Red Queen in L.A.: Your Voice Matters, So Does Your Avoidance

Diane Ravitch's blog

The Los Angeles blogger Red Queen in LA writes here about the negative consequences of avoidance.

She writes:

““…I’m not the angry racist they see in that photo… .”

“But if not you then who?

“Because someone is. Someone has been weighing in to ranks swelling with violence, bursting with hatred. A large bunch of angry folks brandished fire and fury last Friday and unleashed the overt toppling of constitutional rights, collective self-esteem and statues.

“And that same attitude which disavows culpability for provoking violence also apparently assumes innocence toward any other collective action: marching, mobbing, voting.

“It’s not just Blacks Who Matter, it is also very much true that we all of us matter, in all our actions: we do.

“When you shriek words of hate, it matters. When you wield weapons of war, it matters. When you vote or fail to do so, it matters.

“And denying…

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Bill Phillis: Charter Schools Are Bought and Sold; Not Public Schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

Bill Phillis, founder of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy and former deputy commissioner of education in Ohio, laments the commercializations that charter schools have introduced into K-12 schooling, while claiming to be “public schools”:

He writes:

“For sale: A school–The practice of buying and selling charter schools signals the complete disconnect between school and community

“The greatest human-inspired public institution-the common school-was created as a school for all children. The nexus between the community and the common school is powerful in the lives of school children; charter schools are not community-based entities.

“Parents in a school district would be shocked if they opened the morning paper and read the headline: School district for sale. That happens in the charter world.

“Charter school organizations are bought and sold. Ron Packard, former CEO of K12-Inc. (in Ohio, K-12 Inc. operates the Ohio Virtual Academy) left K-12, Inc. and started a…

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Texas: Special Session Ended, No Vouchers!

Diane Ravitch's blog

The governor of Texas called a special session of the legislature, with two goals:

1. To enact a voucher program, despite recent studies agreeing that state voucher programs have negative results.

2. To pass a bill requiring transgender people to use the bathroom aligned with the gender on their birth certificate, which was overwhelmingly condemned by major businesses and is unenforceable (a monitor at every bathroom checking birth certificates?)

The voucher bill was defeated by public opposition, by parents and educators saying that public schools needed funding, not loss of public dollars for religious schools.

The legislature did not pass a plan for equitable funding (the schools have never recovered from the $5 billion cut in 2011). But the legislature did appropriate $60 million in construction funds for the politically connected and academically inferior charter industr.

Here is a comment by Pastors for Texas Children, which helped to defeat Lt.Gov…

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A Mother in Douglas County, CO: The Damage Done by “Reformers” to Our Public Schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

The following comment was posted on the blog in response to this post about the coming school board elections in Douglas County, Colorado. There, in the most affluent county in the state, corporate reformers swamped the previous school board elections with money and propaganda and elected a majority committed to privatization. Many of the district’s best teachers left. The future of the district lies in the hands of its parents. If they want public schools, they will have to fight for them, go door-to-door to explain the issues, and mobilize other parents and civic-minded members of the public to vote in the school board election. Only they can save their schools.

The reader from Douglas County wrote:

“Thank you for shining light on our CO school district. I’m a mom, and local resident, with kids in our public schools. We had amazing schools and outstanding teachers in this district, as…

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Chris Hedges and Diane Ravitch Discuss Charter Schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

What fun to meet and talk with Chris Hedges!
Chris lives in a New Jersey town where a charter school was opened without the consent of the residents. Their taxes support a school they don’t want. Their local public schools are excellent. Why are they supporting a private school, he wonders.

At the end of the show, Chris gave me a copy of his national Best-seller, “Empire of Illusion.” It is an amazing book. Read it. You won’t be disappointed. You will see the world differently.

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Pasi Sahlberg: Finnish Teachers Are NOT the “Best and Brightest”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Pasi Sahlberg tries in this article to dispel the myth that Finnish teachers are specifically “the best and brightest.” He notes that misguided education leaders have tried to devise ways to attract the teachers with the highest test scores. But, he says, that is not what Finnish education leaders do.

Finnish teacher educators do not believe that teacher quality correlates directly with academic ability.

“The University of Helsinki could easily pick the best and the brightest of the huge pool of applicants each year, and have all of their new trainee teachers with admirable grades.

“But they don’t do this because they know that teaching potential is hidden more evenly across the range of different people. Young athletes, musicians and youth leaders, for example, often have the emerging characteristics of great teachers without having the best academic record. What Finland shows is that rather than get “best and the brightest”…

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Michigan: Governor Rick Snyder Accepts No Responsibility for His Failed School Reforms

Diane Ravitch's blog

A reader sent a letter signed by Governor Rick Snyder and the State Superintendent Brian Whiston lamenting the poor performance of Michigan’s schools on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Please note that the Governor makes no reference to the failure of the state’s obsession with school choice over the past 15 years.

Nor does he say anything about the proliferation of charters, most of which operate for-profit, and most of which perform worse than the public schools.

Nor does he acknowledge that the state’s education agenda is a wholly owned enterprise of the DeVos family.

Nor does he mention the disaster of the Educational Achievement Authority, into which the state of Michigan poured millions of dollars and overpaid administrators sent by the Broad Academy, only to see the EAA collapse in failure.

This is a politician who does not know the meaning of the word accountability. He is…

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Denis Smith: How Charter Schools Expose Republican Hypocrisy

Diane Ravitch's blog

Denis Smith explains how the charter industry has exposed Republican hypocrisy in his state of Ohio. As readers will be quick to point out, charters have also exposed the hypocrisy of Democrats who have jumped on the money train and sold out minority children, public education and unions.

To track the rise of the charter industry, follow the money and campaign contributions. In Ohio, politicians sell themselves for far less than in New York.

Consider this:

“In a page one article detailing the history of the notorious online charter school ECOT, the Columbus Dispatch published a detailed review of this operation that has been efficiently sucking up the low hanging fruit otherwise known as public tax dollars since 2000. In the last four years alone, that low hanging fruit has generated more $100 million annually for ECOT founder Bill Lager’s charter school companies, allowing him to maintain a very comfortable…

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In Michigan, Few Want to Become Teachers: Thanks, Betsy DeVos, Rick Snyder, and Arne Duncan!

This is not just a Michigan problem, this is happening across the country.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Alternet published an article about the dire condition of teachers and teaching in Michigan. Nancy Derringer describes the growing crisis over the future of the profession in a state that treats teachers like Kleenex.

The legislature has hacked away at teacher benefits, and would-be teachers have gotten the message.

The latest data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title II program, which supports teacher training and professional development, show enrollment in teacher prep at the college level is falling, sharply in some states. In Michigan, 11,099 students were enrolled in the state’s 39 teacher-prep programs in 2014-15, the most recent data available. That is a 3,273-student decline from just two years previous, in 2012-13. Since 2008, the total number of Michigan college students studying to become a teacher is down more than 50 percent.

Michigan State University saw its teacher-prep enrollment fall 45 percent between 2010 and 2014, from 1,659…

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Florida Looks to Hide Minority Students with Accountability Waiver

Texas will probably be next to try this stunt

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What do you do with minority students?

The state of Florida is looking to hide them under the rug.

The state is seeking a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education for certain provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – a move that has some civil rights groups alarmed.

The request goes something like this:

Federal Government: How are your English Language Learners doing?

Florida: Dunno. We lumped them in with everyone else.

Fed: Are there any big discrepancies between white students and poor, black or Latino students?

Florida: Dunno. We don’t look at that.

Fed: Do you at least allow English Language Learners to take tests in their native language?

Florida: Nope. They need to speak English or fail.

Aaaaand scene.

The waiver hasn’t even been fully drafted yet and submitted to the federal Department of Education.

However, civil rights groups such as The Leadership Conference…

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