Saturday, August 8, 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

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 

Cuomo Says It Is OK to Reopen Schools in New York
Governor Cuomo gave thumbs-up to reopening schools in New York so long as their plans are approved by the state. Some parents and teachers are happy. Some are worried. Sone wonder how schools will pay for testing and tracing. Schools have already opened in a few other states, and their experiences bear watching. There is still much about the virus that is unknown, and some states (California and
Fauci: To Open School or Not
Dr. Anthony Fauci hems and haws as he dances around the question of whether to open schools. He is trying his best not to anger the touchy Trump, not to provoke an angry tweet. He is worried about the death threats that follow when he takes issue with Trump’s bombast. He thinks children should be in school, except when they shouldn’t be. He has become the Delphic Oracle of COVID-19. Interpret his
George T. Conway III: Trump’s Name Will Live in Infamy
George T. Conway III is a lawyer and a Republican. He is a founder of The Lincoln Project. His Twitter feed is brilliant. He happens to be married to Trump’s senior advisor Kellyanne Conway. Imagine the dinner-table conversations at the Conway home. He wrote this article for the Washington Post , where is is an occasional contributor. I did not insert the many links that verify each statement. It
John Thompson: With Coronavirus Surging in Oklahoma, School Reopening Is Unlikely
John Thompson asks how it is possible to open schools in Oklahoma with coronavirus on the rise. Thompson writes: The New York Times reports that on June 1, the Oklahoma City metropolitan area had a seven-day average of 17 new COVID-19 cases a day. I believe Mayor David Holt deserves great credit for the science-based policies that kept infection numbers down. By Aug. 1, however, the seven-day ave
Connecticut: Charters Struggled with Ethics of Double Dipping Federal PPP
This story in the Middletown (Connecticut) Press shows that charters in the state debated whether it was ethical to take federal money intended to help small businesses and nonprofits that might go bankrupt. Some took the money, others decided against it. The Connecticut Charter Schools Association encouraged the state’s charter schools to go for the money. Among those that did were members of la
University of Kentucky Joins with NAACP to Establish New Research Initiative
The University of Kentucky College of Education and the NAACP have agreed to establish a research center at the university to address issues of concern to African American communities. The driving force behind this project is the new Dean of the College, Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig, who is a nationally recognized scholar on equity policies. Heilig has written extensively about civil rights, charter

AUG 06

Private Schools Collected Billions from Federal Paycheck Protection Program reported this important piece of information. Private schools have scored billions from the Paycheck Protection Program. This represents a massive transfer of public funding to private and religious schools. Of course, this fulfills a major policy goal of the Trump administration. Americans United for Separation of Church and State rev iewed federal records and calculated that pri
NPE Releases New Report on Astonishing Charter School Closure Rates
Today, the Network for Public Education released a new report on the astonishing rate at which charter schools close. The period covered in the report was 1999-2017, using data collected by the U.S. Department of Education. The findings were researched by Ryan Pfleger, Ph.D., and written by Carol Burris, executive director of NPE. Contact: Carol Burris Phone: 516 993 2141 Email: cburris@networkfo
Tennessee: A District Opens in Midst of Surging Pandemic
The Washington Post reported this morning on a district in Tennessee that is opening for in-person instruction, even though the state is experiencing rising rates of coronavirus. Someone has to go first, and Blount County has decided to try it. The nation is watching. The story was written by A.C. Shilton and Joe Heim, with the help of Valerie Strauss. MARYVILLE, Tenn. — It was just before 7:30 a
Anthony Cody: Who Is Allowed to Be Selfish?
Anthony Cody taught for many years in the Oakland public schools. We co-founded the Network for Public Education in 2012. His blog is called “Living in Dialogue.” He writes: Who is Allowed to be Selfish? Isn’t it a bit strange – our capitalist economy is built on the glorious profit motive. The wealthy are expected to be selfish – they are rewarded for their ability to make more and more, and exp

AUG 05

Peter Wehner: Trump Is a Broken, Bitter Man
Peter Wehner worked in the Reagan administration as a young man, as well as in the administrations of both Bush presidents. He remembers Reagan as a man who exuded hope and optimism. Whether or not you liked his policies, he was relentlessly cheerful and friendly. Trump, on the other hand, is filled with self-pity and rage . Look at almost any photograph of him, and he is a portrait of an angry m
Paul Horton: The Pathetic Story of Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas
Paul Horton teaches history at the University of Chicago Lab school. He has studied the history of the South, among other topics. The Eighteenth Brumaire of High Cotton In the South, everything is about geography and history. Arkansas’s current junior senator, Tom Cotton, routinely ignores both subjects in his embrace of Tea Party agitprop, Grover Norquist-like tantrums about strangling the publi
Dr. Birx: To Open Schools or Not?
For months, Dr. Deborah Birx has stood loyally by Trump as he painted an optimistic picture of the pandemic. She sat silently on the podium at the White House briefing when he recommended that people inject or ingest disinfectant. Surely she knew that was absurd. Several days ago, the New York Times noted that Dr. Birx had become a favorite of Trump because she did not contradict him as Dr. Fauci
Ashley McCall: What If We Radically Reimagined School?
Ashley McCall is a bilingual third-grade teacher of English Language Arts in Chicago Public Schools. She asked in a recent post on her blog whether we might seize this opportunity to reimagine schooling for the future, to break free of a stale and oppressive status quo that stifles both children and teachers. She writes: “What if?” I thought. What if we did something different, on purpose? What i

AUG 04

Tennessee: Plaintiffs File Amicus Brief in Voucher Case
This news just in from the Education Law Center about resistance to vouchers in Tennessee. Vouchers are a huge waste of public money. Studies in recent years have converged on the conclusion that students who use vouchers fall behind their peers who remain in public school. Meanwhile, the public schools lose money that is diverted to subpar voucher schools. Why do politicians like Governor Lee of
Arthur Camins: Beware the “Me-First” Pandemic
Arthur Camins, retired science educator, warns that the coronavirus pandemic is rivaled by an equally harmful pandemic of selfishness. He begins: Deadly as it is, the uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 in the United States is but a part of a broader, more devastating phenomenon: the be-out-for-yourself-pandemic. The readily available antidote is organizing for mutual benefit, but that medicine has b
John Merrow: Why Does the Press Go Easy on Trump?
John Merrow thinks the White House press corps has failed to ask Trump tough questions. This was true during the 2016 campaign, he says, and its true now. The recent Chris Wallace interview on FOX was a rare exception. Wallace has facts to challenge Trump’s lies. But typically he ignores questions and answers questions that no one asks. He always plays the victim, and a docile press lets him get
Peter Greene: How Charters in Pennsylvania Monetize Students with Disabilities
Peter Greene describes in this post how charter schools in Pennsylvania manage to game the system by making money from students with disabilities even while excluding many of them. He writes: In a new report, Education Voters of Pennsylvania looks at “how an outdated law wastes public money, encourages gaming the system, and limits school choice.” Fixing the Flaws looks at how Pennsylvania’s two
Steve Nelson: Not Wearing a Mask Is Stupid
Since the pandemic began, public health experts have told us to wear a mask when interacting with others, keep a social distance from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands frequently. The purpose is to protect yourself and others and to stop the spread of the disease. The evidence shows that it works. New York City and New York State went from worst in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths
Is the Demand to Reopen Schools Really a Plot to Dismantle Them?
Floridians, and everyone else, want to know the answer to this question. Some believe that keeping schools open during a pandemic will destroy them; some fear that opening them during a pandemic will destroy them. Take your pick. Thanks to Peter Greene, I discovered a Florida blog called Accountabaloney, written by two savvy Floridians who are fed-up with their state’s absurd education policies.

AUG 03

Glen Brown: The Retired Teacher’s Concerns
Glen Brown taught for many years in Illinois public schools. This Retired Teacher’s Concerns This is a letter to retired teachers who knowingly disregard the current crisis that teachers confront this fall and most likely next spring because of the dangerous Covid-19 pandemic. Let me begin by asking them a few questions: Where is your concern for current teachers (who, by the way, are funding you
NY Times Magazine: Why We Are Losing the Fight Against COVID-19
The New York Times declared that its coverage of the pandemic would not be locked behind a paywall, so I’m assuming this article is available for free use. It focuses on the fight to contain the virus in Harris County (Houston). One obstacle is the defunding of public health services in this country, which left us unprepared for the pandemic. Another obstacle is the actions of politicians who fol
Trump Goes Berserk, Again
From today’s Washington Post: President Trump threatened a lawsuit Monday after Nevada passed legislation Sunday to send mail-in ballots to all voters in response to the pandemic, claiming without evidence that the move was illegal and that Democrats were “using Covid” to win the election. “In an illegal late night coup, Nevada’s clubhouse Governor made it impossible for Republicans to win the st
Pawan Dhingra: Why Indian Americans Excel at Spelling Bees
Pawan Dhingra, a Professor of American Studies at Amherst College, writes about what he calls “hyper education,” the stress that parents apply to get their children to become high achievers. In this article, he writes about the phenomenon of Indian American students dominating spelling bees. He begins: Succeeding in the Spelling Bee for Indian Americans is more than a family affair Growing up in
Fred Klonsky: What is “Cancel Culture”?
Fred Klonsky writes here about “cancel culture” and about opinion columnist John Kass, who lost his prominent spot in the Chicago Tribune after his references to George Soros as a bad guy. Kass did not get fired, but his column did lose its highly desirable spot on page 2 of the paper. Here is what you need to know about George Soros. He was born in Hungary, survived the Holocaust, and became a b

AUG 02

The Lincoln Project Video: MOMS
Moms will not be intimidated by thugs without name tags in unmarked cars or by tear gas.
My Interview with the New York Review of Books
An interview in which I talk about education , poetry, and changing my mind.
Why Andrew Cuomo Refuses to Tax the Billionaires in New York
New York, like California, has a large cohort of billionaires. To be exact, there are 118 billionaire families in New York. Despite the desperate financial condition of the state, Andrew Cuomo refuses to raise the taxes on the top one-tenth of 1%. Cuomo says that if he raised taxes on the billionaires, they would move to another state. Walker Bragman and David Sirota explain another reason why Cu
Larry Cuban: The Best Post on Dilemmas of Reopening
Larry Cuban reposts here the best summary of the dilemmas of reopening the schools during a pandemic. Trump and DeVos think that they can sit in D.C. and order the schools to open up for in-person instruction or lose funding. An order is not a plan. School boards and superintendents have to figure out how, when, and whether to reopen, and how to pay for it. They know that in-person instruction is
New Orleans: Hit Hard by COVID-19, Compounded by Racism
The National Education Policy Center released a report recently by Kristen Buras, one of my favorite scholar-writers. It focuses on dramatic racial disparities in New Orleans as the COVID-19 pandemic spread in the city. Her earlier book about the privatization of the public schools of New Orleans is powerful and, aside from my review, did not get the attention it deserved. It is titled Charter Sc
Johaan Neem: Will Public Schools Survive the Pandemic?
Johann Neem, historian of education at Western Washington University, wrote an article in USA Today about the threat that COVID-19 poses to the future of public education. Affluent parents, he notes, are making their own arrangements. Some have created “learning pods” and hired their own teachers. Others will send their children to private schools, which have the resources to respond nimbly to th

AUG 01

Network for Public Education: The Work of Our Grassroots Education Network
Marla Kilfoyle, who used to be executive director of the BadAss Teachers Association, is now the Grassroots Coordinator for the Network for Public Education. She stays in touch with grassroots organizations of parents and teachers and other supporters of public schools across the nation. Here is her report for the month of September. The NPE Grassroots Education Network is a network of 150 grassr
WorldoMeter: U.S. Is Number One in Coronavirus Cases
According to WorldoMeter , the U.S. accounts for about one-quarter of all the coronavirus cases in the world, at 4.7 million cases out of a world total of 17.8 million. The U.S. has recorded over 157,000 deaths. That is 475 deaths for every one million people. It is not the highest death rate in the world, but it is among the highest. It is even worse in Peru, Chile, Spain, the UK, Italy, Sweden,
Nancy Flanagan: What If This Were the Best Year Ever?
Nancy Flanagan, who taught music in Michigan public schools for more than three decades, notes that journalists are referring to 2020 as “the worst year ever” for schools. She poses a question: What if teachers used this time to take control of their work and make this the best year ever? She writes: What if this were the year that we–students, teachers, parents—got to try everything we ever cons
Peter Greene: Don’t Believe the D in DFER
Democrats for Education Reform is a group of Wall Street hedge fund executives that decided that schools would improve if they were privatized and adhered to business principles, like pay for performance, no unions, testing, accountability, and private management. DFER likes mayoral control and state takeovers, not elected school boards. Above all, it is mad for charter schools, which honor the p
The DFER Democrats Who Support the Betsy DeVos Agenda of “School Choice”
DFER (Democrats for Education Reform) is an organization founded by Wall Street hedge fund managers to support charter schools. They believe in privatization; they actively undermine public schools that belong to the community. They believe in high-stakes testing, and they strongly support evaluating teachers by the test scores of their students, although professional associations like the Americ
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 
Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all