A Continuum on Personalized Learning: First Draft

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

After visiting over three dozen teachers in 11 schools in Silicon Valley and hearing an earful about “personalized learning,” I drafted a continuum where I could locate all of the different versions of “personalized learning” I observed and have read about.

If readers have comments about what’s missing, what needs to be added or how I organized the continuum conceptually, I would surely appreciate hearing from you.

In 2016, when I visited Silicon Valley classrooms, schools and districts, many school administrators and teachers told me that they were personalizing learning. From the Summit network of charter schools to individual teachers at Los Altos and Mountain View High School where Bring Your Own Devices reigned to two Milpitas elementary schools that had upper-grade Learning Labs and rotated students through different stations in all grades, I heard the phrase often.

But I was puzzled by what I saw and heard. When asked…

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NC Charter School Graduated 160 Students Who Lacked Coursework


In (or after) March 2017, the North Carolina State Board of Education is supposed to decide whether or not to close Kestrel Heights High School. Information on Kestrel Heights was presented to the board on March 1 and 2, 2017. It seems that the state board has yet to make a decision.

Kestrel Heights made the news in January 2017 following the release of an internal report by the Kestrel Heights board of directors.

It seems that over an eight-year time span, Kestrel Heights graduated 160 students who lacked all of the necessary coursework to graduate.

From the report:

In September of 2016, the Board of Directors (“The Board’) of Kestrel Heights, a public charter school located in Durham, North Carolina, currently providing K-12 education to 1,016 students, was informed of discrepancies in the transcripts of approximately 22 seniors in the graduating class of 2015-16. The discrepancies appeared to indicate…

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Why Are Public School Parents and Teachers Excluded from Policy Discussions?

This a really good question. I suspect that if they let public school advocate participate then they would learn that they are barking up the wrong tree.

If you want a certain message then you surround yourself with only people that want that same message.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Reader Chiara. Has written innumerable comments pointing out that the parents and teachers of public schools have been shut out of policy circles. Why? Nearly 90% of the children in the United States attend public schools, not charter schools, religious schools, or independent schools. Why aren’t their ideas and views considered important?

She writes:

“Echo chamber alert:


“Aspen Education Fellows. ONE person from a public school. One.

“Ed reform excludes public schools from public education policy. It’s like how the US Department of Education is now the US Department of Private and Charter Schools.

“So how does one respond to this? Develop a new group of people who come out of public schools and just detach from the whole ed reform “movement”? I don’t really accept that the only people consulted on public school policy come out of charter and private schools. I reject that. Is the assumption that…

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Mercedes Schneider: Betsy DeVos Cherrypicks One Student Success in a Failing Virtual Charter School

Diane Ravitch's blog

You will note that all of Betsy DeVos’s stories are about struggling students who were rescued from failing public schools by choosing to go to a charter school, a religious school, a home school, or a virtual charter school. Apparently she has never in her life seen a successful public school.

Her latest story is about a young man from India who attended the usual horrible public school. But his life was turned around because he had the good fortune to attend a virtual charter school in Washington State. DeVos was speaking to the National Association of State Boards of Education.

Mercedes Schneider decided it was time for fact-checking.

The young man to whom DeVos referred attended a virtual charter with a four-year graduation rate of 19.1%. After five years, the graduation rate was up to 23.6%.

Surely, someone on her staff knew this. Yet she chose to conceal that…

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Sara Stevenson Tells the Texas Legislature What’s Wrong with Vouchers

Thank you Sara Stevenson

Diane Ravitch's blog

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Senate Bill 3 Testimony

Good afternoon, Senators.

My name is Sara Stevenson, and I’ve been a librarian at O. Henry Middle School in Austin for 14 years. Previously, I taught English at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy for ten years, so I have a great respect for Catholic education.

I also write opinion pieces for The Austin American-Statesman, The Houston Chronicle, and The Texas Tribune. I have written against private school vouchers many times. Let’s be clear, ESAs are the same as vouchers.

What disturbs me most about Senate Bill 3 is its lack of accountability. With public money comes public accountability. As the bill is written, any private school or home school which accepts scholarship money does NOT have to administer state-mandated tests as do public schools and charter schools. These private schools DO NOT have to follow IDEA (The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), and…

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Betsy DeVos Pitches Virtual School with 4-Yr Cohort Grad Rate Below 32 Percent


On March 20, 2017, US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos addressed the National Association of State Boards of Education in Washington, DC.

Her speech includes the repeated, slanted story of Denisha Merriweather, whose story of private school success coincided with the stabilization of her home life— and whose private school has an established record of low math test scores.

Of course, DeVos does not mention such pesky details. Instead, she simplifies Merriweather’s story to suit her narrative of private school choice saving a student from those deficient public schools.

In short, when it comes to her shaped Merriweather narrative, DeVos continues to lie.

In this speech, DeVos follows her Merriweather tale with one about a student whose academic life was rescued by his attending a Washington State virtual school:

Another student I met, Sandeep Thomas, grew up impoverished in Bangalore, India with absent and neglectful parents. Sandeep was…

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The Most Effective Anti-Poverty Program: The New York City (CUNY) and State University (SUNY) Systems (Especially CCNY)

Source: The Most Effective Anti-Poverty Program: The New York City (CUNY) and State University (SUNY) Systems (Especially CCNY)

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Betsy DeVos Loves For-Profit Schools: They Are a Disgrace

Remember Eva’s charter philosophy, “NO NONSENSE”.

I’ve worked in an alternative school, this is not how they are run.

Diane Ravitch's blog

ProPublica writes about the abuses that occur in certain for-profit schools designed especially for difficult children. The very concept of a public school that operates for profit is absurd, because every dollar from taxpayers is meant for the children, the teachers, and the schools, not investors. But this article is specifically about a for-profit chain for difficult students.

An alternative school for sixth- through 12th-graders with behavioral or academic problems, Paramount occupied a low-slung, brick and concrete building on a dead-end road in hard-luck Reading, Pennsylvania, a city whose streets are littered with signs advertising bail bondsmen, pay-day lenders, and pawn shops. Camelot Education, the for-profit company that ran Paramount under a contract with the Reading school district, maintained a set of strict protocols: No jewelry, book bags, or using the water fountain or bathroom without permission. Just as it still does at dozens of schools, the company deployed a…

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The Most Important Post You Will Read This Week: The Reclusive Tycoon Who Financed the Alt-Right and Trump

Diane Ravitch's blog

I will not post anything again for a while today, unless there is breaking news. You need time to read this article in full.

It is a long article by Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, who has written major books about the dark money fueling rightwing politics.

The article is an in-depth analysis of the role of billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah in the creation of the Trump presidency.

It is a long read. It is an important read, to understand the threat to our democracy posed by the power of unaccountable billionaires.

It is fascinating, like watching a car crash, in this case, a political tragedy.

It begins with the shocking news that Patrick Caddell, who long ago was a pollster for Jimmy Carter, is now helping Trump behind the scenes.

Then it gets into the life and personality and actions of Robert Mercer, a…

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Trump’s Proposed 2018 Budget for K-12 Education: What It Means

Source: Trump’s Proposed 2018 Budget for K-12 Education: What It Means

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