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Saturday, October 10, 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

“Homecoming”: Are You Ready for This?
A prize-winning short video about a young man with a secret who is coming home to tell his parents.
Samantha Bee Demolishes School Choice
Some of us have spent years trying to explain to the public why school choice—charters and vouchers—is a bad idea. Samantha Bee does the job effectively in this video in seven minutes. She notes that school choice has had bipartisan support but that its enthusiastic advocates are people who hate public schools and want to turn them over to the free market or religious zealots , or both. Samantha
Tom Ultican: The Authoritarians Who Ruined Our Schools
Tom Ultican, retired teacher of physics and advanced mathematics, has been studying the spread of the fake “reform” efforts across the nation (aka the Destroy Public Education Movement). In this post , he reviews the damage done by authoritarian education “leaders” who have robbed students and teachers of the joy of learning while attacking public schools. He names names. He begins: For more than
Meet the Religious Zealot Who Has Defeated Bond Issues in Rural America
Paul Dorr is a little-known figure who has led numerous successful campaigns against bond issues in rural America over the past 25 years. He opposes public education. He believes that all education should be centered in religion and the church. Dorr is also active in opposing abortion and supporting gun rights. He burns books that he does not approve of. A viral Facebook video offers some clues.

OCT 08

Trump Wants Barr to Indict Obama and Biden
in a startling interview with FOX Business News, Trump expressed his unhappiness with some of his most loyal allies. He insisted that Attorney General William Barr should indict former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden for “the crime of the century,” meaning his suspicion that his campaign was bugged. He won the election, so it’s hard to know why he’s still complaining ab
Report: Barr Undermines Justice and Intelligence Agencies
James Hohmann of the Washington Post reviews a report that is soon to be released. It is highly critical of Attorney General William Barr. He writes: “A forthcoming report from the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law at the University of Pennsylvania, prepared in partnership with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, is sharply critical of Attorney General Bill Barr. “The author
When Walton Family Says “Innovative,” They Mean Privately Controlled
What do you think the Walton Family Foundation has in mind when they seek out “innovative” approaches to schooling? We know that they speak their mind when they hand out millions every year to charter schools, school choice organizations, privatization advocacy groups, and Teach for America. They usually drop a few dollars in the bucket of their Bentonville, Arkansas, public schools, peanuts comp
Oklahoma: EPIC Audit and a System Ripe for Abuse and Fraud
Ben Felder wrote a comprehensive review of the State Auditor’s report about EPIC charter schools. EPIC has previously been fined more than half a million dollars for overspending on administration. The audit proposes that for-profit management of charter schools should be ended. The following is an excerpt. Online charter schools are immensely profitable regardless of the quality of services they
Columbus, Ohio: School Board Member Lobbies for School Choice, Not Public Schools
Maureen Reedy is an experienced teacher and advocate for Ohio’s public schools. She wrote a letter to the editor which all public school supporters should read: To the Editor: Let me get this straight: James Ragland, a first-term Columbus school board member, is al
Retired Teacher: The Remedy for Our Schools
A regular reader who uses the name “Retired Teacher” posted this wise comment. I couldn’t agree more. So-called choice is mostly a marketing scheme designed to make parents believe they are getting a better school for their children. Research has shown that choice generally does not improve education, and in many cases the quality of education is worse. Choice is a way for corporations to gain ac

OCT 07

South Carolina: Supreme Court Strikes Down Voucher Plan!
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster thought he could use some of the state’s CARES Act money to create a voucher program. The Supreme Court of South Carolina just struck down his illegal scheme to divert money from public schools to private and religious schools. From Public money cannot be spent on South Carolina’s private schools, the S.C. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday aft
The Latest Videos from the Lincoln Project
The dissident Republicans who created The Lincoln Project are fast and funny. Here is “ Covita .” It shows Trump returning to the White House after his hospitalization for COVID. This one is called “ Adultery .” It shows a sharp contrast between Pence’s Biblical view of marriage and Trump’s life. #hypocrisy
Dana Milbank: The Invincible Trump
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post writes here about Trump’s “heroism.” After Donald Trump got out of Vietnam with student deferments and a spurious claim of bone spurs, he proposed that those who did serve in Vietnam were “stupid” and “losers,” according to various accounts
What to Watch Instead of the News
If you need a break from the daily news, I have a suggestion. Watch the telenovela “Jane the Virgin.” I’m sorry to say that it’s on Netflix. Despite that, it’s wonderfully entertaining. I won’t explain the plot—too complicated—but I urge you to watch the first few episodes.
DeVos Sends Out $131 Million for New Charters
Congress again gave $440 million to the wasteful and unnecessary federal Charter Schools Program, enabling Secretary DeVos sole discretion over where she wants to plant new charter schools, whether or not the community wants them. DeVos just handed out $131 million to start new charters. The largest amount went to Texas, which is under heavy siege by national charter chains. As studies by the Net
Laura Chapman: “GreatSchools” Rating System Is Funded by School Choice Billionaires
Laura Chapman, intrepid researcher, writes here about the billionaire and corporate money supporting the rating system for schools called GreatSchools. It clearly exists to promote school choice, not community cohesion or civic responsibility. GreatSchools recently announced that it would use “growth scores” to measure school quality, not just test scores, but the difference is miniscule, and the

OCT 06

Carol Burris: Back to School—the Good, the Bad, the Ugly
Carol Burris interviewed teachers, students and administrators about their experiences returning to school. As you might expect, she encountered a range of reactions. The Network for Public Education is following 37 districts in New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut that reopened — either hybrid or full time. Of the 23 districts that responded to our inquiry regarding remote learners, the avera
A Reader’s Recipe for Education “Reform”
A new reader to the blog posted her own recipe to describe “reform,” which has an unfortunate habit of failing again and again but being revived by Betsy DeVos and/or Bill Gates and the Walton Family: Sandy Dixon Forrest Recipe for sucking in public tax money and making obscene profits on the backs of public school teachers and students: FINANCE inappropriate “standards” to be implemented by all
David R. Taylor: What Would Four More Years of Trump Mean for Public Education?
David R. Taylor is a veteran teacher and blogger. He asks the important question of what to expect the consequences to be for public education if Trump is re-elected. Very likely, it means four more years of Betsy DeVos and her crusade to destroy public education and shower federal money on charter schools, private schools, and religious schools. Taylor reviews some of her worst actions, such as
Tim Schwab: The Poor Get Sick, and Bill Gates Gets Richer
Journalist Tim Schwab has been keeping a close watch on Bill Gates and his efforts to buy favorable media coverage . Now, he examines Gates’ very successful moves to enrich himself during the pandemic. Meanwhile, Bill and Melinda continue to receive laudatory treatment by the media that they underwrite, as if they are experts on everything from the pandemic to education. No mainstream journal has
How the Trump Administration Downplayed COVID
The Select Sub-Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis (House of Representatives) released a devastating report on the Trump administration’s efforts to hide the seriousness of the pandemic from the public.

OCT 05

Trump’s Positive Thinking About COVID-19=Denial
James Hohmann of the Washington Post explains Trump’s refusal to face reality: Self-help guru Norman Vincent Peale’s 1952 book, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” influenced Donald Trump’s worldview more than anything else he ever read, according to biographers. “Stam
David Dayen: “The President is a Sick Man”
David Dayen writes a daily report for The American Prospect on the pandemic called “Unsanitized.” In this entry, he comments on Trump’s selfishness in spreading the coronavirus. He writes: The President Is a Sick Man What happens when one of the worst people America has produced contracts the coronavirus? Well, he tries to hide it , first of all. He attends a series of fundraisers and rallies wit
Andrea Gabor: The Flaws in California’s Ethnic Studies Mandate
Andrea Gabor, a former editor at Business Week and U.S. News & World Report, is the Bloomberg chair of business journalism at Baruch College of the City University of New York and the author of “After the Education Wars: How Smart Schools Upend the Business of Reform.” It appeared behind a paywall at Bloomberg News. After she wrote this article, Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed the proposal to mandat
Jan Resseger: The GOP War Against Teachers is a War Against Education
Jan Resseger writes here about the Republicans who refuse to fund teachers’ salaries have placed budget-cutting above education and the needs of the future. The Republicans’ disregard for teachers has been displayed over the past 20 years, as state legislatures and governors have attacked teachers’ rights, their salaries, and whatever they could to discourage teachers. The supply of young people
Texas: Public Schools Have Better Outcomes Than Charter Schools
William J. Gumbert has studied the performance of charter schools in Texas and has consistently documented that they are inferior to public schools. Their promoters have sold the Legislature a Bill of goods, meaning that their results are nowhere as impressive as their promises. In this post, he shows that charter graduates are poorly prepared for higher education. Privately Managed, College Prep
Andy Hargreaves: Imagine a World Without Teachers!
Today is World Teachers Day. It’s a day we honor teachers around the world and thank them for their dedication and hard work, building our future. Andy H argreaves poses a thought experiment: Imagine a world without teachers! He begins: Never has there been a more important time than this moment, right now, to think about and appreciate what great teachers have done for our children and also for

OCT 04

Today, the Launch of the Orient Express
Garrison Keillor’s “The Writers’ Almanac” describes the history of the Orient Express: This date marks the first formal run of the Orient Express in 1883. The train was the brainchild of Georges Nagelmackers, a Belgian banker’s son. He had been impressed by railway innovations he’d seen in America in the 1860s — particularly George Pullman’s “sleeper cars” — and envisioned a richly appointed trai
Commonweal: Trump’s Disastrous Presidency
Commonweal is a liberal Catholic magazine. I read its articles and editorials regularly for their common sense and intelligence. What actually motivates us to vote in presidential elections, other than a sense of duty? The answer depends on the election. Once in a while, we have the luxury of voting enthusiastically for the better of two good candidates. Sometimes—too often—the choice is between
Ruth Marcus on Amy Coney Barrett
Ruth Marcus, a writer for the Washington Post, writes that Amy Coney Barrett says she holds the same judicial philosophy as her mentor Justice Antonin Scalia. In this column, she explores Scalia’s legacy. The best way to predict how Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett would behave as a justice is to listen to her — and take her words seriously. She hasn’t been mysterious about it: Speaking in
Steven Singer: What Trump’s COVID Means for Schools
Since we first learned about the pandemic in mid-March, we have gotten mixed signals from the federal government. The president said it was a hoax, said it would magically disappear. He mocked mask-wearing. Mike Pence said it would be over by Memorial Day. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) changed its guidelines, bending to the White House. Then Bob Woodward released interviews with the presi
“Free to Choose: Can School Choice Reduce Student Achievement?”
For the past thirty years, school choice advocates have claimed that the best way to improve education was to give families public money to send their child to a private or religious school. The very fact of “privateness,” they said, meant better quality. This turns out not to be the case. Students never receive a voucher that is enough to pay for elite private schools. Typically, the voucher sch

OCT 03

URGENT: Vote in Person!
The only sure way to guarantee that your vote is counted is to stand in line and vote in person. Put on your face mask, practice social distancing, and wait your turn. Trump is trying to discredit mail-in ballots and absentee ballots. He hopes to throw the election into the courts, where he expects to fare better than with the electorate. Trump and his hand-picked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy a
Arthur Camins: To Renew Our Society, Teach Empathy, Ethics, and Evidence
Arthur Camins, lifelong educators, knows that teachers can’t change what happens in the next few months, other than by casting their votes. But they can rebuild the foundation of our society by teaching these three things: empathy, ethics, and evidence. He writes: My driving force has always been a core assumption: What happens in classrooms has a significant influence on how students think and b
How Our Tax Systems Favors the 1% and Cuts Their Taxes
Nathan Bomey explained the tax avoidance strategies of the super-rich in an article in USA Today. Tax evasion is illegal but tax avoidance is not. Clever accountants can find loopholes and strategies to reduce the taxes of their clients. It is far better to be an investor than to have a salary. Wealthy Americans are the largest source of underreported income, according to IRS data analyzed by res
Rebekah Ray: Florida Is the Worst Place to Be a Teacher
Rebekah Ray responded to another Florida teacher who complained the changes by the State Legislature has destroyed the promises made to him when he became a teacher. It’s method of evaluating teachers is one of the 

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