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Saturday, August 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

Bruce Baker and Preston Green: What Happens After the Espinoza Decision?
Two of the nation’s leading education experts ponder the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Espinoza decision. Bruce D. Baker of Rutgers University is a school finance expert. Preston C. Green III of the University of Connecticut specializes in education law. I confess that I was relieved that the Espinoza decision was limited in scope. I was afraid that the religious zealots on the Court m


The Lincoln Project: Trump Can’t Stop Us from Voting!
Here is the Lincoln Project’s latest video: We will vote. We must vote to oust the worst president in American history.
Jeffrey Toobin: Trump Is Worse Than Nixon
Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin writes in The New Yorker that Trump’s pardon of convicted felon Roger Stone proves that Trump is worse than Nixon. Nixon worries about appearances. Trump never does. Trump is shameless. He flaunts his lack of ethics and his complete indifference to norms. On March 21, 1973, President Richard Nixon and John Dean, the White House counsel, conferred in the Oval Office ab
New Study: Dogs Can Be Trained to Recognize COVID-19
A new study by German researchers concludes that dogs can be trained to identify people who are infected with the coronavirus. Dogs with a few days of training are capable of identifying people infected with the coronavirus, according to a study by a German veterinary university. Eight dogs from Germany’s armed forces were trained for only a week and were able to accurately identify the virus wit
Ron Berler: A Fourth Graders’ Guide to Right and Wrong
Ron Berler writes about education. This article originally appeared at Medium. He originally wrote the article at the beginning of Trump’s presidency but thinks it resonates today. It was the Friday before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Kathryn Frey had decided to read Carmen Agra Deedy’s children’s book, “The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark,” to her fourth-grade, Greenwic
Mitchell Robinson: Mike Pence Visits a Tax-Supported Libertarian School
You may wonder, What’s a libertarian school? Good question. It’s not Summerhill. Read Mitchell Robinson’s post about Thales Academy in Apex, North Carolina , which is a voucher school. It’s a low-cost, low-quality Private school that’s designed to standardize students and protect them from creative or critical thinking. It’s yet another entrant in DeVos’ “Cabinet of Horrors.” More of this and we

JUL 30

Happy Birthday, Emily Brontë
From Garrison Keillor’s “The Writers’ Almanac”: It’s the birthday of the novelist Emily Brontë, born in Thornton, England (1818). Emily Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights (1847), considered one of the greatest love stories of all time, but she never had a lover. She and her sisters Anne and Charlotte and their brother Branwell educated themselves at home by reading their father’s large collection of
Dana Milbank: Bill Barr Is a Trump Sycophant
Dana Milbank watched Bill Barr testify before the House Judiciary Committee and wrote this in the Washington Post: Here comes the caravan! In 2018, when things were looking grim for Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections, President Trump conjured a crisis. He declared “an invasion of our country” by Central American migrant caravans full of “stone cold criminals,” “unknown Middle Easterner
My View: How Trump Politicized Returning to School
This piece was published today on the New York Review of Books blog. Readers of this blog will be familiar with its contents. Readers of the NYBR blog will learn about the debate about how and when to reopen schools and will learn about how Trump and Pence strong-armed the CDC and forced it to weaken its guidance to schools on reopening. Trump cares more about his re-election than about the lives
Leonie Haimson: NYC Charter Schools Hit the PPP Jackpot!
Leonie Haimson writes that charter schools in New York City cleaned up with the Paycheck Protection Program , even none of them lost their secure government funding. Payday! Leonie writes: In NY State there are 144 charter schools and management organizations that received PPP funding, the vast majority of which are in NYC. Fully 108 NYC charters and charter management companies received between
Sarah Jones: America’s Schools Were Set Up to Fail
Sarah Jones is an amazingly perceptive writer who has trained her sights in the real crisis in American education: not low test scores, but underfunding and stark disparities of funding. Her latest article is brilliant. It begins: Andrew Worthington’s public school was in trouble even before the coronavirus struck. “We have lead in the pipes,” the Manhattan-based English teacher said. “We have al

JUL 29

South Carolina: Judge Grants Temporary Restraining Order to Block $32 Million for Vouchers
A judge in South Carolina granted a temporary restraining order to stop the governor from giving $32 million of the state’s $48 million in coronavirus relief to pay for vouchers. Governor McMaster wanted to use coronavirus relief aid to pay the tuition of 5,000 kids in private schools while stiffing the 800,000 kids in public schools. It is not clear why pandemic relief money should be diverted t
G.F. Brandenburg: The D.C. Charter Schools that Took PPP Money
Most people thought that the Paycheck Protection Program would help small businesses survive the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. They were surprised to learn that charter schools, which never lost government funding, scooped up some of the $660 billion. Guy Brandenburg posted the list of D.C. charter schools that picked up some dough from the PPP. Many of the D.C. charters are backed by t
Jan Resseger: Reopening Plans Ignore Equity and Adequacy
Jan Resseger takes Trump and DeVos to task for ignoring the needs of students and adults in their headlong rush to reopen schools to prop up the economy in time for the election. In contrast to Obama, who reacted to the Newtown massacre with compassion, our current leaders are indifferent to the risks they seek to impose on other people’s children. Resseger cites some of the best articles that de
John Merrow: It Will Take a Village to Open Schools Safely
John Merrow has tried to figure out what will be need to open schools safely. He concludes that it will take lots of effort and energy and cooperation. What is needed is space, time, personnel, and resources. He suggests creative ways to get what is needed. Here are his thoughts about space. Open the link to read about his other ideas. Two priorities cannot be compromised or negotiated: 1) Keep e
David Berliner: The “Required Curriculum” Vs. “The Not Required” Curriculum
David Berliner has devoted his life to the study of education. He has achieved the pinnacle of his profession as a researcher and statistician. He is currently Regents Professor Emeritus at the College of Education at Arizona State University. His list of honors is too long to mention. I welcome his original contributions to the blog and am honored to present them to you. His title for this post

JUL 28

Today is the Birthday of One of My Favorite Poets
Happy birthday, Gerard Manley Hopkins. When I was a student at Wellesley College, I would sometimes take solitary walks around Lake Waban and think deep thoughts. As I walked, trampling the leaves, I would often recite out loud Gerard Manley Hopkins’ beautiful poem, “Spring and Fall to a Young Child.” This description of Hopkins appeared on Garrison Keillor’s “The Writers’ Almanac.” Today is a bi
David Dayen: What’s in Mitch McConnell’s Corporate Bailout Bill
David Dayen writes a post called Unsanitized for The American Prospect. Here is today’s report: First Response The HEALS Act — a $1 trillion piece of legislation so comically in hock to corporate interests that one of the initials in the acronym stands for “liability protection” — was released yesterday. This was done in a super annoying format where separate committee chairs released their own t
Randi’s Address to The AFT on America’s Three Crises: “Nothing is Off the Table”
Open the link here to read Randi Weingarten’s speech to the AFT Convention. Here is a summary from the AFT: Weingarten’s State of the Union address zeroed in on the three crises facing America—a public health crisis, an economic crisis and a long-overdue reckoning with racism. She detailed how these crises are being made worse by President Trump and emphasized the urgency of the November election
Mercedes Schneider: Thanks to ProPublica, You Can Follow the Money
Mercedes Schneider was absolutely delighted to learn that ProPublica created a search engine so that anyone could learn where the federal $660 billion or so was spent. Mercedes is a master at following the money, and she guides you here to show that you can do it too! She writes: During the coronavirus pandemic, with the federal government offering Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to busin
Laurie Roberts: Charters in Arizona Scored Nearly $100 Million. That’s Ridiculous.
Laurie Roberts is a columnist for the Arizona Republic who has written frequently about frauds in the charter and voucher sectors. When I was writing Slaying Goliath , I found her reporting and her sharp to be invaluable. She read Carol Burris’s article about the Network for Public Education study of charters that double dipped in two different pots of federal funding, and she thought that their
North Carolina: Parents Sue to Invalidate Voucher Program
Parents in North Carolina filed a lawsuit against the state’s voucher program on grounds that it discriminates against them because of their religious beliefs. Through the voucher program, the state sends public funds to religious schools that do not accept the children of these plaintiffs because of their religious beliefs. Therefore the plaintiffs argue that the voucher program encourages relig
DeVos Aide: We are Not Likely to Waive Mandated Testing in 2020-21
Jim Blew was hired by Betsy DeVos for a key role at the U.S Department of Education, having worked at the far-right Walton Family Foundation, which has a strong commitment to privatization, charter schools, Teach for America, and union-busting. He told education writers that the Department of Education was not likely to grant waivers for next spring’s annual federal testing, despite a year of con
Randi on the Senate GOP’s New Coronavirus Relief Bill
The AFT keeps close watch on legislative action. I thought you might want to read what Randi wrote about Mitch (The Grim Reaper, as he calls himself) McConnell’s bill in the Senate. There’s not nearly enough funding to enable schools to open safely, and Republicans managed to stuff a voucher package into what is supposed to be a coronavirus relief bill. Would someone tell these Republican senator

JUL 27

Tennessee: Governor Lee Listens to Dr. Birx, Ignores Her Warnings
This story appeared in the Washington Post. This refusal to follow medical advice will continue to spread the disease and cause unnecessary deaths. The world is watching our rudderless response to the pandemic and feeling sorry for us. Why ask a doctor for her best advice in a dire situation and then ignore it? Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) said Monday that he has no plans to close bars and curb in
Reagan Foundation Asks Trump Campaign to Stop Using Reagan’s Name
The Washington Post reported that the Ronald Reagan Foundation asked the Trump campaign to stop using the former president’s name for the Trump campaign. Reagan Foundation to Trump, RNC: Quit Raising Money Off Ronald Reagan’s Legacy. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, which runs the 40th president’s library near Los Angeles, has demanded that President Trump and the Republic
New York City: Parents Press DeBlasio to Support Outdoor Classes
Chalkbeat reports that many parents are calling on Mayor DeBlasio to endorse outdoor classes. A Brooklyn lawmaker has joined the growing chorus of parents and activists calling on the city to close streets around school buildings for use as car-free space for recreation, lunch, small group instruction and other activities. In just two days, City Council Member Brad Lander received proposals from
Alexander H. Stephens Defines the True Purposes of the Confederacy
Trump has repeatedly defended the Confederate flag as a representation of Southern heritage, and he has defended Confederate monuments as part of “our history.” The military doesn’t want Confederate symbols and doesn’t want the names of Confederate leaders on its bases, which is deeply offensive to those who understand that the men so honored were traitors, not heroes. Since there has been so muc
Bombshell! NPE Report Reveals Massive Charter Double Dipping into Federal PPP Funds!
Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, reports on a major NPE investigation of charter schools that double dipped into federal funding for coronavirus relief. The article was posted on Valerie Strauss’s “Answer Sheet” at the Washington Post. First the charters received public funding from the $13.2 billion allocated to public schools as part of the CARES Act. Then,
South Carolina: Governor Uses $48 Million in CARES Funds to Pay $32 million for Vouchers
Congress appropriated $13.2 billion for public schools to help them weather the coronavirus pandemic, which is causing cuts and layoffs. South Carolina received $48 million in CARES funds. Governor Henry McMaster has allotted $32 million of that total to underwrite vouchers for private schools. Dr. Thomasena Adams, an educator and resident of Orangeburg, South Carolina, filed suit to block the Go

JUL 26

Happy Birthday, Aldous Huxley!
This tribute appeared on Garrison Keillor’s “The Writers’ Almanac.” Today is the birthday of English author Aldous Huxley (books by this author), born in Godalming, Surrey (1894). He was the grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley, a scientist and man of letters who was known as “Darwin’s bulldog” for his defense of the theory of evolution. Huxley wrote a few novels that satirized English literary societ
Trump Is Not in Denial. He Is Malevolent.
Greg Sergeant of the Washington Post insists that Trump is not “in denial” about the pandemic. He is malevolently ignoring it and hoping it will go away. Maybe it’s wishful evil thinking. Open the link to see his many links to sources. To paraphrase George Orwell, when it comes to President Trump’s bottomless malevolence and depravity, accurately describing what’s right in front of our noses is a
Indiana: A Profile in Courage
Steve Hinnefeld writes here about a rare act of courage in a red state. Indiana State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick defied Betsy DeVos and has refused to hand out money from the CARES Act to private schools, without regard to need. Superintendent McCormick told DeVos to stuff it. For her courage and independence, she goes on the blog’s honor roll. Hinnefeld writes: The good news: In Indiana,
Trump Thinks He Can Win Votes by Stressing School Choice and Fast Reopening
The Washington Post says that Trump has latched on to school choice and a fast reopening as issues that will win back white suburban women, whose support for him has faded. This may indicate how out of touch he is. Parents move to the suburbs because their property wealth creates good schools. There is no unmet demand in the suburbs for vouchers or charter schools. Furthermore polls clearly show
Laurie Garrett: Most Schools Will Not Be Able to Open
Laurie Garrett is a Pulitzer Prize winning science writer. This article in Foreign Affairs explains why Trump and DeVos’s demand to reopen the schools for full-time, in-person schooling in a few weeks will fail. The schools don’t have the money to meet the necessary safety requirements. The less affluent the community, the less money is available to reduce class sizes and make the schools safe. T

JUL 25

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 a biographer of 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,
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: No State Has Met CDC Guidelines But Schools Are Opening Anyway
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 incidence of documented cases over a 14-day period) muct less the additional criteria for enterin

JUL 24

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
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 Kom

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