Saturday, August 29, 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

Carol Burris: New York City Public Schools Should Re-Open
Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education and a retired high school principal and a grandmother, argues in this article that public schools in New York City should reopen. She speaks for herself, not for the Network for Public Education. NPE issued a statement calling for additional federal funds to enable the safe reopening of schools. NPE put the emphasis on the neces


Florida: Judge Lifts Injunction on Opening schools
The Florida Education Association was disappointed in latest court decision: TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Education Association (FEA) was disappointed today that the First District Court of Appeal reinstated a stay on the temporary injunction against Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s emergency order. We look forward to continuing to press our case in court for the sake of students, educators
Stephen Colbert Reviews the RNC Convention That He Didn’t Watch
Stephen Colbert and I have one thing in common. We did not watch the RNC. He explains why. My explanation is that I can’t waste my time watching liars whose lies go uncontested.
Today is the Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Justice, Led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I was there with my husband Richard. Dick was a close friend of Bayard Rustin, one of the day’s organizers. We took the train To Washington. We met with Dick’s law school classmate, Clifford Alexander, who was Secretary of the Army in LBJ’s administration. (Cliff was the father of Michelle Alexander, who later became a celebrated writer.) I was eager to join the march. Dick and I left Cliff in hi
St. Louis: Charter Founder Admits $2.4 Million Fraud
The founder and headmaster of a charter school in St. Louis admitted to skimming $2.4 million in public funding by inflating enrollment. This is to be expected when private companies obtain public money without accountability or transparency. The former head of a failed charter school has pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges in a scheme that cost taxpayers $2.4 million. Michael Malone, wh
Bill Becker: America’s Air Is Still Deadly, and Trump Is Making It Worse
Climate expert Bill Becker writes here about the state of America’s air, and Trump’s rollback of regulations to improve its quality. He writes: Our air still is not as clean and healthy as it could be, or should be. The most recent “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association (ALA) includes the sobering fact that nearly half of the American people live in places where it is still
South Carolina: Teachers Fearful About Returning for In-Person Instruction
Lucas Smolcic Larson writes in the Island Packet about the views of teachers concerning the return to school. The S.C. McClatchy newspapers asked educators if they felt ready to return to school during the coronavirus pandemic. Over 250 teachers, librarians, coaches and other educators from every corner of the state responded to the survey. The vast majority work at public schools, with about two
How the Trump Organization Made Big $$ by Renting Rooms to Secret Service
David Farenthold of the Washington Post follows how government money winds up in Trump’s bank account. Has there ever been a president who profited so handsomely from his office? The following article is excerpted in part. Farenthold writes: The Secret Service had asked for a room close to the president. But Mar-a-Lago said it was too late. The room was booked. Would agents like a room across the

AUG 27

How Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin Took Control of the USPS
The New York Times published a detailed investigation that explained how the Trump administration, acting through the Treasury Secretary, took control of the United States Postal Service and politicized it by selecting an unqualified Trump donor as Postmaster General. This is par for the course, as Trump has put unqualified Trump loyalists in charge of every agency. WASHINGTON — In early February
Bill Gates, The New York Times, and Undisclosed Conflicts of Interest
Leonie Haimson writes here about Bill Gates and his successful efforts to buy positive media coverage for himself and the projects he funds. She read the excellent investigative research on Gates’ strategic funding of influential media outlets by Tim Schwab. She writes: Reporter Tim Schwab just had a must-read piece in the Columbia Journalism Review about how the Gates Foundation provides grants
John Thompson: Oklahoma Politicians Mumbling about the Coronavirus
John Thompson is a historian and retired teacher in Oklahoma. He writes: The McAlester Public Schools are in the Oklahoma county where COVID is now #1 in the state in per capita COVID infections. A week before the scheduled opening, McAlester reports five positives linked to football. But its schools will still provide in-person instruction. This is just one of 50 schools with infections on the e
Gary Rubenstein Gives You Some Math Lessons
You have often read Gary Rubinstein’s sage insights into the hoaxes associated with “miracle schools,” charter schools, and Tesch for America. But his fist love is teaching mathematics. That is also his profession. So, in this time when face-to-face instruction is imperiled, Gary has prepared some lessons to share with parents, teachers, and students. With this pandemic going on and so many peopl

AUG 26

Dana Milbank: Trump and His Bevy of Crooks
Dabs Milbank is a regular opinion writer for the Washington Post. In this post , he reminds us of the numerous Trump allies who have been arrested or indicted or convicted or pardoned. So much for “Draining the Swamp.” What a joke! Trump’s Swamp is bigger and badder than anyone else’s. He writes: As Donald Trump’s chief strategist in 2016, Steve Bannon helped shape Trump’s “America First” campaig
Mercedes Schneider: What Matters Most when Teaching During a Pandemic
Mercedes Schneider is preparing for the opening of her high school in Louisiana. Teaching during a global pandemic is a twilight zone, where everyone is groping to do the right thing. She is aware of the difficulty of planning when there is so much uncertainty. Yet that’s what educators do: they plan. She’s aware of the contradictions that will make every day challlenging. The one constant that s
Why George Conway Turned Against Trump
Kellyanne Conway has been a bulldog for Trump. She recently announced that she was leaving her job to take care of her family. Her husband George, a co-founder of the Lincoln Project, is stepping back from his work there but said on Twitter that he supports its efforts, “Passionately.” The apparent cause of the Conway withdrawals from politics is their daughter Claudia, who has been posting her d
Bill Phillis: Vouchers Fail in Ohio
Bill Phillis, founder of the Ohio Coalition for Adequacy and Equity and a vocal supporter of public schools, writes here about an investigation of vouchers by the Cincinnati Enquirer. The report echoed the findings of academic research: students in public schools get higher test scores than those in voucher schools. Vouchers don’t “save” children. They don’t “save” black children. Ohio officials
Nancy Bailey: How to Force DeVos into Retirement on One of Her Ten Yachts
Nancy Bailey writes that the best way to fire Betsy DeVos is to vote for Biden and Harris. She writes: If you’re Democrat or Republican, and you care about public education, vote for V.P. Joe Biden to remove Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from the U.S. Department of Education! Four more years of Betsy DeVos means the end of public education. With a President Biden, public schools have a chance o

AUG 25

Trump at the Trump Convention: “12 More Years”
Trump has often expressed his opposition to the term limits for the presidency. He envies his friend Kim in North Korea, who is president for life. He envies his friends Vlad Putin, who just extended his president by 16 years, to 2036. Trump doesn’t see why the law or the Constitution should affect the longevity of his tenure in office, which he hopes to make eternal and then pass on to his proge
The Most Moving Speech at the Democratic National Convention
Almost every reviewer of the Democratic National Convention agreed that this was the most moving speech of all. Thirteen-year-old Brayden Harrington met Joe Biden at a town hall in New Hampshire. When Biden learned that the boy stutters, he asked to meet privately afterwards. He told him how he had overcome his stutter and gave him some helpful,advice. Above all, he gave him hope and the confiden
Mike Klonsky: Biden and Harris Didn’t Say Much About Education But the Platform Does
Mike Klonsky notes that education was barely mentioned in the convention speeches of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. But he points out that the platform contains some strong language in the right direction on charters, vouchers, for-profit businesses, and testing. On testing, for example, it says: The evidence from nearly two decades of education reforms that hinge on standardized test scores shows
New York Times: How Trump Destroyed the C.I.A.
This article in the New York Times Magazine b Robert Draper confirms our worst suspicions about Trump. He has used his authority to eliminate any top official in the Central Intelligence Agency who is not personally loyal to him. He has suppressed any independent analysis of Russian efforts to interfere in our elections. His actions border on treason. In early July of last year, the first draft o
The Dismal GOP Roll Call of States
Robin Givhan of the Washington Post writes about the roll call of the states at the Trump convention. The roll call on opening day of the Republican National Convention was sleepy. Low energy. And sad. This American ritual, during which each state pledges its delegates to the winning candidate, was bereft of charm. It was technically stultifying. It was also devoid of Black people and sorely lack
Boston Globe: The Takeaway from the Trump National Convention
James Pindell wrote in the Boston Globe about the Republican Convention. For the Republicans, America is a country on the verge of collapse because there is rioting in the cities, impending doom in the suburbs, and some concerted effort in the rural areas to prevent people from going to church or owning a gun. As one speaker put it: “Trump is the bodyguard of western civilization.” The Republican
An Open Letter to Biden and Harris from Washington State’s Superintendent of Public Instruction
Chris Reykdal, state superintendent of public instruction in Washington State, published this excellent letter to the Democratic candidates. It overflows with wisdom and common sense. An Open Letter to the Biden-Harris Ticket: Mr. Vice President and Senator Harris, there is so much at stake with this year’s presidential election, including the very foundation of our country’s democracy – the futu
Rabbi in St. Louis: The McCloskeys Are Bullies
The Republican Party—that is, the Trumps—made heroes of Patricia and Mark McCloskey, who had menaced peaceful marchers on their St. Louis Street with guns. The McCloskey property abuts a reform synagogue. Its rabbi, Susan Talve, spoke up and said the McCloskeys are litigious bullies. In 2013, the synagogue placed beehives along the wall to produce honey for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. One

AUG 24

Melania Cuts Down Jackie Kennedy’s White House Rose Garden
Jackie Kennedy, wife of President John F. Kennedy, redesigned the White House Rose Garden. Jackie also redecorates the White House. She was an icon of taste and style. Melania Trump decided to renovate the Rose Garden. Her efforts have been received with dismay. What was once a splash of color is now monochromatic white. Some may like this cold aesthetic. Many don’t.
Florida: Judge Blocks State Order to Open Schools
In Florida, state officials ordered schools across the state to open fully without regard to safety or local officials. The Florida Education Association sued, and a judge blocked them reopening. A Florida judge Monday granted a temporary injunction against the state’s order requiring school districts to reopen schools during the novel coronavirus pandemic, saying in a harshly worded decision tha
Reuters: Business Partner of Falwells Claims He Had Relationship with the Powerful Evangelicals
This article in Reuters reports that a young man says he had an affair for several years with the wife of Jerry Falwell, Jr., president-on-leave of Liberty University, which was founded by his famous father. He told Reuters that Falwell often watched as he had relations with Falwell’s wife. Ah, the hypocrisy of those who claim to be morally superior. The strict honor code of Liberty University fo
Politico: What Obama Really Felt About Biden
Alex Thompson of Politico wrote a fascinating article about the tensions between Obama and Biden. During his eight years as Vice-President, Biden was loyal to Obama. Biden thought he was the inevitable successor to Obama. But Obama preferred Hillary to Joe. Hillary and Barack were both Ivy League, both cerebral, both cut from the same cloth. Biden is an old school politician. He’s not Ivy League.
Bob Shepherd Opens the Republican National Convention
Today is the day when the Republican Party convenes to renominate Donald Trump as President of the United States. Trump has so thoroughly conquered the Grand Old Party that some call it “the Trump Party.” No member dare challenges his decisions, statements or policies, for fear that a humiliating tweet will end his or her career. A once-proud party that trumpeted its devotion to principles like f
McSweeney’s: The Schedule of Speakers at the Republican Convention
This post in McSweeney’s was inspired by the news that the gun-toting couple from Missouri who threatened BLM protestors have been invited to speak at the Republican Convention. Here is the first day: Monday, August 24 9:00 pm The Creatures From Beyond the Mist scream the national anthem. 9:05 pm Morgon, Devourer of Children, discusses his proposal to drastically decrease education spending. 9:20
Michael Hynes Pays Tribute to the Late Sir Ken Robinson
Dr. Michael Hynes is the Superintendent of the Port Washington School District in New York and a friend of Sir Ken Robinson. The Legacy and Impact of Sir Ken Robinson The world lost an inspiring and incredible human-being on August 21, 2020. Sir Ken Robinson, the gifted author and educator, and one of the world’s leading thinkers made an incredible impact on everyone he met. You may know him from

AUG 23

Politico: The Trump National Convention
Politico writes this morning that there is no “Republican” national convention, no focus on the party. All eyes on Trump. He will break tradition by speaking all four nights. Traditionally, the party’s presidential nominee only speaks one night. But this GOP convention will be more like Trump placing the crown on his own head than it being bestowed by the party.
Jack Hassard: Most Americans Can Vote By Mail
Jack Hassard writes that 75% of Americans can vote by mail. Although your vote will be counted if it is postmarked by 7:00 pm on November 3, I urge you to vote earlier or, if possible, vote in person. I intend to vote in person, no matter how long the lines. Trump will try to drag out the counting of the votes, in order to throw doubt on the outcome and discredit the election. Unless there is an
Arthur Goldstein: NYC Schools Can’t Open Unless They Are Safe
Arthur Goldstein, a veteran New York City high school teacher, warns that New York City public schoools cannot open unless they are safe for students and staff. He wrote an open letter to staff at his school. The signs and portents of a strike by the city’s United Federation of Teachers are looming in the background. He writes, in part, Every time I read someone advocating opening buildings, they
Thomas Ultican: Charter Schools Are a Failed Experiment
Thomas Ultican, who retired last year as a teacher of advanced math and physics in California, has studied school reform in many districts. He concludes that charter schools, created supposedly to improve education, especially for the neediest children, is a failed experiment. He reviews the origins of the charter school idea and shows how AFT leader Albert Shanker became disillusioned. The premi
Tim Schwab: Bill &Melinda Gates Are Buying Favorable Coverage in the Media
It’s rare indeed to read a critical article about how Bill & Melinda Gates use their vast wealth to burnish their image as the greatest benefactors of all time. This article by freelance journalist Tim Schwab, published in the Columbia Journalism Review, documents how the Gates have purchased a larger-than-life portrayal of themselves by strategic investments in the media. With rare exceptions, t
Trump’s Sister Told Mary Trump that Donald is a Liar with “No Principles”
The Washington Post published an explosive story based on audios supplied by Donald Trump’s sister, Maryanne, a retired federal judge. Maryanne Trump Barry was serving as a federal judge when she heard her brother, President Trump, suggest on Fox News, “maybe I’ll have to put her at the border” amid a wave of refugees entering the United States. At the time, children were being separated from the

AUG 22

BREAKING: Federal Judge Issues Injunction Against DeVos’ Coronavirus Aid Rule
A federal judge blocked Betsy DeVos’ rule requiring states to split their coronavirus aid with private schools , regardless of need or student poverty levels. For DeVos, the CARES Act was yet another opportunity to divert money from public schools to private schools. Andrew Ujifusa of Education Week reports: A federal judge has ruled against U.S. Department of Education in a lawsuit over how much
Charles Pierce: Joe Biden’s Big Gamble
Charles Pierce is a blogger at Esquire whose sensibility I share. I always enjoy what he writes. He wrote about the Democratic Convention that Joe Biden was making a big gamble. He was betting that the American people would choose to vote for decency, for democracy, for science. That they would vote for light over darkness, for love over hate. But will they? Biden is leading in all the polls, but
Missouri Lowers Standards for Substitute Teachers
In an amazingly alarming move, the state of Missouri plans to lower standards for substitute teachers. One superintendent of a rural district has floated the idea of bringing in National Guard units as substitute teachers. Matt Davis, superintendent of Eldon, Missouri, schools, made the suggestion to Gov. Mike Parson in a July meeting, according to a report in the Fulton Sun. On Tuesday, the Miss
Biden and Harris May Forge a New Path on Education
Evie Blad of Education Week writes that a Biden-Harris administration may forge a new path on education issues. They have pledged to increase funding, regulate charters, and back away from standardized testing. They also have pledged to support the right to collective bargaining. This heartens advocates of public education, but frightens the corporate reformers who have controlled education for 2
Emily Harris: Have Faith in Tulsa Public Schools
Emily Harris teaches A.P. U.S. History at Will Rogers High School in Tulsa. She writes here about her faith in the public schools. She is concerned that some students have enrolled in the EPIC virtual charter school, which has a horrible record and operates for profit. I am a teacher at Will Rogers High School. My husband, John, is a teacher at Nathan Hale High School. We are proud our 1-year-old
Bill McKibben: Don’t Let Trump Kill the Postal Service
Bill McKibben writes frequently about the environment, climate change, and rural life for the New Yorker.. Here he writes that Trump’s attack on the Postal Service Threatens democracy. The irony, McKibben points out, is that rural 

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