Beware: Here Is How to Wreck Your State’s Public Schools


Many state legislatures are currently considering new private school tuition vouchers or planning to expand long running voucher programs, tuition tax credit vouchers, and education savings account vouchers. Ohio provides a stark warning about the potential damage of rapidly growing school privatization at public expense.

In a column in Sunday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer, Peter Robertson examines how the growth of publicly funded private school tuition vouchers is increasingly sucking up the state funding Ohio supposedly provides for its public schools:

“According to the Ohio Department of Education’s first February Foundation Funding Report (Robertson’s article contains a link to the Excel spreadsheet from the Ohio Department of Education.), districts will spend $162 million this school year on these private school vouchers… An analysis last year by News5 Cleveland found that nearly two-thirds of voucher recipients had not previously been students in the public district schools—they were private school students who…

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The Adjacent Darwin Awards 2021

The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it in a spectacular manner!

With that in mind I am creating the “Adjacent Darwin Awards”. These will recognize people for doing in or engaging in completely moronic acts (yes this is highly subjective).

Leading Candidate: Gregg Abbott – Texas Governor

On March 2, 2021 Abbot held a press conference to announce that he was rescinding all executive orders regarding restrictions put in place to combat Covid-19. This includes, removing all mask requirements, opening all business to 100% capacity including bar, clubs and restaurants. The number have been showing improvement over the last 7-10 days but are still relatively high compared to October 2020. A report yesterday by the Houston Chronicle ranks Texas near the bottom on the percentage of Texans that have been vaccinated. With that in mind, Abbot statement that the vaccines are helping is invalid. My personal opinion i$ that thi$ is only about money. $pring break is big bu$$ine$$ in Texa$. He wanted to beat Florida to the punch and try to get $ome extra $pring break/tourism money into the $tate. During the last week of March, we can look forward to a huge spike in Covid-19 cases. We already know that college students will throw caution to the wind, now they have an open door to party on.

Runner-Up Candidate: Andrew Cuomo – New York Governor

When Covid-19 began a year ago, Cuomo did an admirable job dealing with the situation. He made good sound decisions that helped save lives. But over the last few weeks he has been accused of misconduct by three women. By what I read, most of the situations were situations in which Cuomo could and should have made better choices. If any more accusations are found then it might cost him his job. In this day and age, inappropriate behavior is widely publicized, therefore when people make these choices, they need to understand there will be consequences.

I will continue to add to this list. I would have included Rafael Edward Cruz but it wasn’t until yesterday’s annoucement that I felt it was time to add my two cents worth.

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My Latest: 20 Years of Failed Reforms

Diane Ravitch's blog

I wrote this article for The Progressive. It describes the failed bipartisan consensus of the past 20 years.

It’s my view of what Joe Biden needs to do to reverse the toxic legacy of No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Common Core, and the current Every Student Succeeds Act.

With the Biden administration’s decision about testing, he’s off to a bad start.

The article begins:

President Joe Biden will have his work cut out in repairing the damage done to U.S. education caused by Donald Trump and his one-time Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. But Biden and his Secretary of Education nominee, Miguel Cardona, must also reverse at least twenty years of federal education policy, starting over with measures that allow teachers to teach and children to learn without fear of federal sanctions.

Since the enactment of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in…

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My Complete, Unedited Review of Doug Harris’ Book, Charter School City

deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog

In January 2020, Commonweal Magazine asked me to review Doug Harris’ book about New Orleans charter schools, Charter School City.

I completed my review in February 2020, but with the pandemic, my review was not published until November 2020.

As so often happens in publication, the review I submitted was pared down considerably, which editors reserve the right to do though the result might make the review seem shallow or incomplete. In this case (and to my dismay), the edits in one section involved a splicing that altered the meaning of my words. (For the backstory on that error, see this email exchange.)

According to the terms of my contract with Commonweal, I needed to wait 90 days before publicizing my originally-submitted, unedited review. And so, since those 90 days have passed, I offer below my complete review of Harris’ book.

Book Review: Douglas N. Harris,

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My Review of Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire, “A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door”

Diane Ravitch's blog

I reviewed A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door in The New Republic. It is an important book that pulls together all the threads of the privatization movement and shows that their agenda is not to improve education or to advance equity but to destroy public education. The review is here.

Tonight, I will join the authors at a town hall Zoom meeting in Seattle at 9 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. PST. Please join us!

It begins like this:

Two years ago, Margaret Spellings, George W. Bush’s secretary of education, and Arne Duncan, Barack Obama’s secretary of education, wrote an opinion article in The Washington Post lamenting the decline of public support for the bipartisan consensus about education policy that began under Ronald Reagan. Elected officials strongly supported a regime of testing, accountability, and school choice, they wrote, but public enthusiasm was waning due to a lack of “courage” and “political will.”


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Mercedes Schneider on the Biden Testing Plan

Diane Ravitch's blog

Mercedes Schneider comments here on the Biden administration’s unexpected and ridiculous decision to insist on another round of standardized tests in the middle of the pandemic.

She begins:

On February 22, 2021, acting ed secretary Ian Rosenblum (formerly oftesting-friendly ed reform org,Education Trust) sentthis letterto state school superintendents informing them that standardized testing must happen in the 2020-21 school year “to understand the impact COVID-19 has had on learning and identify what resources and supports students need” and “to address the educational inequities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.”

Anyone with a smidge of critical thought and modest powers of observation could easily make a short list of the impact that COVID-19 has had on learning. Furthermore, the biggest support public schools have needed for years is adequate (equitable) funding not tied to property taxes and not tied to any federal competition.


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In “NY Times” Piece, Eve Ewing Ignores Economic Catastrophe for Public Schools of Charter School Expansion


I am a great fan of Eve Ewing’s book, Ghosts in the Schoolyard.  I have read the book twice, visited in Chicago some of the sites she describes, given the book to friends as a gift and blogged about it.  In that book, Ewing documents the community grief across Chicago’s South Side, where the now three decades old Renaissance 2010 “portfolio school plan” pits neighborhood public schools and charter schools in competition and closes the so-called “failing” neighborhood public schools when too many families opt for a charter school.

In a column published in Monday’s NY Times, Eve Ewing wants to make peace with charter schools.  She writes that we should allow families to choose and ensure that neighborhood schools and charter schools can all be well resourced and thriving. Ewing grasps for a third way—some sort of amicable compromise in a very polarized situation.


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Standardized Testing During the Pandemic is Corporate Welfare Not Student Equity


We’ve got to be able to tell how badly the pandemic is affecting student learning.

So let’s give standardized tests.

That’s the rationale behind the Biden administration’s mandate that schools across the country still struggling just to keep buildings open somehow manage to proctor standardized assessments.

Nearly 29 million people have contracted Covid-19 in the United States. More than 514,000 people have died from the virus.

Only about half of the nation’s schools are open for in-person learning, and many of those are operating on a hybrid basis. The rest are completely virtual.

Children have lost parents, siblings, family members, friends, teachers. Families are struggling just to survive with some members still recovering from the longterm health consequences of contracting Covid.

It is absurd to claim that only standardized tests can show whether the pandemic has impacted student learning.

It has. Nearly everywhere.

Insisting on testing is…

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Pastors for Texas Children to the Texas Legislature: “Make Suitable Provision!”

Diane Ravitch's blog

One of our greatest allies for public schools in the nation is the remarkable Pastors for Texas Children. They are active every day in Texas, urging the public to support and fund their public schools. Their leadership has helped to spur similar organizations in other states where public schools need help and where privatizers are making a play for public funds.

Here is their latest appeal for funding the public schools of Texas, attended by five million students:

After last week’s freeze, the Texas Legislature is back to work at the Capitol. Our focus on funding public schools fully and fairly is more important than ever.As you know, our Texas Constitution says in Article 7, Section 1: ”A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make…

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Texas teachers might be allowed to get vaccine by June.

deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog

On February 18, 2021, Louisiana governor, John Bel Edwards, announced that as of Monday, February 22, 2021, teachers and all other K12 school staff, daycare workers, and others have the green light to receive COVID-19 vaccines:

Meanwhile, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) has a message that vaccine shipments have been delayed by inclement winter weather:

Vaccine shipments are delayed.

Due to the…

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