Saturday, April 10, 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

David C. Berliner: A Hug for Jennifer
David C. Berliner, one of our nation’s most honored researchers of education, shared this essay for readers of the blog. A Hug for Jennifer I met Jennifer for the first time at a party. She taught elementary school to mostly white, mostly middle-class kids in a suburb of San Francisco. We chatted about education for a while and she invited me to visit her class. I like visiting classes, in part,
Children and Guns: One More American Tragedy
I thought you might want to read this. It’s a sobering story. There are about 300 million guns in the U.S. This story appeared in The Washington Post. This story is adapted from “Children Under Fire: An American Crisis,” which will be published March 30 by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins. The book examines the devastating effects of gun violence on the nation’s kids and offers a new way forward
Nancy Bailey: Why I Write About Students and Public Schools
Nancy Bailey is a retired teacher and a terrific blogger. She and I co-authored a book called EdSpeak and DoubleTalk: A Glossary to Decipher Hypocrisy and Save Public Schooling. We have never met in person but I asked her to help me revise a similar book that I published a decade earlier; it had become obsolete. Now it is the go-to book to understand education jargon and decipher hoaxes. It was a
Gary Rubinstein: Why I Left the “Reform” Movement
Gary Rubinstein is well known to readers of this blog, as I have posted almost all of his blogs. He is a career high school math teacher in the New York City public schools. I met Gary about ten years ago, when I had made a complete turnaround in my views about testing and choice. I was working on an article about “miracle schools” that fudged their data and discovered that Gary was an expert on

APR 08

Stop Federal Funding of Charter Schools
Please join me and the Network for Public Education in calling for an end to the federal Charter Schools Program. For the past four years, it functional as Betsy DeVos’s personal slush fund. She handed out $440 million a year, mostly to corporate charter chains. Two studies by the Network for Public Educatuon combed through the records of the CSP and found that nearly 40% of the schools it funded
Diane’s Practical Tips for Everyday Life
I know this is an education blog, but I sometimes take excursions into other areas of life that interest me. So from time to time, I will share a few things that I have learned that I want to share. Today I am going to tell you about the best treatment for leg cramps that I have ever discovered. After I had a total knee replacement in 2014, I started getting occasional leg cramps that were beyond
Jack Schneider: What is “Public” about Public Education?
Jack Schneider is a historian of education at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell. He and Jennifer Berkshire recently published a superb book, A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door, which I recommend to you. The “Public” in Public Schools There are two stories that we tell over and over these days about our schools. The first is that schools are a mechanism for getting ahead in our society. In a c
Karen Francisco: Why I Fight to Save Public Schools
Karen Francisco is the editorial page editor of the The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette in Indiana. She is one of the few journalists who are outspoken supporters of public education. I met her when I visited Fort Wayne in 2010 after the publication of The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. She offered the following post to help me get

APR 07

Florida! Stop SB 48
The privatizers are on the move again in Florida. They want to send billions more to unaccountable, low-quality voucher schools. They will take money away from your public schools to pay for vouchers for religious schools where students are not required to take state tests and teachers are not required to be certified. Stop the Steal of public education!
Texas: Public Schools Are Better Than Charter Schools: Stop Funding Failure!
I recently had the pleasure of speaking to the North Texas School Boards Association by Zoom. Right now, Texas is ground zero for the charter industry. This is astonishing because the public schools in Texas far outperform the charter schools. The charter school lobby markets themselves as “saviors” of children, but they are far more likely to fail than public schools. This is a summary of what I
Carol Corbett Burris: Why Do Charter Schools Get Away with Massive Fraud?
Carol Corbett Burris was a teacher and principal on Long Island, in New York state for many years. After retiring, she became executive director of the Network for Public Education. She writes: Last spring, HBO released Bad Education , which tells the story of how a Roslyn, New York Superintendent named Frank Tassone conspired to steal $11.2 million with the help of his business officer, Pamela G

APR 06

New York Allows Opt IN for State Tests This Year
In New York, several school districts announced an “opt in” policy for state testing, led by the Ossining School District. The deal: If parents want their children to take the tests, they must write a letter asking for them to “opt in.” Other districts followed. Now the entire state of New York will allow districts to have an “opt in” policy. If parents want their child tested, it will be done. I
Valerie Jablow: D.C. Has Lost a Great Education Leader, Elizabeth Davis
Valerie Jablow is a parent advocate in the District of Columbia. Here she remembers Elizabeth Davis, the president of the Washington Teachers Union, who died tragically in an automobile accident on Easter evening. She was part of the new wave of teacher unionism, which is social justice unionism, a commitment not just to the benefits of teachers but to the well-being of students and to their oppo
Saving the Commons: This I Believe
Privatization of important parts of the public sector is a great scourge of our times. No institution is more fundamental to the American Dream than public education, and it is under assault by powerful and well funded forces. By billionaires who have dreams of lower taxes and libertarians who want to destroy whatever government provides. We must fight privatization of the goods and services that
My Broken Heart
I was born in 1938. I’m in pretty good health, considering my age. But one of the valves in my heart has a leak. It must be repaired. On April 8, I am having open heart surgery. The surgeon will break open my breastbone to reach my heart, then wire it back together. He assures me I will be fine, but fatigued, when it’s over. I have tried to take it in stride, but it’s hard not to find it scary. T

APR 05

West Virginia Passes Sweeping Voucher Bill
Republicans in West Virginia passed a dramatic voucher bill that allows people to spend public education funds on almost anything. Governor Jim Justice, a billionaire, signed the bill into law. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Saturday signed into law the bill that school-choice advocates say will implement the nation’s broadest nonpublic school vouchers program. Programs in other states are lim
Cameron Vickrey: What’s the End Game with School Choice in Texas?
Cameron Vickrey is associate director of Pastors for Texas Children. In this opinion article published in the San Antonio Express-News , she asks the important question: What’s the end game with the privatization push? Texas has 5 million children in public schools, and about 356,000 in charter schools. The drive for vouchers has been blocked thus far by parents, the Pastors, and a legislative co
Maurice Cunningham: The Rise of an Astroturf Rightwing “Parents” Group
Maurice Cunningham is professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts. He specializes in unmasking Dark Money groups. He writes: Radical Right Ramps Up War on School Boards, Superintendents, Principals, and Teachers A new professedly “grassroots” group called Parents Defending Education has joined the right wing assault on public education. It combines white supremacy with a vic
Idaho: Vouchers Violate the State Constitution
Two prominent Idaho citizens, Jim Jones and Rod Gramer, warned that proposed voucher legislation violates the clear language of the Idaho state constitution and threatens the future of public schools. Jim Jones is the former Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court and former Idaho Attorney General and Rod Gramer is president of Idaho Business for Education. They wrote: Supporters of privatizing

APR 04

An Easter Message from the Former President
Former President Donald Trump sent out a message spreading Easter joy. He enthused about the message of Easter and waxed eloquent about hope for a better future for all of us. It was heartening to see him sharing the optimism so many have about a better year ahead. Since he has been permanently banned from Twitter, others tweeted his warm-hearted message about Easter.
Mercedes Schneider: Ed Deformers Create Another “Grassroots” Group of Moms
The latest ploy of the billionaires pushing their version of “reform schools” is to fund faux grassroots parent organizations, like the “National Parents Union.” The media refer to them as “family-led.” Like the Walton family? In Rhode Island, as Massachusetts professor Maurice Cunningham demonstrated , a parent group demanding charter schools suddenly popped up, called “Stop the Wait, Rhode Isla
Arthur Schwartz, the Lawyer Who Beat Success Academy Charter Chain in Court
Civil rights attorney Arthur Schwartz is running for City Council in District 3 , Manhattan, which includes SoHo-Hudson Square, Greenwich Village, Chelsea, the Theater District, and Hell’s Kitchen. Arthur has spent his career as a warrior for justice. He was the lead attorney in the successful lawsuit on behalf of parents against the powerful Success Academy charter chain. I donated to his campai
Happy Easter, Happy Spring!
I don’t get into religion much other than to say it should be kept separate from the state. But let me take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Easter and a very happy spring. It has been a difficult, stressful year for everyone. Some of us have lost members of our families to COVID. We should all get vaccinated to stop the spread of this disease, to protect ourselves, our families, and our comm

APR 03

Brookings Study: How D.C. School Choice Intensifies Segregation
The Brookings Institution published a study of the D.C. school system , which is almost evenly divided between public schools and charter schools. It was written by three scholars: Vanessa Williamson, Brookings Institution; Jackson Gode, Brookings Institution; and Hao Sun, Gallaudet University. The title of their study is “We All Want What’s Best for Our Kids.” Their findings are based on close r
Gayle Greene: The Country Moves Forward, the Schools Remain Mired in the Past
Gayle Green is a professor emeritus at Scripps College. In this post, she rages about the stupidity of the Biden testing mandate. In other areas of American life, we learn from our mistakes and move forward. But our policymakers are stuck in the past, so in love with failed ideas that they can’t let go of them. She writes: There’s hope in the air, a scent of spring, anticipation of change, democr
Robert Skeels Beats Charter Industry in Court—Twice
Robert Skeels was a public education advocate in Los Angeles who decided to become a lawyer to fight the powerful corporate charter industry. After receiving his BA in classical civilizations at UCLA, Skeels spent years as an activist, inspired by Paulo Freire, then earned his law degree in 2018. This is

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