Saturday, February 20, 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

Michael Fullan: The Right Drivers for School Success in the 21st Century
Michael Fullan has written an excellent analysis of the best way to redesign school systems after the pandemic. This paper deserves the time it takes to read. Don’t read just the bullet points. Read it all. Fullan recognizes that the pandemic has shaken up many assumptions about the status quo. He persuasively argues that the status quo in education is “driven” by failed ideas. He writes: The fou
Georgia: Civil Rights Groups Oppose Voucher Legislation
Civil rights groups, led by the Southern Education Foundation, are opposing the voucher legislation proposed by Republicans in Georgia. SEF leads opposition to education savings account bill introduced in Georgia legislature One of the first pieces of legislation introduced in the Georgia legislature in 2021 was the Georgia Educational Scholarship Act (HB60), a bill that would divert taxpayer dol
National Education Policy Center Criticizes RAND for Overstating Results of Study of Online Learning
The National Education Policy Center frequently engages researchers to review studies, reports, and evaluations. NEPC recently released a review of a RAND study that looks at online learning and whether it deserves federal funding. The title of the RAND report is “Remote Learning is Here to Stay,” but the body of the report does not support that conclusion, according to reviewer David R. Garcia o
Education Scholars and Leaders Push Back Against High-Stakes Standardized Testing
Kevin Kumashiro writes: Dear Friends–I hope you’re well. I wanted to be sure that you’re aware of three initiatives in which hundreds of educational scholars and leaders are pushing back on high-stakes standardized testing of students and teachers: 1) Last week, the California Alliance of Researchers for Equity in Education (CARE-ED) sent a letter, endorsed by over 200 educational scholars in CA,
School Funding Since 2008: $600 Billion LOST!
The Education Law Center has developed an excellent presentation on the shortchanging of public education in the years since 20008. The great majority of states did not keep up with the costs of educating their children. Only a handful did: Wyoming, Alaska, Illinois, Connecticut. The rest saw a sharp drop in their effort to fund the education of their children. The two absolutely worst states, as

FEB 18

Education Law Center: Minnesota Considers Constitutional Amendment That Threatens Student Rights
Imagine a state that adopts a state constitutional amendment that ties student rights to an education to their test scores. Would anyone be so dumb as to imagine that the test scores of students of different races would change because of a constitutional amendment? Remember that Minnesota was the first state to pass a charter law, promising to close the academic gaps. That was in 1992. Thirty yea
Texas: The Consequences of Funding Two Separate School Systems
William Gumbert has been reviewing the rapid expansion of charter schools in Texas with concern. In previous posts, he has demonstrated that they are likely to underperform the public schools with which they compete. And, worse, they take funding away from the districts in which they are located. Texas is now being flooded by corporate charter chains, replacing community-based public schools. His
Arizona: CEOs Criticize Voucher Expansion
Jim Swanson and John Graham, both CEOs in Arizona, wrote a stern warning against the legislature’s proposed voucher expansion, which would make almost all students in the state eligible for public funding to spend in a private or religious school. One of the authors is on the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools. Arizona is a state that likes low taxes; it does not fund its public schools adeq
Arizona: Legislature Passes Huge Voucher Expansion, Despite Will of Voters
Two years ago, the voters of Arizona overwhelmingly rejected an expansion of vouchers, by 65% to 35%. The pro-voucher side was funded by Charles Koch, Betsy DeVos, and other enemies of public schools. The voters said a resounding NO to voucher expansion! Yet, this week the Arizona Legislature passed legislation to expand vouchers, approving what the voters rejected. Apparently, the word “democrac

FEB 17

FBI Arrest UCLA Student Who Participated in Trump Riot at Capitol, Sat in Pence’s Chair
The Los Angeles Times reported on the latest FBI arrest of one of the domestic terrorists who participated in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol: A UCLA student who posted white supremacist views online and founded an ultra-right campus organization has been charged with federal crimes for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection. The student, Christian Secor, was captured on vi
Republicans Falsely Blame Wind Power for State’s Deep Freeze
Governor Greg Abbott of Texas and a bevy of rightwing commentators blamed wind turbines, which supply 10% of the state’s energy, and “the Green New Deal, which doesn’t exist, for the failure of the state’s power supply. He learned “the Big Lie” from his hero Trump. As millions of people across Texas struggled to stay warm Tuesday amid massive cold-weather power outages, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) direc
John Thompson: Immigrant Children in Oklahoma Tell Their stories
John Thompson, retired teacher and historian in Oklahoma, reviews a book of memories written by immigrant children about their ordeals. We will long suffer the embarrassment of Trump’s cruel immigration policy, but the children will never forget. Thompson writes: Where the Rainbow Ends: Project VOICE Visions of Inclusion, Culture, and Empathy , edited by Jamie Hinds and Savanna Payne, is the late
Indiana: Three Former State Chiefs Join to Denounce Voucher Expansion Plan
Three former state superintendents of education in Indiana wrote a joint letter opposing the Republican plan to expand vouchers. Jennifer McCormick, Glenda Ritz and Suellen Reed Goddard released a letter criticizing the proposals for diverting funding away from traditional public school students. House Bill 1005 seeks to expand the eligibility of who can receive a school voucher and would create
Indiana: Expanding Vouchers Hurts Public Schools
The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette demonstrated what an absurdity the Indiana voucher program is and why it should not be expanded. Research increasingly shows the negative effects of vouchers on students (see here and here ). Its editorial explained: Fort Wayne has a parks system, supported primarily by property taxes. Most residents appreciate the parks, whether they use them or not, recognizing th
West Virginia: Legislators Advancing Charters and Vouchers
West Virginia was the first site of the Red for Ed teachers’ movement. The teachers of the state captured national attention for their statewide strike. Their strike included a number of issues, not only salaries and health care, but also charter schools. Teachers correctly saw them as a means of diverting funding from public schools. They wanted well-resourced public schools. But given the GOP d

FEB 16

Peter Greene: The Great Big Money-Making Edu-Octopus
How did this happen? Public schools in many districts and states are underfunded, unable to meet the mandates imposed by state and federal government, yet business is booming for the edupreneurs! Peter Greene scratches the surface of the exploding education industry , where the big companies swallow the little companies, and it is difficult to identify which conglomerate is in charge. Who is buyi
Florida Editorial: Republicans Have Betrayed the Nation
The Sun-Sentinel in South Florida wrote a scathing editorial about the Senate Republicans who failed to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection that endangered the lives of members of Congress as they fulfilled their Constitutional duty to certify the winner of the election. It begins: The Republican Party was on trial along with Donald Trump. Both now stand convicted, if not by the Senate, the
Steve Chapman: Trump and His Allies Have Damaged Our Democracy
Steve Chapman is a member of the editorial board of The Chicago Tribune. He wrote here what I was thinking. Trump did profound damage to our democracy, and a majority of Republicans endorsed his vicious attack on our Capitol and on democracy itself. He spent months complaining that the Presidential election was “rigged,” unless he won, in which case it would be valid. When he lost the election de

FEB 15

Florida Alert! Save Public Schools from Privatizers!
SB 48 Will Be Heard at 3:30 p.m. on 2/17/21 in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education Your Voice is Needed! What you can do . . . 1) Make calls and/or send emails – We are urging all those connected to Pastors for Florida Children to contact the members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and encourage them to vote “NO” on this bill! We are hoping to flood their of
A Reader: A Message for Teachers
Gary Stein, a teacher in his last year of teaching, read the post by retired superintendent Teresa Thayer Snyder and was inspired to share this message: After reading Ms. Snyder’s article and all of the responses to it on the page, I was reminded of the best advice for all teachers, and what seems to me the best advice for teaching, always, regardless of social circumstance or hi
Helen Ladd and Edward Fiske: States Need an Equity-Oriented Accountability System for Charter Schools
Distinguished economist Helen Ladd and her husband, journalist Edward Fiske, studied the accountability system for charter schools in Massachuset ts. They specifically addressed equity issues of access, fairness, and availability of a high-quality education, not test scores. They found considerable variation among charter schools, as one would expect. They also found that some charter schools had
Arthur Goldstein Asks Michael Bloomberg to Stop Disrespecting Teachers
Arthur Goldstein has taught ESL for decades in New York City. He is tired of being lectured by billionaires like Michael Bloomberg about how to teach or what a slacker he is. He writes in The New York Daily News: There’s lots of talk about whether or not school buildings should be open. European school buildings recently shut over concerns that children do indeed spread the virus. Yet former Mayo

FEB 14

This Teacher Worked for K12 Inc. and Now Regrets It
I have been writing for many years about the low quality “education” that virtual charter schools provide their students. They make fabulous promises in their marketing materials, but the results for their schools are awful. Their students have low test scores, low graduation rates, and high attrition rates. Their teachers often have huge classes. Study after study has demonstrated that those who
Educators Everywhere See Chance to Ditch Exam Straitjacket
The Financial Times reports on a new phenomenon : educators around the world see the pandemic as an opportunity to break free of standardized exams. Tony Stack, a Canadian educator, was developing a new way to assess children even before coronavirus. The decision to scrap end-of-year assessments after the pandemic struck presented the chance to put the “deep learning” approach into practice. “It
Who Is Cindy Marten?
The Biden administration selected San Diego Superintendent of Schools Cindy Marten to become Deputy Secretary of Education, the #2 job in the Department of Education. She has a long career as a teacher, as principal of a high-poverty school in San Diego, and as Superintendent of the state’s second largest district since 2013. Louis Freedberg of Edsource describes her career in this article. Marte
Rhode Island Senate Democrats Pass Three-Year Moratorium on New Charters
The Rhode Island State Senate overwhelmingly passed a three-year moratorium on the opening of new charter schools. The vote was 30-6, with only one Democrat in opposition. Under the leadership of Governor Gina Raimondo, who is about to become President Biden’s Commerce Secretary, the state has welcomed charter operators (Raimondo was a hedge fund executive before she became Governor). This delay

FEB 13

Trump Is Triumphant—and Vindictive
After the U.S. Senate failed to convict Donald J. Trump for inciting an insurrection, Trump issued a triumphant and frankly absurd statement, projecting his own behavior on the Democrats. After his Senate acquittal, a defiant Trump called his second impeachment by the House “another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country” and hinted at a return to national politics. “This
John Thompson: The Debate About Reopening Should Not Be Politicized
John Thompson writes below about the ongoing confusion about whether it is safe to reopen schools. Trump and DeVos demanded that schools reopen without the resources to reopen safely. Now, the debate continues, with a mixture of science, hope, and fear. I am not a public health expert, and I offer no advice. But common sense suggests that teachers should be vaccinated first, along with other esse
Thoughts on the Perennial Pleasures of “Mrs. Dalloway”
Jenny Offill wrote a new introduction to a new edition of Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway,” which will by published this month by Penguin Classics. It was excerpted in the New Yorker. Her beginning reminded of something that Fred Hechinger, longtime education editor of The New York Times, wrote long long ago. He said that the definition of a classic, to him, was that it changes in meaning as the
New York Times: Scientists Say Schools Should Reopen
I am getting dizzy from the whipsawing of information and advice about whether, when, and how schools should reopen. They were open in Europe, and we envied Europe; then they were closed in Europe. Schools open, then close, then open again. I am not a scientist so I offer no advice. The scientists agree that schools can open safely if they observe the medical protocols. If I were a teacher, I wou
Sweden: Politicians Let Schools Sink into a Swamp of Corruption (Part 2)
This article was written by Swedish teacher Filippa Mannerheim and translated by retired Swedish educator Sara Hjelm. It appeared in the Swedish publication EXPRESSEN . Mannerheim expresses her outrage at the corruption and inequity that have flowed from the Swedish policy of privatization. Her articles are a warning to those of us in the United States, as many states are now considering legislat
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-

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