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

A site to discuss better education for all

Jan Resseger: How to Wreck Your State’s Public Schools
I said I would not reproduce blogs, with rare exceptions. Jan Resseger is that one rare exception. In this post, she explains how the costs of vouchers are destroying and defunding Ohio’s public schools.
Theresa Thayer Snyder: What Shall We Do With the Children After the Pandemic?
I originally posted this commentary in December 2020. It has since been opened by readers more than 600,000 times. It struck a chord with teachers and parents. It still does. In recent months, we have heard a crescendo of recommendations for what to do with the children. “Test them!” “Quantify the learning loss!” “Let no child go untested!” Those clamoring for testing are well-funded, usually by


McConnell Threatens “Scorched Earth” in Senate if Democrats Eliminate the Filibuster
I recently starting subscribing to a blog by Robert Hubbell because it has interesting takes on the day’s news. This post from yesterday puts the news into context. If you want to subscribe, here is the link . McConnell’s Ugly (and Empty) Threat On Tuesday, Mitch McConnell issued an ugly threat that was vintage Mitch McConnell. In a sign of desperation and fear, McConnell warned Democrats not to
Florida: Republicans Plan to Eviscerate Public Schools
Kathleen Oropeza, parent activist in Florida, explains in The Progressive how Republicans intend to destroy public schools and turn the state into a publicly-funded voucher haven. Governor Ron DeSantis is accomplishing Betsy DeVos’s dream while tossing aside the future of the state’s children. In Florida, public schools are held accountable for students and teachers but in private and religious s
Michael J. Hynes: Beware the College Board Dragon!
Dr. Michael J. Hynes is superintendent of the Port Washington school district on Long Island in New York. He previously posted here his proposal for a new vision of education. He writes here about the College Board, which has become the gatekeeper whose tests decide which students go to which colleges. He writes: The College Board Monster and Why It’s Time to $lay the Dragon (at least during a pa

MAR 18

Arkansas: Voucher Forces Trying Again, Backed by Walton Money
Max Brantley writes in the Arkansas Times that the voucher lobby is determined to reverse their 44-52 loss in the Arkansas House. Backed by Walton money, they are naming and shaming the legislators who stood up for their community’s public schools. Although Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, and his children attended public schools, they are determined to destroy public schools that provide the same
Kentucky: Educators Dismayed by Rushed Voucher Bill
Educators in Kentucky expressed their opposition to the voucher legislation t hat was rushed through the Legislature without careful deliberation of its likely negative impact on the state’s public schools. Nor was there any discussion of the research showing the harm that vouchers do to the children that use them or the high attrition rates of voucher schools. Acting Fayette Superintendent Marle
Bad News in Kentucky: Legislature Passes Voucher Bill
Kentucky Republican legislators passed a voucher bill, which now goes to Democratic Governor Andy Bashear. The Governor will likely veto the bill, but the legislature can override his veto with a simple majority. This is the ultimate vengeance against teachers, who organized in 2018 to fight the Republican plan to change teachers’ pensions. The rightwing group EdChoice, formerly the Milton and Ro
Good News in Arkansas: House Votes Down Voucher Expansion
Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times reported good new s. A proposal to expand the state’s small voucher plan was rejected by the House. Republicans joined Democrats to provide the votes to defeat vouchers. Many rural Republicans don’t want to hurt their public schools. He writes: After more than an hour and a half of impassioned debate, the Arkansas House today defeated a bill to double from about
Politico: Give Bernie Sanders’ Credit for Pushing Biden Relief Bill
Politico writes that Senator Bernie Sanders deserves credit for key features of the $1.9 trillion Biden plan and for encouraging Biden not to compromise with moderate Republicans who offered a $900 billion plan. Politico said: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) played the most dramatic role during the passage of the Covid relief bill into law. But the senator with the greatest imprint on the script itsel

MAR 17

Success Academy Charter Chain Will Not Give State Tests This Year
Reema Amin, a reporter for Chalkbeat in New York, wrote on Twitter that the Success Academy charter chain will not administer the state tests this year. Do you think that any public school superintendents or principals will make the same decision and get away with it? Nah, we won’t take the state tests this year. Per a spokesperson for Success Academy, the charter school network will *not* be adm
Kentucky: Legislature Passes Voucher Bill
The Kentucky legislature, controlled by Republicans, passed voucher legislation. The Governor, Democrat Andy Bashear, seems certain to veto it. Linda Blackford of the Lexington Herald-Leader wonders why Republicans are both anti-public school and anti-teacher, since most of them graduated from public schools and send their own children there. Why are they so eager to take money away from their co
Don’t Believe the “Learning Loss” Hoax
The mainstream media are filled with warnings about “learning loss” and how we must measure it and why students should go to summer school to make up for what they have “lost.” If we can’t quantify it, they say, how can we know which students are behind? This is silly. There was no “pre-test,” so there can’t be a “post-test.” A test that students take this spring can’t possibly demonstrate “learn
Yong Zhao: Beware the “Learning Loss” Trap
Pay attention to whatever Yong Zhao writes. He is among the very top tier of educational thinkers in the world. I always learn when I read his work. This post warns parents, teachers, and policy makers t o beware the “learning loss” rhetoric. It is a trap, he says. He writes: A dangerous trap exists for educators and education policy makers: the learning loss. This trap comes with a large amount
Network for Public Education: The Scandal of For-Profit Charter Schools
Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, authored this powerful exposé of for-profit charter schools . The report names the nation’s largest for-profit charter chains, which profit not only from skimming tuition money, but from lucrative real estate deals and financial dealings with related for-profit corporations owned by the charter operator. Between September 2020

MAR 16

Maurice Cunningham: A Tangled Web of Christian Conservatives, Economic Royalists, and the “National Parents Union”
Maurice Cunningham, a professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, is a specialist in exposing the influence of “dark money” in our political life, especially in the area of education politics. In this post, he explores the connections among Christian conservatives, economic royalists like the Waltons and Charles Koch, and the so-called “National Parents Union,” which enjoys
The New Yorker: The Biden Plan Includes a Genuine Anti-Poverty Program
Sheelah Kolhatkar, a staff writer for The New Yorker, describes the most remarkable part of the Biden COVID rescue plan: its income payments for children. The fate of this experiment depends on electing enough Democrats in 2022 to extend it into the future and convincing Republicans that the program is so popular that they should support it. Now that the legislation has been passed, Biden must wo
Chicago Charter Chain Apologizes for “Racist, No-Excuses” Regime
The Noble Network is the leading charter chain in Chicago. It boasts of high test scores. It is the darling of the Chicago white elite, including such luminaries as former Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and billionaire Penny Pritzker, who served as Obama’s Secretary of Commerce. White apologists and admirers of the strict no-excuses discipline policy claimed that black and brown children needed

MAR 15

Roy Blunt and the Cowardice of the GQP Establishment
Kevin McDermott of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch excoriated retiring Senator Roy Blunt as a symbol of a cowering GQP establishment that failed to stand up to Trump. McDermott wonders why newcomer Josh Hawley has a national profile (as a Trump lackey), but the senior senator from Missouri is virtually unknown outside the state. Unfortunately, Blunt also has personified what establishment Republicans
Why Zip Codes Matter
From the earliest days of corporate reform, which is now generally recognized to have been a failed effort to “reform” schools by privatizing them and by making standardized testing the focal point of education, we heard again and again that a child’s zip code should not be his or her destiny. Sometimes, in the evolving debates, I got the sense that some people thought that zip codes themselves w
Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Relief Bill Will Lift Many Children Out of Poverty
Valerie Strauss writes about the dramatic effect that the Biden COVID relief plan will have on children. The effects will last only for one year, but Democrats hope to make the family income provision permanent. To do that, they need to retain a majority in 2022 because the GQP doesn’t believe in direct cash benefits to families. They prefer tax cuts for the rich, which might (or might not) incen

MAR 14

A Florida Blogger You Should Read
I said I won’t repost blogs anymore, except for very rare occasions. I intend to stick to my promise. So don’t consider this a repost. Consider it an introduction. An ally in Florida sent me two blogs by Billy Townsend. Here are the ones I read. I subscribed to his blog. He wrote this blog for the benefit of Jennifer Berkshire, co-author of A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door. He says that Florida is
How the U.S. Supreme Court Could Save the Nation
I wrote this article a few weeks ago. I submitted it to two major newspapers as an opinion piece. The editors at both newspapers said there were no cases in the judicial pipeline, and thus my proposal was impossible. But then on Monday February 22, the Supreme Court made a decision about a Trump challenge to the Pennsylvania balloting, rejecting it with a single sentence. That might have been the

MAR 13

Success Academy Charter Chain Ordered to Pay $2.4 Million to SPED Families
Success Academy charter network was directed by a federal district court judge to pay $2.4 million to families whose children with disabilities were pushed out. Charter school network Success Academy, which touts its commitment to children “from all backgrounds,” has been ordered to pay over $2.4 million on a Judgment in a case brought by families of five young Black students with learning and ot
Maurice Cunningham: The “National Parents Union” and Dark Money
Maurice Cunningham is the Master of the Mysteries of Dark Money. In this post, he traces the shifting membership of the board of directors of the Walton-funded “National Parents Union.” You know what NPU wants: charter schools. After reading the story, you will understand who pays the bills: the Waltons and Charles Koch. They are parents too! Be sure to read Christine Langhoff’s comment.
Should KIPP Be Allowed to Build a School on a Toxic Waste Site?
The tiny city of Cudahy, California, is locked in battle with the mega-powerful KIPP charter chain over KIPP’s determination to build a charter school on a toxic waste site. KIPP is avoiding the usual environmental review that would be required for public schools. Local environmental activists and parents are raising money to fight the KIPP machine. Larry Buhl writes in “Capital & Main”: At issue
Biden’s Rescue Plan Will Cut Child Poverty in Half!
Joe Biden just signed the most sweeping economic relief package since the New Deal. He has addressed poverty and inequality directly and fearlessly. Trump could boast of a massive tax cut for the rich. Biden can boast of putting money in the pockets of most Americans at a time of dire need. The

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