Saturday, November 14, 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

CNN: Europe Locks Down but Keeps Schools Open
With the upsurge in the coronavirus, the U.S. and Europe are facing new shutdowns to stop the disease. But there is one big difference. European nations are keeping their schools open, as schools in the U.S. close . London (CNN) Late last month, Ireland entered a strict, six-week lockdown against the spread of Covid-19, under which social gatherings are prohibited, exercise permitted only within
Michigan Judge Rejects GOP Appeal to Block Certification of Vote
CNN reports that a Michigan judge denied a GOP lawsuit that sought to block certification of the state’s vote, which was won by Biden. If the vote were not certified, it would have discounted the people’s choice. The lawsuit was an attack on democracy. Fortunately the judge rejected it. “It would be an unprecedented exercise of judicial activism for this Court to stop the certification process of
Maine: Federal Appeals Court Upholds Maine Refusal to Fund Religious Schools
This case will go to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is now packed with justices who want to tear down the “wall of separation” between church and state. Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Barrett, Thomas, and Alito, possibly Roberts, are likely to agree that Maine cannot deny funding to religious schools. Espinosa v. Montana set the stage for the next school funding decision; that ruling said that if a state fun
Rochester, NY: Parents and Educators Object to Charter Leader on School Board
Parents, educators, and other concerned citizens petitioned in opposition to adding a charter school representative to their school board. PETITION: RCSD United Against Privatization Sign the petition against charter school affiliates being appointed to the Board of Ed here: Write to the Board and tell them what you learned: Van Henri White – van.white@thelegal
Valerie Strauss: What Does the Biden Transition Team Tell Us About His Education Agenda?
We have all been guessing about what President-Elect Joe Biden will do in education. Will he keep his campaign promises and set federal policy on a new direction, away from No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, ESSA, high-stakes testing, and school choice, or will he stick with the stale and destructive status quo? No one knows for sure but many have tried to divine his intentions by the composi
Tom Ultican: School Board Elections Pit Billionaires vs. Public School Advocates
Tom Ultican writes here about three major school board elections : Oakland, Los Angeles, and Indianapolis. These are districts that are in the crosshairs of the billionaire privatizers. No one can explain why billionaires want to privatize the public schools in these three districts (as well as dozens more). We now have nearly 30 years of evidence that neither charters nor vouchers produce educat

NOV 12

A Statement by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: No Coup
As reported by CNN: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs promises to uphold Constitution, not follow a man. Gen. Mark Milley, the top American service member, made this encouraging statement during the opening of an Army museum Thursday. “We are unique among militaries. We do not take an oath to a king or a queen, a tyrant or a dictator. We do not take an oath to an individual. No, we do not take an oath
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Wants $1 Million Reward for Finding Voter Fraud
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick of Texas, a Rush Limbaugh wannabe, offered a reward of $1 million to anyone who could find voter fraud. The Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania John Fetterman tweeted to claim the reward. He said he found a case where a man was trying to get a ballot for his deceased mother. Voter fraud! He wanted to cast her ballot for Trump. No word from Lt. Governor Patrick.
Peter Greene: My Small District Did Not Dodge COVID-19
Peter Greene thought his small school district could somehow escape the pandemic. He was wrong. He wrote: It has been just about two months since I told you that if anyone had a shot of starting school up without major Covid consequences, it would be my little corner of the world. I’m here to report that things are
Biden Aide Describes His Education Goals
For those of us who are nervous about what President-Elect Biden will do in education, specifically, whether he will revive the failed ideas of Race to the Top, this interview should be comforting. It is a report on a webinar in which Stef Feldman, Biden’s national policy director, spoke to members of the Education Writers Association. It was reported by Erik Robelin in Education Week. There are
Steven Singer: Five Reasons to Be Cautiously Optimistic about Biden
Steven Singer was an avid supporter of Bernie Sanders. Now, post election, he is feeling cautiously optimistic about the prospect of a Biden presidency. He explains why here. I’m posting his first reason. Open the link to read the other four. Singer writes: President-elect Joe Biden. Go ahead and say that aloud once. “President-elect Joe Biden.” How does it feel? If you’re like me, it feels prett
Mitchell Robinson: How to Make America Great
Mitchell Robinson, a professor at Michigan State University, has advice for state Democratic parties about their message to voters. He suggests what they need to do to attract new voters and turn red legislatures blue. Two big ideas: expand internet access and promote public education, K-16. He begins: 1. Better, more affordable access to broadband internet service In a digital age, access to fas

NOV 11

Trump Continues to Bluster, But Hints He Will Run in 2024
The Washington Post reports that Trump continues to proclaim that he will win, although he is 5 million votes behind Biden, and Biden has won the electoral college. The people around Trump are babying him, as they watch the lawsuits get tossed out of court. No one wants to tell him it’s over. In occasionally lucid moments, he talks about running in 2024, his aides say. President Trump declared We
GOP Lawsuit in Arizona Flounders
GOP officials filed a lawsuit in Arizona and sought to keep their “evidence” secret, but the judge hearing the case rejected their request. Only 180 votes are at issue. Biden leads by more than 12,000 votes. An attorney representing President Donald Trump’s reelection team, in a lawsuit alleging poll workers “incorrectly rejected” Election Day votes , asked a Maricopa County Superior Court judge
How Trump Appointee Has Blocked Biden Transition
The Washington Post explains how Trump’s choice for the GSA has blocked Biden’s transition planning: A Trump administration appointee is refusing to sign a letter allowing President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team to formally begin its work this week, in another sign the incumbent president has not acknowledged Biden’s victory and could disrupt the transfer of power. Follow the latest on Electi
New York City: Virtual Forum on the Double Crisis in the Schools
NYC Schools: A Double Crisis! A Forum on Thursday Nov. 12 at 6:30 PM How have pandemic and policy exacerbated the inequity in NYC public schools? What can be done? Thursday Nov. 12 at 6:30 PM Join us at our next virtual event as we discuss these issues with our excellent panelists. Speakers: (list to date; parent panelist will be announced) Kevin Bryant — Principal at NYC DOE High Schools and cur
California: Prop 15 Defeated, No New Funding for Schools
Big real estate interests managed to defeat Prop 15, intended to raise taxes on commercial real estate to produce billions for public schools. The Los Angeles Times reports: SACRAMENTO — California voters have rejected Proposition 15, a ballot measure that sought to force large businesses to pay higher property taxes but likely fell victim to concerns about its economic impact on employers and co
Is Trump Planning a Military Coup?
Trump fired Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense, because he refused to allow Trump to use the military to suppress domestic protests. Now the top layer of Pentagon officials is stepping down and will be replaced by Trump loyalists. Our allies are worried. We should be too. Is Trump planning a military coup?
John Young: What the Stars in Our Flag Mean Today
John Young is a journalist transplanted from Texas to Colorado. He wrote this brilliant column which lucidly explains why so many people were dancing in the streets on Saturday after Biden’s victory was announced. It begins like this. Open the link to read the dazzling ending. This is not fake news. Donald Trump does not run the country. You say he never did. You say the Constitution does. Ah, bu
Montana Teacher: Try to Understand Rural Voters
This interesting comment was posted on the blog a few days ago by a reader who identify as “Montana Teacher.” To my dear online friends whom I have never met, the faithful readers of Diane Ravitch’s blog. Like you, I felt sick all last night and much of today. I am hoping Biden will win, of course. But I am sickened that even ONE person would vote for Trump, after all that he has done. What I am

NOV 10

Biden Campaign Names Transition Team for Education
The Biden campaign released the names of those on the transition team for every department. This is the list of the transition team for the Department of Education. Department of Education The Department of Education team will also review the Corporation for National and Community Service. Name Most Recent Employment Source of Funding Linda Darling-Hammond, Team Lead Learning Policy Institute Vol
James Hochman: Trump Pushes His People into Career Jobs to Preserve Trumpism
James Hohman writes in the Washington Post about Trump’s nefarious and defiant actions during his lame-duck days in office: He writes: Perhaps as consequential as President Trump firing Defense Secretary Mark Esper via tweet on Monday, which has been widely expected for months, was the hiring of Michael Ellis to be the National Security Agency’s general counsel. As one of the most controversial s
Goodbye, Betsy DeVos: You Won’t Be Missed!
Slate is posting a series of farewell to the odious cast of characters in the Trump administration. Dan Kois wrote this goodbye to Betsy DeVos. He writes: So long, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos! It wasn’t just that you were unqualified to lead America’s educational system, as someone who never worked at a public school, attended a public school, or took out a school loan. It was that you wer
Goodbye, Ivanka: I Will Never think of You Again
Slate is running a series of goodbyes to the odious cast of characters in the Trump administration. This one was written by Dahlia Lithwick. She writes: Whereas once I expended anger upon you , now I am simply glad never to be forced to think of you again. Whereas many have contended over the years that you acted valiantly, if secretly, to mitigate and ameliorate the cruelty of your father, the e
Pasi Sahlberg: Will the Pandemic Enable Us to Make Education More Equitable?
Pasi Sahlberg is a noted Finnish educator whose book Finnish Lessons awakened Americans to the realization that good schools can flourish without standardized testing. He has focused in his work on the importance of creativity and play for children and the dangers of standardization and the free market. In this essay, he compares the different experiences of students in Australia (where he curren
Jan Resseger: Biden Campaign Promises Were Bold and Necessary
Jan Resseger reviews Biden’s campaign promises about education and expresses her admiration for them. They represent a sharp departure from the harsh, punitive approach of Race to the Top. Most of those promises require a dramatic increase in funding to close the opportunity gap. During the campaign, President Elect Biden proposed public schools policy designed to expand the opportunity to learn:

NOV 09

Biden Announces Coronavirus Task Force: Science Rules!
Farewell, Scott Atlas and Mike Pence! Amateur hour is over. President-Elect Joe Biden announced his coronavirus task force. James Hohmann of the Washington Post reports: WILMINGTON, Del. – In his first act as president-elect, Joe Biden announced Monday the 13 members of his transition team’s covid-19 advisory board. Biden advisers say this speedy rollout is intended to signal that the incoming ad
Steve Ruis: Trump Is Sabotaging the Transition, as He Sabotaged His Own
Steve Ruis reminds us that Trump refused to participate in transition planning when he was elected and is now undermining the Biden transition. Chris Christie was in charge of Trump’s transition, prepared a voluminous briefing book, and Trump’s people threw it out. They were so convinced that the government was useless and inept that they didn’t want to know what was done or what was needed. They
My View: Why Trump’s “1776 Commission” Is a Very Bad Idea
I was invited to write for The Hill, a D.C.-based website, about why I oppose the Trump administration’s executive order creating a “1776 Commission” to promote “patriotic education.” Here is my article . Trump signed an executive order on November 2, the day before the election, establishing the Commission. The reason, the order said, was that “…in recent years, a series of polemics grounded in
Linda Darling-Hammond Says She Does Not Want to Be Secretary of Education
Linda Darling-Hammond declared that she does not want to be Biden’s Secretary of Education. She prefers to stay in California, where she is president of the State Board of Education and leads the Learning Policy Institute. In 2008, she was Obama’s education spokesman during the campaign, and it was widely anticipated that she would be selected as Secretary of Education. But “reformers” (DFER) lau
Boston Globe: How Trump Might Try to Sabotage the Election
The Boston Globe wrote about what Trump might do nex t. He could graciously concede his loss, but that doesn’t look likely. He could try to undermine the legitimacy of the election, by tweeting that it was rife with fraud, as he has done on Twitter and his public statements. “The simple fact is this election is far from over,” Trump said in a statement that was issued while the president was repo
Carol Burris and I: What We Hope Biden’s Secretary of Education Will Do
Carol Burris and I wrote about our hopes for President-Elect Joe Biden’s Secretary of Education . She or he will have to do a lot of work to clear away the mess that Betsy DeVos made in her mad rush to direct public money to private, religious, and charter schools. It’s comparable to cleaning out the Augean stables, where the mythical king Elis kept 3,000 oxen for thirty years without ever cleani

NOV 08

With Giuliani at the Four Seasons Landscaping Venue
As I reported last night , the Trump campaign announced that the president’s personal attorney would meet with the media in Philadelphia to discuss legal challenges to the vote count. The announcement said the event would be held at the Four Seasons; the press assumed that meant the plush Four Seasons Hotel. Wrong. It was quickly rescheduled in front of the Four Seasons Total Landscaping in north
Texas: What I Said to Public Education Advocates
The Pastors for Texas Children, great friends of public schools, invited me to come to Texas in April 2020. I was going to speak in Houston, Dallas, and Austin to activists for public schools. The events were organized by Charles Foster Johnson, the remarkable, wise, and tireless leader of PTC. He has launched similar groups in other states, including Oklahoma and Tennessee. Then came COVID and m
Denisha Jones and I Talk about Election and Education
Leonie Haimson has a weekly radio show called “Talk Out of School” on WBAI in New York City. She invited Denisha Jones and me to discuss the election results and their implications for education, on the day after the election. Denisha is a lawyer, an early childhood education advocate, and a professor. She is also a member of the board of Network for Public Education. Here is our discussion .
Illinois: Feds Slap Gulen Charters with Big Fine
A federal investigation of Gulen charters in Illinois concluded with a large fine. Gulen charters are associated with the Turkish Imam Fethullah Gulen, who lives in seclusion in Pennsylvania. Gulen charter schools can be recognized by the dominant presence of Turkish people in the board and the staff. In the past, they have been criticized for steering contracts to Turkish-owned firms, regardless
Mercedes Schneider to Biden: Please Choose a Real Teacher for Secretary of Education
Mercedes Schneider penned a plea to President-Elect Joe Biden, urging him to appoint a career teacher as his Secretary of Education. She writes: It is about time for someone with seasoned K12 classroom experience to hold that position. Not someone with ladder-climbing, token K12 classroom experience. Not someone who is a basketball playing pal of his buddy, the president (aka Arne Duncan). And no

NOV 07

Hilarious Trump Press Conference in Philadelphia
The Trump campaign put out a press release announcing that its lawyers would be holding a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia. But the Four Seasons Hotel knew nothing about it, and the press conference was switched to a drab landscaping business called Four Seasons Total Landscaping. Rudy Giuliani did indeed conduct the event in a light industrial neighborhood in front of F
Top Republicans Refuse to Congratulate Biden
The Washington Post reported that top Republicans refuse to acknowledge or accept Biden’s election victory. Trump has posted defiant tweets, attacking the election. They are still cowering before Trump, who tweeted at 4:54 pm: “71,000,000 Legal Votes. The most EVER for a sitting President!” Does he not know that Biden has 279 electoral college votes as well as 74,300,000 legal votes? Does he want
Dana Milbank: Republicans’ Frivolous Lawsuits
Dana Milbank, a regular columnist for the Washington Post, calls this column “Send in the Clowns.” Read it and you will understand why. He writes: The election is over. Send in the clowns! Twitter troll Ric Grenell spent his time as President Trump’s ambassador to Germany offending that country and later proved too radioactive to be confirmed as national intelligence director. Now he’s trying to
John Thompson Reviews “A Modern Masterpiece” for Young People
John Thompson, historian and retired teacher in Oklahoma, reviews a book for young people. The New York Times described the book as “a modern masterpiece–as epic as the “Iliad” and “Shahnameh,” and as heartwarming as “Charlotte’s Web.” It’s for the kids act the lunch table; the heroes of tomorrow, just looking to survive the battle of adolescence.” John agrees. He writes: The first word on the co
President-Elect Joe Biden!
Joe Biden passed the 270-vote in the electoral college! He won Pennsylvania, with leads in Arizona and Nevada. It is a very good day for America and the world! Our long national nightmare is over! Trump must go. Pack his bags. Clear out and take I ask, Don Jr., Eric, and Stephen Miller with him.
New York: Board of Regents Cancel January Exams
The New York State Board of Regents (aka state board of education) announced that January’s Regents exams (required for high school graduation) would be canceled due to the ongoing pandemic. The state education department has canceled New York’s high school exit tests that were scheduled for January, Interim Commissioner Betty Rosa announced Thursday. January’s Regents exams cannot be offered “sa
Oakland: Public School Allies Win Control of School Board
Jane Nylund, parent activist in Oakland, reports on the good news from that district. Oakland has been the Disrupter/Reformer playground for nearly twenty years. For most of those years, billionaire Eli Broad picked the superintendents. Jane Nylund writes: Good morning, the good news out of Oakland is that our grassroots campaigns for 4 school board seats beat back Bloomberg and his privatization
Arizona: Voters Approve Tax on Rich to Fund Public Schools
#Red4Ed is still producing results in Arizona! Voters approved a measure t o raise the taxes of the wealthiest by 3.5% for the benefit of public schools. Proposition 208 passed with 52% of the vote. It will produce nearly $1 billion 

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