Saturday, August 15, 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

Fred Klonsky: Retired Teachers in Illinois Don’t Collect Social Security, Does It Matter if the GOP Kills It?
Fred Klonsky is a retired teacher in Illinois. Retired teachers in that state, like many others, don’t collect Social Security. Politicians of both parties have tried to cut teachers’ retirement benefits. Should he care that Trump wants to defund Social Security? He concludes that teachers in Illinois are in the same fight with those who face Trump’s stealth effort to defund Social Security. Trum


Delightful Song about Our Current Situation
The Phoenix Chamber Choir of Vancouver recorded this wonderful parody of a song written by Billy Joel about the rigors and tedium of quarantine. Enjoy!
Attention, Parents! A Statement on EdTech from the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
The arrival of COVID-19 has made children and educators across the nation dependent on distance learning for since March. Many parents recognize the defects of distance learning and eagerly await the opportunity to send their child back to real school when it is safe. They understand that an iPad or computer can’t take the place of a real teacher. Meanwhile the for-profit edtrch industry sees the
Republicans Launch Racist, Sexist Attacks on Kamala
Get ready for a vicious campaign. It has already started. Trump, a man with no discernible religion, recently said that Biden, a faithful Catholic, will: “Take away your guns, take away your Second Amendment. No religion, no anything. Hurt the Bible. Hurt God. He’s against God. He’s against guns. He’s against energy, our kind of energy.” Now that Biden has chosen Kamala Harris as his vice-preside
David Berliner and Gene Glass: Why Bother Testing in 2021?
David Berliner and Gene Glass are leaders of the American education research community. Their books are required reading in the field. They shared with me their thoughts about the value of annual testing in 2021. I would add only one point: if Trump is voted out in November, Jim Blew and Betsy DeVos will have no role in deciding whether to demand or require the annual standardized testing regime

AUG 13

Happy Birthday, Annie Oakley!
I’ve seen the Broadway play “Annie, Get Your Gun” twice, and I saw the movie as well. I never knew how much was truth, how much was fiction. I was happy to read the following in today’s edition of Garrison Keillor’s “The Writers’ Almanac.” It’s the birthday of American sharpshooter Annie Oakley (1860), born Phoebe Ann Mosey in a log cabin just north of what is now Willowdell, in Darke County, Ohi
The Anniversary of the First Cooperative Hospital
This story was posted in Garrison Keillor’s “The Writers’ Almanac.” Dr. Michael Shadid established the first cooperatively owned and operated hospital in the United States on this date in 1931. Shadid had been born in a mountain village in Lebanon, and knew firsthand how hard it was for the poor to get good health care. He was one of 12 kids, and only three of them survived infancy. The only medi
“Hamilton” on Television!
Ty Burr, reviewer for the Boston Globe,loved the TV “Hamilton.” I’m happy to learn that it was not “adapted” for the screen. It’s the Broadway show in full, gloriously produced. It was filmed in July 2016, a hopeful time. It was impossible to buy tickets. They were being scalped for hundreds of dollars a seat. Lin-Manuel Miranda set aside multiple free performances for high school students. Ordin
Oklahoma: Judge Fines Virtual Charter School $500,000
A judge in Oklahoma Fined the company that manages EPIC virtual charter school $500,000 for trying to suppress the fre speech of a critic, plus his legal fees. Unfortunately, despite poor results and ongoing legal controversies, enrollment at EPIC and other virtual charter schools is soaring due to the pandemic. An Oklahoma County district judge leveled a $500,000 fine against the nonprofit overs
Reading Emily Dickinson During the Pandemic
Catherine O’Neill Grace is a senior associate editor at the Wellesley College alumnae magazine, where this article was published . The article reminded me of why I loved college, lo those many years ago. My freshman poetry professor was Philip Booth, who was a poet. He was also very handsome, and I think that every young woman in his class had a crush on him. I know I did. Ms. Grace writes: Back
Teacher: A Day in the Life of a Hybrid Classroom
This post was sent by a teacher in Westchester County, New York, who prefers to remain anonymous: Based on the hybrid/blended learning model described in the re-entry plan, this is what an average class period would look like in a typical 40-minute class. While an 80-minute class has more flexibility, the protocols are the same. This is a SMALL sampling of what life will be like for teachers and
Chalkbeat: Trump, DeVos Demand Reopening Despite Risks
Matt Barnum reports that Trump and DeVos renewed their pressure to reopen schools despite the fact that most large districts have ignored their previous threats to cut funding. They and their Senate allies have refused to provide the funding necessary to enable schools to open safely, in accordance with CDC guidelines. Please open the article and read it in full, both for the links and the conten
NYC: Principals, Teachers, Nurses Seek Delay in Opening
Spokespersons for principals, teachers, and nurses have called on Mayor De Blasio to delay reopening and provide more time to prepare schools, reports Gotham Gazette, a publication of the Citizens Union Foundation. ​ The principals union, the teachers union, and the nurses union have come out against the ​city’s plan to reopen classrooms on September 10 with a mix of remote and in-person learning

AUG 12

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman: Doing the Right Thing Ended My Career in This Administration
You may recall that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified in the impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives. He did so at risk of his career. He lost his career. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (Ret.), a career U.S. Army officer, served on the National Security Council as the director for Eastern European, Caucasus and Russian affairs, as the Russia political-military affairs officer for the
Texas: Former CFO of IDEA Charter Chain Sues for $1 Million in Back Pay
Hey, Big Spender! The Texas-based IDEA charter chain is best known for lavish spending—on the taxpayers’s dimes and dollars. IDEA is the corporate charter chain that wanted to lease a private jet for its executives and their families, that bought a private box at pro basketball games, that lavished perks on its top employees. And now it’s former Chief Financial Officer says IDEA owes him $1 milli
Thomas Ultican: “School Choice” Was Created by White Supremacists
In this post, Thomas Ultican reviews Steve Suitts’ devastating new book about the origins of school choice. Advocates of school choice like to claim economist Milton Friedman as their godfather but Suitts, who has spent his career working in civil rights activism, shows that the true originators of “freedom of choice” were Southern governors and legislatures who were determined to thwart the Brow
Kamala Harris at Ease
A friend shared this article about Kamala Harris that shows her at ease. The first video is hilarious. She is at the 92nd Street Y, an institution of Jewish culture in Manhattan, which has a great lecture series. She tells a story about her first meeting with her Jewish mother-in-law that is priceless. Another video in the article shows her cooking at home with her husband. She has a great laugh.
Michael Hiltzik: Trump Wants to Kill Social Security
Trump vowed, if re-elected, to kill the payroll tax, which funds Social Security and Medicare. Do most Americans understand what that means to them? Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times explains the dangers of Trump’s executive orders. With his four executive orders purportedly aimed at relieving Americans of the burdens of the coronavirus, President Trump spun the theme of his administration

AUG 11

What Trump’s Executive Orders Really Do
David Dayen writes the blog “Unsanitized” for the American Prospect. In this post, he explains what Trump’s executive orders really do. Please open the links to see the many embedded links. After weeks of unproductive talks with Democrats bending but the White House unyielding, over the weekend Donald Trump issued three memoranda and an executive order that, at this moment, reflect the only addit
Leonie Haimson: The Risks and Benefits of Opening New York City Schools
Leonie Haimson summarizes the pluses and minuses of reopening schools in New York City. She points out: Many public health experts and epidemiologists agree that NYC schools seem to be in the best position of any large district in the country to offer face-to-face learning, with an COVID positivity rate of only about one percent. Our positivity rate is very low and the lowest we are likely to see
A Face Mask That Teachers Should Consider
NPR had a story recently about a face mask designed to help those who are deaf and hard of hearing . It has a large plastic panel that reveals the mouth and aids those who read lips. It’s not just those with hearing loss who are clamoring for cloth face masks that have a see-through panel. They are a hot item among teachers, for example, and others who work with children or the elderly. Vendors o
Bob Shepherd: How to Use Remote Learning Wisely
Bob Shepherd. Is a former teacher, editor, curriculum designer, and assessment developer. He believes that a return to in-person instruction would be “an unprecedented catastrophe.” But he defines remote learning as a guarantee that any real learning will be remote. How to find a path forward give the dangers of reopening and the tedium of remote learning? He writes: Clearly, if we are to depend
Jack Hassard: Georgia Is Not Ready to Open Schools
Jack Hassard has spent his career teaching science and training science teachers. He lives in Georgia, where Governor Brian Kemp is determined to open schools without regard to the state of the virus. Hassard says, based on the science, that Georgia is not ready to open its schools . The infection rate in Georgia is unacceptably high at 13-16%. It is important for us to use the science to make de
Is Brian Kemp of Georgia the Dumbest Governor?
That’s a trick question because a Governor Kemp has stiff competition from several other governors, such as Florida’s Ron DeSantis. Politico interviewed Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. He said his early reopening of schools for full-time in-person instruction was going really well, except for the photo that went viral of high school students packed together in a hall while changing classes. Under Ke

AUG 10

Today is the Anniversary of Magellan’s Voyage
This account was posted on Garrison Keillor’s “The Writer’s Almanac.” It was on this date in 1519 that the explorer Ferdinand Magellan set off to sail around the world. Although he was Portuguese, Magellan had sworn allegiance to Spain, and he began the journey with a fleet of five ships and 270 men to see if he could accomplish what Columbus had failed to: find a navigable route to Asia that did
Trump Wants His Face on Mount Rushmore
Trump believes he is one of the greatest presidents ever. He is surrounded by enablers who encourage his fantasies. Those who speak truth to Trump are soon fired. Think Mattis, Kelly, Tillerson. James Hohmann writes today in the Washington Post: President Trump said Sunday night that etching his likeness in granite on Mount Rushmore alongside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln a
New Orleans: Why Some Charter Teachers Want to Join a Union
The Education Research Alliance of New Orleans just released a study of why some charter teachers in the nation’s only all-charter district want to join a union. Their reasons sound very much like the reasons that teachers in public schools want a union. No one told them that the Waltons, charter lobbyists, and other supporters of the charter movement don’t like unions. Immediately after Hurrican
Gary Rubinstein Reviews Thomas Sowell’s Book About Charter Schools
Gary Rubinstein reviews Thomas Sowell’s recent book about charter schools and their enemies. Thomas Sowell is an economist and a senior fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution. He is African American and has long been highly critical of affirmative action and anything that smacks of lowered standards for black students. He is a hard-right libertarian. Many years ago, we were friends, and I
Mercedes Schneider: My Pandemic Classroom
Mercedes Schneider teaches high school in Louisiana. She is supposed to resume full-time, in person instruction in a few weeks, although her state has a 14% positivity rate for COVID. She describes how she will rearrange her classroom and how she will teach, in detail. I am the teacher, and I am supposed to limit my movement in my own classroom. Is every conversation with a student to be said lou
Teacher: The Hidden Scandal in U.S. Education
A teacher in the District of Columbia wrote about the hidden scandal in public education: crumbling buildings. She writes: For all the debate about why schools should not open … the most obvious elephant in the room is invisible or just a footnote in most discussions. Yes… schools are crowded, yes… the government is not giving timely funding for the necessary PPE and such… and there are SO MANY r

AUG 09

Jack Schneider: Is Homeschooling The Next Big Thing?
Jack Schneider is a historian of education. In this post, which he wrote at my request, he analyzes the new push for homeschooling. In the midst of the global pandemic, with millions of children quarantined at home, its not surprising that parents are compelled to be teachers. But how many parents will want to homeschool when real schools are one day available again? Schneider writes: Never let a
Arizona Superintendent: Reopening School Now is a “Fantasy”
Eli Saslow of the Washington Post interviewed Arizona Superintendent Jeff Gregorich about the prospect of opening schools in his district with the coronavirus still active in the region. The article causes me to wonder why decisions about when to open schools are made by politicians, not scientists, medical experts, and educators. Gregorich was candid, blunt, worried. This is my choice, but I’m s
Tom Ultican: John Deasy Resigns Again, Under a Cloud
Thomas Ultican continues his investigation of the tentacles of billionaire reformers, this time focusing on the tumultuous career of John Deasy, who resigned as superintendent of the Stockton, California, school district. Ultican shows how Deasy rose to become superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, how Justin tenure there was marked by controversy as he walked in lockstep with
Andy Hargreaves: The Education Technology We Will and Won’t Need After the Pandemic
Andy Hargreaves is an internationally renowned scholar and author who taught for many years at Boston College. He wrote this article about education technology for Valerie Strauss’s blog “The Answer Sheet.” I previously posted a presentation that Andy delivered at an international conference in South Korea, where he described his vision of the future post-pandemic. It was brilliant and points in

AUG 08

Nancy Flanagan: Is Facebook the Fount of All Wisdom or the Essence of Stupid?
Nancy Flanagan writes here about why she is sticking with Facebook, despite it multiple flaws. I was on Facebook for a brief time, then quit. Then resumed, then quit again. What I discovered was that when I quit Facebook, my identity remained there, waiting for me to return. I was reminded of King George III in “Hamilton” singing “You’ll Be Back.” No, I won’t. It’s addictive, true. But anyone who
Glenn Brown: An Addendum to “The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump”
Retired teacher Glen Brown has written his own poetic addendum to a book by Robert Sears called “The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump.” I was not aware of Sears’ collection and organizing of Trumpian verbiage into blank verse. Searching for the poetry of Trump by Sears on Amazon, I discovered that he also wrote a book titled: “Vladimir Putin: Life Coach.” Here are one of Glen Brown’s Trump poems:
Carl J. Petersen: LAUSD Stood by While Charter Executive Embezzled $3.1 Million
Carl J. Petersen, a parent advocate for students with special needs in the public schools of Los Angeles, wrote here about the failure of the LAUSD school board to monitor graft in the charter sector. He writes about the deliberate negligence of board members supported by the charter industry: As Community Preparatory Academy (CPA) approached the end of its charter, it was $820,303 in debt. The L
Peter Greene: The Risk That Families Take When They Choose a Charter School
In this article that appeared in Forbes , Peter Greene reviews the implications of the Network for Public Education’s report of charter school closures. When parents choose a charter school for their child, they are gambling that the