Saturday, December 19, 2020

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

KEEP UP/ CATCH UP WITH DIANE RAVITCH'S BLOG 
A site to discuss better education for all



Russian Spies Hack into Major Goverment Agencies
Trump spent four years cultivating his friendship with Putin. No matter what Vlad did to violate human rights, Trump was silent. Now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledges what reports reported for days: the Russian government hacked into the “secure” networks of every federal agency, where they roamed at will for several months. No word yet from Trump. He has abandoned his day job and spend
How the Trump Administration Tried to Destroy the CDC
For many years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was a respected voice in American public health. Over the course of the pandemic, however, the CDC was pressured by the Trump administration to revise its guidance to the public to satisfy the political needs of the administration, which wanted to minimize the seriousness of the pandemic. The New York Times published this article by N
Politico: Will Biden Bring Teachers’ Unions in from the Cold?
The past two decades have been rough times for the two big teachers’ unions. Republicans have demonized them. The Obama administration courted their support but did little to help them as they were attacked by the right in Republican state houses and the Courts. Duncan gleefully promoted the misguided use of test scores to evaluate teachers, despite repeated warnings by eminent researchers that t
New York City: Pandemic Leads de Blasio to Drop Screens for Middle School Admissions
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that middle schools will drop their screens –e.g., test scores, grades, etc.–for admissions and will choose students by lottery if they have more applicants than places. The administration of Michael Bloomberg and Joel Klein eliminated zoned neighborhood high schools and middle schools and introduced screens for admission; about 40 percent of the city’s middle schoo

YESTERDAY

In Last Gasp Move, Trump Appoints Members of His Patriotic Commission
With 33 days until he is out of office, Donald Trump appointed the members of his absurd 1776 Commission, who are tasked with restoring patriotism into all public spaces and presumably into history textbooks, although any federal interference with curriculum, textbooks, or instruction is forbidden by law. I wrote about this silly commission here. This is Trump’s (or Stephen Miller’s) attempt to r
Borowitz: Betsy DeVos Leaves with a Warning
Andy Borowitz, a humorist for The New Yorker , says that Betsy DeVos is worried that Biden might actually appoint an educator to run the U.S. Department of Education. He begins: WASHINGTON ( The Borowitz Report )


New York City: Pandemic Leads de Blasio to Drop Screens for Middle School Admissions
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that middle schools will drop their screens –e.g., test scores, grades, etc.–for admissions and will choose students by lottery if they have more applicants than places. The administration of Michael Bloomberg and Joel Klein eliminated zoned neighborhood high schools and middle schools and introduced screens for admission; about 40 percent of the city’s middle schoo

YESTERDAY

In Last Gasp Move, Trump Appoints Members of His Patriotic Commission
With 33 days until he is out of office, Donald Trump appointed the members of his absurd 1776 Commission, who are tasked with restoring patriotism into all public spaces and presumably into history textbooks, although any federal interference with curriculum, textbooks, or instruction is forbidden by law. I wrote about this silly commission here. This is Trump’s (or Stephen Miller’s) attempt to r
Borowitz: Betsy DeVos Leaves with a Warning
Andy Borowitz, a humorist for The New Yorker , says that Betsy DeVos is worried that Biden might actually appoint an educator to run the U.S. Department of Education. He begins: WASHINGTON ( The Borowitz Report )—Calling the prospect a “nightmare scenario,” Betsy DeVos warned that President-elect Joe Biden will pick an Education Secretary with a background in education. The outgoing Education Sec
Jeff Bezos: A Not-So-Good Billionaire?
While McKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, is handing out billions to worthy organizations, Jeff Bezos is not so generous, especially to the Amazon workers who made his fortune. At last look on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bezos was the richest person in the world, with $189 billion, which is growing rapidly as more consumers rely on Amazon for purchases during the pandemic. While Bezo
McKenzie Scott: A Good Billionaire?
McKenzie Scott is the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos. She was at his side when he founded Amazon and was the company’s first accountant. She played a role in the success of the company. When they divorced (he left her for another woman), McKenzie received a share of his Amazon stock. She is now one of the richest people in the world. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranks her as the 18th richest person in
Lorrie A. Shepard: Testing Students This Spring Would Be a Mistake
Lorrie A. Shepard is one of the nation’s most eminent assessment experts. In this article in Education Week, she explains that it would be a mistake to resume testing this spring. She is University Distinguished Professor in the research and evaluation methodology program of the school of education at the University of Colorado Boulder. Shepard writes: This past spring, the U.S. Department of Edu
Edutopia: The Ten Most Significant Education Studies of 2020
This is an enjoyable read. Edutopia identified what it calls the ten most significant education studies of 2020 . Probably none of these studies made it into the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse. Here are the first three: 1. TO TEACH VOCABULARY, LET KIDS BE THESPIANS When students are learning a new language, ask them to act out vocabulary words. It’s fun to unleash a child

DEC 17

The Snow Day Letter That Went Viral
The first snow storm of the season raged up the Eastern seaboard! Students thought they might have a snow day, but in some districts, the leadership said “No!” This will upset those “reformers” who think it is time to get tough on the kids, time to get ready for the next test, time to squelch any sign of happiness, but: In West Virginia, a school superintendent said a loud “Yes!” In a letter to t
Al Gore: A Time for Hope, At Last
Al Gore writes in this article in the New York Times about his reasons to feel hopeful. The United States again has a leader who understands the seriousness of the climate crisis and is prepared to take action, first of all by rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, which Trump abandoned. As you read this thoughtful article, you can only dream of what we lost as a nation because of 537 votes in Flori
The Hill: Lily Eskelsen Garcia Is Leading Candidate for ED Job
D.C.-based The Hill says that Lily Eskelsen Garcia, ex-president of the National Education Assiciation, is the leading candidate for U.S. Secretary of Education. https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/530592-ex-teachers-union-leader-seen-as-leading-candidate-for-bidens The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) endorsed Eskelsen GarcĂ­a for the job earlier this month, as did several Latino advoc
Report: Two New Top Contenders for Secretary of Education
The Washington Post reported that two new names have emerged as top contenders for Secretary of Education in the Biden Administration. https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/biden-education-secretary-fenwick-cardona/2020/12/16/5811142e-3fb4-11eb-8bc0-ae155bee4aff_story.html Laura Meckler and Valerie Strauss wrote: Two lesser-known educators have emerged as top candidates for education secretary

DEC 16

Michael Gerson: The Moral Hypocrisy of Conservative Leaders
So you thought the election was over after Joe Biden won the vote of the Electoral College on December 14, as predicted, by 306-232. And perhaps you thought it was over when Mitch McConnell finally congratulated Biden after the Electoral College voted and called him the President-Elect. But: Trump is continuing his hapless campaign to reverse the election, despite the fact that his claims of frau
Nancy Flanagan: Norms, Ethics, and Civility
During the past four years, we have witnessed a dramatic erosion of norms, ethics, and civility, under the reign of a president who prided himself on having no allegiance to any of those requirements of life in a democracy. Norms, ethics, and civility were cast aside as encumbrances, like nuisances. Nancy Flanagan writes here about the role of these unspoken , assumed practices in our lives. How
Carol Burris: How Charter Schools Cashed in on the Paycheck Protection Program
Dr. Carol Burris is the executive director of the Network for Public Education, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that works to strengthen and improve public schools. Nearly 400,000 people in every state support its activities. Burris was a teacher and an award-winning principal in New York State. This summer, the Network for Public Education reported that charter schools had received between

DEC 15

Three Big-City Superintendents: We Need a Marshall Plan for Our Schools: Now!
This article by the superintendents of New York City (Richard Carranza), Chicago (Janice Jackson), and Los Angeles (Austin Beutner) appeared in the Washington Post. For those too young to know, the Marshall Plan was a massive American investment in foreign aid package to rebuild Europe after World War II. It was proposed by General George Marshall. President-elect Joe Biden has described the cris
Nancy Bailey: McKinsey Says It is Time for Schools to Get Tough with the Students
Nancy Bailey, writing with her usual perspicacity, calls out the consultants McKinsey and Company for a recent report encouraging schools to get tough with students to make up for the time “lost” during the pandemic. For years McKinsey & Company has had a premier seat at the school reform table for the U.S., England, and worldwide, despite faulty reporting. Because of Covid-19, plans are being pu
Paul Peterson: “No, Al Shanker Did Not Invent the Charter School”
This is a fascinating article written by Paul Peterson of Harvard University about the origin of the charter school idea. Many people credit the idea to Al Shanker and Ray Budde of the University of Massachusetts, but Peterson sets them straight. Peterson is the foremost proponent of school choice, charters and vouchers, in the academic world. He has trained many of the other prominent academics

DEC 14

Wall Street Journal: Time for Trump to Concede
The Wall Street Journal is one of the most conservative editorial voices in the nation. Today its editorial says that the Electoral College has decided the election. Biden won. Trump lost. Trump should concede. The Electoral College meets Monday to cast its votes for President, officially marking Joe Biden as the election winner. President Trump’s legal challenges have run their course, and he an
James Hohmann: Michigan Capitol Locked Down As Electoral College Meets
There has never been an election in the United States like this one. Donald Trump continues to insist that the election was stolen and that he is the rightful winner, even though his opponent Joe Biden has 6-7 million votes more than Trump does and even though Biden will register 306 votes in the Electoral College today, the same as Trump called “a landslide” when he won in 2016. In every preside
Should an Ed.D. or Ph.D. Be Called “Doctor?”
Essayist Joseph Epstein wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal insisting that Dr. Jill Biden should stop calling herself “Dr.” He objected to the use of the term “Dr.” for anyone who is not an M.D. The article reeked with condescension—towards her, towards educators, towards community colleges, towards women. His essay set off a furor in the media. The topic “trended” on Twitter (meani
Trump Appoints Unqualified People to Education Research Advisory Board
For most of Trump’s term, he failed to appoint enough members to the National Board for Education Sciences, which has not had a quorum to meet since the end of Obama’s term. Suddenly he announced a flurry of names for the board, and the education research world was shocked to see that Trump’s list included no bona fide education researchers . The board is supposed to advise the director of the In
Mike Klonsky: The Shame of a Nation
Mike Klonsky writes that his blood began to boil when he saw the pictures of thugs and fascists marauding in the streets of the nation’s Capitol, expressing the allegiance to their defeated leader, who happens to be the President of the United States. This is what fascism looks like. What’s worse than Trump, as Mike Klonsky notes, is the cowardice and complicity of the majority of Republicans, wh

DEC 13

GregB. Recommends Essential Reading
GregB. is one of our best-read commenters. He is well-informed and wise. He writes: I’ve posted this a few times over the years of commenting here, so I figure this is a good place to do it again. It’s a summation of my opinion of my favorite book on science, Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark: In this valedictory statement of scientific philosophy, Sagan elevat
Twitter Frauds and Their Followers
What follows is an alarming story a bout a young man who hoaxed thousands of people on Twitter, including Trump. The real shocker is not this particular story—which is so absurd that it’s funny— but the fact that it is so easy to set up fake accounts, collect money for fake causes, and impersonate others. This is a cautionary story for our times. Jack Nicas wrote: Last month, between tweets dispu
Arthur Camins: My Hopes and Dreams for My Grandchildren’s Education
Arthur Camins has had a fruitful career as a teacher, science educator, and technology expert. He writes here about the kind of education he hopes his grandchildren will have. He begins: Persistent inequity and underfunding, especially after decades of emphasis on test-based accountability and privatization, largely unopposed increases in racial and socioeconomic segregation, and four years of le
Developers of COVID Vaccine Are Children of Turkish Immigrants to Germany
The Pfizer vaccine was developed not by Pfizer but by a German company called BioNTech. There is an amazing story behind BioNTech, which was founded by a married couple, both of whom are children of Turkish immigrants to Germany. Thanks to the success of their vaccine, they are now billionaires but they don’t own a car. They are the kind of people that Trump’s strict bans on immigration would kee

DEC 12

My Suggestion for Holiday Gifts
I always have this problem in early December: What shall I give to the children in my life? This year I did something I have wanted to do for a long time. I got a gift catalog from Heifer.com and I ordered animals that will be given to a family that needs them to have a better life. I purchased a sheep ($120) on behalf of one child and a goat on behalf of another. I could have bought shares in ei
Bob Shepherd: How “Reform” Ruined Teaching
Bob Shepherd returned to teaching after many years in the education publishing industry, where he developed curriculum and assessments. He writes about what changed while he was away. Thanks to State and federal mandates, he found himself ensnared by stand I taught at the beginning of my career, had a successful career in educational publishing, and then returned to teaching at the end of my care
Florida: Leader of Closed Charter School Indicted for Embezzlement
The leader of Paramount Charter School in Broward County, now closed, was indicted for theft of federal funds. The school opened in 2015, promising to provide an education that would meet “the highest academic and personal standards.” Didn’t happen, say parents. After compiling a terrible academic record, the school closed in 2017. Shauta Freeman, who said she sent three children there from 2015
Teresa Thayer Snyder: What Shall We Do About the Children After the Pandemic
Teresa Thayer Snyder was superintendent of the Voorheesville district in upstate New York. She wrote this wise and insightful essay on her Facebook page. A friend sent it to me. Dear Friends and Colleagues: I am writing today 

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