Chicago Teachers Union Will Strike Starting Thursday

Diane Ravitch's blog

The Chicago Teachers Union announced that it would begin a strike on Thursday.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is paying the price for years of neglect under Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Mayor Richard Daley.

Teachers in Chicago announced Wednesday evening that they would go on strike, forcing the cancellation of classes for more than 300,000 public school students in the nation’s third-largest district starting Thursday.

The strike threatened to upend life in the city, as parents raced to make arrangements for child care and as city officials began to activate a contingency plan for supervising and feeding students in school buildings.

The strike in Chicago is the latest in a string of more than a dozen major walkouts by teachers across the country since early last year. It is an important early test for Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who was elected this year after a campaign in which she called for more nurses…

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Common Core Salesman Michael Petrilli: *Economics Affect NAEP, but Stay the Ed-Reform Course*

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On October 15, 2019, I read a report produced by Thomas B. Fordham Institute (TBF) president, Michael Petrilli, entitled, “Fewer Children Left Behind: Lessons from the Dramatic Achievement Gains of the 1990s and 2000s.”

This 2019 report builds on a 2017 report by Petrilli in a TBF commentary piece prior to release of the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress [NAEP] scores, in which Petrilli et al. concluded the following:

  • There have been [NAEP score] gains almost across the board since the 1990s.
  • Most of the gains happened in the 1990s and early 2000s.
  • Progress in math has been especially remarkable.
  • Children of color are reading much better in the early grades than before.

Right out of the starting gate, I took issue with the likes of Michael Petrilli issuing such a report because of his history as an ed-reform salesman.

Before proceeding with discussion related to TBF’s…

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Elijah Cummings: This Is What Greatness Looks Like

Diane Ravitch's blog

The following story appeared in the Washington Post. Elijah Cummings was a man of conviction. We will miss him.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, Democratic leader and regular Trump target, dies at 68

His office cites ‘complications concerning longstanding health challenges’

Elijah E. Cummings, a Democratic congressman from Maryland who gained national attention for his principled stands on politically charged issues in the House, his calming effect on anti-police riots in Baltimore, and his forceful opposition to the presidency of Donald Trump, died early Thursday morning at Gilchrist Hospice Care, a Johns Hopkins affiliate in Baltimore. He was 68.

After undergoing an unspecified medical procedure, the Democratic leader did not return to his office this week, the Baltimore Sun reported. A statement from his office said that he had passed away due to “complications concerning longstanding health challenges.”

Born to a family of Southern sharecroppers and Baptist preachers, Mr. Cummings grew…

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Bill Phillis: Never Thought This Would Happen in America

Diane Ravitch's blog

Bill Phillis, retired deputy superintendent of schools for the state of Ohio, finds it hard to believe that a state legislature would seize control of a school district and remove its elected school board from office. When did Republicans become diehard enemies of local control? It has become clear that the state has no ideas about how to help low-scoring districts. None.

He writes:

Never thought this would happen in America
 
The state is in the process of replacing elected school board members in Youngstown. The electors in Youngstown elected board members. These board members will be replaced via the HB 70 process.
 
The Youngstown Board of Education has not been in control of the district for several years. State control of the district has not resulted in improvement. Therefore, elected board members are being removed from office because the state’s improvement process has failed. Sounds logical.
 

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Court Injunctions Protect Immigrant Families from Imposition — Yesterday — of Trump’s Public Charge Rule

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Last Friday, NPR reported the good news: “Federal judges in three states—New York, California and Washington—have issued temporary injunctions against the Trump administration’s ‘public charge’ rule, preventing it from taking effect on Oct. 15.”

For NBC News, Daniella Silva explains exactly how the Trump administration’s punitive rule—which DID NOT go into effect yesterday as planned—would have excluded legal immigrants and their families.  An old rule previously denied green cards to immigrants, “who depended on cash assistance or government-funded long-term institutional care.”  “The new rule expands the definition to include additional benefits such as food stamps, non-emergency Medicaid, certain prescription drug subsidies and housing vouchers.  And the rule would now define public charge as any immigrant who uses or is deemed likely to use at some point one public benefit for 12 months during a 36-month period. Receipt of two public benefits in one month counts as two months, the…

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Inside the shadowy world of the Arkansas school-“choice” movement – Part 6

Like a renegade...

On July 12, 2012, the Walton Family Foundation issued a $1.2 million check to the Southern Arkansas University Foundation to cover the salaries and operating costs for the Arkansas Public School Resource Center, a Walton-funded nonprofit founded in December 2008. 

An earlier letter, dated June 25, 2012, from the WFF’s then-executive director Buddy Philpot stipulated that the funds should, if possible, be deposited into an interest-bearing account. 

Per the letter, signed by then-SAU President Dr. David Rankin, the $1.2 million was to be used to “support an effort to support startup and operational costs for the Arkansas Public School Resource Center from January 2009 through June 30, 2012. Grantee agrees to use all grant funds exclusively for the grant’s purposes. Any changes in these purposes must be authorized in advance by the Foundation in writing.”

Previously, from December 2008 until sometime in 2012, the University of Central Arkansas Foundation…

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Trump Acts on “Gut Instinct”

Diane Ravitch's blog

James Hohmann of the Washington Post writes that Trump makes consequential decisions without consulting people who are deeply knowledgeable about the consequences.

IDEA: President Trump tweeted last week about his own “great and unmatched wisdom” as he defended his controversial conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It was a window into his certitude and self-confidence that belies a lack of careful study or deep knowledge of the world.

That Oct. 6 call, just like his July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, would have played out very differently if Trump had listened to the warnings of his advisers at the White House and appointees in the national security apparatus.

“Mr. Trump’s error, some aides concede in off-the-record conversations, was entering the Oct. 6 call underprepared, and then failing to spell out for Mr. Erdogan the potential consequences — from economic sanctions to a contraction of Turkey’s alliance with…

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Inside the shadowy world of the Arkansas school-“choice” movement – Part 5

Like a renegade...

When people ask what newsrooms are like, I usually explain the environment and dynamics thusly: 

Imagine that every day represents a holiday dinner and that every single person in your lovably quirky yet highly dysfunctional family is present. 

There’s camaraderie, yes. Lots of shared recollections and laughter. There are debates during “budget meetings” – the twice-a-day gatherings during which editors decide what stories will run and in what sections. Those contentious meetings often reminded me of the moment that politics creeps into the Thanksgiving-dinner conversation. 

At deadline, you’ll hear editors and reporters arguing over cuts, quotes and edits, and the copy desk staff shouting that they need that story right now, dammit. 

Regardless, the paper gets put to bed and everyone comes back the next day for another lively turkey dinner. 

I always thought that the corporate world would be more … well, refined. 

My three years at the Walton-funded…

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Inside the shadowy world of the Arkansas school-“choice” movement – Part 4 – Cutting off the head of the snake

Like a renegade...

UPDATE: My report on APSRC’s relationship with the SAU Foundation will be posted tomorrow. I’m still piecing all of my documents together.

The Arkansas State Board of Education, during what appeared to be a meticulously staged meeting, voted Thursday to return the Little Rock School District to local control. 

This about-face occurred because state leaders and board members feared further public shaming and opted instead for an awkward retreat.

Stakeholders celebrated the vote, only to get a clapback from the state board when it next voted to oust the Little Rock Education Association. (As we all know, Governor Asa Hutchinson and his GOP underlings loathe unions.) 

Remember, the Waltons have invested millions in organizations that lobby specifically for the Arkansas school -“choice” movement. Despite today’s vote to reinstate local control, the Walton Family Foundation will persist in its efforts to dismantle LRSD and other districts that might appeal to charter-school…

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Inside the shadowy world of the Arkansas school-“choice” movement – Part 3

Like a renegade...

In late 2016, the Arkansas Public School Resource Center’s department heads – aka “team leaders” – were asked to write goals for a grant application for another three-year round of Walton funding. 

This proved to be a rather confusing and frustrating process due to the fact that we were required to work in silos. Given that some departments would eventually have to rely on others in order to meet their goals, it seemed odd to discourage collaboration. 

Before the grant application was submitted on July 1, 2017, each team leader received the portion of the application that would be relevant to his/her own departments if the grant was approved. We never were permitted to see each other’s goals, measurements, outcomes, etc… (Unless, of course, we talked among ourselves.) 

So BAM! – the application is finally completed and submitted … and …

… crickets. 

Afterward, team leaders would periodically ask one…

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