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

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

A site to discuss better education for all

Slaying Goliath

 The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and 

the Fight to Save America's Public Schools

A Controversial Interview about SLAYING GOLIATH with Larry Mantle of NPR, Southern California

by dianeravitch / 22min
This interview on KPCC-NPR in Southern California by Larry Mantle was conducted a few days ago. Mantle made it clear–at least to me–that he favors charter schools, so I was constantly asked to defend my criticism of them. I later learned that Los Angelenos know Mantle as a charter champion. One of the hypothetical questions are posed was “what would be wrong with a district that was half public s
Katherine Stewart: Trump Gives Rightwing Christian Nationalists Whatever They Want

by dianeravitch / 1h
Katherine Stewart is the author of a new book, The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism. This article, which appeared as an opinion piece in the New York Times, is essential reading to understand the Trump-supported effort to eliminate the separation of church and state, to give religious organizations the right to discriminate against those they do not like, and


Los Angeles and San Diego Announce that Public Schools Will Close

by dianeravitch / 19h
I will not post any more notices about school closings, because there are so many of them. Every day brings news of another district or city or state that is closing its public schools in response to the coronavirus, in an effort to reduce exposure to the virus. Some of these closures are limited to a few weeks; some are indefinite. In every case, I hope that district officials have given serious
Arkansas: Activists Keep Up the Struggle to Regain Democratic Control of the Little Rock Public Schools

42by dianeravitch / 20h
Rev./Dr. Anika Whitfield of Grassroots Arkansas issued this stern complaint against school board member Chad Pekron: In case any of you reading this post for one minute thinks/thought that Gov. @AsaHutchinson is not working the plan of the billionaire Walton family, the Stephens, Hussman and other millionaires to profit off the backs of African American/Black and Latinx American children and fami
Randi Weingarten: How to Respond to the Coronavirus

by dianeravitch / 21h
Randi Weingarten writes on behalf of the American Federation of Teachers: This is a confusing and scary time for many of us. Since January, in response to the coronavirus, the AFT’s attention has been focused on how to ensure the health and safety of our families and communities, particularly those on the frontline of this crisis. Now, since the World Health Organization has labeled the coronavir
Coronavirus Crisis: Nearly One-Quarter of Schools Have No School Nurse

by dianeravitch / 22h
Jersey Jazzman documents a crucial shortage in school nurses, who serve multiple roles in protecting the health of children in school. He writes: As the coronavirus threat increases in the United States, policymakers are assessing our nation’s capacity to handle a pandemic. One of our first lines of defense — and one I’ve yet to see discussed — is our school nursing workforce. Ask anyone who has
Why Won’t Trump Declare a National Emergency?

20by dianeravitch / 22h
Because he doesn’t want to admit he was wrong when he compared the coronavirus to the flu. James Hohmann of the Washington Post wrote: Democrats want Trump to declare the coronavirus outbreak a national emergency. He’s hesitating. President Trump declared a national emergency last February to divert billions that had been appropriated for the military to fund construction of his wall along the so
Jeanne Kaplan: What’s the Matter with the New Denver Board of Education?

by dianeravitch / 23h
Jeanne Kaplan served two terms on the elected board of education in Denver. She has been an outspoken critic of the Disruption policies of the Michael Bennet-Tom Boasberg era, and she worked with other parents and activists in Denver against the monied interests that promoted Disruption, high-stakes testing, and charters in that city. Miraculously, a new board was elected last fall which had a ma
Teacher Responds to Review of SLAYING GOLIATH in “The New York Times”

45by dianeravitch / 1d
I confess that I was very disappointed by the review of my new book in the New York Times. The reviewer thought that I should have presented “both sides,” not argued on behalf of public schools, which enroll 85-90% of American children. If we starve the public schools that enroll most children, we harm them and the future of our society. I debated whether to respond on this blog but then decided
K-12 Teacher: Why I Oppose the Common Core Math Standards

by dianeravitch / 1d
This anonymous K-12 teacher wrote an extended explanation of why he or she opposes the Common Core mathematics standards. The essay was a guest post in David Kristofferson’s blog. The teacher writes that the math standards claim to stress “deep understanding” in addition to procedure, which sounds like a good thing at first, until you take a closer look at how this goal is actually approached. To

MAR 12

Watch the Brilliant Katie Porter Force the Director of CDC to Guarantee Free Testing for Coronavirus

by dianeravitch / 1d
This tape takes about four minutes. Watch the amazing, brilliant Congresswoman Katie Porter question the director of the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Robert Redfield, to use his legal authority to assure that every American is entitled to receive free testing for coronavirus. Watch Dr. Redfield duck and weave and obfuscate, trying to avoid to making that commitment. Watch as he finally says,
Los Angeles: UTLA Calls on Superintendent and Board to Close the Schools and Create Support System for Students

43by dianeravitch / 1d
The United Teachers of Los Angeles issued this statement tonight: UTLA calls for LAUSD to close schools Tonight UTLA called on LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner to take decisive action to stop the spread of the coronavirus. “We are calling for the rapid, accelerated, and humane closure of LAUSD schools,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said. “Other countries have shown that a proactive — not r
Ohio: Governor DeWine Announces Three-Week Spring Break and Says Don’t Worry about the State Tests

400+by dianeravitch / 1d
Governor Mike DeWine acted decisively to close all schools in Ohio, starting at the end of the day Monday. Some schools will close sooner. COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday that all Ohio schools will have a three-week spring break – starting next week – as precaution against the spread of coronavirus. Ohio K-12 schools will be closed from 3:30 p.m. Monday through at least
Democrats Propose a Response to the Coronavirus. Republicans Say No, We Need Tax Cuts.

31by dianeravitch / 1d
Last night, House Democrats introduced the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes: Free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured; Paid emergency leave with both 14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave; Enhanced Unemployment Insurance, a first step that will extend protections to furloughed workers; Stren
St. Paul, Minnesota: Teachers Strike to Demand More Investment in Services for Their Student

by dianeravitch / 1d
(FORGIVE MY SENIOR MOMENT–BEING SO UPSET WITH THE DAY’S NEWS, I MISTAKENLY PLACED ST. PAUL IN THE WRONG STATE, WHEN I KNOW IT IS ONE OF THE TWIN CITIES OF MINNESOTA. I HAVE LEARNED TO OWN MY MISTAKES.) The teachers of St. Paul, Minnesota, are on strike. Their number one demand is the expansion of mental health services and counseling for their students. The #Red4Ed movement continues, as teachers
Critic of NPE “Asleep at the Wheel” Advocates for Vouchers with Weak Reasoning and a Mathematical Error

31by dianeravitch / 1d
When the Network for Public Education issued two reports scrutinizing the failure of the federal Charter Schools Program, the second report was criticized by one Will Flanders of the far-right think tank Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, whose critique was published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Flypaper. Flanders recently wrote a proposal to expand vouchers in Wisconsin and claimed
California: Appeals Court Rules That Non-Profit Charter Schools Are Not Exempt from Taxation

300+by dianeravitch / 1d
This decision was announced on March 11 : Metropolitan News-Enterprise Wednesday, March 11, 2020 Court of Appeal: Nonprofit Chartered Schools Are Not Exempt From County Property Taxes, Assessments By a MetNews Staff Writer The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday affirmed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Monica Bachner’s determination that a nonprofit charter school is not impliedly exempt
Florida: Republican State Senator is Tired of Micromanaging Public Schools While Focusing Only on School Choice

82by dianeravitch / 1d
Now here is a refreshing story from Florida. Republican State Senator Tom Lee says he is fed up with the legislature’s micromanagement of education policy. Moreover, he actually noticed that the Legislature spends most of its time on 20% of the state’s students while ignoring the other 80% who attend public schools. “As I talk to members, I don’t think there’s anyone quite where I am yet, but I’m
Florida: House Passes Bill to Protect “Parents’ Rights” vs. School System

by dianeravitch / 2d
The Florida House passed a bill to protect “parents’ rights” against decisions by the school system. The House advanced sweeping, if aspirational, legislation codifying a parent’s “bill of rights” on Monday. The vote in favor was 77-41. The House version (CS/HB 1059), sponsored by Rep. Erin Grall, now includes a technical amendment that reaffirmed parental rights to any type of school (public, pr
Florida: House Rejects Bill to Ban LGBT Discrimination in Voucher Schools

24by dianeravitch / 2d
On January 23, the Orlando Sentinel published an investigative report that nearly 160 religious schools receiving public money for vouchers openly discriminated against LGBT students, families, and staff. The Florida House just rejected a bill to make such discrimination in publicly funded schools illegal. To make it plain, the Florida House sent a message to religious schools that it is just fin

MAR 11

Trump Speaks to the Nation from the Oval Office about the Coronavirus

100+by dianeravitch / 2d
I don’t know about you but I found tonight’s speech by Trump about the coronavirus to be extremely vapid. He praised the response of his administration to the crisis but didn’t say exactly what it was doing in real time. He did not mention the federal government’s failure to supply tests for the virus, which is a critical issue. Every major country in the world is testing more people per day than
Bipartisan Senate Votes to Reject DeVos’s Effort to Restrict Debt Relief for Defrauded Students

23by dianeravitch / 2d
In a surprising turn, a bipartisan majority of the Senate voted to overturn Betsy DeVos’s rule to restrict debt relief to students who were bilked by colleges that defrauded them. The House already rebuked DeVos and passed the legislation. The bill will go to Trump, who may veto it or sign it. Will he protect Betsy DeVos or the students who were cheated? The Republicans who voted with Democrats w
Teresa Hanafin on the Latest Madness from D.C.

by dianeravitch / 2d
Teresa Hanafin writes the daily “Fast Forward” for the Boston Globe. Here is a part of today’s commentary: The number of reported Covid-19 infections — that’s the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — has zoomed past 1,000 in the US, doubling just since Sunday. At least 1,050 people in 38 states and D.C. have tested positive; at least 29 people have died. That’s a very high death rate,
Trump Allies Got Virus Tests, But Not the Public

55by dianeravitch / 2d
Apparently you have to be a friend of Trump to be tested promptly for the novel coronavirus. All others must stand in line for tests that are seldom available. Two close congressional allies of President Trump underwent coronavirus testing in recent days in apparent defiance of federal recommendations reserving those tests for patients exhibiting symptoms of infection — and amid growing concerns
Happy Birthday, Mary Shelley and Ezra Jack Keats!

by dianeravitch / 2d
Garrison Keillor included these birthday notes today in his daily “Writer’s Almanac,” which is online and free. It was on this day in 1818 that Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein was published (books by this author). Two years before she had spent the summer in a cabin on Lake Geneva with her lover, Percy Bysshe Shelley, her sister Claire, and Claire’s lover, the poet Lord Byron. It rained a lot t
Oklahoma: When Public Money Goes to a Charter School, Does the Money Belong to the Public?

100+by dianeravitch / 2d
EPIC virtual charter school is locked in a battle with state auditors over the question of whether public money belongs to the public or to the owners of the school. Face-Off Between Epic, State Centers on Controversial ‘Learning Fund’ EPIC is a charter school but it’s defense is that it is a private business, not a public agency. How refreshing! The story: The state is drawing a hard line: Publi
Oklahoma: EPIC Charter Graduates Zip Through Classes but Are Not College Ready

by dianeravitch / 2d
Online charter schools are an “epic” fail, as proved by the disaster of the EPIC online charter school in Oklahoma. Here is the latest EPIC story: Like many teenagers, Maggie Waldon caught a sort of senioritis halfway through a traditional high school. She was ready to be done. With two years left, she enrolled in Epic Charter Schools, the Oklahoma City-based online public school that is now one
Another Study: Students Experience Academic Decline in Virtual Charter Schools

59by dianeravitch / 2d
I have posted repeatedly here about the dismal academic results of virtual charter schools. Students have high attrition rates, low test scores, and low graduation rates. This finding has been reported again and again. In 2015, CREDO at Stanford said that students lose almost a year of learning in math when they attend virtual charter schools . In many states, the virtual charters are the state’s
New York: Cancel the State Tests NOW!

100+by dianeravitch / 3d
A reader made this sensible proposal. In the midst of a public health crisis, with various schools and districts closed, the state tests should be cancelled. The writer says: Here’s something else that must be cancelled: NYS 3-8 ELA and Math tests set to start in two weeks. I called NYSED today to share my concern about testing amidst a health emergency. The kind gentleman on the phone said I sho
Gary Rubinstein Debunks TFA Claims of “Turnaround Schools” in Baltimore

20by dianeravitch / 3d
For a few years, Gary Rubinstein was our nation’s leading debunker of “miracle school” claims. He found that the so-called miracle schools usually had high attrition rates but somehow forgot to mention them or some other manipulation of data. Probably because of the power of Gary’s pen, corporate reformers stopped making claims about dramatic turnarounds, in which schools zoomed from the bottom 1

MAR 10

CDC Director Disagrees with Trump Claim That Southern Border Wall Will Contain Virus

23by dianeravitch / 3d
Trump’s choice to lead the Centers for Disease Control disagreed with Trump’s absurd claim that building the wall at the Mexican border will slow the spread of the coronavirus. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday he was unaware of any indication from his agency that physical barriers along America’s borders would help halt the spread of the co
URGENT! NPE 2020 Conference Cancelled

200+by dianeravitch / 3d
A letter from Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education. First and foremost, we care about you. When we realized the 43% of our registrants were in a higher-risk group for Covid-19, we knew we had to reschedule. Our conference hotel, the Philadelphia Doubletree, has been a wonderful partner, and within a few days, we will share a new 2020 date. We ask that you be patien
New York City: My NYU Lecture Cancelled Due to University Closing Classes

by dianeravitch / 3d
I announced that I would be giving a free and open to the public lecture at New York University on March 25. However, due to the present health crisis, the University has closed down all physical classes until the end of March. So, my public lecture is cancelled.
IDEA Charter Chain and Its High-Spending Ways

200+by dianeravitch / 3d
The IDEA charter chain has received hundreds of millions in federal funding to expand. It has garnered a lot of attention, however, for its caviar tastes. The IDEA board approved a management proposal to lease a private jet for nearly $2 million a year, for the convenience of its executives. Not like your average school board or superintendent! But their luxury tastes have not been curbed by the
Preet Bharara: Donald Trump is the Greatest Hoax Ever Perpetrated on America

100+by dianeravitch / 3d
Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, tweeted this: @PreetBharara Patriotic American & proud immigrant. @Springsteen fan. Banned by Putin, fired by Trump. Former US Attorney, SDNY. Host of “Stay Tuned” doingjusticebook.com/ Mar. 09, 2020 Donald Trump is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on America He is a liar He is a cheat He is a bad businessman He can’t sp
Audrey Watters: Will the Ed-Tech Industry Take Advantage of the Coronavirus Crisis?

38by dianeravitch / 4d
Audrey Watters reminds us of Rahm Emanuel’s immortal words, “Never allow a good crisis to go to waste.” And she see the enthusiasts of the ed-tech industry ready to pounce and take advantage of the current crisis. She lives in Seattle, possibly the epicenter of the crisis. She writes: Some schools in the Seattle area — both K-12 and colleges — have closed, and there has been intense pressure on a
Mike Deshotels: Every Reform Imposed in Louisiana Has Failed and Harmed Children

78by dianeravitch / 4d
Mike Deshotels reviews the past several years of “reform,” funded by the Walton Family and Michael Bloomberg, and declares that every part of it has failed. Deshotels writes that the suspension of recess so that students could have more time for test prep led to lower test scores! He writes: Why isn’t constant drilling on test taking skills at the expense of recess, PE, art, music, vocational edu

MAR 09

John Ogozalek: What Teachers Can Do to Help During Epidemic Crisis

47by dianeravitch / 4d
John Ogozalek teaches in rural upstate New York. He writes: Let’s hope we dodge this bullet as a nation. But it sounds like the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to go sideways. What if schools close for weeks -if not months? What will teachers do during this time off? (Assuming we’re not taking care of family in our own homes.) And, let’s face it, the idea of teaching online just isn’t going to last
Backlash Against Ed Tech in the Classroom

by dianeravitch / 4d
Debbie Truong writes in the Washington Post about parents who object to teachers’ reliance on iPads in the classroom. Twenty years ago, the burgeoning industry asserted that Ed tech would motivate students and lead to higher test scores, but that promise was never filled. Meaghan Edwards had just finished reading children’s books to her son’s third-grade class when the teacher announced that stud
Wendy Lecker, Civil Rights Lawyer, Reviews SLAYING GOLIATH

by dianeravitch / 4d
Wendy Lecker is a civil rights lawyer for the Education Law Center who writes regularly for the Hearst Connecticut Media Group and the Stamford (CT) Advocate. https://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-A-fighter-against-bad-education-15111892.php She writes: Diane Ravitch is rare in American public policy — a public figure who very publicly admitted that the positions she once cha
Bill Phillis: Ohio Has Diverted $14.7 Billion to Charters and Vouchers

400+by dianeravitch / 5d
Bill Phillis is a retired state official in Ohio. As founder of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy, he follows the money. And he finds that nearly $15 billion has been diverted from public schools to charters and vouchers. Educational opportunities lost in public school districts due to the state’s confiscation of $14,673,524,789 for the charter and voucher whims Traditional public school

MAR 08

Fred Klonsky: Erik Prince’s Long History Spying on Americans

64by dianeravitch / 5d
Fred Klonsky, retired teacher in Illinois, recounts Erik Prince’s long history of engaging in espionage against his fellow citizens. https://preaprez.wordpress.com/2020/03/07/erik-prince-recruits-cia-and-british-spies-to-spy-on-us-for-donald-trump/ He writes: The story in the Times details how Prince recruited ex-U.S. and British spies to infiltrate organizations including, but not even closely l
Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy DeVos, Master of Domestic Espionage

200+by dianeravitch / 5d
Erik Prince, brother of Betsy DeVos, imagines himself a hero. He owned a mercenary army, which hired killers for foreign conflicts, now he has a network of spies who infiltrate peaceful domestic organizations, like teachers’ unions. If your phone is tapped, Erik or one of his spies might be listening in. Is this even legal? Does he care? The New York Times reported on Prince’s latest vile caper:
Julian Vasquez Heilig: How Does KIPP Really Treat Parents?

20by dianeravitch / 5d
Julian Vasquez Heilig writes one of the most interesting blogs around, called “Cloaking Inequity.” He is a scrupulous researcher and specializes in exposing frauds. He recently was appointed dean of the school of education at the University of Kentucky. Before he came to Kentucky, he was a faculty member at Sacramento State and chair of the California branch of the NAACP. He is also a member of t
Rhode Island Will Close One of Its Oldest Charter Schools

27by dianeravitch / 6d
Charter advocates like to caricature public schools negatively while presenting charter schools as invariably successful. We know neither portrait is accurate. Rhode Island’s new state commissioner has decided to close one of the state’s oldest charter schools, which has been failing for years. The Academy for Career Exploration, which was one of Rhode Island’s first charter schools when it opene
Valerie Strauss: Betsy DeVos’s Pathetic Lies

300+by dianeravitch / 6d
Valerie Strauss wrote a stunning dissection of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s lies to Congress in her recent testimony. Was she lying because of ignorance or a desire to mislead the public? She lied about charter wait lists, about progress over time on NAEP scores, and about the failure of the federal Charter Schools Program, which spends $440 million to launch new charters, entirely at DeV

MAR 07

Please Send a Contribution to This Brilliant Woman: Joyce Elliott of Little Rock, Arkansas

by dianeravitch / 6d
Joyce Elliott is an articulate, brilliant woman who is a State Senator in Arkansas. She is running for Congress against a Trump-aligned wealthy Republican. I support her, I have made donations to her campaign, and I urge you to send whatever you can—$5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or more. Joyce is a native of Arkansas . She was a high school teacher. As a leader in the Legislature, she has been a stron
ProPublica: Bloomberg, the Sacklers, and the Burdens of Being a Billionaire

by dianeravitch / 6d
ProPublica published a stunning article about the relationship between Michael Bloomberg and the Sackler family, and how they reached out to him for advice about how to handle their poor public relations and the opprobrium they encountered because of their role in the opioid crisis. The article also goes into detail about Bloomberg’s reluctance to let his reporters delve into the private lives of

Jennifer Berkshire: Trump’s Voucher Plan is Backfiring in Texas

81by dianeravitch / 6d
Investigative journalist Jennifer Berkshire visited Texas to find out how the Trump-DeVos agenda of vouchers is being received. Not well, she found. In rural and suburban areas, parents are not eager to abandon their public schools. She writes: Keller, Texas—On the same night that President Trump invoked the specter of “failing government schools” in his State of the Union address, Texas Republic

Tom Ultican Loved This Book, and He Thinks You Will Too

34by dianeravitch / 7d
Tom Ultican loved Katherine Stewart’s new book, The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism , and he thinks you will too. I have the book but, due to my travels, have not had a chance to read it yet. So 

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