Saturday, January 2, 2021

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

A site to discuss better education for all

Peter Greene: Democrats Need a Major Restart for Education
You know the old line, “Failure is not an option.” Well, we have federal education policy built on the idea that failure doesn’t matter. Failure is not only an option, it is the only option. No Child Left Behind failed; the same children who were behind were left behind. Race to the Top was a failure; no one reached “the top” because of its demands. Common Core was a failure: It promised to close
Trump-Appointed Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Seeking to Block Biden Electoral College Victory
A federal judge in Texas, appointed by Trump, dismissed a lawsuit filed by Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert, seeking to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory. A federal judge in Texas has dismissed a long-shot lawsuit by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) that sought to overturn the presidential election, saying neither the congressman nor his allies have legal standing to pursue the case. The judge’s Fr
Please Support the Network for Public Education!
As a new year begins, and as a new administration prepares to take charge of the U.S. government, our fight to support and improve public education goes on. The Network for Public Education is and will continue to be the single largest voluntary group advocating on behalf of public schools. We had humble beginnings, starting with a bank account of a couple of thousand dollars and a board of enthu
Welcome 2021! Go Away, 2020!
Well, congratulations! If you are reading this, you have experienced and survived the worst pandemic since the 1918 Flu. It was a truly lousy year. Nearly 350,000 Americans died because of the coronavirus. Millions of people lost their jobs, their homes, their security. Countless numbers were evicted because they couldn’t pay their rent or their mortgage. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses

DEC 31 2020

Breaking News! Pence Does Not Want Power to Overturn Election Results
While Republicans are filing lawsuits asking courts to expand the Vice President’s power to reject slates of certified electors, Mike Pence rejected the expanded power they want the courts to give him, which would enable the Vice President to ignore the Electoral College and pick the incoming President. This lawsuit may be the most hare-brained effort by Trump’s cult to throw out the Constitution
Fred Smith: The Night Before New Year’s
Fred Smith, assessment expert (retired from the New York City Board of Education) and part-time poet, published this poem today in the New York Daily News. The night before New Year’s : A Message from Your President! By FRED SMITH NEW YORK DAILY NEWS – DEC 31, 2020 ‘Tis the eve of the new year and in his White House Sits a lame duck-tailed bad man with unsmiling spouse. “This may be my last chanc
“It’s All About the Benjamins.” But What Do We Call a $1,000 Bill?
I’m used to hearing people say, “It’s all about the Benjamins,” referring to someone who has sold their principles for money. A Benjamin refers to $100 bills, which have the face of Benjamin Franklin. So we refer to politicians who support positions we don’t like as having taken money to align with the lobbyists or the donor with a lot of Benjamins. Of course, these days we have documentary evide
George Packer: The Legacy of Donald Trump
George Packer is a staff writer for The Atlantic, where this article appears. To assess the legacy of Donald Trump’s presidency, start by quantifying it. Since last February, more than a quarter of a million Americans have died from COVID-19—a fifth of the world’s deaths from the disease, the highest number of any country. In the three years before the pandemic, 2.3 million Americans lost their h
Trump Allies Gear Up for Final Effort to Overturn the Election
The Washington Post reports that Trump allies have filed more lawsuits to overturn the election and are pressuring Mike Pence to block the certification of the results on January 6. Pence has to choose between his loyalty to Trump and his Constitutional duty. Never in American history has a president refused to accept his loss in the election and continued to fight to overturn the results long af
Rick Hess Interviews Betsy DeVos As She Heads for the Exit
Rick Hess conducts an “exit interview” with Betsy DeVos, which was published at Education Week. Rick is a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, which is funded in part by DeVos. DeVos came to Washington to destroy public education, and she failed. She bitterly dismisses the “entrenched interests” and bureaucrats who frustrated her ambitions to turn billions of public dollars o

DEC 30 2020

Website Created by Gates Foundation Leaves Open Personal Data of Hundreds of Thousands of Students
The Financial Times reported a major data breach of personally identifiable student data on a website funded by the Gates Foundation. Bill Gates, as we know, is a data aficionado. Several years ago, he created an ill-fated project called InBloom with the intent of gathering the personal data of millions of students. Fortunately it was killed off by parent activists Leonie Haimson and Rachel Stick
Masha Gessen on Trump’s Defining Trait: Indifference
Perhaps you remember the jacket that Melania Trump wore when she was boarding a flight to see for herself the inhumane treatment of immigrants and their children at the southern border. It said on its back: “I Really Don’t Care. Do U?” She shouted out her indifference to suffering. Masha Gessen says that the defining characteristic of Trump too is indifference . His vanity, his ego, his golfing,
Peter Goodman: Who is Miguel Cardona?
Peter Goodman is a veteran observer of education policy and politics in New York City and State. In this post, he asks, who is Miguel Cardona? The answer is that Cardona will do what Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden want him to do. He remains an unknown quantity. The only thing we know for sure is that he will roll back whatever damage DeVos did in her four year tenure. Will he grant waivers from the
Steve Nelson: Farewell to the Worst Secretary of Education Ever!
Steve Nelson was head of school at the Calhoun School. He is now in retirement. He writes frequently about the need for child-centered education. “RESIST!” Bernie Sanders? AOC? Malcom X? Saul Alinsky? No, this was Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s plea to Education Department staffers as she ends her term in office. As reported in The Hill, she specifically implored them to “Be the resistance aga
Randy Wieck: A Drive-By Looting of Pension Funds in Kentucky
Kentucky teacher and activist Randy Wieck writes on Fred Klonsky’s blog about the renewal of the Republican legislators’ efforts to raid teachers’ pension funds in Kentucky. He begins: At a time when the Republican super majorities in the Kentucky Legislature would seem to have more pressing issues to face – Covid-shuttered schools and businesses, unemployment supplements, eviction waivers, unive

DEC 29 2020

Irish Times: Trump Is Not Yet Finished Destroying Our Government
This article in the Irish Times by Fintan O’Toole is one of the best analyses of the reign of Mad King Donald that I have read. His hairstyle has been toned down. His demeanour – malign, self-obsessed, reckless of truth and decency, revelling in the harm he has done and can still do to the norms and institutions of democracy – has not. This continuity is ominous. Trump was able to upend American
Washington Post: Could Trump Declare Martial Law and Steal the Election?
The fact that anyone is discussing the possibility of martial law demonstrates how much Trump has degraded our democracy. When Hillary Clinton lost the election in the Electoral College in 2016, she graciously conceded; she didn’t demand endless recounts. Trump continues to whine about a “rigged” election, although historically it is the party in power that has the opportunity to “rig” any electi
Dana Milbank: Alabama’s Tommy Tuberville is Making a Strong Bid to Be the Senate’s Dimmest Member
Dana Milbank is impressed by Alabama’s Senator-Elect Tommy Tuberville. Not in a positive way. Milbank thinks he may be the dimmest member of the Senate. President-unelect Trump has studied every play in the Coups-for-Dummies playbook: court challenges, pressure on Republican officials to overturn the election, even a half-baked plan for martial law from pardoned convict Michael Flynn. But no luck
What Joe Biden Said About Charter Schools During the Campaign
Joe Biden was very clear about his position on privately managed charter schools during the campaign. In this video, he was asked by Lily Eskelsen Garcia what he would do about charter schools, and his position was clear: Charter schools should not be funded at the expense of public schools. No federal funds for privately funded charter schools. Charter schools should be subject to the oversight
Trump Issues Order for Back-Door Vouchers
Someone wrote an executive order, dated December 28, and signed Donald Trump’s name to it, declaring that the emergency conditions created by the COVID make it vital to use federal funds for vouchers. Don’t waste a minute! Scoop up federal funds and put your child in a substandard voucher school! We know that Trump didn’t write the executive order because he’s at Mar-a-Lago nursing his grievances

DEC 28 2020

David Ignatius: Does Trump Have an Evil Plan for January 6?
David Ignatius writes for the Washington Post. He recently wrote an alarming column about Trump’s last gasp effort to overturn the election results and possibly attempt a coup. Recall that he ousted the top leadership of the pentagon to install sycophants. What does he have planned? Not to be alarmist, but we should recognize that the United States will be in the danger zone until the formal cert
Washington Post: What Trump’s Allies Will Do on January 6
Amber Phillips of the Washington Post has been keeping watch on Trump’s futile effort to reverse his loss. He simply can’t believe that he is a loser. A LOSER. He said again and again on the campaign trail in 2016 that under him, the country would get tired of winning so much. But the one thing he finds impossible to accept is that he did not win. The votes have been cast, the Electoral College h
Connecticut: A Teacher Remembers Cardona
A music teacher in Meriden, Connecticut, wrote this comment about Miguel Cardona on Facebook. The teacher is a BAT (BadAss Teachers Association). Jake Jacobs, co-administrator of the BATS, circulated this post. I can tell you this much–he was my principal and evaluator for one year, during a low point in my career. Of the nine principals (and couple dozen assistants) I have worked under, he is th
Miguel Cardona Accepts Biden Nomination
On December 23, Connecticut Commissioner of Education Miguel Cardona spoke, accepting President-Elect Joe Biden’s nomination to serve as Secretary of Education: He said: Mr. President-elect, Madam Vice President-elect — thank you for this opportunity to serve. I know just how challenging this year has been for students, for educators, and for parents. I’ve lived those challenges alongside million

DEC 27 2020

Dana Milbank: Senator Ron Johnson Is Undermining Our Democracy
Dana Milbank, columnist for the Washington Post, identifies Senator Ron Johnson as the an enemy of democratic norms: Finally, significant fraud has been identified in the 2020 election. It is being perpetrated by Sen. Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin. President Trump lost the election. He lost the recounts. He lost the vote certifications, by Republican and Democratic officials alike. He lost
Washington Post: How Trump’s Denial and Mismanagement Worsened COVID
As of this writing, at least 340,000 people have died of COVID. Washington Post reporters wrote a comprehensive account of how Donald Trump bungled the federal government’s response to the pandemic and made the number of infections and deaths far worse than they should have been if we had had competent leadership. The story was published on December 19. We know that Trump encouraged people not to
Wendy Lecker: Two Books That Demonstrate Why Public Education Matters
Wendy Lecker is a civil rights attorney who writes frequently for the Stamford Advocate. In this column, she reviews two important books: One shows how deeply embedded public schools are in our democratic ideology, the other describes that coordinated assault on the very concept of public schooling. The first is low professor Derek Black’s Schoolhouse Burning, the other is A Wolf at the Schoollho
Peter Greene: Phooey to Resuming the Big Standardized Tests
The “reform” lobby, never content without testing and data, has argued in a host of opinion pieces that children really need to be tested this spring. The reformers believe that school is unthinkable and teachers won’t know what to do without annual standardized testing. They have completely imbibed the Texas Miracle That Wasn’t, the “miracle” that justified No Child Left Behind’s testing mandate

DEC 26 2020

My Interview on “Democracy Now”
I was interviewed by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonz├ílez about President-Elect Biden’s choice of Miguel Cardona. He needs not only to reverse Betsy DeVos’s four disastrous years, but 20 years of bad federal policy. Here it is.
Andrea Gabor: First Tasks for Secretary Cardona: Cancel Standardized Testing, Pursue Equity
Andrea Gabor has some good ideas about what the new Secretary of Education must do. President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for education secretary, Miguel Cardona, will face a host of pandemic-related challenges that have disproportionately affected the nation’s neediest students. In addition to learning setbacks, the prolonged isolation has caused social and emotional trauma. The challenges will co
If You Love Public Higher Education, Fight for It
I posted a delightful article by Jennifer Raab, President of Hunter College, celebrating the importance of public higher education, which has provided opportunity to so many students from low-income and immigrant families. A 

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