (“Downward trajectory or near-zero trajectory or near-zero incidence of documented cases over a 14-day period) muct less the additional criteria for enterin


AOC Delivers Brilliant Speech on Crude Sexism
Twenty years ago, I edited a collection of speeches, songs, and statements that in my opinion defined the nation. It is called “The American Reader: Words That Shaped a Nation.” If I were revising it today, I would add the brilliant, unscripted speech that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes delivered yesterday about the crude remarks that a Florida Republican made to her face. What is so imp
CDC Caves to Political Pressure, Waters Down Guidelines for Reopening Schools
Trump decided a few weeks ago that he could help his prospects for re-election if he could get schools across the nation to reopen fully, regardless of the state of the pandemic in their community, regardless of the risks to students and staff. He has threatened to cut off federal funding to schools that refuse to reopen fully, and he proclaimed that he and Pence were pressuring the CDC to weaken
8 Secrets of The Rich That Most of Us Ignore
We're paying attention now...
Washington Post Fact-Checks DeVos on COVID-19 Claims
Betsy DeVos wants schools to open. She wants to help Trump win re-election. Trump wants schools to open so the economy will restart. DeVos claimed that children don’t get sick from the virus, so they won’t spread it. She thinks they might even be a brake on the virus. The Washington Post gave her claims a fact check. The Fact Checker wrote: “More and more studies show that kids are actually stopp
Teaching in Troubled Times: A Q&A with a Trauma Expert
The National Education Policy Center posted this interview with Elizabeth Dutro , whose work centers on teaching children who have experienced traumas. We live in traumatic times. The COVID-19 pandemic has killed over 135,000 thousand in the U.S., and has sickened many more. The economic downtown has resulted in more than 50 million unemployment claims. Police have continued to kill unarmed peopl
Dave Grohl: In Defense of Our Teachers
Musician Dave Grohl wrote this article in The Atlantic in honor of his mother, who was a dedicated teacher. America’s teachers need a plan, not a trap, he writes. My mother was a public-school teacher. As a single mother of two, she tirelessly devoted her life to the service of others, both at home and at work. From rising before dawn to ensure that my sister and I were bathed, dressed, and fed i
New Study: There Is NO Relationship Between International Test Scores and Economic Growth
This is the most important post you will read this month or maybe even this year. It refutes the basis of American education policy. This is major study of the relationship between scores on PISA and economic growth. It demonstrates that there is none. It was written by Hikaru Komatsu (Associate Professor at National Taiwan University) and Jeremy Rappleye (Associate Professor at Kyoto University,

JUL 23

Providence Journal Blasts Governor Raimondo for Acting Like Trump
The Providence Journal published a scathing editorial about Governor Gina Raimondo’s dereliction of duty in demanding the full opening of schools next month while failing to provide sensible plans to do so. It is titled “Rhode Island’s Education System Goes from Mediocre to Just Plain Chaotic.” Raimondo is a former venture capitalist who redesigned the state’s pension system by cutting them. She
Garrison Keillor: A Grim Anniversary in Detroit
This entry appeared today in Garrison Keillor’s “The Writers’ Almanac.” It was on this night in 1967 that an uprising began in Detroit. An all-white squadron of police officers decided to raid a bar in a black neighborhood where there was a party to welcome home two recent veterans of the Vietnam War. The police stormed the bar, rounded up and arrested 85 black men and began loading them into van
The Lincoln Project: Trump’s Failure on Pandemic
The latest video from the Lincoln Project documents Trump’s pronouncements about the pandemic. It is brilliant.
Parent: Why I Don’t Care About IntegratIng NYC’s Selective High Schools
K.A. Dilday is a parent and journalist who lives in Central Harlem. She wrote critically about efforts to integrate the selective high schools. Putting your child into an academic pressure-cooker is the wrong definition of success, she believes. She wants something better for her child. She writes: This weekend, nearly 30,000 eighth graders in New York City will take the Specialized High School A
Los Angeles County: Charters Collect $78 Million in PPP Cash from Feds
Investigative reporter David Goldstein reported for KCBS-TV that charter schools in Los Angeles County gathered $78 million in Paycheck Payment Program, even though they had no cessation in public funding and no layoffs. The big winner was ritzy Palisades Charter High School, which received more than $4.5 million. The PPP was supposed to benefit small businesses that needed the money because thei
Rachel Cohen: Pandemic Creates Opening for Public Funding of Home Schooling
Rachel Cohen writes that the pandemic is encouraging many parents to consider home schooling and to pressure Congress to pay them to do it. I disagree. Before the pandemic, about 2 million children were home schooled, mostly by parents who were either evangelical Christians or who worried about the diverse culture of the public schools or bullying or low standards. But parents who work don’t want

JUL 22

The Most Urgent Issue in the U.S. Today: Trump’s Invasion of Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon, is the scene of the most frightening series of events in the nation today. Governors may call upon the National Guard. The President, under extraordinary circumstances, may send in troops to enforce the law, as when President Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock to enforce a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. The armed personnel in Portland were not called in by the governor.
Civil Rights and Education Groups File Suit Against DeVos
A group of civil rights and education organizations have filed suit against Betsy DeVos, who seeks to divert public funding to private schools. Say this for DeVos: She is maddeningly consistent in her efforts to fund private schools. Whether authorized or not, she presses forward on behalf of the private school sector. She doesn’t care about public schools or their students. She wants them to ope
John Thompson: Save My Former Student’s Life
John Thompson, historian and retired teacher in Oklahoma, makes an urgent appeal to save the life of his former student Julius Jones. He writes: I just watched the rebroadcast of ABC’s “20 20” documentary, “The Last Defense,” about my former student, Julius Jones, who is on Death Row even though he’s probably innocent. It was an abridged version that left time to update the case’s developments ov
New York City: Teachers Worried about Risks of Reopening
Teachers in New York City are fearful about returning to classrooms without adequate protection for their health. Some educators and union leaders say fear and mistrust over the partial reopening plan is pervasive… “There’s a lot of fear and anxiety out there,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “A lot of school staff passed away. And they’re like we’re not going back unless the rules are follow
How the Never Trumpers Got into Trump’s Head
Several groups of Never Trumpers have created a media campaign that has gotten under Trump’s skin. He responds to them on Twitter, enlarging their audience. They don’t have loads of money, but they understand very well his egotism, narcissism, and vanity, and they hit their target time and again. One recent ad from The Lincoln Project is a “Breaking News” headline in which the White House Press S
Ohio: Charter Schools Received 5X As Much Federal Coronavirus Aid as Public Schools
Stephen Dyer crunched the numbers and discovered that charter schools in Ohio received more than five times as much federal coronavirus relief money as public schools. Some received more than entire districts. He wrote: Included in the $2.3 trillion CARES Act passed in March to cope with the COVID-19 crisis was something called the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, or ESSER.
Jan Resseger: If Trump Wants Schools to Open, Why Won’t He Pay for It?
Jan Resseger reviews the Catch-22 situation in which schools are trapped: Trump demands that they open in a few weeks or he will cut their federal funding. The CDC says that a safe opening requires hyper-vigilance about health, safety, social distancing, small classes, cleaning, masks, etc. But Trump and Congress have refused to pay for reopening. Bottom line: schools can’t reopen unless it is sa
Lawfare Blog: Federal Police in Portland Cannot Be Justified
Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes of the Lawfare blog wrote in The Atlantic about federal police in Portland . Their presence cannot be justified, they wrote. Thousands of protesters turned out last night in Portland, peaceably rejecting the presence of armed federal agents in their city. The men in camouflage apparently cone from the Border Patrol and ICE. The authors say they are not trained i

JUL 21

David Dayen: Why Florida’s Teachers Are Suing to Block Reopening
David Dayen explains why Florida’s teachers are suing to block Governor DeSantis’ order to reopen all public schools for full in-person instruction. The short version: 1) Florida is in the midst of a surge in the pandemic. 2) Neither the state nor the federal government has put up the money to provide even minimal safety for students and adults. First Response Last Friday the governor of Missouri
Leonie Haimson: Obstacles to a Safe Reopening
Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters, wrote an open letter about the steps required before schools can begin to reopen. She wrote: Last week, Governor Cuomo, the State Department of Health, and the NY State Education Department all came out with detailed guidance on what measures schools should take to reopen in the fall to ensure health and safety as well as provide instructi
New York: Billionaires Get Richer During Pandemic
A group called Americans for Tax Fairness has tracked the remarkable increase in the wealth of billionaires during the rise of the pandemic. Shouldn’t billionaires pay higher taxes to help the children of their state? What profiteth a man to gain additional billions if the society he lives in is overrun with starving, unfed, uneducated children? WASHINGTON—New York has 118 billionaires who collec
California: Billionaires See Vast Increase in Wealth During Pandemic
A group called Americans for Tax Fairness reported that the state’s billionaires saw a dramatic increase in their wealth during the pandemic. Shouldn’t billionaires pay higher taxes to help the children of their state? What profiteth a man to gain additional billions if the society he lives in is overrun with starving, unfed, uneducated children? California’s 154 Billionaires Saw Net Worth Jump $
When Did Trump and DeVos Fall Out of Love with Distance Learning?
As we have seen in recent weeks, Trump and Betsy DeVos want public schools to reopen for full-time, in-person instruction. Yesterday, in an interview with Chris Wallace of FOX News, Trump reiterated that he will stop federal funding of any schools that don’t comply. He said that children don’t get the virus and they don’t die from the virus. He said nothing about the vulnerability of educators. W
Teacher: This Is How I Will Teach when School Reopens
Mamie Krupczak Allegretti teaches French. She described how her teaching will change when school reopens during the pandemic. The lesson I draw from her note is that the most pressing issue facing our nation is not opening the schools but getting the disease under control so it is safe to return to school. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I am actually going to teach if we go back to school in
Public Education Partners: Ohio Is Not Ready for a Safe Reopening
Public Education Partners is the leading volunteer advocacy group for public schools in Ohio. They issued this statement last night. We are public education experts. Public Education Partners (PEP) is a statewide, grassroots public education advocacy group whose mission is to preserve, protect, and strengthen Ohio’s public schools. Public Education Partners is an integral part of education policy
Missouri Governor: Of Course Kids Will Get COVID!
The most horrifying statement of the week: In a radio interview, Governor Mike Parson stressed the importance of getting schools open regardless of the risks: “These kids have got to get back to school,” Parson told Cox. “They’re at the lowest risk possible. And if they do get COVID-19, which they will — and they will when they go to school — they’re not going to the hospitals. They’re not going
Portland, Oregon: Trump’s Military Invades and Occupies an American City
What’s happening in Portland should frighten us all. Trump sent in military force to rout peaceful demonstrators over the objections of the mayor and the governor. The men in uniforms used tear gas and carried weapons to disperse crowds. The uniforms bore no identification. They arrested people and shoved them into unmarked cars. Those who were carried away never learned of any charges against th

JUL 20

TIME: What the U.S. Can Learn from 3 Countries About Reopening
TIME Magazine just published a story about school reopening in Denmark, South Korea, and Israel, with lessons for the U.S. Lesson #1 from Denmark: Get the virus under control before reopening schools. Unlike Denmark, the United States is bungling that, and the virus is spreading in the south and west. Perhaps states that have taken the necessary steps and flattened the curve can begin to reopen,
Florida: Educators Sue to Block Unsafe Reopening
This just in: July 20, 2020 CONTACT: Joni Branch, (850) 201-3223 or (850) 544-7055 Florida educators file lawsuit to protect health and well-being of students, educators and communities TALLAHASSEE — Along with educators and parents, the Florida Education Association (FEA) filed suit Monday against Gov. Ron DeSantis, Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the Florida Department of Education, the Florida
Trump’s Disastrous Abdication of Leadership Role in Confronting Pandemic
The New York Times published an in-depth report about the failure of the Trump administration to respond to the pandemic with a coherent policy. The administration abdicated any responsibility and handed the problems over to the governors. As you will read, the Trump team relied on Dr. Deborah Birx, who gave them the upbeat reports they wanted to hear. Each morning at 8 as the coronavirus crisis
No-Excuses Charter Chain Fires Principal for Caring About Children and Teachers
Emily Hoefling was principal of Leadership Prep Canarsie in Brooklyn, which is part of the Uncommon Schools charter chain. She was fired because she dared to express views that ran counter to the authoritarian culture of the chain. Yes, she writes, it is an authoritarian regime, and it always was. When she led a professional development session, she encouraged teachers to express their views. Tha
Los Angeles: Charter Operator Pleads Guilty to Stealing $3 Million
This just in from federal officials: Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office Central District of California FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, July 17, 2020 Former Head of Community Preparatory Academy Admits Stealing Over $3 Million and Spending $220,000 on Disney Expenses LOS ANGELES – Federal prosecutors today filed criminal theft and tax fraud charges against the former executive director of
New Study: Children As Young As 10 Can Spread the Virus
The New York Times reports on a new study from South Korea that finds that children as young as 10 can spread the coronavirus. Will the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC revise their guidelines based on this new information? A large new study from South Korea offers an answer: Children younger than 10 transmit to others much less often than adults do, but the risk is not zero. And those

JUL 19

Bob Shepherd: Florida Angry that Georgia Lifts Mask-Wearing Mandate
Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia has boldly asserted his claim to be the dumbest governor in the nation. This makes Florida Governor Ron DeSantis very unhappy, as he claims that title. Kemp suspended all local laws and orders that mandate mask-wearing as the number of coronavirus cases rise in Georgia. He “encouraged” people to wear masks, but no mandates permitted. Bob Shepherd explains why Florid
Peter Greene: Everything’s Made Up, and No One Is Behind
Peter Greene imparts some profundity in this post . Are you afraid that your child is “falling behind”? Behind what? Who drew the line? Who made the rules? This article contains wisdom. What’s teal and what’s a social construct? Which social constructs matter? Why? It reminds me of the incredulous looks I get when I explain that standardized testing is a social construct, that it has errors in th
Mary Trump’s Book: A Great Read
I just finished reading Mary Trump’s family tell-all, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. I found it fascinating and horrifying. Mary is the daughter of Fred Trump, Jr., the heir apparent to the family business. The family consisted of paterfamilias Fred Sr. and his wife Mary. Fred Jr., Elizabeth, Maryanne, Donald and Robert. The Trump family was dysfu
Joe and Jill Biden Speak Out About Reopening Schools
This is an excellent message from the Bidens about reopening schools safely. They say what most educators and parents say. We want schools open but we want them open safely. Job one: lower the infection rate in the community. Job two: Make sure schools have the resources so that students and adults are safe. Biden pledges to follow through on both. Trump demands that schools open in a few weeks r

JUL 18

Andy Hargreaves: What Should Happen to Education Post-Pandemic?
Andy Hargreaves, a scholar of international renown, participated in a virtual seminar in South Korea about post-pandemic education. His 20-minute presentation is brilliant, pithy, and compelling. Look for it on this YouTube video. He starts at about 22:00 minutes and concludes at about the 43:00 minute mark. He urges South Korea and the rest of the world not to “return” to austerity, competition,
Gina Bellafante: Schools Beat Plagues with Outdoor Education, Why Can’t We?
This is a terrific article that appeared in the New York Times by the regular city columnist Gina Bellafante. It is about how schools beat plagues in the early 20th century by opening outdoor classes. The Times is making articles about coronavirus available for free, so it may not be behind a pay wall. You should see it for the wonderful historical photographs. If the bureaucracy could think crea
Teachers: Why Not Shift to Outdoor Learning?
A group of New York City teachers argue in The New York Daily News that the best way to restart the schools, especially for young children, is to hold classes outdoors. They do not address the problems of rain and freezing weather. Liat Olenick, Darcy Whittwmore, and Heather Costanza see many virtues in outdoor learning. Holding classes indoors in a city with over one million students, they write
John Lewis: An American Hero (1940-2020)
John Lewis died of cancer at the age of 80. As a young man, he offered his services to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and worked alongside him in the critical and most dangerous moments of the civil rights movement. Only 23, he spoke at the historic March on Washington in 1963. He was elected to Congress in 1987, where he served until his last day. He led a life of courage, principle, and honor. John
Parent: Why Not Open Outdoor Classrooms in Tents and Other Temporary Structures?
Josh Bell is a New York City public schools parent. He wrote this article for the New York Daily News. The article reminded me that New York City public school officials in the early 20th century conducted outdoor classes for 
Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all