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Saturday, October 30, 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

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Overturn Maine Vaccine Mandate That Excludes Religious Exemption
In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court refused to overturn a vaccine mandate in Maine that does not allow religious exemptions. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch voted in the minority, contending that Maine’s failure to offer a religious exemption was based on religious bias. In two previous cases, from anti-vaxxers at Indiana University and public school teachers in New York
West Virginia: Privatizers Control New State Charter School Board
A regular commenter on the blog, known as Chiara, reports the composition of West Virginia’s new board for authorizing charter schools. The legislature endorsed new charter schools in a state that has never had them. Several of them will be for-profits. Two will be virtual charters. There are three other entities that can authorize the privately run schools that are publicly funded. Chiara wrote:
Naftuli Moster: Yeshivas Must Be Brought into the 21st Century
Naftuli Moster is the Founder and Executive Director of YAFFED, a nonprofit organization focused on improving secular education in ultra-Orthodox yeshivas. He is a graduate of a New York yeshiva, and he became convinced after he finished that he had been denied a full education. He blames officials in New York City and New York State for ignoring the needs of Yeshiva students to avoid offending p

OCT 28

Harold Meyerson on Biden’s Half Full, Half Empty Plan
After months of negotiations among Democrats over the fate of President Biden’s historic $3.5 trillion proposal, a compromise seems to have been reached (although nothing is certain). At the insistence of Democratic Senators Manchin and Sinema, the size of the ambitious plan has been cut in half. Many of its parts were cut away, including two years of free community college and 12 weeks of paid f
My Testimony: Why NYC Schools Should Reduce Class Size
On October 27, the New York City Council Committee on Education held a hearing on a bill to reduce class size. The chairman of the committee is Mark Treyger, a former teacher. The city’s Department of Education opposes the bill, based on the strain on facilities (there is never a problem finding space for a new charter school). I testified in favor of class size reduction, along with Regent Kathy
Harold Meyerson: Two Senate Democrats May Be Dooming Their Party
Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect warns that Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senator Krysten Sinema of Arizona threaten the fate of their party in 2022 by their stubborn opposition to President Biden’s ambitious $3.5 trillion budget plan (over ten years). In addition to rebuilding the nation’s highways, bridges, tunnels, and other parts of its essential infrastructure, Biden wants
The.Ink Interviews the Architect of the Billionaires’ Tax
Anand Giridharadas interviewed Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who is sponsoring a ”billionaires’ tax,” which would tax assets, not just income. This tax on the growth in their assets would affect between 600-700 billionaires. The revenue from the billionaires’ tax would pay for a large part of President Biden’s proposed budget plan. Two members of the Democratic Party—Senator Joe Manchin of West Vi
Schneider and Berkshire: Parents Do Not Have the Right to Decide What Their Children Learn
Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire are co-authors of A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School. It is a book that everyone should read. They recently wrote an article that was posted in Valerie Strauss’s “Answer Sheet” blog at the Washington Post . They write: In their search for issues that will deliver Congress in 2022, conservatives have be

OCT 27

Scranton: Teachers Will Go on Strike
A wave of labor activism is underway. Amazon workers in Staten Island in New York City are trying to organizing a union. Bloomberg News reports : Deere & Co. employees, who launched a 10,000-person strike Oct. 14, cited the mandatory overtime that can stretch their shifts to 12 hours. At Kellogg Co., the union went on strike this month after decrying the toll of seven-day workweeks that had kept
Rightwingers Urge Parents to “Defy the FBI” By Showing Up for School Board Meetings
School boards across the nation have complained about members of the public who create chaos at school board meetings: screaming, threatening violence, disrupting the proceedings. The National School Boards Association lodged a complaint with Attorney General Merrick Garland, asking for an investigation. A large group of prominent rightwingers sent out a notice to parents and other allies, urging
National School Boards Association Bows to Pressure, Withdraws Complaint About Threats and Intimidation
A month ago, the National School Boards Association wrote a letter to President Biden, asking for help on behalf of local school boards that were under attack and subject to threats by groups angry about masking and critical race theory. The letter said, in part, America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) respect

OCT 26

My View of the Libertarian Attack on Public Schools
The WSJ article by law professor Philip Hamburger asserting that public schools are unconstitutional relies on dubious assertions about the history of public schools. As a historian of education who has written about these issues, I disagree with his analysis. Hamburger’s central critique of the public schools is that they were created by nativists out of fear of Catholicism and their central pur
Peter Greene Responds to the WSJ Attack on Public Schools
The Wall Street Journal , owned by billionaire RupertMurdoch (who also owns Fox News), runs a steady diet of anti-public school editorials. Sometimes they bash public schools. Sometimes they praise charter schools and vouchers. Sometimes they do all of this in the same editorial. While an opinion piece that expresses a dissenting opinion occasionally gets published, it’s fair to say that the WSJ
WSJ: The Libertarian View of Public Schools
The Wall Street Journal recently published a screed against the very existence of public schools, written by a libertarian lawyer. Imagine teaching in a school where children are allowed to learn only what their parents already believe, no matter how bizarre or hateful it may be. Imagine the difficulty of having a coherent society where there are no compromises, no bonds of mutuality among people

OCT 25

Utah: Legislator Proposes Law to Require Social Studies Teachers to Post Lessons Online for Parents to Review
State Senator Lincoln Fillmore is very worried about the teaching of “critical race theory,” although there is no evidence that anyone is teaching it in Utah schools. He is calling for a law requiring social studies teachers to post their daily lesson plans online, so parents and other concerned members of the community can scrutinize them. Teachers are rightly furious. A Utah lawmaker wants to r
Jeff Bryant: The”Proud Boys” Are Coming for the Public Schools
Jeff Bryant reports on a frightening phenomenon: the notorious and violent Proud Boys are targeting public schools. He begins: When violent insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 to attempt to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election, some of the rioters were members of the Proud Boys , a far-right group prone to street brawling and pro-Western, anti-Muslim, and misog

OCT 24

ProPublica: 11 Black Children Were Arrested in Rutherford County, Tennessee, for a Crime That Doesn’t Exist
ProPublica and Nashville Public Radio investigated a case that happened in 2016, when the police arrested 11young children for a crime that doesn’t exist. What they found was not simply an outrageous miscarriage of justice, but a county whose juvenile justice system is run by tyrannical officials who like to punish children to “straighten them out.” The initial arrests occurred after a scuffle am
Maryland Creates “Shadow” State Education Department, But Why?
In this opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun, Kalman R. Hettleman describes the creation in Maryland of a new state agency that has the same functions as the Maryland State Department of Education and the power to override local control. This agency is supposed to guarantee “accountability,” but it’s limitless power leaves many unanswered questions. A bombshell, with uncertain force, is about to la

OCT 23

SomeDAM Poet: How to Be Free and Unvaxxed
Our blog poet reverses the state motto of New Hampshire (“Live Free or Die”). “Die Free or Live” They made their bed And there they lie May soon be dead But free they’ll die
Jan Resseger: Ohio State Board of Education Repeals Anti-Racism Resolution
The Republican war on “critical race theory” began in the closing months of Trump’s term in office, when he denounced it and called for “patriotic education.” One Republican state after another began passing resolutions and laws banning the teaching of CRT, which was interpreted to mean teaching about racism or anything that might make “some” children feel uncomfortable or be “divisive.” Teaching

OCT 22

Peter Greene: What Is the Christian Educators Association?
Peter Greene notes that 2021 has been a year of attacks on public education, and he i ntroduces us to an organization t hat is a little-known but influential player behind the scenes. It has actively sought to destroy teachers unions and to bring Christian beliefs into the classroom. That is, their version of Christian beliefs. He writes: The Christian Educators Association is not a new player (y

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