Saturday, February 13, 2021


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

A site to discuss better education for all

The Shame of Swedish Education: J’Accuse! (Part 1)
The following article was written by Swedish high school teacher Filippa Mannherheim and translated by retired Swedish educator Sara Hjelm. It appeared in the Swedish publication Expressen. Sweden adopted a free-market system of schooling in the early 1990s, and the results have increased segregation without improving the quality of education or access to good schools. The free-market model, she


LAUSD: The CDC Guidelines Do Not Meet Needs of Urban Districts
The United Teachers of Los Angeles are not satisfied with the new CDC guidelines: Feb. 12, 2021 For immediate release UTLA Media Contact: Anna Bakalis / 213-305-9654 / UTLA Statement on new CDC guidelines for returning to in-person instruction We applaud the CDC’s efforts for a national strategy to return to in-person instruction, but the new guidelines released on February 12 d
Randi Weingarten on New CDC Guidelines for Reopening Schools
WASHINGTON— American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for reopening schools: “Today, the CDC met fear of the pandemic with facts and evidence. For the first time since the start of this pandemic, we have a rigorous road map, based on science, that our members can use to fight
Edutopia: What is a Good School?
Edutopia reports on new research by Professor C. Kirabo Jackson of Northwestern University, who finds that a “good school” does much more than raise test scores. In a new study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, C. Kirabo Jackson, a professor of education and social policy at Northwestern University, and his colleagues found that schools with robust impacts on student well-bein
Christina Groeger: How Education Embedded Inequality
Historian of education Christina Groeger writes that Americans have long believed that education is the key to equality, but she thinks that this faith is misplaced . She writes: “The best way to increase wages and reduce wage inequalities in the long run is to invest in education and skills,” wrote economist Thomas Piketty in his landmark Capital in the Twenty-First Century. For nearly 200 years
My Interview with Karen Lewis at Annual NPE Conference in 2015
I think you will enjoy watching this spirited discussion between me and Karen Lewis at the annual NPE conference in Chicago in 2015. I spoke more than she did because I wanted to make it as easy as possible for her. She had already suffered her devastating brain tumor and was undergoing treatment, but as you will see, she has lost none of her sharp wit and edginess.
In the Public Interest: The Latest Charter School Scandals
In the Public Interest is a nonpartisan organization that protects the public interest and has a special focus on the dangers of privatization. Here is its latest report on charter schools: 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 a subscriber? Sign up . And make sure to like us
Bob Shepherd: A Commemoration in Honor of Trump
Bob Shepherd recognizes that Trump has left behind many memories, many additions to our dictionary, many new linguistic expressions. In this post , he remembers what Trump has added to our common vocabulary. Starting with covfefe.

FEB 11

Warning: Beware of Norway!
Will Ferrell was the star of a Super Bowl ad about Norway, complaining that Norway had more electric vehicles than the United States. It was funny, of course, especially when he gathered his friends and headed for Norway to complain, but ended up in Sweden. Sunniva Whittaker, rector of the University of Agder in Norway, says, “The Americans are coming, and Will Ferrell does not look happy.” She s
John Merrow: Bad Reporting about the Pandemic and School Reopenings
John Merrow is exasperated by the media narrative that it’s only the teachers’ unions that are blocking the reopening of schools. Of course, students should be in real school, but schools must be safe for adults and students alike. He writes that teachers should be vaccinated. And communities must prioritize what matters most in school, which is NOT testing. He writes: The giant lumbering beast k
New Hampshire: Voucher Bill Will Cost $100 Million per Year
The New Hampshire legislature is pushing forward with a voucher bill (HB 20) without regard to cost or research. The research is clear: students who leave public schools to use vouchers lose ground compared to their peers in public schools. Vouchers won’t close achievement gaps; they will widen them. The cost, according to a New Hampshire think tank, is likely to be $100 million . Reaching Higher
Sarah Karp: Karen Lewis, A Fearless Warrior for Children and Teachers
By now, you have read many tributes to Karen Lewis. She was an icon who fought the powerful. Teachers and parents trusted her because they knew she would never sell them out. This is a beautiful tribute to Karen by Sarah Karp , one of Chicago’s most experienced education journalists. It captures Karen’s brashness, her fearlessness, her passion. Some of her colorful quotes: Lewis’ message resonate
David Berliner on the Travesty of Public Funds for Religious Schools
David Berliner, a distinguished scholar of American education, is writing a long essay about the dangers of public funding for religious schools. Currently numerous red states are considering proposal to expand vouchers and transfer more public funds to religious schools, typically without accountability. Their actions will overturn the historic tradition of separation of church and state. As the
The Terror of the Impeachment Trial
I was glued to the television yesterday, watching the impeachment trial in the Senate. It’s supposed to be a done deal: the Republicans are so frightened by Trump and his base that only a handful will vote to convict. It seems he will not be held accountable for inciting a violent mob to invade the U.S. Capitol. The impeachment managers methodically described how Trump had prepared his base long

FEB 10

Jan Resseger: Republican Moderates Want to Reduce COVID Relief Bill by Cutting Out Help for Children
Jan Resseger reminds us of the traditional Masai greeting, “How are the children?” The assumption is that if the children are well, the village or society is well. Many of our children are not well. Too many live in poverty and lack adequate nutrition, decent medical care, and a safe place to live. Sadly, as Jan explains, the Republican moderates who asked Biden to cut his COVID relief package fo
Why Does the Thomas B. Fordham Institute Control Education Policy in Ohio?
Writing in, Jeanne Melvin and Denis Smith denounced the central role that the Thomas B. Fordham Institute plays in directing education policy in Ohio. TBF is the think tank of the Ohio Republican Party; that party has controlled the state in recent years. It is curious that TBF directs education policy in Ohio since TBF is based in Washington, D.C. Melvin is a parent activist, and
Peter Greene’s Favorite Blogs
In case you can’t find enough to read here, Peter Greene offers you a list of his favorite blogs. Some will be familiar to you, because they appear here too. But others will be new. People who devote their time to writing about the events and trends in education that the mainstream media usually neglect deserve readers. Reading them all is almost a full-time, unpaid job, and we are lucky to have
Nicholas Kristof: We Are a Nation of Child Abusers
Nicholas Kristof wrote an important article in the New York Times about our national indifference to the well being of our children. Kristof knows that nothing we do is more important than reducing the child poverty rate, which is scandalously high. We have hundreds of billionaires, but millions of children who live in extreme poverty. Instead of spending billions of dollars on standardized testi

FEB 09

Matt Farmer: The Unforgettable Karen Lewis
Matt Farmer is a lawyer, public school parent, and occasional songwriter who lives in Chicago. Matt had been writing articles about the needs of the public schools in Chicago when he got a message on December 22, 2011 , from CTU President Karen Lewis. He had never met her. She wrote: “I am truly, madly deeply in love with your soul. May I buy you lunch early next year?” He couldn’t resist, of cou
Paul Thomas: The “Science of Reading” Is Recycled from the Past
Paul Thomas, an experienced high school teacher who became an experienced college professor at Furman University in South Carolina, writes here about the ongoing controversy surrounding claims for “the science of reading.” As he notes (and as I wrote about in my book Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform ), the “crisis” in reading instruction and literacy has recurred with stunning f
Emma Tai: Karen Lewis Taught Us to Believe That We Could Win
Emma Tai is executive director of United Working Families of Chicago. She describes in Jacobin the powerful lesson that she learned from Karen Lewis. She writes: At a time of austerity and teacher demonization, Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis — whose death at age sixty-seven was announced today — dared to believe that educators and the working class as a whole could fight back and wi
Matt Farmer: The Unforgettable Karen Lewis
Matt Farmer is a lawyer in Chicago and a public school parent. He is also a gifted singing cowboy. I first encountered him when he performed a mock trial of billionaire Penny Pritzker, the Hyatt heiress who served as President Obama’s Secretary of Commerce. The mock trial was conducted at a delegate meeting of the Chicago Teachers Union at the invitation of Karen Lewis. Matt explained how he met
Historian Warns Iowa: Fix Public Schools, Don’t Destroy Them
Randall Balmer is one of Iowa’s most accomplished sons. After growing up in Iowa and attending its public schools, he went on to success as a historian, author, and professor, now at Dartmouth College. In addition to writing award-winning books about religion, he wrote a biography of President Jimmy Carter and won an Emmy for a three-part PBS series on the Evangelical church. He wrote a compellin

FEB 08

CTU Statement on the Passing of President Emerita Karen Lewis
This is a beautiful tribute to a great teacher, a great labor leader, and a woman of valor by the people who knew her best: the union she led. STATEMENT: For Immediate Release | CONTACT: Ronnie Reese 312-329-6235 , ‘ Karen did not just lead our movement. Karen was our movement. CHICAGO, Feb. 8, 2021 — The Chicago Teachers Union released the following statem
Join Me Wednesday to Learn the Inside Story of the New Orleans “Coup D’Etat”
On Wednesday February 10, I will host a Zoom discussion with Raynard Sanders about his new book, The Coup D’├ętat of the New Orleans Public Schools: Money, Power, and the Illegal Takeover of a Public School System. Sanders was the principal of a public school in New Orleans before the takeover of the district in 2005. As you might guess from the title of his book, he considers the takeover to be i
Laura Chapman: On EdTrust’s “Demand” to Test Students This Spring
Laura Chapman is a regular reader and contributor. She is a retired educator and a crack researcher. She writes here about a letter from Education Trust and other groups to Secretary-designate Miguel Cardona , urging him to deny all state requests for waivers from the mandated federal testing this spring. She writes: Kevin Ohlandt of Delaware and I looked behind the curtain of this attempt by the
North Carolina: Privatizers Raid Public Funds for Religious Schools
The Republicans who control the North Carolina legislature want to divert public funds to religious and private schools. This outright theft of public funds is cynically called a bill for “equity and opportunity,” although it will increase racial segregation, undermine equity, and subsidize students to attend schools of lesser quality than public schools. At what point do these thieves of public
Karen Lewis, Historic Leader of Chicago Teachers Union, Has Died
It is with immense sadness that I share with you the news that the brilliant, charismatic Karen Lewis has died. As leader of the Chicago Teachers Union, she led the union to strike for “the schools our children deserve.” She understood that the union had to organize families and communities, not just their own members. She fearlessly confronted the powerful. She was considering a run against Rahm
Dave Pell: We’re Not in Kansas Anymore
Blogger Dave Pell describes what happened in Protection, Kansas, in 1957, and compares it to what is happening now. What has happened to us? Why are there so many people who don’t trust science? How can we end the pandemic if significant numbers of people refuse to be vaccinated? WE’RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE “Sixty-four years ago, residents of this tiny town in southwestern Kansas set a public hea
Biden Administration Adds “Reformers” to Key Roles in Department of Education
Here we go again. Before either Secretary-designate Miguel Cardona or Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten have been confirmed by the Senate, key jobs in the Department of Education are being filled by staff from the Gates Foundation and DFER, both of which are champions of bad ideas and antagonists of public schools. From my experience in the U.S. Department of Education, it is customary to allow the S

FEB 07

A Teacher in California: The Madness of Test Obsession
A teacher in California, who must remain anonymous to protect her job, wrote this post. CAASP testing is the Common Core test produced by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). “We are 100% virtual, and teachers just had to sign an affidavit regarding CAASPP testing. I cannot believe they are STILL going forward with this. They expect that kids will 1) be in a quiet place with no dist
Pennsylvania: What HappenedWhen Governor Wolf Asked for Accountability from Charters
Peter Greene describes the shocked reaction of charter operators when Governor Tom Wolf proposed that they be regularly audited and that their payments should be aligned with 5heir services. Pennsylvania has a funding formula that is heavily tilted to favor the charter industry. Their lobbyists want to keep it that way. In his 2020 budget speech, Wolf tried to soothe the industry and thread the n
Nancy Bailey: Why Schools Are Likely to Embrace More Big-Tech After the Pandemic?
Nancy Bailey is fearful that the stage is being set for a big-tech takeover when the pandemic is gone. Scores of tech vendors have longed to gain a permanent foothold in the schools, and their day may have come, even though there is nearly universal agreement that remote instruction is a poor substitute for in-person instruction. Here are the warning signs: First, there is sure to be a teacher sh
Educators: Beware “The City Fund” and Its Many Tentacles of Privatization
This article was co-authored by a group of educators who oppose privatization. They have identified the primary driver of privatization in their different communities: The City Fund, subsidized primarily by corporate “reformers” Reed Hastings and John Arnold. The City Fund is led by experienced privatizers who have tried their hand in places like Tennessee and New Orleans, where the PR was great
Is It Safe to Resume In-Person Instruction?
It is easy to be confused about whether it’s safe to resume in-person instruction. Schools in Europe, which were quick to reopen a few months ago, are closed now due to a resurgence of COVID-19. Experts, including the new head of the CDC, say it’s safe to reopen, even if teachers have not been vaccinated. Steven Singer does not agree . From the onset of the pandemic, he has worried about reopenin

FEB 06

John Thompson Reviews Derek Black’s “Schoolhouse Burning”
John Thompson, retired teacher and historian in Oklahoma, reviews law professor Derek Black’s recent book, Schoolhouse Burning. Derek Black’s new book, Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy, combines the best principles of the historical research that I was taught in the 1970s with the best of recent scholarship. Overall, the result is a surprisingly hopeful
Leonie Haimson: What Mitt Romney Needs to Know About Class Size
Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters, has some advice for Mitt Romney: Class size matters! Romney criticized President Biden’s plan to reduce class sizes. Haimson points out that Utah has the largest class sizes in the nation. In some Utah schools, in an ordinary year, class sizes can be as large as forty kids per class . Nor did Romney mention the fact that he attended the el
Dana Milbank: The GOP Has an Anti-Semitism Problem
Dana Milbank is a regular opinion writer for the Washington Post. He wrote about the Republicans’ anti-Semitism problem. They refuse to denounce anti-Semitism. Bigotry multiplies. For more than five years, I begged Republicans to reject the creeping anti-Semitism Donald Trump brought to the party, noting on the eve of the 2016 election that “when a demagogue begins to identify scapegoats, the Jew

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