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Brookline, Mass., Meets Corporate Reform

Diane Ravitch's blog

Katherine Stewart and Matthew Stewart, parents in the renowned Brookline school district in Massachusetts, are concerned about their school board’s ties to Bill Gates and  other corporate reformers. Katherine Stewart is the author of “The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children.”

They write:

“In the ongoing standoff between the Brookline Educators Union and the Brookline School Committee, the School Committee has framed the dispute as one of making do with limited resources and ensuring equity for all students. But in fact, fundamental choices about how we educate our children are also at stake. The teachers are asking for more time to spend with students and more control over their own teaching. The School Committee, on the other hand, appears intent on investing teacher time and town funds in a management system aimed at top-down control of educators through data collection and high-stakes, standardized testing. The…

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Myra Blackmon: Test Abuse in Georgia

Diane Ravitch's blog

Myra Blackmon is a columnist for he Athens Banner-Herald, where this column appeared.

She writes:
It happened last year. They said problems were corrected. It happened again this year.

Once again, administration of the Georgia Milestones – those hideous tests that purport to measure student achievement and teacher effectiveness – was plagued with computer problems.

Only someone who has been asleep for the last three years should be surprised at this. Computer servers couldn’t handle the traffic, systems crashed, teachers wrung their hands, students wept in frustration.

As a result, test scores will not be used for retention or promotion decisions for students in grades 3, 5 and 8.

This isn’t accountability, friends – this is abuse. The Georgia Milestones abuse the money Georgia taxpayers spend on education.

Let’s put this waste and abuse into perspective. According to the state Department of Education, there are about 401,000 students in…

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Jeannie Kaplan: Don’t Fall for the Hoax about Reform “Success” in Denver!

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jeannie Kaplan was twice elected to the Denver Board of Education and is well qualified to review the claims made about that city’s schools. Due to an infusion of reformer cash from across the nation starting in 2009, Denver’s elected school board is now completely dominated by supporters of choice and high-stakes testing (i.e. corporate reformers). These “reformers” have a 7-0 grip on the city’s schools and its publicity machine, thanks to national corporate reform-minded groups like Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform (DFER). Their claims are repeated in the reformer media, including at Gates-funded and rightwing think tanks and publications. Jeannie is a very kind and compassionate person, and she is tired of having to refute the claims, again and again. But she comes once more to the front, to explain why Denver is a hoax, not a model.

In this post, she reviews the latest phony…

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Gary Rubinstein Reveals TFA’s Latest PR Stunt

Diane Ravitch's blog

Gary Rubinstein, a critical friend of Teach for America, noticed something strange on Twitter: he saw tweets from Educatuon Week that boasted of TFA successes. Seemed strange. After a bit of digging, he realized that the tweets were actually sponsored advertisements, paid for by TFA.

Who is at fault here? TFA for paying for plugs? Or Education Week, for renting out its name and brand?

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Brookings Study: Voucher Students in Louisiana and Indiana Perform Worse than Peers in Public Schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

Mark Dynarski of the Brookings Institution has published a research review in which he concluded that public schools definitely have the advantage over private schools that receive vouchers. This is especially good news because rightwing ideologues continue to argue the (non-existent) benefits of vouchers, and because Brookings had become an advocacy platform for school choice since the appointment of George W. Bush’s education research director, Grover Whitehurst to run its education center  (Whitehurst no longer runs the Brown center program at Brookings).

Here is the executive summary. Open the link to read the full study.

Recent research on statewide voucher programs in Louisiana and Indiana has found that public school students that received vouchers to attend private schools subsequently scored lower on reading and math tests compared to similar students that remained in public schools. The magnitudes of the negative impacts were large. These studies used rigorous research designs that…

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Mike Klonsky: The Debacle of School Reform in Chicago

Diane Ravitch's blog

The next time you hear boastful claims about “reform,” think Chicago.

Poor Chicago! Arne Duncan launched his version of reform there in 2001, with Gates funding. School closings, test scores above all, new schools, charter schools. And what is left now: a public school system struggling to survive. The results of Arne’s reforms: zilch.

Then Obama named his basketball buddy as Secretary of Education and the reforms that failed in Chicago were imposed on the nation by the ill-fated Race to the Too, where everyone is a loser.

So, Mike Klonsky tells us, reform is business as usual. The Chicago way. Those that have, get more. Those that have not, get ignored.

Fifteen years of reform. Think Chicago. Where Democratic leaders pander to billionaires and strangle the public schools.

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Elizabeth Warren Rips into Donald Trump

Diane Ravitch's blog

Elizabeth Warren has emerged as the fiercest critic of Donald Trump, totally unafraid of his derision, his sarcasm, and his Twitter attacks.

In a speech to the Center for Popular Democracy, Warren tore into Trump as a selfish, narcissistic, insincere, insecure, “money-grubber” who cares not a bit for the travails of ordinary working people.

If you read nothing else today, read Marty Rudoy’s brilliantly illustrated version of Warren’s speech, which appeared on Huffington Post.

Both articles linked here contain a link to the 10-minute video of the speech in which she dismantles The Donald and as Rudoy says, singes off his hair with her fiery rhetoric.

Rudoy concludes:

Senator Warren would make an excellent vice presidential candidate in 2016. But she’d be an even better President. That won’t happen in 2016, but life is long, and she has the brains, the passion and the ability to communicate that the progressive-liberal…

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Peter Greene on the Smallest Data of All

Diane Ravitch's blog

Peter Greene reliably reads all the studies, think tank reports, foundation proclamations, and other stuff that pours forth from the Think About Education Industry.

In this post, he is thinking about something else, something very important: his 18-month-old grandson.

This is a young man with a long list of studies, reports, and policy briefs. Well, diapers, not so much briefs.

As Peter writes:

He is, at 18 months, a Man of Adventure. He knows many exciting activities, such as Putting One Thing Inside of Another Thing, or Stomping Vigorously Upon the Ground. He knows the word “dog” and is involved extensive survey of just how many dogs there are in the world, which also involves working out which survey items are dogs, and which are not. In the photo above, you can gauge his mastery of Spoon Technique as applied to Ice Cream. This is part of his extensive study…

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Mercedes Schneider: Who Owns the PARCC Copyrights?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Over the past couple of weeks, there have been many articles about PARCC deleting blogs and tweets. In every case, PARCC complains that the offending blogger and Tweeter has infringed on its copyright.

But Mercedes asks an overlooked question: Does PARCC Inc. actually own the copyright to the PARCC tests?

Mercedes seeks the answer directly from Laura Glover, the executive of PARCC Inc.

If they own the PARCC, let the world see the evidence.

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