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Saturday, January 22, 2022

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

A site to discuss better education for all

Nancy Bailey: There is No Need to Give NAEP Tests in Kindergarten!
Experienced teacher Nancy Bailey opposes Michael Petrilli’s proposal to give NAEP tests to kindergartners. Petrilli, who is president of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute made this proposal in Education Next. Petrilli recognizes that the typical 5-year-old can’t read and probably can’t hold a pencil but thinks there is value in online visual tests. He argues that it’s a mistake to dela


Paul Waldman: Republicans Are Vilifying America’s Schools. When Will Democrats Fight Back?
Paul Waldman is an opinion columnist for The Washington Post. In this article, he criticizes Democrats for failing to stand up to Republican slanders and lies about public schools. He raises an important point: Why aren’t Democrats fighting Republican lies about the schools? Why aren’t the billionaires who claim to be liberal speaking out against this vicious campaign to destroy our public school
Billy Townsend: The DeSantis-Corcoran Scandal Grows Uglier
Billy Townsend digs into the burgeoning scandal surrounding Governor DeSantis and state commissioner of education Richard Corcoran. The Tampa Bay Tribune-Miami Herald reported that the two top officials tried to steer a multi-million dollar contract to a firm led by a friend of Corcoran. (The link is in Billy’s post). Townsend notes that the top lobbyist for the Florida charter school association

JAN 20

Virginia: Youngkin Will Get More Charter Schools by Gutting Local Control
Remember when the Republican Party demanded local control of schools? Insisted on local control? No longer. In its quest for school privatization, the GOP has turned firmly against local control of schools. The local school board is the biggest obstacle to privatization by charters, so Republican governors like Virginia’s Glenn Youngkin create new state entities to bypass local school boards. It
Leonie Haimson: The Rise and Fall of a Charter Entrepreneur
Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters and a member of the board of the Network for Public Education, wrote “a short history” of the rise and meteoric fall of Seth Andrews. He founded a no-excuses charter chain called Democracy Prep, which received adulatory praise from the media and millions of dollars in grants from foundations and the federal government. He moved in the top E

JAN 19

A Former KIPP Student, Teacher, and Parent Decries Oppressive Control of Students’ Minds and Bodies
Frances Scarlen Martinez was one of the first students to attend the first KIPP school in the Bronx. David Levin came knocking on her family’s door, recruiting students. Her family taught her that education was the key to success and she eagerly accepted the invitation, feeling fortunate to have been chosen. In the years since, she has a different view of her experience at KIPP. What she remember
Peter Greene: Advocate of Book Burning Becomes Chairman of Virginia School Board
Peter Greene tells the ignominious story of the Spottsylvania, Virginia, school board. One of the school board members, Kirk Twigg, is a conservative Christian who is very fearful of books that might have any sexual content. He wants them burned. He was recently elected chairman of the school board and promised to fire the superintendent. Which he did. Greene writes: You may recall the story abou

JAN 18

GOP Plans to Use Pandemic to Push for School Choice
Politico reports that Republican s view the pandemic and school closures as an opportunity to promote school closures. This should appeal to the 30% of the population who are unvaccinated and oppose mask mandates and other public health measures. These are probably the same parents who want to block teaching about racism and want parents to decide what their children should be taught (think creat
Italy: The Unvaccinated Retreat from Public Life
Italy has restricted the activities of the unvaccinated to protect the vast majority who are vaccinated and to curb the spread of COVID. The Washington Post reported on the constrained life of a musician . OSIGO, Italy — After many rounds of rules targeting the unvaccinated, the chamber musician’s new life is unrecognizable from the old. Claudio Ronco once performed all over Europe, but now he ca
No, Virginia, Abraham Lincoln Did Not Debate Frederick Douglass
Christina Cauterucci wrote in Slate about “the debate that never happened.” A bill submitted to the House of Delegates by Wren Williiams, a newly elected Republican legislator, included a requirement that students learn about “the first debate” between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The debate, to those who studied U.S. history in high school, was not between Abraham Lincoln and Frederic
Glenn Sacks: Los Angeles is a Model for Keeping Schools Open
Los Angeles public schools have the most ambitious COVID testing practices in the nation. “The district operates the most ambitious school coronavirus testing program in the nation, with more than 500,000 mandatory tests administered every week for all students and staff.” Even so, the Los Angeles Times reported , one-third of all students stayed home. Glenn Sacks, a social studies teacher in the

JAN 17

Pastors for Texas Children: WALK YOUR TALK
Our friends, the Pastors for Texas Children, sent the following message today. There are Senators giving speeches today about the legacy of Dr. King, even as they intend to vote against federal protections for voting rights. They should walk their talk. Walk Your Talk We have a faith filled with words. The Word of God inspires and empowers us to a relationship of love with God and our fellow huma
New Dates for NPE Conference!
Due to the the Omicron surge of COVID, the Network for Public Education and NPE Action has again rescheduled our in-person conference. It will now be April 30-May 1. Still in Philadelphia. Still a star-studded roster of parents, educators, and friends of public schools. Certainties: great speakers. Terrific panels. Ample time to discuss your concerns. Wonderful opportunity to meet your favorite b
Manchin and Sinema Are the “White Moderates” That MLK Warned U.S. About
Victor Ray, a professor at the University of Iowa and a Nonresident Fellow at the Brookings Institution, reminds us that Dr. King warned about the betrayal of the white moderate after he experienced it himself. He writes for CNN: “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux
Who Has Been AWOL in Defending the Schools Against the Attacks on CRT?
This day honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is an appropriate time to consider the widespread efforts to restrict the teaching of racism in America’s schools. In Tennessee, the notorious “Moms for Liberty” declared that a second-grade book called Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on Washington was inappropriate, as was Ruby Bridges Goes to School, about the six-year-old who was the first A
Steven Singer: Public Schools Are Best Equipped to Realize Dr. King’s Vision of Education
Steven Singer examines Dr. Martin Luther King’s view of education by quoting from a paper that he wrote as an 18-year-old student at Morehouse College. The young King said that the purpose of education was “intelligence plus character,” not just the academic learning (a necessary ingredient, obviously) but an understanding and appreciation for “the accumulated experience of social living.” In thi
Jitu Brown: Schools Can Fight the School-to-Prison Pipeline
Civil rights leader Jitu Brown wrote in an opinion article for The Chicago Tribune about the importance of using the schools to combat the school-to-prison pipeline. Brown is the national director of the Journey for Justice Alliance, which connects youth- and parent-led organizations across the nation. Brown points out studies showing that schools with strict disciplinary policies produce high su

JAN 16

Peter Greene: Pennsylvania Cybercharters Get $pecial Treatment
Cyber charters in Pennsylvania are a money pit because they are not subject to the same rules as public schools. Charter lobbyists must have written the charter laws as they have in other states. And they protect their freedom from scrutiny despite the fact that the founder of the first and biggest cyber charter operator in the state was sentenced to prison in 2018 for his failure to pay taxes on
Steve Hinnefeld: Will Virtual Charter Schools Repay Indiana for Miseducation?
Perhaps you recall when Betsy DeVos testified at her Senate hearing about her worthiness to be Secretary of Education. Among her most memorable lines was her fulsome praise of virtual charter schools. This was both sad and hilarious, coming as it did more than a year after the Walton-funded CREDO at Stanford released a report finding that a year at a virtual charter school was akin to not going t

JAN 15

Indiana: Senate Bill 167–Whose Sponsor Wanted Impartial Treatment of Nazism– Stalls
SB 167 in the Indiana Legislature received national attention when its chief sponsor, Republican Scott Baldwin, proclaimed that teachers must not take sides when discussing Nazism, fascism, or Marxism. He later apologized for the statement but not until after he became a subject of ridicule on national news. Now it is dead, although a similar bill is moving in the House. The Indiana bill that spa
Carol Burris: The Ohio Orphanage With No Orphans
Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, wrote a stunning expose of for-profit charter operators in Ohio. It was published in Valerie Strauss’s blog The Answer Sheet. Burris writes: Buckeye Preparatory Academy opened its doors in September 2014, promising “rigorous academic standards” for the 117 students who enrolled. It was started by the for-profit management chart
Gary Rubinstein: The Lies About Tennessee’s “Achievement School District” Live On
Gary Rubinstein has been following the sad career of Tennessee’s Achievement School District for a decade. The ASD was created with $100 million in Race to the Top funding, a portion of the $500 million won by the state in Arne Duncan’s competition. The ASD was launched in 2012, when advocates of privatization earnestly believed that charter schools performed miracles. The mere act of turning a l