Gauntlet of Shame greeted Acton Institute event attendees and Betsy DeVos supporters in Grand Rapids last night

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

As we reported on last month, Betsy DeVos was the keynote speaker at the Acton Institute’s 27th annual gala event, held at the DeVos Convention last night. 

The protest outside was designed to make it uncomfortable for those attending the event, which were largely members of the capitalist class. The Acton Institute set up valet parking right along Monroe St. in front of the Convention Center, but some people chose to park in the ramp across the street under the city/county building. Either way, people who were attending the Acton Institute event had to pass through a gauntlet of protestors who greeted them with whistles, signs and chants of “Shame” as they entered the building.

The idea behind the Gauntlet of Shame was to communicate clearly to the Capitalist Class that what they do and what they support causes actual harm to people, especially to those most marginalized. We…

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Bill Phillis: Betsy DeVos Does Not Understand the Purpose of The Public Common School

Diane Ravitch's blog

Bill Phillis was Deputy Commissioner for the State of Ohio. He is now retired. He is a master of school finance and is a principled believer in public education, free and open to all. He founded the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy to track school finance and equitable practices. He has followed the theft of public money by charter frauds in Ohio for many years.

He writes here:

Betsy DeVos: School choice is a fundamental right

“The common school system in America was established as a public good, not a private consumable. The primary purpose of the system is to create and maintain a democratic society governed by public policies that promote an equitable social order. Horace Mann, the father of the great American common school said that education is the great equalizer of the conditions of men. He promoted public education as the balance wheel of social…

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Stop Peeing

At the school I work at, we have faculty men’s bathroom. Up until a few days ago, we had several staff members that frequently peed on the toilet seat and floor.

I am not sure if they were not taught properly, just have bad manners or if they live without any women in their lives. One thing is for sure, their aim is very poor.

Oddly enough a sign was put up above the toilet (see above). It was amazing how the simple sign put up changed the behavior of adult men (using the term loosely). Since the sign was put up no one has peed on the toilet seat and the floor has remained relatively clean.

We will see how long this last.

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Homecoming Queen with Purple Hair!

In the East Houston school district of Galena Park this past weekend North Shore High School held their annual homecoming ceremonies. The young lady selected as Homecoming Queen had purple hair.

The school really dropped the ball on this one. Instead of requiring that she correct her hair prior to the ceremony, they allowed her to participate with purple hair. When she won they tried to photoshop the hair a different, more natural color, brown.

My first thought is, why didn’t they require her to change the color prior to the ceremony? If they had required her to fix it prior, then they would not have felt compelled to photoshop it for a press release. It is very simple, if she showed up with purple hair, then she wouldn’t be allowed to participate. The second place vote earner would be named the Homecoming Queen.

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Ohio: Charter Grads Less Likely to Earn College Degees than Public School Grads

Diane Ravitch's blog

From Stephen Dyer of Innovation Ohio:

“New Ohio state report card data show that Ohio charter school grads are far less likely to earn college degrees than Ohio school district grads. These data give us an idea of how schools prepare stduents for success beyond the test score. And results aren’t good for Ohio charters overall.”

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Nonprofit Quarterly: When Does Philanthropy Mask Depravity?

Diane Ravitch's blog

The invaluable Nonprofit Quarterly asks whether Harvey Weinstein cynically used philanthropy to cloak his unconscionable actions.

We might ask the same questions of many of the heartless corporations and individuals now poring hundreds of millions into charter schools, simultaneously destroying democratic public schools.

What about the Waltons? They claim they love poor children and children of color, so they spend at least $200 Million every year to dismantle their community schools and replace them with privately managed charters.

They break the unions that assure the parents of these children a living wage. They refuse to pay their own 1 Million plus workers a living wage.

If they really cared about the children, why don’t they care about the conditions in which they live?

This is what NPQ calls depravity.

The story includes this quote:

“Jelani Cobb, a staff writer at the New Yorker, offers us something new to consider about…

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Why education reform keeps failing students | PBS NewsHour

Mister Journalism: "Reading, Sharing, Discussing, Learning"

Education reform has been on the national political agenda for decades, but has significant progress ever been made? In his new book, “Addicted to Reform,” former NewsHour education correspondent John Merrow chronicles the many attempts. Merrow sits down with Jeffrey Brown to discuss his findings and his prescriptions for rescuing public education.

Source: Why education reform keeps failing students | PBS NewsHour

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What Are We Doing to Our Children? Pressure, Competition, Anxiety, Broken Spirits

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is a powerful and very disturbing article about the teenagers who crack under the pressure to succeed.

Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?

Read this and ask yourself, why are we putting young people into pressure cookers?

Isn’t it possible to recognize many ways to succeed?

The current obsession with standardized testing guarantees winners and losers. Whose child should be sacrificed at the alter of high-stakes testing? Which will crack because they are fearful of being losers?

“Over the last decade, anxiety has overtaken depression as the most common reason college students seek counseling services. In its annual survey of students, the American College Health Association found a significant increase — to 62 percent in 2016 from 50 percent in 2011 — of undergraduates reporting “overwhelming anxiety” in the previous year. Surveys that look at symptoms related to anxiety are also telling. In 1985…

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After the Devastating Fires in Wine Country, Schools Are Open!

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is a heartening story about the schools in Wine Country in California, which just suffered through horrifying fires.

Educators who lost their own homes were back on the job, to make sure the children had a safe space.

This is what educators do.

“Principal Teresa Ruffoni greeted students at Crane Elementary School in Rohnert Park on Monday morning, their first day back in class after a series of deadly fires burned through thousands of homes in neighboring Santa Rosa and in other cities and towns across the region.

“What Ruffoni didn’t tell the children was that a week earlier she had grabbed a few of her most vital belongings and fled from flames that would soon consume her home in Hidden Valley Estates, a hard-hit subdivision in the hills of northern Santa Rosa.

“She was too focused on the students, and navigating an extraordinary period for education in…

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“Parents Aren’t Talking to Teens About Consent, Study Finds”

The Catalysts for Change

“There’s a LOT more to cover than sex.

When you’re heading off to college, there’s obviously a lot on your mind. What your roommate will be like, how hard your classes will be, where you’ll hang out on the weekends — and sex. Many people associate college with hookups and sex, but we’ve known for a while that people aren’t having quite as much sex as we might think. But it turns out many of us aren’t exactly prepared for the reality of sex on campus. According to a new study, our parents may play a pretty big part in that.

A study from Making Caring Common, a project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, found that parents aren’t having the kind of conversations with kids about sex and relationships that maybe they should be. The study found parents aren’t having conversations with their kids that…

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