Carol Burris in Pennsylvania: How Charters Are Hurting Good Schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

Carol Burris has been traveling the country, meeting with educators. Parents, and local officials to learn how charter schools are working, how they affect the local public schools.

She wrote a four-part series about the charter mess in California. This article is about Pennsylvania, specifically about Bethlehem, which has a good school system. The schools have to cut services for the neediest kids because of funding lost to charters.

Burris goes on to detail the startlingly corrupt real estate dealings of certain Pennsylvania charter operators. Not only are the hurting community public schools, but they are ripping off taxpayers.

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The Racists Roots and Racist Indoctrination of School Choice



“Simple justice requires that public funds, to which all taxpayers of all races contribute, not be spent in any fashion which encourages, subsidizes, or results in racial discrimination.”
-President John F. Kennedy

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Billionaires and far right policymakers are pushing for school choice.

I say they’re pushing for it because voters always turn it down.

Every single referendum held on school choice in the United States has been defeated despite billions of dollars in spending to convince people to vote for it.

But advocates aren’t discouraged that the public isn’t on their side. They have money, and in America that translates to speech.

The Donald Trump administration is dedicated to making our public schools accept this policy whether people want it or not.

But don’t think that’s some huge change in policy. The previous administration championed…

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Please Watch and Share: What DeVos Did to Detroit

Diane Ravitch's blog

Excellent video on DeVos focusing on failure of charter schools in Detroit/Michigan, her support of for-profit charters; privatization agenda. Less than 10 minutes long; well produced; interviews with parents, film clips, etc.

Please circulate, especially to people who will call Senators on Health, Education, Labor Committee. DeVos hearing is this Tuesday.

Facebook link:

YouTube link:

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TFA CEO’s Husband Heads One Of The 73 Lowest Rated Schools In Texas

Gary Rubinstein's Blog

YES Prep is a charter school network of sixteen schools in Houston.  Founded by a TFA alum and staffed by many TFA teachers, it has been hailed as a TFA success story.  Fueled by being the school to invent the invented ‘100% college acceptance rate’*, they received $1 million from Oprah in 2010.

In Wendy Kopp’s book ‘A Chance To Make History,’ she wrote (page 41)

When its fifty campus begins graduating seniors in 2014, YES Prep will be sending roughly the same number of low-income students to college as all of HISD’s other thirty-four high schools combined, unless HISD improves its outcomes (which, as I’ll describe later, it is working hard to do).  In fact, Chris (Barbic) told me that if the YES network can maintain the quality and progress it has demonstrated so far, it will operate thirteen schools and produce nine hundred college graduates each year by…

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The Red Queen – EduShyster

Mister Journalism: "Reading, Sharing, Discussing, Learning"

The ultimate target of Betsy DeVos’ agenda isn’t teachers unions, or even the *education establishment.* It’s the Democratic Party…

Image result for vintage playing cards red queenBy the measures that are supposed to matter, Betsy DeVos’ experiment in disrupting public education in Michigan has been a colossal failure. In its 2016 report on the state of the state’s schools, Education Trust Midwest painted a picture of an education system in freefall. *Michigan is witnessing systematic decline across the K-12 spectrum…White, black, brown, higher-income, low-income—it doesn’t matter who they are or where they live.* But as I heard repeatedly during the week I recently spent crisscrossing the state, speaking with dozens of Michiganders, including state and local officials, the radical experiment that’s playing out here has little to do with education, and even less to do with kids. The real goal of the DeVos family is to crush the state’s teachers unions as a means of undermining the Democratic…

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The White House Press Corps Should Stand Up for the First Amendment

Diane Ravitch's blog

At his first press conference since last July, Trump dealt with a variety of questions about his plans. Many of the questions were about the dossier that was leaked to the media, alleging that the Russian government has compromising information about Trump’s personal and financial affairs. The allegations have not been verified. The document was posted in full by a website called Buzzfeed, and reported by CNN. Trump angrily denounced the dossier as “fake news,” which it may or may not be.

When Jim Acosta of CNN tried to ask a question, Trump refused to acknowledge him, and shouted out “Your Network reports fake news.” When Acosta tried again to ask a question, Trump’s communications director Sean Spicer warned him that he would throw him out if he didn’t stop asking questions.

Everyone in the White House press corps is accredited. CNN is a reputable mainstream network, not Breitbart or…

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State Education Grades vs. Political Parties

On January 12th Diane Ravitch posted an article written by Mineral Wells Texas School Superintendent John Kuhn. John proceeds to blast the newly released “A-F” letter grades for schools in the State of Texas. As part of his article John also noted that Education Week had just released their state-by-state “A-F” grades for each state.

Just to humor myself I decided to look at the grades given to each state and compare them to the political parties that are currently in office.

General Numbers:

  1. 18 currently have Democrat governors
  2. 31 currently have Republican governors
  3. 1 currently has an Independent governor
  4. 14 with a Democratic-controlled Senate
  5. 34 with a Republican controlled Senate
  6. 1 with a neutral senate and Nebraska has no parties in the senate
  7. 16 with a Democratic controlled house
  8. 33 with a Republican controlled house
  9. Nebraska has no parties in the house
  10. 7 states are led by total Democratic control
  11. 22 states are led by total Republican control
  12. 21 states have a combination of control


The bottom ten states: Texas, South Carolina, Louisiana, Arizona, Oklahoma, Alabama, Idaho, New Mexico, Mississippi, Nevada

  1. All are southern states except Idaho.
  2. 8 are under total Republican control
  3. Louisiana has Democratic governor, Republican House, and Senate
  4. New Mexico has Republican Governor and House, with a Democratic Senate
  5. Grades include
    1. 1 “C+”
    2. 2 “C-“
    3. 3 “D”
    4. 4 “D+”

The top ten states: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Maryland, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, New York, Minnesota

  1. 8 out of 10 are in the northeast.
  2. The other two are northern midwest states
  3. 2 are under total Democratic control
  4. 1 under total Republican control
  5. 3 have a Republican governor with Democratic House and Senate
  6. 2 have a Democrat governor with a Republican House and Senate
  7. New York has a Democratic governor and House with a Neutral Senate
  8. Minnesota has a Democratic governor and Senate with a Republican House
  9. Grades include:
    1. 1 “B+”
    2. 5 “B”
    3. 4 “B-“
    4. There are no “A” grades

A couple of apparent conclusions from looking at the top ten and bottom ten.

  1. The writers seem to have a bias in favor of schools in the northeast and against schools in the south.
  2. The bottom ten are predominately controlled by Republican.
  3. The top ten are more controlled by Democrats.
  4. This report reads very similar to the Texas A-F Report Card that just came out. Let’s make the school all look bad and then use that as political leverage for something.

A few other notes of interest to me; it shocks me that Wisconsin is rated the 11th best state for education with Governor Scott Walked at the helm of the W.I.S Titanic. The teachers and educators in the Wisconsin are to be commended for their effort and accomplishments considering Walker’s war against them.

Kansas is ranked is ranked 27th despite Governor Brownback’s effort to placate the Koch brothers with excessive tax breaks at the expense of every other program in Kansas. His policies have hurt the funding of public schools and universities. Kansas is the home of two of the best teacher colleges in the country, Fort Hays State University, and Emporia State University. These two universities have managed to stay afloat by managing their funds very carefully but will not continue to do so if the Brownback ways continue.



State Governor Governor’s
Education Letter Grade State Ranking
Massachusetts Charlie Baker R D D B+ 1
New Jersey Chris Christie R D D B 2
Vermont Peter Shumlin D D D B 3
Maryland Larry Hogan R D D B 4
Connecticut Dan Malloy D D D B- 5
New Hampshire Maggie Hassan D R R B 6
Pennsylvania Tom Wolf D R R B- 7
Wyoming Matt Mead R R R B- 8
New York Andrew Cuomo D N D B- 9
Minnesota Mark Dayton D D R B- 10
Wisconsin Scott Walker R R R C+ 11
Virginia Terry McAuliffe D R R C+ 12
Rhode Island Gina Raimondo D D D C+ 13
Maine Paul LePage R R D C+ 14
North Dakota Jack Dalrymple R R R C+ 15
Delaware Jack Markell D D D C+ 16
Illinois Bruce Rauner R D D C+ 17
Nebraska Pete Ricketts R N/A N/A C+ 18
Iowa Terry Branstad R D R C 19
Alaska Bill Walker I R R C 20
Indiana Mike Pence R R R C 21
Washington Jay Inslee D R D C 22
Ohio John Kasich R R R C 23
Colorado John Hickenlooper D R D C 24
Hawaii David Ige D D D C 25
Kansas Sam Brownback R R R C 26
Kentucky Matt Bevin R R D C 27
Montana Steve Bullock D R R C 28
Florida Rick Scott R R R C- 29
Missouri Jay Nixon D R R C- 30
Utah Gary Herbert R R R C- 31
Georgia Nathan Deal R R R C- 32
West Virginia Earl Ray Tomblin D R R C- 33
Michigan Rick Snyder R R R C- 34
Tennessee Bill Haslam R R R C- 35
North Carolina Pat McCrory R R R C- 36
South Dakota Dennis Daugaard R R R C- 37
Oregon Kate Brown D D D C- 38
Arkansas Asa Hutchinson R R R C- 39
California Jerry Brown D D D C- 40
Texas Greg Abbott R R R C- 41
South Carolina Nikki Haley R R R C- 42
Louisiana John Bel Edwards D R R D+ 43
Arizona Doug Ducey R R R D+ 44
Oklahoma Mary Fallin R R R C+ 45
Alabama Robert Bentley R R R D+ 46
Idaho Butch Otter R R R D+ 47
New Mexico Susana Martinez R D R D 48
Mississippi Phil Byant R R R D 49
Nevada Brian Sandoval R R R D 50


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Over 200 Civil Rights Groups Oppose Betsy DeVos to Lead U.S. Secretary of Education

Diane Ravitch's blog

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights issued a strong statement in opposition to the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. While the so-called “reformers” like to claim that they are fighting for minority kids and civil rights, the actual civil rights organizations know that DeVos and Trump want to weaken and destroy public schools, which are open to all students. They also are aware that the origins of school choice were in the racial segregation movement of the 1950s, when the most racist governors and senators in the South rallied around the idea of school choice to protect the status quo.

The Leadership Conference issued this statement:

Dear Senator,

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations committed to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, we are writing…

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The Myth of “Failed” School Reform, Part 2

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

In 1990, Seymour Sarason published The Predictable Failure of Educational Reform. A decade later, Diane Ravitch’s Left Back:A Century of Failed School Reforms hit booksellers. Now, not a week goes by that failures of public school reform are dissected, tallied, and trotted out as exhibits for wannabe reformers. The next two posts re-frame school reform as looking at different clocks to show that the concept of reform  “failure”  has to include who makes the judgment and when.


In some upscale hotels over the registration desk, clocks show times across the globe.  Different time zones alert travelers to what time it is in the city they wish to call.

There are such clocks for school reform also. Different reform clocks record the different speeds of reform talk, policy adoption, what happens in classrooms, and what students learn. Were these clocks in public view, policymakers, administrators, practitioners, and researchers…

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The Myth of “Failed” School Reform, (Part 1)

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Were the “Open Space” schools of the 1960s and 1970s a reform failure?.

Instead of self-contained, four-walled classrooms of about 900 square feet holding one teacher and 25 students that opened up into long hallways, school boards hired architects to design schools without walls with large open spaces—sometimes called pods– where teams of teachers would teach multi-age children, collaborate with one another nearby and come up with innovative lessons that would engage students and sustain academic achievement. The newly designed physical structure would alter traditional age-graded schools in organizing students (e.g., multi-age groups rather than separating children and youth by age) how teachers worked together (e.g., team teaching rather than teachers assigned to separate classrooms) and how they taught the required curriculum by tailoring instruction and learning to the differences among students in abilities and their needs (e.g., small groups, individual work, and crossing subject boundaries with thematic units rather…

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