Detroit: One Class, 31 Students, 128 Schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is the portrait of “choice” in Detroit.

It is a disaster for children. They constantly change schools.

There are 31 students in class 8B in Bethune Middle School. Collectively, these students have attended 128 schools.

Their parents choose and choose and choose.

Most students have attended four or five different schools by the time they are in eighth grade.

Does anyone believe this instability, disruption, and churn are good for children?

Here is Jan Resseger’s commentary: She says that choice “accelerates student mobility, stresses educators, and undermines education.” As the embedded article shows, the more frequently students change schools by eighth grade, the lower their scores on the state’s annual tests.

Is it helpful to have no long-term, reliable relationships with friends or teachers?

Would Betsy DeVos do this to her children?

What do you think?

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Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: State Cuts to Higher Education Threaten Access and Equity


The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities just released its annual update on state funding for higher education. In 45 states, state funding per-student in public four-year and two-year colleges and universities remains below what it was before the Great Recession a decade ago. The only exceptions are California, Hawaii, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Thirty-one states cut higher education funding in the past year.

Here is the report’s overall conclusion: “A decade since the Great Recession hit, state spending on public colleges and universities remains well below historical levels. Overall state funding for public two-and four-year colleges in the school year ending in 2018 was more than $7 billion below its 2008 level, after adjusting for inflation. In the most difficult years after the recession, colleges responded to significant funding cuts by increasing tuition, reducing faculty, limiting course offerings, and in some cases closing campuses.  Funding has rebounded slightly since…

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New Orleans Teacher Held Against Her Will by Admin, Calls 9-1-1



A (now-former) teacher at Mary D. Coghill Charter School in New Orleans decided to quit her job six weeks into the new school year. Around noon on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, this teacher tried to retrieve her belongings from her classroom and had planned upon her exit to formally tender her letter of resignation.

However, the school principal and several other school admin apparently prevented the teacher from leaving the school by somehow preventing her from exiting her classroom. The teacher offered to undergo a search so that admin could be assured that she was only taking her personal belongings. Still, the principal and at least one other person would not allow the teacher to exit.

So, she called 9-1-1 for assistance.

On October 10, 2018, Marta Jewson of New Orleans-based news source, The Lens, published the story. From her reporting:

A former teacher at a Gentilly Woods…

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Stunning New Book Contextualizes Tragedy of 2013 School Closures in Chicago’s Hyper-Segregated History


Eve Ewing’s new book, Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side, explores the blindness, deafness, and heartlessness of technocratic, “portfolio school reform”* as it played out in 50 school closings in Chicago at the end of the school year in 2013. After months of hearings, the Chicago Public Schools didn’t even send formal letters to the teachers, parents and students in the schools finally chosen for closure.  People learned which schools had finally been shut down when the list was announced on television.

Eve Ewing, a professor in the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and a former teacher in one of the closed schools, brings her training as a sociologist to explore this question: “But why do people care about these failing schools?” (p. 13)  In four separate chapters, Ewing examines the question from different perspectives: (1) the meaning for the…

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Akron, Ohio: The Most Innovative School in America, Sponsored by LeBron James

Diane Ravitch's blog

The “I Promise School” sponsored by LeBron James as part of the Akron public school system is the most innovative school in America. Its focus is on developing healthy children, whose dreams are big and whose education equips them to make a life for themselves. It accepts only children with low test scores. It’s goal is to help children overcome trauma. Its philosophy is informed by LeBron James’ experiences as a child growing up in dire circumstances.

Contrast this school, where children are surrounded by love and caring, with the harsh and punitive “no excuses” charter schools. Read this article and answer the question: Which is better? Love or Fear? Charter advocates should learn about this school and learn from its example.

The greatest of all innovations: a school in which love and kindness are built in as policy.

This article by Eddie Kim goes into detail. I am not…

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A Critique of Trump on Why We Can’t Have Health Care for All Americans

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is Paul Waldman’s Washington Post commentary on Trump’s article in USA Today:

President Trump wrote a remarkable op-ed in USA Today on Wednesday, remarkable because one wouldn’t think it possible to pack so much dishonesty into such a small space, nor would one think a newspaper would willingly publish such a steaming pile of lies. As fact-checker Glenn Kessler wrote, “almost every sentence contained a misleading statement or a falsehood.”

But I’ll leave the fact-checking (mostly) to others on this score. What interests me for the moment is what Trump says about Medicare.

As Democrats have increasingly advocated for some kind of universal, government-guaranteed health insurance program (though there are multiple plans floating around with different features), Republicans have struggled to settle on the most effective rhetorical counter to the idea. “Big government takeover!” has gotten a little old. “Bureaucrats making decisions for you instead of your doctor!” rings…

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DeVos Doles Out $399 Million to Charter Schools and Charter Organizations

Diane Ravitch's blog

Politico reports the latest federal handouts for charter schools and charter advocacy organizations, as well as to state agencies.

There is no sector of American education less in need of federal funding than charter schools. They have the support of the nation’s largest philanthropies—think Bill Gates, the Walton family, Eli Broad, Michael Bloomberg, Reed Hastings, etc.—as well as abundant gifts from the financial industry and individual billionaires.

Among the federal grants was $2.4 million to the California Charter Schools Association, the richest lobby in the state, which fights any legislative efforts to establish accountability and prohibit conflicts of interest and self-dealing.

Betsy DeVos has put the Trump administration strongly behind charter schools. The Trump administration puts no money into establishing ethical standards or financial oversight for charters. They pretend to want a “free market,” but free markets are not subsidized by the federal government. In a free market, businesses make…

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Rob Levine: Charter School Praised by “New York Times” Is in Academic Distress (LINK ADDED)

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:
Last June, the New York Times published a gushing piece about the success of a segregated charter school in Minneapolis. The author, Conor Williams of the New America Foundation, worried that Betsy DeVos’s…

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How School Choice in Michigan Accelerates Student Mobility, Stresses Educators, and Undermines Education


Yesterday this blog examined how two school choice policies in Michigan—the rapid expansion of charter school choice and cross-district open enrollment that allows students to leave their school district and enroll in a nearby school district—are together undermining the fiscal viability of Michigan’s public school districts. Here, thanks to a collaboration between Chalkbeat, Bridge Magazine, and the Detroit Free Press is the story of how these very same policies are undermining teaching and learning in the Detroit Public Schools.

Reporters Erin Einhorn and Chastity Pratt Dawsey describe how cross-district and charter school choice are accelerating student churn as children change schools again and again.  In Detroit, the subject of the article, student mobility is also exacerbated by homelessness and foreclosure and other challenges posed by extreme poverty across the school population. But there is an additional factor: Detroit is part of a network of so-called “portfolio school districts”

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You don’t know what you don’t know


I’ve been a teacher for a while now. One thing I’ve noticed is how few teachers really know what’s going on in the state of public education.

They know what’s going on in their classrooms, of course, and at their schools. They may even have a vague sense of what’s happening at the district level. But beyond that – state legislation that affects public education, who said state legislators are and what their beliefs are, federal education guidelines like ESSA and how they affect things like testing and accountability, etc. – they don’t know.

And maybe worse, they don’t know what they don’t know.

They aren’t really aware of how what is happening at the state and federal level affects them in their classrooms.

I’m not necessarily laying blame here. Ignorance is bliss, so they say. But what I’m trying to understand is why. Why don’t they know what’s…

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