Tuesday, August 25, 2020

NYC Public School Parents: The continuing influence of the Gates Foundation on mainstream media reporting and the NY Times in particular

NYC Public School Parents: The continuing influence of the Gates Foundation on mainstream media reporting and the NY Times in particular

The continuing influence of the Gates Foundation on mainstream media reporting and the NY Times in particular



Reporter Tim Schwab just had a must-read piece in the Columbia Journalism Review about how the Gates Foundation provides grants to news outlets such as NPR, BBC, NBC, Al Jazeera, ProPublicaNational JournalThe Guardian, Univision, Medium, the Financial TimesThe Atlantic, the Texas Tribune, Gannett, Washington MonthlyLe Monde, the Seattle Times, and many others.  These outlets frequently provide favorable coverage of the Foundation and its grantees, and potential conflicts of interest are too rarely admitted by these outlets. 
He tells a particularly disturbing story about how two freelance journalists, Robert Fortner and Alex Park, investigated Gates' outsize influence on international public health policy in 2017 for the Dutch publication De Correspondent and in the HuffPost.  In both instances, the Foundation contacted their editors to try to steer them away from doing stories on this issue and hinted at a financial support if they did.  As Schwab writes:
During Park and Fortner’s investigation for De Correspondent, the head of Gates’s polio communications team, Rachel Lonsdale, made an unusual offer to the duo’s editor, writing, “We typically like to have a phone conversation with the editor of a publication employing freelancers we are engaging with, both to fully understand how we can help you with the specific project and to form a longer term relationship that could transcend the freelance assignment.”
When asked about this, the Foundation sent the following statement to CJR:
“As with many organizations, the foundation has an in-house media relations team that cultivates relationships with journalists and editors in order to serve as a resource for information gathering and to help facilitate thorough and accurate coverage of our issues.’ ”
One of the media organizations Schwab discusses, Solutions Journalism, has received $7.6 million from the Gates Foundation since 2014 to write articles suggesting practical solutions to social problems and train other reporters to do so as well.  Since then, as Schwab points out, SJ has repeatedly produced stories praising projects and companies that are Foundation grantees and/or have received personal investments from Bill Gates himself.   

Solutions Journalism was founded by David Bornstein and Tina Rosenberg in 2013 and they continue to run the organization and receive six figure salaries as CEO and VP for Innovation respectively. They explain their mission this way:

Our mission is to spread the practice of solutions journalism: rigorous reporting on responses to social problems. We seek to rebalance the news, so that every day people are CONTINUE READING: NYC Public School Parents: The continuing influence of the Gates Foundation on mainstream media reporting and the NY Times in particular

Russ on Reading: The First Day of School in a Pandemic

Russ on Reading: The First Day of School in a Pandemic

The First Day of School in a Pandemic



In my lifetime, I have experienced 67 first days of school. For me this has always been a joyous time. When I was a student, it was a chance to renew old acquaintances, meet new people, and start new adventures. As a teacher, I always looked forward to meeting and getting to know new students and learning their names and what made them tick and seeing if the new crop of kids would fall for my old jokes and tricks.  This 68th first day of school will be different, of course. My thoughts are with every child who must navigate this strange new world, every teacher who must find a new way to teach, every administrator trying to make this work without putting children and adults at risk, and every parent trying to do a god job of parenting in this new and unfortunate reality.  


This is a frustrating, maddening time for all., but we owe it to the children to make the best of it we can. We owe it to the children to lead with empathy and understanding. My granddaughter, Schuyler, robbed of a large chunk of her kindergarten year, now faces a first grade like nothing you or I or our children ever faced. I worry for her. I worry for all these kids. It is with Schuyler and all these other children in mind that I offer this poem, written many years ago, in a different time and under different circumstances, that I still think captures some of what it means to entrust your child to a teacher and some of what we must draw on in this time of uncertainty.


The First Day of School
            
by Russ Walsh

Today, dear teacher, I deliver to you CONTINUE READING: Russ on Reading: The First Day of School in a Pandemic


Fear and Loathing in Remote Learning - LA Progressive

Fear and Loathing in Remote Learning - LA Progressive

Fear and Loathing in Remote Learning



 I understand. I have four kids of my own. 12, 9, 5, and 4. Three of my littles are in remote learning. One is a middle schooler. So, yes, I understand what you’re going through completely. Remote learning has started, it isn’t working, it won’t work, and it’s awful. But it’s not going anywhere. So, let’s find some silver linings, and quickly, because the whine won’t work… long-term.
Since this is all based on the tight grip of Covid, let’s lean in to it. Unlike like this devastating, now beyond boring and annoying virus, our fear and loathing in remote learning has somewhat of a cure. It’s not as effective as hydroxychloroquine – stop it – but it’s an answer to at least some of our questions. Really, I just want to help calm your nerves. You’re waiting in line at Kaiser, and your prescription is ready. These are the knowledge ingredients for the “Remote Learning Chill Pill” to find some success (and sanity) this year for your at-home children:

It’s not your daddy’s schooling.

Or yours either. Give yourself this break. I said the same thing when schools rolled out Common Core. Okay, you multiplied by stacking two numbers, and your kid’s multiplication looks like a tic-tac-toe board. No matter how many Facebook posts you wrote about it, it didn’t go away. Your child completed the worksheets, turned in the assignments, and went from fourth to fifth grade not really understanding what they were doing… just like you didn’t understand – really understand – what multiplication is… and why we use it. CONTINUE READING: Fear and Loathing in Remote Learning - LA Progressive

Just because your child isn’t spending their school years exactly how you did doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. It’s just different. It’ll be okay.

Remote Learning

Disastrous US School Openings Lead To 2,500 Infections Across 44 States - PopularResistance.Org

Disastrous US School Openings Lead To 2,500 Infections Across 44 States - PopularResistance.Org

DISASTROUS US SCHOOL OPENINGS LEAD TO 2,500 INFECTIONS ACROSS 44 STATES



Within weeks, the reopening of schools across the United States has already become a complete catastrophe. Outside of the mobilization of educators, parents and the broader working class to halt this homicidal policy, there will be rapid acceleration of the spread of the deadly COVID-19 disease throughout every region of the country.
Because no government agency at the local, state or federal level is systematically tracking work-related COVID-19 cases and deaths, Kansas teacher Alisha Morris took it upon herself to begin compiling this data in a spreadsheet. The list, which is now curated by roughly 35 people, has been shared in the dozens of Facebook groups that have been set up to oppose the unsafe reopening of schools and has been viewed tens of thousands of times by educators, parents and students.
The data compiled in the spreadsheet, and converted into a map by the WSWS Educators Newsletter, paints a chilling picture of the spread of the pandemic in schools across the US.
According to this data and an official account from Mississippi released Monday, since schools began reopening during the week of July 27, roughly 2,500 teachers, students and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 from hundreds of schools across the country. All but six states—Alaska, Washington, Delaware, Vermont, North Dakota, and New Hampshire—have at least one school that has already experienced an outbreak of COVID-19.
As of Tuesday, there are over 900 entries on the spreadsheet, with each one representing a separate school that has had at least one positive or suspected case since the start of the pandemic. Most entries are based on local news CONTINUE READING: Disastrous US School Openings Lead To 2,500 Infections Across 44 States - PopularResistance.Org

An Open Letter to Biden and Harris from Washington State’s Superintendent of Public Instruction | Diane Ravitch's blog

An Open Letter to Biden and Harris from Washington State’s Superintendent of Public Instruction | Diane Ravitch's blog
An Open Letter to Biden and Harris from Washington State’s Superintendent of Public Instruction



Chris Reykdal, state superintendent of public instruction in Washington State, published this excellent letter to the Democratic candidates.
It overflows with wisdom and common sense.
An Open Letter to the Biden-Harris Ticket:
Mr. Vice President and Senator Harris, there is so much at stake with this year’s presidential election, including the very foundation of our country’s democracy – the future of our public education system. Led by Betsy DeVos and fueled by years of education privateers, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has been an utter failure in advancing student learning, racial equity, and gender equity over the last four years. Under DeVos, the USDOE has jeopardized the financial future of too many young adults and actively worked against civil rights protections for our most vulnerable students.

As Washington State’s elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, I have worked with leaders across the state to build bipartisan coalitions to improve student achievement, but this same bipartisanship and student-centric approach have been elusive under the DeVos regime. It will take federal leadership working alongside CONTINUE READING:
 An Open Letter to Biden and Harris from Washington State’s Superintendent of Public Instruction | Diane Ravitch's blog

A lesson on QAnon for teachers to use in class - The Washington Post

A lesson on QAnon for teachers to use in class - The Washington Post

A lesson on QAnon for teachers to use in class



During the school year, I publish lessons from the nonprofit News Literacy Project, which aims to teach students how to distinguish fact from fiction in the age of digital communication and a president who routinely denounces real news as “fake.”
The lessons come from the project’s newsletter, the Sift, which takes the most recent viral rumors, conspiracy theories, hoaxes and journalistic ethics issues and turns them into timely lessons with discussion prompts and links. The Sift, which is published weekly during the school year, has more than 10,000 subscribers, most of them educators. It resumes publication on Sept. 14.
Earlier this year, I published a lesson for teachers from the Sift to use in class to explore with students the QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims that President Trump will save the world from a “deep state” cult of pedophiles who eat children, worship the devil and run the country’s most powerful institutions.
I am republishing it now because this summer the QAnon theory has entered mainstream politics, with Trump embracing political candidates who support it.
QAnon theory was supposedly started by an anonymous person called Q who claims on social media to have a top-level security clearance to access government secrets about a left-wing conspiracy against Trump. The FBI issued a bulletin last May, warning that QAnon extremists are now considered a domestic terrorism threat.
However crazy QAnon conspiracy theory may sound, it is believed to have many followers. Facebook this month cracked down on QAnon accounts after discovering material on them had reached millions of people.
On Aug. 19 at a White House news conference, Trump praised supporters of QAnon, suggesting that CONTINUE READING: A lesson on QAnon for teachers to use in class - The Washington Post

Pandemic Pedagogy: The New Normal? – radical eyes for equity

Pandemic Pedagogy: The New Normal? – radical eyes for equity

Pandemic Pedagogy: The New Normal?



The evening before the first day of school for students, a high school teacher opened their district email to discover that the schedule for International Baccalaureate (IB) students had changed.
Again.
That new schedule is also layered onto the tentative district-wide pandemic schedule that has four color-coded waves of students, divided by last names, who attend one day a week Monday through Thursday with all students remote on Fridays.
This teacher was distraught. To tears and hopelessness.
This teacher has already expressed what I am hearing and reading across the U.S.: Teaching has become unmanageable, and the current teacher shortage is about to take an even greater hit with even more teachers leaving the profession.
To demonstrate that the last-minute changes and the complex system mixing face-to-face (F2F) with remote teaching are, in fact, nearly impossible, this teacher created a mind-numbingly elaborate chart and shared it with the principal.
This is the new normal for K-12 teachers in the U.S. An already nearly CONTINUE READING: Pandemic Pedagogy: The New Normal? – radical eyes for equity

Teacher Tom: A Lifetime of Learning in Every Moment

Teacher Tom: A Lifetime of Learning in Every Moment

A Lifetime of Learning in Every Moment



A couple days ago, while walking our dog in South Lake Union Park, my wife and I had to dodge a champagne cork. Drinking alcohol in the park is expressly forbidden during normal times, but, of course, these are anything but normal times. As the cork bounced harmlessly past us, several people from the large family group that had gathered to celebrate a loved one's life transforming moment, called out, laughingly, "Sorry."

I was taken back to another shooting champagne cork, one from some 50 years ago. Our family friend, Mr. Hollingsworth, had left a dent in the kitchen ceiling when a cork got away from him during one of the many times our families celebrated together. I'd never been around champagne before. Indeed I don't think I even knew what it was until that dramatic moment. There was an explosive pop, followed by a brief moment of startled silence as everyone registered what had happened. Then came a second explosion, this time of laughter as the adults noticed the marred ceiling and pieced together what had happened. Mr. Hollingsworth, whose ceiling had be ruined, laughed the hardest of all.

Just as that moment left a mark on the ceiling, it also, clearly left a mark on me. It comes back to me whenever CONTINUE READING: Teacher Tom: A Lifetime of Learning in Every Moment



2020 Medley #18 – Non-pandemic issue | Live Long and Prosper

2020 Medley #18 – Non-pandemic issue | Live Long and Prosper



2020 Medley #18 – Non-pandemic issue


I only have four articles to share today. I had dozens, but most dealt with the ongoing problem of teaching during a pandemic. I also found that I had a lot to say about each of the four articles I chose, so fewer seemed better.
GUILT AND LOSS IN RETIREMENT
I read once that the most common cause of death for men in America is retirement. Since I’ve made it ten years past my retirement date, I think I’m relatively safe, but retirement isn’t always easy and, for some, it’s hard to let go.
Peter Greene, who blogs at Curmudgucation, has been retired from teaching for about three years. In this post, he discussed the guilt he felt about not being in the classroom…leaving unfinished business when he retired…and some implied feelings of abandoning his fellow teachers.
For me, as an elementary teacher, there was something else, though the guilt he talked about was surely a part of it. As an elementary classroom teacher, each year was a new start. Everyone started fresh. At the end of the year, we said goodbye to our kids knowing that we did what we could; we’d taken them as far as they could go. The end of each year came with a sense of loss for the students who moved on.
I felt the same sort of loss when I retired, which is why I returned to school the following school year as a volunteer. I missed working with children. I missed CONTINUE READING: 2020 Medley #18 – Non-pandemic issue | Live Long and Prosper

Doug Harris’ Book, Charter School City ((Shaking My Head)) | deutsch29

Doug Harris’ Book, Charter School City ((Shaking My Head)) | deutsch29

Doug Harris’ Book, Charter School City ((Shaking My Head))



Education Research Alliance of New Orleans (ERA) founder Doug Harris has published a book about the primarily-post-Katrina charterization of New Orleans public schools, Charter School City (University of Chicago Press, July 2020).
Harris’ book is endorsed by Former US ed sec Arne Duncan:
“The schools in New Orleans have gotten better faster than perhaps any other district in the country. To see this progress, in the wake of the trauma and devastation from Hurricane Katrina, is just awe-inspiring. In this ground-breaking book, Harris provides a full and careful picture of how the community did it and what others can learn from it. New Orleans shows us what’s possible, and it gives all of us reason for hope.”
— Arne Duncan, managing partner, Emerson Collective and former US Secretary of Education
This is the same Arne Duncan who callously tossed off in January 2010, “I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina.” (Days later, Duncan apologized for the comment.)
I wonder how much of Harris’ book Duncan had actually read.
In January 2020, I read it all. Cover to cover.
I did so at the request of Commonweal Magazine, a New York-based publication seeking a review of Harris’ book. I submitted my review in February 2020, just weeks before the pandemic shut down the country and delayed many plans, including publication of my review.
I have confirmed that Commonweal Magazine still plans to publish my review of CONTINUE READING: Doug Harris’ Book, Charter School City ((Shaking My Head)) | deutsch29

Does the Hybrid School Re-Opening Need a “Pre-Season”? | Ed In The Apple

Does the Hybrid School Re-Opening Need a “Pre-Season”? | Ed In The Apple

Does the Hybrid School Re-Opening Need a “Pre-Season”?



Mayor League baseball players gather a month before the first game for spring training, the NFL players have been practicing for a few weeks before the early September first game.
In spite of mounting pressure from the unions representing teachers, principals and other school workers the mayor and the school chancellor refuse to move to a phased, aka, delayed, school opening in order to assure safety protocols are in place.
Other large cities, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Miami and others are beginning with a fully remote opening.
In New York State the Big Five have delayed reopening; Yonkers will be fully remote until early October, Buffalo is battling with teachers over the re-opening plan, Rochester is beginning remote with a phased re-opening  and Syracuse will begin with a hybrid model for elementary/middle schools and fully remote for high schools.
The hundreds and hundreds of smaller districts have a vast array of models. Read the Westchester/Rockland plans here.
New York City is struggling to create blended aka hybrid models and have ignored the phased re-opening pathway: begin remote and move slowly, step by CONTINUE READING: Does the Hybrid School Re-Opening Need a “Pre-Season”? | Ed In The Apple

Student Board Member Recruitment - SBE Members - Application Information - Commissions & Committees And Other Important Stuff (CA Dept of Education)

Application Information - Commissions & Committees (CA Dept of Education)

Application Information
Application forms and information for appointment to commissions, councils, or committees.




Student Board Member Recruitment - SBE Members (CA Dept of Education) - https://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ms/mm/sbestudentmember.asp




Advisory Commission on Charter Schools (ACCS)

Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE)

California Practitioners Advisory Group (CPAG)

Instructional Quality Commission (IQC)

IQC Student Member


SBE Student Board Member

Conflict of Interest Code

Questions: State Board of Education | sbe@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0827 
Application Information - Commissions & Committees (CA Dept of Education)

Critical Literacy, Not Nonsense Literacy – radical eyes for equity

Critical Literacy, Not Nonsense Literacy – radical eyes for equity

Critical Literacy, Not Nonsense Literacy



At 59 with almost 40 years experience as an educator (focusing on literacy) and writer, I remain someone who struggles with spelling.
And when I come across an unfamiliar word, I ask around until I find someone who can pronounce it aloud for me; I have never really tried to “sound it out”—even though I have intuited a huge amount of letter/sound patterns in the English language.
Also, as a Southerner, my common pronunciation of many words doesn’t quite align with the so-called “proper” pronunciation of many words; I can make one-syllable words two syllables, and choke two-syllable words into one.
“Hell” is one of my better versions of the former.
More like “hey-uhl.”
None the less, I am a highly literate person with a reading and writing background that outpaces most people in sheer volume significantly. I also love language and the history of the English language.
After fumbling my way earnestly through a decade or more of teaching high school English and honing my craft as a writer, I discovered critical pedagogy and critical literacy in my 30s during my doctoral program. That “discovery” CONTINUE READING: Critical Literacy, Not Nonsense Literacy – radical eyes for equity

Education Matters: Why today's court decision means little for Duval County

Education Matters: Why today's court decision means little for Duval County

Why today's court decision means little for Duval County



Finally, some sanity and good news today as the Tallahassee circuit court said the state exceeded it's authority when it threatened to take away district's funding unless it bowed to their will and opened schools and risked lives. Sadly this momentous decision will have little impact on Duval.

First about the decision, from the Tampa Times,

Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson ruled in favor of Florida’s statewide teachers union Monday, saying Department of Education officials “essentially ignored the requirement of school safety” when they ordered campuses to reopen for face-to-face classes this month.

In his decision, Dodson also found that the department’s order, issued July 6, essentially overrode school boards’ constitutional authority to operate their own school systems.

“The districts have no meaningful alternative,” Dodson wrote. “If an individual school district chooses safety, that is, delaying the start of schools until it individually determines it is safe to do so for its county, it risks losing state funding, even though every student is being taught.”

https://www.tampabay.com/news/gradebook/2020/08/24/school-reopening-lawsuit-judge-rules-in-favor-of-florida-teachers/

Weeks ago, I wrote I wish the board would have held up the constitution and said this trump's the state executive order, but instead, they decided to go the path of least resistance and gave.

So this decision will be appealed, and I am not optimistic the court packed Florida Supreme Court is capable CONTINUE READING:
 
Education Matters: Why today's court decision means little for Duval County

CURMUDGUCATION: How Bad Is This Gates-Funded Essay Cyber-Scorer? This Bad.

CURMUDGUCATION: How Bad Is This Gates-Funded Essay Cyber-Scorer? This Bad.

How Bad Is This Gates-Funded Essay Cyber-Scorer? This Bad.



Software that can grade an essay is the great white whale of automating education. If software could actually score an essay effectively, data-mining personalized [sic] algorithm-delivered edu-product could work with more than just multiple choice and true or false questions. I've written a plenty about why this great white whale is not going to be landed any time soon. But let me give you a specific example of how bad one product really is, even though it's getting funding from the Gates Foundation.


Ecree was founded in 2014 and promises to use "artificial intelligence to replicate teacher-quality feedback on written assignments." It was founded by Jamey Holt and Robin Donaldson. Holt used to do a little college teaching, then became COO of Phronesis Health, Inc, a healthcare data mulching outfit. Donaldson is the computer guy.

The Gates Foundation is a big fan of this kind of software-driven edu-product, and have given  something like $3 million to companies working on the problem, including ETS, Vantage Learning, Measurement Incorporated, and the University of Michigan. Plus our new friends at Ecree. All five grants are "to validate the efficacy of Automated Essay Scoring software in improving the student outcomes in argumentative writing for students who are Black, Latino, and/or experiencing poverty."

First, I'm looking askance at the word "validate," which is a lot like "prove that this works" when it CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: How Bad Is This Gates-Funded Essay Cyber-Scorer? This Bad.

HOW MANY ARE YOU WILLING TO SACRIFICE – Dad Gone Wild

HOW MANY ARE YOU WILLING TO SACRIFICE – Dad Gone Wild

HOW MANY ARE YOU WILLING TO SACRIFICE



Your eyes seek conclusion in all this confusion of mine
Though you and I both know it’s only the warm glow of wine
That’s got you to feeling this way
But I don’t care, I want you to stay
And hold me and tell me you’ll be here to love me today – Townes Van Zandt, Be Here To Love Me

“Out of anger comes controversy, out of controversy comes conversation, out of conversation comes action.”
― Tupac Shakur

Saturday afternoon found me at McCay’s rifling through records. I had about $20 in store credits and was hoping to find some new gems. It was cause for celebration when I found a copy of Townes Van Zandt’s Our Mother the Mountain record. It’s not often that you find a record by the iconic troubadour and so I quickly snatched it.
Sunday morning, I popped the record on the turntabled and lost myself in the literate blues of the consummate songwriter. Unfortunately, that joy was tempered when I received the news that the young man who bore his name – Justin Townes Earle – had passed at the age of 38.
Back in the early 2000s, I worked down on Elliston Square at Georges. There was a group of young ‘uns, all of them between 21 and 25, that used to regularly come in and drink pitchers of beer, play pool, and carouse. They were tattooed and greased up, the woman with hair teased or scarved but just as tatted. I christened them the rock-a-billy kids, as they almost seemed to be a throwback to another era.
It was clear they were artistically talented. Among their number were future members of Old Crow Medicine Show, the son’s of Nashville musical royalty Kevin Welch and Gary Nicholson, maybe a tattoo artist or two, and Justin Earle.
Nobody ever had any money, and so they only stuck around as long it took to down a couple of pitchers, and play a little pool. When they walked in, the energy level in the room soared, only to drop again on their departure. Watching them have fun and cut up was like watching one of those old 50’s teenage movies, they managed to exude a youthful joy with a touch of world-weariness that had somehow managed to sneak in. To say I looked forward to their visits, would be an CONTINUE READING: HOW MANY ARE YOU WILLING TO SACRIFICE – Dad Gone Wild

DID YOU MISS DIANE RAVITCH'S BLOG TODAY? A site to discuss better education for all

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


DID YOU MISS DIANE RAVITCH'S BLOG TODAY? 

A site to discuss better education for all



The Most Moving Speech at the Democratic National Convention
Almost every reviewer of the Democratic National Convention agreed that this was the most moving speech of all. Thirteen-year-old Brayden Harrington met Joe Biden at a town hall in New Hampshire. When Biden learned that the boy stutters, he asked to meet privately afterwards. He told him how he had overcome his stutter and gave him some helpful,advice. Above all, he gave him hope and the confiden
Mike Klonsky: Biden and Harris Didn’t Say Much About Education But the Platform Does
Mike Klonsky notes that education was barely mentioned in the convention speeches of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. But he points out that the platform contains some strong language in the right direction on charters, vouchers, for-profit businesses, and testing. On testing, for example, it says: The evidence from nearly two decades of education reforms that hinge on standardized test scores shows
New York Times: How Trump Destroyed the C.I.A.
This article in the New York Times Magazine b Robert Draper confirms our worst suspicions about Trump. He has used his authority to eliminate any top official in the Central Intelligence Agency who is not personally loyal to him. He has suppressed any independent analysis of Russian efforts to interfere in our elections. His actions border on treason. In early July of last year, the first draft o
The Dismal GOP Roll Call of States
Robin Givhan of the Washington Post writes about the roll call of the states at the Trump convention. The roll call on opening day of the Republican National Convention was sleepy. Low energy. And sad. This American ritual, during which each state pledges its delegates to the winning candidate, was bereft of charm. It was technically stultifying. It was also devoid of Black people and sorely lack
Boston Globe: The Takeaway from the Trump National Convention
James Pindell wrote in the Boston Globe about the Republican Convention. For the Republicans, America is a country on the verge of collapse because there is rioting in the cities, impending doom in the suburbs, and some concerted effort in the rural areas to prevent people from going to church or owning a gun. As one speaker put it: “Trump is the bodyguard of western civilization.” The Republican
An Open Letter to Biden and Harris from Washington State’s Superintendent of Public Instruction
Chris Reykdal, state superintendent of public instruction in Washington State, published this excellent letter to the Democratic candidates. It overflows with wisdom and common sense. An Open Letter to the Biden-Harris Ticket: Mr. Vice President and Senator Harris, there is so much at stake with this year’s presidential election, including the very foundation of our country’s democracy – the futu
Rabbi in St. Louis: The McCloskeys Are Bullies
The Republican Party—that is, the Trumps—made heroes of Patricia and Mark McCloskey, who had menaced peaceful marchers on their St. Louis Street with guns. The McCloskey property abuts a reform synagogue. Its rabbi, Susan Talve, spoke up and said the McCloskeys are litigious bullies. In 2013, the synagogue placed beehives along the wall to produce honey for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. One
Melania Cuts Down Jackie Kennedy’s White House Rose Garden
Jackie Kennedy, wife of President John F. Kennedy, redesigned the White House Rose Garden. Jackie also redecorates the White House. She was an icon of taste and style. Melania Trump decided to renovate the Rose Garden. Her efforts have been received with dismay. What was once a splash of color is now monochromatic white. Some may like this cold aesthetic. Many don’t.
Florida: Judge Blocks State Order to Open Schools
In Florida, state officials ordered schools across the state to open fully without regard to safety or local officials. The Florida Education Association sued, and a judge blocked them reopening. A Florida judge Monday granted a temporary injunction against the state’s order requiring school districts to reopen schools during the novel coronavirus pandemic, saying in a harshly worded decision tha
Reuters: Business Partner of Falwells Claims He Had Relationship with the Powerful Evangelicals
This article in Reuters reports that a young man says he had an affair for several years with the wife of Jerry Falwell, Jr., president-on-leave of Liberty University, which was founded by his famous father. He told Reuters that Falwell often watched as he had relations with Falwell’s wife. Ah, the hypocrisy of those who claim to be morally superior. The strict honor code of Liberty University fo
Politico: What Obama Really Felt About Biden
Alex Thompson of Politico wrote a fascinating article about the tensions between Obama and Biden. During his eight years as Vice-President, Biden was loyal to Obama. Biden thought he was the inevitable successor to Obama. But Obama preferred Hillary to Joe. Hillary and Barack were both Ivy League, both cerebral, both cut from the same cloth. Biden is an old school politician. He’s not Ivy League.
Bob Shepherd Opens the Republican National Convention
Today is the day when the Republican Party convenes to renominate Donald Trump as President of the United States. Trump has so thoroughly conquered the Grand Old Party that some call it “the Trump Party.” No member dare challenges his decisions, statements or policies, for fear that a humiliating tweet will end his or her career. A once-proud party that trumpeted its devotion to principles like f
McSweeney’s: The Schedule of Speakers at the Republican Convention
This post in McSweeney’s was inspired by the news that the gun-toting couple from Missouri who threatened BLM protestors have been invited to speak at the Republican Convention. Here is the first day: Monday, August 24 9:00 pm The Creatures From Beyond the Mist scream the national anthem. 9:05 pm Morgon, Devourer of Children, discusses his proposal to drastically decrease education spending. 9:20
Michael Hynes Pays Tribute to the Late Sir Ken Robinson
Dr. Michael Hynes is the Superintendent of the Port Washington School District in New York and a friend of Sir Ken Robinson. The Legacy and Impact of Sir Ken Robinson The world lost an inspiring and incredible human-being 

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