Saturday, January 9, 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

Josh Hawley: Bad Karma for Bad Character
Josh Hawley, graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School, took the low road, aligning himself with Trumpism and trying to block the pro forma certification of Biden’s election. He saluted the rioters as they encircled the Capitol and prepared to storm it. Even after the siege, he continued to press the case against Biden’s certification. He pandered to seditious thugs carrying Confederate


George Will: Remember The Seditionists
George Will is a conservative who adheres to conservative principles of personal responsibility, ethical behavior, and limited government. For these reasons, he despises Donald Trump, a man who has no values, ethics, or principles. Will was appalled by the storming of the U.S. Capitol and also by Trump’s refusal to concede his loss in the election. He wrote a column excoriating the three villains
Accountability for Those Who Provoked Insurrection
Brianna Keilar of CNN speaks here about the post-insurrection efforts to rewrite history by those who were complicit in nurturing the mob and amplifying their grievances. For months before the election, Trump warned that it would be rigged. He said that if he lost, it was proof that it was rigged. The only “fair” election, he warned, was one that he won. You may recall that in 2016, he repeatedly
Nancy Bailey: Seven Concerns for Public Schools This Year
Nancy Bailey is hopeful that 2021 will bring a new agenda for public schools and their students and teachers. All are worried about the pandemic and whether there will be the resources to protect students and staff. There will surely be a teacher shortage due to the numbers of teachers who felt threatened by returning to school when it was not safe, as well as the necessity to reduce class sizes

JAN 07

Betsy DeVos Resigns, Citing Trump’s Support for Insurrection
With only a few days left in Trump’s term of office, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos resigned. She says she objected to his rhetoric in inciting the insurrection of his devoted loyalists. This is certainly an anti-climax. DeVos had to clear out anyway, but by resigning now she avoids the painful decision about forcing Trump to resign by the terms of the 25th Amendment. Whether she resigns or s
Valerie Strauss: Growing Number of States Want Waivers from Annual Testing
Valerie Strauss writes in her Washington Post blog called “The Answer Sheet” about the growing number of states that want waivers from the federal requirement for annual testing. DeVos granted waivers last year but said she would not do it again. But she will be gone. Now it is up to Joe Biden and Miguel Cardona to decide whether it is wise to subject students to high-stakes standardized tests in
Pasi Sahlberg: Australian Education Is Declining Because It Followed the U.S. Model
In the early 2000s, media mogul Rupert Murdoch brought New York City Chancellor Joel Klein to Australia to spread the word about the “New York City Miracle.” This alleged miracle was as phony as George W. Bush’s “Texas Miracle,” all hat and no cattle. Unfortunately, the Education Minister (who subsequently became Australia’s Prime Minister) bought the tale and imposed national standards and testi
Jan Resseger: Senator Jon Tester is A Hero of Public Education
Jan Resseger writes here about Montana Senator Jon Tester’s deep and well-grounded belief in public education. He says that Democrats would have greater success in red states if they talked about the importance of public schools and the elites who are trying to privatize them. Think about it. The vast majority of students in the United States attend public schools even when school choice is offer
The Trump Insurrection of 2021
Like everyone else, I was stunned by the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6. I followed the proceedings from the start to see what stunt Trump might pull. I watched as the mob approached and stormed the Capitol, where Electoral votes were being counted. What happened was a violent desecration of the Constitutionally prescribed process for transferring power from one president to the next. I

JAN 06

Twitter Temporarily Suspends Trump’s Account
At the end of a shameful day, in which Trump claimed falsely (again) that he had won in a landslide, Twitter announced that it was suspending him—but for only 12 hours. Twitter warned Trump that his account might be permanently blocked. Twitter locks Trump’s account for 12 hours and warns he could get kicked off permanently President Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to call for calm mere hours
Terrorism at the U.S. Capitol, Inspired by Trump
Trump’s violent cultists invaded the United States Capitol today. The president watched on television. He did nothing as his base broke windows, stormed into the Rotunda and entered members’ offices while our elected officials cowered in hiding. This was an attempted coup, a deliberate effort to disrupt the functioning of government. Hours went by without decisive action. I am not alone in observ
John Thompson: Who is Cleta Mitchell, Trump’s Latest Election Lawyer?
John Thompson, retired teacher in Oklahoma, knows who Cleta Mitchell is. Her career began in Oklahoma. Cleta Mitchell sat alongside Trump and Mark Meadows as they made the now famous phone call to Georgia election officials to try to persuade or bully them into “finding” enough votes to reverse the election results in that state. Georgia law enforcement officials are now considering filing crimin
Julian Vasquez Heilig Refutes Jonathan Chait on Charters, With Facts
Jonathan Chait loves charters but he does not know the extensive research that refutes his ardor. New York magazine publishes his misinformed opinions without fact-checking. Julian Vasquez Heilig, dean of the College of Education at the University of Kentucky and one of the nation’s most eminent experts on race and equity, refutes Chait here. Here is a brief excerpt from his brilliant rebuttal: C
Carol Burris: The CARES 2 Act Allows Charter Schools to Double Dip
As you probably know by now, charter schools took federal money from two different pots in the CARES Act passed last spring. They got a share of the money allocated for public schools, then had the privilege of getting more money from the Paycheck Protection Program, which was intended to save small businesses in danger of shuttering their doors. Now there is new relief Act, which is far more gen
John Ewing: “Learning Loss” is an Absurd Concept
John Ewing, president of Math for America, skewers the concept of “learning loss” in this article in Forbes. I have been a fan of Dr. Ewing ever since I read his article “Mathematical Intimidation: Driven by the Data,” in which he eviscerated the idiotic idea of rating students by the test scores of their students. If you have not read it, you should. In his latest essay, he shows how various int

JAN 05

Bob Shepherd: The Devil Went Down to Georgia
Bob Shepherd, our resident polymath, essayist, humorist, and lexicographer, wrote the following rumination on Trump’s visit to Georgia last night. He was supposed to “get out the vote” for the two billionaire Republican Senators, but spent most of his talk complaining about how the Georgia state officials had cheated him, how the election was rigged against him, and airing his usual woe-is-me vic
Denis Smith: “The American Taliban”
When Congress meets to accept the results of the vote of the Electoral College, a large number of Republicans say they will object. They will object not because of facts or evidence or court decisions, but because they want to prove their devotion to Trump, the most incompetent and unhinged man ever to hold the presidency. The Republican members of Congress who deny the election of Joe Biden are,
Georgia: Federal Judge Tosses Another Trump Lawsuit
The Trump campaign filed yet another lawsuit in Georgia to overturn the state’s vote, and once again Trump lost. Remember that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get different results? The Trump team, by that definition, is insane. At what point will these fake lawyers be disciplined for clogging the calendars of state and federal courts with lawsuit
Steve Schmidt: January 6 is “the Beginning of the End” for the GOP
Steve Schmidt used to be a Republican insider. He ran Republican campaigns. He drew a line at Trump. He saw Trump for the phony and self-obsessed con man that he is. He joined the Lincoln Project. He changed his party registration. He is no longer a Republican. He says that January 6 marks the beginning of the end for the GOP. Here is an excerpt from his remarks. The die is cast for the Republica
Trump’s Wild-Eyed Conspiracy Theories Run Out of Time
As we learned in the recording of his outrageous conversation with the Georgia Secretary of State, Trump will stop at nothing in his crazed efforts to cling to his office. He has lost interest in governing, but not in ruling. His base believes whatever claptrap he spews. Some theorize that it was Trump who released the recording of the conversation where he bullied Brad Raffensperger and tried to
Should Private and Religious Schools Receive COVID Funds Meant to Save Small Businesses?
Last spring, when the pandemic began crippling the economy, Congress passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). It was a rare moment of bipartisan action. Included in the act was the Paycheck Protection Program, which offered $660 billion to help small businesses weather an economic catastrophe in which many would be forced to close their doors and la
St. Louis: Privatizers and Assorted Billionaires Pick Over Bones of Public School System
Tracee Miller, a member of the St. Louis Board of Education, writes that she was shocked and dismayed to discover that a proposal to raise taxes for early childhood education was actually a disguised effort to divert more public money to charter schools. The truth leaked out: Emails exposed via public records requests revealed that not only did the proposal lack specificity around fund distributi

JAN 04

Trump Loses Another Frivolous Lawsuit
This just appeared in the Washington Post. The Trump campaign continues filing lawsuits. His lawyers should be disbarred for filing multiple frivolous lawsuits. Federal judge rejects latest effort by Trump allies to overturn election results, saying lawsuit ‘would be risible were its target not so grave’ A federal judge rejected yet another attempt by allies of President Trump to overturn the Nov
Business Leaders Urge Congress to Certify Biden Election Without Delay
Trump’s pathetic efforts to overturn an election he lost resoundingly have been refuted more than 50 times by state and federal courts. He’s now encouraging demonstrators and protestors to flood the streets of D.C. on January 6 while Congress is proceeding to certify the vote of the Electoral College. Chaos is all he has left. Today, nearly 200 business leaders urged Congress to stop toying with
Laura Chapman: McKinsey’s Education “Expert”
A few days ago, I posted Nancy Bailey’s critique of McKinsey & Company’s report claiming that it’s time for schools to get tough on students. As Bailey points out, when I worked in the Department of Education, the White House was crawling with McKinsey consultants, smart young things who knew everything about education but were seldom old enough to have been in the classroom for long. Our faithfu
The American Prospect: Proposals for Biden’s Day One Progressive Agenda
The American Prospect has advice for Joe Biden about how he can make dramatic changes on Day One. Pick your topic: Corporate taxes, the War on Terror, student debt. Everything is here except for what he can do on Day One to help American education. He can end the Reign of Error of NCLB, Race to the Top, Every Student Succeeds Act, and Common Core. On Day One, he could waive all federal testing ma
Jake Jacobs: End the Tax Breaks for Charter Schools and the Uber-Rich
Jake Jacobs is a middle school art teacher in New York. He is the co-administrator of the New York BadAss Teachers Association, an organization of militant activist teachers. He writes: Joe Biden’s recent nomination of Miguel Cardona as a relatively lesser-known, less controversial selection for Secretary of Education was telling. It shows the incoming administration’s reticence to take a side in
The Gates Foundation’s Not-Green Revolution in Africa
Jan Urhahn writes in Jacobin about the negative effects of the Gates Foundation’s efforts to promote a Green Revolution in Africa and to reduce hunger. Bill Gates, I presume, means well. Butt all too often his bold ideas fail, as they have in American education, because he imposes them instead of listening to those who do the work. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation promised Africa a “Green Re

JAN 03

Breaking News: Trump Called Georgia Secretary of State and Pressured Him to Change State Vote
Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday and spent an hour on the phone with him, pleading, cajoling, threatening, and demanding that he “find 11,780 votes” to flip the state to Trump’s column. Georgia’s state leaders are Republicans. The November vote in Georgia was counted three times. In an exclusive report, the Washington Post quoted from a recording of the telep
Federal Appeals Court Rejects Republican Bid to Allow Pence to Deny Electoral College Votes
After a Trump-appointed federal judge rejected Rep. Louie Gohmert’s lawsuit seeking to give Vice President Pence the power to throw out the electoral votes of states that voted for Biden, Gohmert appealed to a the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Yesterday, a three-judge panel of judges, all appointed by Republican presidents, dismissed Gohmert’s lawsuit. (Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Sat
The New York Times Should Add a Former Teacher to Its Editorial Board
The New York Times published an editorial correctly blasting Betsy DeVos as the worst Secretary of Education in the 40-year history of the Department of Education. Unfortunately, the balance of the editorial was a plea to administer tests to find out how far the nation’s children had fallen behind because of the pandemic. This is a misguided proposal, as I have explained many times on this blog.
A Warning: Who Is Paying for Your State’s Civics Courses?
If you have a few minutes to do some research, you might wonder about the connections among these three links: First is from the extreme rightwing group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), funded by DeVos, Charles Koch, and major corporations. ALEC has 2,000 members who are state legislators. They get a free trip every year to a posh resort, where ALEC gives them model legisl
Mercedes Schneider: States Should Ask for Waivers for Spring Testing
Mercedes Schneider urges states to follow Montana’s example and ask for a waiver from the federally mandated standardized tests. She writes: This is a school year fraught with quarantine disruption, turnstile attendance, distancing and sanitizing burdens, and spotty internet capabilities. The very idea of conducting tests in the midst of this chaos is “bureaucratic lunacy,” she says. Lovers of st
Josh Hawley: The Trump Wannabee
Michael Gerson wrote in the Washington Post about the unbridled, unprincipled ambition of Josh Hawley. Many people have written that we were lucky that Trump was lazy and incompetent. They have warned that the next Trumpster might be far more dangerous if he or she is not only a racist, a xenophobic, and a charlatan, but also smart and disciplined. Hawley might be that person. A graduate of elite
John Thompson: What Teachers Should Do When Schools Re-Open
John Thompson, historian and retired teacher in Oklahoma, followed the debate about what to do “after COVID,” and he shares his wisdom here. I’ve been wrestling with two quandaries regarding post-COVID schools. Yes, in the short-run, the tactical use of digital technology has been prioritized, but the longer term priority must be human-to-human relationships. The last thing we want are 21th centu

JAN 02

Broadway Stars: “Georgia on My Mind”
Can music change the world? These Broadway stars think it can. They made a super-COVID video of “Georgia on my Mind.” On January 5, Georgia will vote in two extraordinary unprecedented elections to determine whether the U. S. Senate will be controlled by Mitch McConnell, who calls himself “the Grim Reaper,” or will have a 50-50 split between the two parties, enabling Vice-President Kamala Harris
Trump Plans to Keep Fighting Even After Congress Certifies Electoral College Votes
The Daily Beast reports that Trump will not stop fighting even after Congress declares Biden the 47th president on January 6. He will likely keep fighting after the Inauguration. Trump is promoting demonstrations and protests in D.C. on January 6, hoping for disorders by his gun-toting, maskless cult. He dreams of a putsch. Eleven Senators, led by Texas’ Ted Cruz, announced that they would not vo
Steve Hinnefeld: Indiana Legislators Preparing to Expand Failed Voucher Program
Steve Hinnefeld warns that Republican legislators in Indiana are laying the groundwork to expand the state’s failed voucher program. The research on vouchers in many states has been consistent : Students who use vouchers fall behind their peers in public schools. Those who continue to push vouchers are either ideologues, religious zealots, or paid to do so. We know that they don’t help students.
Nevada: Charter Schools Cashed in on PPP Money
Last spring, you may recall, the CARES Act included $13.2 billion for public and charter schools. In addition, $660 billion was allocated to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses and nonprofits that were struggling to survive due to the pandemic. Public schools were not allowed to apply for PPP. However, many charter schools learned through their lobbyists that they could app
El Paso Teacher, 35, Dies of COVID-19
Zelene Blancas, who taught in the public schools of El Paso, died of COVID-19 . She was 35. She taught first grade, and she emphasized kindness. Her 2018 video of her children saying goodbye with a hug at the end of each day was viewed more than 22 million times. Blancas tested positive for coronavirus October 20 and days later, she was hospitalized, her brother, Mario Blancas, told CNN. After we
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 

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