Saturday, January 23, 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

Leonie Haimson to Mayor de Blasio: Cancel the Tests for Gifted and Talented Programs NOW!
Parent advocate Leonie Haimson has written an urgent plea to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Richard Carranza. They acknowledge that the test for the “gifted and talented” programs are flawed, they know they need to be replaced, they know that it is wrong to test children as young as 4, but they are giving the test anyway. Haimson says, STOP NOW! Haimson writes: Last week, Mayor
A Wonderful Typo! We Need Common CARE Standards!
Recently Tom Ultican responded to something I posted on Twitter. His response contained a typo. He meant to write “Common Core Standards,” but mistakenly wrote “Common Care Standards.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our schools had “Common Care Standards,” in which we acknowledged our responsibility to care about students? The standards might read like this: All children shall have access to high qu


Ed Johnson to the Atlanta School Board: “America United” and “A Union with Purpose”
Ed Johnson is a persistent, tireless advocate for systemic improvement of the Atlanta Public Schools. As a systems analyst, he opposes school choice, which helps some and hurts others. He wrote the following letter to the Atlanta School Board after watching the Inauguration ceremonies on January 20: 20 January 2021 Inauguration 2021: “America United” and “a Union with Purpose” “America United ” J
Commonweal: What the Insurrection Was Really About
Clifford Thompson writes in the liberal Catholic journal Commonweal that that ostensible reason for the Insurrection on January 6 was anger that Biden “stole” the election from Trump; the mob “knew” because Trump said it was so. Of course, it was a lie. Trump decisively lost both the popular vote and the electoral college. He thought he could inspire the mob to stop the certification of the Elect
Letter from a Connecticut Teacher to Dr. Cardona: Stop the Spring Tests!
Ann Cronin, retired teacher in Connecticut, posted a letter on her blog written by another Connecticut teacher and addressed to Secretary of Education-Designate Miguel Cardona: Jeannette C. Faber writes to tell Dr. Cardona that it is time to end standardized testing, now! Dear Commissioner Cardona: Connecticut is proud that you, our Commissioner of Education, was chosen as the Biden/Harris admini
Ezra Klein: Biden’s Plan to Curb the Pandemic is Shockingly Simple
Ezra Klein, a new columnist for the New York Times, writes that Biden’s plan to curb the pandemic is so blindingly obvious that it demonstrates how reckless and indifferent the Trump administration was. Trump thought that producing the vaccine would end the pandemic; but what matters most is getting people vaccinated, and for that he had no plan at all. When you read this, you may feel–as I did–t

JAN 21

If you live in Missouri, get active to stop this dangerous effort to destroy your public schools! Dear Friend, If you love your public schools you need to drop what you are doing and get to work. There is only one intent of Senate Bill 55–to destroy public education in Missouri. It was pushed through the Senate Education Committee early this morning and may go to the Senate floor for a vote as ea
Trump’s 1776 Commission Releases a Literal Whitewash of U.S. History
On the day before the election, Donald Trump signed an executive order establishing a “1776 Commission” to rewrite American history. This commission was intended to refute the New York Times’ 1619 Project , which told the story of American history from the view of African Americans. It was also, allegedly, an answer to “critical race theory,” which you can be sure Trump could not define. I though
Rebecca Klein: Christian Textbooks Echo Trump Rhetoric
Rebecca Klein, education editor of Huffington Post, reviewed the textbooks written for and used in Christian schools and found that they repeated the lies of Trump and the far-right. Because of vouchers, many of these Christian schools receive public funds. Klein wrote: Christian textbooks used in thousands of schools around the country teach that President Barack Obama helped spur destructive Bl
Tom Ultican on the Biden Education Team, So Far
Tom Ultican has written extensively about the insidious goals of “reformers,” who move forward despite multiple failures because of their billionaire funding. In this post, he reviews the Biden education team, which is not yet fleshed out. He wrote this post before the announcement that Cindy Marten, the Superintendent of Schools in San Diego, was selected to be Deputy Secretary. This will be the
Meet Miguel Cardona, Soon to Be Secretary of Education
The Connecticut Mirror wrote a revealing in-depth analysis of Secretary-designate Miguel Cardona’s life, career, and education ideas. His meteoric rise has been well documented. He grew up in poverty. He started public school in Meriden, Connecticut, not speaking English. He saw education as his route to a better life. He became a teacher, then a principal, then assistant superintendent of the Me

JAN 20

Mike Klonsky: Not with a Bang, But a Whimper, Trump Slithers Away
This is a great post by Mike Klonsky about the ignominious end of the Trump nightmare. He planned a big military send-off for himself but was afraid no one would show up, so the invitations went out to people like John Bolton and Anthony Scaramucci, who long ago deserted him. Every invitee was asked to bring five friends to bulk up the audience. Someone said on CNN today that she had seen more pe
Politico: Trump Officials at Pentagon Refused to Cooperate with Biden Team
Politico reports that Trump officials at the Pentagon refused to share information with the Biden transition team. Shameful but typical of Trump, who lacks any sense of propriety, decency, duty, or patriotism. The Pentagon blocked members of President Joe Biden’s incoming administration from gaining access to critical information about current operations, including the troop drawdown in Afghanist
Randy Rainbow Bids Farewell to Trump
A fitting ending to four years of the worst president in American history. It felt as though it would never be over. Our long national nightmare has come to an end (to repeat a But it did! Proving that all bad things must finally come to an end. Now we await the trials and prosecutions. First, the Senate. Then the trials in New York City and New York State. Maybe one in Atlanta for election tampe
Greg B: The Significance of This Day
I “attended” only one Inauguration, that of John F. Kennedy in 1961. I had been married only six months, and my husband and I took the train to D.C. It was a bitter cold and snowy day. Our train contained many members of Congress. Because of the snow, the train crawled and arrived very late.. All of us heard JFK’s stirring Inaugural Address on our portable radios, one train. We missed a historic
Biden’s Faith is Part of His Identity
Michelle Boorstein writes about religion for the Washington Post. In this article , she explores the roots of Biden’s deep faith. This is an excerpt of a longer article. Pitching himself as president, Joe Biden promised to heal America’s hurting soul. His experiences with suffering and healing were well known, including the deaths of his wife and two of his children, his struggle against stutteri

JAN 19

I Got My COVID-19 Vaccine Shot Today!
I signed up for the vaccine as soon as I was eligible (eight days ago), and today I went to the Bushwick Educational Complex in Brooklyn. I stood in a very long line in the cold for about 30 minutes, then realized that older people (like me) were being brought indoors through a different, shorter line. I joined that line. At about 1:15 p.m., I got the Moderna vaccine, which is the one selected by
Washington Post: Private Militias Planned the Insurrection
Court documents were released about the militia members who planned the January 6 Insurrection , according to the Washington Post, that led to the sacking of the U.S. Capitol, a horrifying sight and a desecration of one of our national monuments by a wild mob. The mob listened to Trump’s incitement and headed for the Capitol, inspired to carry out heinous actions against members of Congress. Some
Meet Cindy Marten: The New Deputy Secretary of Education
The Biden-Harris administration announced the selection of Cindy Marten, superintendent of schools in San Diego for the past seven years, as its choice for Deputy Secretary of Education. I have known her for 15 years. I first met her when she was the new principal of Central Elementary School. This will be the first time in the history of the U.S. Department of Education that the top two jobs wer
Mimi Swartz: Ted Cruz, Liar and Thug
Since his revolting performance at the failed revolt on January 6, Ted Cruz has emerged as leader of what is known as the #SeditionCaucus. Mimi Swartz, executive editor of the Texas Monthly and contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, recently called him out as a hypocrite and a phony who used his credentials to attack our democracy: When I was growing up, I was often reminded that peo
Alex Newhouse: Radical Activists Revealed Their Plans for January 6 Online
In this article published at The Conversation, Alex Newhouse writes that far-right activists made their plans known on social media for weeks in advance. Newhouse is Research Lead at the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism at Middlebury College. The question arises: If he could read the chatter and see the portents of violence, why didn’t the FBI? The attack on the U.S. Capitol b
Andrea Gabor: Now Is the Time to Revive Civics Education and Media Literacy
Andrea Gabor argues that the violent storming of Congress is reason to revive civics in schools. Clearly, she writes, many Americans do not understand the norms of a democratic government (including, I would add, Trump and most of the elected representatives of the Republican Party). Last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol may have been incited by President Donald Trump and right-wing politicians
John Thompson Reviews “A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door”: A Frightening Future Ahead
John Thompson, historian and retired teacher in Oklahoma, reviews historian Jack Schneider and journalist Jennifer Berkshire’s A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door . Schneider and Berkshire have collaborated on podcasts called “Have You Heard.” Thompson writes: The first 2/3rds of A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door , by Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire, is an excellent history of attacks on public edu

JAN 18

Robert Kuttner: Lefties, Stay Home!
Robert Kuttner has sage advice for those who oppose Trumpism, white supremacy, Proud Boys, and racism: Stay home during the demonstrations associated with Joe Biden’s inauguration. Lefties: Stay Away From This Weekend’s Disruptions The left got very lucky when the far right laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. The whole thing unfolded so fast that there was no time to organize counterprotests. We shou
Billionaire Funders of Club for Growth Backed Cruz, Hawley, Other Big-Lie Liars
The Guardian reports that the Club for Growth, a radical rightwing group of the super-rich, poured millions into campaigns to help elect Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and others who took a stand against facts, a fair election, and the U.S. Constitution. The Club for Growth wants low taxes. Why should the uber-rich expect to pay more in taxes, after all? They hate social programs and anything that enable
WSJ: Europe Is Closing Down Schools for Fear of COVID Spread
Last spring and summer, we read many articles about Europe’s success in keeping its schools open, based on the belief that young children are less likely to get sick with COVID-19 and less likely to spread it. Ruth Bender reports in The Wall Street Journal that European nations are closing their schools because new studies show that children do get the disease and are likely to spread it. As U.S.
Do Radical Hate Groups Now Own the GOP?
Although the bizarre conspiracy theory group called QAnon has only two members elected to Congress, it has two members in Congress. That was not a typo. The KKK–so far as we know–does not have any members in Congress. Nor do the Proud Boys. But QAnon seems to have a strange power over the Republican party, so much so that most of its members voted to overturn a fair and free and amply verified pr
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: The Drum Major Instinct
Today is a national holiday in which we remember the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and celebrate his legacy of justice, equality, and peace. To mark this date, I selected one of his memorable speeches. The Drum Major Instinct can lead one to be cruel, oppressive, greedy, and snobbish. But, rightly understood, it can lead one to serve others and to do good. This speech is appropriate for this m

JAN 17

Inside the Mob: A New Yorker Video
I have seen many videos of the violence on January 6. This is one of the most powerful of them, filmed by Luke Mogelson, published and posted by the New Yorker. I hope you don’t need a subscription to watch it. In case you can’t open it, here is most of the video , posted at CNN.
Putin Orders Arrest of Navalny on His Courageous Return to Russia
The leader of the opposition to Putin’s dictatorial rule is Alexei Navalny. He has campaigned tirelessly and fearlessly against Putin and his corruption. Five months ago, Navalny was poisoned while flying back to Moscow and nearly died. He survived only because he was air-lifted to a German hospital where doctors saved his life and identified the poison, a Soviet-era military-grade chemical agent
Biden Announces: Science and Facts Are Back!
After four years of science-denial, Biden is introducing a new era . Science and facts are in again. Truth matters. No alternative facts. Ignorance and stupidity are no longer honored or tolerable. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. said on Saturday that he was “always going to lead with science and truth” as he announced top science and technology officials on his White House staff, reaffirming
Congressman Jamie Raskin: A Heart-Breaking Tribute to His Son
Congressman Jamie Raskin was one of the lead authors of the impeachment resolution. His beloved son Tommy died by suicide on New Years’ Eve. This is the tribute Jamie and his wife Sarah Bloom Raskin wrote about Tommy, died on December 31, a week before the Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. It begins: TAKOMA PARK, M.D. — Congressman Jamie Raskin and Sarah Bloom Raskin today released the followin
New York Review of Books: “The Dark History of School Choice”
I reviewed three books in the New York Review of Books, which seemed to me to be complementary. Together they offer a fresh interpretation of the history of public education and of school choice. The choice zealots would have you believe that they want to “save poor kids from failing public schools,” but the history of school choice tells a very different story. School choice began as the rallyin
Michigan: Former Governor Snyder Charged for “Willful Neglect of Duty” in Flint Water Case
Prosecutors charged former Governor Rick Snyder for “willful neglect of duty” for his role in the Flint water crisis, which led to death and poisoning of that city’s population after a Snyder-appointed emergency manager tried to save money by switching the source of the city’s water to the Flint River. The charges, revealed in an online court record, are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in
Yvonne Abraham: The Party That Broke the Country Had the Audacity to Ask for Unity
Yvonne Abraham is a brilliant columnist for the Boston Globe. She watched the impeachment hearings and found it ironic that the party defending the most divisive president in memory defends his seditious actions and language by appeals to “unity.” She writes: Unity. Seriously? One after the other, the president’s defenders rose to the podium in the House chamber on Wednesday, trying to head off a

JAN 16

Dog Lovers Return to the White House!
The Bidens will bring two dogs, Champ and Major, with them to the White House. And they plan to get a cat as well. Both of the Biden dogs are German Shepherds. Major, the younger one, was adopted from a shelter in Delaware. Major, in particular, has a “wags to riches” tail. He’ll soon be the first dog to go from a shelter to the White House . That shelter, the Delaware Humane Association, plans t
A Historian of Fascism: What Comes Next?
Timothy Snyder, a historian at Yale University, specializes in the history of fascism, wrote a powerful essay about Trump and his Insurrection for the New York Times. It is called “The American Abyss.” Snyder is the author of the best-selling book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. I urge you to subscribe to the New York Times so you can read this essay and see the powerful ph
In the Public Interest: Betsy DeVos Lives On
The nonpartisan, independent organization called “In the Public Interest” reports on efforts to privatize public services. Its education newsletter is called “Cashing In on Kids.” Here is its latest updates on the DeVos education agenda: Welcome to Cashing in on Kids, an email newsletter for people fed up with the privatization of America’s public schools—produced by In the Public Interest . Not
Katherine Stewart: Josh Hawley, Religious Zealot
Katherine Stewart is the nation’s leading chronicler of Christian nationalism and the religious right. Her latest book, The Power Worshippers, is a must-read; I reviewed it in The New York Review of Books. This article appeared in The New York Times. It is an alarming and well-documented analysis of the religious zealotry and intolerance that propels Trumpism. Josh Hawley is competing with the lo
What Trump Did During the Insurrection
Hiding from the rioters in a secret location away from the Capitol, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) appealed to Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) phoned Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter. And Kellyanne Conway, a longtime Trump confidante and former White House senior adviser, called an aide who she knew was standin

JAN 15

Three Heroic D.C. Police Officers Describe the Insurrection
This link will take you to interviews conducted by ABC’s WJLA in the District of Columbia. Three police officers and the chief of the D.C. Metropolitan Police describe what happened on January 6. One of them was dragged out of one of the Capitol entrances and beaten with his own baton. Another was crushed inside a door and nearly had an eye gouged out. They describe a mob that was bent on mayhem
Sara Stevenson: Our “Lord of the Flies” Moment
Sara Stevenson was a middle school teacher and librarian in Austin, Texas, for many years. She wrote this post in response to the current crisis, which reminded her of Lord of the Flies . She begins like this: Several editorialists have compared recent events to the 1954 classic and bane of high school students for decades, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding. As a former high school English
Why Amazon Shut Down Right-Wing Site Parler
The New York Daily News published messages released by Amazon to defend its decision to boot the right-wing Parler off its site. Amazon sought to justify its shutdown of Parler on Thursday by sharing with a federal judge several deranged posts from the anti-social network. Amazon attorney Ambika Doran said during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Seattle that the tech giant had no choice but to
Well-Known Hate Groups Participated in the Siege of the U.S. Capitol
ProPublica identified several well-known hate groups that took part in the storming of the U.S. Capitol, including the “Proud Boys,” the “Oathkeepers,” the “Bougaloo Bois,” and other white supremacist groups. Some promised a return to D.C. on January 19. The Anti-Defamation League posted a guide to the leading figures of the white supremacist, anti-Semitic hate groups. This post is a “who’s who”
ADL: The Alt Right and Lite-Right: Naming Names
Donald Trump invited rightwing extremists, white nationalists, and conspiracy theorists into the mainstream. This is his legacy. They used to hover in the shadows or under a rock. No more. People say about the terrorists who stormed the Capitol, “This is not who we are.” Not quite right. These haters are part of who we are. This report from the Anti-Defamation League names names. We will living w
Senator Bernie Sanders on Biden COVID Plan
The office of Senator Bernie Sanders released the following statement about President-Elect Biden’s coronavirus relief plan: BURLINGTON, January 14 — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement regarding President-Elect Biden’s plan to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis: “President-Elect Biden has put forth a very strong first installment of an emergency relief plan t
Biden’s Relief Proposal for Schools and the Economy
President-Elect Joe Biden released his comprehensive plan to control the pandemic and help the economy, families, students, and schools. The attached PDF has the full plan. This is the section that pertains directly to