Saturday, March 6, 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

Rhode Island: Dark Money Backs “Parent Group” for More Charter Schools
Maurice Cunningham specializes in digging up the facts about Dark Money (political contributions where the donors’ names are hidden). His expose of Dark Money from the Waltons and other billionaires turned the public against a 2016 state referendum in Massachusetts to expand the number of charter schools, and it was defeated. I wrote about this campaign in Slaying Goliath. In this post, published


UTLA Votes Overwhelmingly to Demand Safe Schools Before Returning to Work
For immediate release March 5, 2021 Media contact: Anna Bakalis / 213-305-9654 91% YES: UTLA members overwhelmingly unite behind a safe return LOS ANGELES — UTLA members have voted overwhelmingly to resist a premature and unsafe physical return to school sites. Over five days of voting March 1 through 5 conducted by Integrity Voting Systems, 24,580 ballots were cast, with 91% Yes ballots (22,480)
The Dark Secrets of the Privatization Movement: An Interview with Charles Siler
Jennifer Berkshire and I interviewed Charles Siler about his inside knowledge of the privatization movement. Jennifer is co-author of the important new book (with Jack Schneider) called A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door. As you will learn in the interview, Charles was brought up in a conservative environment. He studied at George Mason University in the Koch-funded economics department (you can read
Who Signed the Pro-Testing Appeals?
Education Trust, led by former Secretary of Education John King, sent two letters to the Biden administration, urging the administration not to allow states to receive waivers from the mandated federal testing. The signers of the letters were not the same. As State Commissioner in New York, King was a fierce advocate for Common Core and standardized testing. Leonie Haimson, leader of Class Size M

MAR 04

Vouchers Would Ruin Public Education in New Hampshire
Molly Kelly, a former Democratic legislator in New Hampshire, explains what is wrong with the Republicans’ voucher plan . In New Hampshire, as in Florida, Indiana, and other states, the state constitution explicitly prohibits spending public money on religious education. But apparently Republicans believe that the state constitution is just a piece of paper, whose actual textual language is meani
New Hampshire: Join the Fight to Save Public Schools!
Rightwing Republicans in New Hampshire are determined to give away public school dollars to religious schools, private schools, home schoolers, for-profit schools, and anyone who claims to be operating a “school.” If you live in New Hampshire, you can join with others to stop this raid on public money. “Reaching Higher New Hampshire” is forming a state network for those interested in public educa
New Hampshire: Bitter Fight Over Voucher Bill
Parents and educators overwhelmingly oppose the New Hampshire voucher proposal, which would be the most expansive in the country. In terms of turnout, voucher opponents outnumber proponents by 6-1. Proponents claim that it is only educators who oppose vouchers, but many parents turned out to testify against the legislation. Yet the Republican sponsors of the bill are forging ahead, claiming that

MAR 03

Give Thanks to Our Teachers for Braving the Pandemic!
I am breaking my recent promise not to post articles that were previously published, but this is one of those rare exceptions to the rule, because it would not get the national audience it deserves without reposting it here. This article by Sandra Vohs, president of the Fort Wayne Education Association, appeared originally in the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, one of the few newspapers in Indiana an

MAR 02

Join Me Tomorrow Tonight to Talk with Two Super Guests
Jennifer is co-author of A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door with historian Jack Schneider. Join me on Zoom tomorrow tonight as I talk with Jennifer Berkshire and Charles Silber about the privatization movement. Charles worked in the belly of the beast at the Goldwater Institute, and then he had an epiphany and walked out into the sunlight. Join us! Diane Ravitch in Conversation with Jennifer Berkshir
A Grand Virtual Festival to Honor Sir Ken Robinson
Sir Ken Robinson inspired educators around the world with his vision of child-centered schools that focused on imagination, creativity, the arts, and the joy of learning. Sadly, he died last August at the age of 70. His daughter Kate Robinson has organized a virtual celebration of his life and work on March 4, called “Imagine If…” I hope you will watch it. The New York Times said this about him :
New Hampshire: Rightwing Commissioner Offers Top Job to DeVos Clone
Since today is New Hampshire Day on the blog, I am reposting this article. Since the 2020 election, Republicans have controlled both houses of the New Hampshire. The governor is Chris Sununu, a very conservative Republican and son of John Sununu, who was chief of staff to George H.W. Bush. In other words, New Hampshire is controlled by very conservative Republicans, even though the state has two
My Latest: 20 Years of Failed Reforms
I wrote thi s article for The Progressive. It describes the failed bipartisan consensus of the past 20 years. It’s my view of what Joe Biden needs to do to reverse the toxic legacy of No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Common Core, and the current Every Student Succeeds Act. With the Biden administration’s decision about testing, he’s off to a bad start. The article begins: President Joe Bide

MAR 01

Bill Gates Invites You to Learn About “The State of Education”
Let’s just say it upfront. If you wanted to know more about “The State of Education,” and how to “rebuild a more equitable system,” the last person you would ask is a billionaire. Right? Specifically Bill Gates, who has spent billions over the past 20 years promoting high-stakes testing, charter schools, merit pay, value-added measurement of teachers, the Common Core, test-based accountability, a
Where to Find a Collection of the Best Blog Posts
It used to be here, but no more. Peter Greene has graciously accepted responsibility for posting the best of the bloggers. Go here to see his selections: I will find a way to get this link permanently engraved on the top of the blog. Soon.
Bayard Rustin: A Remembrance
My youngest grandson is in second grade. His class was studying Black History, and each student was asked to make a project. He chose to create a poster about civil rights leader Bayard Rustin. I was thrilled to see his finished project, because it was not only well done, but because I knew Bayard Rustin and I started thinking about him. He was a good friend of my then-husband and me. We got to k
A New Direction for This Blog
I started this blog in April 2012, because I had a lot of things I wanted to say, more than I could put into a tweet. Since that time, I have posted commentaries more than 26,000 times. Most of the posts have been about testing and privatization because they are, in my view, destroying public education and real education. But I have also posted humor, political commentary, poetry, and whatever I

FEB 28

Jeff Bryant: Biden Has a “Golden Opportunity” to Strengthen Public Education
Jeff Bryant wrote in the LA Progressive about President Biden’s “golden opportunity” t o strengthen public education by throwing out two decades of failed “reforms.” As we now know (and Jeff did not when he wrote the article), Biden got off on the wrong foot by mandating another round of standardized testing this spring. This unwise decision was foretold when the news came out that the Biden admi
Tom Ultican: What Are the Education Development Center and the Urban Collaborative?
Tom Ultican, retired teacher of physics and advanced mathematics in California, is a dogged researcher who uncovers the mysteries of privatization and the education industry. In this post, he responds to a parent who asked him about an organization that was providing free airfare for her school district’s leaders. He was on the case. He begins: A North Carolina resident asked “what do you know ab
Mercedes Schneider: The Story Behind the New Orleans Takeover
Mercedes Schneider is a native of Louisiana and she has lived through its recent history. She understands the state and city’s long, deeply ingrained racism. In this post , where she reviews Douglas Harris’s recent book Charter School City, she points out that he is oblivious to that history and context. He describes the state takeover (by affluent white elites) of the district as “reform.” He is
California: Charter Operators Will Repay the State at Least $215 Million
Will Huntsberry of Voice of San Diego writes here about one of the biggest scams in the history of charter schools (the biggest was probably the ECOT–Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow–scandal in Ohio, which cost the state about $500 million). The two ringleaders of an online charter school scam that raked in hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges on
Denisha Jones: The Day Joe Biden Lied to Me About Standardized Testing
Denisha Jones explains here what happened at a televised event in Pittsburgh when she asked candidate Joe Biden if he would eliminate standardized testing. Denisha is a highly accomplished woman and a champion for children. Biden’s Broken Promise: Time to Opt Out! On December 14, 2019, I asked President Biden a question about standardized testing. Seeking the Democratic nomination, he had joined

FEB 27

British Psychologists: Focus on Children’s Well-Being, Not Their Academics
The BBC reports that the British Psychological Society warns that policymakers should emphasize children’s well-being rather than “catching up” with academics. They are concerned that children are facing too much pressure as the adults make decisions about what to do next. All schools in England are expected to open by March 8. Dr Dan O’Hare, co-chair of the BPS division of educational and child
Maurice Cunningham: How Billionaires’ Dark Money Shapes Education Policy
Maurice Cunningham is a professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts who specializes in unmasking the influence of billionaires’ dark money. “Dark money” is money that is contributed with the expectation that the donors’ name will not be disclosed. I wrote about the role of Cunningham in exposing the dark money behind the 2016 effort to pass a referendum to expand the number
Palm Beach County: Charter Schools Win Tax Fight
In 2018, voters in Palm Beach County, Florida, were asked to decide on a referendum to raise property taxes for the “operational needs of district non-charter schools.” That is, for public schools, not charter schools. After the measure passed, two charter schools in the district sued for their “share” of the revenues. The case went to an appeals court which ruled 2-1 against the charters. Then i
Biden Administration Continues to Hire Key Staff for ED Department Before Confirmation of Secretary or Deputy Secretary
Thirty-one years ago, I was invited by Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander to join him at the U.S. Department of Education as Assistant Secretary of Education in Charge of Research and Improvement. Before he invited me, he learned a lot about my work and my views. It was a big jump for me because I had never planned to work in government and was surprised to be invited. After I was confirmed b
Missouri: Republicans Pass Voucher Program, Consider “Rush Limbaugh Day”
Republicans hold a supermajority in the Missouri legislature. They can pass whatever they want. The House just passed the first voucher law in the state’s history. Thirty Republicans voted against it. The program will cost the state $50 million for starters. The measure now goes to the State Senate. Do they

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