Saturday, January 30, 2021


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

A site to discuss better education for all

Mitchell Robinson: If You Want Schools to Reopen, First Make Them Safe for Students and Teachers
Mitchell Robinson is a professor of music education at Michigan State University who writes frequently about K-12 issues. In this post, he explains what is necessary for schools to reopen. The solution isn’t rushing to open schools before they are safe–the solution is for Congress to pass a stimulus package large enough and bold enough to pay people to *not* go to work, and that provides bonus/ha


Gary Rubinstein: A Book You Should Read! Only 99 Cents!!
Gary Rubinstein may be one of your favorite bloggers. He is certainly one of mine! He is also an administrator of my blog. I literally don’t know how to put PDF files into a post or how to add graphics; I reach out to Gary and he helps me. I first met Gary about a decade ago when I started researching “miracle” schools. I discovered that Gary uses his powerful analytical skills to debunk miracle
A Fascinating Story of a Survivor
This is the story of Marga Steinhardt . She was born in a town in central Germany in 1927. She was a young child when Hitler came to power. Friends urged her parents to leave Germany for France or Palestine or the United States, but her father didn’t believe the warnings. He thought they were exaggerated. “I remember overhearing talk between my parents, and my father said, ‘You worry too much. It
ALERT! Red State Governors Push DeVos Privatization Agenda As They Celebrate “School Choice Week”
Betsy DeVos made the goal of school choice clear: Shift public dollars away from public schools and transfer them to privately managed charter schools, online schools, for-profit schools, home schools, and vouchers for religious schools. She never supported public schools. Her actions emboldened her followers in Red States to make a full frontal attack on public education. Please share this infor
NEPC Interviews Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire About Their New Book “A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door”
The National Education Policy Center produces a series of podcasts about current issues. In this one, Christopher SaldaƱa interviews historian Jack Schneider and journalist Jennifer Berkshire about their new book A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School. Schneider and Berkshire have produced a podcast called Have You Heard? and they are skilled
Andrea Gabor: What the Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman Taught Us
Andrea Gabor has written recently about the importance of civics education. She has reminded us that the obsession with standardized testing has robbed students of the joy of learning and consumed time that could be better spent in other ways. The 22-year-old Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, who spoke so beautifully at the inauguration of President Joe Biden, reminded her that we have lost the study

JAN 28

Shocker: NYC Education Board Rejects Mayor’s Plan to Test 4-Year-Olds for Gifted Program
New York City has a form of education governance called mayoral control, initiated by billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2002, in which the mayor appoints most of the school board members and selects the chancellor of the system. Bloomberg claimed at the time that he knew how to solve all the problems of education, and he appointed an attorney with no education experience (Joel Klein) as his
Iowa: Act NOW to Save Your Public Schools!
Governor Kim Reynolds has proposed legislation to take money away from Ohio public schools and divert it to privately managed schools, vouchers for religious schools, charter schools, and home schooling. She is following in the footsteps of Betsy DeVos, who spent four years trying to eradicate public schools. If you live in Iowa, contact your legislator and Governor Reynolds! Speak up for your pu
John Merrow: The Choices We Should Make for “School Choice” Week
John Merrow, former PBS education correspondent, writes about the choices that we should make when the COVID is someday behind us. He offhandedly reminds us that “School Choice Week” was originally funded by right-wingers and charter school funders. ( SIDEBAR: In case you are curious, the ‘School Choice Week’ website does not list its funders , but, as Valerie Strauss reported in the Washington P
QAnon Cult Panicked by Biden’s Inauguration
I don’t pretend to understand the QAnon cult, but it seems to believe that the federal government is controlled by satanic pedophiles and that Trump was the one who would root them out. They apparently held massive online events to watch the dramatic overturning of Joe Biden on Inauguration Day and the triumphant return of Trump. According to this article in Huffington Post , many in the cult exp
Mercedes Schneider: The Hoax of Online “Learning” in Louisiana
Mercedes Schneider reports here on the absurd class sizes assigned to teachers in Louisiana in virtual classes. The teachers are not “teachers,” they are in charge of case loads. They are using a canned curriculum called “Edgenuity,” and she says that it can easily be gamed by students to get higher marks. Education? Not really. She writes: Unlimited enrollment is particulary obvious in the virtu
Farewell to the SAT! We Hope.
The SAT is in trouble. Its business model is threatened by the more than 1,000 colleges and universities that no longer require it for admission. Many more higher education institutions dropped the SAT due to the pandemic. The SAT is big business. It collects more than $1 billion each year in revenue. Its CEO, David Coleman, was architect of the Common Core standards, with a background at McKinse

JAN 27

What Happened to Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Democratic Opponent?
I posted this article last fall. It explains why QAnon Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene ran unopposed for election in Georgia. Her allies literally drove her opponent out of the race and out of the state with death threats. His life was destroyed. This is not the way democracy works. This is the way fascism works. The post starts like this: Stephanie McCrummen wrote this story in the Washington Post a
BREAKING NEWS! QAnon Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Appointed to House Education and Labor Committee
The House Republican conference just indulged in a sick joke: It assigned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to the House Education and Labor Committee . Rep. Greene has identified with the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theorists who believe that Democrats and large sectors of the federal government are controlled by a Satanic ring of pedophiles. She has endorsed the vile claim that the massacres at Sandy Ho
Louisiana: Reading Scores in Early Grades Decline under Reformer John White
Louisiana has been firmly in the grip of “reformers” (i.e., believers in privatization, Teach for America, and high-stakes testing) for many years. The “reformers'” biggest coup was the complete demolition of public schools in New Orleans, in the years following the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Buoyed by funding from out-of-state billionaires, the proponents of disruption took control
Adam Laats: Betsy DeVos and the Politics of Fear
Adam Laats, a historian of education and history at Binghamton University, explains why Betsy DeVos was stunningly ignorant and indifferent to the nation’s public schools. She didn’t care about them and considered it to be a waste of time to learn about them. And he adds some lessons from America’s past that illustrate the dark fears that conservatives express about public schools as sinister pla
Matt Bai: Time for Teachers to Grow Up and Get Back into the Classroom
Matt Bai is an opinion writer for the Washington Post. He wrote recently that teachers should recognize that they are essential workers and get back into the classroom. He points out that remote learning is a disaster, that it is a horrible means of learning, and that students’ emotional health is damaged by not being in a physical classroom with a teacher. He blames “the teachers’ unions” for te
Steven Singer: How to Show Appreciation for Teachers: Vaccinate Us
Steven Singer knows how often people speak of their appreciation for teachers, although that appreciation seldom translates into appropriate compensation. He has an idea: If you really appreciate teachers, vaccinate them first before opening their schools. He begins: This year I don’t need a free donut. I don’t need a Buy One Get One coupon for school supplies. I don’t need a novelty eraser or a

JAN 26

Georgia’s QAnon Member of Congress Supports “Execution” of Leading Democrats
Our democracy is in peril. A significant number of GOP senators oppose any accountability for a president who invited violent terrorists to attack the U.S. Capitol, vandalize it, and threaten the lives of Vice President Pence, Speaker Pelosi and other members of Congress. Two members of the House of Representatives belong to QAnon, the group that believes Trump was battling a Satanic ring of pedo
Cancel the Spring Tests! Sign the NPE Petition Here!
During the campaign, Joe Biden promised to stop standardized testing. He acknowledged the damage it does to children and education. Please sign the petition to remind him of his promise.
The Neo-Nazi Next Door
Gwen Frisbie-Fulton writes here about her neighbors , who were white supremacists. She moved away so her son would not be exposed to their hatefulness. There were ten thousand personal reasons why I packed up that house and sold it, but there was also one troublesome thing that had been on my mind. A few years earlier the Vinlanders — a white power hate group — had set up a clubhouse only a few b
Julian Vasquez Heilig Schools Jonathan Chait about Charters
This post was originally published on January 6. The day turned into a full-scale riot as Trump urged his devoted followers to march on the Capitol. They did, they invaded it, they vandalized it, they went looking for legislators and the Vice-President with murderous intent. We narrowly averted a coup that day, and thank God, none of our legislators were killed, though several of them feared for
Why the District of Columbia Should Gain Statehood
Chris Myers Asch grew up in D.C. His mother still lives there. He now lives in Maine and he urges his senators in Maine to support statehood for D.C. In this column, published in the Maine Press Herald, he explains why the District should gain statehood and why the residents of the District should have the right to vote. Asch teaches at Colby College and is the author of Chocolate City: A History
Study: Weakening Unions Increases Gender Gap in Wages
Barbara Biasi, assistant professor of economics at the Yale School of Management, recently published a study that concluded that eliminating unions increases the gender gap in wages. She looked at data from Wisconsin, before and after Scott Walker eliminated collective bargaining rights in 2011, in his Koch-funded effort to destroy unions. For every dollar earned by men in the U.S., women earn ab

JAN 25

Breaking News! New York State Asks Feds for Testing Waiver for This Spring!
New York State education officials have agreed to request a waiver from the Secretary of Education from federally mandated testing this spring, due to the pandemic. State officials recognize that the pandemic has caused gross inequities in opportunity to learn and would serve no useful purpose. (Under normal circumstances the federally required tests serve no useful purpose, but they are a terrib
Emiliana Dore: Charter Schools Are Not the Answer!
Emiliana Dore wrote a powerful article at Medium about the importance of public schools and why charter schools do not promote racial or social justice. Her article was posted by Carl J. Petersen, a valiant fighter for public schools in Los Angeles. Dore, a public school parent and advocate, wrote in response to an article at The 74 contending that charter schools were models for teaching kindnes
Arthur Camins: Time for Democrats to Divorce the “Bipartisan” Education Policy Agenda
Arthur Camins calls on the Democratic Party to divorce the “bipartisan” education policy agenda that has been in place for the past four decades. This is the agenda of competition, testing, accountability, and choice. It actually was the Republican policy agenda first, and the Democrats decided to embrace it. What did the Democrats give up when they endorsed the Republican education agenda? Democ
John Thompson: A Hilarious Novel about Life in the Classroom Today
Who knew that “adequate yearly progress” and “accountability” could be the subject of a comic novel? John Thompson just read that novel and he reviews it here. Roxanna Elden’s Adequate Yearly Progress is a hilarious, satirical novel that nails the very serious truths about the real world effects of corporate school reform. Although Elden’s humor spectacularly illuminates the reformers’ often-absu
Dr. Bandy X. Lee and the “Goldwater Rule”
In the past four years, we have often been warned that we must not try to decipher Trump’s mental state because it would violate the American Psychiatric Association’s “Goldwater Rule.” This is a rule that was adopted in 1973, as an ethical warning to its members that they should not attempt to define the psychiatric state of a patient that they have not personally evaluated. This rule came about

JAN 24

Donald Trump: America’s Liar-in-Chief
The Washington Post fact-checkers have kept a meticulous record of Donald Trump’s lies , and there were so many of them that it became a nearly full-time job. Every time he spoke at a rally, the lies came tumbling out. Trump made more than 30,000 false or misleading statements, nearly half of them in his last year in office. The biggest lie, of course, was his claim that he won the election, whic
Ann Cronin: Miguel Cardona, What Is Your Vision for American Education?
Ann P. Cronin is a former Connecticut Distinguished English Teacher of the Year, a school district administrator, and creator of award-winning programs for the teaching of English in middle schools and high schools. At her blog, she asks about Miguel Cardona’s vision for the future. She writes: When I ask Connecticut teachers about Miguel Cardona, those who know him or have worked with him say th
Will Jeff Bezos Seek Control of American Education?
This is the scariest article of the week or month , not counting the violent rampage of Trump allies on January 6. Dominik Dresel writes in Edsurge about Jeff Bezos’ entry into the education “market.” He begins: Bezos, more than any other tech entrepreneur, is known to play the long game, masterfully. In a now-famous 1997 interview , he candidly explained why Amazon started out by selling books.
Nancy Flanagan: Eight Reasons to Get a New National Anthem
Nancy Flanagan was a music teacher for many years. After teaching and singing the National Anthem thousands of times, she has come to the conclusion that we need a different one. She says that the National Anthem is a disgrace. The tune is an old British drinking song. The lyrics are archaic and almost impossible to remember. The message is warlike and not reflective of our democratic values. Tha
Join the National Town Hall to Learn About Canceling Testing This Spring
The standardized tests to which our students have been subjected for two decades have not improved American education. They have degraded it into endless months of test preparation, for tests of dubious reliability and validity. Schools have reduced or eliminated the arts, recess, civics, and other subjects because they “don’t count.” Only the tests count. Standardized tests do not reduce achieve

JAN 23

Jonathan Swan: Bill Barr Quit Because He Knew Trump Was Lying about the Election
It is late in the day for former Attorney General Bill Barr to rehabilitate his reputation, but he apparently gave journalist Jonathan Swan an inside view of why he quit in December. He knew that Trump was lying about the election. He tried to convince him that all the claims of election fraud were B.S., but Trump got angry when Barr told him the truth. Of course, when Barr resigned, he wrote an
Peter Greene: Republicans in Florida Seek to Gut Public Schools Entirely
Peter Greene here disentangles the latest move to expand vouchers in Florida and the latest attempt to demolish public schools in a state where 80 percent of students attend public schools. Florida’s voucher schools currently are not required to take state tests or to have any standards for teachers or principals or to adhere to the state curriculum. Most of the voucher schools are religious, ign
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

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