Friday, February 14, 2020

John Thompson Reviews SLAYING GOLIATH, Part 1 | Diane Ravitch's blog

John Thompson Reviews SLAYING GOLIATH, Part 1 | Diane Ravitch's blog

John Thompson Reviews SLAYING GOLIATH, Part 1

John Thompson, historian and retired teacher in Oklahoma, reviews SLAYING GOLIATH in two-parts.
He begins:
Diane Ravitch’s Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools is the history of the rise and fall of corporate school reform, but it is much more. It isn’t that surprising that a scholar like Ravitch, like so many researchers and practitioners, predicted over a decade ago how data-driven, competition-driven “reform” would fail. Technocratic “reformers,” who Ravitch calls “Goliath,” started with a dubious hunch, that socio-engineering a “better teacher” could overcome poverty and inequality, and then ignored the science that explained why evaluating teachers based on test score growth would backfire.
It may be surprising that Ravitch, an academic who had once worked in the Education Department of President George H. W. Bush, and served on the board of the conservative Fordham Foundation, become the leader of the grass roots uprising of parents, students, and educators which she dubs the “Resistance.” But it soon became clear why Ravitch inspired and guided the Resistance. In contrast to CONTINUE READING: John Thompson Reviews SLAYING GOLIATH, Part 1 | Diane Ravitch's blog



John Thompson Reviews SLAYING GOLIATH, Part 2 | Diane Ravitch's blog - https://wp.me/p2odLa-pdJ via @dianeravitch

The Rhetoric Behind Choosing White’s Successor – Educate Louisiana

The Rhetoric Behind Choosing White’s Successor – Educate Louisiana

The Rhetoric Behind Choosing White’s Successor

If you want to observe an example of building consensus behind a narrative by employing rhetoric, look no further than the search that is underway to find someone to replace outgoing Superintendent of Education, John White. I am disappointed in myself for not seeing it sooner.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the practice of persuasion using rhetoric, I provide a brief summary. There are three primary types of rhetoric which are referred to as Pathos, Ethos, and Logos.
  • Pathos uses language and illustrations that appeal to your emotions. Examples of this are ASPCA commercials about animal cruelty, or the fundraising campaigns to feed hungry children.
  • Ethos engages the desire to believe someone who appears to have credibility. For example, the American Heart Association’s campaign showing a doctor (an actor) revealing the results of heart disease.
  • Logos rhetoric depends on your ability to rationalize, or make decisions by employing logic. The arguments for and against climate change employ logos. The irony is that logic can lead someone to either side of the argument.
If you would like to learn a little more about these techniques in a short read that explains the fallacies associated with rhetoric, click this link—-> Logical Fallacies.
Now that you have an idea of what I’m talking about, I’ll explain what I have seen take place over the CONTINUE READING: The Rhetoric Behind Choosing White’s Successor – Educate Louisiana

What Federal and State Reading Legislation Should and Should Not Do – radical eyes for equity

What Federal and State Reading Legislation Should and Should Not Do – radical eyes for equity

What Federal and State Reading Legislation Should and Should Not Do




Since the early 1980s, a significant role of state government has included funding and mandating public school practices and policies. Spurred by A Nation at Risk under Ronald Reagan, most states committed to the accountability era in U.S. public education grounded in state standards and high-stakes testing.
Bringing that state-based process to the federal level, George W. Bush ushered in the federal role in the accountability era with No Child Left Behind in the early 2000s.
The federal and state templates for education policy and reform have been fairly consistent for forty years, and currently, most political leaders and media pundits continue to claim that public education is failing, specifically targeting reading achievement by students.
Since most states have passed or are rushing to pass education legislation targeting reading practices and policies, here are guiding principles for what any federal or state legislation directly or indirectly impacting reading should and should not do:

LeBron James Surprises 193 Students with Free College Tuition to Kent State University: 'It's Probably the Best Thing I've Ever Done'

LeBron James Surprises 193 Students with Free College Tuition to Kent State University: 'It's Probably the Best Thing I've Ever Done'

LeBron James Surprises 193 Students with Free College Tuition: 'It's Probably the Best Thing I've Ever Done'

While Sallie Mae has never put me in a headlock—I love you too, Air Force!—I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about her wreaking havoc on the bank accounts and mental stability of my peers. But hopefully, students at I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, won’t suffer a similar fate after LeBron James gifted them with four years of free college tuition on Wednesday.
According to CNN, the entire inaugural class of high school juniors, 193 students in total, were visiting Kent State University when they received the amazing news.
Some screamed in astonishment while others erupted into applause as their parents watched in disbelief from a live feed in a separate room.
“We are so pleased to take our partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation to this next level and welcome these students fully into the Kent State family,” Kent State President Todd Diacon said. “Kent State looks forward to the time when our campus is teeming with I Promise students.”

In a subsequent press release, Kent State revealed that the students will also receive one year of free room and board plus the school’s meal plan. Their eligibility will begin during the 2021-2022 academic year, and in order to remain eligible, students will be required to remain in good academic standing and complete a required number of community service hours each semester.
“We have so many options, and I just know that so many kids in my community just don’t have many options,” James told reporters after his Lakers played CONTINUE READING: LeBron James Surprises 193 Students with Free College Tuition to Kent State University: 'It's Probably the Best Thing I've Ever Done'

Charter School Support Fades: the Network for Public Education Deserves Much of the Credit | janresseger

Charter School Support Fades: the Network for Public Education Deserves Much of the Credit | janresseger

Charter School Support Fades: the Network for Public Education Deserves Much of the Credit


Earlier this week, this blog explored what Betsy DeVos hopes will be a major restructure in the U.S. Department of Education. That she is considering the restructure of the department became clear in the President’s FY21 budget proposal, which collapses Title I into a huge block grant with 28 other programs, and cuts funding for these combined programs by $4.7 billion. Title I is the Department’s largest program and the centerpiece of the federal government’s primary role in public education—ensuring that whatever happens in the states, the federal government will supplement programming to assist schools serving concentrations of very poor children. In a related responsibility (through the Department’s Office for Civil Rights), the U.S. Department of Education’s mission is also to protect the educational rights of children our society has historically marginalized. These programs, begun in the 1960s, grew out of the Civil Rights Movement and the War on Poverty.
Congressional failure to enact President Trump’s budgets over the past three years suggests that passage of the  President’s proposed federal budget for the 2021 fiscal year is also unlikely.  However, a budget proposal is a statement of an administration’s priorities. The idea that Trump and DeVos want to mess with Title I should alert Congress to be very careful.
There is another shocker in Trump’s federal FY21 federal budget proposal that we ought to notice: The President and the Secretary of Education propose to end the federal Charter Schools Program as a stand alone funding line. Since 1994, the Department of Education has spent billions of dollars to startup and expand the number of charter schools across the states. Why is an Education Secretary who insistently promotes school choice proposing a budget that phases out the Charter Schools Program?  Some are speculating that DeVos prefers vouchers, and she is putting all of her effort in the fourth year of this administration into CONTINUE READING: Charter School Support Fades: the Network for Public Education Deserves Much of the Credit | janresseger

School Reforms That Are Persistent and Admired But Marginal (Part 2) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

School Reforms That Are Persistent and Admired But Marginal (Part 2) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

School Reforms That Are Persistent and Admired But Marginal (Part 2)


After Minnesota authorized charter schools in 1991, a group of veteran teachers founded City Academy in St. Paul. It became the first publicly funded charter school in 1992. A quarter-century later 43 states and Washington, D.C. permit charter schools to operate. Charters are innovative ways to govern, fund, and organize public schools.
Using public monies and free of many state and district regulations, these schools have grown in a quarter-century from a handful to nearly 7000 across the U.S (there are about 100,000 public schools in the nation); they serve about 3 million students (over 50 million attend public schools). Largely found in urban districts (57 percent of all charter schools), these schools enroll mostly Hispanic and black students (total of 59 percent) charters.
Charters have separate boards of directors who have to design a new school, find space for it, recruit parents to send their sons and daughters to it, hire a director and teachers, decide on the curriculum and manner of instruction, and make scores of other decisions in getting the school up and running. In many cases, charters have to raise additional monies over and above the state’s allocation for public school students attending district schools.
Most charter (over 75 percent ) are stand-alone schools. One-quarter of charters belong to Charter Management Organizations (CMO) such as Kipp, Success Academies, Aspire, and Summit Schools. With stable funding (often from private donors), an ideology, and an existing infrastructure of support, CMOs provide CONTINUE READING: School Reforms That Are Persistent and Admired But Marginal (Part 2) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

TN Supt. Penny Schwinn Bypasses Legislature with No-Bid Voucher Contract | deutsch29

TN Supt. Penny Schwinn Bypasses Legislature with No-Bid Voucher Contract | deutsch29

TN Supt. Penny Schwinn Bypasses Legislature with No-Bid Voucher Contract



Teach for America (TFA) alum Penny Schwinn is Tennessee’s education commissioner, a post that she has held for a year as of this writing.
Within ten months of Schwinn’s arrival as Tennessee ed commissioner, the Tennessee Department of Education experienced 250 resignations, including “people with decades of institutional knowledge,” which the November 15, 2019, Tennessee Chalkbeat characterized as “not typical.”
It might not be typical for an education commissioner who does not hail from TFA, but Schwinn’s purgative effect on Tennessee’s ed department is a familiar story to those of us in Louisiana, where another TFA alum, John White, had the same effect on the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE). (For an inside peek of LDOE chaos under White, see this 2014 post by former LDOE employee, Jason France.)
I first wrote about Schwinn in her previous role as Texas Education Agency (TEA) deputy commissioner of academics in connection to the wrongful termination of Texas special education director, Laurie Kash, who blew the whistle on TEA’s no-bid contract with special education data company, SPEDx. One of Kash’s concerns was an alleged personal relationship between Schwinn and a SPEDx leader.
On February 12, 2020, Schwinn was again in the news related to a no-bid contract controversy, this time in connection with Tennessee’s school voucher program CONTINUE READING: TN Supt. Penny Schwinn Bypasses Legislature with No-Bid Voucher Contract | deutsch29

A geometry lesson inspired by a silvering company – and a rant about computerized learning programs | GFBrandenburg's Blog

A geometry lesson inspired by a silvering company – and a rant about computerized learning programs | GFBrandenburg's Blog

A geometry lesson inspired by a silvering company – and a rant about computerized learning programs


Here is some information that teachers at quite a few different levels could use* for a really interesting geometry lesson involving reflections involving two or more mirrors, placed at various angles!
Certain specific angles have very special effects, including 90, 72, 60, 45 degrees … But WHY?
This could be done with actual mirrors and a protractor, or with geometry software like Geometer’s Sketchpad or Desmos. Students could also end up making their own kaleidoscopes – either with little bits of colored plastic at the end or else with some sort of a wide-angle lens. (You can find many easy directions online for doing just that; some kits are a lot more optically perfect than others, but I don’t think I’ve even seen a kaleidoscope that had its mirrors set at any angle other than 60 degrees!)
I am reproducing a couple of the images and text that Angel Gilding provides on their website (which they set up to sell silvering kits (about which I’ve posted before, and which I am going to attempt using pretty soon, on a large astronomical mirror I’ve been polishing for quite some time)).

At 72º you see 4 complete reflections.

When two mirrors are parallel to each other, the number of reflections is infinite. Placing one mirror at a slight angle causes the reflections to curve.

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Marie Corfield: The Fight For Our Children

Marie Corfield: The Fight For Our Children

The Fight For Our Children


The number of suicides among people ages 10 to 24 nationally increased by 56 percent between 2007 and 2017, according to a new federal report showing the tragic consequences of an emerging public health crisis.

An NJ Advance Media report... highlighted New Jersey’s rising suicide rate among teens and young adults amid a mental health crisis.




Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

In the last three years, three Hunterdon Central Regional High School students and two former students have died by suicide: sophomore Alison Vandal in December 2017; senior Eden Carrera Calderon in October 2019; freshman Joseph Drelich, Jr in January 2020; graduate Jared Yazujian in January 2020; graduate, Christopher Soldano in July 2018. These tragic deaths have rocked our community to its core. In a county of only about 125,000 people, it seems everybody knows somebody who has been affected by them.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 10 and CONTINUE READING: 
Marie Corfield: The Fight For Our Children

Enrollment and Equity Report; Charter School Facilities Issues in Ward 8 – Education Town Hall Forum

Enrollment and Equity Report; Charter School Facilities Issues in Ward 8 – Education Town Hall Forum

ENROLLMENT AND EQUITY REPORT; CHARTER SCHOOL FACILITIES ISSUES IN WARD 8
The Feb 13 Education Town Hall included one segment on issues with charter school facilities and one on the DC auditor’s report on enrollment and equity.
Segment 1 begins at 10:26 mark
Segment 2 begins at 45:00 mark
For our first segment, Ward 8 residents Tina Batchelor and Camille Joyner were in studio to discuss their experience of how a charter school, Eagle Academy, located in their neighborhood and how the ensuing construction and neighborhood opposition has resulted in their advocacy and activism around issues that in DC are common concerning school siting and construction—and illuminate what the public can do.
The neighbors around the school, at 2345 R SE, have worked together to follow through with many civic failings in its development, including a lack of permits,  CONTINUE READING: Enrollment and Equity Report; Charter School Facilities Issues in Ward 8 – Education Town Hall Forum

Letter to Interim Commissioner Tahoe on Testing on Earth Day | Class Size Matters

Letter to Interim Commissioner Tahoe on Testing on Earth Day | Class Size Matters Letter to Interim Commissioner Tahoe on Testing on Earth Day | A clearinghouse for information on class size & the proven benefits of smaller classes

Letter to Interim Commissioner Tahoe on Testing on Earth Day



Below is the letter sent out on February 13, 2020 to NYSED about Earth Day and the state middle school math test. Class Size Matters, Senator Jackson’s office, Teachers for the Future, and various other organizations and officials signed off on this letter to reschedule the math exams and support student climate strikes, as well as teach-ins on Earth Day 50 for those students who cannot participate in strikes.
At a moment when our students’ futures hang in the balance, New York should be  ensuring that all students have an opportunity to learn about the causes of and solutions to climate change on Earth Day. If you think kids shouldn’t spend the 50th anniversary of Earth Day taking a standardized test, sign our petition in support of the letter sent to State and City government officials, asking them to reschedule and hold climate teach-ins instead. Sign the petition here



Letter to Interim Commissioner Tahoe on Testing on Earth Day | Class Size Matters Letter to Interim Commissioner Tahoe on Testing on Earth Day | A clearinghouse for information on class size & the proven benefits of smaller classes

CURMUDGUCATION: FL: BEST Standards To Roll Back The Calendar

CURMUDGUCATION: FL: BEST Standards To Roll Back The Calendar

FL: BEST Standards To Roll Back The Calendar


Somewhere Jeb! Bush is drowning his tears in his sarsparilla. His beloved Florida, the state that launched a thousand bad ed reform ideas, has tried to roll back one-- the Common Core./ Governor Ron Desantis  dispatched a task force to drive a stake through the heart of the unbeloved standards and replaced them with B.E.S.T.-- Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking. No, it's not a name whose natural poetry inspires trust.

Ten Selling Points

I haven't ploughed through the entire many-paged actual standards yet. I will. I promise. But for the moment, let's just peruse the state's announcement trumpeting the major Points Of Awesometude, because they are plenty to digest, and they help give an overall impression (spoiler alert:.the impression is that Florida wants to go back several decades in time).  There are two Top Ten lists (one for ELA and one for math), but I'm going to stick to the ELA list. Here are the Top Ten reasons that the new ELA standards are BEST. (Get it? Get used to it, because apparently the plan is to milk that BEST thing until all the swampland in Florida is developed.)


1) Florida-Created. Okay, I think it's cute that Florida thinks they're the best at this sort of thing, but I get that the selling point here is the "created by Florida teachers for Florida students" part. The task force used edcredible to help do thew work, plus listening tours. The committee member listing has so far evaded me, but given the administrations lack of love for actual public school teachers, I have my doubts here.

2) Skills for Lifelong Learning. This is exceptionally vague. Create great thinkers, communicator and researches. Bolder, brighter future! A booklist. "Skills," it should be noted, is a Common Core buzzword. And foundations for struggling readers. We'll get back to that.

3) Embedded civics. Florida is going to lead the nation in establishing civics literacy, including a CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: FL: BEST Standards To Roll Back The Calendar

Educators and Students Have Privatizers on the Run, Says Ravitch

Educators and Students Have Privatizers on the Run, Says Ravitch

Educators and Students Have Privatizers on the Run, Says Ravitch


Diane Ravitch, former assistant secretary of education in President George H.W. Bush’s administration and NEA Friend of Education in 2010, has written a new book that she wants every public school educator to read.
In “Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools,” [Knopf: 2020] Ravitch explores how profit-minded billionaires like Sam Walton or Eli Broad—she calls them “disrupters,” never “reformers”—are behind large-scale efforts to squeeze public money out of public schools through a relentless focus on standardized test scores and failure. For many decades, it looked like they were winning. Not anymore. From West Virginia to Los Angeles, Ravitch’s book celebrates the growing rebellion of educators, parents and community members who are fighting for students and educators—and winning. Recently, she spoke with NEA Todayabout this work.
Let’s start with the title, “Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools.” Who here is Goliath?
Diane Ravitch: Goliath represents the people who have embarked on these really disastrous policies and funded them. You have to start with the government officials, and that means every president since George H.W. Bush, including Obama. They had this idea that you test and you test, and everybody will be proficient if you just test some more.
It really has changed little since Bush. Obama bought into it and [his Secretary of Education] Arne Duncan was an enthusiastic supporter. It’s been a bipartisan mess with Democrats equally implicated, including Rahm Emanuel in Chicago and Andrew Cuomo in New York. This has been the status quo for 20 years. They became infatuated with the notion that just measuring the problem will fix the problem. With this kind of thinking, the measure is the goal—when the goal really is a healthy, civic-minded, participatory citizenry.
You write in the introduction that you sat down to write this book at a pivotal time in public school history. What was going on, and how did it inform your approach to the book?
DR: I had no intention of writing this book. I write my daily blog  and that’s very satisfying. But then the West Virginia walkout happened, and I kept reading about it with absolute fascination.
I had long been encouraging people, saying ‘we have to keep fighting,’ but I didn’t CONTINUE READING: Educators and Students Have Privatizers on the Run, Says Ravitch